7 Traits of the Best College Brand Ambassadors

College Brand Ambassadors

By the way, intelligence to me isn’t just being book-smart or having a college degree; it’s trusting your gut instincts, being intuitive, thinking outside the box, and sometimes just realizing that things need to change and being smart enough to change it. – Tabatha Coffey

Before The Profit or Undercover Boss, Tabatha Coffey was the business expert and reality star you wanted to walk through your door. On TV, Coffey first traveled the country helping hair salon owners revive their failing endeavors in Tabatha’s Salon Takeover. Then, she expanded to help other small ventures in Tabatha Takes Over. It was her own experience as a salon owner that lent to their success. Yet, it was a combination of factors, almost a grassroots marketing campaign, that earned her celebrity status.

Coffey is an impressive hair stylist who had early emphasis on education. Hers began with a four-year apprenticeship in her Australian homeland. And, it continued with three years of training in London. After moving to the U.S. and opening her salon, she competed on the reality show, Shear Genius. And though eliminated, viewers loved the “blunt, direct” way she talked to peers. In turn, she earned the title of “fan favorite,” launching her solo TV career for the next five years.

After her show’s end, she sold her salon to get back to her passion of education, teaching others the trade. And, in 2016, a leading hair care brand, Matrix, recognized her hard work and named her its Global Business Ambassador. In this role, Coffey spreads the word on the company’s products and education programs to increase its worldwide brand awareness. Her choosing comes as no surprise, due to her training, hard work and other valuable traits. Some she mentioned in the quote above, knowing her success wouldn’t have been possible without intelligence in many facets. We could say the same about the best college brand ambassadors.

Why College Brand Ambassadors Matter

Back-to-school season is fast approaching. And, it’s not just for grade-schoolers. In fact, more money is spent on college students due to their higher ticketed items. Last year, the shopping period alone was expected to bring in $48.5 billion. And, luckily for brands, opportunities exist to reach college students year-round. The key is to be smart in reaching this target audience, which is now in transition.

Millennials are graduating and ushering in their younger cohorts, Gen Z, whose total spending power stands at $44 billion. But, considering their influence on household purchases, it may extend closer to $200 billion. With these individuals soon to enter the real world, there’s no better time than now to get in their good graces. The challenge becomes the best way to do this.

A report by Think with Google says “Gen Z is the most informed, evolved, and empathetic generation of its kind.” They look for brands of the same mindset. And, they place high value on “information, stimulation, and connection.” Personal interactions are how brands can deliver on all three. That makes college brand ambassadors an effective means to make Gen Z their consumers.

No matter if at football tailgates, on Greek row or in common areas, brand ambassadors can engage Gen Z college students. They can provide information and establish a personal connection. That is, as long as they’re up to task. 

What to Look for in the Best College Brand Ambassadors

Brands wishing to build brand awareness and make loyal customers out of Gen Z must look for college brand ambassadors with the following seven traits.

1. Eager.

The role of a brand ambassador requires ambitious individuals. It calls for people who like a challenge and are willing to step out of their comfort zone when needed. They must also be eager to learn about your product or service. That’s because knowledge is a must when dealing with Gen Z. They’ve never been without information right at their fingertips. So, they conduct vast research before making purchases. 

2. Articulate.

The most basic skill of any brand ambassador is the ability to communicate well. This means two things. First, he or she must be capable of conveying your brand messaging in a clear manner. Second, he or she must be able to hold an intelligible conversation and make small talk. These abilities can result in the brand awareness you’re looking for, while humanizing your brand to make a connection.

3. Considerate.

Though the best college brand ambassadors will be masters of speech, at the same time, they must listen to the target consumers. They must seek to genuinely understand their needs. This will allow them to cater the solution, in the form of your product or service, for that particular individual. Their consideration allows them to show the empathy Gen Z is looking for. And, it establishes the trust that today’s consumers need to be confident in buying from your brand.

Emotional Labor in Event Teams

4. Creative.

Though brand ambassadors may need to “cater the solution,” they should do so within the confines of your brand messaging. They should never venture away from your key points, which calls for creativity and the ability to think on their feet. Having this skill may also come in handy should they need to solve problems on-site.

Certain situations may place your success in the hands of your brand ambassadors’ ingenuity. A smooth activation will help to ensure your brand’s credibility and establish trust.

5. Disciplined.

You may find the best brand ambassador to reach your target consumer may be your target consumer. The problem is, a gap seems to exist between college life and work life. Many believe our colleges and universities to have “dropped the ball” on preparing today’s students for the workforce. So, you must find a disciplined individual to show up and represent your brand the way you want.

6. Passionate.

Gen Z looks for stimulation. And, passionate brand ambassadors can provide just that. This not only applies to the product or service. Your best brand ambassadors will be enthusiastic about interacting with people and building relationships. The higher the level demonstrated for both, the more it will be felt by those who matter most. 

7. Influential.

Gen Z has grown up with the internet, getting makeup advice from YouTube™ videos and finding the best in men’s fashion on Instagram. These are their “ads,” which makes their creators their influencers. It’s these genuine, yet influential people they want to hear from. When you consider the best college brand ambassadors, look for leaders who exhibit the above traits to make the most impact. They should also engage their social media followers to help maximize your investment.

How to Find the Best College Brand Ambassadors

The quest to find individuals with all these traits and more may leave marketers overwhelmed. The good news is resources exist to remove their burden. 

An established event staffing agency will understand the demands of a brand ambassador, particularly those in a college or university setting. It will have a database of qualified individuals from which to select the best event staff for your goals. They will screen for necessary skills, related experience, social media following and more. And, your staffing partner can take on staff training to ensure your key messages are understood and retained for success.

With 17+ years in event staffing, EPS has executed hundreds of college brand events and supplied the best college brand ambassadors. Contact us to learn more about how we have helped clients achieve their college marketing goals. 
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About Jessica Catignani

Jessica Catignani is a Nashville area-based writer with over a decade of experience penning content and copy for dozens of businesses, as well as for national publications. Her previous professional work also includes marketing, event planning and retail management. All of this combined gives her a solid foundation for research and reporting on what matters most to the clients of EventPro Strategies (EPS).

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