As colleges, especially Santa Clara, are at the heart of the newest and coolest trends, companies have discovered that there is no better way to market their products than through students. By recruiting students to become brand ambassadors, companies and new apps have found a way to integrate their products into the college community seamlessly. Who understands how to market to students better than the students themselves?
There are a surprising amount of brands that are represented on Santa Clara’s campus, including: Red Bull, Southern Tide, Apple, Brooks Brothers, Vineyard Vines, Chubbies, J. Crew, Rent the Runway, Lulu app, and Cloudy app. The ambassadors are responsible for spreading the word about their product—as I am an ambassador for Cloudy (get ready for a shameless plug) you all should download it! Ambassadors are also great for something very important and dear to all of us poor, starving college students: giving away free stuff. Everything is better when it is free. But aside from the promotions and freebies, brand ambassadors are gaining critical marketing insights and great work experience for the future. While most ambassadors don’t receive compensation, the skills learned are invaluable, and representing a brand can actually be lots of fun. Cris Cafiero, a sophomore, was willing to give Her Campus some insight into what his work with Red Bull is like.
If you’ve ever enjoyed a Red Bull on campus or at a party, chances are that Cris was involved. Cris is Santa Clara’s very own Red Bull student brand manager, a title that he likes to distinguish from the overarching term “brand ambassador.” It is up to Cris to bring the Red Bull brand to life on campus through events, sports, or anything else that represents Red Bull’s motto of “vitalize body and mind.” While this may sound like a daunting job representing a huge company, Cris explains, “what I do is supposed to be more subtle.” And subtle he is. Cris balances schoolwork and fraternity life (he is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha) with his Red Bull work so effortlessly that many are not even aware of what he does. Cris’ job involves getting crafty—he implements funny and creative “hacks” on campus to get students to notice Red Bull in popular areas. (Did you notice anything suspicious in the library during finals week fall quarter??)
As an economics major hoping to study marketing, Cris is already gaining marketing skills that cannot be found in the classroom. “I get to go to really cool events, meet really cool people, and I’m making a lot of connections through working at Red Bull events. It’s really great business experience because I get to see how well the company is run, and how effective their marketing is. They absolutely kill it when it comes to marketing. They know what they’re doing.” And the business experience is only half of the fun of working for Red Bull. One of their events is called “Schlittentag” which took place at Lake Tahoe on Saturday. The German word Schlittentag means “sledding day,” therefore the event involved giant sled races down the mountain. Teams make their own sleds, and take them down the slopes at their own risk. “It’s basically a huge party. There are Santa Clara teams from Pike and the Ski and Snowboard club that are going up there to compete.”
Cris’ experience with Red Bull is a prime example of the perks and benefits of being a student brand ambassador on campus. Not only can representing a brand involve incredible amounts of fun, but also the marketing techniques further allow ambassadors to get to know Santa Clara’s student body as a whole. They are some of the most influential people on campus, and the work they put into representing a company on campus often goes unnoticed. We are lucky to have them! (Especially because of the free stuff. Don’t forget about the free stuff.)