Working With Organizations in an Academic Setting

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Intent vs. Impact…

Working with ESEC has been, for the most part, a lesson in futility. From day one, though our contact seemed excited to get to work on the social media campaign, I got the sense that they didn’t know what they wanted in a marketing campaign. A couple weeks in, and having little contact with our contact, it was even more evident that they didn’t care that much about what we were doing for them. It seemed almost a task just to get a hold of them. They also seemed unable to contact people we wanted to interview, let alone come up with a time or place to do that interview.

This is generally what happens when a company gets free work done for them. It’s quite close to what’s happening in the creative industry, for instance video production. As an example, there are plenty of companies out there looking to “hire” interns to help them with their video campaigns. The students aren’t actually learning from anyone at the company, so the only real value of the internship is that the company is getting free work, or work at a seriously reduced price, if pay is involved. The reason I mention this is that there are parallels between organizations like ESEC and those “hiring” interns for valueless internships, one being that they don’t understand the cost, detail, and the amount of work that goes into video project.

A little background…

Having some experience working with marketing agencies, I have an idea of what to expect from a company or organization that is seeking to promote its brand. In those situations, the customer/s of the agency work with the agency as much as possible and involve themselves in the post-production process especially more that pre-production, because they want to have a say in how a video they’re paying for looks. In our case, it was essentially ESEC saying and doing to us, “Here’s our sort-of-idea for a social media campaign, now make it happen. We won’t be available for too many questions.” When there’s no money involved, much as with group work, the impetus to get involved in the project or the group is relatively invisible or non-existent at all. That doesn’t bode well for the success of any project.

For instance, the only reason we have four videos is that we went to an AEDS event, not because ESEC had set up an interview or had any certain idea of what they wanted.  I mentioned almost futile because I at least got some photos out of it that I’ll be able to submit to Haute Dish, the school art magazine. Though, I’m not sure it’ll be the photo I linked to. There’s always a bright side.

Is there a solution?

So, I’m not sure what the other two group experiences in working with their organizations were, but I think it would be advantageous to future students while working for the organizations involved in this class, if this is part of future curriculum, if the organizations were made aware of the value they were getting (cost of video production- work involved, blog writing, etc.), and that it would be highly effective for their cause that they have a solid plan before they meet with the student groups that will be helping them, and that they need to be more involved in the process and communicate with and give the students the materials they need to develop the media campaigns. If they can’t hold up their end of the bargain, they should not be invited back the next semester, because then they’re just wasting the students’ time and cheapening the value of this class.

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