How to Become a Brand Ambassador
In recent years, businesses have increasingly turned to brand ambassadors as a way to raise their profile and grow their business.
Brand ambassadors are a way for firms to find that one person who can act as the face of the organization.
They represent the organization online and offline and provide feedback and support for the development of new products and services.
There are two distinct types of brand ambassadors. Those who actively promote your business online via social media, and those who work closely with you in person.
If your business relies on personal outreach to meet your customers, then you will be aware of how important it is to have someone who can promote your business in the way you wish to be seen.
An in-person brand ambassador is someone who may attend large events with the sole intention of talking solely about your business.
This may be an existing employee manning a booth at an exhibition or it could be a paid-for advocate who is there to hand out merchandise or other branded marketing materials.
Common examples of in-person brand advocates include product demonstrations in malls or supermarkets, handing out stickers or other promotional materials or simply wearing branded clothing.
If you are a social media user, you’ll likely be aware of the rise of influencers.
These are social media users with large follower numbers who build strategic partnerships with businesses.
Firms pay these social media users (or give them free products) in exchange for promotional activities on their social media accounts.
When the influencer movement first began, brands were eager to work with individuals with significant follower bases. Mega-influencers tend to be global household names (think the Kardashians) and command huge fees to act as brand ambassadors.
However, in recent years, many businesses have come to realize that true influential figures can come from nano or macro-influencers.
These are individuals with much smaller follower numbers but who can work successfully as brand ambassadors for local or community businesses.
According to Digital Marketing, there are four distinct types of influencers who commonly work as brand ambassadors:
|Type of Influencer||No. of Followers||Typical Fees Per Post|
|Nano influencers||Everyday users||1,000–5,000||$2–$250|
|Micro influencers||Everyday users focusing on a specific niche area||Up to 100,000||$25–$1,250|
|Macro influencers||Recognizable names within the online communities. Possibly not known outside of their fanbase||100,000+||$1,000–$20,000|
|Mega influencers||Globally recognized names, known online and offline||1 million+||$50,000+|
Companies are increasingly choosing to employ the services of brand ambassadors in a bid to generate positive attention amongst their target audiences.
A brand ambassador’s role is to communicate the corporate ethos of the company and to help consumers understand who that business is.
The role is a personal liaison between the end consumer and the marketing department; it adds more personality to the brand and helps consumers feel connected.
For brands, there is a clear business case for engaging with brand ambassadors.
Research from Nielsen suggests that:
92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
In today’s increasingly online world, we know that younger audiences (both millennials and Generation Z) want to support and advocate for brands whose ethos aligns with their own.
This means that it has never been more important for businesses to use brand ambassadors to reach out to these audiences and communicate their values and corporate visions.
Online brand ambassadors provide a source of content on behalf of the businesses that they work with.
This content is often developed outside of the brand confines which creates a layer of authenticity that followers engage with.
Brands relinquish this overarching control because they know that it’s a great way of sharing information and messages directly to their customer base.
What’s more, brands can then share and repurpose the content created by the ambassador, helping them to maximize their marketing streams at little to no extra time or cost.
How to Become a Brand Ambassador
It’s easy to see why working as an online brand ambassador is appealing. After all, social media would have us believe it’s simply about being paid to post a few photos on Instagram.
However, working as a content creator is a lot more involved than that.
Brand ambassadors need to be strategic. They need to know how to appeal to a business and how to create a business case that supports any financial involvement.
Knowing how to seamlessly blend the wants and needs of the brand with the expectations and concerns of their audience is a tricky balance, and brand ambassadors have to know how to manage this effectively.
If you’re looking to start your career as a brand ambassador, here are some practical tips to help you get started:
Whether you are a nano-influencer or a macro-influencer, your online following will want to know who you are and what makes you unique.
The most important thing you can do to become a brand ambassador is to have a clear vision and an overarching strategy of what you want to achieve.
This isn’t about thinking of how many millions of dollars you want to earn; it’s about carefully considering what reputation you have.
As you start to develop your personal brand, think about providing quality content that engages your audience.
Be consistent with your approach; content management systems and content planners can help you to prepare and schedule regular content.
Make sure you do your research so that if you become an advocate for a particular brand, you know who they are and what they do and ensure this aligns with your own brand and followers.
Businesses are turning to nano and micro-influencers as a way of engaging with brand ambassadors.
This isn’t just because it’s financially more affordable. It’s because nano and micro-influencers are often far more engaged with their online audiences.
They build solid relationships with their followers, and as such, there is a higher level of trust and authenticity than with the macro/mega-influencers who often employ a large team of people.
To be a successful brand ambassador, you need to be able to influence your followers to purchase the brands that you work with. And engagement is a core part of this.
If you are deemed to be reputable and have integrity, your followers will listen to what you say and who you advocate for.
Within your community, you need to think about what your audience wants from you.
If you have a specific niche area of interest, then pay attention to what is happening in the wider context of that area.
Be prepared to listen to your audience – as much as you are trying to influence them, you need to be open to what they have to say and pay attention to constructive criticism.
Try to engage in as much two-way communication as you can.
Those brand ambassadors who actively generate conversations and discussions with their audience are far more effective than those who simply post a photo on Instagram now and then.
To work as a brand ambassador, you need to build solid relationships with representatives from businesses.
Your networking could take place online, through platforms such as LinkedIn, or it could be in face-to-face networking events.
If there are specific brands that you want to work with, find out what events they attend or visit conferences that they may be speaking at.
The more contacts you make, the easier it will be to knock on doors and get a positive result.
A core part of a brand ambassador's work is to proactively contact businesses and facilitate an introduction.
If you are a nano or micro-influencer, much of your time will be spent trying to establish a business case for what you can do for them.
This is an opportunity to be strategic in your approach. First impressions matter, and you only have a few lines to introduce yourself and your services.
You need to anticipate what a company may ask you. Therefore, your sponsorship kit should have your statistics readily available, such as your engagement rates, your follower numbers, your readership demographics, etc.
You need to be able to clearly explain and define what you bring to the table and why a business might want to work with you. You should also explain why you want to work with them.
Similar to an elevator pitch, your opening gambit should encourage the brand to understand what you can do for them.
Brand ambassador roles only work when there is trust and authenticity.
You should only work with the brands and businesses that you genuinely admire, or whose products you use.
As you start, you should do your research to see which brand ambassadors these businesses use, and gain a deeper understanding of what they look for from a brand ambassador partnership.
Make sure you’re aware of who the right contacts are and use this knowledge to inform and update your sponsorship package.
Like your resume, your sponsorship package and introductory email should be tailored to each brand that you approach.
Top Tips You Should Remember Before Becoming a Brand Ambassador
Now that you know how to become a brand ambassador, there are a few useful tips and information points that you should remember:
First, be aware that brand ambassadors work hard. Much of their time is spent hustling – trying to make contacts, trying to sell themselves and justifying what they do.
It’s a creative role that requires lots of thought and insights to help generate content.
As well as being informed about the brand, you need to have:
- People skills
- Communication skills
- Graphic design skills
- Video skills
- Photography skills
You may also want to be well aware of your personality type – having a psychological insight into what drives or motivates you may help you to identify the audiences that you can engage with.
It can be tempting to pay for bots to artificially inflate your follower reach. But you will get caught out.
Brands want to work with ambassadors that they can rely on and that they trust. And audiences only want to be influenced by those they deem authentic and genuine.
If you are caught in a scandal involving fake follower numbers, it can be difficult to shift this reputation.
Remember that you are being paid to endorse a business. Therefore, you need to align with their corporate vision as much as possible.
If you are representing someone, you need to remain professional even when you are not posting directly about the brand.
You should try to network closely with other brand ambassadors who may be likely to endorse you for other opportunities.
Brand ambassador roles are not about competition; you should be inspired by your peers in the same way that colleagues can learn from one another.
Finally, don’t be afraid to turn down a brand ambassador role if it’s not right for you, or recommend someone else. Influencing relies on honesty and trust.
You may feel that ethically it’s not the right fit, or perhaps that brand has a history that doesn’t align with your personal brand.
The more you trust your judgment, the more your audience will trust you, which can lead to greater brand ambassador opportunities.
Establishing a career as a brand ambassador takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It’s much more complex than some may think.
It pays to have a solid background in sectors such as marketing or psychology, where you are more likely to have an intrinsic understanding of both audience and business needs.
When approaching businesses to work with, remember that you are essentially seeking employment.
Although you are not a direct employee, you are asking a firm to pay you for your services. Therefore, know your value and how this compares in your specific marketplace.
Take the time to think strategically about what you can do for these brands, not what they can do for you.
Be aware that like job applications, cover letters and resumes, your initial introduction only has a few moments to grab someone’s attention.
Simple tips such as addressing your sponsorship pack to the right person and putting the relevant information at the top of the page can be key to breaking down doors and securing that all-important first introduction.