How to create a dialogue about your company using brand ambassadors

Brand ambassadors are a company’s frontline. They are the face of the brand, and they’re one of the most important components of an experiential marketing campaign.

“Brand ambassadors are imperative to bringing a brand to life and creating a dialogue in a way no other type of marketing can achieve in an honest and authentic way,” says Drew McCartt, senior vice president at Event Marketing Strategies. “Nothing compares to one-on-one, face-to-face engagement to drive results.”

Smart Business spoke with McCartt about brand ambassadors and how they enhance activations in experiential marketing campaigns.

What are brand ambassadors?

Brand ambassadors are the field staff that represent the brand at events. They are hired from a variety of backgrounds and a wide array of ages and talents in order to best fit both the program and brand they are representing.

What is the role of a brand ambassador in event activation?

Their primary responsibility is engaging consumers — on the street, at a fair, festival, sporting event or trade show — and encouraging them to interact with the on-site brand experience. Depending on the type of campaign and its goal, brand ambassadors can be tasked with everything from handing out samples and promotional items, generating leads, engaging consumers with interactive exhibits, to demonstrating a service or product, and even educating consumers on a particular brand message. Further, ambassadors are often tasked with conducting a register-to-win sweepstakes program and providing consumers with coupons or literature as takeaways.

How should companies prepare brand ambassadors for event activation?

An in-depth and conversational interview is necessary to gauge the candidate’s face-to-face dialogue skills, personality and body language. The best candidates can quickly establish a good connection and their energy should feel contagious, both important traits.

Once candidates are selected, they receive an in-person training and simple but specific program talking points with three to five key messages. This usually involves role playing with other ambassadors to pick up on subtleties of ways to speak about the brand and improve the delivery of those messages.

Hiring the right team and training them before the event season is certainly important, but so is a per-event training and logistics conversation. This is a refresher course on the talking points but is also specific to the upcoming event.

What outcomes should companies expect when using brand ambassadors?

The first and most obvious outcome is to establish a dialogue. It’s a chance to familiarize the consumer about the brand so they feel good about purchasing its products or services, and determine first-hand what existing customers may be saying about a company’s brand, product or service, and what questions they’re asking.

Other outcomes depend on the initial goals of the experiential campaign. For instance, in the event a brand seeks lead generation, expect brand ambassadors to obtain as many leads as possible when engaging with consumers. Those can be sales leads, follow-up opportunities or contact information to increase a company’s consumer database. Product trial might be another goal. Here, companies can expect brand ambassadors to distribute hundreds, if not thousands, of samples and/or coupons to consumers at an event.

Following an activation, companies should solicit suggestions from its brand ambassadors to understand what worked and what should be done differently in order to be more effective for future activations.

How does a company get started?

Hiring brand ambassadors can be challenging if you’re not sure where to start so it’s important to know that there are companies that can help. Specialized agencies that understand experiential marketing and event activation are experts at selecting, training and managing brand ambassador teams. They’re also skilled at analyzing the data captured by brand ambassadors post-event and will provide a detailed report that includes anecdotal feedback and suggestions moving forward.

Insights Event Marketing is brought to you by Event Marketing Strategies