Why Women Are the Most Powerful Brand Ambassadors In the World

steve olenski
Steve Olenski Sr Creative Content Strategist , Responsys

Posted on March 19th 2012

Why Women Are the Most Powerful Brand Ambassadors In the World

Last December I wrote of the need for more brand ambassadors. The need, as I surmised it, was based on a finding from a study conducted by Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Lithium, a social media tech firm.

There was one study finding in particular I based my belief on.

This one...

chart

I wrote in my aforementioned story...

"This particular finding speaks directly to the power of suggestion and the power of peer pressure in many ways for it shows just how truly powerful a brand ambassador can be and how much influence these folks can carry with their friends."

Well today I want to take this a step further... a GIANT step.

In discussing the findings of a study conducted by her own company, BlogHer - the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online - CEO and co-founder Lisa Stone said the following...

"...there’s no one a woman trusts more for advice, recommendations and guidance than another woman in her circle.”

And when you factor in that women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care, it only stands to reason that the most powerful ambassador a brand can have... is a woman.

So... to all brand managers and brand marketers out there it's really quiet simple. 

Engage with and empower more brand ambassadors who are women.

Ok, that's an incredibly simplisitc direction but you get the idea. 

Create and foster relationships with those making the bulk of the purchasing decisions.

Stay actively engaged with them... key word being "actively." 

Empower them by offering them exclusive offers and "insider" type of info about contests and promotions, etc.

Then when one woman in their "circle" - be it online or off, asks another for advice or suggestions or recommendations, they will tell them all about your wonderful brand... and there will be joy in the land.

Or something like that...

Your thoughts please.

Do you know who you specific brand ambassadors are?

How do you empower and reward them?

Source: AdWeek

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,TwitterLinkedIn or his website.

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

Sr Creative Content Strategist , Responsys

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company, and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing. He can be reached via TwitterLinkedIn or Email

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Comments

Steve,

Loved your article - thank you for publishing that.  My only criticism is that you are too loose with your use  of the term "brand ambassador".  I think brand ambassadors are semi or fully professional people who receive real compensation, even significant salary/cash/commisions from the brands they represent.  See, for example, the definition of Brand Ambassador on wikipedia or the way brandambassador.org defines this.  If you accept this definition, they are not impartial and their recommendations must be suspect, and I don't believe this is what the survey you cited was talking about.  So when you recommend that brand managers engage more women as brand ambassadors, I don't think you can really base this on the survey results you cited.

May I suggest another term, perhaps "brand influencer" to make this more clear?

David

Hi David,

To be honest I don't accept the Wikipedia defintion. Perhaps I am just "old school" but to me a brand ambassador is and always should be who touts the virtues of a given brand for the simple reason they use said brand and thus would recommend it.

To those brands who "employ" brand ambassadors and by "employ" I mean more than offering special offers, exclusives. etc., I say shame on you. 

To me this practice of paying someone significant salary/cash/commisions to be your brand ambassador is akin to the practice of buying Twitter followers Facebook likes.

My hope is these brands will be exposed for the frauds that they are... 

Remember, one of the cardinal rules in social media is transparency. 

Thanks for your comment though David... it definitely got me to thinking... may have to write more about this topic :)

 

well its an obvious thing that female always has an extra leverage over man and that's what implies in business as well. That's the reason that now a days most of the frims provides the outsourcing solutions as far as branding is concerned. Eitheri its the real time marketing or Social media marketing i.e. facebook marketing or twitter marketing, female always dominates both physically and virtually. Some of the social media tips works well but what a female needs is just a real account and it helps her automatically.

If I may...

If you want engagement? PAY HER just like you pay magazines and writers and ad directors and photographers. There is nothing unethical about it as long as it's transparent and no one is lying. Advertising has a 9% trust rating and yet that doesn't stop anyone from creating more ads. 

To those brands who pay their brand ambassadors a working wage THANK YOU!!!  Thank you for recognizing that social media is hard work. Why are movie stars with fake scripts to read more worthy of a pay check than a mom with 3 kids to feed and a REAL experience to share?  The movie star isn't sharing your brand with her friends, the mom is. Have her disclose, "that after years of using said product, the company has agreed to sponsor my blog.." that would solve the ethics issue. 

This is a problem that is exploding inside women's groups who are sick and tired of being used by Brand X, Y, and Z. It's time to shift media into paying the real influencers, not those who set up the deals, and pay them in greenbacks so that they can make a house payment or their wifi bill. 

Here's a jumpstart of what needs to be considered in that conversation.

http://www.inwomenwetrust.com/2011/12/are-we-giving-away-our-economic-fu...

I think 'brand ambassadors' - the term used here is misleading. From a layman's point of view, a brand ambassador is usually a well known figure, who is paid to endorse a brand. I think your article highlights the fact that a woman's opinion matters and is given more importance simply because we assume that her views are purely based on her experiences with the product and are not vested. But the moment the same woman becomes a professional brand ambassador I believe men and women are given the same credibilty.

"...there’s no one a woman trusts more for advice, recommendations and guidance than another woman in her circle.”

This I completely agree with. But more women as brand ambassadors, I think that's a huge experiement. But the article is well written and throws a lot of light on 'social media and women', and why social media tactics must use more women to sell more products.

I agree with Steve - to me a real brand ambassador is anyone who loves a product so much they tell their friends or really anyone who listens. If I have to pay you to endorse my product - doesn't that make you a paid endorser? I think some might have missed the entire spirit of this article.

Steve,

Great article! I absolutely agree that brands would be wise to realize the value in recognizing the female as both a brand ambassador as well as a brand influencer. But I also agree with David in that I too see a difference between an ambassador and an influencer. Albeit a fine line.

An "ambassador" as defined by Webster's is "an authorized messenger or representative." I suppose you could split hairs by further defining "authorized" and suggest that a user of a product could be considered an authority, but the definition implies authority granted by someone else.

But I'm not sure semantics is the issue as much as the difference in paid versus organic recommendations. I personally have no problem with paid recommendations as long as there is very clear disclosure and transparency. Women view several bloggers as their "friends" because they "trust" them. It's up to the blogger to maintain that level of trust. And if they are not being honest with disclosures, they will eventually be exposed and trust will be lost. So, unlike David I do believe this study could include female bloggers/ambassadors when it says "friends."

So, yes! Agreed! Brands should absolutely view brand ambassadors and brand influencers in the social media realm as not only valuable advocates, but sometimes literal salespeople. 

Stephanie

Thanks Stephanie,

I definitley agree with your having no problem with paid recommendations as long as there is very clear disclosure and transparency.

The problem occurs where there is no clear disclosure and transparency. That leaves brands and their ambassadors open for questionning if you will.

Because to the end user a brand ambassador recommendation is a very strong one and how is the end user to know if it is coming from someone with a vested interest so to speak that is greater than say another's recommendation?

 

 

I am a brand ambassador who use to post to social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter about a new product.  I was paid to post flyers and to post online on my social media accounts.  What do you mean by full disclosure and transparency and what should I have been saying in my posts to protect myself and the brand I was working for?

 

Thanks!

A wonderful piece,I must admit Steve! As far as I'm concerned a ''good'' brand Ambassador is some one who tells the whole truth about a particular brand to a friend so that he or she can be the final arbiter.As in PR truth also counts here.

Yes Dear....

I think "Brand Ambassador" is a figurative language of people who spreads the information or knowledge  about a particular brand. It does not need to be "authority".