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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Brand ambassadors on campus: Who are they and what do they do?

La Colombe Coffee's flagship store in Philadelphia is pictured.

La Colombe Coffee, Guayakí Yerba Mate, Notion? These are just some of the brands that Tufts students have been ambassadors for. Students will act as ambassadors for various brands to help promote them, encourage business, network with employers and expand their interests. Each position may function differently and involve various responsibilities, but each ambassador network aims to build meaningful connections with students.

Sophomore Alexa Brust is a La Colombe Coffee Campus Ambassador. La Colombe Coffee is a major producer of artisan coffee based in Philadelphia specializing in selling canned lattes in supermarkets and convenience stores, in addition to 32 café locations across the United States.

Brust first looked into the position because she loves La Colombe’s coffee. She applied to see if there were free perks or discounts associated with the role. She joins a fellow Tufts student as a representative for the brand on the Tufts campus. With a 15% off discount code and three packs of 12 coffee cans of her choosing each month, she gets compensated with free coffee rather than money.

Her main role is posting on social media, primarily TikTok and Instagram, to grab the attention of both friends and a greater population. 

“I have to post six stories a month featuring any of their products, and then I will have to do an in-person sampling [for] students at some point,” Alexa Brust explained.   

Experimenting with different photography techniques is an enjoyable way that Brust uses to help market the product. 

“I think it’s fun, just to be creative with the posts. … I do enjoy photography, and it’s cool to have a vision and see it come out nice,” Brust said.

Brust is interested in marketing and advertising. She has found the ambassador role useful as it helps her get experience with customer insights and the effects of advertising by doing the posting as she creates a smaller-scale consumer report. 

“Once I take a story I have to basically screenshot all the analytics and my account has to be public, so I can see how many views and interactions I got on the post. I have to make a monthly report, kind of like a lab report almost.” Brust added. 

Freshman Éva Tóth is both a Guayakí Yerba Mate and a Notion ambassador and loves learning more about the brands and their stories. Guayakí Yerba Mate is a caffeinated tea company that is based in Sebastopol, Calif. Guayakí’s mission is to help seek a positive global impact through their “market-driven regeneration” business model. Tóth explained that the mission of Guayakí is what drove her to look into becoming an ambassador. 

“They have a really interesting business model, [market-driven regeneration], … so basically the money that they make goes back into the community of people that are working to produce their products.” Tóth said. She is interested in majoring in quantitative economics and finds this unique business practice special. 

Tóth heard about the Guayakí ambassador program from her friends on campus. She applied for the position in the fall and got accepted a few months later. Tóth works in a mostly online capacity for Guayakí. Online, there is a website where she is able to connect with other campus ambassadors across the country through her profile to see and meet a variety of people. Tóth is also able to go to various events Guayakí hosts around Boston to network with business people and learn more about the brand.   

In contrast to Brust’s experience displaying the product, Tóth’s Guayakí role allows her to do more social interaction. 

“It’s a little bit less focused on advertising their product for them and a little bit more focused on building community and networking among peers,” Tóth said. 

Tóth also gets a discount from these positions, benefitting from a 50% off ambassador discount and a free 12 can crate of Yerba Mate. She gets free merchandise from Notion but is not compensated for either of these positions. 

Notion is a computer productivity lifestyle program where there are templates and pages to do various different tasks all in one centralized online webpage. 

“Basically it’s just like one page that I can always pop open on my computer with everything that I need to know about the current state of my classes and schoolwork,” Tóth explained. She uses Notion to help stay organized every day managing her 18-credit course load and is able to manage her tasks by looking at her to-do list and calendar sections.

Tóth just started work for Notion this semester. “[I] basically host an event like once a semester that’s Notion-based,” Tóth said. “[It’s] just a way for them to have people on campuses across America … know how to use Notion and use it for a lot of different things.” 

Junior Lexi Grein was a Guayakí Yerba Mate ambassador but has now evolved into a role as field marketing assistant for the company. 

“Over the summer, my main responsibilities were to find events to set up at and do samples of Yerba. So, we did some 5k races, we did a Boston Greenfest, … and now that I’m back at school, my goal is to get Yerba out to clubs, teams and organizations on campus,” Lexi Grein said.

Grein enjoys her job and the opportunities she is able to get from it. Besides dropping off cans of Yerba Mate for Tufts customers, she works in Boston to promote the brand further. She is able to network with others and take advantage of opportunities she otherwise would not have the chance to. 

“I’ve also had a lot of cool opportunities dropping off for artists. … I went to the Kendrick Lamar concert because we dropped off product for them. There’s a lot of cool opportunities, just very random and out of the blue,” Grein explained.

Like Tóth, Grein uses Yerba Mate to connect with peers. She is able to show people at Tufts what the mission of Guayakí is and how to interact with the company.

“Doing the drop offs for teams and other organizations … is kind of building connection, like putting a face to a brand. That's kind of our main goal. Once you create a personal connection with someone then it kind of creates a community” Grein said. 

Grein is employed by Guayakí and is paid for her work as field marketing assistant. Before that, she was an ambassador for the brand for about a year. She works on a team alongside two other students in Boston from Berklee College and Boston University. 

“[As a field marketing assistant], I take on the role of actually getting the product, having access to the product, doing sampling, which is just handing out cans. … It’s a little more responsibility [than the ambassador program],” Grein added. 

Being a brand ambassador while in college can be a way for students to explore industries they may be curious about working in after graduation.

“I‘m just trying to learn more about what kind of companies are out there [for] post-graduation, like who I would want to work for and getting an inside look on the way these companies run and how they view their customer relations,” Tóth said.

Brust also emphasized the ease of the experience and the reward she has gained in the past month she has been an ambassador. 

“If anyone is wanting to be an ambassador or if they’re really passionate about a company and their mission, … look into ambassador programs or just email them and they could even create one,” Brust said. “I think [ambassador programs] are a huge up-and-coming field.”