Welcome to the Block Party: Taking the Kendra Scott approach to recruiting passionate ambassadors for your school district
Is your school district looking for new ways to engage your community to help promote your schools?
Do the cities that represent your district have faithful supporters of your schools? Are you having trouble harnessing the power of their loyalty in your district?
In this article, I examine Kendra Scott’s College Ambassador Program and discuss how you can use its strategy to grow your own school district ambassador program.
Numerous studies show that 83% of customers make purchase decisions based on word of mouth. A friend or family member recommendation is more powerful than most marketing your school district can create. It is a great idea to develop strategies that tap into the power of word of mouth.
As I was developing a blog article for “word of mouth” marketing, I came across Kendra Scott’s popular College Ambassador program that recruits college students across the United States to promote events, special deals, and new merchandise. Their techniques can be used to create a powerful school district ambassador program of your own.
What is the Kendra Scott College Ambassador Program
Kendra Scott defines its program and representatives as passionate, fun, and stylish group of Campus Ambassadors who represent the Kendra Scott brand’s heart and soul. We embody the Kendra Scott brand by being friendly, approachable, polished, and fashion-forward. We live the Kendra Scott core values of Family, Fashion, and Philanthropy and treat all people with kindness and respect.
Kendra Scott goes on to state that their ambassadors:
- Live the Kendra Scott core values of Family, Fashion, and Philanthropy.
- Are positive representatives of the Kendra Scott brand.
- Connect with our local community and inspire others.
- Earn career-boosting experience in the fashion, retail, and marketing fields & have FUN!
Ambassadors for the program are at major universities and colleges across the United States. Lucky for your school district, you are a local company that has a smaller geographical area to recruit from for your ambassador program.
After researching the Gems Kendra Scott Ambassador Program, I learned six key components that make a “Super Fan” ambassador program necessary. You can use these ideas to grow your own successful ambassador program for your schools.
Here are six tips for establishing a high impact program:
To develop a successful ambassador program, you need a solid strategy to get your representatives’ best possible outcomes.
1. Recruit the Best and Most Passionate Ambassadors
On Social Ladder’s blog, they define an ambassador as a person who represents your brand in a positive light, boosting brand awareness and sales. An ambassador can be a hired “Influencer,” but most of the time, you can find passionate brand loyalists in your community or inside your school district. The graphic below from Social Ladder, defines both an ambassador and an influencer.
Your goal should be to establish a real and trustworthy individual who strongly connects to your brand. In a school district, these can be parents, students, teachers, and alumni. You want an ambassador who has a genuine relationship with your school district. As Kendra Scott states, recruit the best, brightest, and most bold.
“Cultivating a community of like-minded people who are eager to share your message with the world will help your brand create an effective, low-cost organic marketing channel that you own entirely.” – Social Ladder
Take your time when recruiting ambassadors. I feel where most school districts get this wrong is they recruit the straight-A student or the captain of the football team, or the most veteran teacher in the school district. Those might be great choices, but make sure they are authentic and real champions of your brand. Also, make sure they have the connections to make a substantial impact on the community.
Kendra Scott looks for individuals who are positive representatives. Find positive people in your school district. Who is the cheerleader of your brand? Who speaks in your community, and people listen?
2. Organize Your Ambassadors
Your Word of Mouth strategy will fall apart if there is not a well thought out plan. After you recruit top-notch individuals, you need to develop ways for them to effective. It would help if you had ways to:
- Assign Tasks
- Monitor Ambassador Progress
- Streamline Communication
- Build a well informed “Super Fan”
- Give Valuable Feedback
A centralized location where your ambassadors can find information and valuable resources to promote your school district is necessary. Developing a dedicated hub where ambassadors can grab graphics, promotional items, event details, and monitor campaigns’ progress can be very valuable.
“I have enjoyed every aspect of this program, but I know this was only a glimpse of all the things the Kendra Scott brand does behind closed doors.” – Kendra Scott College Ambassador
Apps like Social Ladder can help streamline this process and give you an edge to “word of mouth” marketing. Their app is a one-stop-shop for all things ambassadors. If an app is not in your budget, you can also develop a virtual ambassador hub on your website. Trinity University in Texas has a simple yet effective hub for online ambassadors.
And nothing can beat meeting in-person or over a Zoom call to discuss an ambassador’s role and strategies to use throughout the school year.
3. Power Word of Mouth Through Trustworthy Ambassadors
Remember, Word of Mouth marketing accounts for 83% of consumers purchasing decisions. People trust authentic people. You want real voices with real opinions. User-Generated Content usually works best.
“A dedicated community allows you to direct your ambassadors to share relevant information, post specific content, and help your brand achieve marketing & sales goals.” – Social Ladder
You want to educate them with your goals and strategies, but never get in the way of ambassadors expressing themselves in their way. Let them take your content and make it your own. User-Generated Content is authentic and will resonate with their family and friends. Original content from genuine people will also let your marketing messages grow organically.
4. Educate Your Ambassadors
Even though you want your ambassadors content to be organic, you still want to educate your community. Providing your ambassadors with information about your district is critical. You want to open the curtain and let them behind the scenes to know your goals and strategies for the school district.
You also want to empower your group with social media skills to develop the best way to promote your district’s good things. Please give them the tools and skills to be successful.
“This program has enhanced my social media, marketing, event planning, and communication skills which I know will benefit me as I begin my future career.” – Kendra Scott Ambassador
It is also critical to provide ongoing feedback to your ambassadors. Let them know what they are doing right, and give them ways to improve. Feedback will be valuable as the year goes on.
5. Reward Your Ambassadors
Even though your ambassadors will doing the work for free because of their passion for your school district, there is nothing wrong to incentivize the process. Everyone works a bit harder for rewards.
“An incentive doesn’t have to break your budget — simply sharing content that a brand fan created can make them feel important and valued by your brand.” – Social Ladder
It would be nice if your ambassadors were rewarded after crossing certain thresholds like inviting a certain amount of people to an event or recruiting three parents to join PTA. Kendra Scott offers their college ambassadors discounts and free merchandise depending on their success.
Here are some examples you could offer as an award:
- Free sports or fine arts tickets
- A monthly coffee for top ambassadors
- Free school district SWAG
- a free lunch prepared by your culinary arts program
Incentives are a nice way to show you care. It also show that you respect their hard work and dedication to your district. Creating a constantly updated ambassador leader board can also add competition to the process.
6. Listen to Your Ambassadors
One of the most valuable components of your ambassador program is the ability to listen to your fans. Passionate fans are also connected to outside groups that are talking about your brand. Let them be your eyes and ears to find out what the community is saying about your district and your schools.
I feel it is a great idea to have monthly meetings with your ambassadors to update them and update you. During your session, provide them a forum to say what is on your mind. Have them tell what is working and what is not. An outside voice is critical in marketing. Sometimes we fall in love with our marketing. Your ambassadors can bring you back to Earth.
An ambassador program is an incredible way to spread the great things happening in your district. finding the right people to represent your brand is critical. Also developing strategies once you find those people will help you build awesome word of mouth for your schools.