The Top 5 Reasons Brand Ambassadors are Late…And How to Avoid Them


5 minutes until the event starts. No brand ambassador. “It’s ok…they still have 5 minutes to get here, but I’ll bet we are swamped as soon as the doors open.”

1 minute until the event starts. “Eeeek…where are they? The doors are opening any second…”

1 minute after the event starts. “I see the customers, but no brand ambassador. Wait is that them? No, darn it. Where are they?”

5 minutes after the event starts. “Maybe they spilled coffee on their shirt and had to change. Maybe their dog made a mess and they had to clean it up at the last second. Or maybe an alien abducted them. I just hope they get here soon!”

15 minutes after the event starts. “I don’t know if this brand ambassador is going to show up. We’re losing sales because we are short-staffed. And who will watch the booth when I need a restroom break?”

This is the internal dialogue of a client at high-traffic experiential marketing event. When brand ambassadors are late to an event, it creates a lot of stress. If you’ve never hired brand ambassadors before, trust us when we say, this is not how you want to start your day.

To help reduce your stress at events, we’ve put together a list of the 5 most common reasons brand ambassadors are late to an event, and how you can keep these from wreaking havoc at your next event!

1. Parking

If you expect parking will be crazy, like at an NFL game, music festival, or industry trade show, send the parking information in advance. Will they be parking on-site? What is the cost? Will they be reimbursed? Is there a pre-paid parking pass available? Share as much information as you can upfront.

This will help your brand ambassadors plan out their day better and reduce the risk of parking causing a delay in your activation.

2. They got their schedule confused.

Most brand ambassadors work with more than one company. Each company’s scheduling system is a little different. So, it’s not uncommon that a brand ambassador mixes up their schedules.

One way to reduce the confusion is to text the brand ambassador a few hours before their shift with a cheerful hello text. Bonus points if you add emojis to make it friendly. Sunglasses face outline outline Be sure to include the start time in your text. This gives your brand ambassador one last reminder of where they are supposed to be and when.

3. They don’t think being on time really matters.

If you have a repeat offender, there’s a good chance being firmer on the issue will fix the problem. At HFA, we first let the brand ambassador know that we are aware they were tardy. The communication gets firmer if the brand ambassador is tardy again, and if it becomes a pattern, we will terminate a brand ambassador for tardiness.

If a brand ambassador doesn’t think being late is a big deal, you will need to make it clear what your expectations are and what the consequences of habitual tardiness will be.

4. Unreliable transportation

Part of our interview process includes asking the brand ambassador applicants if they have reliable transportation. But even this doesn’t preclude us from the “my car won’t start” saga on occasion. Fortunately, we are able to reference the interviewing process and remind the brand ambassador that reliable transportation is a requisite for the position. We ask if there are any other options available – public transit, Uber, etc.

If it becomes an ongoing issue, we explain that unfortunately, the position is not a good match with their current situation.

5. They are sick.

Sometimes brand ambassadors will tell you they are feeling unwell and maybe they can make it to the event a little later. That almost never works out. They almost always end up calling out later in the day. If they do show up, they are only able to give about 30% of their usual effort…which means you feel like you’re working solo anyway!

People are going to get sick, and as much as you want them at your experiential marketing event, it’s not worth giving your target consumers a product sample with flu germs sprinkled on top. It’s best to book a back-up brand ambassador in case you have a callout rather than hanging your hopes on a sick brand ambassador making it to their shift later in the day.

In our experience, brand ambassadors genuinely want to do a good job for the brands they represent. They work with many companies, who each have different standards, so it’s important to outline your expectations clearly at the onset. With clear expectations and communication, you can minimize the risk that you end up working your event solo and trying to figure out how to step away long enough to use the restroom!


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