College Campuses: An Under Utilized Source To Find Your Influencers & Brand Ambassadors
Brands are always trying to find new ways to market themselves to not only their current customers, but also spread their name to new a demographic. When brands are able to tell their story and build a personal connection with their audience-base, customers, new and old, are more likely to develop brand loyalty. By utilizing this type of marketing and consumer segmentation, brands are able to engage with a new type of audience with a completely different background.
College campuses across the country open doors for brands to be able to capture customers, increase revenue, and drive sales. In this blog,Hollywood Branded shares insights on two brands who have created successfully unique marketing campaigns by utilizing college students for Brand Ambassador programs.
But First, What Is A Brand Ambassador?
According to College Marketing Group, “[T]he brands that enjoy long-term success are those who develop strong emotional connections between their products and customers they serve.” This connection, especially to Gen Z, is built upon friendships, support, and brand exposure. This is why brands that have tapped into the idea of Brand Ambassadors and College Influencers so strictly help promote their brand and/or product to the college community.
Brand Ambassadors are a person, in this case a college student, who becomes the spokesperson of your brand at their college or university. Think of them as a “College Influencer.” They are someone who will be setting up a tent in the main quad of campus, selling your product, and spreading awareness for your brand. In short, a Brand Ambassador is all about promotion.
Brand Ambassadors are vital to a brand if they are to try and market on a college campus is because brands are able to build a customer relationship. If a college student is walking through campus, and sees their friend promoting a specific brand, trust is already there. That is why friendship is a key aspect in this marketing strategy. Friends trust each other. If one is sponsoring or selling a product, the other automatically trusts the brand and the product. From personal experiences, I know this is true.
Another reason why Brand Ambassadors are key is because of their social media presence. Some companies target college-age students who already have a following to promote their brand, while other companies just want someone to spread the message throughout campus. Either way, a Brand Ambassador posting on their social accounts spreads the message beyond their campus. If an ambassador posts an Instagram, it will not only be seen by fellow students at their university, but it will also been seen by their home-town friends or other acquaintances. By capitalizing on the College Brand Ambassador program, a brand’s message goes far beyond a single campus and the number of impressions only continue to rise.
Photo Credit: Chapman University Twitter
Brand #1: Bumble
Bumble is a powerhouse when it comes to the college Brand Ambassador program. Since the median age of a bumble user is 26, it makes sense that the dating-app company is targeting people around that age range. Of course, Bumble has many ways in which if differentiates itself from its competitors, but the Brand Ambassadors program has to be one of the top ways. College students who are interested in working as an ambassador for the company fill out an application to become a “Bumble Honey.” Bumble Honeys are able to be as creative as they want when marketing and spreading awareness for the brand. Not only are ambassadors in charge of making Bumble known, but they are in charge of creating their own marketing strategies that vary school to school. Bumble puts trust in their Honeys to come up with marketing tactics that fit the needs of their specific school (something that I think is pure genius).
Photo Credit: @bumblehoney
However, being a Bumble Honey is more than just being a face to the brand. Honeys are required to negotiate different deals or partnerships as well as plan and host different events.
According to thetab.com, senior, Sophie Wimble said, “We do fun, marketing based stunts to spread the word of Bumble. We’ve given out yellow roses outside the Union… [and] I hosted a singles party at mine, inviting all my single friends and telling them to invite all theirs. I had people coming up to me on campus asking if they could come to the party. I had loads of people I didn’t know turning up at my door and my brother came up from London to DJ. We went all out and some people definitely didn’t leave the party single.”
Bumble has also created a @bumblehoney Instagram to showcase all the different work that Honeys have been doing across campus, but also to showcase the Honeys as people – almost like paving the way for them to become a College Influencer.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Bumble has also tapped into another popular aspect of college, and that is Greek Life. Perhaps known for having the most frequent and largest parties on a University campus, Bumble, according to Vox.com is sponsoring parties at Greek Houses.
According to the article, “one fraternity member described these partnerships as “mutually beneficial.” Upon signing the contract, he said, a house is guaranteed a specific amount of money, with the potential for cash bonuses depending on the number of app downloads linked to a hosted event.”
Bumble also is known to provide cups, foam fingers, banners, koozies, t-shirts, necklaces, fans, and other fun gifts to help elevate their brand exposure at parties or Brand Ambassador events.
Photo Credit: @bumblehoney
Brand #2: Red Bull
We all know the saying, “Red Bull gives you wings,” right? Well, that slogan also applies for students as Red Bull has a Brand Ambassador program where students are able to get their foot in the door to the company, but also into the world of strategic marketing and sales.
Each year, Red Bull gives 4,000 students the opportunity to become part of the “Wings Team.” Once hired on, ambassadors are tasked to create unique ways to promote Red Bull in their local area through their knowledge of the people’s wants and needs. This is where students with the knowledge of their fellow student body and surrounding neighbors comes into play. Members of the Wings Team must develop campaigns that are unique and tailored to their environment.
Brand Ambassadors also learn valuable professional experience during they time at Red Bull by, according to the website, “being in direct contact with various consumers and customers, inviting product trail, helping establish Red Bull consumption in diverse occasions, supporting [their] sales teams, working with renowned athletes and of course ensuring an unforgettable brand experience for consumers at Red Bull events.”
Red Bull’s program has been so successful energy drinks are consumed most by people between 18 and 34-years-old. College-aged students fall right in that range. The company has been able to use their resources to further spread their product to the college market. And by resources, I mean their Wings Team.
The Wings Team puts on special events called “activations.” These are different marketing strategies that ambassadors have created that draw more attention to the brand.
On example of an activation is called, “Booster Seat.” According to a former Red Bull ambassador in an article written by Melissa Sonntag, they put a note on desks inside college classrooms that posed a question, “If Johnny stays out until 7am with Julie and gets to class by 8am, how many Red Bulls does he need?” On the bottom of the card had the answer that read, “Just the one under his seat.” Then, when students look under their chair, they found a Red Bull that was attached to the bottom.
Photo Credit: @jason_colbourne
This strategy was very unique and creative because the product was able to get into the target market’s hands with a subtle and nice gesture. There was no sales person being overly forceful attempting to get someone to try the product. Simple. Easy. And it worked!
Photo Credit: Google Images
In A Very Blunt And Non-Subtle Way... GET ON THIS!
Take it from me, as a college student, I trust brands almost immediately who table on campus with their Brand Ambassadors. Why? Because seeing a familiar face selling or promoting a product is comforting to me. I am not skeptical, sketched out, or hesitant.
Brand Ambassadors at a college, like the ones you read above, really help elevate and promote your brand. If you are trying to target younger people, like those in Generation Z, consider creating Brand Ambassador programs. Bumble and Red Bull both have successful and competitive programs that allow students to get first-hand experience into the world of creative marketing and sales. Whats best is that you, the brand, get to benefit from it! Students want experience. Students want to work for a brand. Why not try the program out and see if it works for your company?
Want to learn more about Brand Ambassadors and Influencers and how they can help your brand? Check out some other blogs written by our team:
- Leonardo DiCaprio Becomes Brand Ambassador For Chinese Car Company
- Why Brands Should Partner With YouTube Stars, Like David Dobrik
- The Brand Partnership Powerhouses Of YouTube Influencer Couples
- Why Brands Should Partner With Fitness Influencers
Want to learn more about how Celebrities can help your brand? Check out our awesome guide!