Public relations (PR) strategists usually have their hands full trying to find the perfect balance between traditional and modern tactics in corporate communication.

One tactic has been around for centuries, changing with the times yet preserving its essence: brand ambassadors!

Because the concept has been around for so long, it's become almost ambiguous in terms of what it is and how it works.
media update's Joreke Kleynhans gives the tell-all on brand ambassadors to PR strategists and the likes.

What are brand ambassadors?

A brand ambassador is someone who represents a brand publicly to help promote the brand or their products. They need to have some amount of influence — and while a large social media following can help, it's not a must. After all, the practice started long before social media existed.

Unlike the usual influencer-brand relationship, your relationship with an ambassador is meant to be a long-term investment in the success of both parties. There's more room for negotiation and you'll want to build a relationship on trust and collaboration.

How are they beneficial to brands?

Three issues brands often face with marketing their products are:

  • reaching new audiences
  • collecting social proof, and
  • humanising their brand. 

Ambassadors are a one-stop shop for solving all three of those!

When they promote your brand publicly and online, your message is delivered to a new audience that may soon become customers.

Social proof is simple: People trust people. Ambassadors instantly humanise your brand, making it more trustworthy and easier to support.

The right ambassador also brings a sense of idealism to your brand. You become the It-girl, as the kids say these days.

All of these aspects drive more sales and contribute to the overall growth of your business.


Who makes a good brand ambassador?

Each brand will have unique requirements for its ambassadors, depending on the message and identity it wants to send to consumers. But the common denominator of all good brand ambassadors is that they are well-aligned with the corporate identity and values of the brand.

Brand ambassadors should have at least some form of influence in their community. They don't have to be famous mega-influencers or receive lots of publicity, but that does make a difference to their reach — and therefore to your brand's reach.

Some brand ambassadors are simply front runners, icons or thought leaders in their communities and can leverage their influence to drive sales for the brand they partner with.

You also don't want a brand ambassador with a million @ handles in their bio. As they say, a friend to all is a friend to none. When someone endorses too many brands, their opinion loses some authority.

An ambassador who is picky about who and what they recommend is more likely to be trusted about the value of your brand.

How do you find brand ambassadors?

Use your order backlog! A lot of the time, you will find loyal customers who love and trust your brand. They probably already know your products like the back of their hands, and if they often return for what you have to offer, they'll make for a perfectly authentic brand ambassador.

Advertise the opportunity on job boards and your brand's social media. Many influencers strive to become ambassadors of their favourite brands, and advertising a role like this ensures that you have many options to choose the perfect candidate from.

Users that already mention your brand often are a great option for brand ambassadors. Their audience is already familiar with hearing about your brand, and they will be much more likely to step into a partnership with you.

Use a social media or brand tracking service to find users who are already giving you publicity, and reach out to make that collab Facebook official!

Tips for managing brand ambassadors

Build a positive relationship from the get-go. This is more like a 'settling down' situation than a 'one-time thing'.

So make an effort to build a relationship based on mutual trust and satisfaction. Try to:

  • keep lines of communication open
  • negotiate until both parties are satisfied, and
  • be proactively transparent about your needs and expectations.

Don't micromanage. Spare no expense during the recruitment process to find the candidate that is as perfect for you as Luke was for Lorelai. That doesn't mean perfect, perfect. Just perfect for you.

When you find a candidate you really trust, you'll have no doubts about their capabilities, leaving little room for getting on each other's nerves. 

Get it all in writing. Not only does a contract between you and your brand ambassador protect both parties from unfair treatment, but it also states the expectations clearly on paper.

It prevents misunderstanding and 'misunderstanding' if you know what I mean. Because you work quite closely with your ambassadors, things get friendly, and lines can easily get blurred. 

A contract can help keep the professional things professional and drinks after work, drinks after work.


Are you considering starting a relationship with a brand ambassador? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Want to stay up-to-date with the latest news? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Did you know that a podcast is also a brilliant way to market your brand? Check out our infographic, which gives Seven tips for podcast hosts before incorporating it into your marketing mix.

*Image courtesy of Canva