A brand ambassador is not simply a spokesmodel, and it's not taking over the role of the distributor. It does something different entirely, according to a panel led by moderator Mike Ginley of Next Level Marketing at the US Beverage Alcohol Forum. Through consolidation the big suppliers and wholesalers control about 70% of the business. But building a brand takes a lot of hand selling and nurturing, says Mike, so now suppliers are turning to specialized brand ambassadors. "It's all about activating the brand."