Greek life is on the rise in the United States with membership increasing by 45% over the past decade, according to the North-American Interfraternity Conference, the organization that governs all active chapters nationwide. In order for brands to successfully infiltrate this group, they must focus on three key areas: developing authentic points of contact within the organization, finding unique ways to relate their brand to the group, and providing personalized touch points tailored towards their audience.
Develop Authentic Points of Contact
The Greek community on campus acts as a network. It takes a large 50,000 student body population, and condenses it into a tight knit community of 100-300 students. Because Greek life communities are tight knit, trends spread quickly by key micro influencers within the organization. The best way for brands to infiltrate these communities is to hire someone on the inside—campus reps.
Campus reps are the most effective and authentic way to infiltrate Greek life. Authenticity continues to be very important to students within the collegiate market, due to the magnitude of brands promoting their products within the space. The first step to identifying strong influencers in Greek life, which begins with the recruitment process. While developing the campus rep criteria, brands should look for students who are not only in sororities or fraternities, but who are also leaders within their respective organizations. Greek life leaders not only have authority over their peers, but also have on-campus connections such as on-campus location booking privileges and admin permissions on collegiate Facebook pages.
In addition to hiring campus reps who are leaders in their own Greek organizations, brands should identify leaders in governing Greek councils to help extend the reach of their brand. The two most influential governing councils to keep an eye out for are the Interfraternity Council as well as the National Panhellenic Council, the two organizations that govern all major fraternities and sororities in North America. They are able to infiltrate not just their own organization, but any Greek organization on-campus, making them incredibly valuable in terms of extending the reach of your brand on-campus. The campus rep will be allowed to attend typically closed chapter meetings and will have access to the executive board of all chapters for event announcements.
Ultimately, hiring campus reps in Greek organizations allows for trusted infiltration into Greek life on-campus. Because these individuals are trusted by their peers, students are more receptive to hearing what they have to say about new brands and products. Through hiring a micro influencer within the organizing, your brand can ensure that your message and products are being positively received on-campus.
Relate Your Brand Personality to the Group
Now that your brand is ready to hire campus reps within Greek life, it’s important to confirm that your brand personality fits the personality of the Greek life community. Every organization is different on every campus. This also plays into school selection. Selecting schools within in your brand’s key market is the perfect starting point for ensuring that your brand will resonate on campus. After you pull together your initial school list, you will be able to determine if the school is actually a good fit during the recruitment process. Conduct interviews to vet the campus reps—you’ll be able to gather more information about not only the personality of the campus as whole, but also the personality of each various Greek organization. Once you gather this information, determine which schools and which organizations you want, and then make your hires!
After you’ve hired your campus reps, programming is next. In order to truly infiltrate Greek life, brands must provide personalized touch points to promote engagement and interaction with the community. A great way to authentically integrate your brand into Greek life is to frame your promotions around key Greek moments. For example, fraternity and sorority formals are a staple in Greek life. If your brand sells formal attire, makeup, and/or hair products, formals and semi-formals are a great time to execute on-campus tactics. Campus reps can host events such as makeovers, fashion shows, or tabling events to promote your brand’s products or services before this key moment.
Outside of promoting your brand in conjunction to key Greek life moments, it’s important to make your brand’s promotions personal. A great example of personalizing your brand promotions is through surprise product drop-offs. Asking campus reps to coordinate a surprise at a sorority/fraternity that is not their own helps expand your reach. In feedback received from similar events, students felt appreciated and were more likely to shop the brand after the surprise.
Through developing authentic points of contact with campus reps in Greek life, relating your brand to the organization members, and providing personalized touch points that encourage interaction and engagement, your brand can ensure that it will successfully infiltrate Greek life.
Want more? Check out these blogs:
- Student Micro Influencers Are the New Celebrity Endorsement
- 5 Things to Look for When Recruiting a Campus Rep
- How to Run a Product Sampling Event on Campus
How can YMC help?
You know you want your brand on campus but aren’t sure how to get started—what next? Finding the right partner is key to your success. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us about college marketing today!