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Article: Becoming a Whisky Brand Ambassador: Your Ultimate Guide and FAQ 2024

Becoming a Whisky Brand Ambassador: Your Ultimate Guide and FAQ 2024

Becoming a Whisky Brand Ambassador: Your Ultimate Guide and FAQ 2024

Whisky is a passion for many people. And, to paraphrase the adage, if you can spend your days pursuing a passion, it'll never feel like you're really working, per se.

One job I'm sometimes asked about is that of being a whisky brand ambassador. It's a role that's increased in prominence over the past couple of days. 

Whisky brand ambassadors have that passion for whisky. They're typically also 'people people', who enjoy meeting others. They're generally comfortable with public speaking, and happy to travel - whether domestically or internationally.

But what exactly does a whisky brand ambassador do? What skills are required, and how can you pursue this career in 2024? I thought I'd use this article to explore some of the common questions about being a whisky brand ambassador. If its a career path you're interested in, I hope the below FAQs are useful. 

Frequently asked questions about being a whisky brand ambassador

What does a whisky brand ambassador do?

A whisky brand ambassador represents a particular whisky brand, or collection of brands. They educate and entertain people about whisky, promote their brand, and often travel to various events and venues to do this. They get to share whisky, give insider knowledge, visit bars and whisky clubs, and play a key role in marketing and expanding the brand.

What skills are needed to become a whisky brand ambassador?

To become a whisky brand ambassador, you need a deep knowledge of the world of whisky and whiskey. This will ideally include the specifics of the brand you represent, its peers, and the overall whisky market. Public speaking skills are crucial, as you will be presenting information about the brand to different audiences. You also need the ability to strike a balance between educating and entertaining your audience. So, good storytelling, being personable, and having some old-school hospitable charm are all advantages.

How much knowledge of whisky is required to be a whisky brand ambassador?

A significant amount of knowledge about whisky is required to be a whisky brand ambassador. This includes an understanding of your brand, competing brands, and the broader whisky market. The role has evolved over the years, and today's brand ambassadors are expected to have a deep understanding of the industry than in the past. With so much information available on the internet, and with super keen customers, brand ambassadors have to be on the top of their game!

What is the work schedule like for a whisky brand ambassador?

The work schedule for a whisky brand ambassador is not a typical 9-to-5. Tasting events and activations often happen in the evenings, and there's sometimes an expectation to continue socialising after these events end. Today's world of social media means brand ambassadors are often expected to be always "on," including responding to messages received outside of traditional working hours. 

How much travel is involved in the role of a whisky brand ambassador?

A whisky brand ambassador often travels to different events and venues to promote their brand. This can include whisky tastings, industry events, and promotional activities. The amount of travel can vary depending on the specific role and the brand's needs, but it's a significant part of the job for many brand ambassadors.

What is the importance of public speaking in the role of a whisky brand ambassador?

Public speaking is a crucial skill for a whisky brand ambassador. They are often required to present information about the brand to different audiences, ranging from casual whisky drinkers to industry experts. They need to be able to hold and entertain an audience while also imparting knowledge about the brand and the broader whisky category. Good public speaking skills can help a brand ambassador engage their audience, share their message, and leave a positive impression.

How does one handle the balance between education and entertainment in presentations and events?

Striking the right balance between education and entertainment is a key part of a whisky brand ambassador's role. Every tasting event, presentation, or appearance needs to have an element of both. This balance can vary depending on the audience and occasion. For example, a more formal event may need a greater focus on education. A casual gathering might benefit from a more entertaining approach. Developing this skill often involves understanding your audience, being adaptable, and having a good sense of timing. You want to make sure you are providing valuable information, but you also want to keep your audience engaged and entertained.

How much training is provided for a whisky brand ambassador?

Whisky brand ambassadors typically get some good training before heading out on the road. This training can include deepening their knowledge about whisky, developing their public speaking and presentation skills, and learning about the specific brand they represent. That said, it is true that many brand ambassadors go into the role with a lot of knowledge already. They may already be in the industry, or they might be graduating from highly-engaged enthusiast to professional.

How much does a whisky brand ambassador need to interact on social media?

Whisky brand ambassadors are often expected to be active online. The social platforms are a good way to engage with whisky lovers, answer questions, share behind-the-scenes content, and promote events. Being accessible and responsive on social media is seen as part of being always "on" for the brand. Companies will sometimes give brand ambassadors a bit of a guide, or an outline, on how best to interact through social media. 

Do brand ambassadors get paid?

Yes, naturally, and rightly, brand ambassadors do get paid for their work. The amount they earn varies depending on a number of factors, including the brand they're working for, the scope of their work, level of experience, and where they're working. Full time brand ambassadors would be paid a regular salary, while freelance brand ambassadors might be paid per event or campaign.

What is a freelance brand ambassador?

Freelance brand ambassadors are hired on a more ad-hoc basis. The core of the hob is the same: represent a brand in a positive light, and by doing so they help to increase brand awareness and sales. But freelance brand ambassadors are not employed directly by the company, instead they work on a contract basis. Freelance brand ambassadors might be hired for specific events, campaigns, or periods of time. It's a flexible role that will often sit alongside either representing other brands, or holding down other jobs.

Is being a whisky brand ambassador a good side hustle?

We love the hustle! Yes, being a whisky brand ambassador could potentially be a good side hustle. Especially if you have a passion for whisky and enjoy public speaking and socialising. It's a role that can often involve evening and weekend work, as this is when many tasting events and promotional activities take place. Which might actually be a positive, as this could fit well with, say, a Monday to Friday job.

But just keep in mind that, like any freelance job, the work could be unpredictable. The number of gigs you get can fluctuate, and this can lead to an inconsistent income. So, either manage your finances so you don't have a sole reliance on this, or build a solid network to ensure a steady stream of opportunities. Ideally, both.

The joys of being a brand ambassador

Becoming a whisky brand ambassador can be a lot of fun. It's a journey that combines passion, knowledge, and people. While the role can be challenging and demanding, it can also be a great opportunity to work in an industry we love so much. The key to success lies in continuing to learn, honing your public speaking skills, and nurturing your storytelling abilities.

How to become a whisky brand ambassador

For those interested in becoming a whisky brand ambassador, here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Develop your whisky knowledge: Make sure you understand whisky (or whiskey), including how it's made, the different types, and the major brands. You can read books, attend whisky tasting events, and visit distilleries. Let's face it, that sounds like fun!
  • Gain industry experience: Prior experience in the drinks industry, particularly in bars or specialist shops, can provide valuable insights and skills. Consider finding an interim job or internship that allows you to learn about whisky and other spirits.
  • Improve public speaking skills: As public speaking is a crucial part of the job, consider joining a public speaking group or taking a course to improve your skills.
  • Network: Attend industry events and connect with professionals in the whisky industry. Networking can open up opportunities and give you insights into the role of a whisky brand ambassador.
  • Stay up-to-date: The world of whisky is ever changing, with new brands and trends emerging all the time. Staying up-to-date with industry news can help you stand out.
  • Get social media savvy: Understanding how to use social media effectively can be a real asset in the role. Pick one or two platforms, and start a social media account. It's free, and fun. And will likely help you both continue learning and network into the industry.

Good luck on your journey!

I've loved the various bits of freelance brand ambassador work I've done over the years. The hours and schedule can be tough. But sharing great whiskies with great people is always really rewarding.

If you're interested in becoming a whisky brand ambassador, continue to hone your knowledge of whisky. Read books, attend tastings, and learn about different distilleries and their processes. Consider getting experience in the drinks industry, particularly in roles that involve educating and entertaining others. Networking is also crucial. Attend industry events and connect with people who are already working as brand ambassadors. Online platforms like LinkedIn can be very helpful for this.

Next, consider enhancing your public speaking and presentation skills. You should be comfortable speaking in front of a crowd and know how to make your presentations informative and entertaining.

Finally, keep an eye on job postings on platforms like Indeed, SimplyHired, and LinkedIn. You may spot job openings for whisky brand ambassadors. Of course, you can also keep an eye on the career pages of particular brands you're keen to work with. You could even reach out to them directly to ask about opportunities available now or in the future.

Remember, becoming a whisky brand ambassador is not just about enjoying whisky—it's about becoming a part of the whisky community and sharing your passion and knowledge with others. It can be a challenging journey, but also an incredibly rewarding one.

Good luck, I'll raise a dram to you.

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