“Be the best version of yourself each day.” – Ingrid Nilsen, bareMinerals brand ambassador, to Forbes
One look at Ingrid Nilsen and you’ll notice her fresh face and natural beauty. It’s likely the first impression that visitors to her YouTube™ channel got, too. But, it’s her fashion, makeup and lifestyle advice that have her almost four million subscribers returning. Her success caught the eye of makeup line bareMinerals, which smartly engaged her as a brand ambassador. Today, Nilsen not only sings the company’s praises online to all her followers, she also joins the brand in-store for experiential marketing activations.
On paper, Nilsen is a good fit for the mineral-based makeup brand, and hopefully, both will enjoy a long, advantageous relationship. Their partnership represents a growing number of social media stars-turned-influencers and brand ambassadors. Yet, this is only one example of the great choices that brands have when it comes to choosing their best brand ambassadors.
Who are the Best Brand Ambassadors?
If your brand is a household name, you have your pick of brand ambassadors. These may include paid celebrities, incentivized bloggers, loyal customers or passionate employees. Yet, another option, which benefits brands of all sizes, is professional brand ambassadors.
Employing seasoned and skilled brand ambassadors gives marketers greater control. This includes when and how their staff represents their brand. But, it’s important for all brands to know that people in this role are in their highest demand ever. So, to keep the best brand ambassadors committed, companies must be thoughtful. To promote loyalty and encourage excellent brand ambassador performance, brands are wise to consider these relationships as partnerships.
Why Continuity of Brand Ambassadors Matters
Retention of brand ambassadors brings the same benefits as other types of employees. The longer good people are with your company, the less time and money you spend on recruiting, hiring and training. Plus, the more events they work for you, the more competent they become at their job. They become better versed on your products or services and their talking points. This increases the effectiveness of their work and your ability to reach your marketing goals.
Your brand authenticity is also reinforced through your brand ambassadors. They help bring your company to life; they make your brand real and genuine. And, their continuous association with your brand helps build trust, which is critical in consumer purchase decisions. In fact, Harvard Business Review has stated, “Today, trust is more important than ever – and it can be an important source of strategic advantage.” In summary, the longer you retain the best brand ambassadors, the more benefits your brand reaps. Great brand ambassadors allow your company to operate efficiently and put its best face forward.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Keeping the Best Brand Ambassadors
Brands can better ensure retention of brand ambassadors when they heed the following advice.
There’s a reason these individuals are professional brand ambassadors. They have the skills and know-how to engage people and win them over. So, when micromanaging these staff, you run the risk of suppressing their creativity and flexibility in dealing with various personalities. In turn, one study cites low morale, decreased productivity and high turnover as issues related to micromanagement.
Instead, ensure staff are well-versed in their duties and talking points, then challenge them to succeed by setting attainable and measurable goals. If possible, offer incentives for top performers.
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Skimp on training.
As mentioned, you don’t want to micromanage your brand ambassadors, but you do want to empower them to do their best job. This means you should provide comprehensive training on your brand, your products or services, and event talking points. When they don’t have the information they need, potential consumers will be lost. And not only do you risk losing sales, you’ll dim the spirits of your brand ambassadors.
Ignore their input.
You know your brand best. But, experienced brand ambassadors have likely participated in various experiential activations. This means they may be able to offer tips for success and solutions to issues. So, be sure to listen. Otherwise, ignoring their offers for input may discourage them as well.
Make last minute cancellations.
Brand ambassadors understand that events come with a varied schedule and the potential for some last-minute changes. Many know this, in part, because the very best brand ambassadors often use events as their primary source of income. So, it’s important to be aware that events that are cancelled at the last minute can have detrimental effects on their livelihoods. Repeat cancellations may force them to find more reliable employment, making your loss another company’s gain. To avoid this, do your best to provide ample notice in the case of a cancelled event. They may be able to pick up other shifts to supplement their income.
In your efforts to avoid micromanagement, you’ll want to tell brand ambassadors exactly what you expect from them. The most important bit of information is your goal for the activation. This tells them what they need to be working towards. Other critical details include what to wear, when and where to report, and preferred etiquette with attendees. Make these instructions a component of training for each event. Make training that much easier and more effective through the use of a Learning Management System (LMS).
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Oftentimes, your ability to retain the best brand ambassadors comes down to their experience on-site at your events. Organized activations put everyone at ease and place the focus on consumers and the end goal. When details go overlooked, priorities change. And with their expertise, brand ambassadors will rise to the challenge. But, continuous issues may have them looking for other brands to represent. A best practice is to establish an on-site point person who is familiar with your plans and can help you stay organized at every turn.
People love challenges. So, what better way to motivate your brand ambassadors than with a competition? Think about your goal. You can set up a contest to encourage event staff to work harder towards that objective. The prize can be monetary, public recognition, or even preferred booking for your next event. When possible, offer an incentive plan, rewarding brand ambassadors when they reach their individual goal or certain tiers. These are simple ways to help them feel appreciated, while spurring greater performance.
Get expert help.
Many details go into an experiential marketing campaign, keeping event marketers very busy. And brand ambassadors are the most important resource, so their management can be time-consuming. A great way to ensure staff happiness and success is to engage an event staffing company. In addition to recruiting and hiring brand ambassadors, you can rely on them for onboarding, training and even on-site management. Their partnership will lend to your ability to stay organized. And their guidance can help your brand ambassadors be the best versions of themselves every single time.