Is being a Brand Ambassador worth the hype?
A few years ago I partnered with Oakley and Genuine Health as a brand ambassador. Learn the ins and outs of these partnerships, and decide if becoming a brand ambassador is worth pursuing.
What is a Brand Ambassador?
Brand ambassadors are given free product to review and promote. Companies partner with ambassadors as part of their marketing strategy, to build awareness about their brand and their products, hopefully converting to more sales.
How to become a Brand Ambassador:
Companies seek people who represent their target demographic, and who have a wide reach. Often they will look at your social media following. They aren’t necessarily looking at numbers (although that helps) but engagement, such as how do your followers interact with you? Do they seem to be interested in what you have to say?
Oakley advertised widely for their first Canadian brand ambassadors. It was an open call to apply via video. Josh saw an ad, thought it would be a good fit, and encouraged me to apply. I put together a video using footage from previously recorded workout videos (I film lots for clients), and was picked.
My Genuine Health ambassadorship happened right after the Oakley one. GH reached out to me because they noticed my participation in the Oakley program. It was good timing because I was contemplating reaching out to them too!
Think about brands whose products you enjoy and do some research. Reach out to them and let them know what you enjoy about their products, why you are aligned with their brand and messaging, and what kind of influence or reach you have built. They may or may not have an already established program, reach out to them anyway and see if you might be able to create a productive partnership.
Being a Brand Ambassador:
In general, ambassadors are required to share information and product reviews with their social networks or blog.
Brands are generous with their ambassadors.
Some brands offer more product for more reach or promotion. Some brands require you to track your posts or interactions, and report to them. Some brands offer education about products and encourage you to share these specifics. There are all kinds of sales or referral structures, that vary from brand to brand. You may also enjoy a discount on products above the free stuff you get. You will want to ask about these details when entering into an ambassadorship.
Brands are (of course) hoping ambassadors will portray their products in a positive light.
There is no requirement that the ambassador has to provide favourable reviews of all the tested products. You only really become an ambassador if you are a fan of the company’s product. Plus, the company gives you the goods for free so you have all these warm fuzzy feelings about the company for being so generous. So these reviews tend to be portray the brand in a positive light.
These types of partnerships can be really helpful if you are starting to build your business. In exchange for your publicity about their products, the brand may promote events or activities that you are running, which in turn broadens your reach. Partnering with trusted brands can bolster your own credibility. You may be given products to share with clients, which boosts their feelings about your company too.
After a certain point, you may grow out of the partnership.
I noticed that as my busines grew, I felt like sponsored posts watered down my message.
I value things differently when I pay money for them, so my product reviews are less meaningful when the products are free.
Plus, if you are spending all your time representing other brands, you may be distracting your focus away from your own. To run a successful business, you want money, not clothes. You can’t eat sunglasses!
The Oakley ambassadorship was time limited, and my GH ambassadorship gently tapered off along with my waning interest in posting on social media. I loved being a brand ambassador, but the experience lost its shine over time. Now I only hype products and services that I truly believe in – not because they have been given to me for free.