HiMA Luncheon: Brand Ambassadors and Digital Influencers

Posted on June 15, 2012

Posted in Business, Events, Marketing | 2 Comments »

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The Houston Interactive Marketing Association held their June luncheon at The Courtyard on St. James Place. The panelists answered questions and talked about how to find digital influencers and their experience as brand ambassadors.

Houston IMA Panelists - Digital Influencers Panel

HiMA Event Panelists Katie Laird, Gerome Sapp, & Meredith Riddle – Photo by Aimee Woodall

The Panelists

The Moderator

Finding the Right People

“there’s nothing like good old-fashioned networking”

Passion is important. So is attitude. When it comes to promoting brand awareness, a passion for the product and a positive attitude make all the difference. People will perceive your true attitude to the detriment or benefit of your brand so it’s important to find someone who actually cares and is personally and deeply invested in your product.

Katie Laird shared about becoming a brand ambassador for Nintendo. It was an “organic connection” she says. She bumped into one of the Nintendo higher-ups and a causal conversation became a job opportunity. It was not who she knew, it was her passion: who she is.


“there are things about you that you can share!”

All three panelists stressed the need to be transparent. When you communicate with a brand ambassador it is imperative to be up front about needs and expectations. In other words, honesty is the best policy. Potential disasters could occur due to simple miscommunication.

Even if it isn’t a simple mis-communication it’s best to be realistic (transparent) and up front during any business transaction and it saves all parties involved a lot of heartache.

This happened to Kashi recently after it was released that they were using genetically engineered soy in their cereals. Fans of the Kashi brand confused the labels “organic” (which is an FDA regulated label for foods), with “natural” (the label Kashi used and is *technically* correct).  You can read the full story about Kashi’s brand mis-communication in this story by USA Today.

Influence vs. Popularity

know the difference –> increasing conversion to sales (influence) vs. increasing product brand/reputation (popularity).

It’s important to note the subtle difference between the two. Popularity does bring influence, but not necessarily to a target audience ready to buy.  When selecting your digital influencers, you want to focus on your ultimate goal for the campaign.  Ask yourself: are you looking to increase lead conversions with this campaign, or are you seeking to expand your brand’s recognition?

Influence: A writer who runs a successful blog that has an engaged audience of readers might not be nationally or critically acclaimed but their strong influence over loyal followers can be a marketing gold mine.

Popularity:  A pro athlete that is nationally (or even internationally) recognized will reach a large audience, but not necessarily have a direct impact on sales.

Keeping Your Brand Ambassador

make me feel special

Gerome, Katie, and Meredith all expressed gratitude for the brands they represent. Katie remarked that during her ambassadorship she got to tour a national Nintendo facility, all expenses paid. During his multiple endorsement deals as an athlete, Gerome remembers all the “swag” and free shopping trips from brands like Nike, Reebok, or Adidas. Meredith endorses BCBG and gets 75% off of clothes and gets to dress in style.

 1-Minute Video Wrap-Up of the Lunch!

If you missed the luncheon, here’s a quick inside look at all the fun from HIMA’s June lunch

Check out HiMA’s YouTube channel here

How to Find Your Brand Ambassador

What to do with your newfound knowledge

What’s the next step?  Go out and do it!

Here are three ways you can go identify the right digital influencer for your Brand:

  1. Go find those people who exert influence over your target market.  Use social media reputation monitoring tools to find out who’s already talking about you.  Inc Magazine has a great article on reputation monitoring tools and their use.
  2. Talk to the radio personalities, the bloggers/writers, the local experts or celebrities and the other influencers near you.
  3. Start with the people who are already following you online and engaging with you already.  Check your social media accounts to see who is talking about you, following you, and mentioning you. This will give you a better idea how to engage with your audience

Remember, “There’s nothing like good old-fashioned networking”. You never know when you’ll meet your next big fan!

Please! Leave your comments. Tell us how you found your brand ambassador or how you became a successful one.

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Comments on HiMA Luncheon: Brand Ambassadors and Digital Influencers

  1. 1

    From mayhemchaos:

    Great followup! Thanks for sharing the video too :)

  2. 2

    From tamarafloyd:

    Awesome Write-up! You hit all the key points. 

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