Digital technology offers brands an opportunity to engage with influencers, advocates and/or ambassadors to significantly improve the overall success of a campaign. However, there is ongoing confusion about what role brands can expect these individuals to play in endorsing products. It is important to have a strong understanding of the difference between each to ensure a best practice approach to identifying, engaging and collaborating with them.

  1. Advocates are highly satisfied customers or employees who actively recommend and promote products they love across social channels.

– It is increasingly important for brands to know who their advocates are and engage with them in the digital space, as consumers get more vocal about their brand experiences.

– Advocates are not usually paid to be involved in campaigns, but brands looking to harness those relationships should consider incentives (e.g. discounts or giveaways) to encourage continued loyalty and endorsement.

  1. Influencers are bloggers or well-known social media personalities targeted by a brand to help develop its image and increase credibility among niche audiences. 

– Influencers are selected because they are familiar with a relevant market and have proven ongoing engagement with large numbers of a target demographic.

– This approach represents classic ‘word of mouth’ marketing, an increasingly powerful strategy as consumers become less tolerant of brands filling up their social media channels.

– Brands should expect to pay a fee for an influencer’s involvement in a digital campaign.

– IMPACT suggests following these best practice steps to master successful engagement with influencers.

  1. Ambassadors are individuals with a high media profiles engaged because they align with a brand’s values, ethics, target audience and key messages. 

– Brands develop long-term relationships with ambassadors, differing from influencers who are often contracted for a single campaign.

– With inside knowledge on the brand and relevant market, ambassadors are ‘experts’ who are paid a retainer by a brand.

– Ambassadors are vocal about their involvement with a brand across their personal channels and their images/quotes are included in a brand’s owned content. They are also often included as ‘special guests’ for any relevant events.