By Janina Czado
Brand ambassadors can be a powerful tool in any PR and influence campaign – on the proviso that you choose the right one. It’s a big decision for any brand and needs to be carefully considered as ambassadors can either propel or tarnish a brand.
Remember Kate Moss’ infamous cocaine photo in the UK’s Daily Mirror that led her to being dropped as ambassador for H&M, Chanel, and Burberry in 2005? Or the 2009 revelations of Tiger Woods’ sexual indiscretions that cost him lucrative deals with TAG Heuer and Accenture?
Yes, they’re extreme examples but something every brand wants to steer clear of! On the flip side, there are good examples we can learn from.
Australian celebrities do a particularly good job in this area, but you could also put this down to sound, strategic choices by brands. A couple of the biggest, Myer and David Jones, spring to mind with their ambassadors Jennifer Hawkins and Megan Gale. Both Hawkins and Gale have squeaky clean profiles and they’re aspirational, yet approachable at the same time. They definitely set the standards high for other Australian celebrities.
With a brand ambassador putting a face to your product and service, it can be an effective way to increase brand awareness. But in this social age there is even more pressure to find a trusted ambassador that is the right fit for your brand.
To do so, you have to define what you mean by the “right fit”. Do they already use your products or services? Do they fit a similar demographic profile to your customers? Could your customers relate to them? These are just some questions to ask when you’re thinking about the right brand fit.
Further to being the right fit for your brand, there are some other general considerations; here are four essentials we believe your chosen ambassador should have:
First things first, your ambassador needs to be highly recognisable. They need to have a profile, and a decent one at that, to ensure your get the reach and awareness you’re after, particularly when you’re paying the big bucks! When I say decent I don’t necessarily mean the biggest. You could have a brand that offers niche or unique products or services, so the market you are trying to connect with could be small. The key here is relevancy – make sure your ambassadors’ audience is relevant to your target market.
To take a famous line from a Bond movie, “Your reputation precedes you,”.
Know what people think and say about your ambassador. This will give you a good indication of how your audience will feel about them and how the ambassador will perform in their role. Do your research to unearth skeletons early. It can be quite obvious but if your brand ambassador is trying to promote your health supplements and they are a chain smoker and have been photographed by the social pages, then that’s probably not the best look!
This one is important – would your customers trust your ambassador? Would they easily identify the connection between your brand and your ambassador and genuinely believe they use your products or services? You don’t want a situation like when Bonds’ ambassador Nick Kyrgios admitted to not actually wearing underwear!
Also, is your ambassador a brand tart? What other brands are they associated with and how would that affect your brand? You should make this clear at the outset how this could hinder or restrict your own ambassador campaigns.
4. The ‘X-Factor’
Ah, the ‘X-Factor’. By the way, I’m not talking about the television show, but the concept is similar. This essential consideration is not usually rational or logical – it’s just a bit of je ne sais quoi! Your ambassador should have the ability to make others stand up and pay attention; it’s the thing that makes them the most photographed or followed person of the moment. Customers should have a sense of admiration for them – ‘I want to be like them’ or ‘I want to do what they’re doing’.
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Now, go forth and find your ambassadors and make sure you pop back soon to read my next blog on how to get the most out of your brand ambassador!
Janina Czado has worked in PR, communications and influencer marketing for over 10 years and aims to help brands make intense connections with audiences – particularly through influencers. This article was first published on LinkedIn.