In 1984, a new concept was introduced by Jay Conrad called guerilla marketing. This technique included street marketing tactics, which means any kind of marketing or promotion activity that is done on the streets. Street marketing has been used by many brands in the past and continues to be used by new brands that believe in handing out flyers to random people on the streets for getting the word out about an event or new product launch. Recently, some authors have started using street marketing to promote their books.
When the concept of street marketing is taken to the digital world, brand ambassadors and ambassador programs are created.
Who is a Brand Ambassador?
A brand ambassador is a customer or client who is very fond of your products or services and voluntarily tells everyone about them. This is beyond taking part in a referral program or writing a single product review. Brand ambassadors use online sources to broadcast their positive reviews about the products they promote and send private messages about your brand to others in their network. This might sound similar to an affiliate program, but the focus here is slightly different. When a business hires or approaches a brand ambassador to promote its products and services, it is running a brand ambassador program.
What is a Brand Ambassador Program?
A brand ambassador program is a marketing campaign whereby an ambassador or influencer, or even an entire marketing agency, serves as a brand advocate or cheerleader for a company and its products.
To start a brand ambassador program is to drive more sales and enhance the brand equity of a company. It also helps in building public relations and doing outreach for new products.
Ambassador programs conduct many different activities. Some film video tutorials about technical products, while others have photoshoots and post product photos on social media sites like Instagram. As long as the ambassador really prefers your brand and uses your products, a brand ambassador program is bound to bring in more customers for you.
Image taken from Strikingly user’s website
Benefits of a Brand Ambassador Program
Ambassador programs help build the face of a brand or company culture. The main objective of ambassador programs is to spread a brand’s marketing messages to its target audience with the help of the ambassador’s social media following or other forms of credibility.
Around 90% of customers trust the words and recommendations from people whom they know and admire. Therefore, running an effective brand ambassador program can be an advantageous marketing strategy for your business. Following are some specific benefits of ambassador programs.
If you are thinking of running a brand ambassador program, you most likely already have an overall marketing strategy in place. You must be conducting other outreach activities as well to reach out to new audiences. The focus of ambassador programs is different. Instead of reaching out to new audiences, these programs build brand retention and brand loyalty. This means they keep your existing customers closer to your business so that they keep making repeat purchases. This causes an increase in your average customer lifetime value.
2. Long-Lasting Results
For any business to sustain itself, it is important that it builds long-term relationships with its customers and takes actions that bring about long-lasting results. A brand ambassador program typically lasts from 6 to 12 months, and its impact lasts even longer. This long-lasting nature of ambassador programs allows for gradual and organic growth in customer loyalty and customer base. It also helps in building your brand’s social media presence.
Image taken on Strikingly user’s website
3. Influencer Gifting
Although ambassador programs are similar to influencer marketing, the approach is a bit different. Influencer marketing solely relies on shout-outs to followers and sponsored social media advertisements. That’s why using influencers can sometimes become costly, especially for small businesses. On the other hand, a brand ambassador program can run on merely giving gifts and recognition to the ambassador in exchange for their promotion activities. Thus, it prevents financial burden on the company and strengthens the love and loyalty of the ambassador towards the brand. The most valuable part of a brand ambassador program is the sincere use of your product or service, which sets it apart from any other form of digital or non-digital marketing strategy.
4. Open to All
The beauty of ambassador programs is that they are open to all. They are targeted towards customers from all walks of life. Brand ambassadors can come from a diverse pool of societies and promote your brand to different communities. Not all influencers are popular on all social media platforms. Other people build a following on different platforms. When you use multiple brand ambassadors, you will reach users of different social media sites.
5. Builds a Community
Another benefit of a brand ambassador program is that it helps you build an online community. Having a brand community is essential to get your customers engaged with your brand at all times.
For example, Strikingly, a growing website building platform has an online community called the Idea Forum, where all its users share ideas and opinions and make queries about web development. They also give their feedback on using the tools and features of Strikingly. This community keeps our users reminded about our services and encourages them to keep coming back to us for upgrades, renewals, and any technical issues they want to resolve.
Image taken from Strikingly
Risks of a Brand Ambassador Program
Despite all their benefits, ambassador programs come with certain risks as well.
1. Images Change
Ambassadors, like all other human beings, can make mistakes. If the one who is endorsing your brand name mistakenly says something wrong about your product, it can spoil your brand image.
2. Celebrity Fame Can Overshadow Brand Endorsement
If your brand ambassador is a big celebrity, their fame might overshadow the brand or products they promote. This means, despite your expectations, you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits of your brand ambassador program.
3. Ambassadors or Celebrities Can Get Overexposed
If an ambassador works on endorsing too many brands, the audience might start picking on their self-interest and be less inspired by the marketing messages they send out. If this happens, your brand ambassador program will be less effective.
How to Launch a Brand Ambassador Program?
To create a successful brand ambassador program, you need to follow these steps.
1. Structure Your Program Carefully
Your program needs to be appropriately structured and carefully designed. A well-structured brand ambassador program gives clear guidelines to the ambassador on how to build your brand awareness.
You would also need to decide whether you want your program to be exclusive or inclusive. An exclusive program would make the ambassador feel special, giving you a tighter grip on your campaign. But an inclusive program helps you spread your marketing messages faster and to a broader audience.
2. Establish Program Goals From The Get-Go
The core mission of your brand ambassador program must be determined before the program actually begins. Convey to the ambassador why they will be promoting your brand and how. If your goal is to reach a younger audience, your ambassador must know that. If your goal is to penetrate a new market, the ambassador must be aware of that again. Make your mission clear to your brand ambassador.
3. Find The Most Vocal Supporters
Suppose you have already had some dedicated followers shout-out your products on social media platforms. In that case, you probably know that the more vocal your ambassador is, the more effective your brand ambassador program will be. Therefore, it is recommended to find the most vocal supporters of your brand in your community for this job.
If you use a combination of ambassadors from diversified backgrounds, give the more vocal ones more incentives to promote your brand even more. Active, outspoken, and bold people are the most suitable for a brand ambassador program.
How a Strikingly Website Helps in Running a Brand Ambassador Program
The best thing about building a website on Strikingly is that it is simple to make and yet gets you a completely professional and beautiful website. You don’t need a web developer to create a website on our platform. You can simply do it yourself. Use one of our ready-made templates as your web design, and get started with filling it up with your website content. Our drag and drop feature will allow you to place your content items anywhere you want on your web pages.
Image taken from Strikingly
Our customer support team is available through our live chat feature to help you with any technical matters. When your website is free from errors, you will have more time to focus on any other marketing activities that you want to conduct for your business, including running a brand ambassador program.
Your ambassadors can share your website URL with all their followers, where your audience can get more detailed information about your products and services. They can also get in touch with you through your website to get more personalized information. Creating a contact form on a Strikingly website is relatively easy. You can do that by adding a new section called ‘Contact Form’ and doing the ready-made form template settings.
Ambassador programs will be more effective if your audience sees that you have a good-looking, professionally-built, and easy-to-navigate website for your brand. Do not shy away from showcasing your capabilities and business to all those you want to sell your products and services.
You can begin with creating a free account on Strikingly. Most of the features needed to build a basic website are available in our free plan, which is necessary to attract more customers to your business.