Brand ambassador programs are an excellent way for businesses to take an enterprise to the next level. Brand ambassadors are known to drive brand reach, social media engagement, and sales considerably. But to reap the full benefits of brand ambassador programs, you have to find the right people to promote your brand.
While some companies ask brand ambassadors to meet a few basic requirements to qualify for the company’s program, ambassadors are generally just people who are passionate about your brand. Besides loyal and enthusiastic customers, brand ambassadors can also be content creators that target your niche, thought leaders, and other professionals in your field.
In this guide, we will break down what ambassador programs are, identify the best brand ambassador examples, and highlight the benefits of brand ambassador programs for businesses.
What Is a Brand Ambassador Program?
A brand ambassador program is a marketing strategy that leverages word-of-mouth methods, social media, and all kinds of brand enthusiasts to improve sales, the brand’s public image, and brand recognition.
One of the main objectives of ambassador programs is to foster authentic and meaningful customer relations and build an interactive community around the brand.
How Companies Approach Brand Ambassador Programs
Brand ambassador programs are not a new concept. Many big brands, such as Red Bull and Lululemon, have been using ambassadors for representation and spreading the word about their products.
When looking for brand ambassadors or representatives, you can:
- Reach out to loyal customers and small content creators — A majority of companies partner with their customers, regardless of their social media following, because they’re passionate about the brand and its offer. This approach is much more genuine and economical than using celebrities or mega-influencers. Businesses can also recruit micro-influencers as most of them are niche-relevant and have highly specific target audiences.
- Hire celebrities and famous social media creators — Some companies, especially luxury brands, get into partnerships with celebrities and famous social media personalities, who already have massive reach and produce high-quality content to promote their brands.
The following table highlights examples of brands with famous ambassadors:
|Brand||Ambassador||Ambassador’s Instagram Following (March 2022)|
|Maybelline||Velove Vexia||1.2 million|
|American Express||Julia Berolzheimer||1.3 million|
|Bose||Russell Wilson||5.3 million|
Why Ambassadors Are Better for Your Business—Influencer vs. Ambassador Marketing
Influencer marketing has long been regarded as the ultimate social media marketing strategy, but as more cracks appear in that approach, numerous brands are eyeing ambassador marketing as a more genuine method of promotion.
Ambassadors are much more authentic when promoting your brand and products, making it easier for brands to attract new customers, keep them interested, and increase sales.
Other important differences between influencers and ambassadors include:
5 Big Companies With the Best Brand Ambassador Programs
Huge brands have realized the advantages of brand ambassadors over influencers. Although they may use big influencers and celebrities as well, the following companies understand the value of brand ambassadors and have some of the best brand ambassador programs you can use for inspiration:
- Maker’s Mark
- Red Bull
One of the biggest names in the beauty industry, Sephora, has an excellent brand ambassador program—The Sephora Squad. Every year, the company recruits makeup enthusiasts, trailblazers, and influencers (regardless of their following) to join the Squad and promote Sephora.
The Sephora Squad ambassadors get to enjoy benefits such as:
- Early access to new products.
- Networking events with industry leaders.
- Peer and professional coaching on ambassador marketing strategies.
Sephora ambassadors produce original social media content, which often becomes the base of Sephora’s digital campaigns, lending more authenticity to the brand’s marketing efforts.
y Sephora’s ambassador program is successfulbecause it incorporates its values of acceptance, belonging, and beauty of all kinds—the ambassador group is diverse in race, age, body type, gender, and sexual orientation, just like Sephora’s target market is.
This brand relies on fellow bourbon whiskey enthusiasts to promote their beverage to other potential consumers. This bourbon producer from Kentucky approaches its brand ambassador program a bit differently to ensure ambassadors truly love the brand and are committed to a long-term partnership.
First, candidates need to pass a short quiz about the brand and its products. After they’ve passed the quiz, the new ambassadors get their names engraved on barrels of Maker’s Mark. Once the bourbon inside has aged to perfection—a process that takes five to seven years—ambassadors are invited to tour the distillery for free and purchase bourbon from the barrel named after them at a massive discount.
When ambassadors join, they receive branded gifts, company-branded business cards, and exclusive access to company events and news.
This renowned Japanese sports apparel brand continuously seeks out brand ambassadors to join the company’s team of athletes, coaches, and health experts in promoting the brand. They already have ambassadors in 30 countries and successfully promote fitness and sports in various communities.
Brand ambassadors represent the company both on social media and in each of ASICS’s 1,900 stores. Besides posting about the brand on their socials, they’re expected to attend store events meant for promoting ASICS products and initiatives.
As compensation, ambassadors receive a free seasonal supply of ASICS products, invitations to international training camps and meetings, photoshoots, and other perks.
Applicants are required to meet only the following requirements:
- Have a passion for running and ASICS.
- Be willing to work as a part of the team of ASICS enthusiasts.
This world-famous brand boasts one of the best and longest-running brand ambassador programs that target college students. Red Bull has over 4,000 brand ambassadors, known as Student Marketeers.
The main goal of the program is to generate awareness and excitement for Red Bull products. The brand also prides itself on providing money-making opportunities for students and athletes.
When brand ambassadors join the program, they are expected to:
- Promote Red Bull on campus through guerilla marketing and online content.
- Work with the company’s sponsored athletes to achieve specific marketing goals.
- Interact with the public at Red Bull events.
- Identify strategic opportunities to distribute Red Bull.
- Collaborate with various opinion leaders to bring ideas to life.
Red Bull’s brand ambassador program has been successful because it effectively mobilizes the brand’s target audience of college students and also because it is presented as a highly selective professional opportunity that can kick-start future marketing careers.
In the Xbox ambassador program, the ambassadors’ goal is to make gaming fun for everybody. This involves celebrating people’s uniqueness and promoting safe gaming environments.
The brand ambassadors’ job description includes:
- Joining online playdates.
- Participating in online chats with fellow gamers.
- Discovering new ways to play.
- Interacting with the community.
For compensation, Xbox utilizes a rewards system where ambassadors gain points when they complete special missions, interact with other Xbox Live members, and drive conversations around the latest Xbox games on different social media channels, like Instagram and YouTube.
As points rack up, ambassadors can move through ambassadorship levels (seasonal and lifetime) like in a game. Points can be redeemed for digital game badges and exclusive sweepstakes entries, where ambassadors can win prizes, like free unreleased games.
This ambassador program continues to be successful for two main reasons:
- Brand ambassadors serve as the support staff and moderators for the Live community, making it safer and more inclusive.
- They have creative freedom to represent the brand relying on their unique gaming style and personality.
Do Brand Ambassador Programs Work?
Yes, they do. Using brand ambassador programs is a powerful strategy to build a community of passionate customers to advocate for your brand—here are the reasons brand ambassador programs work:
- 92% of consumers trust friend and family recommendations above other forms of advertising—Brand ambassadors are people who use and love your products, and they will share recommendations and talk about your brand in their social circles. Thanks to the level of trust they enjoy, your business can attract and maintain new customers using these grassroots marketing strategies.
- Brand ambassadors are there for the long haul—Since they are signed for longer periods compared to social media influencers, brand ambassadors give businesses credibility, authenticity and promote customer loyalty.
- Ambassadors help build authentic, community-driven brands—Ambassador programs help create an authentic community with your brand at the center. The ambassadors can tell impactful stories that resonate with consumers and create long-lasting relationships.
- Ambassador programs amplify social media reach, brand awareness, and engagement—They enable a huge number of ambassadors to work together and continuously produce and share fresh content. This helps you reach massive audiences for a fraction of paid ads or influencer costs.
- Ambassador programs increase customer lifetime value—Data shows that customers who become brand ambassadors show an increase in order value and purchase frequency after they enter ambassador programs.
- Both brands and ambassadors benefit from the partnership—While it may seem that companies have more to gain because of increased sales, brand ambassadors enjoy perks such as free merch, exclusive access to events, discounts, and cash rewards for completed activities. This mutually beneficial relationship keeps both parties happy.
How To Set Up a Brand Ambassador Program for Your Business
To create an effective ambassador program, you need to establish what you are trying to accomplish clearly. The usual goals include:
- Boosting product sales and revenue
- Driving conversions
- Enhancing public awareness and reach
- Promoting the brand’s ideals and values
- Building communities of brand enthusiasts
After you determine the objectives of your ambassador program, take the following steps:
- Outline the general structure of the program—This mainly refers to defining expectations from brand ambassadors, creating social media content guidelines, and coming up with reward structures. Most brands prefer to pay brand ambassadors via rewards-based methods, such as discounts and free products. Some companies offer monetary compensation, but that option is less common.
- Find and recruit ambassadors—You can do this by announcing the opportunity on your social media, linking to the program application in your after-sale emails, and reaching out to people on your email list.
- Offer support—Once you’ve recruited ambassadors, you should provide necessary training where they can learn the skills required to represent your company more successfully.
- Provide incentives—To motivate ambassadors, reward them with gift cards, commissions, free exclusive merch, free tickets to company events, discount codes, etc.
- Monitor the performance of the program—You can track the progress and success of your program by observing certain metrics, such as the quantity of user-generated content, engagements for each post, referral sales, number of completed activities, issued rewards, and similar.
Manage Your Brand Ambassador Program With BrandChamp
Brands behind ambassador programs strive for big numbers of passionate representatives, but it is nearly impossible to manage hundreds of brand ambassadors manually.
Other than recruiting ambassadors, there are a lot of activities that go into developing and running a winning ambassador marketing program. You have to track all ambassador activities, review their social media posts, create reward and commission structures, and track analytics and post performance, among others. Overall, managing all these can be a grueling task without proper support systems.
BrandChamp is a software solution that allows you to automate the entire process of setting up and managing your brand ambassador program.
Why You Should Consider BrandChamp
BrandChamp is an intuitive, adaptable, and responsive tool that can be customized to suit different organizations and needs. Our end-to-end platform features two dashboards where admins and ambassadors can create and manage their daily activities. Community managers can recruit and manage new applicants more easily, deal with compensation, and get valuable insights into the success of their program.
They can also:
- Create various activities and assign them to ambassadors.
- Oversee all activities and review submitted user-generated content.
- Create new referral links and discount codes and create different reward tiers.
- Communicate with an ambassador or a group of ambassadors more directly.
- Integrate their program with e-commerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce to automate rewards and increase purchase frequency.
- Add new rewards and access a history of all issued rewards for better accountability.
Ambassadors, on the other hand, can view their assigned activities and completion timelines, create content and submit posts for review, claim their rewards without delays, and interact with fellow enthusiasts, boosting team spirit and building more meaningful relationships.
How Our Clients Use BrandChamp To Expand Their Ventures
Many brands have already seen the numerous benefits of relying on our platform to improve their ambassador marketing strategy—from already established brands to smaller companies that are just getting a foothold in their industries.
Here are some of our proudest success stories.
Ragnar Relay is a brand that creates and hosts events centered around relays, long-distance runs, and other team-based running activities. The company wanted a brand ambassador program where their admin could track return on investment for ambassador campaigns and manage a team of over 100 ambassadors.
In 2021, Ragnar opted for BrandChamp after our platform passed all of its tests. Thanks to our software, Ragnar community managers can:
- Track the activities of ambassador applicants on Facebook and Instagram.
- Create a four-part training program for new ambassadors.
- Create a list of mandatory activities ambassadors have to complete.
- Run and generate reports on ambassadors who are active or inactive.
- Monitor social media posts by ambassadors and ensure they are fun and engaging.
Canada’s famous nutritional gummies manufacturer, Herbaland, successfully manages its brand ambassadors by relying on BrandChamp. The company recruited its first ambassadors through social media and initially managed them without any automation. As the program expanded, the need for an automated system grew.
Since choosing our platform in 2019, Herbaland has experienced a significant increase in brand awareness and the number of customers. Its community managers can track ambassador activities with no fuss and identify the right people to promote new products. Apart from that, Herbaland’s ambassador program admins saw considerable improvements in:
- Issuing rewards to ambassadors
- Creating commission structures
- Tracking analytics on ambassador activities and finding out what elements of the program generate sales.
Ben Hogan Golf
This golf equipment company was relaunched in 2017 and quickly adopted ambassador marketing to scale their business since using famous golf players on the PGA tour to promote their products is too expensive.
When they launched their program, Ben Hogan Golf community managers struggled with their first ambassador program tool—the system was non-intuitive and time-consuming.
After switching to BrandChamp, the issues were resolved, and the brand could focus on properly growing the ambassador program and reaping all the benefits. The company now has 12 top-tier brand ambassadors and has generated $267,000 in referral sales. Ambassadors have also upped their output due to the effectiveness and seamless user experience of our platform.
You can also enjoy the numerous benefits of streamlined and automated brand ambassador programs by reaching out to our team—we’ll answer all your ambassador marketing questions and show you how our platform works first-hand.