What are brand ambassadors?

Brand ambassadors are university students who spread brand awareness through either grass-root approaches or social media campaigns. More and more companies are recognizing that using campus brand ambassadors can make for a successful marketing strategy. Here are 3 roles that brand ambassadors, also known as campus reps, typically do throughout their ambassadorships. 


A Marketing Tool For Your Company And/Or Product 

Brand ambassadors market your company and/or product to other college students or college-aged individuals. Companies are looking for campus reps who are enthusiastic, driven, and confident. This way, they can easily engage with individual students, student groups, and faculty members.

Since being authentic is a key part of being a good brand ambassador, it’s also important for companies to choose those who are passionate about their brand. Otherwise, the campus reps will read as insincere while promoting your company, which may cause you to lose future customers.  

While this type of marketing may seem a bit nuanced, it’s actually quite effective, if done right. Members of younger generations, including millennials and Gen Zers, have different needs in terms of advertising. In general, they value transparency, reliability, and authenticity, which the right brand ambassador can provide. 


Marketing Tactics

Depending on the brand, marketing can be done in multiple ways. For instance, the dating app Bumble encourages their brand ambassadors, called Honeys, to be as creative as possible when coming up with marketing ideas. 

“We do fun, marketing based stunts to spread the word of Bumble. We’ve been giving out yellow roses outside the Union, handing out Bumble merchandise –  they’ve got some seriously cool stuff – and we sponsored the Leeds RAG Take Me Out. It’s great as you can put your own spin on things and be as creative as you want,” explained Sophie Wimble, a former Honey at Leeds University. 

Companies create brand ambassador programs because they are a cost efficient way to market. While some brands do pay their campus reps, others give out company swag or create a rewards program as a form of incentivization. Some college students may even work for free, just to have the experience on their resume. 


They Can Replace Event Organizers 

A successful strategy to recruit college age customers is to host on campus events. While hiring an event organizer is certainly an option, it is at the benefit of the company to use the expertise of college reps in these situations.

Brand ambassadors should have a good understanding of their fellow students and can plan engaging events on behalf of your company. In addition, the reps can use connections they’ve made in the classroom or at campus groups to boost attendance. 

In fact, it is common for brand ambassadors to organize and lead said events. For example, brand reps will host a Greek life shindig, where they hand out free swag, in order to entice potential customers. Further, PINK’s ambassador assist with events that are held both on campus and at stores. 

“A campus rep is basically someone who spreads awareness and tries to increase brand loyalty. For example, we just did a panty party, but besides that we also give [out] coupons you can’t get in the store,” noted Meghan Shahroozi, an Ohio University 2017-2018 PINK Campus Rep, in an interview with the online publication, Backdrop Magazine.


The Ideal Student Should Be Social Media Experts

One of the best ways to market to digital-native college students is to have a successful social media campaign. Since campus reps are usually required to post for the brand on their own social media accounts, it’s in the company’s best interest to hire those who have a large social presence.

The amount of followers they have does matter. However, their level of engagement on social media is even more important. In summary, brand ambassadors should have a large social network with connections who they have regular interactions with. Otherwise, it will be difficult for reps to create compelling narratives for the company. 

Devoted, social media savvy ambassadors can have quite an impact in terms of actual sales. For example, the clothing, accessory, and lifestyle brand, Pura Vita attributes much of its success to campus reps who advertised for the company through social media posts. A single post uploaded by a brand ambassador can rack up tens of thousands of likes and increase brand awareness. 


Final Thoughts on brand ambassadors

For more thoughts on brand ambassadors, contact Campus Commandos.