Brand ambassadors have the power to elevate events and activations and that is no secret among event marketers. But not all brand ambassadors are considered equal. There are a handful of key characteristics that set the true game-changers apart from the rest. Whether you’ve just started building a brand ambassador program or you’re updating your selection process, consider these best practices for choosing staffers that will function as true extensions of your brand.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but the foundation of a successful brand ambassador lies in his or her level of professionalism. To determine if the individual makes the grade, ask yourself some basic questions about how the person is likely to manage various event scenarios: How would they handle downtime at an event—glued to their phones or finding new ways to recruit customers? Are they likely to get along with employees and fellow staffers? And how would they respond to negative feedback from customers? There are no re-dos in events, after all.
They don’t have to aspire to be your brand’s next cmo to be successful, but brand ambassadors should have some stake in the game and a concept of how they’d like their career to progress. Consider the impetus behind Nestlé’s Experiential Center of Excellence, a training program that emphasizes culture and personal growth among event staff. The program was established by Jessica Kornick, the brand’s experiential marketing manage-strategy, people and culture, who six years ago recognized a widespread lack of commitment and passion among brand ambassadors, and set out to fix it.
Speaking of passion, it’s a key characteristic of any effective brand ambassador, whether they’re promoting chewing gum or a cutting-edge technological innovation. A general lust for life is a good start, but event staffers should also illustrate passion for the brand’s products or services, and the role they’re playing as representatives of the company. That kind of positive energy is contagious, and vital to building emotional connections with attendees.
One of the many reasons brand ambassadors are so valuable is that event marketers and other employees simply can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why hiring staffers who naturally take a proactive approach to their role—and to the event—is critical. Find a brand ambassador that is just as dedicated to collecting and analyzing attendee feedback, and relaying those insights to the rest of the team, as an event marketer would be. The information gathered from one-on-one interactions at events is invaluable, and critical to informing how you plan your next live experience.
Authenticity is a buzzword in the industry for a reason—it works—which means a brand ambassador’s values must match that of the company they’re representing in order for the brand to be perceived as genuine. If you want to be viewed as an environmentally conscious brand, for instance, then hiring staffers who toss their soda bottles on the ground instead of in the recycle bin on their lunch break is going to raise more than a few eyebrows from attendees—and possibly create a lack of trust in your brand. That’s a downhill battle no marketer wants to endure.
Bottom line is, brand ambassadors are the face of your company, and they should act accordingly. Live experiences are not for the faint of heart, so taking the time to vet your event staffers is paramount. You’re only as strong as your weakest link.
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