Not your average internship: Student brand ambassador programs on the rise
Melissa Fols lives and breathes Bobble. Working as a student brand ambassador for the company, Fols is constantly promoting their reusable bottles that filter the water while you drink.
“You’re really just a walking Bobble,” says Fols, a junior mass communications major. “You can never stray away from the mission.”
Now more than ever, those looking to build their resumes and gain work experience are becoming student brand ambassadors.These students work closely with a specific company throughout the semester to promote a brand by engaging the student body in every possible way.
Matthew Brink, director of the Career Services Center, says the role of a brand ambassador is a combined effort of virtual social media-based outreach strategies, along with being on campus, speaking in classes occasionally as well as hosting and sponsoring different events that help build their brand on campus.
“Being a student ambassador, we have one goal: to promote the ideals, goals and purchasing of the brand,” says Judith Wanderer, a junior visual communications major.
Wanderer says she has been working this semester with Serengetee, a clothing company that allows consumers to design articles of clothing featuring a specific type of fabric that is partnered with a certain cause.
Wanderer’s responsibilities as a brand ambassador for Serengetee involve a full representation of their products that places an emphasis on the brand’s presence physically and virtually. When she is not on campus wearing Serengetee apparel or handing out stickers, koozies and discount codes, she is networking across various forms of social media.
For some students, becoming a brand ambassador actually pays. For Fols, a former ambassador of Serengetee, working for Bobble as a paid employee is more demanding.
In addition to promoting the brand heavily through social media, Fols also spends time attending events and handing out the product. She gave out free Bobble water bottles to the university women’s club basketball team and then catalogued the moment with photographs posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
While most responsibilities of brand ambassadors focus solely on promotional plans of action, some brands require even more involvement.
Risa Lederberg, a sophomore psychology major, has been working this semester with Flashnotes—an online platform where college students can buy and sell their notes. She promotes the brand’s online presence on social media, hangs up fliers and hands out business cards to students outside of classes while also working closely with the company to ensure the usefulness of the notes submitted.
“I specifically try and get students that are in the classes on my target course list to post and be a note taker for their class,” Lederberg says. “The target course list is a list of classes I have created with the help of some of the Flashnotes team. I target students in big classes with exams that are based off notes taken in class.”
Brink emphasized the valuable skills students harbor as a brand ambassador.
“The idea that you know enough about a brand and its value and communicate that on behalf of the organization you work for is a very desirable skill,” Brink says.
When discussing her time with Bobble this semester, Fols says there are many advantages of working for a company that focuses on benefiting others, referencing the different campaigns, or “activations,” that Bobble implements for students looking to make healthier choices at the start of the new year or to stay hydrated throughout spring break.
Lederberg says her time with Flashnotes has pushed her to sharpen her talents and develop new skills.
“It has encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone, by forcing me to pitch the company to any student that is walking into a classroom,” she says.