Brand Ambassadors vs. Influencers – What’s the Difference?

We hear a lot about influencers in today’s digital marketing environment, especially related to such channels as Instagram and YouTube. Influencers leveraging these sites include well-known names (in certain circles) like MrBeast, Jake Paul and others who not only have massive followers but are making a massive amount of money from those who want to leverage those followers.
While most small businesses aren’t likely to either build or gain access to these top influencers, they do have the opportunity to leverage another powerful group– brand ambassadors.

What’s the difference between a brand ambassador and an
influencer?

In today’s digital marketing environment influencers are generally paid supporters of a brand, while brand ambassadors support brands organically (e.g., without being paid). Customer can certainly be great brand ambassadors. But there’s another powerful ambassador group that is often overlooked– your own employees!

What are the benefits of having a brand ambassador program?

Word-of-mouth (WOM) drives the majority of purchase decisions in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) markets. People frequently turn to others for advice and input on things they’re considering purchasing–the more expensive those things are, the more likely they’ll seek a variety of inputs before making that decision.
Organizations can, and should, be proactive in harnessing the power of brand ambassadors. This starts with their employee audience and can extend to other highly engaged audiences like customers (especially frequent purchasers), business leaders within the community/industry, vendors and other partners and collaborators.

How does a business go about finding brand ambassadors?

My best advice would be to start from within– with employees. But before asking them to spread the word on your behalf, and providing them with the means to do so (e.g., key messages, etc.), survey/poll them to determine what their current view of the company’s products and services–and their experiences as employees– are. This can be done through a simple Net Promoter Score (NPS) assessment–simply asking them to rate the company’s brand/products and the company’s employment environment on a scale of 1-10 in terms of “would you recommend?” It can be counterproductive to attempt to have a brand ambassador program if the company isn’t already highly regarded. If it’s not, then work needs to be done to boost those scores before implementing a brand ambassador program.
How could you leverage brand ambassadors more proactively to help you generate positive word-of-mouth for your company and its products and services in 2022?

About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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Recommended Reading:

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR

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The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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Brand Ambassadors vs. Influencers – What’s the Difference?