The University of San Diego (USD) as a whole had undergone a brand enhancement highlighting their identity as a private, Catholic institution in southern California focused on social justice and “change making.” To help prospective students understand those brand pillars, Austin McKinley, Admissions Communications Supervisor, created an informal ambassador program called Regional Connections. He understood how peer-to-peer interaction would build trust and rapport since prospects see a student or an alumni as a more authentic source of information, having lived the USD experience.
“It’s all the little things that only a student could say. And even if I said them as an admissions representative, it would mean half as much because it’s not coming from the mouth of a student.”
However, Austin was acting as middleman, connecting students and ambassadors via email. This was manual, inefficient, distracting, and difficult to measure. The ability to match student ambassadors and prospects based on their academic or social interests was
inconsistent at best. Austin knew he was on to something, he just needed a way to scale and mature student connections.