by 5CA | March 5, 2021
Marketing has come a long way since Britney’s Got Milk! Ads. 20 years on, it’s everyday brand ambassadors who have the power to advance your brand.
Brand ambassadors have been around since the dawn of advertising. As far back as the late 1900s, people like famed American writer Mark Twain were endorsing products they loved to use. By the 50s, celebrity endorsements had gotten a little weirder but far more prolific. Brands were throwing money at Hollywood’s biggest stars — from Bogie to Hitchcock — just to endorse their products.
It was a trend that would only continue. Hulk Hogan and Keanu Reeves loved their cereals, Apple teamed up with Kevin Costner, and how can anyone forget the would-be viral sensation James Garner’s love of beef? But, somewhat thankfully, it’s also a trend that’s dying out.
These days, in our social media savvy landscape, it’s everyday people who are brand ambassadors. And those everyday people are the not-so-secret ingredient to your marketing campaign.
A brand ambassador is somebody who represents your business, sharing it with followers, friends, or people they know via social media or word of mouth.
They can, when all’s said or done, make or break your business. That’s why the best kind of ambassador is one who is a fan of what you do: fans help to create more fans, and help you enjoy the benefits of a strong community spirit.
Brand ambassadors are the key to getting a product out there into the wider market.
They’re an engaging, cost-effective alternative to paid advertising in a world that no longer appreciates traditional marketing. And all you need to do is ask the people you know to see how many of them use ad blockers daily. (The answer might surprise you.)
These days, people strive for authenticity in both life and the media they consume. They want honesty and transparency, and they no longer have money to sink into products they don’t care for. As a result, they turn to trusted people for advice, be it a friend or a social media account they follow religiously.
If that person is a brand ambassador for your product, they point those people in your direction.
Human experience is as important in marketing as it is in life. It’s emotive, authentic, and along with loyal, everything your audience are looking for. Brand ambassadors use that, creating a connection between your product and your audience. Once that conversation starts, there’s no limit to where it can go.
Working with brand ambassadors can drive results and earn more clicks and backlinks to your website, improving your standing with Google and consumers. This trusted, word-of-mouth marketing approach nets you the 74% of consumers who consider it when it comes to deciding whether they’ll use your product.
And the more reach you have, the more return you’ll see.
There are many types of brand ambassador, possibly more than you think. While each are best suited to different markets, they all carry their own weight in the marketing world. These days, brand ambassadors are essential for brands looking to get ahead. Between 2018 and 2020, the percentage of brands using influencer marketing increased by almost a third. Furthermore, 89% of them agree that influencer marketing will help them see a ROI on par, if not better, than traditional marketing strategies at a fraction of the output cost.
So, what are the most important types of brand ambassadors you should know about?
Celebrities have a lot of power and social media has seemingly made them even more influential. That said, celebrity worship has dwindled in the last decade. While fan culture is still a driving aspect in many people’s lives, it isn’t nearly as widespread as it was in the early 2000s. Whether a result of social media or not, the wool has been pulled from our eyes.
And that’s no different when it comes to celebrity endorsements.
It’s rare a celebrity is truly fan of the brand they’re promoting. Ever since Instagram implemented paid ad notifications, this has become more evident than ever. So, if they post sponsored content, the general audience won’t know if they use those things or not.
I mean, do you really think John Cena walks around in Crocs, or is he just getting paid to say it? Millennial audiences are aware of the difference, which means that celebrity endorsements are costly and, unless you’re a big-name brand, not worth the up-front cost. And considering the fact millennials are shaping the new economy, their custom is something you need to think about.
Thanks to social media, influencers have become the new brand MVPs. For millennials and Gen Z, influencers feel more like trusted friends than untouchable celebrities. Whether paid or not, these brand ambassadors are already knowledgeable on how to market themselves. They also provide the chance of engagement and regular content makes their audience feel like they’re being spoken to directly.
Influencers can come in the form of Instagrammers, TikTok stars, YouTubers, and bloggers. Brands send them products in exchange for a shout out or promotional material that benefit both sides of the equation. They’re a great way to expand your brand, though most operate within a specific niche.
All brand ambassadors must be enthusiastic about what they’re selling, but there’s a big difference between that and true enthusiasts. This type of brand ambassador will promote your product purely because of how much they love it. They don’t require remuneration and you can usually find their reviews on trusted sites.
The downside? Their reach. Only people already looking to buy something even see those reviews. However, find the sweet spot between an influencer and an enthusiast and you can build an incredible partnership.
When it comes to modern day marketing, peer advocates are like the hot sauce on your burger. They’re the little extra something not even the most expert of advertising exec could buy. These are the people who use your product and love it so much that they recommend it to their friends and family.
For example, if you’re a mom who needs baby products, you’re going to ask another mom. Similarly, if you’re looking to go vegan, you’re going to look to somebody who’s already on a plant-based diet. Peer advocates are your word-of-mouth marketers, but they can’t be bought.
Easily the most overlooked of brand ambassadors, your customer service team is extremely valuable and often overlooked. This isn’t unfounded and comes down to conventional call centre environments wherein agents aren’t required to be fans of the brands they’re representing. As a result, those seeking help are left underwhelmed, which ends up reflecting poorly on your brand.
So having an engaged and interested CX team can make all the difference to you and your audience. Dedicated customer service operatives like our 5CAgents bring the best of both worlds together. Look at it this way: If you’re a gamer and need help, would you rather get it from a fellow gamer or somebody who doesn’t know Pac-Man from Spyro?
If your customer support is made up of people who use your product, their word alone is enough to create the level of engagement and connection most people are looking for.
Brand ambassadors can be just one thing, or they can be a mix of many: At 5CA we call these our Fans of Brands, and it’s a promise that we make to all of our clients. Our Fans of Brands toe the fine line of enthusiast and peer: They provide a trusted and dependable voice to those seeking support because they know what they’re talking about. And they know what they’re talking about because they’ve been in your customers’ shoes.
At 5CA, our interests are important to us. In fact, they’re so important, they’re the reason we exist. For 20 years, we’ve prided ourselves on being fans first. We foster a supportive work environment where, because of their interests our Fans of Brands are automatically brand ambassadors for your products.
This is never more evident than it is during our Fans of Brands Week. For seven days, we host a variety of internal activities for our biggest fans. A week where we all get to embrace our inner gamers and nerds by way of Low-Cost Cosplay, Super Fan Hot Seats, and gaming competitions — and yes, if you must know, our word nerds are dressed up as X-Men as we speak.
Customer service is the final link between brand ambassadors and consumers. Agents who are fans of the brands they’re representing is an incomparable marketing asset to have. And if that means our Fans of Brands get to be the geeks they are, you have one epically fun — and profitable — road ahead.
If you’re interested in finding out the difference that this kind of customer experience can make to your brand here, why not get in touch and find out how our Fans of Brands can help you soar?
The gaming revolution is underway. But with so many new games, streaming services, and opportunities out there, how can you retain your players? Well, your secret ingredient is great CX.
It finally happened — gaming became mainstream and that it’s not a trend going anywhere anytime soon. But what’s in store for gaming in 2021? And how is the mobile gaming boom going to continue evolving?
Expert digital strategist Marlon Heckman knows a lot about how start-ups and scale-ups can see epic growth with great CX. As someone who's worked with a range of companies, from McKinsey to MTV, we wanted to pick his brain on why strategy and CX are the perfect partnership for an impactful start-up.