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How to Work with Brand Ambassadors in the Russian market. The Ultimate Guide to Increase Brand Presence



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Influencer Marketing is a rapidly growing field, with audiences placing increasing trust in opinion leaders. It has become one of the most effective tools in digital marketing, as marketers actively incorporate opinion leaders and brand ambassadors into their promotional strategies. According to AugustaFreePress estimates, brands are willing to invest up to 32.5 million dollars in Influencer Marketing for advertising with public personalities. 

In Russia, this trend is developing with unique characteristics specific to this market. This article will focus on the longest and most promising format of influencer marketing, namely the participation of brand ambassadors in brand promotion. Let's first explore how this format differs from other types of influencers. 

What is the difference between a brand ambassador and an Influencer?

With approximately 70% of the audience making a purchase based on a blogger's recommendation, it is clear that utilizing influencers can have a significant impact on a brand's success. Interacting with ambassadors and influencers is an attractive tool for brands seeking to draw attention to their products and significantly increase sales. 

So who are ambassadors and Influencers, and what is the difference between them?

Influencers are opinion leaders who can impact a large audience for commercial purposes. Whether they are bloggers, celebrities, or experts in any field, they focus their promotional efforts on their platform subscribers. They aim to create distinctive promotional content that can directly affect the opinions and desires of their audience, ultimately leading to product sales. These opinion leaders frequently feature sponsored or collaborative content on their pages and participate in brand advertising campaigns. Companies typically collaborate with influencers for a single advertising integration, such as a one-time post (e.g. video, reels, etc.) promoting the brand's product. 

The term 'ambassador' originates from the French word 'ambassadeur'. In marketing, an ambassador acts as the face of the brand. His role in promotion is more significant as he represents the company's interests, promotes its products or services, and creates a positive image in the eyes of consumers. 

It's important to note that while influencers can work with multiple brands simultaneously, ambassadors are limited to working exclusively with one company. 

When it comes to collaboration, it's important to consider the boundaries. Opinion leaders, typically bloggers, have a limited reach and can only influence their audience within the framework of their blog. As a result, campaigns led by them may not have extensive results since only their potential audience is engaged for a limited time. 

However, this is not the case with ambassadors. They offer a multitude of advertising platforms and the potential for long-term partnerships. This is particularly true when media personalities, such as actors, singers, athletes, or showmen, are involved as ambassadors.

Features of Influencer Marketing in Russia

Russia has a rich cultural heritage and diverse traditions. It's population is 144.2 million people, with 130.4 million being Internet users, accounting for 90.4% of the population. By early 2024, social networks have 106 million Russian users, representing 73.5% of the total Russian population.

promotion with Brand Ambassadors in the Russian market 2024

When developing strategies involving an ambassador, marketers take into account the regional, linguistic, and cultural differences of a particular social group. This is necessary to ensure that the message that the brand wants to convey is heard and understood by different segments of its audience to the maximum extent possible. 

There are other specifics as well.

Media platform selection

In Russia, promoting with ambassadors differs from foreign ambassadorial projects not only in the specifics of people's mentality but also in the platforms that marketers use to launch advertising campaigns. 

Television remains the primary channel of communication in Russia, particularly in small provincial towns where the Internet may not be accessible. Collaborating with brand ambassadors often involves filming and frequently airing commercials featuring them on TV. Ambassadorship in Russia is primarily characterized by this feature. For companies targeting retirement-age people, TV is the main source of traffic.


Polina Gagarina, a singer, serves as an ambassador for the Ozon marketplace and has been prominently featured in all of their commercials since 2021

Television has taken the lead in promoting products or services, with search engines, websites, and social media following behind.

promotion with Brand Ambassadors in the Russian market 2024
The Yandex search engine page displays a banner showcasing Rosbank's ambassador, the actor Maxim Matveev

The peculiarity of cooperation with ambassadors in Russia is well-traced in the choice of available platforms for the promotion.  

Abroad, they can present the product by having well-promoted accounts on Facebook*, Twitter, and Instagram*. Due to the blockage of Meta's digital products in Russia, they are not available. Instead, brand ambassadors can be found on social networks such as VKontakte, YouTube, and Telegram messenger. Less frequently they are seen on Instagram, Odnoklassniki, Tik-Tok, and the Dzen platform.


Valentin Petukhov, famous YouTube blogger Wylsa (Wylsacom) and Sberbank's ambassador made a video unpacking a smart ATM

Telegram and VKontakte have become popular in Russia as a result of Instagram's blocking. Celebrities had to master these channels to promote at an accelerated pace in order not to lose their target audience. In turn, advertisers have had to adapt their advertising developments to take into account the specifics of the particular media platform where the ambassadors are now located. Our review of VKontakte's features from the perspective of influencer marketing showcases how the VK Clips format is gradually replacing Instagram reels.



Publication in Telegram with the SOKOLOV brand ambassador, TV presenter, and actress Marina Kravets

Instagram* still holds potential for promotion in Russia, even though it has been blocked. Advertisers have successfully adapted to the changes in the social network and continue to develop effective advertising campaigns. 

In addition to popular networks, they have even created short film formats that showcase their products with great success. MOD, a company that builds high-end residential complexes, chose Evgeny Chebatkov, a famous Russian stand-up comic, as its ambassador and featured him in a short film. And there are many other ways to integrate with YouTube influencers.  


A movie in which Evgeny Chebatkov talks about his ideal house from MOD company

Brand ambassadors collaborate with other bloggers. The only Jameson whisky brand ambassador appeared in a video by Edim TV, where he prepared a whisky-based cocktail while showcasing a bottle of Jameson.


promotion with Brand Ambassadors in the Russian market 2024


They offer several advantages, including television exposure, engaging integration formats, and a broad audience reach due to their status. These benefits have been demonstrated by numerous examples. While it is true that utilizing this as a marketing tool can be more expensive than a one-time social media post from a blogger, a clear strategy and professional approach can make it a worthwhile investment. Additionally, it is important to consider regional legislative nuances in Russia.

Digital ad labeling in Russia

Russia strictly regulates advertising and consumer relations through legislation. The law on labeling online advertising, which was adopted at the end of 2023, is of particular importance. All digital advertising materials must be labeled with the mark 'Advertising' and a special token, as we have outlined in our detailed guide. As a result, businesses, including opinion leaders, must tag any posts discussing a product.

Klava Koka, the ambassador for the Chinese car brand Omoda, shared a post on her VKontakte page. As per advertising law, she appropriately labeled the post with a token.




Long-term relationships trend

Another peculiarity of promotion with an ambassador in Russia is the trend towards long-term cooperation with opinion leaders. Russian businesses prioritize stability and reliability, reflected in their brand ambassador strategies. Unlike in some Western countries, where brand ambassador work can be temporary and project-based, our companies focus on building long-term partnerships based on mutual trust.

Actress Ravshana Kurkova has been collaborating with Zarina as an ambassador since 2020 and continues to actively participate in the brand's advertising campaigns.


promotion with Brand Ambassadors in the Russian market 2024


How to evaluate the effectiveness of an ambassador strategy?

One of the main indicators of an advertising campaign's effectiveness is the number of views and clicks on the materials. Brand ambassadors are a highly effective strategy for increasing these rates as it is widely acknowledged that audiences tend to pay more attention to content created by celebrities. While we cannot disclose specific trade secrets, we provide examples of available social media engagement metrics and feedback from marketers who have collaborated with ambassadors. 

For instance, the VKontakte advertising post for the online fashion store ZARINA, featuring Ravshana Kurkova, received 21,607 likes and 4,085 reposts.


promotion with Brand Ambassadors in the Russian market 2024

The ambassador of Sokolov, Marina Kravets, achieved an impressive engagement rate (ER) of 3.72 on her VKontakte repost in the group of this famous jewelry brand.




This rate is calculated as follows: ER = (number of reactions/number of posts) / number of subscribers X 100%. With 99 likes, 5 reposts, and 4 comments, the level of activity may seem low at first glance, but it is actually a good level for this type of advertising.  

Cooperation with ‘stars’ is an undoubtedly effective means of promotion. Experts agree that celebrity-endorsed content is more engaging and helps build brand trust. In fact, a significant 31% of advertisers are convinced of this.

It is worth noting that in Russia, the most frequently used strategies by large market players involve ambassadors. Banks like Rosbank with actor Maxim Matveev as an ambassador, and Sberbank with Valentin Petukhov, a popular YouTube blogger at Wylsacom, are among them. Marketplaces also have ambassadors, such as Ozon with Polina Gagarina or Yandex Market with rapper Basta. In the beauty sector, INFLUENCE BEAUTY with figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva attracts attention. Citilink cooperates with Mikhail Galustyan in the market of household appliances. Zarina's online store collaborates with actress Ravshana Kurkova. Sokolov's jewelry line is represented by Marina Kravets. In the FMCG sector, Pikador ketchups are promoted by the famous chef and restaurateur Konstantin Ivlev, while Starodvorie sausages are marketed by the actor Mikhail Porechenkov. 

Strategy options involving brand ambassadors

Collaboration with brand ambassadors is becoming increasingly popular among companies seeking to strengthen their image and attract the attention of their audience. To maximize campaign results through collaboration with them, it is important to consider the promotion goals. 

Media personalities' authority and influence can help expand audience reach and boost brand image. Bloggers and their followers on social media are a valuable asset for promoting products to a targeted audience.

Ambassadors can effectively discuss the product on their accounts through reviews, unboxings, photos, videos, and articles. This content can be shared on company websites, social media, or other platforms. Ambassador campaigns take on an extensive format, including publications on all social platforms simultaneously, as well as offline brand events and print products.  It is worth noting that such campaigns can be costly. 

Analyzing the target audience in advance is crucial to determine which personalities are the most credible for promotion. To select the best ambassadors, it is important to assess their reputation and influence, as well as their relevance to the brand's values and image. Planning the budget in advance and comparing the effectiveness of ambassador programs versus one-time placements with bloggers is recommended. Our work with YouTube bloggers for the Celimax brand resulted in the Noni line being sold out in Golden Apple, the largest beauty store in Russia, within a month. 

If you have any questions, we will answer them clearly and promptly. RMAA has its own base of influencers in Russia and the CIS, which enables us to provide the brand with a fast and effective solution. To get started on your project, simply fill out an application form on our website. 

Our blog contains a wealth of valuable information about digital marketing in Russia. Subscribe to it to stay up-to-date with the latest insights on digital marketing in Russia. 


*Meta Platforms Inc. project, the activities of which are banned in Russia.

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About the Author

Digital Strategist. Head of one of the project groups at RMAA. Maria started her journey in digital marketing in 2009. 

Author Maria Romanenko

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