People are natural ambassadors for products and services they love. Even thinking back to your recent interactions, when was the last time you told a friend to check out a product you discovered or service you love? I’m sure quite recently. Major corporations, as well as up-and-coming startups, understand this power of word-of-mouth and have formalized it via brand ambassador programs.
A particular target for many companies is the college market. Students are usually on their own for the first time, now responsible for purchasing items that were just there thanks to mom and dad. Furthermore, they are starting to develop their own tastes and preferences - what style of clothing they like? etc. And where do students get a majority of their ideas from? Their peers, of course. Therefore, by equipping students who are already brand champions of a product/service on college campuses with the resources to effectively spread the word, companies can capitalize on a very organic form of marketing. Meanwhile, students have the chance to gain experience, make important employer connections, and earn money doing what they are already naturally doing - influencing peers.
So what exactly do these student Campus Ambassadors do? How do they spread the word of a product or service? What does it take to succeed? In order to answer these questions and more, we interviewed two former Campus Ambassadors to shed some light on the topic.
MEET THE AMBASSADORS
What did you do specifically as a Brand Ambassador?
(R): "I drove app downloads and sales, drew attention to the brand via social media, and worked to increase general brand awareness on campus. For each program, we were responsible for planning and executing tabling events in high-traffic areas on campus. For BOU, we hosted three tabling events where we handed out free samples and promo cards, while educating students on the benefits of BOU and where it could be bought. For CBS, we hosted two tabling events where we streamed the CBS HQ service and educated students on how they could access it and get in on the action. We also raffled away a Roku at each tabling event. CBS also had us host watch parties, which were gatherings of 8 or more people where we would stream CBS HQ and a big game. Here we would order food, educate our friends about HQ in a more intimate environment, and also raffle off free Rokus. Through these tabling events and watch parties, we were able to observe how students interacted directly with the brands, which lead to valuable insight for each company. For example, with BOU, it was clear after the first event that people weren’t a fan of the Tomato Quinoa flavor, so they ended up scrapping this. This was valuable feedback for BOU who now knew not to roll it out heavily to big box retailers."
(A): "As a Brand Ambassador, a lot of my job had to do with stimulating app downloads as well as engagement with the apps that companies were launching. For example, at the time, Google was launching their new smart messaging service called Allo, which was perfect for people in the college environment. So I worked to target communities who would benefit from this application and then fully introduce them to it, such as sports teams or those involved in greek life. This could be done through everyday interactions on campus with peers, as well as social media posts and taking the time to meet with certain campus groups and clubs. A really fun aspect to this side of being a Brand Ambassador was the possibility of holding things such as watch parties, where I would be given a certain budget that I could spend on just about anything that might generate interaction and interest for the product at hand. These are great around the time of the Super Bowl or March Madness."
Why did you like working for a Brand Ambassador program?
(R): "It taught me a lot about marketing and helped me boost my soft skills. It was also a great way to make some cash on the side as a student. As a brand ambassador you are accountable for yourself and your work, but you have a lot of flexibility and room for creativity in your everyday responsibilities. It is a very collaborative process that requires honest communication, time management and the ability to express yourself. This was a great way to continue developing all of these skills before I jumped into the workforce."
(A): "I really enjoyed working for a Brand Ambassador program because it gave me the opportunity to put some really great companies on my resume while I was still in school. This was a great asset for me because when it came time to interview for post-grad jobs, I was able to really provide examples of traits and qualities that companies were looking for through not only summer internships, but real job experience while also keeping up with my studies and staying on track to get my degree. Not to mention, the compensation was great and didn’t require the commitment of a full time job."
In your opinion, what makes a great Brand Ambassador?
(R): "A great brand ambassador is driven, organized, out-going and responsible. He or she is good with their phones and is very communicative. I mentioned before the importance of accountability. If you can hold yourself accountable and keep your managers in the loop, then they will be incredibly hands-off. Only when you don’t communicate will they be forced to micromanage you. Time management is also a huge aspect. Make sure that you are not biting off more than you can chew and that you can give 110% to doing your job properly. If not, it is unproductive for everyone."
(A): “A large part of being a great Brand Ambassador has to do with loving person to person interactions. Being outgoing and willing to put yourself out there is really important as you’re constantly engaging with people to accomplish a goal. A great Brand Ambassador also isn’t afraid of rejection! Often times, you’ll hear no more than you hear yes, but that doesn’t mean you stop there. For example, when I was an ambassador for NFL Sunday Ticket, I hosted tabling events around campus and you constantly hear the age-old, 'Sorry, I’m late for class! I don’t have time.' But when you understand that the company you’re representing has a product that really can help the people around you, it makes it all worth it.”
What was the most challenging aspect of working as a Brand Ambassador?
(R): “For me the most challenging part of being as a Brand Ambassador was dealing with time management. This year I had a lot on my plate and often needed to move certain events around to make it work. However, the managers were always very accommodating and trusted me to get the work done. Having this trust made it much easier.”
(A): "The most challenging aspect of working as a Brand Ambassador was accepting rejection a lot of the time and moving forward anyways. But in a way, that was one of the best parts of the job as well because I feel it really prepared me for my actual job search, post-grad. Good things don’t come easy! It’s so important to keep grinding and to keep a positive outlook when things aren’t going exactly how you’d picture them to be."
If you could give one tip to any future Ambassadors, what would it be?
(R): “Don’t apply for a position that you’re not passionate about. It is clear when a brand ambassador doesn’t want to be there and that isn’t a good look for yourself or the brand that you are representing.”
(A): "You get out what you put in! The more you are willing to do for a company, the more it’ll benefit you in the long run. Take advantage of the great companies you’re able to work for and utilize any of the connections that you’re able to make through this opportunity. And enjoy what you’re doing. It’s actually a ton of fun!”
As you can see, brand ambassador programs offer a lot of value. At Evolvez, we connect students to ambassador programs available at their Universities. We hope to see you apply to a program soon!