Conestoga news

March 1, 2024 10:25 AM

Capstone project creates marketing plan for BIPOC educational organization

Students in Conestoga’s Advertising and Marketing Communications program shared their expertise and enthusiasm to help their capstone client flourish in its mission to offer resources that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion for students.

Conestoga students in the Advertising and Marketing Communications program created a marketing plan for My Place in This World, including a logo, for their capstone project.

As members of the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) community, the goal of My Place in This World is to produce and provide rich and relevant resources that build a foundation for best outcomes. Allies and advocates include school boards, school administrators, educators, parents and community activists.

“My hope was that the excitement that we had would be contagious for them and that’s exactly what we saw,” said co-founder Lorraine Harris. “They really ran with it, the whole concept and idea. What was important was they validated and understood it.”

The students started with their pitch and proposals, then worked closely with the client to develop an integrated marketing and communications plan that’s ready to be implemented. That’s essential to advance the organization, but they didn’t have the time or specialized knowledge to tackle such a big task.

Harris is grateful for the practical help that will give My Place in This World “longevity” to continue its important work. “It gives us a compass to target where we are going to go, our next steps. It was a powerful experience.”

Harris added that working with the students has been a fantastic experience, especially seeing them really embrace their assignment to better promote the Cambridge-based organization.

“I saw pride in their faces too when they presented to us,” Harris said. “We are honoured and thankful that we were given the opportunity to be a part of this capstone.”

Student Vivian “Ola” Nzeji will stay on to carry out the plan which includes building a new website, launching a new brand, organizing social campaign materials and audio/video production - and she couldn’t be more eager to raise the group’s profile to let more people know about this valuable resource.

“It’s just really amazing to help them get their voice out there, let people hear their story and want to be part of their story and see where they go,” Nzeji said. “I feel very proud. I feel very excited that this is the first time I’m working in a real-life situation.”

She’s also really impressed with her team and all the effort and creativity they put into the project, including creating a strong logo and brand voice through cohesive colours and font.

Pat Suriano, program co-ordinator and professor, said the capstone project is based on actual ad agency protocol from winning the work and creating a plan based on extensive research, as well as the creative materials to match the client’s need.

“It is a lengthy but rewarding process in which the students interact and manage many moving parts, which may be subject to change without warning. It truly is the final test for students to experience the industry and grasp that ‘aha’ moment when everything clicks,” Suriano said.

The program is a hybrid of marketing research and strategy paired with creativity, brand development and storytelling. Students learn to build on communication principals, develop creative and marketing content and launch it through multimedia channels, then measure the results through analytics and measurable audience reaction, Suriano said. “We consider ourselves to be the School of Creative Industries’ ‘Unicorn’ program: creative that isn’t afraid to work and get down to business.”

Conestoga's two-year Advertising and Marketing Communications diploma is a cross-disciplinary program that equips students to be a creative thinker with the ability to engage with on-trend brands, craft strategic marketing campaigns through social platforms, and to have the confidence and skills that the industry demands. Program highlights include learning from award-winning industry professionals, working directly with clients on projects, frequent guest speakers and agency tours, and valuable industry-based field placements.

The program is delivered through the School of Creative Industries, which offers dynamic programs that span all aspects of media, communication and design.