By Vishal Asher Narsy
Working in an experiential marketing agency means you are exposed to all the different parts of the puzzle that make up a successful campaign, whether it is production, creative, strategy, management or logistics. But the area that is sometimes considered an after-thought is staffing – bringing in the best people (Brand Ambassadors) to work on a client’s campaign.
But after working here for just over a month, I have come to realise how important Brand Ambassadors actually are. You may have come up with the most exciting, innovative and creative campaign to date, but if your Brand Ambassadors are not passionate and have a care-free attitude, then your experiential campaign is sadly doomed!
That is not to say that all experiential marketing campaigns require Brand Ambassadors, for example, Coco-Cola’s Hug Me Machine was self-explanatory and that’s why it worked perfectly; without any Brand Ambassadors. But when it comes to the majority of experiential campaigns, having Brand Ambassadors available to deliver key brand values and answer queries, can result in the difference between an ‘okay’ event and an ‘extraordinary emotionally led’ experience.
Even before I began working here, I recognised that Brand Ambassadors played a crucial role in the success of a campaign – they are the people at the frontline representing the client on their behalf. If the Brand Ambassadors are positive, energetic, forthcoming and able to deliver key communications, these characteristics can draw in crowds and get a campaign up and running.
A secondary factor is that these characteristics may subconsciously be attached to a brand. Say brand X is doing a campaign, and their Brand Ambassadors are friendly, knowledgeable and energetic; then these characteristics are subconsciously attached to brand X in consumers’ minds. Next time they go out shopping to buy a product and see brand X it will trigger those characteristics; and this acts as a USP and subconsciously persuades them to buy that brand. Simple, yet effective.
Another factor to consider is that Brand Ambassadors are your eyes and ears at the front line of a campaign. You may be thinking to yourself, why is this important? Well actually it is crucial. They can give you honest feedback as to what worked and what didn’t while the campaign was live. This feedback can be crucial to both the agency and the client side, especially if the campaign is being run over a long period of time. These improvements can then be put into practice over time to improve the campaign.
When we consider the most enjoyable and memorable moments of our lives, it is not the experience that got us buzzing, it is actually the people who were present to share the experience with us. Just consider the last time you went to a restaurant or a bar, was it the venue that meant that you had a great night, or was it the people you were with that made it unforgettable? Brand Ambassadors who encompass warmth, passion and enthusiasm make consumers feel part of the experiential event – a sense of inclusion perhaps. This makes consumers feel connected to the brand, on some level, and can go a long way into developing the start of a long-term relationship between the brand and consumers. This can lead to ‘brand loyalty’ to the client – one of the most important issues that I believe brands face in the 21st century.
An experience stays with you – it is memorable, and these memories are hugely down to how Brand Ambassadors behave and interact with consumers. For the week, month or even year that an experiential campaign is live, Brand Ambassadors aren’t just employees, they are without doubt the fundamental cog in the experiential marketing cycle.