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It takes a lot of things coming together to make a company stand out from its competition. You’ve likely got employees, big plans, and something to sell. So, what else do you need? Brand ambassadors. Let us show you what a brand ambassador program is and why it’s so important for your company.
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What Is a Brand Ambassador?
Brand ambassadors are people that absolutely love your company. They might love your company’s products or services. It’s also possible that a brand ambassador focuses more on your company’s beliefs and contributions over what it sells. You can find brand ambassadors through your company’s employees, business partners, and customers.
Now, let’s learn how you can start making this a part of your marketing strategy.
Who Should Be Your Company’s Brand Ambassadors?
Before you launch your brand ambassador program, it’s good to know who you’re going to be interested in. It’s impossible to have a successful brand ambassador program without ambassadors! So, here are the four main ways to find the right brand ambassadors.
While it might not be the first group of people that pop into your heard, employees make great brand ambassadors. Why? For one, most employees should know a lot about the companies they work for.
Employee brand ambassadors also understand that their important roles help your company grow. When these employee advocates work for a company that continues growing, that isn’t a bad thing for anyone.
You might think that creating a brand ambassador program means finding new people to work with. Not true. Some of your company’s best brand ambassadors are its passionate existing customers. Plus, it never hurts to show loyal customers that your company thinks highly of them.
You’ll learn more about how to turn customer loyalty into more sales in step one of how to create a brand ambassador program section below.
If you haven’t heard of influencer marketing, don’t feel bad. This is a newer type of marketing that involves working with influencers? Who are influencers? They’re people with a lot of influence on the internet.
Whether they’re popular social media personalities or a YouTuber with millions of subscribers, partnering with influencers can be a good thing. Be warned, depending on the influencer’s reach, you could be spending quite a bit of money.
Another source of potential brand ambassadors are your company’s business partners. Just like you, there are many other business owners throughout the world. Each of these companies has their own, unique audiences.
See what I’m getting at?
By reaching out to companies your business partners with, you could start building brand awareness fast through these types of connections.
Why Do I Need a Brand Ambassador Program?
You learned about who can help you build brand awareness, now it’s time to learn why your business needs a brand ambassador program. Let’s take a quick look at why brand ambassadors can help your brand succeed.
Personal Connections Are the Best Connections
As a business leader, you have a lot of marketing channels to choose from. With that said, a brand ambassador campaign can help you create personal connections. Instead of paying a fortune for commercials and ads, your business has people personally recommending your business to others.
An Extra Source of Feedback
One of the best benefits of a brand ambassador program is one that might not initially cross your mind. A brand ambassador is a great source of feedback for your business. Not all brand ambassadors will care to share how to improve your company.
But, the smart ambassadors, the ones who success depends on your company doing well will give you the feedback you need. Whether it’s positive or negative, use each piece of feedback to your company’s advantage.
Maybe there’s a part of your company’s marketing efforts that could use improving. If you find brand ambassadors that will freely share this information, keep them close and treat them well!
Gaining User-Generated Content
One of the best things for any company to have is user-generated content. This can be words, pictures, and videos that a company’s customers generate. Your business doesn’t have to lift a finger!
Ambassadors programs provide this exact type of content! No need to find and connect with a marketing company. With the right ambassador program, you can get all the user-generated content your business needs!
Brand Ambassador Programs Are Cost-Effective
In the marketing world, there are many ways to advertise your business. Whether you’re just starting out or on a tight budget (or both), you don’t want to spend a fortune on marketing channels that don’t work.
With a solid brand ambassador program, you won’t have to worry about spending too much money. That’s because ambassador programs are cost-effective. In most cases, you’ll be giving out discount codes and other low-cost incentives.
Since most brand ambassadors are such fans of your business, discount codes and coupons will be great to entice them. With that said, these rewards won’t work for all brand ambassadors.
How to Create a Brand Ambassador Program
Now that you understand who brand ambassadors are, it’s time to learn about how you can start creating a program to win more of them over. Here’s everything you need to start a brand ambassador program.
Step 1: Setting Up a Good Brand Ambassador Program
Before you get too far into ambassador marketing, you’ll need to set it up. After all, there’s no reason to put a ton of time and energy into a successful brand ambassador program if you don’t know want you’re getting from it.
So, first it’s good to set some goals or key performance indicators. One way that companies track key brand messaging is through social media hashtags. These won’t be any hashtags. Instead, make them branded hashtags. Without these kind of unique hashtags, it’s going to be hard to track how they’re performing.
Maybe you rate a successful brand ambassador program based on how many sales it brings in. Whatever your goal or goals are, make sure you’re tracking them.
It’s also important to set criteria about what your affiliate brand ambassadors can and can’t do. A successful brand ambassador program needs to be specific of what is and isn’t allowed. The more work you put into these guidelines and rules, the less time you’ll have to explain yourself later on.
Step 2: Setting Up Goals
Setting up your own brand ambassador program will cost money and time. I don’t say this to worry you. Instead, I’m telling you this information because I want to drive home the importance of setting brand ambassador goals.
When ambassador programs have clear goals, companies can measure how well it’s working. The goals of this type of program can vary from business to business. Some companies launch brand ambassador programs to turn non-engaged people into loyal customers. Other companies might work with celebrity brand ambassadors to sell more products.
Step 3: Setting Criteria for Your Ambassadors
Before rewarding or even accepting brand advocates, you need criteria for potential ambassadors. There are many ways you can carve out a relevant audience of people to promote your brand.
The first thing to think about regarding brand advocates is whether you want quality or quantity. Some companies will accept almost anyone into their engaged community. Other businesses are so selective about who can promote their brand that it makes me want to throw up in my mouth.
When it comes to deciding who will be loyal advocates, your company can establish criteria by using these methods.
History of Engagement
As you create a potential of network of people to influence purchasing decisions, it’s good to know these people have a history of engaging with your company. This type of engagement doesn’t have to come from prior purchases. Valid ambassador communication also comes in the form of comments, social media shares, and similar actions.
Previous Purchases From Your Company
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend discounting someone’s ability as an individual ambassador based on how much money they’ve spent with your company. You might think I’m crazy, but that’s just my personal belief. I wouldn’t miss out on someone who can create ambassador content because they’re broke. You shouldn’t either.
One of the most crucial things to think about before forming an ambassador relationship with someone is their online following. If you’re paying someone on a per-lead or per-purchase basis, online followings won’t be such a major concern. Should your company pay in advance for a brand ambassadorship, spending money on someone with a low online following isn’t going to boost sales.
It’s also important to ensure that any influencer marketing candidate has a large following on the social media channels your company wants to market on. For instance, let’s say that you wanted to reach people through social media posts on TikTok. Hiring someone who has built a personal brand on LinkedIn might not be the right fight.
Step 4: Finding Brand Ambassadors
At this point, you should have an idea of qualities your ambassadors need. So, where do you go to start finding these ambassadors?
Using Social Media
To start, we recommend doing a search for your company on social media. As you begin this search, look for anyone that’s mentioning your company in a positive manner. I recommend using hashtags and searches for your company to achieve this goal.
Next, take a look at their profiles. Having brand ambassadors is great, but you don’t want to indirectly promote someone whose values don’t align with your company’s.
Now your company can start connecting with them. You can do this by visiting their page and engaging with them. Or, if you feel like it, direct messaging this person is another option.
Finding Brand Ambassador Candidates With a Program
Don’t want to find a social media brand ambassador? That’s cool, you can instead use a program or service to start finding brand ambassadors. Instead of manually searching social media platforms, brand mention tools can bring the ambassadors to your business.
If you have some wiggle room in your budget, consider purchasing a tool to help automate the tracking of brand mentions. Instead, give a tool all the details and focus on other aspects of your business.
Step 5: Keeping Your Brand Ambassadors Engaged
After you start a brand ambassador program, it’s imperative to keep them engaged. A successful ambassador program should incentivize and reward top performing ambassadors. You can encourage ambassadors by rewarding them with a contest.
Many companies like to use money to reward top-performing ambassadors. Don’t have a lot of money to spare? Consider hooking up only a handful of your best ambassadors with a free product.
Step 6: Tracking Your Results
The key to a successful program is tracking your results. A few signs you might look for is an increase in sales, more website visits, or certain hashtags getting more popular. Wherever your brand ambassadors are trying to reach your target audience, make sure you’re tracking how each piece of content performs.
Bonus Tips to Create the Best Brand Ambassadors
Understandably, every company wants to have the perfect brand ambassador. While I can’t guarantee that will happen, you can do your part to create ideal brand ambassadors by following the tips below.
Make Your Business Easy to Reach
Even an ideal brand ambassador will need help from time to time. Whether one or many brand ambassadors need to reach out to you, make it easy. You can do this by ensuring your website’s contact information is readily available.
Don’t Try to Control Every Aspect of What Ambassadors Post
As the time draws near for an ambassador to post about your business, it’s understandable to want to have a strict level of control over what they say. However, this often scares away those who want to promote your brand in their own way. Of course, if someone is doing something that’s obviously going to cause problems, that’s another story.
Reward Those in Your Brand Ambassador Program
Another important aspect of any brand ambassador program is how your company treats its ambassadors. After all, they’re bringing referrals to your business. Fortunately, there are a few ways your company can achieve this goal.
One way to reward ambassadors is by giving them discounted or free products. This is also a great way to get a little extra promotion. Most influencers or ambassadors who receive products from your company are likely to share how cool this is with their audiences. Also, people love brand ambassadors that give free stuff.
There’s a million ways your company can go with this process. If you don’t want to give away anything, you can always shout them out or set up a type of affiliate payment system. With this system, you pay your ambassadors for new customers they send your way.
Successful Brand Ambassador Program Examples to Learn From
If you’re like me, having examples of marketing concepts sometimes make them easier to understand. With that in mind, it’s time to learn how some of the biggest companies in the world create brand ambassador program examples.
Red Bull Invokes a High-Energy Lifestyle
Unfortunately, some companies make a lot of big promises about their brands and fail to deliver on them. Red Bull doesn’t have this problem. Since the beginning of this company, it knew what it’s main product was made to give someone energy.
Taking this concept and running with it, Red Bull began sponsoring all types of extreme sport events throughout the world. Soon, this company would start its own film company that would make enter films around these sporting events.
Microsoft’s MVP Program
Another great brand ambassador program example began when Microsoft started its MVP program. Standing for Most Valuable Professional, Microsoft’s MVP program began on Usenet forums. Now, the MVP system is one of the greatest brand ambassador program examples out there.
So, how do you join and become an MVP? The answer is to be passionate about Microsoft’s products and services, sharing your knowledge by helping out others online.
This might sound simple enough, but Microsoft is extremely selective about who can receive MVP-level recognition. However, it’s worth putting in the time and effort to get into this program. It’s one of the best brand ambassador programs of all-time.
Many people want to become an MVP because Microsoft leads a brand ambassador program that gives free stuff to its members.
After you join Microsoft’s brand ambassador program, you get free access to Visual Studio Enterprise, Office 365, Xamarin University, and a lot of awesome third-party offers.
Harley-Davidson’s Brand Ambassador Program
When looking at companies with brand ambassador programs, we have to mention Harley-Davidson. If you don’t know much about this company, Harley-Davidson is a motorcycle manufacturer.
While I wouldn’t consider myself a motorcycle expert, researching this article led me to find that this company certainly doesn’t sell the least expensive motorcycles.
So, why is this company such a big deal in the motorcycle industry? Because Harley-Davidson knows how to build a loyal army of brand ambassadors.
One way that Harley-Davidson rewards its fans is through the Harley Owners Group (abbreviated as H.O.G.). The Harley Owners Group is a great example of brand ambassador programs that give free stuff.
For instance, members of the Harley Owners Group get a free:
- Membership card
- Admission to the Harley-Davidson Museum
- Entries into sweepstakes for even more free Harley gear
Harley-Davidson also uses the powerful principle of having a company share values with its customers. Whether looking at a print ad or watching a Harley-Davidson commercial, it doesn’t take long to see that this brand is all about freedom and being proud of who you are.
With the Harley Owners Group, people worldwide can share their love of Harley-Davidson through meetups and other types of events.
To summarize, brand ambassador programs work well for companies from any industry. This includes everything from law firms to real estate agents. If you need a way to get the word out about your company, start a brand ambassador program.
Alex Eagleton is a copywriter and digital marketer passionate about helping companies connect with customers. Throughout the past decade, he’s worked with companies including Referral Rock, Connecteam, and Ramsey Solutions. He’s a versatile writer who understands how to align with companies, truly matching their voices and tones.
When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending time with his dogs, reading, and playing guitar.
You can reach him by emailing email@example.com.