Brand, viral marketing, social media…the marketing buzzword machine just keeps on rolling. I know editors who use tools to throw out e-mails if they contain certain buzzwords like breakthrough, solutions, and cutting-edge.
And yet new marketing terms come up quite frequently, although many are good ones since they hit the nail right on the head. Maybe I’m living under a rock but here’s one that I haven’t heard before – Brand Ambassador.
As I learned reading Mashable a brand ambassador is a “person who creates a sense of credibility, likability or interest.” It’s very common to have a movie star or professional athlete hawking your product. But because Michael Jordan hypes Gatorade does that mean I’m going to buy it and drink it? If I’m an athlete the odds are pretty high.
But where did this notion of “brand ambassador” come from? I just read a great blog entry in Mashable called “Why Social Media Is Perfect for Brand Ambassador Campaigns” that highlights five great ambassador programs. The two that are most commonly known are Jared The Subway Guy and The Snapple Lady. These programs highlight the everyday person or the common man. Granted, these two examples show that the concept of the ambassador program have been around for awhile, but the growth of social media, and YouTube in particular, shows the true power of this type of activity.
Which brings me back to the original point. While us folks in the PR/marketing world are guilty of creating and abusing certain buzzwords, the idea of the ambassador program is pure genius to me. Why pay a star athlete or actress zillions of dollars to promote your wares when you can pay almost nothing, use a regular person and touch a nerve with consumers, namely that I can relate to these people.
OK, so maybe relating to the common person isn’t a truly revolutionary idea. But the idea of viral marketing is to use social networks to increase brand awareness. Over the last few years it’s been common for me to include a section or idea on viral marketing in almost every PR plan I’ve written or contributed to. By combining tools – common person, leverage social media – viral marketing has taken off like wildfire. I love the fact that it allows you and your team to be creative, think outside the box (another buzzword) and have some fun with what can be sometimes a boring process.
What about you? What successful viral marketing programs can you name? What are some examples of viral marketing campaigns you’ve been a part of?
Author: Rob Goodman
Rob Goodman is a communications professional with more than 27 years of experience in public relations, marketing and content creation.