With a market that’s expected to reach $5 billion to $10 billion by 2020, the ambassador economy is officially here. It’s no surprise, considering that influencers have an incredible social reach few marketers can match. While plenty of brands recognize this, they often overlook an important challenge — creating a strategy for their ambassadors to deliver the same message at all times.
Without a comprehensive strategy, you’re more likely to choose ambassadors whose expectations don’t meet your brand’s. Correcting their work will eat up more of your time and could create divisions between the ambassadors and your brand — both of which defy the point of working with ambassadors in the first place.
If your ambassadors don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, they can’t produce the results you want. To truly benefit from your brand ambassadors’ influence, it pays to make sure they’re all on the same page as your brand.
When Messages Don’t Match
At a beauty conference recently, I talked with a major hairspray company that had hired an influencer to promote its product. The marketers spent a lot of money to hire the influencer but didn’t provide clear instructions on how to position the product. The result was an unnatural post that didn’t achieve the brand’s goals.
A more well-known example might be Kim Kardashian’s endorsement for the morning sickness pill – Diclegis. She neglected to include vital information about the medication in her social media posts, which led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issuing a serious reprimand to the drug’s manufacturer. Celebrities with household names can make great influencers — but not if they fail to properly promote your brand.
The same is true for brand ambassadors. If you want your ambassadors to spread a trustworthy message about your company to their engaged followers, you need to make your goals and guidelines clear. Ambassadors can’t do their jobs effectively if they don’t know exactly what their messages should look like.
Three Ways to Keep Expectations Aligned
When working on a brand ambassador campaign, a marketer’s job is to set clear guidelines upfront. To ensure that every ambassador delivers clean, consistent, and on-point posts about your brand, follow these three steps when building your team of ambassadors:
1. Dive deep to outline your goals.
While increasing sales is the overall goal of any marketing campaign, that’s a broad goal that won’t help you define your ambassador program. Instead, consider where your brand is in its life cycle and the specific achievements you’re working toward now.
For example, if your brand is new or you’re about to launch a new product under it, then your goal might be to ignite interest. If you’re trying to reach a broader audience as your brand grows, then your goal could be to build your presence on different channels. In any case, choose the specific goal for each campaign and communicate it clearly to your brand ambassadors.
2. Build a brand ambassador playbook.
Remember that brand ambassadors are freelancers. They’re not immersed in the same company and brand culture as your full-time employees, so it’s natural for them to need refreshers on your company’s voice and message. Provide ambassadors with a playbook or brief that outlines the appropriate tone, target audience demographic, and consistent messaging you expect from them.
You don’t have to take the word “playbook” literally, though. You could relay the information to each ambassador through a carefully crafted email or build a landing page on your website that everyone can visit to review the information. Once you create the guidelines, just ensure that all of your current and future ambassadors can easily access them.
3. Lead by example through consistent messaging.
Maintaining consistency is as important a rule for your brand as it is for your ambassadors. Whether ambassadors experience your brand through email, your website, or a variety of social media channels, the message you deliver on each platform must remain consistent. If your message is scattered, ambassadors might find it harder to tell your story.
Some marketers believe sending the same message again and again will bore the audiences, but that isn’t the case. The need for consistent messaging is something I learned from one of my closest mentors, the creator of MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign and the inventor of Angry Birds. I believed I needed to change up the slogan for my previous company, but he set me straight: “No one cares about your company because no one knows you,” he said. “You have to say the same thing over and over again.” He was right. Consistent messaging doesn’t bore audiences; it increases their familiarity with your brand.
If you want to make a splash with your brand ambassadors, you need well-defined goals, guidelines for your ambassadors, and streamlined messaging across all channels. Following these steps will help ensure that your next campaign works for your brand and your ambassadors alike.