Short term vs long term relationships with influencers and ambassadors
Working with the familiar faces and recognisable names of sports stars and celebrities has always been a key method in raising awareness and building positive associations between a brand and their target audience.
This makes the choice between short term or long term working relationships with influencers and ambassadors a critical decision for brands and businesses to make in today’s market in order to cut through.
While crossovers between the two exist, there are key differences between a short term and long term approach that must be considered before making the choice. These include factors such as the specificity of the target audience, the desired length of the relationship, as well as the levels of trust and association built with the product and its promoter.
What’s the difference between influencers and ambassadors?
An influencer is someone who has a highly engaged audience through social media channels, often with audiences interested in a specific topic who view them as a person of authority within that community.
A brand ambassador, as opposed to an influencer, will generally have a longer term relationship with a brand or business. Their audience and interest, like an influencer, will align with the brand they’re working with, but the nature of the partnership means brand ambassadors are able to drive deep, ongoing engagement, showing off more of a product or service through ongoing content creation, endorsements and advertisements.
Short term approach
One benefit of taking a shorter term approach through the use of influencers is the ability to employ multiple of them at once to launch a new product, promote an event, or even herald an announcement.
Spreading yourself out over several influencers can provide a fast yet considerable boost to awareness, engagement or sales by reaching the audiences of more than just one influencer, as well as provide the unique ability to hit the right target market on a short turnaround.
A perfect example highlighting the ability of influencers and stars to deliver on short term objectives is displayed through Tourism Western Australia’s #wanderoutyonder campaign, which coincided with the announcement of relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in May 2020.
Seeking to promote intra-state tourism using a range of well-known names in a social campaign using #wanderoutyonder, Tourism WA engaged Pickstar to find the stars to coincide with Premier Mark McGowan’s announcement that intra-state travel was set to return.
Through the co-ordinated hashtag, each of the star’s personalised social media posts were able to showcase the natural beauty on offer all across Western Australia and encourage the people of WA to get out and explore.
Long term approach
What sets a longer term approach apart is the stronger levels of trust that is able to be built over time through the use of a brand ambassador.
This trust goes two ways, between both the ambassador and their audience who will continue to impart their perception of credibility of the ambassador onto the product, and between the ambassador and the brand who through an open and cooperative partnership will continue to strengthen their relationship in a mutually beneficial manner.
Want to know more about how companies effectively utilise brand ambassadorships? Read our list of 7 great brand ambassadors in 2021.
This trust is further highlighted by the brand equity that is established through long term brand ambassadorships, especially with sports stars.
Think LeBron James and Nike, Mark Taylor and Fujitsu, or Ash Barty and Vegemite.
The instant association between certain brands and big name athletes allows brands to capitalise off the current exploits of their star ambassadors, and the precious memories of former greats.
Moreover, brand ambassadorships provide a storytelling platform for both the brand and the ambassador. Everybody loves a story of triumph over adversity, and through long term ambassadorships, brands are able to go along on the journey with their stars and help tell their stories while solidifying their own.
These intertwining narratives provide endless content production possibilities, prolonged sales, the ability to include the ambassador in marketing collateral, as well as allow for a more genuine connection between ambassador, brand and audience.
The decision to take a short or long term approach to your working relationships with sports stars and celebrities will depend on your type of business and audience you are trying to reach.
For short term goals and specific target audiences, influencers are a worthwhile way to harness the power of loyal social media followings, and can be particularly effective when partnering with multiple influencers for product or event launches, or even special announcements.
For a longer term focus, brand ambassadorships are a fantastic way to build trust, brand equity, and create genuine connections between ambassador, brand and audience.
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