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I want you to close your eyes (obviously only once you have finished reading this sentence 😉 ) and think about the brand Nespresso, once you have had a good think, open your eyes and carry on reading…

You probably pictured George Clooney sipping on a delicious cup of coffee in that wonderful clear mug, right?

That’s because the collaboration between the ambassador and the brand was executed to perfection. George became the face of the brand and when you spoke of or saw George on television, you thought of Nespresso and visa versa.

Unfortunately, not all ambassador and brand relationships work so well.

Including ambassadors in your marketing strategy is an extremely effective way to reach more consumers because it provides a personal touch that consumers can relate to. With that being said, it is also a tricky strategy to get right because of the unpredictability of the relationship.

Let’s have a look at some of the issues or potential problems that come with ambassadors and the action plans to put in place to overcome these problems.

  1. Finding the right ambassador for your brand
    • While this may seem like an easy thing to get right because well, you know your brand inside and out, so why would it be hard to find someone that fits the mould? Let’s just say, it isn’t as easy as you think. You may find someone that matches 80% of your brand’s values but that other 20% is a total deal breaker. So, you start searching for the perfect ambassador again, and again, and again until you finally find the person that perfectly resembles your brand. But even once you find them, how can you be sure everything will run smoothly?
    • Some brands look for an ambassador who has a large following, rather than how they fit the brand. Which we understand, you want your brand to reach as many people as possible, but is it worth it if those thousands of followers are not even close to your target market?
  2. Finding the right platforms for your ambassadors to be present on
    • We know that brands want to be visible on as many television screens, radio stations, magazines, digital media platforms, and billboards as possible. But is being on all the touchpoints right for your brand and more importantly your ambassador?
      • You may be thinking, why more importantly the ambassador? Well, for example, let’s say your brand is a small business and is looking for an ambassador that appeals to a small niche but isn’t a huge celebrity like Justin Bieber. Now imagine seeing that person on TV or on a billboard selling your product, will you relate to it, will you take their recommendation even if you don’t know who they are? Chances are, no. Whereas if you are a brand like Coca-Cola who has the budget to employ an ambassador like Justin Bieber, then, of course, you would want to be on every platform because each platform works for him.
    • The main thing to take away here is that you need to choose the right platforms for your brand and ambassador, that reaches your consumer in the best way possible.
  3. Ambassadors going rogue
    • Every brand’s worst nightmare… Ambassadors bring lots of good for a brand, BUT, if they have the slightest mess up, say or do the wrong thing, not only is their reputation tarnished, but so is your brand’s reputation. Some brands might be able to keep their reputation intact, but their name is making the rounds, and not in the positive way they would hope.
    • Let’s look at the Adidas and Kanye West debacle, the brand decided cut ties with the celebrity due to unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous antisemitic comments. The relationship between the two before the debacle created a lot of positivity for both the brand and Kanye. But after one mistake on Kanye’s side, the relationship was destroyed, and their reputation was tarnished.
    • How do you avoid this? Well, there is no formula to this, unfortunately. But what you can do is vet the ambassadors previous content published, look into their past incidents that may have occurred, and go back to the first step we spoke out. Make sure the ambassador you select aligns with your brand so that there isn’t a chance of unfortunate events like this occurring.

While these issues may seem like big hurdles to get over and may put you off going the ambassador route, it isn’t something you should write off. Ambassadors are a great marketing tool if done correctly. Brands need to focus on the present times, with people being the biggest driver for consumers’ purchase decisions. Be diligent with research, know what to expect, and draw up a concise agreement/contract that outlines each party’s responsibilities.

Don’t let any adversity you have seen or heard of influence your decision. Do what is right for your brand.

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