Over the past few years, methods of reaching the target audience have changed significantly. While the marketers would probably prefer to hold to the times when TV commercials were most effective, the majority of people are getting used to new channels of promotion quite smoothly.
What was considered cutting-edge in the last years, doesn’t work anymore. The days of one direction communication are over. What’s become the latest trend in communication? Brand Ambassadors.
And by saying brand ambassadors, we not necessarily have big names in mind. Ok, they are Brand Ambassadors as well, but we want to focus on an individual who is not an Oscar-winning actor, but still has a significant impact on brand’s image. Let’s start from the beginning. People trust Brand Ambassadors. Companies (should) love them.
Who is a Brand Ambassador?
We can define two types of Brand Ambassadors (aka Brand Advocates). The first kind makes famous and recognizable people hired by companies, where all the effort and input of such people is paid.
Such cooperation is planned step by step, strictly scheduled and forecasted. In that case, a brand ambassador is expected to be a very well-known individual to either masses or with particular lines of business.
Nowadays, brands are focused on bloggers (and YouTubers, Instagrammers) as very often they achieve similar marketing results as the „big names”. They offer space on their blogs, YT and Social Media channels, which turns out to be quite useful.
The second types of Brand Ambassadors are people who mention or recommend your brand freely. Sure, big names can do the same job, but not in the same way; the most significant difference between is that the former often do it all for free or on a non-cash exchange basis.
All they really get is satisfaction from being engaged in the brand. A Long-term relationship with the customer, free extras from the company or excellent customer service can be great incentives.
There are many ways to turn a regular customer into a Brand Ambassador. In return, he may become loyal (and write about you once or twice) or extremely loyal (and then they can call you their hero!). So, are they really that significant? Let’s take a closer look into it.
Why are Brand Ambassadors so Important
Let’s go back to the beginning of this article for a moment. Brand promotion and image building can now be, at the same time, the hardest and the simplest than it ever was before.
How is that possible? Here’s the answer. The most difficult thing to overcome in TV advertisement is the fact that it became boring and predictable to the viewer.
Their first reaction, most often, is changing the channel as soon as they hear commercial break coming. The result is wasted time, money and resources.
What is more, brands that present only their positive aspects are not considered to be reliable (but it is hard to imagine that they would say much of the negative).
According to the survey below, the greatest effectiveness, 78%, is achieved through recommendations. Here is the power of a Brand Ambassadors.
If the audience realizes that the person promoting the brand is not being paid to do that, it is more likely, they will follow the advice. Work great. But remember. Acquisition of loyal brand ambassadors may be tough. It’s some „an award” for the magnificent and hard job.
Now take a look at the „simplest part” of building an image. We live at times when the Internet is creating tremendous opportunities for all marketers.
We can make some buzz and (being lucky) hit the nail. With just a small budget, we can reach thousands of people and show them how cool we are. We have websites, social media fan pages, and profiles, where they will first go to check us out.
We don’t need tons of gold to be shown in good light. Also, out there, in the virtual world, our Brand Ambassadors live and express their impressions – credits, satisfaction, gratitude, encouraging to try and benefit from using product X.
They have an immense credibility as their opinions are perceived as being objective. People have no contraindications to follow those tips. Especially, if it is the first opinion on the brand, we’re looking for on the Internet.
Brand Ambassadors are not only the ones that make people eager to try a particular device. They build an image of your brand in micro- or (if a Brand Ambassador is an influencer – lucky you!) macro scale. How likely is it that an audience would believe a producer’s advertisement and not a real person who recommends it voluntarily?
How to Find and Deal with Brand Ambassadors
We appreciate verbal and phone recommendation. Although, as noted, Brand Ambassadors are most active on the web. You can find them on fora, in posts, articles, blogs, comments.
We have many fantastic tools that help us find people who will mention our brand. One of the best there available is Brand24. It’s a social media monitoring tool that is just beautifully easy to use. It gathers automatically all the data regarding your chosen keywords being used or mentioned and collects into clear reports. Want to be always up-to-date with all information that refers to your brand? It’s never been easier.
Anytime anybody types something about your brand, product or service, Brand24 will let you know about it. Also, this tool shows you most interactive mentions and most popular authors so you can engage them quickly. It’s extremely important being there first.
Ok, so what can we do when we find an engaged user who chooses to recommend us? Thank them and thank them fast. You get extra points for two things: reacting swiftly and appreciating the efforts. By showing your interest, you communicate that you are aware of what your clients say about us and that the feedback is appreciated.
This is the first step. What will be the next one, it’s up to you. Depending on the size and type of recommendation you have a full choice of what to do further. Send them a gift. It doesn’t have to be a new car. A funny cup, a set of office tools, a free monthly access to an account in your application, a calendar.
Remember, whatever it is – it must be high quality and related to your company. Having a lot of Brand Ambassadors? That’s great! You don’t have to pretend you’re Santa Claus. Mention them in social media, leave a ‘thank you, Ann!’ below the comment. You need to estimate the scale and nurture them as you feel. And You should always take your Brand Ambassadors seriously.
Nowadays, Brand Ambassadors mean the world to brands. As they put thousands of dollars on campaigns, agencies, and space/time, people who recommend them for free are a treasure of gold.
Fortunately, they are way easier to find than the precious metal. It is necessary to keep an eye on Brand Advocates, be thankful, appreciate, stay in touch, ask what more can be done and never underestimate the power of Brand Ambassadors.
Neglecting them is a sin against your brand reputation. Be as good as Your audience is convincing that you are.
And what about you? Do you leverage brand ambassadors in your strategy? Perhaps you have some clever tricks how to deal with them. Let us know in the comments below.