Brands have always relied on word-of-mouth to promote their product or service. Why? People trust it. A brand ambassador program leverages this idea. Ambassadors are brand loyalists who use your product, understand your brand and share their thoughts with friends. With the direction of a brand, ambassadors can subtly promote anything from a new purse to billing software to their online followers.
It’s word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.
If you’re interested in starting a brand ambassador program, you should consider how you’ll structure it. You might be looking for a brand ambassador program template or ideas. There are several different types of brand influencer programs, with the most popular choices being:
Structured ambassador program
Structured programs are the most common types for brands to set up.
With this kind of program, ambassadors:
- Are selected, either by the company or via a brand ambassador application, and vetted.
- Agree to publishing quotas and deadlines.
- Take direction from the brand regarding the content type, style and messaging, usually spelled out in brand ambassador guidelines.
- Must have and maintain a certain audience size or engagement rate.
With this program, brands can set the tone more than other structures. Brands can hand-pick their ambassadors and focus on those with target audiences. A brand will also provide direction and guidelines and work closely with each ambassador to ensure content is on-brand.
The ambassador benefits, too. Influencers and ambassadors are always looking for steady, well-paid partnerships.
Big-name brands like Patagonia, for example, have a structured ambassador program. Rock climber Alexander Megos has his own profile page on the Patagonia website, as do all ambassadors, and shares regular updates like this one with a branded tag, @patagonia_climb.
Event ambassador program
Event ambassadors can help you spread some brand love at gatherings. An ambassador might host a class, do a Q&A, or give away free swag.
The Red Bull Wings Team, for example, attends many events. Here’s a crew of ambassadors at a race.
Each event allows the brand to get in front of more people. The ambassadors are often handing out free drinks or Red Bull apparel, which makes the brand that much more appealing.
Affiliate ambassador program
With affiliate marketing, you ask ambassadors to endorse products for a commission on each product sold. Through tracking codes or links, brands can see which sales stemmed from an ambassador’s post.
Brands have used affiliate marketing for some time and have often asked their best customers to promote a product or two with the promise of commission. Asking a team of ambassadors to participate can up the number of product endorsements and, as a result, increase sales.
However, research shows one of the biggest reasons for unfollowing an influencer is too many branded posts, according to MarketingCharts. So, brands and ambassadors have to promote products without clogging feeds.
Informal ambassador program
With an informal ambassador program, brands encourage a sense of community on social and reward some of their most loyal and engaged fans.
For example, a brand might ask shoppers to share their purchases with a certain hashtag and reward a few participants with a gift.
UGC contests are another engagement option. By asking fans to submit photos or videos, the brand gains marketing material and generates a buzz on social as submissions are discussed, and winners are selected.
Baby brand Maxi Cosi recently hosted a contest asking fans to submit snaps of their favorite baby moment.
This program doesn’t have relationships to manage, content calendars, or quotas. Instead, a brand rewards some active fans through a handful of engagement activities.
Starting a brand ambassador program is an effective, affordable way to promote your products. How you structure your program is up to you. While many brands create a structured program with defined terms and submissions, others opt for an informal approach or even build a program around affiliate sales or events. There’s no wrong way to set up a program. Its only requirement is that it works for your brand.
Get started on finding the right brand ambassadors in The Creator Marketplace®, where you can create Casting Calls for creators who fit your needs.