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Some of the world’s biggest companies regularly hire student ambassadors to create and lead their own low-budget marketing campaigns at their university. However, startups – like the businesses on IdeaSquares – can also profit from this essential marketing tactic.
Brand managers at TeachFirst
Student brand ambassadors are hired to represent brands on campus. They can be involved in any number of tasks and campaigns, including:
For both startups and students, the benefits should be obvious. For the right sort of student, a brand ambassador position can be a flexible way to earn money while at university. In addition, they can gain great experience to put on their CVs for the future. At the same time, they can learn new skills and start to develop their professional networks. For a startup, student brand ambassadors are the ultimate guerrilla marketing technique. They can give reliable insight about what they and their friends think, whilst driving genuine brand engagement on a local level.
Whilst people may simply walk past a billboard without even noticing it, student campaigns – though low budget – are often amongst the most unique and attention-grabbing. For example, one tech start-up’s student ambassador program delivered free pizza to computer science students who were approaching deadlines. This helped the company forge connections with their key target market… Today, Google are among the biggest companies on the planet (and their student ambassador program is still going strong).
Another common campaign tactic is to organize branded live events. According to a 2013 survey, this was the number one driver of brand recommendations. Therefore, a promotional club night or concert could be a great way of getting your startup’s name out to young consumers. You could hire a small team of brand ambassadors to organize these nights for you, using their knowledge of the student community to create something that will make you a big name on campus – particularly if you have branded goody bags available on the night.
This is not to say forming a student ambassador program is easy. You will need to actively promote your program to students to encourage strong candidates to apply. Reaching out to student newspapers and university careers services are relatively inexpensive ways to reach as many prospective hires as possible. It will be a big help if you have all your information about the program (including its benefits and perks) in one place, so that students can easily find everything they need to know..
You will also need to be careful when selecting your brand ambassadors. The success of these campaigns will depend enormously on the people you choose being reliable and effective, often self-managing. You will need to make sure they receive the right training and know who to go to when they have a problem. After their initial training, you should get in touch with them regularly to ensure your brand ambassadors remain engaged and on-task.
However, if you select the right person and give them all the assistance they require, your startup can make great strides on campus. You should target students who are outgoing, bubbly and energetic, and who are involved in societies. Because of the tight-knit nature of university campuses, these students can be very influential and lead opinions in their communities. For a startup, that can make all the difference.
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