The terms brand ambassadors and brand advocates are often used interchangeably. However, while they both play crucial roles in promoting a brand, they differ. Each represents a different aspect of customer engagement and brand promotion, and understanding these differences is key to implementing a successful marketing strategy. In this blog post, we will dissect the roles of brand ambassadors and advocates, highlighting their differences and the unique value each brings to a brand’s marketing efforts.
What are brand ambassadors?
While there are similarities between brand ambassadors and advocates, they serve different purposes. Here are some of the main aspects that set them apart.
A brand ambassador is someone the brand hires to represent the brand in a positive light
Brand ambassadors are often influencers who showcase products in their content. Brands hire brand ambassadors for long-term partnerships as champions of the brand. For example, Lululemon has one of the most popular and sought-after ambassador programs in which creators showcase the brand’s athleisure wear regularly. Kayla Jeter, a current ambassador for the brand, shares her favorite stylish pieces with her 89K Instagram followers.
Brand ambassadors are often paid in cash, products, or services to endorse the brand
One of the key aspects that sets brand ambassadors apart from advocates is that they are typically compensated. For example, Redbull has one of the most successful ambassador programs, working with students and athletes.
Ambassadors’ main role is to increase brand awareness and sales by promoting the brand’s products or services
The main objective for brand ambassadors is to successfully share how they use a brand’s products in a way that truly resonates with their unique audiences. This increases brand awareness and encourages purchases.
Ambassadors can be celebrities, influencers or thought leaders who have a formal agreement with the brand
Brand ambassadorships often include various types of influencers. For example, Riya Gohil is a micro-influencer who is an ambassador for fashion and beauty brands like Good American. Qualifications for brand ambassadorships can differ from brand to brand.
While brand ambassadors can reach a large audience, their recommendations might be seen as less genuine due to their paid relationship with the brand
In comparison to brand advocates who are often not compensated like ambassadors are, ambassadors’ content may not come off as authentic or resonate as much as advocates’ might, which sets the two apart.
What are brand advocates?
Brand advocates are customers who are extremely passionate about a brand and share their experiences with the products and services, usually with no set expectations in return. Here are some of the differences that separate them from brand ambassadors.
A brand advocate is a customer who is so satisfied with your product that they spread the word about your brand on their own accord
As mentioned before, brand advocates are often not compensated for their content. Their genuine passion for the products is evident in their posts.
They are not paid or affiliated with the brand in any formal capacity
Brand advocates are often just superfans who aim to share their most-liked and used products with their friends, family and social media followers.
Their advocacy stems from their personal experiences and genuine satisfaction with the product or service
The best way to put it is that brand advocates share the products they truly love and use, while some influencers are compensated to feature products for the first time. Their product appreciation resonates with their audiences.
They can be anyone — from a loyal customer to an industry expert to an online influencer
Advocates for a brand can come from various backgrounds — they could be devoted customers, knowledgeable industry experts, or popular online influencers. The critical factor is their passion for the brand and its products, which motivates them to share and recommend their favorite items. This diverse range of potential advocates is part of what makes them such a unique and valuable asset in marketing.
Brand advocates are trusted more than influencers
One significant distinction between brand advocates and ambassadors lies in their level of authenticity perceived by audiences. Brand advocates often do not receive compensation and tend to resonate more genuinely with their followers. This is because their endorsements are based on personal experiences and satisfaction with the brand. On the other hand, brand ambassadors, whose content is often sponsored by brands, may not have the same level of authenticity due to the commercial nature of their endorsements and the influence brands may have over their shared content.
Both brand ambassadors and advocates possess the unique ability to reach new audiences and boost brand visibility through their innovative ways of showcasing everyday product use. Despite their differences, each plays a significant role in crafting successful marketing strategies, underlining the importance of both in the broader marketing landscape.