Word-of-mouth is likely to be a key influencer for consumers when making purchasing decisions, hence the growing importance of brand ambassadors. They can play a vital role in promoting your company to a wider audience and help you develop a positive public image.
The term ‘brand ambassador’ refers to a public figure or well-known person who is associated with and endorses your company and products or services, either through advertising and marketing, or via word of mouth. However the best brand ambassadors can often be consumers with a positive experience with your company.
Build your online reputation
Building your reputation online can take time, and it’s not something which can be done single-handedly. It’s a collaborative effort consisting of your whole team, and that includes company employees, as well as customers, acting as brand ambassadors.
Of course, some people are better than others at championing your brand. By creating a brand ambassador programme 1, you can communicate your brand’s vision to staff and in turn widen your company’s presence among target consumers. A brand leader with an equally passionate team – given its own budget internally – is a great way to help your company manage its reputation proactively.
Ambassadors will influence your brand’s presence online. Recommendation via word-of-mouth is important, but you need to target as wide an audience as possible. Someone who has a large social media following and already appeals to your wider target market is a prerequisite. They should also have a grasp of the key marketing principles to drive high-quality referrals.
Professionalism and leadership are also key skills for a brand ambassador, who should exude positivity and enthusiasm about your brand. Willingness and passion are the best way of growing engagement and brand presence, helping to establish a relationship between company and consumer.
It’s also not just a case of gaining new customers, but also ensuring existing customers remain loyal to your brand. Ambassadors have the job to gather feedback and gain insight into what your target market is looking for and how you can deliver the right service.
How big brands use ambassadors
Earlier this month, Mercedes-Benz announced German international footballer Mesut Özil as their new brand ambassador. With an already established global presence, his 50 million social media followers will help Mercedes to tap into new markets.
Sports index platform Brandtix2 claim the Arsenal player is the most valuable player for sponsorship in the Premier League, and that – coupled with his credibility from minimal previous sponsorship deals – makes him a prime candidate for a multinational premium brand such as Mercedes.
Cristiano Ronaldo has the highest social media following for a sports personality, and recently signed with Chinese telecommunications company ZTE. But his effect is slightly different to Özil’s, who brings more credibility to the brand of Mercedes-Benz and has a better chance of increasing the brand reach online.
Turning your customers into brand representatives
Every brand needs ambassadors, but not every company can afford to pay a Premier League footballer. Happy customers may also act as unofficial brand representatives. Here are the ‘three E’s’ which will help your brand connect with consumers and increase their chances of talking up your brand to their friends, family and the wider public.
- Engagement – By communicating directly with consumers online, your client will feel a connection – that’s the first step for brand commitment. Exceed expectations wherever possible and look to maximise the opportunities of customer engagement.
- Enamour – According to Forbes, a high level of commitment to making consumers feel valued online will lessen consumers’ sensitivity towards price and encourage brand loyalty further. A consistent brand promise and emotional connection will give consumers a commitment to your brand. Loyalty programs and incentives can also be very helpful to tap into a wider market.
- Enthusiasm – This is contagious and can grow your reach exponentially. If people are enthusiastic about your brand, it goes way beyond the tangible offering and the value-added features. Potential customers are more likely to trust a happy customer talking about a product/service than the brand itself.
Importance of ambassadors
Ambassadors help a brand manage and improve its presence and increase online reach. By setting goals and expectations moving forwards, your company can monitor the effects an ambassador has on your brand and enable it to make better business decisions in the future. Brand ambassadors can often give a sense of differentiation from competitors, whilst also encouraging brand loyalty and widening the appeal of your brand among your consumer base.