[REPORT]: The anatomy of a brand ambassador programme
The shift in how brands work with influencers means the old way: “short-term campaigns with influencers who lack affinity” is less effective. Brands now consider community and advocacy over short-term gratification.
With industry maturation and diversity of departments, the way brands think about running influencer campaigns has changed. Consumers are savvier to brand-owned paid advertising and are wary of trusting influencers promoting products they haven’t used.
The traditional influencer marketing funnel meant that along the way, brands would need to source vet and work with new influencers for each campaign. While this strategy has its merits, for brand looking for long term advocacy, it provides a limited solution.
What’s more, with organic reach on social media falling year on year, actually getting influencer’s followers to see the content you’ve commissioned is slimmer than it used to be.
Ultimately, this causes a shift from the traditional funnel into a cycle. In the influencer-brand cycle, brands opt to work with influencers on a long term basis. The solution is to utilise brand ambassadors within your influencer marketing strategy to leverage the ongoing advocacy influencers offer.
In this report, we looked at over 50 brands who currently run ambassador programmes to better understand how they operate. We looked at a range of small, medium and large brands from a range of industries to see what strategies work right now.
Whether there are industries that are better suited to run a brand ambassador programme and if so, which industries. We also look at whether the industry has an impact in the way the ambassador programme is run.
With all things marketing, the size of your brand will directly affect how you run things. We look at small, medium and large businesses, based on employee count to ascertain what considerations each group makes when planning and implementing brand ambassador programmes.
How many brand ambassadors utilise an affiliate scheme whereby ambassadors are able to earn affiliate commissions from the content they create. Alongside that we consider whether ambassadors are paid a monthly or weekly fee, regardless of affiliate revenue.
Discover the other perks and benefits some brands offer that fall outside of the traditional monetary remuneration.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to joining an ambassador programme. Some brands have an open application where anyone with any amount of influence can join and start promoting, others seek to set boundaries and parameters for who can join.
What are brand ambassador programmes?
A brand ambassador promotes a company or a specific product on behalf of a brand, generally using their own audience to promote the business. For the brand ambassador, the benefits lie within: working with a brand they’re fond of, remuneration for ongoing advocacy and steady income, free products, additional perks or even in-person experiences. When it comes to working with (and compensating) brand ambassadors, there is no one-rule-fits-all. It largely depends on what works well for both the ambassador and the brand.
Brand ambassadors aren’t always influencers with millions of followers, they could be micro or nano influencers, or even customers – in short, anyone with some degree of organic reach could become a brand ambassador. They have a degree of authority with their audience. They’ve spent countless hours cultivating feeds, covering images and blog posts to ensure they attract the right people or using their social channels simply to keep in touch with their friends and family. This sense of authority and authenticity makes them great to work with on a long term basis as a brand ambassador.
For businesses, brand ambassadors offer the opportunity to increase visibility, generate additional revenue and learn more about their target market. According to data from Nielsen, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.