A week on from the annual affiliate-induced madness at LAC, an event typically awash with sports stars past and present donning the colours of companies in attendance at the ExCeL, SBC News took a closer look at the use of brand ambassadors.
For the next edition in our Better Collective Spotlight series, we turned our attention to BonusCodeBets, and specifically the role that Liverpool and England football legend John Barnes has to play for the Better Collective-owned bookmaker review site.
We spoke to Philip Trampe, PR Team Lead at Better Collective, to find out more.
SBC: How effective is the use of sports ambassadors as a means of adding legitimacy to affiliate sites?
PT: Using a recognisable face definitely goes a long way to help add that extra layer of trust to our sites. I think it is a nice progression that the affiliate industry is starting to use ambassadors on their flagship products, as that used to be reserved for the operators (looking at you Ray Winstone).
Affiliate platforms were previously viewed as simple marketing funnels, and not established products within the betting experience – this perception is beginning to change.
Now, as these platforms become more ingrained in the betting experience and process, we are, in our own right, becoming a more legitimate industry. We are no longer simple affiliate funnels, we are established brands.
Because of this, we are able to attract established personalities who want to associate their own names with ours. Their trust in us leads to an immediate trust transference for any user who interacts with our platform for the first time, and it is this extension of trust that helps add legitimacy to the site.
SBC: How important is it to conduct an ongoing evaluation of the ambassador’s role?
PT: Every single working aspect of any affiliate business needs to have ongoing evaluations – this includes employing an ambassador. Furthermore, since ambassadors usually don’t come too cheap, it is important to know that you are making a return on your investment.
It’s difficult to say much more on the matter, as the evaluation is dependent on what it is you wish to achieve with the ambassador. However, with the digital world of affiliate marketing, there are always KPIs and objectives to be had, and multiple ways of measuring them.
SBC: There were quite a few brand ambassadors on show at LAC; is the ‘one off’ appearance something you would consider for Better Collective brands?
PT: We have done short term ambassadors in the past surrounding major events. We had successful jockey Noel Fehily represent us during the Cheltenham / Grand National season, and Chris Waddle during the 2016 Euros.
These short term ambassadors are great, as they can lend a level of proven expertise to the specific content on our sites relating to these specific events. On top of that, having a bigger name attached to your brand opens up some doors with the media. With recognisable faces on board, publications are more willing to listen and share what we have to say and promote our brands to their larger readership.
However, if your aim is to improve the trustworthiness of a site, I will say that I prefer the long term ambassador relationship. When you set something up long term, you are able to apply the ambassador in multiple ways. For example, when creating season long agreements, you get more access to assets such as image rights, signed memorabilia, etc.
This allows us to experiment with a variety of different campaigns where we repeatedly engage with current and potential users of our products. The campaigns may be new to our users, but their own association with the ambassador makes the campaigns more familiar in their eyes.
SBC: Specifically for Bonus Code Bets, what is the role played by John Barnes? How invested is he in the growth of the brand?
PT: We have been working with John Barnes for almost 3 seasons now and he is a great face for our brand. With Barnes specifically, the man is a legend in his field and is consistently in the news. Just as with the short term ambassadors, journalists from bigger media are always happy to speak with Barnsey, which gives the Bonus Code Bets brand consistent exposure.
The level of credibility BonusCodeBets.co.uk has achieved is something you rarely see with brand that has the name “Bonus Code” in the title, and Barnes has had a direct impact on legitimising the brand. When a user visits BonusCodeBets for the first time, they are immediately welcomed by is John’s instantly recognisable face and smile.
Being able to create a connection with the user during their first visit is an objective of any product, and John Barnes makes facilitates that connection much faster. On top of that, we have added many features to the site, boosting it with expert content that includes football previews from Barnes, which has made the brand that much stronger.