Advertising has changed a lot over the decades. From the adverts of the 50s that leaned heavily on clichés and stereotypes through to the high-octane TV ads of the 90s, there’s no doubt that it’s an ever-evolving genre of promoting your business.
While the change is constant, advertising your business has changed more in the past five years than – arguably – than the rest of advertising history put together. No longer is advertising the realm of a strict number of agencies lead by charismatic Don-Draper-personalities writ large. Now, advertising is both more subtle and more overt at the same time – largely because of one element that has changed the game forever: brand ambassadors.
What Is A Brand Ambassador?
A brand ambassador is a person of note, be it through individual celebrity or having achieved a recognizable level of social media success, who promotes your business. Bloggers are frequently brand ambassadors, especially in the fashion and beauty industries.
The ambassador will, alongside their usual content on their blog/social media, promote your company. It will often be done in quite a clever way, incorporating their usual style so often the advert is indistinguishable from the rest of their content.
As well as elevating your online presence, a brand ambassador will often be involved with your company in person. They will attend trade shows and speak on your behalf, or feature as part of your corporate website.
What’s In It For The Business?
This kind of advertising is incredibly subtle. Rather than hitting people over the head with a TV ad they’re more likely than not to fast forward past, it’s a much simpler way of integrating your product or business into an existing content platform.
It’s also a perfect way of connecting with your core demographic, especially if much of your staff aren’t actually in that demographic. For example, if your board is predominantly males in their 40s and you are selling products aimed at women aged 18-30, then a brand ambassador could give you valuable insight.
Not only that, but this individual becomes a recognizable face to go along with your company. If the partnership is especially successful, then your brand ambassador might become known as the “your company girl”, such as the GoDaddy girls that have been so successful. This is permanent advertising, attaching your company to a single individual even when you may not be actively promoting something.
What’s In It For The Brand Ambassador?
Quite simply, it’s a financial transaction for the brand ambassador.
A lot of people are surprised by this. Given this is such a new form of advertising, a lot of companies make the mistake of thinking social media stars, bloggers, and celebrities will just do it for the “free stuff”. That sounds like a bargain to you as a company owner; a huge amount of evergreen publicity in exchange for a few products? Perfect!
There is a serious backlash against this attitude, however. If you’re considering hiring someone for this kind of role, then you need to be aware of the dos and don’ts you have to avoid falling foul of. While some people may be willing to create content and share your company with their demographic, the vast majority won’t. Arguably the ones that are really worth having as ambassadors definitely won’t.
A brand ambassador role is work; it might be unconventional or unusual, but it’s still work, and that means that the person in question deserves to be compensated for their time. With the industry maturing, many brand ambassadors are now partnering with the likes of https://tsmagency.com to handle the financial and legal side of the arrangement.
If you want to know more about the backlash against working for free, then there are some great primers on http://bigthink.com and even Twitter accounts dedicated to railing against the practice. You’ll find http://twitter.com/dontwork4free a great resource.
What Can A Brand Ambassador Do That Traditional Advertising Can’t?
- Offer a public face to associate with your company.
- Help you target a particular demographic.
- Elevate your company’s social media, which in turn makes a huge contribution to your online presence. If you want to learn more about the importance of your company having an online presence, then http://smallbusiness.chron.com has a great overview.
- A more organic form of advertising, which if done well is not overtly obvious that it is even an advert.
- A face for your company, which can help create cohesion when featured across your company website, social media, and even in person. This helps your brand become more recognizable as a whole, as customers are more likely to recognize a face than a basic logo.
What Are The Downsides Of Brand Ambassadors?
It would be unwise to think signing up a brand ambassador is the end of your focus on marketing your company – it should just be part of your overall strategy. At the end of the day, these people are playing to a relatively select audience.
It might also not be a great fit for the type of business you run. If you don’t particularly have a target demographic or your demographic is broad, then hacking into a specific section of potential customers is of relatively little use to you. However, it can still be helpful to have someone to feature in your promotional literature who can be a familiar face throughout your entire presentation.
How Do I Find A Brand Ambassador?
You have a variety of options.
- Look for popular social media users, bloggers, and influencers that already exist within your niche. You can then reach out to them and see if they would be receptive to partnering with one another.
- Contact an agency and ask for recommendations, based on what you are looking to achieve from such a partnership. This can be particularly useful if your niche is not particularly suited to an existing online presence you can make the most of. For example, if you’re selling a beauty product then you’ll have no shortage of options if you glance through a popular Instagram hashtag like #beauty. However, if you run a communications company then it’s going to be trickier, and a specialist talent company can help make a match that will work for you.
- Ask for them. Sometimes, the easiest way might be the most effective. Post online that you’re seeking brand ambassadors and see who applies and how it might work for you. This can be a good strategy as you’re likely to find someone who is already engaged with your company, as they were clearly paying attention to your social media and site as to see the notice.
How Much Does A Brand Ambassador Cost?
There’s no obvious answer to this. It depends entirely on a number of factors:
- What you want them to do. Do you just want them to post on social media? That won’t be too expensive. However, if you’d like them to attend trade shows or appear in adverts, then you’d expect to be paying more for this kind of representation.
- How big your company is. The larger your company, the more you should have available in terms of budget for advertising and marketing.
- Who you want to be your brand ambassador. If you’re looking for someone who is famous throughout the country, then you’re going to pay more than for an influencer who just has a social media presence. You can limit some of this cost by opting for normal, regular users who are otherwise a fan of your product and will still have something to offer your business.
Ultimately, you should treat the cost of a brand ambassador as another part of your marketing and advertising budget. As discussed, don’t expect people to work for a pittance even if you see the work as relatively inexpensive. You’re paying for people’s time and their influence; they deserve to be compensated for it.
Should A Brand Ambassador Always Be A Celebrity?
Absolutely not. Some celebrities and brands have partnered together for years to great success, but you don’t need a household name for this relationship to work. It all depends on your niche and who you are looking to target.
If, for example, you run a digital marketing company, then there would be relatively little benefit to you if you partnered with a Kardashian. They might be a big, recognizable name, but they’re not really useful for your niche. The crossover from Kardashian fans to people who own their own company and are in need of marketing is, in all likelihood, relatively small.
A good brand ambassador can be a relative unknown, provided they have something to offer your company. In fact, if you have a small company, then spending a fortune on a high profile celebrity is undoubtedly going to be a waste of funds – you’d be far better finding someone specific to your niche, and building your profile as a partnership.
Ultimately, this type of advertising is new, but you would be remiss to overlook the difference it can make to your business.