7 tips to build the ambassador program your brands need

Are you ready to take your customer relationships to the next level and transform those satisfied people into passionate, brand-boosting ambassadors? Creating your very first ambassador program can be overwhelming and sometimes you might not know where to start.

January 5, 2024

In this article, we'll walk you through the essential steps, share insider tips, and give you the knowledge to turn your customers into unstoppable, brand-building dynamos.

So buckle up and let's dive in !

Note: Before we dive deeper, it's important to clarify our focus. In this article, we'll be exploring ambassador programs designed specifically to transform customers into brand ambassadors, rather than discussing programs aimed at boosting an organization's employer brand through its employees.

What is a brand ambassador program?

A brand ambassador program is a marketing initiative that aims to leverage the power of their most loyal and enthusiastic customers. Known as brand ambassadors, they become advocates for the brand, spreading positive word-of-mouth and driving organic growth.

Ambassadors go beyond being mere customers. They are part of your brand's extended family

Imagine having a group of passionate people who genuinely love your products or services.

They rave about them to their friends, family, and even strangers on the internet.

They showcase your brand on their social media posts and actively engage with your content. That is the essence of a brand ambassador program.

A brand ambassador program serves as a structured framework that formalizes and nurtures these valuable relationships.

It helps people to actively engage with and promote your brand, collaborate on exciting initiatives, and reap exclusive benefits for their unwavering support.

As soon as you recognize their efforts and invest in their growth, you're cultivating a community that feels valued, appreciated, and deeply connected to your brand's success.

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4 benefits of creating a brand ambassador program

But why should you bother investing your time, energy, and resources into implementing a brand ambassador program, you may wonder?

A brand ambassador program expands brand awareness

First and foremost, a brand ambassador program amplifies your reach like never before.

Because building brand awareness is not just about getting your name out there; it's about creating a memorable impression that resonates with your target audience.

And ambassadors are perfect for that.

Through their social media posts (on LinkedIn for B2B or Instagram for B2C for example), word-of-mouth recommendations, and good old-fashioned conversations, they organically promote your brand to new audiences who may have never stumbled upon it otherwise.

Their genuine enthusiasm and personal recommendations carry tremendous weight and credibility, making it more likely for others to take notice and give your brand a try.

And the ripple effect of word-of-mouth can be extraordinary.

A single ambassador's recommendation on social media can quickly reach hundreds, if not thousands, of people, amplifying your brand's exposure and creating a buzz around your offerings.

A brand ambassador drinking a mexican soda

A brand ambassador program enhances brand authenticity and trust

But it doesn't stop there. A brand ambassador program injects a healthy dose of authenticity into your marketing efforts.

Consumers are overloaded with information and more and more skeptical. People crave authenticity, seeking genuine connections with brands they can rely on.

When loyal customers become brand ambassadors, they are essentially vouching for your products or services based on their firsthand encounters.

Their authentic testimonials and endorsements cut through the noise and resonate with potential customers on a deeper level. They carry a level of credibility that traditional marketing methods struggle to match.

Think about it: when a friend or family member recommends a brand, we tend to trust their opinion more than a random ad. The same principle applies to ambassador programs.

These brand ambassadors are not just random faces. They are real people with real-life experiences.

A brand ambassador program boosts customer retention and LTV

We all know that it is more cost-effective to nurture existing relationships than to constantly chase new leads.

Building lasting relationships with your customers is the lifeblood of every successful brands. And ambassador programs helps to achieve that.

With a brand ambassador program, you strengthen the bond between loyal customers and your company. You create a dedicated tribe of satisfied customers who are more likely to stick around, engage with your brand over the long haul, and become repeat customers.

But not only do ambassadors stay with your brand, they also inspire others to try your products as well, by sharing their positive experiences.

And even more, they are your frontline warriors, defending your brand against competition and staying committed through thick and thin.

Their unwavering support bolsters customer retention, reduce churn rates and increase the lifetime value of each customer.

A brand ambassador program builds authentic bonds with customers

Brand ambassador programs allow you to connect with your customers on a deeper level.

They no longer feel like faceless buyers. They become valued members of an exclusive community.

Give your ambassadors direct access to your team. Ask them to contribute to product development, marketing campaigns, or content creation.

It will enable them to provide feedback, share ideas, and participate in shaping the brand's direction.

This collaborative approach not only strengthens relationships but also ensures that your offerings align with the desires and needs of your target audience.

Moreover, such a program offer a platform for ambassadors to share their stories and experiences with your brand.

This storytelling aspect humanizes your company, making it relatable and resonant with potential customers.

When others see real people sharing their genuine experiences, they are more likely to connect emotionally and form a deeper trust in your brand.

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7 tips to create a fruitful ambassador program

Here are our 7 tips for creating a kick-ass brand ambassador program: 

  • Identify your ideal ambassadors
  • Segment programs, missions and rewards to the target audience
  • Empower and equip
  • Rely on the experiential
  • Put your community at the center of your strategy
  • Play on seasonality
  • Make it fun!

Identify your ideal brand ambassadors

Not all customers are equal when it comes to ambassadorship.

Look for individuals who not only love your products but also align with its values and embody its essence.

Start by defining your ideal ambassador persona—the characteristics, values, and traits that personify the type of individuals who would be great as brand advocates.

Consider your brand's niche and target market.

Who are the people most likely to connect with your products or services? Think about their demographics, interests, and online presence.

Look for individuals who already engage with your brand on social media, share positive feedback, or actively promote similar products in your industry.

Don't limit yourself to traditional metrics like followers count. Instead, focus on finding those who possess influence, engagement, and a genuine passion for sharing their experiences.

Segment programs, missions and rewards to the target audience

With a brand ambassador program, one size doesn't fit all.

To truly engage your audience and maximize their participation, you need to understand their diverse interests, preferences, and motivations. That's where segmentation comes into play.

Start by dividing your audience into distinct marketing segments based on relevant criteria. It could be demographics, buying behavior, geographic location, or even their level of engagement with your brand.

Then you can create targeted programs, missions, and rewards that resonate with each group's unique characteristics.

Let's say you have a segment of adventure-seeking customers. You might create missions that involve testing your products in exciting or extreme environments.

Or if you have a segment focused on sustainability, you might develop missions that encourage eco-friendly practices or collaborations with environmentally conscious organizations.

Also, do not forget to personalize the rewards you offer.

It could be exclusive discounts, early access to new products, personalized items, or even unique experiences related to your brand. By doing this, you create a sense of exclusivity and value that appeals to each segment's specific motivations.

Rahul Marthak's tweet about ambassador program

For example, the brand "J'aime mes dents" chose to differentiate influencers from customers, on its landing page and recruitment form.

And this targeting makes all the difference. It changes the content of the whole program, bring differentiated communication, and slightly different procedures.

For customers

  • Goals : loyalty and engagement-oriented
  • Missions: reviews, shares, comments, likes ...

For Influencers

  • Goals : visibility and acquisition
  • Missions : focused on content creation (post, video ...) and gifting

An ambassador program page targeting influencers and customers

Empower and equip brand ambassadors

Arm your brand ambassadors with all the tools they need to present your brand effectively.

Start by developing a comprehensive ambassador toolkit that includes brand guidelines, key messaging, and visual marketing assets.

Clearly outline your brand's values, tone of voice, and visual identity to ensure consistency across all ambassador-driven content.

Give them with high-quality images, videos, and graphics that they can use to showcase your products or services.

In addition to this toolkit, offer ongoing support and training to your ambassadors.

Provide educational resources, webinars, or workshops that enhance their knowledge about your brand, products, and industry. This will enable them to confidently speak about your offerings and address any questions or concerns raised by potential customers.

You might also create a dedicated online community or forum where ambassadors can connect, ask questions, provide feedback, and share their success stories.

The more empowered and knowledgeable your brand ambassadors are, the more compelling their advocacy will be.

Rely on the experiential

While traditional rewards like discounts and merchandise are valuable, experiential rewards can create a lasting impact and forge a deeper connection with your ambassadors.

They go beyond material possessions and add unique value to your brand ambassador program.

You can organize exclusive events, meet-ups, or seminars for your best ambassadors. These gatherings will provide a platform for networking, learning, and building relationships within the community, with like-minded individuals who share their passion.

Also consider offering ambassador-only access to product launches, beta testing, or behind-the-scenes experiences.

Ambassadors love being part of the inner circle, and these exclusive opportunities make them feel valued and appreciated. They'll become the first to try out new products or witness the creation process, creating a sense of pride and exclusivity.

Janet Machuka's tweet about ambassador program

If we keep the customer/influencer segmentation chosen by the "J'aime mes dents" brand, rewards could be :

  • For  influencers: visit your premises, meet your employees, a day in your daily life, taking control of your LinkedIn or Instagram account for one day  ...

The goal here is to be able to offer them an experience that has value for them and for your community. An experience they can create content with (blog posts, videos, stories, ...)

  • For customers: a day of treatment, restaurant for 2, massages, events gathering your community, webinars, exclusive lives ...

The objective here is to continue the immersion in your brand universe by offering different rewards. Offering activities related to your brand or your products can not only allow you to develop partnerships, but also to give a feeling of exclusivity to some of your members. To really reward and differentiate their commitment and involvement.

Put your community at the heart of your strategy

Brand ambassadors are not just passionate advocates. They are valuable sources of knowledge and feedback.

So, when creating your programs, don't hesitate to put your community at the forefront.

For example, you can create an ambassador council or advisory board consisting of a select group of ambassadors. This council can meet regularly to discuss strategic initiatives, provide input on product development, or brainstorm marketing campaigns.

Their firsthand experience and unique perspectives can offer fresh ideas and ensure your strategies align with the needs and desires of your target audience.

Encourage them to contribute to the content creation process. Ask for their input on blog topics, social media campaigns, or video content.

This collaborative approach will add variety and authenticity to your content marketing.

Basically, you can involve your ambassadors in every part of your business.

You hesitate between two colors? Make them vote!

You want their opinion on your latest creations ? Send them samples.

You want to know their needs better? Organize a toolbox to collect their ideas.

The community at the heart of a company's strategy

Caring about your community also means recognizing its members individually.

Highlight their involvement and gamify their experience.

Encourage ambassadors to share their success stories and feature them on your website, social media, or any marketing materials. By doing that, you'll give them visibility and recognition. This not only boosts their confidence but also inspires others to join the ambassador program.

For example, you can highlight your "Ambassador of the month” in your front page stories on Instagram or in your newsletter.

The jewelry brand Athénaïs does it by sharing, on social media, its community members that talks about the brand :

Screenshot of Instagram stories showing brand ambassadors

Want to know more about this topic? Check out this article on the Community-led Growth strategy.

Play on seasonality

Don't hesitate to take advantage of seasonality. Giving different highlights to your community along the year allows you to extend your peak period.

Start by identifying key seasons, holidays, or events that are relevant to your brand or industry. Are the end-of-year holidays approaching? Is it summer? Valentine's Day?

Design marketing campaigns or missions that align with the spirit of the season.

For example, during the holiday season, you could create a mission centered around spreading joy and giving back to the community. During summer, you could encourage ambassadors to share their favorite outdoor activities or travel experiences.

Tailor your content, messaging, and rewards to reflect the themes and sentiments associated with each season.

This will allow you to get more impact because you will be aligned with the current concerns of your target.

Also engage your brand ambassadors in seasonal content creation.

Encourage them to share their seasonal recipes, decorating tips, gift guides, or fashion inspirations. This user-generated content not only adds variety and authenticity to your brand's messaging but also takes advantage of the creativity and enthusiasm of your ambassador community.

Make your program fun!

It's well known that in order to capture the attention of your target on the long term, your brand ambassador program must be entertaining!

Aim to build an environment where your ambassadors look forward to participate.

Design interactive challenges, contests, or gamified missions that encourage friendly competition and engagement among your ambassadors.

This could involve quizzes, photo challenges, scavenger hunts, or creative tasks.

Making it fun can also be done collectively.

Why not make group challenges? Nothing prevents you from creating teams and launching a contest with a reward for the best team!

Regarding the rewards, do not only propose tangible incentives. Also offer virtual badges, levels, or points that they can accumulate and showcase within the community.

This not only recognizes their achievements but also adds an element of friendly rivalry and a sense of accomplishment.

Surprise and delight your ambassadors with unexpected rewards, personalized messages, or exclusive perks. This could involve sending them special gifts, featuring them in your social media post, or giving them early access to new products or promotions.

These small gestures go a long way in making them feel valued and appreciated.

Finally, it's all in the details. Your tone, your wording, the gamification set up, all of this participates to improve the experience and make it attractive.

The ambassador bridge

In the end what will make your brand ambassador program a success, apart from the program itself, is the experience you offer.

Just as you take care of your customer experience to make it as smooth, enjoyable and engaging as possible, take care of your brand ambassador experience to make it as attractive, rewarding and fulfilling as possible.

Remember, building a successful brand ambassador program requires dedication, nurturing, and a genuine commitment to fostering authentic connections.

To conclude, take a look at this infographic drawn up with our friends at Iconosquare to help you promote and sustain your ambassador program on social media :

Wiink and Iconosquare infography about ambassador programs and social media

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