Students and New Grads: It’s Still Not Too Late to Get Great Experience This Summer

22 Jul Students and New Grads: It’s Still Not Too Late to Get Great Experience This Summer

If you’re having difficultly landing a public relations job or internship this summer, or looking to supplement your income with a great part-time gig, you should consider working as a brand ambassador. You can build your resume by working the promotional events planned by major brands.

Trade shows, concerts, and festivals usually have corporate sponsors. Whether it’s as a lounge, booth, or food truck, the brand will usually have a presence at the event. Alternatively, a consumer tech company may be launching a new smartphone this year, so they are planning an interactive product launch to raise awareness and generate buzz. This is where brand ambassadors come in.

Brand ambassadors represent the brand and convey its character and values to the public. Tradeshows, conventions, concerts, festivals, product launches, and in-store samplings are some of the events that brand ambassadors work. Their job is to provide a positive interactive experience with the brand and make the human connection that is lacking in traditional marketing and public relations campaigns.

Here’s why PR & marketing students and grads should consider the gig:

Exercise in Strategy.

These are the events you will hopefully be planning one day, so this is a great exercise in reverse engineering the strategy involved in the event.

  • Location. This is your target market and demographic. Is your event taking place at a luxury mall? Then the brand you are representing is trying to compete in the high-end, lifestyle market for affluent consumers.
  • Talking Points. Who wrote these talking points? It’s the public relations or marketing department or agency. Think of the specific messages involved – this is what differentiates the product or brand from others in the marketplace.
  • Giveaways and Surveys. At these events, brand ambassadors give away freebies like t-shirts, ask visitors to check in on Foursquare and encourage them to fill out surveys for a chance to win a prize. Not only do these actions build goodwill, they are used to measure the success of the event. They are factors in the number of impressions and ROI.

Opportunities for Networking.

There is usually an agency or corporate representative on site to make sure the event is running smoothly. (This may also be you one day). When the event is over, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the event planning process and to connect for advice and future opportunities. Don’t neglect to network with your team, either. They are likely planning on moving up as well and could be future agency contacts.

It’s fun!

I’ve worked product launches, concerts, games, festivals, conventions and fashion shows, and each one was a blast! Being a brand ambassador requires an outgoing, energetic personality, so you’re surrounded by a great group of people. As you gain more experience, you’re eligible to go on tour across the country with the promotions team. A colleague of mine is currently touring at summer music festivals for an auto brand.

To become a brand ambassador, register with an event and promotional staffing agency. Brand ambassadors are usually considered independent contractors and only work when the agency has an upcoming event in the area. Most brand ambassadors work with several agencies to ensure steady work.

The downsides are typical of freelancers: there may be dry spells (especially if you don’t live near a major city), payment usually takes between two to six weeks for processing and you’re always looking for new opportunities. The pay usually makes up for it though – it’s much more than what most other college students make in regular part-time jobs.

Despite those potential drawbacks, working as a brand ambassador is a fun way to build experience until you land your internship or job.

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Sasha Idriss is Associate Account Manager at Verasoni Worldwide, a marketing and public relations firm in Montclair, NJ.