Brand Ambassador‟ is one of the most commonly misunderstood and loosely used terms in the world of Branding. It is more commonly thought of as a celebrity endorser. Another common notion is the association of “brand ambassador‟ only to celebrities, while it can include employees of a company and, most importantly, the customers of a brand. If you remember MDH, its owner has been the brand ambassador for years.
It is true that there exist certain similarities between celebrity endorsement and brand ambassadorship:
• Both brand ambassadors and celebrity endorsers are responsible for creation of archetypal images in the minds of the consumers which relate to a primary function in their life. For e.g. Harley-Davidson creates an image of an “Outlaw” and aims at helping the consumers to “break the rules”.
• Both help the process of brand reinforcement in the minds of the consumers. However, the differences between the two are massive:
• Celebrity endorsements are episodic and thus short term relationships between the brand and the personality whereas ambassadors have a long lasting association with the brand. Indian master blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s association with MRF is reminiscent of the latter.
• Brand Ambassadors are chosen based on their fit with the brand. It is based on the premise that if the brand comes alive as a human being then it should be like the brand ambassador herself/himself. This may or may not be the case with celebrity endorsements.
• The quote - “A company spends on a celebrity endorsement but it invests in the brand ambassador” summarizes it all.
Marketing during Recession
Recession is a time when consumers are highly concerned about their “pockets”. Consumers go into a “savings” mode and think twice before spending even a penny of their hard earned money; their involvement in a purchase decision increases manifold and they intensely evaluate products before making the final purchase.