Let’s start with a straightforward definition of what a Brand Ambassador is – it’s a person, especially a celebrity, who is paid to endorse or promote a particular company’s products or services.
The keywords are Brand, Paid and Promote.
- Brand. An Ambassador will draw attention to your brand using their profile – what they do, say or how they appear. Appointing an Ambassador is, in effect, cross-pollinating audiences. Everyone today is a Brand. The Ambassador lends their brand to you, while you lend your brand to them. The Brand that has the lowest awareness gains the most benefit. An obvious example of this at work is with movies. Actors will, for a significant fee, appear in (and lend their name to) major productions – and audiences will queue based on the previous work/profile of those actors. Humans have a tremendous desire for predictability, so there is less risk in trialling something new when we recognise at least some part of the offering.
The test to use is: who’s Brand is bigger? If you are a leader in your category, it’s likely that you’ll offer more to your Ambassador than your Ambassador will bring towards you. Equally, if you are a new entrant that not many people know, a good Ambassador will bring the masses. Like George Clooney did for Nespresso.
- Paid. It’s easy to acknowledge that this is a financial transaction and that you’re paying for someone to do or say nice things about your product or service. When all happens as expected, it can be great. At AMBA, we start by assessing the Audience fit – what would this Ambassador add to our reach and at what level of engagement? Using a combination of metrics, we can assign value and assess the likely ROMI (return on marketing investment). The flip side is the risk. When something goes wrong, it can be catastrophic. Celebrities fall from grace like a gum tree drops branches – always without warning. Contracts should include integrity clauses, while a proper risk assessment and an issues management contingency plan should be prepared at the outset (just in case, hopefully never required).
- Promote. Ambassadors can only engage audiences when there is a budget for promotion. You need to reach your audience and also engage your Ambassador’s. It’s not enough to make an announcement or make a few social media posts. The standard rules of marketing and advertising continue to apply. From experience, we know that most Ambassadors go beyond the basics to do their best in promoting your product, but they aren’t a product expert. They don’t have your knowledge and can only work within the parameters of what has been provided. Remember that you engage an Ambassador because they have a high-profile, and high-profiles are maintained by being very active. So, you (and your brand) can not be their primary focus. Your brand must do all of the heavy lifting. Ambassadors are great when you continue to do all of the work.
In snapshot – you need a brand ambassador when:
- You’re looking for brand growth from a new audience which the Ambassador can easily reach. The pearl that you are looking for – an Ambassador with a higher profile than your brand.
- Your financial model must fund both the Ambassador and marketing activity. An Ambassador alone can’t deliver results. You need to reach people before you can influence them. If you can’t afford it all, don’t do it. There are better alternatives.
- The Ambassador is part of a promotional plan that is driven by you. Ambassadors are not (at least by default) white knights riding in to save the day. You will need to provide the Horse, the Route, the Script and the Outfit (and maybe the stunt double). Just as you would without them.
Ambassadors help extend audience reach. Talk with us about your goals and how we can partner with you. AMBA partners with a range of clients across geographies and industries who trust us for insights and advice. Together we can help you create a true competitive advantage.
Brand Science and Strategy is at the core of the work AMBA does. Touch Hearts. Move Minds. Emotive triggers open eyes and rational minds. We connect both – Brand Ambassadors are one of the tools in our toolkit. We’re based in Australia and connect with people everywhere – Find out more.