A brand ambassador is the human face of a brand, representing, promoting, and building its credibility to attract customers.
Brand ambassadors project and help maintain the company’s positive appearance to increase brand awareness, create new customers, and boost sales. They embody the image and values of the brand.
And because celebrities garner outsized awareness and attention, the job of representing and promoting a brand to the largest number of people is traditionally reserved for popular individuals.
But in recent years, the concept has evolved. From solely the work of celebrity endorsers, anyone who knows the company or product can become an ambassador to represent the brand to specific communities or market segments.
Why do companies use brand ambassadors?
In a highly competitive market environment, companies need a recognizable person or personality for their brands. People who can generate publicity, offering access to both specific niches and a wider spectrum of audiences.
This is where brand ambassadors come in. They might be popular athletes, actors, or musicians. But they might also be someone with a large social media following. What they have in common are wide fan bases, social followers, and networks. Companies can tap them to market their products and brands across various channels, including print, broadcast, and digital media.
An organization can also consider employees as ambassadors to give its brand a local representation to targeted market segments. These can be salespeople, marketers, talent recruiters, or thought leaders who can help create new opportunities.
How brand ambassadors came to be?
When manufacturers began promoting branded products in the 1880s, they only had one goal: to reach out to a wider range of consumers to spur revenue growth.
Capitalism and consumerism in the 20th century created what Naomi Klein, in her book No Logo, called “a new branded world.” Big corporations, like Procter and Gamble and Unilever, built a new discipline of brand management. They assigned the tasks of developing, representing, and promoting brands to brand managers.
Brand management has evolved through the years. In the 1990s, one of the most recognizable faces representing a brand was Michael Jordan. The most famous NBA player, who endorsed the Nike brand, was one of the first brand ambassadors who had a global reach.
What is the job of a brand ambassador?
Part of the brand ambassadors’ job is to communicate the brand’s message publicly through media interviews, promotional events, and advertising campaigns. Embodying the brand ethos, brand ambassadors interact with audiences, shape customers’ perceptions, and expand the market base.
What are the desirable qualities of a brand ambassador?
Brand ambassadors must have a positive outlook in life, a pleasing personality, and excellent people skills. As community models, their positive influence often translates to an increase in sales and strengthening brand awareness.
Is a brand ambassador the same as an influencer?
The influencer phenomenon boomed only recently. Brand ambassadorship has a longer history. We can also say that the rise of influencers is an offshoot of the conventional brand ambassadors.
As they work hard in crafting their self-image, influencers can also be ambassadors representing one or more brands. And more companies hire people with substantial followers on social media.
Nowadays, influencers have become more common, together with their massive social media following. They earn from product endorsements, discounts, and product exposures to their social media pages and websites.
Examples of a brand ambassador
Different industries have different types of brand ambassadors — airlines, banks, cars, beauty products, food, insurance, clothing, sports apparel, and more. Even humanitarian causes have Angelina Jolie, a UN goodwill ambassador.
Celebrity brand ambassadors demonstrate influence to national and international audiences. Roger Federer (Credit Suisse, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz), Lionel Messi (Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi), and Stephen Curry (Under Armour) are well-known sports figures who are brand ambassadors.
Brand ambassadorships are not only for celebrities. They’re also for people in their specific communities like a local college or university, township, and city. These local brand ambassadors might be working part-time and are modestly paid. But all the same, they represent and promote the brand in their localities.