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PR 101

Building Your Brand With Ambassadors

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Nancy TrentNancy Trent

Once upon a time, companies that wanted to sell their services or products hired authentic experts, authority figures and frequently authors with advanced degrees who seemed incorruptible, ethical and thoroughly reliable. They possessed a high degree of credibility, and their own notoriety rubbed off on the brands they endorsed either blatantly or subtly. They were, and many still are, powerful influencers of human behavior.

A lightening fast Darwinian evolution has taken place, and those dependable credentialed "spokespersons" have been supplanted like weeds in a flower garden that could be called "the new mavens." They are an amalgam of un-credentialed and credentialed authorities that are curating their fiefdoms, their own tight little worlds, for micro-audiences on social media. Frequently, they are passionate individuals who are completely absorbed in their fields of interest. Don't make the mistake of overlooking their power.

Smart brand managers pursue them for third-party endorsements that tap into their core audience, the same way journalists' "endorsements" are constantly sought after.

Things are not always as they seem or as we think they are. The old saying, "perception is reality," continues to ring loud and clear. We are not who we think we are. Instead, we are who others believe us to be. What they see and hear is what they know and believe to be accurate. The same holds true for brands.

Your brand is not what you tell people it is. It is what others tell people it is. Brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as solid, dependable sources of information by the people around them. When they are liked and respected, they are seen as friends, and whom do we listen to as much or as frequently as our friends? Who is more influential than those we see as our friendly "mentors," peers and those who give us advice we trust and can rely on? Consider these recommendations:

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