By Andrew Hulme, Account Director
Never underestimate the power of recommendations. Fundamentally, people like to believe in people and will be mindful of genuine endorsements. As a brand, if someone authentically loves your products or services, it will definitely be advantageous to use their positive reviews as a marketing tool. In fact, 92% of individuals trust word-of-mouth recommendations, making it one of the most trust-rich forms of advertising. These peer-to-peer recommendations will resonate with your audience far better than any direct messages from the brand.
An ambassador for your brand can work as a long-term commitment, which is a great asset for many marketing functions. A recognisable and trusted voice is important to add credibility and even transparency to your brand – especially if the ambassador is completely honest about their relationship with your brand. And an ambassador can be anyone: an employee, a customer, a partner, a social media influencer… The list goes on. The main criteria is that they’re experts at promoting your brand via word of mouth or online content.
With the world still adapting to a global pandemic and the impact it’s having across all business sectors, now more than ever, brands should be evaluating the channels and partnerships that work best to deliver on their KPIs, and also exploring new opportunities which can be capitalised on. Identifying these marketing outputs takes time, but will be crucial in moving your business forward, post lockdown.
From our experience, during times of turmoil, customers look for stability and reassurance – which is why we believe brand ambassador programmes will become more and more popular over the next few months. If your brand has been weighing up the benefits of using ambassadors but isn’t quite sure how to start and maintain a steady relationship with them, we’ve provided some great tips to get you started below!
1. Know what you want from an ambassador
Whilst your ambassador doesn’t need a degree in marketing, it’s important you provide them with a solid understanding of your brand’s ethos and principles, and the desired outcomes for your campaign. Set this out in your initial conversations and ensure it’s in writing to protect both parties. The best ambassadors appreciate the importance of authenticity and will effectively use their knowledge and charisma, as well as their digital marketing and social media channels to deliver on your KPIs.
2. Understand their goals too – it should be a shared partnership
For many ambassadors, their channels are a reflection of their personal brand, so they’ll only work with companies who reflect their values and beliefs. They may also view the ambassadorship as a career enhancing step. Before approaching an ambassador about a campaign, make sure you have a thorough understanding of their knowledge, environment, usual content, and how your campaign would amplify their engagement and be beneficial to their followers.
3. Draft a plan that works for both parties
As with all business partnerships, it’s crucial to have a legal contract in place to safeguard both your company and the ambassador. A contract should set out all parameters of the campaign, from timings to specific phrasing to be used. Once this is all in place, you can then progress with a plan – and this is the fun part! Be creative with your ideas and allow your chosen ambassador to vocalise their concepts too. Working together to immerse ambassadors in your brand will only build their advocacy, which will likely enable stronger results for both parties and great content for your intended audience.
4. Build real relationships with your ambassadors and keep them at the forefront of your brand
Whilst every campaign you develop as a brand may not require ambassador support, it’s important to keep any ambassadors you work with regularly, updated of any changes. If you create a long-term partnership with them, and frequently update them on important news or developments, they’ll always be on the front foot for any external questions and can represent your brand with authority and confidence throughout their wider work. Building lasting relationships with ambassadors also increases their commitment to the brand and reduces the likelihood they’ll work with a competitor.
5. Evaluate your success together
Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Objectives (ROO) for brand ambassadors is dependent upon accurately defining key metrics and then tracking the stats over time. The more data you have on your side, the better your future campaigns will be. Knowing what’s working and what’s not working shouldn’t be a guessing game, so take the time to measure different metrics, so you can clearly and accurately identify the success of your programme. Brand reach, inbound traffic, engagement rates, knowledge levels, and revenue growth are all measurements you could opt to track with your ambassador programme – and of course used to evolve it in the future.
Hopefully these tips are helpful and will go towards establishing a fully-fledged programme for your brand, and if you feel you need more support and assistance, then speak to one of our experts. We’ve been working on successful ambassador programmes since FMI started and would love to talk about the benefits a programme could bring to your brand. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org