Brand Ambassadors (BAs) are an excellent means of delivering on your campus marketing aims. This might be diversity (in all its forms), increasing brand awareness, filling hard to fill roles & locations, data capture, or simply reaching more universities cost effectively. The key to any successful BA campaign are the BAs themselves. Good BAs are adaptable, engaged, energetic and can leverage the unique networking opportunities on their campuses, helping employers to reach their specific target demographics. As such, I sat down with our Campus Relations Manager, Katie to identify her top 5 tips for sourcing an excellent BA for your campaigns.
Brand Ambassadors can be used to deliver campus activities, social media & digital marketing campaigning successfully due to their peer2peer networks. BAs provide greater on-campus exposure in comparison to, say, careers fairs, and can help fill hard to fill roles, improve diversity in your talent pools and provide insights on competitor activities and student reception of your brand. Further, when one aggregates the cost of careers fairs along with travel, human resources and other related expenditure, one sees a far better ROI using BAs.
Whilst COVID-19 understandably leaves attraction and recruitment campaigns looking for ways to adapt digitally, BAs are able to make that shift easily. Our BAs on live campaigns right now have shown an extraordinary adaptability to various digital marketing techniques, with one client BA particularly impressing their employer client by continuing to drive sign ups for a teacher training programme while isolated in Hong Kong!
Confident communication skills are an essential skill to look for in a successful BA. BAs communicate professionally and peer to peer throughout their role, and must be able to do so confidently in a way that will engage individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Our client’s BAs have demonstrated these abilities consistently throughout their roles at various events and in different activities as detailed below.
Throughout client BA campaigns, BAs with a vested interest in the company or industry they are representing have shown resounding success and investment in not only succeeding in their roles, but excelling. Positive experiences and vested interests in doing well serve as excellent motivators, resulting in a BA that excels and are therefore a key thing to look for when hiring a BA.
Existing campus connections are another key factor to consider when hiring BAs for your campaigns. These peer to peer connections can provide access to social media platforms, boards, and mailing lists across a diverse range of societies, and therefore students to help identify relevant talent and fill your roles. As demonstrated below, the aid of these existing campus connections for BAs has proven time and again in the campaigns we have managed to be successful.
Our Campus Relations Manager, Katie notes that previous work experience demonstrating reliability, resilience, and adaptability serves to suggest a candidate will excel in their role as a BA. Previous work experience shows consistency in fulfilling responsibilities and adapting to hours as necessary as we identify with a few of our client BAs below. This skillset has proven particularly necessary amidst COVID-19 and the BAs we manage have risen to the occasion, adapting spectacularly as we discuss.
Our final tip from Katie for what to look for when selecting a BA relates to experience in similar activities. As we identify throughout this article, some of the most successful BAs have done so by running various events. As such, clients are beginning to make the running of such events a mandatory part of their BAs roles, making previous events management experience extremely applicable and desirable when selecting your BAs.
Not only do great brand ambassadors need to have excellent communication skills, but they need to be confident in their ability to use these in various scenarios from face to face student interactions, to lecture shout outs, and networking events. As such, it is essential to look for students who have experience communicating with a diverse range of people in both professional, and student centric environments and are confident doing so to represent your brand.
One of our law firm clients identified one BA in particular who excelled in her interpersonal, communication skills with students. Phoebe demonstrated throughout her role as a BA an innate ability to approach specific students individually in order to market the employer and their opportunities, driving applications from the right students.
Naturally, a great BA will therefore also have the ability to apply these excellent communication skills at professional networking events while representing their client brands. It is important for BAs to be able to thoroughly research their brands, then communicate professionally, answering questions and representing said brands as appropriate, garnering interest and sign ups by remaining active and engaged at said events. For example, one Sanctuary Graduates BA, Rohan from Warwick University represented Sanctuary Graduates at one of the largest Engineering Societies events in the country over three days. Rohan represented the company professionally while networking with students, communicating with organisers in order to be able to do a shout out, and taking student sign ups as they exited the event, gaining 300 sign ups alone in one day.
Students with an active interest or history with your industry, or even your company directly through internships for example have proven great success as Brand ambassadors for such companies. Due to positive experiences and a vested interest in going above and beyond to impress, such students will serve as great BAs, both hitting and exceeding expectations as a result of background knowledge of the industry and the drive to succeed and impress.
For example, one BA for Softcat had completed his placement with the company prior and proved extremely successful in his role with the events he ran to garner interest in and awareness of the company. Further, another BA for Softcat, Pete also excelled in his role as a BA for Softcat going above and beyond with his activities on campus for the company with events such as tea mornings to better engage students with the company. With both candidates having applied for the company following their roles as BAs, one sees a clear drive for the industry, perhaps explaining their effectiveness and willingness to go the extra mile in their activities.
Part of what makes BAs so effective is not only their ability to interact with potential talent on a student to student basis and build connections, but their existing campus connections and student networks. BAs are able to interact directly with talent needed to fill hard to fill roles, as well as talent from a diverse range of backgrounds. As such, another top tip for selecting a great BA is to look for students that are active in a range of societies. Those that are on committees will have access to their societies board, mailing lists, and social media, allowing for particularly effective digital marketing techniques throughout their campaigns, which have become particularly pertinent in order to adapt amidst COVID-19.
Moreover, a candidate engaged with societies for their course, a hobby, and a sport have access to a diverse range of talent allowing for a wide pool in which to encourage applications and interest for the companies they represent. For example, Mariana, a BA for Simmons & Simmons utilised her position as Vice President of King’s College London’s Pro Bono Society to promote the company and its opportunities to the society’s members.
Further, Harshika was a BA for Taylor Wessing and utilised her connections with the Presidents of the University of Warwick’s Black Women Project Society and Warwick International and European Law Societies. Through these connections, Harshika was able to speak at events and promote Taylor Wessing and its opportunities to these society members.
A great BA needs to be reliable, resilient, and adaptable. By this, we mean that they need to be communicating consistently with their manager throughout their campaigns, documenting in detail the activities they undertake. It is also important that they are resilient and adaptable with their campaigns so as to avoid the need to replace a BA midway through a campaign that stops communicating or is unable to balance their studies with their role. The quality of candidates in this regard have been particularly demonstrated with COVID-19 and BAs continuing their campaigns, adapting strategies to digital techniques as mentioned earlier maintaining sign ups despite the lockdown.
Our Campus Relations Manager Katie has been particularly impressed by Sabrina, an NAO BA that consistently communicated with Katie, evidencing her activities on time for the duration of the campaign, and helped secure 37 click throughs for an Insight Event, and 74 click throughs for an Internship with the company.
Katie notes that Sabrina has maintained various part time jobs throughout her studies, thus demonstrating her reliability, resilience, and adaptability with her schedule and strategies. Candidates with similar previous work experience demonstrate their ability to manage their time and reliably show up consistently and long term for their roles despite any other responsibilities they may have, making them excellent candidates as BAs to work on your campaigns.
Our final top tip for selecting a great BA is a new addition to what we look for. With our BA’s holding various events from ‘Meet the Brand Ambassador’ events by Hannah at the University of Bristol for Latham and Wtakins to Pete’s afternoon tea events for Softcat, event management experience is a skill that could serve to be extremely useful for a successful BA.
With certain companies such as Simmons & Simmons splitting their BAs into tier 1 and tier 2 BAs, with tier 1 BAs mandatorily running events, such experience is particularly pertinent for a BA to be most successful in their role. This experience will aid BAs in successfully running such events using methods most effective in bringing more attendees, thus generating more sign ups and raising brand awareness successfully.
There we have Katie’s top 5 tips on selecting great Brand Ambassadors! Were they helpful? Are there any tips you think we may have missed? Or would you like to talk to us about getting your own Brand Ambassador campaign started? Let us know in the comments, or please do get in contact with us!