What drink are you going to buy in the checkout aisle at Target? Where should you go to watch a show or movie? How are you going to study for the MCAT?
Every day, we face many decisions. That said, it’s easier to choose brands we are familiar with, whether we learn about them through online advertisements or a recommendation from a friend. Companies are well aware of this concept, and they spend billions of dollars each year to spread brand awareness.
To reach college age students, brands often implement campus ambassador programs to increase their presence at colleges across the nation. Student ambassadors are employed by a company and tasked with sharing a brand’s image through social media and on-campus activities. While the ambassadors promote the company’s brand and available products or services, they are also able to develop professional skills along the way.
Many students, like Lucas San Miguel (25C), represent such brands. San Miguel is a Coca-Cola ambassador, and he first learned about the opportunity from a student ambassador and Coke Scholar at Arizona State University. Fascinated by what the work entailed and a fan of Coca-Cola, San Miguel applied for the position.
“Now, as an ambassador, I work on Coke-affiliated content creation and sponsoring Emory events,” San Miguel said.
On top of making social media posts featuring the Coke brand, San Miguel also helps Coca-Cola sponsor events at Emory. This involves communicating with the Emory administration and Coke brand to provide events with free products.
For example, San Miguel worked with Costa Coffee (a subsidiary of Coca-Cola) to bring a free food truck to an Emory soccer game. He also hosts “pallet drops,” where Coca-Cola sends him a large quantity of drinks to hand out around Emory. These are not linked to a particular event on campus.
“They sent me over 2,000 cans of Coke Zero. It is as logistically complicated as it sounds, and students cannot typically receive shipments at the loading docks,” San Miguel said. “Fortunately, I have official Coke business cards to prove that I am an actual employee and authorized to receive freight shipments at the student center.”
Like San Miguel, Peter Cooke (23C) was introduced to being a campus ambassador for Xfinity by a peer. Since he uses Xfinity so frequently, Cooke was interested in the opportunity. Cooke’s deliverables for Xfinity are similar to San Miguel: He has to post about Xfinity on his social media and host events on campus every other week.
“Events include holding watch parties through Zoom or having tabling events and handing out free merch,” Cooke said. “It’s really fun showing everyone what an awesome service they can access for free.”
Through these activities, Cooke introduces students to the many perks that Xfinity offers, such as free on-campus TV streaming. One of the ways that Cooke can gauge how well he is expanding Xfinity’s presence on campus is by monitoring his social media engagement analytics.
“I constantly work on brainstorming creative ways to get people to engage with my posts, such as sharing links or asking questions,” Cooke said. “Tasks like holding events and eliciting interaction have helped me develop a really solid set of soft skills that are widely applicable.”
Xfinity is not the only company that offers free services to students. Amal Umerani (23C) works as a Kaplan student brand ambassador to spread awareness about the many free test preparation resources available to students.
“I use tabling at Wonderful Wednesday and social media to introduce students to the free grad school exam study guides currently offered,” Umerani wrote to the Wheel in an email. “I also present at clubs, and at these presentations, I offer Kaplan discounts and discuss opportunities to win an Earned Scholarship, which is essentially access to a Kaplan Course.”
In addition to learning soft skills through promoting a brand, campus ambassadors are also able to meet many new people.
“I like that I am able to have a network outside of Emory,” Umerani said. “Being an ambassador has allowed me to explore different avenues and gain access to resources that will help me in my future endeavors.”
Another benefit that all three echoed is the flexibility that being a campus ambassador offers. They each have to meet a quota of
posts and events, but they have control over when they complete their deliverables within the set timeframe. When midterms came around, San Miguel was able to take the week off and focus on his studies.
“They understand that we are students first and that we have to prioritize school first and then being an ambassador,” Umerani said.
A campus ambassador is no doubt a very useful way for companies to spread their brand around a campus. And for students, the work is fun, relaxed and presents many unique experiences.
“You’re getting paid to share a brand that you love,” Cooke said. “And it is a service that you already frequently use.”