“The only constant in life is change.” This quote is as pertinent today as it was when coined by Heraclitus of Ephesus, a Greek philosopher, back in 500BC. Take the aviation industry as an example. Not much more than a hundred years ago the Wright brothers made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft. Nowadays, we are so blasé about flying that airlines now entertain us with movies inflight to distract us from the trip, offer sleeping pods and even on-board apartments, and have still had to ban passengers who have lost their cool during fits of air rage.
Marketing is cutting edge
Of all industries, marketing is not immune from this constant flux. In fact, the most successful marketing campaigns are usually the most innovative. If the general public has tired of the thrill of flying so quickly, you can just imagine how quickly they got sick of being urged to spend their hard earned cash.
In the quest to increase sales of the products or services your business offers, there is an insatiable need to make your marketing bigger, brighter, more appealing. Let’s face it, though, there are only so many words to describe Product X. Eventually, what was new and exciting becomes the norm.
Hark the human
Which is where brand ambassadors came in. As consumers grew weary with flashy adverts, so real people joined the sales funnel. Think plastic container parties of the 70’s. Having someone relatable and who relates to your storage issues was a huge hit. It still is today. However, with a good number of products being sold in tiers, shoppers wanted to sample, grab, and go; rather than look, order, and wait. The new once again became the norm, and consumers wanted more.
Enter Experiential Marketing
Promotional items and testers abounded after that. And so the exciting era of experiential marketing dawned. Samples as freebies no longer cut it, so thrilling events and meaningful experiences have become the new standard.
Behold the Brand Ambassador
Going almost full circle, a human touch lent an extra layer of credibility and genuineness. Brand ambassadors were added to the mix to describe the benefits of product or service in a human way.
With the human element came extra risk. Think of the young woman promoting shooters at your local bar… who proceeds to beg for sales by explaining her small cut, and how she has a deadbeat to support. Not quite the glamorous image the shooter company had in mind.
This is why selecting brand ambassadors is such a pivotal aspect of your company’s marketing success. As Cathy Henderson – director at Real People – noted in a recent blog, “In an era where consumers are demanding more authenticity and personality from their brands, and experiential activity is becoming increasingly sophisticated, real world activations run by off-the-peg staff will no longer cut it. Brands need to wake up to this and ensure they are getting the real world representation they, and their audiences, deserve.”
Airlines, for example, have bypassed this by choosing well-known icons to represent their brand. Instantly recognisable by what they stand for, the celebrities add to the values the airline wishes to portray. Exceptional staff training and buy-in is needed to follow through with these values – something that brands like Apple and Nandos seems to have achieved.