When And How to Choose a Brand Ambassador or an Influencer
A brand ambassador is like an influencer, right? Wrong.
Yesterday, a close friend of mine asked me to help him write a few articles on/for a vlog he has been running for a while now — you can catch it here. One of the videos deeply talked about influencers and brand ambassadors and it got me thinking, why not delve a little deeper.
Quite honestly, times have really changed and that change was catalyzed by the novel Coronavirus that paralyzed many businesses and changed the way we market, make sales or even create awareness for our brands.
It is true. Many brands have still failed to differentiate between brand ambassadors and influencers and this in the long run has cost them a lot. It is important to note that although the two seem synonymous, they are totally different.
According to uncle Google, an influencer is someone who has influence over the opinions of a given market or industry. Whereas a brand ambassador represents a company and can speak to media outlets on behalf of the brand.
A little insight from the vlog I watched yesterday is the fact that influencers are often used in the short run while brand ambassadors are often used in the long run.
The word Brand Ambassador has evolved in recent years. In the past, it used to mean that someone would ‘spread the word’ about a brand or product. With the birth of social media and the internet, this has changed. A Brand Ambassador now has responsibilities such as; publically promoting a brand, creating content for social media platforms and conducting social media research.
When it comes to choosing an influencer or a brand ambassador, it goes down to the goals of your campaign. Sadly, but true, this is the main basis on which a brand can correctly choose who to hire at the opportune time.
If you want a broader reach then influencers are better suited since they have tons of followers on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. It is important to note that an influencer could be a person that has never even used your product. Therefore the need for brand loyalty is quite not very much necessary although for the sake of professionalism, it could come in handy especially in the case of smaller economies or developing countries as there are not many brands waiting to hire. An example is: a cosmetics company might ask a makeup artist to share and review their products in a video
If you want to build customer loyalty or brand equity, then maybe brand ambassadors are the better route — who may have a smaller following online but can represent your company in person, as we all know people trust friends more than celebrities!
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that a brand ambassador should be a celebrity and they don’t always have a gargantuan network of social media followers. But, they are often authorities in their field — and the field your brand serves. — that myth should be put to rest. A brand ambassador however can be a customer, partner that has been using your product and knows all there is to know about your brand — a dentist makes a credible brand ambassador for mouthwash.
Building a brand ambassador program or influencer program is an effective way to acquire and retain new customers. After all, people trust recommendations from their network far more than traditional ads.
For many brands/companies that have still failed to master this, it is important to hire an expert to help you in choosing the best person to hire according to your goals. Agencies are a good place to start looking.
Happy hunting, happy branding, happy winning!