Universities can be a tough nut to crack for marketing. College students are a tightly knit group, and Gen Z is suspicious of traditional marketing. Plus universities are strict about who they let onto the campus. And when you have a product you want them to try, all the digital marketing in the world isn’t enough to break through. Furthermore, you might not have authentic ambassadors already working for your company.
So what’s a product company like yours to do?
Authentic Ambassadors: Creating a College Brand Marketing Program That Delivers
Where I’ve had success is developing deep relationships with the universities. I can get you access to the campus, and also a group of campus brand ambassadors.
By working with the students themselves, we get several key points for marketing to this group:
Access to their social media feeds
You can get this in a more organic way. College kids tend to be suspicious of traditional marketing, like typical paid ads. And they live in an age of information and advertising overload. So this is a way to cut through the noise.
Authenticity in recommendations.
They have a strong likelihood to try or purchase things based on the recommendation of people they know, whether they know them in real life or online. This is how they narrow down the vast amount of options available and marketed to them, and how you can get much more reach for your product.
Buy-in from the most influential people in your target market.
Without requiring the huge payments for mega-influencers, who might not have the right audience anyhow, college brand ambassadors with 2,000-10,000 followers can hit a dedicated group for a fraction of the price.
For example, I’ve had great success with college brand ambassadors in the fitness space, which is a major growth area among young people. We’ve had events where a group of our ambassadors got up and shared their experiences with fitness: finding joy in movement after childhood weight gain, or strength and power after an eating disorder.
This passion and willingness to be vulnerable is a strong connector with college students, who are often just beginning to learn who they are. The power of these authentic narratives can drive huge gains for your brand in a tough market.
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