We believe that bringing brands, content, celebrities and influencers together makes storytelling more meaningful and impactful.
Choosing the right social influencer can be tough because their persona has to align precisely with your brand’s image and attract a specific target audience. Not to mention, their actions are a direct reflection of your brand’s reputation. Despite these obstacles, social influencing has become an explosive source for marketing products to larger audiences, instilling desired brand images and generating sales.
With so many types of influencers, marketing methods, and content platforms choosing the right influencer for your company's goal becomes a complicated task. With this in mind, one untapped source of influencer marketing exists in the rush of college Greek life and may fit strikingly with your brand. In this blog, Hollywood Branded will characterize one possible influencer type, The Greek Ambassador, and categorize their potential function in your brand.
Although no two members of Greek life are exactly the same, in general, The Greek Ambassador lives a life of balance. Of course, in this case, it is a balance of extremes. Approaching their endeavors with a work-hard play-hard mentality the university Greek summons power from the energy reserves far too often. This is because of their tendency to socialize late into the night knowing damn well they have an exam the next day.
Though these practices may seem impairing to their professional ventures statistics show otherwise. For instance, Greeks graduate at a 20% higher rate than non-Greek students and upon graduation Greeks are more engaged in their work and happier with their jobs. This reveals the culture behind Greek life which is supported by vast alumni networks. To be social, have fun and make memories all while pursuing higher education and creating professional opportunities for the future.
In a nutshell, Greek life is designed for those who value fun experiences, camaraderie and cohesion. In the midst of living for the moment, however, they also peer into the future by setting themselves up for success. Think to yourself, does this lifestyle reflect your brand’s image? Does your brand want to reach this target audience?
Though social influencing is a commonly used marketing tactic, brand ambassador programs specifically are being overlooked. This is because as many as 84% of millennials have lost their trust in traditional level advertising. Moreover, 74% of the digital generations, the ones flowing through the college system, reject brands who advertise via social media and instead depend on referrals from their own networks. This is great news when considering college Greeks as brand ambassadors because of their access to enormous yet close-knit social networks.
The gambit with brand ambassador programs lies in the earliest method of marketing, word-of-mouth. Of course, nowadays, word-of-mouth isn’t just common in person but also exists in social media and experiential marketing such as parties and events. In this case, members of Greek life have huge social circles that act as an interconnected web through the rest of their Greek systems and colleges. They promote products at large social events and through their social media accounts. This means partnering with one Greek can get your product to hundreds if not thousands of college students in or out of Greek life.
The logic behind this method lies in people's innate susceptibility to trust referrals from friends and acquaintances. In fact, 92% of the consumers trust reviews and opinions from people they know while those same referrals influence up to 50% of their purchasing decision. Given that Greek relationships are life-long and unbreakable the trust is enhanced thereby increasing persuasibility.
By understanding this type of social influencer and their vast connections you can confidently decide if your brand is a fit for the hooligan hustle and professional drive of The Greek Ambassador.
One important feature of brand ambassador programs is to find preexisting fans of your brand. This makes finding and supplying them with gear an easier process. The standard procedure begins with finding those beloved and dedicated consumers and then supplying them with either discount codes or free samples of your products. These will then be distributed to their network thereby ramifying your brand awareness.
This Guerrilla marketing tactic is known to be one of the cheapest and most cost-effective methods. In fact, it’s far cheaper than other ads, especially when considering the ROI derived from referral trust.
The key when analyzing Greek life’s power in marketing, and something I keep going back to, is the social component of the system.
Before they’re allowed in a chapter Greeks must go through a week, sometimes weeks, of what is called rush. Here you have to socialize with members of different houses for five to twelve hours a day. This is a test of sorts to see how sociable and likable a person is before offering them admission to your chapter. In other words, Greeks are verified as outgoing and interpersonally skilled people before initiation. This is what makes Greeks superior to regular students in brand ambassador programs. Because in order to make the biggest impact you must choose the most charismatic influencers with access to a lot of people.
The Greek’s social access combined with the word-of-mouth technique has been found to double sales. Greeks socialize with members of their own chapters, other chapters, other schools, and even students not involved in Greek Life due to their social and philanthropic events.
All of these social ventures surface opportunities for pictures and videos to be easily shared through social media. Whether it’s in person or through their social accounts The Greek Ambassador can generate buzz for any brand.
In the end, a mutually beneficial relationship is established. Your brand gains effective exposure to a hard-to-reach audience at a relatively cheap rate. Meanwhile, your ambassador gets marketing experience and free/discounted merchandise.
As mentioned, the prime audience for The Greek Ambassador is the digital generation and other college students. Going through the Greek system grants access to these college aged consumers and their culture.
A lovely feature about The Greek Ambassador is that they are by no means localized. With over 9 million current members across thousands of chapter houses, sororities and fraternities span throughout the country, this means you can target different types of college students per campus’s demo/psychographics.
Through careful selection from different chapters in different states your industry is less important than with other influencer models. This is because of the diverse variety of college students around the country which makes demo/psychographics more contextual to the region and culture. In other words, whatever your brand or product is, it likely corresponds with at least one Greek in the country.
One closely related industry that has found success in Greek life programs are energy drinks such as Guayakí, Rockstar, Bang and Red Bull. This is a perfect match for the fast lifestyle of a university Greek. Another fitting industry, dating apps, such as Tinder and Bumble have also left their mark through Greek influencers.
Among less specific industries are apparel and accessories such as sunglasses, bathing suits and clothing. At a discounted rate, one recognizable brand, Patagonia, offers members of Greek life Patagonia branded jackets with the chapters Greek letters embroidered on the chest. Beyond that, cosmetics, snacks and health supplements all flow through Greek houses in addition to so many other types of products.
With limitless audience types and potential influencers, the opportunities are boundless.
One company that’s taken advantage of The Greek Ambassador’s marketing strength is Bumble.
Scoping into Bumble, a dating app, we can see an impeccably devised method that benefits both parties in the business agreement.
In story, a fraternity throws a party that's supported by Bumble through donations or party gear. As college kids in search of carousel gallivant towards the entrance they are suddenly halted by Chad and his best bud Brad. The two pals then say, “Hey man, do you have a Bumble? No? Well, if you want to come in and vibe with the tribe then you have to download the app.” And boom, Bumble acquires a new user while Chad and Brad get to spice up their resume with a dash marketing experience. Win-Win.
Though this party ploy isn’t the only tactic that Chad and Brad use. They are too sharp, too calculated and too determined to get to Cabo. That’s right, Bumble invited some of their most loyal college aged consumers, many of which Greek Ambassadors, to come out to Cabo for spring break. Chad and Brad use social media, social events and free merch giveaways to prove their value. In the end, they get to explore Cabo’s open bars and nightclubs while Bumble gets increased exposure leading up to Spring Break.
All this focus on Greek life, Bumble’s chief creative marketing officer, Samantha Fulgham reveals is due to college students making up a large part of Bumble’s audience. That is why Bumble implemented Bumble Honey into their marketing efforts, a brand ambassador program tailored for women, where many sorority girls find valuable work experience. Here, smart and beautiful women enrolled in college are involved in guerilla marketing consisting of experiential, word-of-mouth and social media marketing. This has greatly benefited Bumble says Fulgham and has allowed them to expand their marketing practices at a larger scale.
Since then, Bumble has seen continued success through a relatively cheap avenue and has revolutionized online dating. Bumble’s founder even credits the app’s early success to micro influencers which apparently happened by complete accident. As it goes, Bumble received a sudden surge of users from a mystery reference named “Anne Smith.” The unknown woman only had 200 Instagram followers but when she posted a picture in a Bumble shirt her loyal followers naturally joined the hive. After this, Bumble worked with 10,000 micro influencers just like Anne to expand their brand recognition. Nowadays, and thanks to this method, Bumble is known as one of the top dating apps on the market.
In the end, brand ambassador programs are a cost-effective method to expand brand awareness and generate sales. Equally as important is the process of narrowing down what type of social influencer your company is looking for. In this case, The Greek Ambassador is characterized as a socially adept, thrill-seeking scholar. Does this match your brand and target audience? The Greek Ambassador’s function is to use their popularity and social skills to advocate for your brand. This can be executed by word-of-mouth, social media or experiential marketing. These tactics can be seen marketing a plethora of products to a diverse range of students in the digital generation.
If you're interested in expanding your brand awareness, reaching new audiences and generating more sales, be sure to reach out so we can help connect you to the right social influencer. In the meantime, check out some of the blogs our team has written on social influencer partnerships!
Want to learn more? Check out our e-book on social influencers and learn everything you need to know to get started!
Topics: Social Influencers, Case Study
Hayden Simpson is a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles studying communications with a minor in film, television and digital media. Before transferring to UCLA Hayden attended Santa Barbara City College spending his time studying, hanging out in Isla Vista and surfing.