How To Make It As A Brand Ambassador: Before you can be the voice of a brand, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into.
If you’re wondering if a brand ambassador position is something you might find rewarding, the first step is gaining a clear understanding of exactly what will be expected of you and whether your skill set is a good match.
Being a brand ambassador is certainly not for everyone. One misperception is that all it takes to be a good ambassador is to be a “people” person. This is not the case. The position of brand ambassador comes with a great deal of responsibility and high expectations for performance. The company an ambassador represents puts a great deal of faith in the sales skills, marketing savvy, online presence, email marketing potential, and networking capabilities of that person.
In this article, we’ll dig into some of the qualities that make for a successful brand ambassador, as well as some of the things you can expect to have on your plate should you decide being an ambassador and helping to promote a brand and its product offerings is something you’d like to pursue as a career.
First, let’s define the term “brand ambassador”.
The basic definition of a brand ambassador is someone who represents a brand and its product line or lines to the general public or targeted groups, whether that’s in stores, through email and online media, at special events, festivals, trade shows, etc.
However, this is just the basic definition of a brand ambassador, and basics rarely cut it when it comes to building a brand.
A good ambassador will make the extra effort to become the voice of the brand he or she represents. Ambassadors must become educated and informed advocates for the brand and use their influence to generate buzz, grow awareness, and ultimately, drive sales.
Because a good brand ambassador is one who buys into the brand and its product line, one of the keys to being successful at this job is choosing to work for a brand you genuinely believe is great. Are you going to email your friends about a brand you don’t think is worthwhile? Are you going to feel good about representing a company that is not in line with your personal interests and values? If you have a moral compass (BTW, most brand ambassadors pride themselves on working with honesty and integrity), then the answer to these questions is, “no”.
So, first things first, if you’re going to be an ambassador, make sure it’s for a company and brand you will be proud to represent. This isn’t just a matter of your own happiness. It’s also, in fact, what every company needs from its ambassadors and the number one criterion for being good at the job.
Brand ambassador duties and responsibilities
Ambassadors are almost never about the hard sell. This is a nuanced job and it’s really more about being a brand advocate than it is about being a salesperson. Your mission will be to espouse the merits of a brand and its product or products. This might happen through face-to-face encounters with customers in stores and at other sales venues. Sometimes it happens by blogging about a product, sending an email, Tweeting, or posting on social media. You might find yourself part of a team hosting a special marketing event. Or, you might simply strike up a conversation at your favorite local restaurant after someone in line asks about the brand logo proudly displayed on your t-shirt.
One thing is certain, as an ambassador you won’t find yourself trapped in a boring nine-to-five gig. You’ll be responsible for going out into the community and engaging with your target market. As you can imagine in this day and age, an important part of your brand outreach will be online. In fact, before considering you for a brand ambassador position, a company will most likely do a little research into your online presence. Do you have a strong following on social media? Do you have an engaged audience who you might email information regarding brand and product promotions or details. Do you post often and are your posts shared by other influencers?
Ambassadors are hired as marketing engines. They are there to generate brand awareness that, hopefully, leads to a growth in brand adopters and added sales.
Some aspects of your position as an ambassador might include:
- Representing the brand and its products through a series of store visits: This might cover a broad region or a narrow one. It all depends on the brand and its distribution, but you very well might be in for some exciting travel time.
- Attending event marketing programs: Brand ambassadors are often tasked to lead special events and promotion programs that are designed to boost interest in the brand’s product portfolio.
- Product demonstrations: Ambassadors tend to make great product demonstrators because a big part of the job is knowing the ins and outs of each brand offering.
- Providing consumer and marketing insight: As an ambassador, you’ll have personal interaction with your target market. This can lead to valuable feedback your company will want to know. It might be information about customer behavior and buying patterns, or it might be insight into creating a more effective marketing message or email campaign.
- Content creation: Be prepared to blog about your brand; post about it on social media; drive email campaigns and create other content marketing that builds online brand awareness.
- Community outreach: A successful ambassador will make time to get involved in the community and find new ways to promote the brand.
- Technology proficiency: These days more and more brand ambassadors are using digital tools and merchandising software on the job. It might be used to capture the phone numbers and emails of potential adopters; to demonstrate brand attributes; or to provide instant access to important product details – FAQs, warranty information, product features and benefits, etc.
- Word-of-mouth marketing: Conversation and personal recommendations are still the most effective forms of marketing and when recommendations come from a trusted brand authority it goes a long way. Coincidentally, this leads directly to the one of the most important aspects of making it as a brand ambassador.
Being a successful ambassador comes down to trust.
There’s just no way anyone can’t fake their way through a brand ambassador position. Sure, it might be possible to coast along for a period of time, but, think about it, as an ambassador you become the face of the brand. People need to trust you if they’re going to listen. The company needs to trust you if it’s going to invest in your success. And you need to trust in the company if you’re going to effectively tout its merits and be a powerful marketing force.
To get a better handle on this, it might help to think of brand ambassadorship as a referral business. That’s essentially what ambassadors do – refer people to a product or brand. So, think back to the last time you received a referral that effectively influenced your behavior? Chances are, it was from a friend, family member, trusted colleague or a well-respected authority. The point is, whether it’s something as simple as dinner reservations at a local restaurant or something as monumental as deciding in which neighborhood to purchase a home, the recommendation of someone you trust can have a tremendous impact on your own thinking. In fact, according to the2015 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, the advice of trusted friends and family remains the most credible form of advertising.
Now, let’s explore the reverse scenario. Think about the last time you received a referral and ignored it. Perhaps, it was an all-too-conspicuous email marketing campaign? Or maybe it just sounded too much like the person or company giving the referral was more concerned with getting you to act than actually making sure you were happy and satisfied by doing so? Or maybe this time, the recommendation just didn’t ring true or relevant to your life?
A lack of confidence in the person, email source, social media influencer or any other marketing medium providing a referral immediately discounts that referral’s effectiveness.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that companies spend so much time and money recruiting, hiring and training brand ambassadors who they believe can break through that trust barrier. People with the insight to become vocal authorities for the brand, but who also have the unique ability to connect as a trusted voice, much the same way family and friends do.
Core attributes of an impactful brand ambassador
People who make the best ambassadors tend to be outgoing, intelligent, and open-minded individuals. They are proficient in email and online marketing and have already built up a significantly strong social media presence.
We’ve already talked about the importance of establishing trust as a brand ambassador. But trust is not handed to any of us – it’s earned.
Therefore, ambassadors must be extremely knowledgeable about the product portfolio and brand they represent. This is a job that demands being quick on your feet and ready to switch gears at a moment’s notice. After all, as a brand ambassador, you’ll often be engaging with people on a personal level.
So, expect questions. Expect push back. Be able to answer every question and concern a potential customer poses. You’ll only win his or her trust if you are a believable brand and product authority. That means proving your expertise and providing a level of service and assistance that lives up to your good name and the good name of your brand (This only works if you’re representing a brand that shares your values!).
A good ambassador is someone who is honest and authentic. Someone who clearly believes in the brand he or she represents. The takeaway people should have after interacting with you, even if it’s just by email, is that you are there to assist them; talk with them about the brand; tell them why you like it so much; and provide insight that they can’t get on their own.
What you’re not there to do is push people into a decision. You’re not there to give people a scripted sales pitch. You’re not there to blast an irritating and ill-informed email campaign. You’re not there to turn an engaging and positive conversation into an aggressive and negative one.
A good brand ambassador is someone who people trust because they sense the things he or she says are the things he or she actually believes.
How much can you make as a brand ambassador?
The income range for ambassadors is pretty broad. According toGlassdoor, the national average salary for a brand ambassador is just over $32,000 per year.
However, not all ambassador positions are salaried. Many people are paid hourly, particularly those who are in part-time positions, and these jobs can pay anywhere from $10 to $16 per hour.
Occasionally, brand ambassadors will also be incentivized with a commission structure that allows them to earn added dollars. It’s important to note that commissions are rarely given for sales. Instead, ambassadors are rewarded for generating qualified leads. The company isn’t looking for raw numbers. It’s looking for genuinely interested prospects who the ambassador has nurtured by providing exceptional service and trusted brand insight.
Seeing is believing. Three great brand ambassadors you may have experienced.
Chances are, you’ve already interacted with some great brand ambassadors during your own shopping and product research journeys. Here are a few ambassador programs that we think are worthy of mention.
Personal communications and technology companies are extremely reliant on effective brand ambassador programs and few do it as well as Samsung. This is a team of energized influencers who are both Samsung aficionados and technology and gizmo enthusiasts at heart. You’ll find them running local brand events, fan parties and workshops. They often make store visits and conduct product demos. They’re always creating dialogue and buzz online through social media. Many also reach out to their followers and answer questions through email. One thing is for sure – Samsung brand ambassadors are true product experts. They beta test the latest Samsung offerings. They’re given access to exceptional training programs. They live, breathe and love the brand and that definitely comes across when they’re promoting it. If you’re interested, learn more about being a Samsung ambassadorhere.
This company turned a high-octane lifestyle into a brand ambassador program directly targeted at the brand’s core audience – college students. Red Bull employs a group of college students as brand ambassadors who embody the excitement and zest for life that the brand instills in all of its marketing efforts. These ambassadors are students themselves and connect with other students who share their passion for action sports, music festivals and other high-energy activities. Learn more about theRed Bull student ambassador team.
This is a brand with deep ties to lifestyles centered around wellness, fitness, and, most prominently, yoga. The company has focused its marketing efforts on creating a grassroots ambassador program that locates, trains and supports local influencers in these categories. These are brand experts who use the company’s products to connect with their followers on a regular basis, whether it’s at a yoga studio, gym or other setting. The program encourages ambassadors to engage in community interaction, social impact and philanthropic programs, product feedback and more. The strength of this brand ambassador program is that it is focused on finding local leaders who have made choices and commitments in their own lives that directly align with the lifestyles the brand serves.Learn more about the Lululemon ambassador team.
Getting your brand ambassador career started.
One of the most appealing things about a career as a brand ambassador is the great variety of positions and brands to choose from. With so many, it shouldn’t be hard to find an ambassador role that fits your time requirements and lifestyle choices. There are, however, some criteria to consider beyond your interest in working with a given brand.
Most ambassador positions require applicants to possess at least a high school diploma. Often an associate degree or even a four-year college degree will be preferred, but this varies and depends on the brand in question and the specific roles the ambassador will have as one of its influencers. However, possessing a high school diploma or GED is important.
Ambassador jobs are not just for full-time job seekers. As pointed out in the Red Bull example above, a lot of youth-oriented brands are looking for ambassadors who attend colleges and universities. After all, what better way to connect with young people than through fellow students who share their interests, challenges and station in life?
So, if you happen to be a college student, a brand ambassador job is a great way to get some valuable hands-on marketing and business experience. But it can be more than a great first step. In many instances, successful ambassadors who began their careers during their college days go on to enjoy long and rewarding careers with the brand they represented as a student.
A good first move
To get your ambassador career started, pinpoint a few target brands that resonate with you personally. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with each company further by checking out their social media profiles, signing up for email newsletters, visiting their company websites, reading any testimonials you might find, and, of course, visiting a few of their local stores.
Remember, if you’re hired as an ambassador, you’re going to be out there actively promoting and marketing this brand to your friends, family, community and social media followers. In a very real sense, you’re going to be putting your name on the line for the company and its products, so it’s important to be sure that the values the brand stands for are values that you can proudly stand behind.
Once you’ve narrowed down a few good brand options, applying for a brand ambassador position can usually be done simply by visiting each company’s website. Don’t limit yourself to just one application – particularly if you’re just starting out. Make sure you have a few solid brands on your wish list and go ahead and apply to them all.
If you believe in a brand, have a growing and active presence on social media, and know how to communicate effectively in person, via email, and in dynamic group situations, chances are you have what it takes to make it as a brand ambassador.
Mobile Insight® is the only retail and merchandise management solution designed to meet the brick and mortar sales challenges of high-value brands and retailers. Unlike hardware and software providers that focus on fast-moving goods, the Mobile Insight® platform delivers assisted sales solutions for more complex, interactive, and customer-centric environments. Combining data from in-store systems, 3PLs, employee and partner activity, Mobile Insight® enables informed, smarter decisions that drive sales and operations excellence. For more information, visitwww.mobileinsight.com.
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