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Influencer marketing is an everyday term at this point. The abundance of influencers on every platform makes integrated advertising almost impossible to avoid. But what about brand ambassador marketing? What’s the difference between a brand ambassador and an influencer? Why does it matter?
What is brand ambassador marketing? Who are brand ambassadors?
A brand ambassador is someone who works for a company or organization to represent their brand in a positive way for the purpose of promoting their product and/or service, which in turn boosts sales and results in the growth of brand awareness. In essence, it’s much easier for a company to hire a brand ambassador to use their social media platforms and social skills to market their product than for a brand to go door to door recruiting customers.
People who become brand ambassadors are usually people who have found brands they’re compatible with and have created online personalities sufficient enough to build engagement. Brand ambassador marketing is a strategy used by brands to collaborate with people who are already fans of theirs and therefore are equipped to act as ambassadors for the brand. Brand ambassador marketing is similar to influencer marketing in that it helps foster an authentic relationship between the brand and its consumers. To be more clear, consumers tend to be more trusting of brand ambassador marketing over paid ads because ambassadors are actual people talking to them.
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Different collaborations give different results. Read about other ways in which brands increase brand awareness here.
Influencers vs brand ambassadors
Are they the same? Hint: not necessarily. So why are companies using more brand ambassadors?
You’d think the answer is yes. I mean, they sound like the same thing. However, while influencers and brand ambassadors are a great way for brands to attract new customers and increase brand awareness, influencers differ greatly from brand ambassadors. Before explaining the differences, it is important to understand what an influencer is. An influencer is someone with a serious reputation, usually as a social media influencer or as a blogger who authentically shows their followers how they use a brand’s product and/or service on their own social media platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok.
On the other hand, brand ambassadors are not explicitly telling their audience to buy something the way influencers do. Rather, brand ambassadors create content on social media and use their personal experiences with the brand to market something without pushing products or opinions onto their followers. For these reasons, people tend to respond better to brand ambassadors than to influencers because they have a more compelling reason to trust what they are saying.
Another key difference is that while influencers are always expected to be paid in the form of money, free products for them, or discounts, brand ambassadors simply create content for brands they love free of charge and don’t usually expect an incentive for their work. Companies are using more brand ambassadors for brand ambassador marketing over influencers, not only because they are more cost-effective, but also because they breed more authenticity.
Avoiding mistakes in your campaign comes from research. Read more about the ins and outs of marketing via creators here.
Brand ambassadors voluntarily, without the security of compensation, choose to promote a product/service with or without compensation. It’s easier for an audience to trust the word of a person over an intimidating corporation. Essentially, brand ambassador marketing helps humanize a brand and make the brand more approachable.
2. Boost brand awareness
This connects to the human touch of having brand ambassadors linked to companies. If an audience trusts your company, the more likely they are to say good things about it and basically promote your brand without even realizing it.
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3. Widen target market
Considering the aforementioned, brand ambassadors increase brand awareness and with more brand awareness comes the expansion of the brand’s original target market. The more people know about the company in a positive light, the more likely they are to participate in it.
1. Harder to control
Brands only have so much control over what the brand ambassadors say on their social media, especially because they are not paying them. There comes a point when brands can only ask for so much considering that brand ambassadors are creating content out of the kindest of their hearts and their faith in the brand the majority of the time.
2. Overshadowing the brand
Consumers may focus on the brand ambassador rather than the actual brand or the product/service they are selling. This can become particularly dangerous if brand ambassadors promote other brands while promoting yours because your brand could fall susceptible to being confused for other brands.
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How can brands find brand ambassadors?
Brand ambassadors can be either customers, employees, or business stakeholders. At the end of the day, they should be someone that has a close relationship with the brand and an authentic liking for the brand. Some ways to find brand ambassadors are to send your email list information about your ambassador program, to hold events that allow you to see who is interested in interacting with your brand, recruiting potential ambassadors via social media either through posts or DMs, or looking through your own data to see who from your followers engages or buys from the brand the most. Once you find the people that have a genuine connection with your brand, the rest will be history.