The food and snack industry has experienced remarkable growth and transformation, driven by the changing preferences and habits of Millennials and Gen Z. Since lifestyles change with every generation, Gen Z and millennials have much busier schedules and less available time than their senior counterparts. To keep up with their on-the-go lifestyles, millennials, and Gen Z seek convenient, portable, and versatile food options that can replace traditional meals.
As a result, the changing habits and preferences of the younger generations have given rise to a thriving $181 billion snack industry that specifically accommodates to their snacking habits.
How to Market to Millennials & Gen Z
With so much growth and opportunity for new brands to launch in the food, snack, and beverage industries, creating a thoughtful marketing strategy to reach Gen Z and millennial audiences will be key to standing out in such a saturated market. In order for brands to establish themselves and maintain longevity in this snack boom, they need to create a marketing strategy centered on authenticity.
More than anything, Gen Z and millennials prioritize authentic marketing and seek genuine connections with the brands they support. Traditional advertising methods fail to resonate with these generations because they grew up in the era of social media and traditional influencer marketing.
As a result, they can easily detect inauthentic content and undisclosed partnerships. To successfully engage them, brands must adopt transparency, align with their values, and communicate a clear purpose. By showcasing honesty, social responsibility, and relatability, brands can build trust, foster loyalty, and forge meaningful relationships with Gen Z and millennials.
What Is Brand Ambassador Marketing
In order to appeal to younger audiences and the demand for authentic marketing, many brands are utilizing brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors are typically passionate advocates who voluntarily promote a brand to all of the communities they are a part of. Brands typically work with brand ambassadors over a long period of time and make them a part of their social media and field marketing strategies.
Brand ambassadors are powerful because they are natural fans of the brand they promote and embody the values a brand stands for. Due to their genuine connection to the brand they represent, their communities inherently trust their referrals and testimonies more.
The trust brand ambassadors have built with their audience translates into higher engagement rates, increased sales, and stronger brand loyalty. As a result, brand ambassadors play a vital role in establishing brand awareness, expanding the brand’s reach through word-of-mouth marketing, and attracting new customers.
How Food, Beverage, and Snack Brands Can Benefit from Brand Ambassadors
Due to the various roles a brand ambassador can hold they are incredibly effective in helping brands stand out in an oversaturated industry. Unlike traditional influencers, they partner with a brand for a long period of time and do a variety of tasks to promote products and services through social media, field marketing initiatives, etc. Also, since a brand ambassador can be anyone from a creator with a massive following to an everyday person that happens to be a fan, they tend to be more cost-effective.
This is why brands across various industries implement a brand ambassador program as an integral part of their marketing strategy. When brands build an ambassador program and work with a large volume of creators, they are able to reach a variety of different audiences in a more economical way.
By harnessing the power of brand ambassadors, food brands can expand their reach, tap into diverse demographics, and gain visibility among potential customers. For the food, beverage, and snack industry, ambassadors can come in various forms, including influencers, chefs, fans, and loyal customers.
By activating each of these different personalities as brand ambassadors, a brand can tap into each of these personalities’ different perspectives to connect with different demographics and differentiate themselves from competitors. This is so powerful because it helps brands build meaningful relationships with their fans and gives them direct insight into their fan community. By implementing a brand ambassador program and nurturing relationships with them, a brand can maximize the impact and ROI their marketing strategy brings.
Here are just a few example marketing tasks brand ambassadors can do to drive value for a brand-new snack or food:
- Create a Video Showcasing How the Snack Fits into Your Daily Routine
- Post Reviews on the Company Website or a Third Party Retailer
- Host Interactive Pop-Up Events or Booths at Major Community Events
- Create Unique Recipes Showcasing the Product
- Drive Referrals Through Unique Codes or Links
Tasking brand ambassadors with some of the example tasks above and rewarding them with cash, gifting, exclusive first access to products, and unique brand experiences brands can generate organic conversations, maintain relevancy, drive recommendations, amplify brand visibility, and increase awareness.
The unique perspectives, creative recipes, and memorable experiences shared by brand ambassadors help food brands stand out in the crowded food industry, enhancing brand visibility and setting them apart from competitors.
Brand Ambassador Program Examples
BeatBox Beverages and DripDrop are key examples of how new food brands can utilize a brand ambassador program to distinguish themselves from their competition. By cultivating strong ambassador communities and managing them through the SocialLadder platform, these two brands continue to successfully meet their marketing goals and foster brand loyalty.
DripDrop Hydration is an electrolyte solution brand dedicated to relieving dehydration worldwide. Since its inception, the brand has catered to a wide range of audiences from military soldiers to athletes. As the brand continued to grow it became inundated with requests from their biggest fans of each of their target audiences to become brand ambassadors. As a result, the brand decided to implement a brand ambassador strategy to leverage its dedicated audience and stand out amongst its competitors as it continued to expand into retail stores such as Walmart and e-commerce.
By implementing a brand ambassador program, DripDrop has been able to recruit and onboard 300+ ambassadors to drive user-generated content (UGC) that could be repurposed across their marketing channels. Ambassadors participate in initiatives such as
- Creating DripDrop Product unboxing videos for Instagram
- Creating Videos Showcasing how DripDrop Supplements their Workouts
- Creating Day in the Life Videos for TikTok
This strategic partnership with brand ambassadors has not only helped DripDrop stand out in the competitive landscape but has also played a significant role in driving brand awareness and growing their customer base.
BeatBox Beverages is the #1 US Wine & Ready-to-Drink Cocktail Brand in the US that is located in 45000+ retailers nationwide. Since its founding in 2011, fostering a brand community has been a priority to maintain brand authenticity and keep fans at the core of its mission. As the brand continued to grow it leveraged such a highly dedicated audience the founders created a brand ambassador program via the SocialLadder platform to support their 900+ member community.
Recognizing the immense potential of engaging their fans as part of their marketing initiatives, BeatBox Beverages knew they needed to invest in their community by implementing a scalable brand ambassador strategy. As of now, their ambassadors have successfully completed over 3,000 tasks to support their nationwide growth.
Here are a few examples of activities brand ambassadors participate in to drive growth:
- Posting photos on New BeatBox Displays at Retailers like 7 Eleven
- Creating Frozen BeatBox Recipes
- Taking Selfies featuring BeatBox at a Tailgate or Music Festival
By harnessing such an active brand ambassador community, BeatBox can constantly remind consumers how it’s different from its competitors and support their growth goals.
In conclusion, brand ambassador marketing can be an effective marketing strategy for brands to stand out in the ever-evolving snack industry and capture the attention of millennial and Gen Z consumers. By enlisting brand ambassadors, who are natural fans of the brand and embody its values, food brands can establish trust and authenticity with their target audience. Through ambassador-driven activities like creating videos, hosting pop-up events, and sharing unique experiences, snack brands can showcase their products, amplify brand visibility, and differentiate themselves from competitors. Ultimately, by implementing a brand ambassador program, snack brands can maximize the impact of their marketing strategies and build lasting relationships with their fans.