Today, the millennials have learned not to trust brand communication and rely on real reviews while making a purchase decision. In the given scenario, a marketing message from a brand is more likely to be ignored even by students. But a passionate recommendation from a fellow customer or influencer they can relate to will definitely be taken far more seriously. Hence brands have now started resorting to alternatives that involve making real customers the face of the brand, like campus brand ambassador programs.
What is a Campus Ambassador Program?
A Campus Ambassador program is a way for brands to maintain a presence among school, college or university students. Brands actually appoint campus ambassadors in educational institutes who represent the brand in their campuses. They help in spreading the word about the brand and their offerings among students. Sometimes brands simply want to create an interest-based community for knowledge sharing and industry awareness through their products. Thus simply speaking, a campus ambassador is the face and voice of the brand in their campus representing who organizing various marketing and promotional activities. These may include workshops, seminars, social media promotions, and so on.
Here are a few tips that will ensure a successful and result oriented campus ambassador program:
1. Choose the right institutes
Make sure the school, college or university you choose is the right one for your brand. Start with testing the campus ambassador program with a pilot project in a few campuses. Once you are sure that you have a solid process in place and your campus is right, only then launch the program nationally. You can rely on your past database or look for available data on past trends to pinpoint your top schools.
2. Identify your target audience
Analyze the students and identify what type of student will be best for your brand. Check their interests, education and extra-curricular activities before deciding. Segment students based on these criteria and target schools with such student population. Also, check if these schools have specific programs and clubs where these students can be targeted by the campus ambassadors.
3. Choose the right campus ambassadors
Hiring the “poster child” of the target audience to represent the brand on campus should be the ideal choice. The best campus ambassador programs are usually built on this principle. The reason behind this is the obvious fan following of the student on the campus. It widens the reach of the brand and increases its circle of influence further. Brands also prefer to hire past interns or co-op students. As they have worked with the brand already, they would understand the culture better and will provide a more authentic representation. Also since they will speak from experience, it will be more convincing to prospects.
4. Maintain on-campus brand presence
It is important for brands to establish and maintain an on-campus presence. Most colleges welcome brands to post positions, attend career fairs, knowledge transfer sessions, and host campus interviews. But it’s crucial for brands to go beyond these traditional methods and get involved in campus events. They can sponsor student competitions, festivals, and events. This will help in soliciting referrals from students. Using social media and advertising in student newspapers, directories and other publications is also a good option.
5. Reward good results
A common mistake brands make is to let random students run around campus with branded gear and hope to promote their brand on campus. The secret here is to build an incentive-based program that encourages campus ambassadors and rewards productivity. They can create competitive programs where the ambassador with the most signups or referrals wins a prize. These rewards will certainly motivate your campus ambassadors and drive results.
As a brand, the success of your campus ambassador program can be measured in terms of quality workforce gained or increased sales among the students as per the objective. It will work in the brand’s favor if they continuously improve and grow the program each year to increase brand recognition, attract top-notch entry-level employees and drive sales.
Here are a few examples of campus ambassador programs you can gain insights from –
Phillips Big Leap
Google Get Social
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