brand ambassadorThe concept of using celebrities to promote brands and thereby increase brand recognition has been around for decades. Since the 1950’s, famous faces have endorsed everything from soap to cigarettes, with brands leveraging off Hollywood star power to associate themselves with greatness and ensure high visibility in the consumer market.

Brand ambassadors are still an extremely valuable marketing tool – but the times, they are a-changin’. For one thing, consumers are far more astute when it comes to ‘buying into’ the association of a celebrity with a brand. For another, with the advent of social media consumers can now voice their opinions at the press of a touch screen button and thanks to an ever-shrinking digital world, those opinions are broadcast instantaneously across the world.

It is essential for experiential marketing to ensure that the use of brand ambassadors is appropriate and authentic, especially in social media campaigns. Brand awareness leveraged off fame is no longer enough; consumers are smart, and if a celebrity endorsement does not seem genuine or the role of the brand ambassador is incorrectly handled, they will be very quick to take to Twitter and Facebook with their reactions.

Know your networks

Social media is, of course, made up of networks – friends, family, interests, lifestyles, etc. While networks like this have always existed, even before the digital age, the instant nature and global capacity of social media make these networks even more important. It’s essential to have in-depth knowledge of the networks that your target market is a part of, and to also understand how your brand ambassadors connect to those networks. Choosing a brand ambassador based on their level of fame is pointless if that fame creates no engagement with your specific target audience.

Niche networks create higher engagement

When choosing a brand ambassador to drive brand activations, remember that social media contains infinite networks – from broad and generalised arenas to small groups of very specific interest. While choosing a very famous ambassador such as an A list actor will ensure the widest reach for your marketing efforts via social media, you’re not likely to get too much productive engagement from consumers. Fans and followers of niche networks, although vastly less in number, are generally more passionate and are intellectually and emotionally invested in their networks, especially if those networks are tied to lifestyle and culture.

Always look at the numbers

While experiential marketing is fuelled by creating human connections that are genuine and believable to increase brand loyalty, examining social media network data can be hugely beneficial when planning and implementing campaigns that involve brand ambassadors. The numbers can tell you a great deal – from how many followers a potential ambassador has, to engagement stats such as retweets, likes and shares that show how content is spread through primary and secondary networks.

Don’t forget who’s being promoted

When using a brand ambassador, it’s easy for the message to get lost amongst all the fame. A successful campaign will result in consumers associating a celebrity with your brand and vice versa. A good brand ambassador should always be on point with promoting your brand and not use your brand primarily as a tool for self-promotion.

Tradeway offers a variety of experiential marketing services, including assistance with finding and approaching appropriate brand ambassadors. For further information, contact Tradeway today.