When my five youngest kids were ten-years-old and under, they made their television debut in a New York local news segment entitled, “The Back to School Garage Sale Fashion Show.” They strutted their stuff on camera, with sweet little smiles and childish eagerness as I described each item they wore. Then I shared the cost of these items at a Garage Sale versus retail. The overall savings was $300+ and when it came time for the youngest, three-year-old Joshua, to show us his shoes, he lifted his foot
and showed the camera to bottom of his shoe. It was so funny! Then we went to Dunkin Donuts to celebrate and life got even more exciting form them as one of the patrons recognized the kids from the segment they just watched on the news. “Hey, weren’t you kids just on television on the news?”
They handled their fame with quiet dignity and grace with Joshua shouting,
“I showed them my shoe” as he held up his foot to demonstrate.
They were celebs—for 15 minutes!
That weekly TV segment was a spot I secured several months earlier went I went on the local news to talk about a coupon seminar I was giving that would benefit a local food pantry. I had $200 worth of groceries on the set for which I paid $7. After the segment ended, I pitched the idea of a weekly savings spot and the producer agreed! I bombed on my first segment the next week, not realizing how I needed to talk in short, sound bites for the 4-minute segment. But I dusted off my pride, practiced at home, and came back to nail it the next week and every week for a year. Those 50+ segmentslaid the groundwork for eventually becoming a spokesperson as I developed and grew my brand as “America’s Family Financial Expert” ® and “America’s Military Family Expert.” ™
I started as a young, homeschooling mother of many who began a side hustle of writing books and speaking while moving our herd every 1-2 years. As a military spouse, it was hard work while trying to balance a family and life as a mom whose fighter pilot husband was gone more than he was home. But this side hustle surprised us all and grew into a six-figure income (working with 100+ brands) that helped put all the kids through college (debt free) and provided money in the bank for weddings and our financial independence. But it all started somewhere—it started small.
Definition of Spokesperson and Brand Ambassador
e talk details, let’s look at the difference between a Spokesperson and a Brand Ambassador or Influencer. These terms are oftentimes used interchangeably but amongst the people who work with brands, there is a difference.
This was the original term for the person who spoke on behalf of an organization or a brand. It’s been a term that has been around 30+ years. Then and now they are the face that represents a corporation promoting a brand or product. Sometimes they are CEOs for the company or for the Foundation. They are sometimes famous people. But the most common kind of Spokespersons are those who are experts in their field,
unlike a celebrity spokesperson, who is usually not an expert. Also, with celebrity spokespersons, the rates are quite high, whereas a non-famous expert is more affordable. Spokespersons usually possess a wide variety of skill sets with a high level of expertise. They are authors, bloggers, adept at television and radio interviews, able to handle SMTs, Satellite Media Tours (more about that in part 2 of this blog series.) They are oftentimes speakers, polished schmoozers at trade shows, and are good at “in person” off-the-cuff desk side interviews in New York city.
Take Away: In the past. it was hard for clients and brands to take unfair advantage of a Spokesperson because most of them had agents or managers who could protect their interests.
With the emergence of social media, the brand ambassador, or influencer, began to evolve and those with medium to large social media followings (20K or more followers or likes) were approached to mention brands, write blogs, and share on their social platforms with their communities. They didn’t necessarily to have all the skill sets of the traditional spokesperson. If they could host a twitter chat with their 20K followers, then it didn’t matter that they couldn’t put two words together in front of a live audience of 500 people. They could concentrate on their preferred skills within their comfort zone.
Are most brand ambassadors leaving money on the table by not developing ALL the skills found in the traditional Spokesperson? Yes, they probably are, but they can still make a good living as they get compensated for blogs, Facebook mentions, tweets, Instastories and Pintrist pins. They don’t have to be adept at television, radio or podcast interviews.
Brand ambassadors don’t develop the corporate product or service, they simply promote it.
Take Away: It became easy for PR firms/clients to take unfair advantage of brands because most of the newly emerging social media stand-outs were not familiar with contracts and rates. Most were not represented by agents. I will be giving this course on at FinConin Orlando, FL on Saturday, September 29th. If you want to join me there, using this link will benefit our non-profit, Heroes at Home, which provides free financial education to service members and their families.
Coming Up Next:
In part two of this series next week, we will look at what skill sets are necessary to be successful as a Spokesperson / Brand Ambassador. We’ll also give simple action steps you can take to develop these skill sets and make yourself more marketable. In part three of the series we’ll talk about the process corporations use to secure a spokesperson and how to tell if a brand is reaching out to you about your brand.
We are currently interviewing and selecting a core group of 20 current or potential influencers for the initial launch of a online and interactive course, “How to Earn A Six Figure Income As a Spokesperson / Brand Ambassador.” This course will include one-on-one time with me as I help you evaluate where you are and where you want to go in this space. If you are interested in being considered for this core group at 50% off the retail price of the course, then please reach out on our contact form or sent your resume directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be in touch with an interview should you be a good fit for our core group.