What do Disney, Chipotle, and Hollister have in common? Creator programs. Here are the five reasons why brand ambassador programs are the future of marketing success.
This post was originally written as one of our Insights emails. To learn more on how brands can better navigate the influencer space, sign up to Fohr CEO James Nord’s weekly email here.
In 2019 we at Fohr launched #SephoraSquad, the first program of its kind that hosted open applications for this ambassador program.
Selected #SephoraSquad members enter into a yearlong, paid partnership with Sephora; they work on a variety of campaigns and marketing initiatives throughout the year in partnership with the ambassador marketing platform Fohr.
We have been flattered, but not altogether surprised, to see these programs popping up more and more often. Most recently we have Disney’s Creator Lab, which will put 20 rising creators into a three-month program that includes weekly courses with topics like monetization, branding, and creativity. And, everyone will head to Disney World in January for a trip.
You might also be familiar with another program the team at Fohr is behind, Best Buy College Crew, which is targeted at college students across the country for a 5-month paid contract, peer and career coaching, and more.
The list goes on, Chipotle’s “Creator Class” on TikTok, the Hollister Brand Agents, The Bumble Beehive ...
Look, this is only the start of these creator/ambassador programs. The proverbial tip of the iceberg. As I mentioned in a previous email, the future of marketing success is predicated on your ability to inspire, guide and harness the conversations that your audience is having about your brand. While it is inconceivable to me that every strong brand in the world hasn’t started one of these programs yet, I am confident they will. Here's why:
- They are fair: The only true, fair and equitable way to choose a group of ambassadors to represent your brand is to make the application for those spots public, and the selection process transparent. There is no way to have a truly fair and equitable selection process without open applications.
- Real love: The people who do end up getting into these programs are across the board more excited and passionate than creators who were just selected to work with a brand. The effort of applying and the chance that anyone could get the contract makes getting it more special. This emotion sets a foundation for the whole program. Watching #SephoraSquad members cry with joy for getting in the program imbues everything they do from then on with authenticity and passion.
- Structure begets efficacy: Planning out and executing one of these large-scale ambassador programs takes more thought and care than just running a set of normal campaigns. However, putting that effort in to create a reason the program exists outside of just selling your products. It makes it more exciting for your partners and their audience and always pays dividends in the performance of the program. Also, if you don’t have the time to set it all up, we can do it for you :)
- Learn and iterate: The second year of #SephoraSquad was more successful than the first, and the third even more so. Structuring and branding these programs as evergreen initiatives allows the insights and learning to build as well as the program recognition within the influencer community and their audiences.
- Creator growth: One of the great things about running programs like #SephoraSquad and Best Buy College Crew is we get to educate and grow the influencers we are working with throughout these programs. It’s a kind of boot camp that lets us find exciting but fresh talent and help guide them to becoming more powerful and effective influencers.
I believe deep in the marrow of my bones that these programs are a big part of the future of influencer marketing and if you ever want to talk about it, and about how it could work for your brand, I would be very happy to take that call.
— Fohr CEO James Nord