Credit: Michelle Dy's YouTube Channel

Marketing is an important facet in growing a business. There is a need to put the word out there, and fast, so that the brand can keep up with its respective ever-changing industry.

One of the latest trends in marketing today is collaborating with brand ambassadors who can do the talking on behalf of the brands.

The program for brand ambassadors comes from the spectrum of influencer marketing. According to various researches and studies, marketing influencers are opinion leaders, celebrities and bloggers who are paid to promote a brand to its target demographics, commonly using their social media platforms and digital presence.

Brand ambassadors do need not to be traditional nor mainstream entertainment celebrities anymore. They can be ordinary individuals who have developed a peer social status and online following. This is because these influencers tend to be more authentic in reaching out to the market. But they should not be confused as to being micro-influencers and brand advocates.

To define the terms, micro-influencers are social media celebrities and who have a following in their niche market while brand advocates are hard-core fans and brand loyalists who promote a brand out of their pure passion.

So how would a company know if a certain Instagram star or blogger is the right ambassador for the brand? Just like anything else, it starts with strengthening the brand identity, which starts from being consistent in all aspects of the communications plan.

A solid brand identity would help business owners understand the intended audience. There should be a deep understanding of how the target market thinks and the patterns that govern their buying habits. It is important to know what are the consumers’ aspirations and the content that would send out the right message.

More than having a pretty face, entertaining YouTube videos or a well-curated Instagram feed, there are many bullet points that you should check out for when you’re hiring brand ambassadors. After all, they will represent your brand, express your company’s key messages and promote your products and services for you.

You might even consider those individuals who have already developed an organic liking for your brand. They can be employees, dedicated bloggers, or consumer experts. Since the affinity is already there, it is easy to establish a mutually beneficial relationship. They can be tapped as internal marketing resources. To achieve this, you as the company owner or marketing head should provide insights or relevant information that ambassadors can share with his or her community.

Once these insights are readily available to base your marketing requirements on, you can now move forward to sourcing your brand ambassador. Here are some factors you might want to consider:

  1. Look out for engagements.

Go beyond the number of followers and into the post engagements. Remember that it is now easy to manipulate the number of followers. Two basic questions to ponder on are: Do people just like the posts or do they have a relationship with their followers? Genuine interaction should be present because a brand ambassador’s strength lies in his or her power to start a discussion about the whole brand experience. As such, take the time to check the data when possible to make sure that they have a balance of sponsored and organic content.

  1. Monitor if an individual is aligned with what the company stands for.

Big brands often fall into the trap of choosing a big name who does not necessarily reflect the ideals of the company. This can be dangerous for a brand, not just because money is on the line, but because it might mar a brand’s reputation and send the wrong signals to consumers.

The takeaway, then, is to choose a spokesperson who represents the values, ideals and philosophies of the brand- both online and offline.

  1. Check if the individual uses all the relevant platforms for the campaign.

Look out for the channels used by a brand ambassador, and determine if they would serve the purposes of the ambassadorship program. For example, one can ask if a brand ambassador can do cross-posting to lead followers to a new photo, blog, or video entry that promotes the brand.  Perhaps it would be better if the requirements are laid down clearly from the get-go so that the expectations of both parties are managed.

  1. Be prepared for the compensation deal.

The easiest way to get to the bottom of this is to simply ask. Send a message, laying down your intentions. Do not be afraid to know if they have no qualms with an ex-deal partnership. Out of their love for the brand, most ambassadors would often say yes to this kind of give-and-take relationship.

But it is also better to have a budget on hand if an ambassador demands some sort of monetary fee. After all, you are using his or her following for your online marketing purposes. The key is, learn how to negotiate properly. Know how to meet them in the middle, in a way that the relationship is also beneficial for them, and not just for your enterprise.

  1. Get ready to enter into a relationship.

A brand ambassador is an ally. As the the brand owner or an in-house marketing head, you should make conscious efforts in sustaining and protecting your relationship with your brand ambassador– adding value where it matters. It is not just about giving goodies to be used periodically, but more on building a symbiotic relationship that can grow deeper over the years. Even if there’s no live campaign, the connection should not be lost between the brand and the ambassador. At the end of the day, relationships really do matter in business.

Influencer marketing is here to stay with the burgeoning social media landscape. To continuously grow your business, it is smart to leverage on this trend as you strategically invest on online campaigns. With proper research and planning, you might just partner with an ambassador who’s just perfect for your brand. Who knows, you might actually hit the jackpot in terms of attaining authentic online and offline following. As you bank on the power of social media stars in enhancing your brand’s customer journey through authentic stories and experiences, it is no surprise that you’d eventually acquire profits in no time. The key, as always, is to work smart.

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