One of the first ambassador programs of its kind, Southern Tide began their original College Ambassador Program in 2008 on college campuses around the Southeast to tell students about the brand and the authentic, updated, Southern clothing they were creating out of Greenville, South Carolina. More than 10 years later, the program has grown to include Lifestyle Ambassadors that help showcase the brand’s authenticity through their own photography and videography. The creative content that the Ambassador Program generates is primarily used across Southern Tide’s social media accounts and is crucial to showing consumers who Southern Tide is.
Connor Huston, Southern Tide’s liaison to the network of content-creating ambassadors, has seen the program develop and grow into the highly sought-after program that it is today. “Ambassadors are Southern Tide’s eyes and ears around the country that make sure we are staying relevant and capturing the attention of our post-college, young-adult demographic,” says Connor. When the applications start flowing in, Connor looks closely to find ambassadors that are energetic, authentic, and embody the Southern values that the brand stands for. “We are looking for ambassadors who are true brand representatives. Excitement and passion for the brand are incredibly important when it comes to generating ‘real’ content.”
Southern Tide wants its college and lifestyle ambassadors to naturally incorporate product into the types of activities and trips they’d normally be doing. Ryan Dukes, a current lifestyle ambassador, made sure to highlight the importance of the Southern Tide’s efforts to generate authentic content with their ambassador team. “Our generation has an impeccable ability to recognize authenticity.” Dukes, who grew up in Orlando, Florida, spent his upbringing under the influence of the coastal, Southern lifestyle that he would later carry with him to the Air Force Academy and to Fort Worth, TX, where he currently resides with wife Taylor and 6-month-old son, Ryder. “To me, the ambassador program is not about pushing Southern Tide product, but showing the authenticity. Each product is thoughtfully designed with the consumer in mind, and the emphasis on quality is apparent.”
Southern Tide ambassadors work with Connor closely to have products shipped to them that fit their lifestyles. Alec Kitch, a long-time lifestyle ambassador born in Charleston, South Carolina living in Salt Lake City, Utah, bragged on his favorite pairs of what could now be considered vintage Channel Marker shorts he received almost 6 years ago when he joined the program. “Thousands of wears over the years. I have 3-4 colors and still love them,” he says, a testament to the quality that Southern Tide is proud of.
Southern Tide is currently accepting applications for its Ambassador Program, both College and Lifestyle. There will be an onboarding process this summer to welcome the newly selected members of the program. Of course, being an ambassador has its perks. Ambassadors receive free products in exchange for the photos and videos that they create for the brand.