BRAND AMBASSADORS ARE defined as people enlisted to represent a company in a positive light, and by doing so, help to increase brand awareness and sales. Finding the right brand ambassador who fits these criteria and complements your business is the key to a successful partnership.
One company that has actively recruited brand ambassadors is GrowIt!, a social gardening app. Co-Founder Mason Day says it is always a plus to have consumers who take pride in your brand or product.
“To us a brand ambassador is someone that champions your brand, company and products without hesitation while having a high level of understanding about your brand or product,” Day says. “They may be opinionated about certain aspects of your brand or product but will stand up for your brand when you aren’t in the room.”
Having brand ambassadors may help businesses who do not have a large budget for promotions.
“Brand ambassadors are like rechargeable batteries,” Day says. “It’s about fostering a relationship. If you do it the right way, your ambassadors will continue to give and encourage more and more people to give your brand/business a try over time.”
Finding the right fit
So, how do you find the right brand ambassador? Day says it starts with looking in the right places and identifying the ideal candidate for your particular situation.
“Look for the people that go out of their way to support you,” Day says. “Which customers come to every single event? Which customers comment on every one of your blog posts? Who likes every single one of your Facebook posts? That’s where you start building your base from.”
You can find these people in a variety of places, Day says. He suggests looking through your customer lists, email lists and social media followers first.
“Find the people that already love what you do and find a way to make them love you even more,” he says.
Once you find the right people to represent your brand, it’s important to cultivate those relationships to maximize your efforts. “People love exclusive opportunities,” Day says. “Ask them if they want to be a part of your ambassador network. Let them know that they were chosen or selected, and it’s a limited group of influential people.”
Keeping things organized is also imperative. Day suggests using an email group, Facebook group, or another option to organize your brand ambassadors in one place.
“Once organized, you have to figure out what you want your ambassadors to do,” Day says. “It comes down to cycles of identification, discovery, activation and rest.”
Unleashing your ambassadors
Brand ambassadors work in many ways. GrowIt! likes to use them for reviews and content generation.
“First, we asked our top ambassadors to leave us a review on the app store/play store,” Day says. “A lot of apps do this, especially free ones. For us, it’s easy to ask our hardcore fans first, and then those reviews are the first thing new users see when they go to download.”
A second way GrowIt! uses their ambassadors is by generating ambassador specific content and ambassador giveaways.
“We may think swag is overrated because we go to all sorts of trade shows, but from a consumer/ambassador standpoint, a t-shirt can go a long way, and it’s more promotion for you,” Day says. “Ambassador giveaways are next to gold.”
Identifying how and where your customers communicate — for example, social media, email or through texts — is important when identifying the right brand ambassadors for your business.
“Talk to your community to see where they want to talk to you,” Day says. “Not all people communicate on the same channels, and your ambassadors won’t either.”
Day warns that reaching out to, or “activating” your ambassadors too much can cause them to burn out. Most people will be willing to go out of their way to support your business occasionally, depending on what you’re asking of them.
Also, be careful to not fall in the trap of over-rewarding or paying your ambassadors. Ambassadors should be interested in helping you out because they love your brand, not because they expect some sort of payment or reward.
When it comes to ambassadors, it shouldn’t matter how much they spend with you, Day says. What matters is how many people they influence to try your products and services.