Job Description (What the job involves)
Brand Ambassadors, or BA’s as they are commonly called, are there to represent the brand and promote the beauty products/treatments. When a large brand launches a new product, there will almost certainly be promotional activity to encourage interest in the brand and to boost sales. Promotions can also be arranged for when sales take an unexpected dip, to raise awareness of a product and its benefits. BA’s are usually represented by an agency for this type of work, where you are contained on a database and are notified when new jobs come up.
There are many different activities to promote beauty products, including demonstrating the products in the form of mini treatments on your own models or volunteers. A stand is usually set up with graphics and signage to draw attention to the activity. For example, a new nail polish brand at a beauty store would usually require you to set up a nail stand near to where the product is located and to paint nails either free of charge or free with the purchase of the polish.
With skincare demonstrations, the BA is usually required to give a talk whilst demonstrating as there are lots of beneficial ingredients that create talking points. It helps to work on only one side of the face when promoting skincare and make-up as you can compare the two sides and ‘wow’ your customer with the difference. Here’s a tip: always work on the side where the brow is naturally higher, as this will give a ‘lifting effect’! This technique is also used frequently by facialists promoting specialist facials and non-surgical facelifts. There is usually a question and answer session too.
Another form of promotion in the beauty industry is sampling: giving out free samples of a product to customers to let them ‘try before they buy’. These samples only contain a small amount of product (usually less than 15ml) so that the client can only use it once. It is cost effective for the company to do it this way, and more likely to entice them into buying a product if they can only use it once!
Staff who work as beauty BA’s are usually encouraged to actively sell the product and work to a commission structure in order to give the sales a real boost. You are always given a brief before a promo job; read it and research the brand before you start your shift! It really helps to know a little about the features and benefits of a product when you are working in beauty and will stand you in good stead if you are expected to sell.
Other parts of the job include taking surveys and data capture, to allow the company to market their brand more effectively. Sometimes there are competitions and prize draws which are also a great way to get customers to give their details. Getting them involved with future special offers ensures the product/brand stays in their head.
An essential part of a promotional activity is to write up a report at the end of each day, so that the brand knows how well the promotion went and if anything could be improved. They tend to be quite short and sometimes consist of questionnaires that you can complete and send online. Sometimes you will be expected to take photos of the activity too. You are likely to be paid for these things, an extra £5 or so per report.
Hours and Working Environment
Hours really vary in the promotions industry. They can be anything from a couple of hours on a one-off event to a full day (approx 9 hours). Some campaigns last a day and some go on for weeks and weeks… It just depends who you are working for and their aims of the promotion.
Beauty promotions are usually held in areas where they will get a lot of exposure. The most common type of campaign in beauty is promoting products that are sold in the beauty aisles of health and beauty stores e.g. Superdrug or Boots. These usually include a degree of active selling and almost always demonstrating.
There are many types of event that can house a beauty promotion, such as corporate events. These are private events put on by large businesses, usually to reward their staff. Sometimes high street clothing stores with makeup or beauty concessions hold discount nights where they enlist the help of manicurists and makeup artists to provide quick treatments to shoppers as part of the entertainment, and to sample the products. Charity events and Festivals are also popular places to hold a campaign.
Areas with a large footfall are great for sampling as you reach many people in a short period of time. An example of this is a city centre train station as there are thousands of people who use this method of transport every day; the hours tend to be longer in order to catch the morning/evening commuters.
Trade shows only happen a few times per year but occur in large exhibition centres, where members of the beauty industry from up and down the country come together. There are usually a few thousand people present at this type of show so it is a great opportunity to sell products to people who have a genuine interest in beauty.
Upsides and Downsides
The pay for promotions work is excellent and averages on around £10 per hour. Sometimes BA’s can earn over double what they would in a salon. There are many freebies with this kind of work if you are working with free samples and have some left at the end of a promotion! You are usually allowed to take the demonstration products home too as they are obviously unsellable after they have been opened.
Promo jobs are good for networking and meeting other likeminded promotional staff that are interested in beauty. You get to meet so many people and make new friends in this industry. As everyone is usually represented by an agency, you can discuss work and find out about agencies you never knew existed! There are SO many out there and this really helps if you are self-employed and rely on promo work as your only form of income.
The amount of work however, depends on the brand and their aims of the promotion. This kind of work is usually sporadic, which is good if you want to work around another part time job or seasonal work, but bad if you are looking for something stable. Another downside of this job is that sometimes there is a bit of DIY involved! Event rigging, which is the setting up of stands, graphics etc is sometimes done before the campaign (by a strong man!) but a lot of the time the budget will not stretch to extra rigging staff and has to be done by the BA’s.
Skills and Personal Qualities
The aim of a promotion is to engage the public - BA’s should be outgoing and bubbly. Brands want lively demonstrations that will make the public take notice, which means that the more talkative and confident people will be snapped up straight away. If you do not fit this niche, then it is unlikely you will be hired!
Agencies that supply promotional staff want the best staff on their books - they look to employ people with experience. Selling and customer service experience are always good skills to have as promotional work is all about working with people to try and boost sales. Working in jobs that acquire you these skills is handy as they are transferrable to any promo job you may have in the future.
You should be a good timekeeper - often a space is rented for an allotted period of time to conduct the promotion. They want staff that will not let them down, as this wastes money for them and also looks unprofessional on their behalf to the client/brand they are working with. Promo is a coveted job; there are always plenty of people that are fighting to get onto the books so one strike and you’re out!
It is useful to be able to drive and own your own car - although I personally don’t. Owning a car means that you can travel further afield, and travel expenses are usually reimbursed anyway. This is also useful for if they have a no-show and need a reserve to get to the event quickly; the wage is sometimes doubled for people who are called up last minute! You can make a wedge out of this business!
You should take a pride in your appearance - well presented staff who take care of their skin and weight are good advertisements for beauty brands. It is sad but true, it helps to sell!
First of all, you need to be approved by the agency in order to get onto their books. You normally submit an application form with your experience, CV and statistics (dress size and measurements- as some work is costumed). You will also be required to send headshots and full length photos to ensure that you present yourself well and that your height and weight is in proportion. Some agencies go a step further to find the perfect staff by holding a casting, where you will be required to do a catwalk and some public speaking. It varies from agency to agency, many aren’t as strict.
For beauty promotions, some certification in beauty therapy is needed- many beauty BA’s have an NVQ or equivalent. The staff with proper beauty qualifications are more likely to get the jobs. However, for beauty promotions, generally you don’t need as much knowledge about beauty as you would to work in a salon or a spa. Some colleges do short certificates for people who want to learn the basics in nail painting, skincare and makeup and there is often hair-care thrown in there for good measure. Some brands require you to do a training day or online training before the promotion, so you are familiar with the products and know how to use them- it helps you to talk confidently about the product.
Opportunities and Progression
There are opportunities to work at high profile events, depending on what agencies you are with and how much experience you have! All the work you get is a good opportunity to meet people and network, which comes in handy if you are looking to start your own business! The more work you do with an agency, the more work they will give you. If they see you are reliable then they will trust you and maybe offer you event manager jobs on future campaigns.
There is a growing demand for staff to promote beauty as there is such a variety of products emerging on the market. More and more brands are popping up, wanting staff to promote their products-- they want to stand out from the rest as there is so much competition nowadays. You can’t really apply to do this sort of work- once you are on the books of the agencies, you get offered it. When registering with an agency, always inform them of your beauty experience so that they can supply you with appropriate work!
© Laura Jepson
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Potential Salary and Benefits
The salary is usually very good if you are a BA- you’re looking at around £10 per hour and sometimes with commission on top. Like I mentioned before, travel is more often than not reimbursed or included as part of the wage packet. Also the amount of free samples I get as a beauty BA is not something to be sneered at!