We often talk about how today’s college students are more engaged than ever – but they’re also much savvier about the marketing efforts of companies. This makes the job of marketing to them more problematic, but also more rewarding; once a company or brand has successfully captured these students’ interests, they are more likely to promote or recommend it.
Joining in with the school spirit of Homecoming can be a great way for brand to ingratiate themselves with the student population. By utilizing brand mascots, sponsoring events and games, as well as re-using student-generated content on social media, a company can almost piggyback on the success of the university’s own efforts – at the very least using their hashtags.
One of the most appealing things about marketing at Homecoming is the unrivaled number of eyes on your brand. Past, present and future students, as well as their parents, are often involved in at least some of the events over the Homecoming period. This not only provides a huge audience for your brand but will provide you with plenty of digital material to make use of.
College students today experience events like Homecoming partially through social media. They will be following tweets and hashtags, writing their own responses, and sharing exciting events and stalls with their friends.
A calculated Homecoming marketing strategy involves training a keen eye on the buzz around the events – particularly any negative remarks. Using hashtags associated with the college, modify them slightly to involve your brand. Snapchat’s Geolocation filter feature is also an excellent way of persuading attendees to share your logo or brand name in direct association with the college. Repost such content through your own social feeds and you’ll be offering the student recognition; something they’re often eager to return.
A traditional form of marketing, it can be difficult to judge the exact ROI for a banner at the football game, but that kind of visibility is often worthwhile. Whether you support the school’s sport teams, the dance or another school spirit event, your brand name or logo is being seen by all attendees – sometimes reaching thousands of young people in high spirits.
During Homecoming, the influencers are the sports players and the Homecoming court. Aim to get them on side with free samples and flattering mentions – hopefully this will encourage them to lend their voice to your company.
Link yourself to the college by utilizing the powerful emotion of nostalgia. Find key events through the college’s history, old photos, and stories that fit with your brand.
Whether you’re handing out free samples, using ambush or experiential marketing, it’s an invaluable resource to have relatable faces representing your company. The extent to which you brand these street teams is entirely flexible – you can go with as little as wearing logo t-shirts, or to the extent of branding bicycles on which to get around.
Consider employing a mascot for your company – and if you don’t have one, attempt to rent the college’s. The cost involved will be more than made up by the fact that your brand will be incontrovertibly linked with the spirit of the school!
Choosing the right time for your brand’s exposure over the course of the Homecoming celebrations is a decision our expert marketing teams can make with you, as well as providing any extra advice and practical support you may need to carry out your plans. Get in touch today to see how you can reach these diverse and sought-after target audiences!