Reputation and popularity determine a company’s success to a large extent. It’s not enough for companies to present themselves in the best possible way – they need authentic and credible advocates. Personal referrals from real people will resonate better with audiences than news direct from the brand. The following article explains who brand ambassadors are, what advantages they offer and how companies benefit from advocates in recruiting.
What Is a Brand Ambassador?
A brand ambassador is a person who represents and advertises a company, supports its offers and acts as the embodiment of the company's corporate identity through words and actions. Brand ambassadors are experts when it comes to talking about the brand online and offline. But it can also be your own employees within the company. Brand ambassadors do not need fixed qualifications.
What Does a Brand Ambassador Do?
Their job is to create and consolidate the relationship between the company's offer and the customer. Brand ambassadors can be found on various channels such as blogs and personal websites as well as on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Social media has become an effective field in recent years. Brand ambassadors make full use of these channels to promote the company of their choice.
In addition, brand ambassadors are also used for employer branding. In the employer's branding strategy, advocates play a fundamental role in promoting the employer brand. The company's own employees are particularly important here and can share jobs and the company's image in the form of employee referrals.
What Can Brand Ambassadors Do for the Company?
Brand ambassadors offer numerous advantages:
1. They give the brand a human touch
Customers and potential applicants are more likely to identify with brands and companies if they have a face for them. A brand in itself is nothing more than a name or image. Even using professional models to promote the brand doesn't automatically make them more attractive to target customers. Advocates, on the other hand, manage to make brands human and tangible.
2. They strengthen the marketing and recruiting team
With a brand ambassador, companies literally have a sales rep and an additional member of the marketing and/or recruiting team. Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising. This is where much of the power of the corporate influencer resides. By giving positive reviews, they can change the public's perception of the company.
3. They are excellent helpers for the company's social presence
Most of the time, ambassadors have already established themselves online as public figures and have built solid online reputations. This means that they already have a following and an extensive social network. For this reason, they are also often referred to as influencers, as they can reach a large number of people with just one blog post, status update or tweet.
Corporate websites can also benefit. Thanks to their solid online reputation, brand ambassadors can easily drive traffic to the company's website. This also applies to the application of the employer brand. With the help of the network of employees, recruiters reach the passive job market in an authentic way. You can find out how to receive applications via referrals in this article.
4. They are practical problem solvers
Every company has to deal with bad reviews. Extinguishing fires is much easier with the help of a brand ambassador. They have the power to reverse bad reviews.
5. They can expand the market
With the help of brand ambassadors, new markets can be opened up. For example, if a clothing company in Brazil wants to attract the attention of customers in India, it can reach them with the help of an Indian blogger.
6. They offer what customers are looking for: Honesty
Brand ambassadors promote a company because they really like it. They support a brand because they respect it. Companies often find it a real morale booster when someone advertises them honestly.
7. They are a form of customer support
Many customers are unsure about trying a new brand they don't already know. Customers tend to ask a lot of questions before deciding to try it out. Because of this, many are looking to bloggers and other influencers. The advocate helps answer important questions.
With regard to employees as brand ambassadors, it can be seen that recommended candidates remain in the company for much longer thanks to the authentic insights into the company in advance. You can find further advantages of employee referrals in the article “What is an employee referral program?”.
How Do Companies Find Brand Ambassadors?
The ideal brand ambassadors are already active in the company’s niche. An effective brand ambassador strategy can be implemented in just a few steps:
Step 1: Define the brand ambassador
Who is the ideal influencer in a specific area or niche? Which qualities or characteristics qualify them to represent the brand? A good brand ambassador is relevant and has a considerable reach in terms of the target group. A good brand ambassador is credible and, as an influencer, should already have made a favourable impression. The ideal brand ambassador has useful connections and many loyal followers.
Step 2: Look in the right places
Pretty much anyone can be an influencer. Companies can find the right candidates here:
- Within your own company: Who knows the brand better than their own employees? This is how employees become ideal brand ambassadors. They are in the perfect position to represent the company. Their loyalty as employees is also an additional motivation to get them to promote the brand to customers. When choosing between executives and ordinary employees, the latter group has been shown to be more credible. The success story of Erste Bank Group IT confirms this.
- Among customers: Loyal customers from the customer base are suitable candidates. The brand’s end users are the right people to talk about it. Regular customers are more likely to talk about the brand on platforms and become perfect ambassadors.
- Most brand ambassadors can be found online today, largely because that is their milieu. This is where they have established a presence. Bloggers have a lot of power on the web. With a single blog post, the most influential bloggers can influence many people and even turn public opinion around. That makes them great corporate influencers. Social networking services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are also good places to look for brand ambassadors.
Step 3: Offer a small taste of your own products
Once companies have identified and found a potential influencer, they should send some samples to the targeted ambassador or review their primary service. This is true regardless of whether they are already loyal consumers or whether the brand is completely new. Loyal consumers will appreciate the “freebies” and will be part of the team with a clear conscience.
Step 4: Maintain a good relationship with the brand ambassador
The relationship between a brand and its ambassador is symbiotic. You’re doing something for the company, so the company must return the favour. While it isn’t strictly a salary, brand ambassadors can also receive monetary incentives. Taking care of brand ambassadors ensures that they stay with the brand for a very long time. This will attract other advocates and so will open up more opportunities.
For employee referrals, for example, non-cash or cash bonuses can be given as a sign of gratitude. You can find out which bonus is right for your company in the bonus guide.
How an Employee Brand Ambassador Strategy works?
A brand ambassador program is considered to be one of the best marketing strategies a company can employ. Finding the right ambassador for the brand and taking care of it properly has a direct impact on the company’s recruiting and profit goals.
Corporate influencers typically create digital content for the brand on a regular basis. Unlike influencers who agree to post about the brand only once or twice, ambassadors are more likely to share posts on their social media accounts or blogs.
Companies can reliably ask ambassadors to pass on their positive experiences offline in various scenarios. Consumers have less confidence in social media that comes directly from brands. Instead, they turn to posts and reviews from individuals. Look at the data.
According to Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers in different markets are more likely to believe people in their circles than direct messages from a brand. According to Socialmediaweek, nearly 75 percent of consumers decide what to buy based on social media posts, but 96 percent of people who discuss brands online do not follow the profiles of those brands.
Potential customers or applicants listen to corporate influencers. People trust the opinions and referrals of others who know the company in real life far more than adverts. In fact, personal experience is the most trusted source of information by consumers.
The ambassadors speak from their own perspective and recommend the brand based on authentic experiences. This makes it easy for them to connect with their audience in an honest way and with real enthusiasm. Ambassadors provide meaningful testimonials about the brand that lead to the desired goals.
According to a survey report, industry experts and peers are the top two resources for buyers to seek advice. From the perspective of their followers, they often serve as both experts and peers. For example, an outdoor adventurer is a great corporate influencer for a hiking equipment brand, and a dermatologist is a trusted ambassador for a sunscreen manufacturer.
The best thing about corporate influencers is that they are far more cost effective than traditional marketing or recruiting tactics. After all, they are not driven by external rewards, but primarily intrinsically motivated.
What Are the Advantages of Using Employees As Corporate Influencers?
Recruiting your own employees as employee brand ambassadors can bring unique benefits:
Advantage 1: Deep trust
Employees' social media followers are friends, family and colleagues. And people consider direct referrals from their close colleagues to be the most reliable. Employee brand ambassadors increase both the quantity and the quality of the incoming applications.
Nielsen reports that 84 percent of consumers trust referrals from people they know well. The employee's followers lead to conversions. According to the G2, employees' social followers are seven times more likely to convert the shared content than other leads.
Advantage 2: Helpful knowledge
Employees already have inside information, making it easy for them to act as branding experts. They know exactly why certain target groups are interested and they already appreciate the company's goals. Employee brand ambassadors also save work in finding and training external ambassadors.
As an added bonus, the fact that knowledgeable employees share the brand has a positive effect on the brand and thus contributes to the overall brand image. As an ambassador's reputation rises, the company's reputation also improves.
Advantage 3: Positioning as an attractive employer
With a visible company representative and employer identity, it's much easier to present yourself as an attractive employer brand. Interpersonal relationships are a particularly effective way of discovering and connecting with potential new employees.
The potential talents on the job market not only want to be discovered, but also to be convinced by future employers. If you would like to learn more about this, we recommend the article “7 steps to a successful employer branding campaign”.
Brand ambassadors are authentic brand pronouns. Potential applicants and customers trust real referrals more than conventional advertisements. And since the ambassadors occupy a specialist position, the trust of potential customers is even greater.
The success of employer branding and recruiting depends more than ever on the employer’s good image on social networks – corporate influencers can help there.
If companies rely on their own employees as brand ambassadors, they achieve several advantages. On social media, users are more likely to trust family, friends and colleagues.
The employee networks further expand trust and also reach candidates who are not actively looking. In addition, employees are already brand experts. Ambassadorial activities of this kind can increase awareness of the company, which in turn means that qualified employees are more likely to apply for positions in the company.