Experiential marketing has becoming increasingly sophisticated. Customers expected to be courted and entertained while technology often demands more user interaction with an expert in order for the customer to understand or appreciate the product fully.
One size does not fit all
As such, the demand for the perfect team of Brand Ambassadors is high; it is no longer acceptable to use a one-size-fits-all approach as we did in the days of promotional staff. A pretty blonde lady is not necessarily the right person for every campaign any more.
What makes a great brand ambassador? And more importantly, how do we find these people? Brand Ambassadors are essential in an integrated marketing campaign – from the high budget celebrity endorsements of international brands to finding local people who love what you do (or the product you supply) enough to give you exceptional word-of-mouth testimonials and even simply be seen using your product to the people we use for experiential marketing campaigns who become cheerleaders, prophets, fans, advocates of your brand.
But before you endorse someone as your brand ambassador (or promoter, model, brand representative, road warrior, etc), whether they are employed for short or long term, you must be sure that that person fits the profile of your brand. It is often best to leave this task to experiential marketing experts who know your brand.
The most important factor is personality. Brand Ambassadors must have that ‘X Factor’. They have to be outgoing and easy to identify with. They must be able to engage the attention of the public or potential target market. The Brand Ambassador must be able to talk product without sounding like they’ve memorised a script.
Although this is a touchy subject, we must acknowledge that looks can be important – depending on the product – but being well-groomed is even more important.
The Brand Ambassador must be professional. Even if you are marketing an alcoholic beverage or cigarette brand, professionalism is key. That is not to say that the person should be distant, standoffish or even superior, but the person should not need to be reminded that they are under scrutiny as the public face of your brand. Part of professionalism is reliability. The Brand Ambassador cannot let you down by not arriving at engagements or arriving under the influence of alcohol, for example.
Companies should look for Brand Ambassadors who improve the customer experience for everyone with whom they interact. This means that they must add value in some way – whether it be product knowledge or even friendly banter.
Companies like Apple have seen the value of providing customers with a meaningful interaction. At Apple, their employees are referred to as ‘Genius’. Enough said.
At Nando’s, staff are known as Nandocas – letting the staff member and the customer know that this is not just a worker; this is a Brand Ambassador. This reflects a trend of aligning the employee and customer experience.
The Brand Ambassador must be seen as a product specialist or expert as well as being the smiling, engaging face which attracts hordes of potential customers and turns them into your newest fans.