Welcome back, class, to the second lesson on becoming a BA Jedi Master! Today I’m laying down the basics on the types of BA work, the differences, and some more vocab terms. Yay...vocab…
If you haven’t read the first blog post, visit it here before reading this one:
The Significance of this Post
It’s good to know the different types of jobs before you sign up. Sampling, event registration, and BA work all differ but some job postings may be titled as “BA” job with the specific details in the description. Knowing the differences can prevent you from signing up for a job you may not have intended to work or may not have experience to take on just yet.
What’s Best For You?
There are all sorts of types of BA work out there. As a BA, you will learn what you like and what works for you, your interests, and your personality. I suggest you pursue what fits your needs and wants so you will find events that allow you to express your interests, have fun, and have a successful activation.
If you’re not a fan of big crowds or loud noises, know there are options for you. If you prefer to work locally, there are options, too. Working in markets you prefer (children, family, adult, nightlife, so on) are possible, as well.
The Types of Jobs in The BA Field
Brand Ambassador (Broad):
As previously stated in the first blog post, a BA is a person you may see at an event wearing a company’s shirt or logo. You may see them handing out free promotional items or telling you about the services or a brand. They represent a brand and work instructed tasks by the team leader.
Being a BA can be composed of anything from talking to people about a brand, running a game at a blueprint, handing out premiums, registering guests on IPads, so on. The tasks differ with each client and event.
A Product specialist is a person who is trained to be an expert on a client’s specific product or line of products. Product specialist can be someone who is trained to know the ins and outs of a car model, a line of drink products, or just about anything.
Brand Ambassador vs. Product Specialist:
Product Specialists are more trained than BA’s and they are essentially a tier above BAs. During an event, a BA would pull customers into the blueprint to chat with them and to jumpstart the initial conversation (peak the prospective customers curiosity and interest) but when the prospective consumer has more questions, a Product Specialist steps in.
Here is an example to illustrate the difference:
There is a fan-fest in the parking lot to a popular sporting venue. Car companies, insurance companies, and a popular food chain have blueprints within the fan fest. One of the car companies has its line of new summer cars and trucks. BA’s are handing out sunglasses with the car company’s name on it. A prospective customer comes up to the
A BA who works a product demo is hired to show consumers how a product is demonstrated, how it works, and its features. For an example, that could be a BA showing off how an appliance or technology works.
Some recruiters and job postings use the word product demo and food sampling interchangeably. A product demo could also be a BA showing how a drink mix is made.
A food or drink sampling or tasting is usually held at a grocery store, market, or mall. A food handler (or BA) may be serving samples of a food or drink product in order to boost brand awareness. This usually occurs when a company introduces a new flavor of product or a new line.
This is most common in locations like BJ’s Wholesale club, Costco, Trader Joe’s, etc. There are almost always coupons to go along with the tasting. Sometimes you may need a food handler’s permit or ServSafe certification, depending on the brand and event and your role.
If you are working with foods such as perishables, you are more likely to need a permit or certification. I highly recommend getting your ServSafe certification. It costs $15 and it’s an easy online video course and test.
Alcohol samplings/tastings are basically the same as food samplings but with a few minor changes.
One, you have to be 21+. No, ifs, ands, or buts. And, if an agency staffs you for an alcohol promotion and you’re under 21, it’s most likely a mistake. Never work an alcohol promotion if you are under 21. It could be jeopardizing to an employer, the event hosting the tasting, and yourself.
Like food samplings, you may need to be TIPS certified for the event if you are serving alcohol. Sometimes if you are just selling bottles or pouring cups at a sampling, you don’t need a certification.
Most samplings are hosted at liquor stores and have shorter hours than other BA jobs (but usually pay better).
Event Registration Managers/Models:
An event registration manager (or model) is the person you see with the iPad or registration sheet at an event. Some events have kiosks for consumers to register to play games or receive more information about products or services and some events have models/BA’s with IPad or sheets to register guests manually.
An example would be an event registration manager registering consumers to play a game at the blueprint. They may need to provide a name, email, phone, or other demographic information in order to enter the blueprint.
Another example of an event registration manager is a customer appreciation day at a dealership. I’ve worked a bunch of these events and I personally love them! This is when a customer receives a mail-in to come into the dealership and see the deals/financing options with their car (or trading in their car). Coming to the registration desk and registering allows a customer to receive a free gift card, no matter if they buy a car or not!
A tradeshow model is a model that stands by a booth at a tradeshow. They try to pull attendees into the booth or blueprint. They are usually briefed with information about the brand, brand messages, talking points, etc., but like a BA to a specialist, a tradeshow model pulls attendees in for specialists. Some tradeshows have restrictions on how far a model can go outside of a booth to promote the brand. Speak to the onsite contact and make sure you know the restrictions or the client can be in trouble with the tradeshow coordinators.
I don’t think BA work can get any easier than being a greeter. A greeter greets attendees when they enter an event. They smile, say hello, maybe hand out a map or give directions. Sometimes they direct guests to complimentary drinks or products. Sometimes a greeter says “welcome to ____whatever event____ presented by ____whatever brand___”.
It’s very simple work BUT it’s very impactful. You’re the first person attendees see. If you’re rude, cold, or unprofessional, that’s the first impression of the entire event!!! You’ve got one chance to make sure the entire event appears welcoming and friendly.
Other Similar Jobs
There are other jobs that lineup with the BA world but they're a little different than the ones above. Here are some other examples of work you may want to try out.
Backup/ Onsite Backup
A backup, or onsite backup, is a person who is hired at a flat rate to come to a blueprint. They are hired just in case the originally schedule team of BAs cannot make the event. With car troubles, sickness, etc, agencies have to prepare for the worst! If a backup isn't needed, they're paid and sent home for the day. But, if they are needed, they don't receive the flat rate and instead receive the hourly rate and work the event in place of who dropped out.
Some blueprints are set up when BA's arrive. Sometimes you have to help set them up or break them down. But,if the blueprint is complex, recruiters might hire specifically a labor team to tackle the breakdown and set up of a blueprint.
Labor teams are predominately male (job postings almost always specifically ask for strong men). This can be a very quick and painless job for those who'd rather set up and take down an event than be a social butterfly BA during the event.
You've seen them outside of wireless carrier businesses, sandwich shops, and car washes. Yes, sign spinners! Some recruiters specifically hire people to spin signs for blocks of times for promotions. It's a good alternative job for someone who would rather work smaller events and who are on the shyer/less talkative side.
If you're theatrical and love making kids' dreams come true, mascot work might be up your alley! These jobs are great for Disney dreamers and former drama kids. The costumes can be tricky but the clients are usually incredibly understanding on how much effort it takes to be a great mascot. Know your rights as a mascot first (times in costume, times on break, times out of costume, etc). Mascots can be hired for larger events like parades, parties, malls, conferences, sporting games, etc.
In addition, you may want to be a "Handler" which is essentially the body-guard/voice of the mascot!
Where Do You See You?
Now that you know there are TONS of options outside of being a BA, what do you want to do?
Stay tuned for the third blog installment...
I am regularly asked, “how do you become a B.A.? What are some tips and tricks? How do you start?”.
I’ll be totally honest, I am happy to help others with tips and tricks I’ve gained and learned…BUT…it can be a lot of work responding to everyone who asks. I feel like half my texts, Facebook messages, emails, and Instagram DM’s are questions asking for BA help or fashion show help. It can be incredibly time consuming responding to each individual message. MOSTLY when there isn’t one solid answer on how to get started as a BA.
I’ve decided to create a mini guidebook through my blog to hopefully help others who want to explore the BA work-world.
Welcome to post 1 of BA Tips & Tricks!
My Background in Marketing & BA Work
Most know that I’m a Marketing major. It’s in my blood. Since I was 16, I’ve lived and breathed spreading brand-awareness. I started working as a Social Media Marketer for clubs in my high school (Drama club and literary magazine) which led me to going to college for marketing.
When I was a freshman, I did marketing for an event planning company before it blew up in flames. I then moved on to marketing for an IT startup and giving marketing tips and consultations to a photography company, a sailing team, a food delivery program, and a science program. Up until here, I had never been paid for my work, time, or effort.
After finishing my first year of college, I applied to a marketing internship at a firm. I was hired and marketed very well-known colleges and universities in the US (colleges ranging from MA, NY, VT, to all the way to CA!). This was my first paid position where I even had my own desk and cubicle. During this summer (2016), I went to a business I knew of and proposed a marketing plan. The owner dug it and I marketed his 3 businesses for over a year.
During my second year of college, my work study leveraged my skills and I was hired to market for my school’s sustainability initiative. I marketed throughout the school year and on-and-off with my previous summer client while taking on a fall internship (marketing a coffee chain) and a spring internship (marketing an insurance company). After that academic year ended, I took on 2 new clients (briefly a party rental company as well as an Italian chain I love and still market for).
At this time, I became curious about BA work. I started to Google and ask questions and took my first BA job in May of 2017. I had no idea how to start but I wanted to explore different work options while sticking to working in marketing. I wanted to gain more skills and insights from different types of marketing, outside of social media marketing. Plus, I wanted to have fun while working! (Which seems rare).
From May to September, I have worked for 27 different brands. I’ve learned a lot in the past few months and I’m ready to pass on my experiences in order to help others with their own journeys through BA work!
What is a BA?
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