Maker’s Mark, a Kentucky distiller of bourbon whiskey, commands a premium price because of its reputation for producing quality spirits. The brand gained this standing, in part, through a type of word-of-mouth marketing. For years, it has leveraged a brand ambassador program that asks fans to pledge to share their preference for the Maker’s Mark brand to friends, family and acquaintances in exchange for a variety of perks. This cost-effective strategy is one reason the Maker’s Mark liquors sit on the top shelf.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
Brand ambassadors, or brand advocates, are real people who are vocal about your brand. They make your brand more visible by engaging potential customers in conversations, talking about your business on social media and becoming involved in community events. They provide promotion that is cheap, credible and trustworthy.
Ambassadors have a long-term emotional connection with the brand they support. They may be paid professionals or enthusiastic customers as long as they embody the brand.
The two types of brand advocates are:
- Hired famous people whose relationship with your company is transparent.
- Regular people who regularly mention or recommend your brand.
3 Benefits of Ambassadors
1) The Human Element
It’s a commonly-held belief that people trust the recommendations of others more than any type of traditional or online advertisement. A live advocate is able to connect to potential customers on an emotional level. All types of brands today use brand ambassadors to leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing. These memorable interactions are known to carry considerable sway with consumers.
2) Boost Reputation
Ambassadors can also be used to improve your brand’s reputation. For example, they could post online reviews or contribute in public forums on your behalf. By sharing positive experiences with others, brand advocates may help build recognition and counteract negative sentiment.
3) Increase Interactions with your Company
Many businesses choose brand ambassadors who already have a vibrant online presence. Whether they are bloggers or they have a strong following on Twitter, these advocates are often able to direct traffic to your social profiles and website. For example, a celebrity ambassador who mentions your company on Twitter can cause to a quick spike in your online engagement.
Although brand advocates are a popular way to promote products or services, they are best used as part of a broader marketing strategy, which includes proven tactics like blogging, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising.