Kenny Azama has traveled the entire country, paid off his student loans, and made some of his favorite memories through his work as a brand ambassador.
“It has helped shape who I am today so much,” says Azama. “If you have a friendly and outgoing personality and would love to represent your favorite brands at invite-only events, then becoming a brand ambassador may be for you.”
Based in the Los Angeles area, Azama started his journey to his current role in 2013. “I was a Program Manager at an experiential marketing agency and was in charge of coordinating the events and hiring the Brand Ambassadors.” It was after a couple of years when I realized the brand ambassadors I hired were making more money than me and having way more fun. So I decided to jump ship. Today, I am a brand ambassador full-time.”
Azama’s life may sound too good to be true. Which is why we wanted to know more about how he does what he does. We caught up with the young entrepreneur to get his best tips and insider secrets to becoming a luxury brand ambassador. Here’s what he shared:
Who should become a brand ambassador and what qualifications do they need?
“If you have a friendly and outgoing personality and love excitement and variety in your workplace, then you should become a Brand Ambassador. If you have a background in sales, that’s a plus, but you really don’t need any major qualifications. Anyone can get hired as a Brand Ambassador and succeed but it takes consistent confidence and a willingness to learn the ins and outs of the game to excel.”
What are some realistic (or unrealistic) expectations people have when it comes to becoming a brand ambassador?
“A common misconception is that brand ambassadors are employees of the brand they are promoting but that’s not the case. In actuality, they are simply contracted freelancers who are hired by staffing and event marketing agencies to represent their clients – the brands.”
“Some people also think being a brand ambassador is only for women but that’s definitely not true. Most brands love to have a good mix of men and women representing them out in the field. More often than not, men are also preferred for roles related to labor and Tour Management so there is plenty of opportunity for both men and women in the promotional marketing world. “
What are the benefits/ advantages?
Here are, in my opinion, the greatest benefits:
- Get paid anywhere from $15/hr-$100/hr or thousands of dollars for top-tier campaigns depending on the gig you are hired for.
- Access exclusive events, festivals, sports games, and other large events.
- Flexibility to pick up work whenever you’d like, wherever you’d like.
- Travel the world. (I drove RVs around the nation for months and was able to work in 29 different states.)
- Sometimes, you get gift cards, leftover product, and even swag.
- You get to meet and work with the most social bunch of people you’ll ever meet in your life.
What are the disadvantages?
And here are the drawbacks:
- The pay is great but because the brand must pay the agency before you get paid, your payment can take anywhere from 1-6 weeks to get to you. Agencies are getting better about paying more quickly but because of this middle-man effect, it’s important to read your contracts before signing and to keep track of which agencies owe you what and when.
- Most gigs are only 1-3 days long which means you always need to keep your eyes open for opportunities. For some people, this is great as it’s extremely flexible and one can apply for work whenever they have the time.
- If being on your feet and talking with people for hours at a time doesn’t sound fun to you, then being a Brand Ambassador may not be your cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. To me, it beats staring at a computer screen in a cubicle.
Mitchel Brooks, based in Washington, DC has been working with brands since 2011. “I got started by hosting special events that target diverse millennials,” says Brooks. Many brands hire marketing and PR agencies. Those agencies will often put together multicultural programs and campaigns for brands to identify social influencers within that market segment. I came into the game through one of those marketing and PR agencies.”
Most influencers cannot mention specific brands they work with outside of a specific campaign as they are instructed not to speak on behalf of the brand. But Brooks has this to say from his nearly 10-years of experience on the other side:
“Be authentic. Be true to who you are. Brands want to partner with individuals who align and complement their values and ethos. No matter who you are– some brand and some group of people will love your authentic self.”
“Some brands want to pay for increased awareness and impressions. Some brands want to pay for true influence. Your social capital is reflected by your influence.”
Connecting With Brands Through Social Media
“There are plenty of Brand Ambassador gigs out there, especially if you live in or near a major city,” says Azama. “Hundreds of staffing agencies are looking for outgoing people just like you every single day.
My favorite place to find Brand Ambassador work is Facebook. There are Brand Ambassador Facebook groups for every major city and these groups are where staffing and event marketing agencies prefer to post their open gigs.
To find these bountiful groups, type the following into your Facebook’s search bar:
Brand Ambassadors of” + “Nearest Major City” (e.g. Brand Ambassadors of Dallas). Once you find your local group, request to join and start applying to the gigs you want.
If you want a step-by-step guide, I started a resource website called Brand Ambassador World that you can visit for all of the tips and tricks on how to get started as a Brand Ambassador.”
This article first appeared on Capitol Standard.