Happy african american influencer showcasing products for a camera.

How Brands Stand Out with Influencer and Ambassador Programs

So you want to use influencer and ambassador programs to elevate your engagement and boost brand awareness to the kind of customers you want. But on the same note, if you’re just getting started on implementing influencers into your marketing campaigns, it can be intimidating. How do you choose the best influencers and ambassadors that would represent your brand the way that you want? And once you have them, how do you go about using them effectively to achieve your goals and get the ROI you’re looking for?

There’s more than one way to achieve success with your influencers and connect with your audience. Today we’re taking a look at some high profile brands that have created their own recipe for success using influencers of all types.

Corsair

As a maker of high quality gaming peripherals, Corsair recruits their influencers from the world of live streaming gamers on platforms like Twitch and Youtube. Instead of actively seeking out influencers themselves, they invite gamers with followings of all sizes to apply to join their sponsorship program. As their site states, “you don’t have to be a huge name to join Team CORSAIR”. 

They use a ranking system that offers different perks to each level. Those levels range from recruit to admiral, to fit the brand’s nautical logo. Recruit begins with affiliate links, discount codes, and a free t-shirt, while Admiral includes a full suite of benefits, including financial sponsorship.

Why does this benefit Corsair?

This system works well for Corsair because it motivates both established streamers and up-and-comers to apply to them for benefits. The benefits of teaming with a streamer with a large audience are obvious, but offering perks to small streamers also gives them the advantage of reaching more specific audiences. For example, if they want to reach viewers who prefer first person shooter games or sports games, they can bring in streamers who specialize in those types of games. It also gives them the chance to build those streamers from the ground up to fit what they’re looking for in future promotions. 

Additionally, Corsair has a brand ambassador program for college students. They invite PC enthusiasts and gamers looking to get into esports the chance to get support for campus events. This can include loaned hardware, prizes, and venue assistance. Additionally, they offer a 15% discount for all students.

This promotion works well to get their brand in front of as many gamers on college campuses as possible, with the goal of building brand loyalty into these audiences at a young age.

Sephora

Sephora has their Sephora Squad – a group of influencers designed to tell their own stories, perspectives, and personal beauty journeys. First launched in 2019, Sephora chooses a new squad every year filled with fresh faces to be sponsored by the brand. These squad members take part in their marketing campaigns and initiatives throughout the calendar year. 

Squad members enjoy a variety of perks beyond just paid sponsorship. Naturally, they get free swag and products to feature on their social channels. They also get the chance to attend industry events, and meet movers and shakers in the Sephora brand to learn more about what it takes to launch new products for each season. 

But the big draw for many of them is the chance for their content to be featured on Sephora’s own social media. If they make a lasting impression on the brand’s main channels, it can mean a massive boost to their own follower counts and personal brand. Sephora also goes out of its way to mention that they are willing to take on prospective influencers with no minimum requirements on follower count. 

Why does Sephora Squad excel?

A big part of Sephora Squad’s success is the fact that they partially put the decision on who gets into the squad into the hands of their followers. They use follower testimonials to decide which applicants best fit their brand, and use that information to pare thousands down to the 24 that make up the squad that year. It also allows them to make sure that there is strong diversity in age, gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. And of course, it also lets them make sure that every kind of skin and hair texture is represented as well. 

Other rival brands like Ulta have done similar campaigns, but it’s the way Sephora puts the decisions in the hands of their followers – and their focus on making sure there is a squad member that almost all of their customers can relate to – that allows the brand to create an emotional connection with its fans and drive sales.

Lululemon

As an athletic brand, Lululemon’s marketing strategy centers around a fitness lifestyle. To show off the many ways their apparel can be used for an active lifestyle, they field a large team of ambassadors in different kinds of sports and exercise to highlight their products. But instead of getting professional athletes or celebrities to endorse their products, they take a grassroots approach to their promotions. 

They choose their ambassadors from a wide variety of people: yogis, personal trainers, athletes, and content creators. The one thing that unifies them, the brand says, is a “passion for sweat”. They get to test out the latest gear, the opportunity to teach fitness classes, and other unique experiences. But the thing that sets their programs apart is how they emphasize the people equation to what their ambassadors do. They support their ambassadors’ personal brands, classes and passions. In many cases, they’ll even support charities their ambassadors are passionate about.

Store and Brand Ambassadors

Additionally, they also have a team of store ambassadors. They’re similar in makeup to the brand ambassadors, but instead these people are all employees that work at Lululemon locations. This group is effective because of the authenticity that comes from customers seeing actual employees that are athletes competing to reach their own goals. It makes the customer’s fitness journey more relatable, and also appears more attainable when they see people they meet achieving them. 

Lululemon has seen their revenue grow year by year for this reason. Instead of paying an influencer and hoping that they have a passion for the brand, they go directly to their source of diehard fans – be it customers or employees – and draw from that well. The ambassador’s passion shines through, and creates an authentic feeling. It builds an aura of a brand that not only wants to sell you a pair of high end yoga pants, but also a brand that cares about the fitness journey you want to take with those pants.

Interested in learning more about how to take your own creative spin to using influencers to promote your brand? Schedule a call with Sideqik today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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