Let’s say Stacey, Jennifer and Tara are on lunch break at the mall, and are headed to the food court. Jennifer asks where they should eat, when Stacey points out that Olive Garden has their unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks lunch, it’s delicious, and well under $10. Jennifer agrees, that does sound pretty good!
Stacey is a brand advocate for Olive Garden. She loves the restaurant and eats there at least once a week.
But right when they are set to go to Olive Garden, Tara says “Well I think I will go to Chick Fil-A. I tried their new spicy chicken sandwich combo and it was delicious! It comes with fries and a drink for only $5.89. Plus, I have three $2 off coupons, so we could eat at Chick-Fil-A for about half what it would cost at Olive Garden! Y’all want to come?”
Tara is a brand advocate for Chick Fil-A but she is also a brand ambassador for the chain. The difference in this example is that Chick Fil-A has reached out to Tara and is working with her to help her get the word out about the chain. By doing things like giving her coupons on products that she can share with friends.
So you could say that Stacey is a brand advocate for Olive Garden that the franchise hasn’t connected with in order to see if she wants to become a brand ambassador.
The basic difference between a brand advocate and an ambassador is that a brand ambassador has a formal relationship with the brand. The brand has connected with them and is in regular contact with them. Typically, the brand does this in order to help the ambassador better promote the brand and educate their friends and people they come in contact with about the brand. This can be very powerful because as we all know, we trust our friends and other customers more than we do brands. It’s just human nature.
However, there’s a big caveat to this approach. Notice I said that most brands want to leverage ambassadors as a way to promote their brand. What many brands don’t spend enough time on is focusing on the feedback that their ambassadors can collect about the brand. Since their ambassadors are constantly talking to customers about the brand, it’s a wonderful way for the brand to get real feedback from customers on the brand, what they like, and dislike.
So if your brand is considering launching a brand ambassador program, think about how you can empower your ambassadors to promote your brand, but also think about how you can encourage your ambassadors to get feedback from customers on the brand. Then make sure you find a way to collect that feedback from all your ambassadors, so you can act on it.
If your brand wants to launch a brand ambassador program, here’s 10 things to remember.