Before Rihanna became the Brand Ambassador for Puma in late 2014, I had never heard the term used outside of Girl Scouts—the ambassador is the highest rank for Girl Scouts in grades 10-12. Outside of selling cookies, an Ambassador is “a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.”
In the retail industry, anyone from the 16 year old girl with a summer job to the creative director of a global footwear company can earn have the word “Ambassador” in their title. Job listings for brand ambassadors come with a wide range of descriptions including sales associates with clothing allowances, regional store managers, content creators for social media, and experienced marketing strategists.
Ambassadors are expected to be the human version of the brand, and promote the “lifestyle” to their friends and followers on their social media. They have a symbiotic relationship with the company, and it helps the brand have a “real life example” for potential customers to think “I want to be like that guy/gal.” Their effectiveness is measured in sales, which could come from brick-and-mortar POS, affiliated links, or stock prices. When implemented successfully, a brand ambassador can be the perfect indirect marketing tool for a brand trying to boost sales and generate brand loyalty; but otherwise, it’s just a fancy title that makes you feel like you’re on the same level of importance as Rihanna.