Building Your Brand Ambassador Dream Team: Tips and Best Practices
By Bobby Johnson
April 26, 2023
By Bobby Johnson
April 26, 2023
Brand ambassadors are the face of not only your current marketing campaign or activation, but of your brand, your company. And while many ambassadors may only be working for you for a single event, the impression they leave on potential consumers lasts forever.
We talked with the people at Inspira who hire brand ambassadors as part of their regular job, and are here to share their insights. When I say they’ve hired brand ambassadors, I mean, a lot of brand ambassadors. Like, enough to fill and staff a medium-sized cruise ship.
We’re here to share advice, best practices, and the actual interview questions used to assemble your Avengers team of brand ambassadors. Let’s go.
We’ll keep this section short, just for those who aren’t sure what a brand ambassador is or why their brand might need one. Feel free to jump to the next section if you’re already ready to hire.
A brand ambassador is someone you hire to spread your company or product’s message, usually for a specific activation or campaign. Though long-term ambassador programs do exist (in fact, we do them all the time for our clients), we’re mostly talking about short-term hires in this particular blog.
Brand ambassadors can fill all sorts of roles. Some create social media content, others share your content with their followers. Some brand ambassadors are physically at your booth, in your mobile truck, or meeting regular people on the street, or in pop-up shops. Brand ambassadors can write, they can create blogs, or they can just throw a mean sales pitch.
The nuts and bolts of their job are as customized as your campaign, but they all have the same goal: they build a relationship between you and the people you want to try or buy your products.
Brand ambassadors also educate. They’re the window consumers get into your message, your values, and your value-add.
Lastly, they can also help you collect data. What did they see during your activation? How was engagement? Who and how many signed up for what?
A great brand ambassador boosts awareness of your brand, connects you with your target audience on a personal level, and in the end will increase sales. A brand ambassador who’s a bad fit…well, doesn’t. Does the opposite, as a matter of fact.
But what makes for an ideal brand ambassador?
We gathered the special qualities that separate a decent brand ambassador from a great one, from our experts at Inspira.
“Life as a brand ambassador isn’t as glamorous as it may come off. BA’s (brand ambassadors) are tasked with a ton of responsibilities in a variable environment. We’re always asking them to do their best to control the variables and keep us informed in real-time. It’s a lot to juggle without a dedicated office space.” – Effie Gavrielidis, Director of Client Engagement
Here are the six attributes we’re always on the hunt for:
Reliability. Our experts found this to be one of the most fundamental components of a brand ambassador. You need your staff to show up when they need to show up, and they need to have studied what they need to know about your message and your brand.
Amiability. A brand ambassador needs to have an outgoing personality. They need to be a people person, or at least do a great impression of one. Their job is to engage consumers, often for long periods of time and with high energy.
Sharpness. Quick thinkers do well as brand ambassadors. They often need to make a snap decision on their feet that could seriously affect your brand.
Communicative. Probably one of the more obvious attributes, but one that can’t be overlooked. An ambassador’s job is to explain concepts, values, and solutions in a way consumers not only understand but will want to incorporate into their lives. That they’ll actually spend money on.
Flexibility. We’re not talking about yoga, either. A flexible brand ambassador can pivot, improv, and deal with unexpected problems on the fly without getting frazzled. A flexible brand ambassador stays composed even as the room is on fire: think of the dog from the gif.
Experienced. A pro brand ambassador helps you feel comfortable entrusting them with your brand’s image. There’s always room for newbies of course: how else do you get experienced ambassadors? But someone who has a proven track record, either with you or another company, is always a little easier to hire and deploy.
Now that we know what makes a great brand ambassador, we know what we’re looking for. We only need to know how to suss them out.
“The most challenging part about being a brand ambassador is the fact that they wear so many hats. They need to be well-versed in the brand’s talking points, be able to clearly articulate them, interact with consumers, and work long hours on their feet. It’s a job that is constantly changing and evolving. BAs are expected to keep up and be adaptable.” – Alexis Capozzi, Client Engagement Executive
Now that you want a brand ambassador (or several), and know what a good one looks like, we can move to the interview questions. What do you ask?
The fact is, each project is unique, and you’ll have to align your interview questions to the project to source the right team. Our brand ambassador-hiring experts have a few simple but vital suggestions to ask the candidates of any project before going forward:
Do you have the skills we need for this activation? A simple question, true, but the most important one. Doing a beauty activation? They need to know not only what works and what doesn’t, but what your brand is doing to improve their hair and makeup. This can’t be their first time with the subject matter. They need to sell their knowledge and experience and connect it to your product (and to the needs of the consumer). A dabbler won’t do.
Do you have the certifications we need? This speaks to skill, but it needs to be its own question. Many projects require certifications or licensing. Any activation that involves food is going to need someone with food-handling certifications relevant to the region. Obviously, a commercial driver’s license is necessary for any kind of transport.
Do you have any sales experience? A brand ambassador is a salesperson in many ways, selling your product, your service, your message, and the benefits of a relationship with your brand. People with sales experience feel comfortable engaging consumers on a brand’s specific consumer journey for path to purchase.
What is your availability? It may seem basic, but most brand ambassadors have additional jobs. Checking to make sure their schedules are open enough to take on the program’s needs is crucial.
What strategies do you use to build relationships with consumers? You can (and should) train your brand ambassadors with your particular strategies. However, knowing how your brand ambassador thinks about relationships will enlighten you on their style, and how they’ve succeeded in the past. It also helps you find where they fit on your team.
How do you measure success as a brand ambassador? Whether they mention specific KPIs or just explain their personal metrics for success, this question tells you how seriously they take their role. A brand ambassador needs to have a strong, measurable effect on their audience, and they need to be comfortable with creating or using a system to measure that effect.
These questions can provide a solid base for understanding your ambassador. But not every market has the same challenges.
The fact is, while being a brand ambassador may seem like a lot of fun (and it can be), the job isn’t for everyone, both from a skills and temperament perspective. Much is also expected of brand ambassadors: they have to work hard, be quick on their feet, and even deal with unique and even sensitive issues on the fly.
Finding a brand ambassador who can navigate all of that is a challenge. Not to mention that brand navigators aren’t always available. For a remote or rural activation, a lower population means a smaller talent pool.
“There have also been several markets that are notoriously difficult to staff over the years, meaning our timeline for recruiting needs to be extended in these areas. But we’ve built great relationships with key local contacts, and we lean on them year after year. Even then, our timeline for recruiting is often extended in those areas.” – Effie Gavrielidis
Not to mention that the market for brand ambassadors itself has changed over the years.
“In the past five years, the BA market has become more saturated. There is more awareness about brand ambassador work now. However, that’s a great thing for agencies, as we have access to a wider talent pool and more experienced staff.” – Alexis Capozzi
What does this mean for brands? Well, it means relying on experience is still the best way to find the right brand ambassadors for your company, because there are challenges. If you’d like to take advantage of our experience to help you find the right brand ambassadors for you, contact us at Inspira Marketing today.
This article is also published on the ANA blog. Click to visit the site.
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