What is a Brand Ambassador?

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 3 roles that brand ambassadors, also known as campus reps, typically fulfill throughout the duration of their ambassadorships. 

A Brand Ambassador Is a Marketing Tool For Your Company And/Or Product 

Brand ambassadors are tasked with marketing your company and/or product to other collee students or college-aged individuals. For this reason, companies often seek out 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 successful brand ambassador, it’s also imperative for companies to choose those who are genuinely passionate about their brand. Otherwise, the campus reps will read as disingenuous while promoting your company, which may cause you to lose potential customers.  

While this type of marketing may seem a bit nuanced, it’s actually quite effective, if done properly. 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 an ideal brand ambassador can provide. 

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

“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. 

As of late, many companies have created brand ambassador programs as they are a relatively cost efficient way to market. While some brands do pay their campus reps, others have decided to give out company swag or instate a rewards program as a form of incentivization. Some college students may even be swayed to work for free, just to have the experience on their resume. 

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

In fact, it is a common expectation of brand ambassadors to organize and lead said events. For example, brand reps may be asked to host a Greek life shindig, where they hand out free swag, in order to entice potential clientele. 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 Brand Ambassadors Should Be Social Media Experts

One of the most effective ways to market to digital-native college students is to have a successful social media campaign. As campus reps are usually required to advertise 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. While the amount of followers they have does matter, their level engagement on social media platforms is even more important. In essence, brand ambassadors should have a sizable social network with connections who they have regular interactions with. Otherwise, it will be difficult for reps to create compelling narratives on behalf of the company on their social media platforms. 

Devoted, social media savvy ambassadors can potentially 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 have 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 in turn, increases brand awareness.