Defining Brand Influencers

To take a line from Jay Baer and his post that he recently shared: Influencer Marketing just hit the big time.
Coming from a Digital/Experiential Marketing background, this is NOT a new thing. We’ve been using Brand Ambassadors (known as Influencers online) for years to connect with consumers and expand a brand’s message.
We need to change our vernacular. Influencers online and what brands consider influencers are two very different things.
There is huge value in brand ambassadors, which is why brands hire them. Brand ambassadors help create an experience for the end user. They meet you, the consumer, where you are. Brand ambassadors don’t create ROI, they create an experience. They bring awareness to a brand and make the interaction memorable.

Making It Relevant And Memorable

Here is a perfect example of what brands are doing:

The young lady highlighted was a brand ambassador for Clean & Clear. She represented the brand in a specifically targeted space and the brand achieved legitimate ROI from this single event.
Additional campaigns where brands used brand ambassadors:
Johnsonville Sausage:
Most influencers will NEVER bring this level of awareness or ROI back to a brand because they are not given specific enough messaging that will drive action or increase reach.
Do you know what a brand ambassador cares about? MONEY. Plain and simple. Once the campaign is over, they move on and get hired by the next brand or agency that will pay them to promote.

defining influencer

Social media “marketers” have egos that are way over-inflated and their sense of self importance is off the charts. I just want to say…
Sorry sweetheart…you’re not that big of a deal to a brand or to the people you think you influence.
Here’s the thing: If an influencer thinks they are going to gain any publicity or notoriety for being a brand ambassador, they are fooling themselves. Being a real brand ambassador is a lot of work and requires following brand guidelines for promotion. There is huge value in brand ambassadors which is why brands do hire them. Brand ambassadors help create an experience for the end user. They meet you, the consumer, where you are.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][bctt tweet=”Brand ambassadors don’t create ROI, they create an experience. They bring awareness to a brand and make the interaction memorable.”]

Measurable Reach

ROI for brand ambassadors is nearly impossible to calculate. Most agencies “create” ROI out of thin air with no real metrics to back the numbers.
If you set up specific campaigns with specific tools for specific conversions (and yes, I said specific three times on purpose to make my point) then you can begin to track those conversions. However, most brands are not doing this because the cost is exponentially higher than to simply create brand awareness or a customer experience. Brands only have an increased reach if there is a conversion: actual metrics such as new followers, new subscribers, increased sales, etc.
The brand’s measurable reach will not be impacted by using a brand ambassador unless they do a targeted promotion that drives the consumer back to take an action. They get major buzz at launch, which is what most companies are driving for with new products. Unfortunately, the buzz fizzles because they don’t maintain the promotion. Many brands would love for the fizzle to not happen, but they miss the mark on keeping the campaigns going. Soon enough they are on to the next product launch and the next major buzz that they can create.
KPI’s, ROI’s and metrics skyrocket when a campaign is implemented correctly.

The Brand Influencers Conversation

My issue with this influencer/brand conversation is that it is NOT new at all. We are conditioned on social media to think that being an influencer is almighty and powerful when in reality, all an influencer is when it comes to brand marketing and messaging is a brand ambassador or brand advocate. Brands have been spending HUGE marketing dollars for years on brand awareness and influencer type programs.
I’ve personally run, managed and staffed campaigns for these companies: Jeep, Winter X Games, E!, Cadbury, Pepsi, Disney XD, Dentyne, Irish Springs, Crystal Light, NBC, 20th Century Fox, Boost Mobile, Disney, PlayStation, Deutsch, HBO, Wall Street Journal, Yunker Energy, ADK America, Yakult, Famima, Dreyer’s Ice Cream, Manzanita Sol/Pepsi (Multi Cultural), T-Mobile (Multi Cultural), American Airlines, Aids Health Foundation, Greyhound Bolt Bus, Air New Zealand, US Cellular, Lifetime, Kraft Foods and many more.
You’ll notice some brands in that list that have huge recognition just by their logo. These brands who are widely recognized have been using influencer programs for the last 10 years (or more).
Bring someone on your team with experience. A person who can actually talk about this line of marketing. It will help your own personal brand to make sure that you are putting out the right information.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

4 replies on “Defining Brand Influencers”

Family and friends are the biggest influencers in our lives. Social media’s view of influencers is VERY different than how brands have utilized them for years.

Hi Lany,
Wanted to stop by and check out your blog. I was intrigued by this post. I’m very familiar with of course influencers and authority figures in the online world and of course have heard a lot about brand ambassadors but my own connections aren’t really with companies in general.
I do know though what you mean by some influencers, authority figures and gurus think their you know what doesn’t stink when in reality they’re just like everyone else. Fortunately for me I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with so many more authentic people then the opposite.
Really enjoyed your message and I’ll be sure to share it as well.
Have a wonderful week.

Hi Adrienne! Thanks for stopping by! There are so many perspectives on brand ambassadors, brand advocates and influencers. Social media puts them on a pedastal and turns them into something that they really are not. It can sometimes be hard to identify those that are genuine and those that are posing. It takes a keen eye and some business savvy to tell the difference! Thank you for sharing this! I look forward to connecting mroe with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *