Is a Brand Ambassador Program Right for your Business?
May 15, 2013 | By Nikki Fotheringham
Nothing is as valuable as a recommendation from a trusted friend. There is no marketing campaign, humorous ad or catchy slogan that can take the place of real experience. An brand ambassador program serves to create authentic experiences that users share with their friends, family and social networks and is an invaluable cog in a comprehensive marketing plan.
Ambassador programs are especially important for online stores that don’t occupy a physical space. When you can’t touch it, feel the fabric and kick the tires, you are less likely to buy. There’s also the trust issue because we’ve all had disappointing internet purchases. An ambassador program circumnavigates all these issues by providing customers with products to try out. By giving people your products you show your trust in their quality and your belief that they are so good, that your ambassadors will all become raving fans.
“The program allows us to thank and reward our fans, and to give them all the tools and information they need to represent us. It allows us to stay in touch with our clientele and gets people talking about FIG. When it comes to fashion, having ambassadors is great: they can recommend items to their friends, help them decide on what to wear and tell people about our vision, our values and corporate responsibility,” says Caroline Orban De Xivry from FIG clothing.
Small investment HUGE return!
For the relatively minor cost of a couple of products, you are sending forth your ambassador consumers to spread the word. What you get is a fantastic return on your marketing investment. “We are a small company and getting the word out, especially across Canada, isn’t always an easy (or affordable) task. Our ambassadors are super creative and extremely motivated. It helps to know that we have friends all over the country, that love the brand, and that are happy to talk about it with their friends, family and colleagues. We have amazing ambassadors!” says Caroline.
“We had a challenge of physical space where people can come and touch our clothing. With ambassadors, people can see the clothing, touch it and it’s a great way for us to overcome the hurdle of the physical space issue. There’s a ripple effect where people tell our story of environmentally-friendly fabrics, how our products are made in Canada and how the company is run by women. So its women supporting women. Some of them have even thrown Tupperware-style parties to show off our products and encourage orders,” says Alison Laidlaw of Chick’d Athletic Apparel.
Advice for Beginners
An brand ambassador program takes work and planning to be effective. Set out a marketing plan for your ambassadors, establish criteria for ambassador selection and outline clearly what you want from your ambassadors. Once you have your ambassadors selected, it’s not time to sit back and let them do your marketing for you; you have to stay in constant communication, share their contributions and let them know of upcoming opportunities to attend events or engage with the media.
“We ensure that our ambassadors have a strong social media presence so that they are always posting and active they have a large circle of followers. Pick ambassadors that share values and lifestyles that match your product” says Alison.
Brand ambassadors are a great way to engage your consumers. You’re giving something back to your community and getting so much in return. Ambassador programs take work and diligence, but they are one of the best marketing tools available, especially for companies that don’t occupy a retail space.