Published on May 25, 2017, at 10:17 a.m.
by Allison Morris.
In the 1950s it was Marilyn Monroe’s face plastered across ads in magazines for beauty products and accessories. She was a well-known figure and coupled with her beauty, there was no question why companies like Jon-Joy Cosmetics and Lustre-Creme Shampoo wanted her face associated with their products.
Today it is the same concept that drives brand ambassadorship: pairing a well-known face with a product in hopes that the person representing the brand will inspire audiences to purchase the product or participate in the company’s vision. A common place in which we see brand ambassadors advocating for products is on Instagram.
As the basis for Marilyn Monroe’s brand advertisements centered around pictures of her using the products and a short testimony highlighting the positives of the product, the basis for promoting a brand and its products on Instagram works in a similar way. The benefit in today’s society is that brands have more space to promote their products than ever before. Instagram has provided an incredibly valuable platform for brands to seek out individuals to use and promote their brands to the audiences they personally have.
Season after season, contestants on ABC’s “The Bachelor” go from being ordinary girls to females of envy. Even after their elimination from the show, they remain in the spotlight due in part to the existence of social media and the ease with which people like myself can continue to keep up with the women we came to love or hate over the course of the season.
From former contestant Becca Tilley recently promoting Singapore’s tourism board through vivid and fun photos of herself on vacation to season 21’s Danielle Maltby posting about the eyewear she sports, brands are getting exposure through a more genuine approach to women with hundreds of thousands to millions of followers living with these brands.
After finding myself checking out — and admittedly even buying — some of the products the people I follow post about, I began to look into a few key elements that make a good brand ambassador.
They maintain a clean image.
As most could imagine, someone with a poor reputation or criminal record is not likely a good person to associate a brand with. A good brand ambassador has a clean image and is honest, making the brand experience they represent more genuine.
They represent the vision.
Anyone advocating for a brand needs to represent the vision or values of the company. Though an individual may have over a million followers, she won’t be a good ambassador of ski-wear if she lives and works in Miami, Florida. Similarly, it would be hard to buy into the success of a hair care product if someone with a shaved head is telling us to buy it. Using a brand ambassador to increase visibility is not solely about connecting a face to a brand, but it also should be about the vision the ambassador stands to convey.
They have an established audience.
A good brand ambassador does not have to be an A-list celebrity, but they should be someone who has an established following that engages with their posts. Someone with 10,000 Instagram followers won’t be as valuable to a brand as someone with 462,000 followers, as the number of people who see the posts will be far less with the first person.
However, the number of followers someone has doesn’t automatically qualify them as a brand ambassador. If the individual doesn’t have a clean image or a represented vision as previously mentioned, numbers themselves become irrelevant.
Promoting brands on Instagram has given companies access to advertisement opportunities that reach beyond the classic magazine, TV or newspaper ads with famous faces like Marilyn Monroe. A brand must seek to connect its product and overall vision with a face that people believe in and posts that promote an overall positive experience.
A brand can easily be shaped around the people we think of when its company is mentioned. Remembering that a successful brand experience relies on the strength of the relationship with consumers is imperative in selecting a valuable brand ambassador.