I am utterly frustrated, perturbed, and even a bit disgusted, with the recent crap I’ve been hearing, seeing, and even experiencing in the beauty community. It seems that Indie brands, smaller companies, and start up beauty brands have decided to make a new description for the title Brand Ambassador. Even worse? They think we are stupid enough to buy it! Even worse than that? There are thirsty and naive newbies who do buy into it!
If you aren’t aware, I’ve been in the blogging world well before brands even started working with bloggers and vloggers. I was considered, at the time, a “mommy blogger.” I remember when companies and brands began to process the idea: “Hey, these mothers who are blogging have real voices that people listen to! We should use those voices to get our products in front of new consumers!”
And, so, the whole “Mommy Blogger as brand ambassadors era” began. And companies and brands got huge airtime, so to speak, on the Internet. There were hundreds and thousands of brands and companies who profited amazingly because of Mommy bloggers. Companies and brands raved about these mothers-as-bloggers! Mom bloggers are still “used” today to promote products to consumers, but now this concept has branched out to all niches of brands. (I’m using the word “use” very lightly here, because brands and companies supply products and also pay these Mom bloggers, as well.)
What is a Brand Amabassador?
Let’s take a stroll to our trusty ol’ Google to get some facts here. Let’s look up the definition of a Brand Amabassador. Here, word for word, is the def:
“a person, especially a celebrity, who is paid to endorse or promote a particular company’s products or services.
‘the actor has landed a new role as a brand ambassador for Bulgari'”
If you are a Brand Ambassador, you should be getting hooked up, in all terms of the phrase!
This is not a “program” where the company or brand makes up their terms for the ambassadorship! A brand ambassador is EXACTLY WHAT THE DEFINITION SAYS.
You have worked hard to earn your followers! You have spent endless hours writing, editing, re-editing, and publishing your blog posts, and gallavanted around the Internet in social circles to promote your blog!
If you have a YouTube channel, you have slaved to create and edit your videos, and socialized in various networks to build your subscriber numbers! Anyone who has done any of this knows how hard it is to recruit each and every new follower and subscriber! They don’t just appear out of nowhere!
And, for some reason, small companies think they can entice beginner bloggers and YouTubers, or Instagrammers, into being a Brand Ambassador for NO PAY…AND they think, for some odd reason, that we can promote their products without trying them! To make matters worse, they are using our hard work like it’s not worth a darn thing.
NO! NO! NO!
What they really want is affiliate marketers, but they are trying to make it sound all boujie by calling it brand ambassadors. But I’m not enticed!
What is an Affiliate Marketer?
Let’s take another trip to Google for a quick moment. This time, let’s talk about what an Affiliate Marketer is. Google says:
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
This is what these small companies and brands are doing, isn’t it? They’re asking you to promote their products with no incentive beyond a commission, in the form of products or a percentage of the sale, for shouting their name all over the place and vouching for their products.
I told one small business this after they approached me to be a brand ambassador and they stopped following me and didn’t respond back to me. I’m okay with that, because what they were trying to do was USE ME. Not offer me a position as their brand ambassador. And, they were doing it to many, many other ladies, as well.
To make matters worse? Some of those newbies were excited about it! And that’s where I start feeling flames shooting out of my ears.
I know how hard I work! I know how hard many others work! But, when newbies come up behind us and start taking offers like this, it totally undermines all of the hard work that we’ve done! It allows these brands and companies get away with attempting to use us! I’m furious that this is happening and that’s why I’m writing this post! Here is one of the crappy offers I’ve received (I cut off all info that would identify the business):
This is an AFFILIATE MARKETER. Yet, when I asked them questions, they unfollowed me and never answered me back. My questions were pretty legit, too. I asked why a sale that was $5 could be considered the same as a sale that was $100. I also asked how anyone could promote their products without trying them?
Because that’s exactly what’s happening with these “programs” now, folks! There are people who just want to feel special promoting these products without even trying them! They are provided a code and they get paid a teeny tiny commission, or in the above example, a surprise for every 5 sales, for telling YOU how wonderful the products are without even trying them!
I don’t know about you, but to me, there’s a lot of unethical bull honkey going on here. Because before I was a “mommy blogger,” I was a business manager, and business ethics are an extremely important factor in this world!
Look, there’s nothing wrong with affiliate marketing! But, that’s typically not done in a manner that makes it seem like someone is a Promoter or a Brand Ambassador. They are two entirely different things!
Dear Small Beauty Businesses:
I understand the small business aspect of everything, especially the finances and how much money and effort it takes to kick a small business off and sustain it. I get it. But, right is right and wrong is wrong.
If you want an affiliate, then say it. Don’t put out promos saying that you want Brand Ambassadors when you really want affiliates! And don’t pretend that your affiliates are Brand Ambassadors who have tried your products and stand by them!
And to all my beauties out there:
Please don’t undermine the hard work that we’ve all done to build our own brands. You are your own brand. And, the work you have put into your brand counts for a lot! Remember that!
It might be that you have to work a little harder and longer to get the offer you are looking for. Don’t just take the first offer thrown at you! Some of us have been at this for years, decades! Don’t undermine your colleagues by accepting unethical offers. If you have just started within even the past year, don’t expect any of the “offers” that come your way to be something that someone with years of experience would be excited about. Really ask yourself why a brand or company wants your support. Quite often, it’s because you will do it for free.
If you want to be an affiliate, that is your choice. There is nothing wrong with being an affiliate, as long as you are honest about what you actually are. Embrace and promote as an affiliate, don’t claim that you’re a brand ambassador if you’re not, even if the company calls you that. Educate small businesses and help them understand the difference between affiliates and brand ambassadors, so that they can properly promote their business, as well.
For those of you promoting companies and products you know nothing about, I hope that you still feel good when your friends and followers come to you with rashes or broken skin or horrible customer service issues with that brand. Please think about what you are doing! I understand the desire to be something special – a Brand Ambassador – is strong within a lot of you! I get it, I do! But, Laura Lee, Jaclyn Hill, Desi Perkins, Michelle Phan, Kandee Johnson, and I could go on and on…NONE of them were getting legitimate offers within a few months – and I would guess not even within the first year – of establishing themselves.
Take your time, be patient, and build your brand, and good things will come, I promise! Subscribe to my blog for future posts!