Windows UK Student Ambassadors

A nationwide campaign of 150 students spread across 70 Universities collaborating with Microsoft to promote Windows 8 amongst the UK student community.

What was
undertaken

Microsoft selected a group of 150 ambitious students from over 2,000 applications to help them represent the Windows brand throughout UK campuses. This crack team of Ambassadors presented the best features of Windows 8 and Windows Phone to their university peers throughout the academic year

What was achieved

The Ambassadors independently delivered various Windows 8 product promotions and branding exercises on their campus, led by a guiding management team from Microsoft. The year-long programme consisted of various tasks, including the following core elements:

1. Fresher's Fair

At the beginning of the academic year the Ambassadors set-up and operated a Microsoft stand within their university Fresher’s Fair in order to raise awareness of their presence on-campus, generate ‘Likes’ for the hugely successful Windows ‘Access All Areas’ Facebook page, and begin to hone their one to one communication skills.

2. On-campus stall

The students were also given the opportunity to manage a second on-campus product stand later in the year, this time within their busy Student Union buildings, in order to announce the public launch of Windows 8 and give their peers a chance for a taster of the brand new, groundbreaking Microsoft operating system.

3. Product demonstrations

A different Windows 8 feature was demo’d each month to fellow students in a one to one scenario using newly released devices. The team were sent basic user instructions and a list of key selling features for each monthly product in focus, but they were given the freedom to develop their own script and demo tactics.

Everyone who experienced a demo completed a short online response survey and the Ambassadors were then graded on the number of demo’s achieved and the success in swaying public opinion. This required individuals to display a number of commendable attributes including a high level of self-confidence and interpersonal skills, technical understanding, the foresight to plan their own time effectively, and the ability to form a communication strategy that delivered the key marketing messages.

4. Local partnerships

Ambassadors were also given the opportunity to submit ideas for partnerships or sponsorships with university societies, teams or on-campus businesses. The aim of these partnerships is to raise awareness of the brand within university communities by reaching as many student ‘eyes’ as possible, to enhance the perception that the brand is designed for individuals by aligning it with a wide variety of different student passion-points, and to help generate relevant chatter across social media viewed by our target demographic.

All suggestions were assessed by Microsoft and the students who submitted successful proposals were given a budget to activate the partnership by ordering any branded elements, managing the on-running relationship with the society leaders, and reporting back about the success of the project.

How students
have benefitted

Our Ambassadors have had to develop and learn a wide range of invaluable skills and professional techniques to represent Windows 8 effectively at their universities. They were given the freedom of self-expression and personal development without a rigid structure; so many of these attributes were developed independently throughout the programme. A thorough understanding and working knowledge of Window 8 and Windows Phone was needed in order to be able to deliver product demonstrations, with several key skills being transferrable into the professional world including a working knowledge of Microsoft Office, Outlook and OneNote. The Ambassadors also needed to be creative and inventive when communicating with their fellow students in order to maintain positive engagement throughout the academic year.

Successful participation on the programme required great levels of personal organisation and time-management in order to deliver their Ambassador tasks alongside their studies. We required them to keep up to date with communications from within the Ambassador community and the wider world of Microsoft. Those who undertook partnership projects needed to deploy a high level of marketing and project management skills in order to execute successful sponsorships of sporting events, student projects, or on-campus events.