Asos, Toms, Rent the Runway and Victoria Secret Pink are just a handful of fashion companies who take advantage of the PR opportunities across college campuses through ambassadorship programs. Somewhere in between a traditional internship and a promotion gig, Campus Ambassador Programs work directly with students to promote the brand on campus through a mix of social media, events and outreach in exchange for work experience, incentives and of course, swag.
So how does a brand go about launching and managing such a program? Farissa Knox, founder of the style app WhatRUWearing, developed a Campus Ambassador Program to help launch the WhatRUWearing phone application on campuses across the nation. The program is looking for students who are interested in pursuing a career in fashion, retail, journalism, social media, marketing or communications and offers the opportunity to gain firsthand experience on how to obtain and maintain product users and build brand loyalty.
Farissa herself is no stranger to building successful businesses. She studied communications with a concentration in marketing and advertising and worked in advertising sales for 5 years before starting her first company, a media advertising agency, in 2008. The idea to start WhatRUWearing came about one day when Farissa was on a celebrity blog and thought, “why isn’t there a place where we can see what regular, awesome girls across the country, and the world, are wearing every day?”
To begin, WhatRUWearing launched with limited functionality in order to test proof of concept. Farissa recruited local fashion and bloggers in Chicago to test the app and provide feedback. The new version of of the app launches this month, and is an “app that not only allows users to post their looks using similar functions they are used to using on other social media platforms, but they can also maintain and organize their own “virtual closet” by hanging up their own outfits and other user’s outfits for future fashion inspiration.”
How does the WRUW Campus Ambassador Program work?
We wanted an exciting way to introduce the app to one of our core target demographics, young, fashionable girls between the ages of 18 and 24. So this meant finding influential, smart, hard-working girls at universities across the country to help us spread the word. The chosen girls engage in weekly communication with the WhatRUWearing team via email and our Facebook page to learn their goals for the week, share their ideas on how we can get involved on their campus, and discuss additional ideas they might have that we can execute with their help. Along the way their will be rewards, opportunities for the girls to network with each other, and hopefully lessons learned for when they enter the real world.
What are the biggest opportunities for first brands, and then students, with regard to a Campus Ambassador program?
There are always huge rewards for early adopters. From a brand perspective, it shows loyalty to the platform and the value they hold in the users. If the brand stays consistent, the users will organically start to associate the two as partners, not just an advertiser. For the students, they get to brag about knowing about something new and cool before their friends and others. They were in the ‘know’ before the masses and in today’s fast pace technology race, that still holds value.
There are always huge rewards for early adopters. From a brand perspective, it shows loyalty to the platform and the value they hold in the users. If the brand stays consistent, the users will organically start to associate the two as partners, not just an advertiser.
What tips do you have for brands looking at developing an Ambassador Program? What must they get right?
First I would say make sure your product and the group you are trying to attract as ambassadors line up. If the group does not organically care about the product, you will not get the results you are looking for. Secondly, the engagement factor is key. The more they feel involved and a part of something, the better ideas and results will come out of the program.