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The Importance of an On-Campus Presence.
Ahhh, 2014, a year where almost anything is possible; live updates, instant communication across the world, the social resume, and much more.
In an era where endorsing your company is so accessible via online portals, why even bother using actual humans to promote your brand when you can leave it in the hands of the virtual universe?
BECAUSE having that peer-to-peer, word of mouth interaction is still the best way to build your brands’ credibility. The best way to do this you ask? Having feet on the ground!
Being an experienced campus ambassador AND campus manager, I understand the importance of tapping into the student market and building your brand on campus.
By investing in a program that allows students the opportunity to socialize and share ideas with their peers, you are investing in your company’s brand.
In the article “Why you need a brand ambassador program (and 4 right companies that are doing it right )” Nathan Parcells states “in a 2011 study by re:fuel, they found students still control nearly $417 billion in disposable income. With the right brand ambassador program, you can improve your social standing, enhance brand recognition, and tap into the lucrative campus market”.
Summer Students Make Great Campus Ambassadors
Campus ambassadors are the eyes, ears, and voice of your company at their school.
Companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft buy into this face-to-face branding and have invested in a Campus Ambassador Program – the brilliance behind this; they use their summer interns on campus come fall! Makes sense, right?
These summer students have lived and breathed your company culture all summer, which makes them the perfect career advocate to their peer students. Furthermore, having high performing interns work as your company ambassador throughout the school year is a great way to retain top quality talent.
3 Tips for a Successful Campus Program
1. Define Success First
Is there a set # of hires you must achieve? Are you looking to build your brand and increase visibility? Are you interested in hosting awesome networking events? All of the above? Whatever your objective, it is important to define it before hiring/training your ambassadors.
2. Get Your Summer Hires ‘Campus Ready’
Now that you’ve hired those well connected, tech savvy, self motivated CA’s, it’s time to get them campus ready. Ideally these students have worked for you this summer and know the company culture, principles, and product; however, it is still important to host a training session. If you are running a national program, I recommend flying all CA’s in. Most campus programs require a lot of independent work, so having them meet before school starts builds team moral and encourages online communication throughout the program.
Assign pre-work (introduce themselves to the career office, socialize with other thought-leaders on campus, promote their new role through social channels)
Most importantly, encourage a professional but fun work environment!
3. Stay Connected
It is important to remain in constant contact with each of your CA’s. Develop an engagement model which includes weekly status calls, reporting, getting on campus with them, and networking events. Encourage an ‘open door’ policy in which they know you are available to chat outside of your scheduled call.
ROI of Campus Ambassadors
A Campus Ambassador program can do many things for your company; build brand awareness to the student community, generate quality hires, and retain top talent from the summer – if you ask me, that is automatically a positive return on investment (ROI).
Depending on the program objectives, there are different ways to measure your ROI (increased revenue, decreased employee attrition, brand awareness), whatever your objective, a campus program is a small investment compared to the return.
Ensure you understand what your leadership team considers a success before kicking off the program so you can measure those key factors to prove program ROI.
For all you Campus Ambassadors/Managers, what was the focus of your program? How did you measure ROI?
For more Talent Formula tips on building worldclass campus ambassador programs, read Chelsea’s 8 tips HERE .