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These 5 types of brand ambassadors will transform your marketing

As we dive into 2021, brands will continue to focus on authenticity in their ads. Whether it’s simply to promote products or show support for a cause, the best way to ensure authenticity is by working with high-quality brand ambassadors. 

What is a brand ambassador? 

A brand ambassador is someone who is paid to not only talk positively about the brand, but to embody the brand they endorse. Because ambassadorships take place over a long period of time, brands are able to showcase the real affinity ambassadors have for the brand and make the partnership that much more authentic. 

Not only do ambassadors promote the brand on social media, but oftentimes they also give insightful feedback on new products, co-create entire collections, co-host events, and generally have a bigger hand in building the brand. They’re educated on the brand’s products and services, as well as the company’s mission and values. Because of this, ambassadors are insiders and a true extension of the brand.

The most successful ambassadors are those who are extremely passionate about the brand, rather than those who simply have a big following or get a certain amount of likes. So, who exactly should brands enlist as ambassadors? And what benefits can they reap from each relationship? 

1. Influencer ambassadors

For the last few years, there’s been a misconception that the terms “influencer” and “brand ambassador” are interchangeable. That’s because many brands turn their influencers into long-term ambassadors

Why? Influencers are experienced photographers, videographers, models, editors, and creative directors all rolled up into one package. They’re known to deliver eye-catching, highly engaging, aspirational content that is made for social media. Additionally, influencers have larger-than-normal followings on social media, helping brands expand their reach. 

By working with influencer ambassadors, brands can reap the benefits far beyond just social media posts. Influencer ambassadors can also:

  • Create eye-catching content to be repurposed across the brand’s marketing channels, providing the ultimate social proof
  • Incentivize consumers to be a part of major brand moments, such as store openings and product launches
  • Boost social engagement by taking over the brand’s account
  • Increase authenticity in paid media
  • Increase affiliate sales

Compensate influencer ambassadors with:

  • Payment
  • Curated product on a quarterly basis
  • Shopping stipend for gifts
  • Commission opportunities

2. Customer ambassadors

Customers, or the individuals who purchase a company’s goods or services, are the people driving every business. It’s extremely important to monitor customer relationships and identify ways to improve your services or products.

Not only do customers wield a lot of power when it comes to swaying the purchasing decisions of their close friends and family, an increasing number of them also want to contribute more to their favorite brand by co-creating its story, content, product, or service.

That’s why the smartest brands have been building deeper relationships with their top customers and turning them into brand advocates. These trusted sources have the power to organically generate interest among your target audience and spread word-of-mouth buzz far and wide.

For example, Red Bull’s brand ambassador program consists of customers who can bridge the gap between the company and its target consumers — people aged between 18 and 34. To reach this young demographic, the Wings Team enlists many high energy college students, who hand out free energy drinks to those who could use a boost.

Customer ambassadors can:

  • Leave positive reviews on your website
  • Spread word-of-mouth buzz to their own family and friends
  • Provide tried-and-true product feedback 
  • Create user-generated content that you can repurpose on your own social channels, blog, and the like
  • Boost brand loyalty through referral programs

Reward customer ambassadors by giving them:

  • Welcome gift cards
  • Quarterly product samples 
  • Commission opportunities 
  • Invitation to invite-only groups and exclusive events

3. Industry expert ambassadors

Experts are people who have specialized knowledge in a certain industry. 

For example, experts in the…

  • Fitness industry include personal trainers and professional athletes.
  • Food and beverage industry include chefs, nutritionists, and dieticians
  • Beauty industry include makeup artists, hair stylists, and cosmetologists
  • Home industry include interior designers and real estate agents
  • Wellness industry include doctors, naturopaths, and massage therapists 

Experts are consumers’ most trusted source when it comes to getting advice and recommendations, because they typically have legitimate credentials to back up their expert status. 

Particularly in saturated industries like health and wellness, it is hard for consumers to differentiate between legitimate products and fads. To stand out, brands should recruit experts to be ambassadors, in order to educate consumers, provide transparency, and establish credibility in their industries. 

For instance, Lululemon frequently enlists certified yoga instructors, like @darvinaplanteyoga, as ambassadors.

Expert ambassadors can: 

  • Provide advice (backed by data, science, etc.) to help improve your products
  • Encourage consumers to trust your brand’s message and products over your competitors’
  • Advocate for your brand with strong testimonials
  • Boost customer acquisition

Give expert ambassadors: 

  • Payment
  • Commission opportunities
  • Early access to new products

4. Affiliate ambassadors

For over 30 years, brands have been using affiliate marketing to connect with new customers and drive more sales. Affiliates are individuals who help brands capitalize on customer conversions. They earn a commission for promoting a brand’s products and bringing in leads that ideally turn into sales. 

Typically, affiliates work with brands they like, advocate for their products across various social channels, and earn a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales they make from their promotion is tracked via affiliate links or codes from one website source to another. 

Source: @bestdressed

By turning affiliates into ambassadors, brands can encourage more promotion over a longer period of time. 

Affiliate ambassadors can also:

  • Seamlessly integrate products into social posts, blogs, and the like
  • Boost brand awareness among their existing audience
  • Increase web traffic and online conversions (without brands having to set aside a budget to pay the affiliate unless they make sales)

Reward affiliates with:

  • Commission on sales
  • Discounted products

5. Brand fan ambassador

Brands fans are the people who love your brand but may not have made a purchase yet. They may follow you on social, have you on their wishlist, but have not yet pulled the trigger — perhaps because your product is an investment, or because they are weighing their options between several brands. 

By enlisting a brand fan as an ambassador, you’re not only boosting their affinity for your brand over a competitor, but also giving them a unique opportunity to be a part of building a brand that they already admire so much. 

Brand fan ambassadors can:

  • Spread word of mouth referrals
  • Create user-generated content
  • Post organically to social media 
  • Drive foot traffic to local stores by geo-tagging their location 

Compensate brand fan ambassadors with:

  • Discounted products
  • Commission opportunities

For more guidance on building and executing a brand ambassador program, enroll in our free Ambassador Academy

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