The student demographic is often seen as a challenge for brands and marketers.
Of course, it doesn’t help that many campaigns do little to resonate. Many even use language that veers towards ‘cool dad’ or ‘teen speak’.
Fortunately, more companies are breaking through the communication barrier and building advocacy through student ambassadorship.
But who are these student ambassadors? What is their purpose? And how are they helping brands to connect with an audience who are traditionally harder to reach?
1. They are more influential and personable than faceless ads
According to data, 88% of consumers trust recommendations from influencers as much as their friends.
Research also shows that micro-influencers – those with audiences below 10,000 followers – are roughly three to four times more engaging than major internet stars.
Think of student ambassadors as a network of micro-influencers.
“Ambassador programmes are a very effective way for brands to connect with their student audience,” reveals Student Problems‘ Michael Martin.
“It’s a more personal form of advertising. Essentially, it’s students advertising to other students – there is more trust involved.”
2. They can help brands to stay relevant and front of mind
Student ambassadors are a brand’s eyes and ears on the ground. They are often someone who lives and breathes a product or service in a way that influences others.
As a result, they can ensure that brand is front of mind and has a larger share of voice on campus.
Advocacy breeds advocacy, and it’s this type of marketing that captures students’ attention – more so than pop up ads, which the vast majority now block anyway.
3. They can help brands to align with student values
Real insight comes from working with students to gauge what’s important to them and their peers.
Again, it’s all about trust. A brand that aligns itself with their audience’s beliefs and values is likely to be far more successful in the long run.
“Students come from a lot of backgrounds and all have different ideals and interests,” says James Thornhill, Editor of The National Student magazine.
“People trying to be ‘cool’ and ‘speak on their level’ from a marketing point of view can often get it wrong.”
He adds: “Always be transparent. Students have a lot of time for honesty but no time for trickery!”
4. They can play an instrumental role in crafting tastes and future purchases
The idea behind student ambassadorship is to build a long-lasting relationship between a brand and consumer by being a part of their journey.
Brands must remember that uni is the first time many students will have to make major purchase decisions – not just things like fashion, but food and drinks products too.
Forging relationships with students early can lead to greater affinity in the future.
5. They can help brands cut through the noise on social media
Like all forms of marketing, making a real impact on a much larger scale is dependent on a brand amplifying their experiential activity through social media.
As Social Chain’s Commercial Director, Sam Budd, points out: it’s about taking incredible micro moments and utilising a macro network, like Social Chain.
With that in mind, brands can drive significant levels of engagement and awareness to meet various ROI objectives.
Want to find out more about our disruptive work within the student marketing sphere? Follow this link to get in touch with a member of our new business team.
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