Personal brand: How brand ambassadors are changing the face of product endorsements

Personal brand: How brand ambassadors are changing the face of product endorsements

From Nicole Kidman for Swisse to Hugh Jackman for Quantas, high profile endorsements are still big business for Australian brands. Increasingly, however, companies are turning to experiential and social media marketing to feature more assessable brand ambassadors in their advertising campaigns.

This new wave of brand ambassadors or micro-endorsers (i.e. the PromoPeople people) has several advantages over the traditional celebrity spokesperson. All and all they are more modern, more approachable, more authentic, and less expensive.

  1. Big media has fallen, and taken big endorsements with it.

In the hay days of big media, the success of a brand and ambassador pairing depended almost exclusively on the public profile of the ambassador. The more coverage traditional media gave the ambassador, the more valuable the partnership was for the brand.

In the last decade, the internet has changed everything. The widespread use of ad-blockers and pirated or paid video streaming diminishes the value of traditional advertising, even online. At the same time, it is less important for a brand ambassador to have a public profile, since everyone now has an public profile online.

  1. An approachable brand representative is an effective one.

Less famous brand ambassadors do what celebrity spokespeople never could – make recommendations to potential customers directly. At an event, product launch, or promotion, brand ambassadors connect with event attendants as peers.

Potential customers trust peer recommendation more than any other type of advertising [1]. This makes brand ambassadors potentially more effective than celebrities at influencing individual sales, since it’s easier for attendants to connect with less famous brand ambassadors.

A real life person is also particularly engaging in today’s device-centered world. For their audience, celebrities are rarely more than two-dimensional. Actually, in a world glued to mobile devices, much of life in general is two-dimensional. Brand ambassadors add engaging dimension to flat advertising.

  1. Combat cynicism with authentic representatives.

Social media has made everyone’s lives public, which means that, on the one hand, the authenticity of celebrity endorsements is under a constant microscope and that, on the other hand, anyone can curate and share the personal brands they choose.

Today, passion and truth are everything in marketing. Brand ambassadors aren’t successful simply because they’re famous anymore, they’re successful because they truly embody the product they endorse. Brand ambassadors are successful because your brand is their personal brand.

Companies are now able to turn to up and coming local celebrities – like Ashley Hart for 2015 Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, for example – or to unknowns who embody their brand message and values more authentically than Kidman or Jackman could.

Because social media spreads word of mouth further than traditional media, brand ambassadors no longer need to be independently famous to have an impact. People build a persona online around what they want to represent becoming, essentially, a brand themselves.

  1. Less famous brand ambassadors are a better value.

    For most companies, the price point of a celebrity endorsement is out of reach. Brand ambassadors humanize a brand, just like an endorsement does, but costs companies significantly less.