Making the Most of Brand Ambassadors


John Barnes


Using a well-known personality to represent a brand provides reliable, trustworthy, and positive exposure to both the brand and its business. We believe that employing a brand ambassador provides not only an insider’s knowledge, whether it’s coming from a former sports star or a pro poker player, but also humanizes the brand with a familiar face, making it much more attractive than an impersonal corporation, just as George Clooney does by representing Nespresso and John Barnes does by representing


There are many advantages to having an ambassador represent and promote your gaming brand but there are potential downsides as well, especially if the appropriate ambassador is not selected or if the terms of employment are not clearly defined or monitored. Most of these pros and cons are relevant to all industries but there are those specifically relating to gaming.


A celebrity ambassador grants a good deal of prestige to a brand, but the more well-known the personality, the more expensive the relationship. As one of their main objectives, brand ambassadors encourage prospective customers to follow their recommendation and sign up. These ambassadors often appear in the media, speaking from authority and helping establish and maintain a brand’s reputation, both online and offline.


Despite the expense, employing a brand ambassador should actually be a cost effective part of a firm’s marketing budget, both in terms of acquisition and retention. The acquisition KPI should be improvement of conversion from visit to signup to deposit, while retention-wise, KPI are higher retention rates and increased loyalty of the brand’s customers.


Ambassadors promote the brand’s message while speaking to the public without it sounding entirely like an advertisement. These are audiences with whom the brand would not otherwise have been able to connect. An ambassador’s well-established social media presence transfers to the brand and helps create a constant buzz around a gaming company’s news, activities, and promotions. This can be easily measured by tracking social signals and customer engagement in the brand’s different social channels. Setting relevant KPIs such as number of new followers, likes, retweets, favorites, and shares are essential for assessing the impact of an ambassador’s influence.


As an example, the selection of Liverpool and England football legend John Barnes as official ambassador of the UK-faced sportsbook capitalized both on Barnes's excellent knowledge of the game and his well-known personality. Our strategy is to use him to grow awareness and credibility in the UK marketplace. Barnes’s authoritative blogs, tweets, football predictions, and public appearances all achieve that goal as well as increase the confidence of our sportsbook’s customers.


Brand ambassadors must promote the brand, and not themselves


However, despite all the positive aspects of employing a brand ambassador, other considerations must be made. Candidates for the position must be capable of representing the brand’s values and not cause damage to its reputation by inappropriate use of their celebrity status. It would be a mistake to structure an entire marketing plan and budget around the ambassador. Instead, use of the ambassador should serve as an integral part of a firm’s overall marketing strategy.


Care must be taken to ensure that a firm’s target audience develops a connection with the brand and not solely with the ambassador representing it. In some cases, the ambassador’s appeal may be short-lived or alternatively, his/her popularity could compete with that of the brand. Certain ambassadors may not be capable of representing all fields in which a company is engaged as they are well known only for a specific profession.


If a company has determined specific, measurable goals, it would be important to review achievements on a regular basis. This will ensure that a brand ambassador can effectively promote the gaming firm and its activities.