College campuses are a perfect place for brands to implement their marketing strategies. Brands may have a product that would be great for college students, but sometimes reaching students can be difficult. That is where brand ambassadors come in—these students act as a liaison between big companies and college students.
Companies with brand ambassador programs range from clothing stores to mobile apps to restaurants. Three companies in particular have utilized their brand ambassadors on Virginia Tech’s campus.
Although Aerie does not have an ambassador program established at Tech, they hired and utilized brand representatives for their pop-up shop for their Aerie Real Happy Tour on the Drillfield at the end of February. Aerie hired these brand ambassadors through a third party and sent them products to promote the event. Through posting on social media and word of mouth, these ambassadors were able to make this event a success.
After receiving an email, Lissandra Cartagena applied and was selected to be a brand ambassador for the event. The brand ambassadors were given suggested marketing strategies to create as much buzz around the event as possible.
“For social media, they wanted us to make it as natural as possible, not so much like we were promoting it,” said Cartagena. "It was pretty much like ‘do what you're doing,’ because we were selected based on how we are on social media."
Aerie selected Virginia Tech for their first stop on their Aerie Real Happy Tour since the market seemed viable. Their new line of swimwear and summer clothing was perfect to promote to collegiate women—especially the week before Spring Break.
“It's really cool to say that you worked for a brand you like,” said Cartagena. “For me, it was just more just like the overall experience even though it was really short. It's something I now think about every time I shop there.”
For a big company like Coke, they have brand ambassadors all around the country promoting Coca-Cola products. At Virginia Tech, it is the job of two students to promote the brand on campus.
Jacquelyn Marano became a brand ambassador for Coke through a connection from PRISM, and since then has gained valuable experience to use for her future career.
"It's been a really good opportunity and it's helped me see more of the branding side of things and how within a whole company, each brand is its own little section. They all do their own thing,” said Marano.
Similar to Aerie, brand ambassadors are managed through a third-party company, CSE. Through the program, brand representatives get to put on events to promote Coca-Cola’s products, including sampling events and watch parties.
“We got to help participate in the March Madness watch party for the men's basketball team which was really cool,” said Marano. “I think one of the really cool things is that all of the brand teams will send you a bunch of free stuff, not only to give away but for us too.”
Amazon Prime Student
Remo John became a brand ambassador through a classmate who held the role previously. For Amazon Prime Student, John holds tabling and mobile events, as well as promotes the brand on social media.
“For me, my favorite part is interacting with people. It's a pretty fun job if you like talking to random people and just getting stuff out. It's enjoyable and It's not a very difficult job,” said John.
Each brand ambassador attends monthly meetings with other reps in the region and one lead ambassador. They discuss marketing strategies and go over events from the past month.
“In that meeting, it’s your time to learn more about marketing and advertising. The lead ambassadors give tips on how to make your events better and tips on how to improve current events,” said John.
Aerie, Coca-Cola, and Amazon Prime Student are just a sample of the large number of brand ambassador programs at Virginia Tech. Each brand tailors their strategies to their audience and utilizes their brand ambassadors to strategically reach college students.