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Let’s Talk: Do brand ambassadors work for small business?

Brand ambassadors have always been a popular way for businesses to build awareness and credibility. Aligning your business with a high-profile individual was once prohibitively expensive for many SMEs, but the rise and rise of social media influencers have levelled the playing field.  The trick is finding someone with the right audience and shared values.

Let’s Talk…

Mark Avery, Founder & CEO, Bell Resources

Simply put – yes, however, there are many factors to consider before an SME implements a brand ambassador strategy. For example, if Bell Resources was to think about introducing external brand ambassadors, here are the first three things I’d think about: 

1. Brand synergy: Companies need to consider whether an ambassador’s brand and personal values align with that of the company’s. For example, as a clean energy and EV charging company, Bell Resources would have to consider factors such as how ESG friendly a potential ambassador is with their daily practices, their passion to educate others on an environmentally responsible lifestyle, and more. This is also known as brand permission. 

2. Purpose: Like with all business decisions, there must be an identified purpose behind implementing a brand ambassador strategy. Companies should ask themselves if they’re seeking to raise mass awareness, target certain markets, or increase credibility. I would also think about whether or not the timing of the brand ambassador strategy aligns with and supports current business objectives. 

3. Ensuring your own brand narrative: Ultimately, if a company wants a brand ambassador strategy to be successful, it’s important that they are equipped with consistent messages when engaging with external audiences. This means that at the very core of the strategy, the company itself must have a defined brand narrative and key messages. Consistency is the key to success here. 

Phoebe Netto, founder, Pure Public Relations 

A brand ambassador is a good choice if your leaders aren’t necessarily the right fit to talk externally on behalf of the company or aren’t the best at communicating to your business’s target audience. For example, your CEO might not communicate in a relatable way to your target demographic, and a brand ambassador might do a better job. 

Brand ambassadors can boost awareness and credibility by bringing their existing audience across to your brand and help generate the hype and buzz that comes from being connected to somebody of note.

That being said, be incredibly careful about who you choose to represent your brand. Consider having more than one ambassador, to mitigate the risk that comes from having all your eggs in one basket. Alternatively, attach them to a single campaign or product as opposed to your entire business, which helps further limit the risk. 

Brodie Haupt, CEO & co-founder, WLTH

As 2021 comes to an end, it has become apparent that it is becoming increasingly hard to stand out from the competition in a pre-COVID-19 marketplace. Historically employed by consumer businesses to assist development, brand ambassadors play an essential role in promoting a brand, product or service. 

The long-held opinion that brand ambassadors only impact larger organisations is now no longer relevant, as consumers turn to the internet to express their views on a business.

Before the explosion of the digital revolution, small-to-medium enterprises were out of reach as they tended to be celebrities or well-known personalities that were financially reimbursed for their assistance. Today, this is known as ‘influencer marketing.’ 

With the rise of social media expanding the average consumer’s network, brand ambassadors have taken a different form. The modern brand ambassador has changed form and does not necessarily expect compensation to be considered one. Today, virtually every employee has a sizable professional network that can help benefit business growth through digital means. 

At WLTH, we have harnessed this notion, empowering our employees to take hold of digital technology and use it to boost our portfolio in the marketplace. Our employees are our brand ambassadors without the need to exert much energy from a management level. When employees feel connected, engaged and empowered within their roles, the passion goes far beyond daily responsibilities, extending into their circles. 

Using effective leadership and communication, core values, and our mission can genuinely connect to our employees deeper, encouraging them to be brand ambassadors. In addition, our employees are encouraged to have access to a LinkedIn profile to help shine a light on their professional portfolios whilst elevating the WLTH brand. 

Carolina Giraldo, Founder, Carolina Lifestyle

While it’s great to engage with influencers to drive brand awareness, it can sometimes be a costly exercise with little reward if you aren’t strategic with your approach. 

Connecting with influencers who represent your ideal customer, when values that align and who understand how to really connect to their audience in a meaningful and authentic way are all important ingredients in executing a successful influencer campaign. Whether you’ve got a budget of $50 or $5,000, there is little point in paying an influencer if they don’t influence their audience.  Or if their audience is not appropriate to your brand.

Don’t be afraid to ask them for screenshots of their demographics so you can see exactly where their followers live, how old they are and whether they’re male or female.

It’s also OK if you don’t have the budget to back a showstopping influencer. Start small and gift them with product. A thoughtfully put together package of goodies and a handwritten note is sometimes the most powerful tactic in your toolkit when it comes to effective influencer marketing. 

Taryn Williams, CEO and founder, theright.fit 

Brand ambassadors are a fantastic way for SME’s to get cut through in a cluttered market, build brand awareness, create trust and social proof. By aligning with a brand ambassador (whether this is an expert, influencer, entrepreneur/founder, or celebrity) they are leveraging the profile of this person and the voice of authority they have in the space. People don’t buy brands, they buy people, and using an ambassador is a great way to quickly shape public perception and awareness of the brand. Think Steve Jobs with Apple, George Clooney for Nespresso, or Greta Thunberg for Climate change.


Read more: How to secure the best influencers for your campaign


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Clare Loewenthal

Clare Loewenthal

Clare is an author, business commentator and passionate contributor to Dynamic Business. She was the Founder and Publisher of Dynamic Small Business magazine, which became Australia’s largest small business publication.

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