Brand ambassadors are similar to brand evangelists in that they also have a vested interest in seeing their favorite brand succeed. It's not so much that they attempt to influence other customers to buy a product, but that they share their passion for a brand with their fellow customers.
Whereas a company markets to customers in order to sell more products, brand ambassadors attempt to relay their passion for a brand to other customers, because they honestly believe that product will satisfy the wants and needs of their fellow customer.
Brand evangelists are everywhere. They are passionate customers who sing the praises of their favorite brands to other customers. But brand ambassadors have contact with the brand, and that contact comes from a brand ambassador program.
These steps can help you design your brand ambassador program:
1. Understand up front that creating a brand ambassador program means losing control
The very heart of a brand ambassador program is the concept of empowering the ambassadors to spread the message about your brand, in their space. Think of this as a shift from your brand's sending marketing signals to the customers to giving the customers the ability to market to each other.
Such a program can be an extremely effective marketing tool, but only if your company is willing to accept that it cannot have complete control over the marketing message that its ambassadors will transmit in their communities. If your company is not willing to relinquish the control necessary to begin a brand ambassador program, then the process needs to end here.
Key action point: A successful brand ambassador program requires a long-term commitment to the program itself, as well as to empowering the ambassadors to spread your message on their terms and in their space. Give your ambassadors the freedom to take your message and make it their own. A brand ambassador program takes time to build momentum and create results, so be willing to give it the time to reach its full potential.
Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.
LinkedIn: Mack Collier