brand ambassadors, brand advocatesThere is a lot of talk about Brand Advocate’s and Brand Ambassadors lately. I thought I would address this terminology issue to help clarify the differences.

Brand Advocates:

Simply put, a brand advocate is a person or customer who speaks of a brand in a positive way. These are people who have purchased a product or service on their own and continue to talk about it thru online reviews, on social sites and other media mediums to share their experiences. They are your happy customers!

Brand Ambassadors:

A brand ambassador is typically a person who is hired by an organization or brand to promote their services or product. A brand ambassador typically will be a trusted person (celebrity, influencer in the industry) that uses the product or service to establish credibility with their targeted audience. A brand ambassador typically will try to ensure customer loyalty further by establishing customer engagement on behalf of the brand.

These are simple definitions of the terms – each of these terms can intermingle. For example, a high influencer who is a brand advocate of a product can be hired to be a brand ambassador by a company to continue to speak about the product or service. Typically, transparency is needed when a customer is a brand ambassador by clearly identifying their relationship with the brand.

Why would a small business need to be concerned about brand advocates?

Brand advocates are happy customers. These are the people “liking” your facebook posts, coming in and talking about your business to their peers. These are the people that are going to help you promote your business!

How powerful is a brand advocate’s relationship to your business?

According to the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, July 2009 92% of consumers trust “recommendations from people I know.” (aka brand advocates that like your business) Only 37% trust search engine ads (how much are you spending on those online PPC ads), and just 24% trust online banner ads.

When you are sitting down at the end of the day to decide where your marketing dollars should go – knowing where the most “bang for your buck” goes … brand advocates should be a huge consideration. After all Brand Advocates are 2 to 3 times more effective in persuading others to purchase recommended brands. (Source: Yahoo! ComScore) How do they typically do this? Through their social media accounts and by word of mouth ….

If you’d like further help with brand ambassadors or brand advocacy for your small business … I’d love to talk to you! Contact me here: Contact Jennifer Stinnett