High Point University is at it again. Strategic communication students from HPU created fresh, new marketing campaigns for local non-profit organizations this spring. Just released today is news that the students spent the past semester creating campaigns to inform the public about services provided by High Point Community Against Violence (HPCAV) and High Point Swim Club.
Part of a campaigns management course in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication at HPU, the class offered students an opportunity to work with a client to solve a real-world communication challenge, and gave local nonprofits a chance to receive marketing and public relations advice free of charge.
The teams were made up of HPU graduating seniors, who combined the skills they learned in prior coursework to develop public awareness campaigns.
Students working on the campaign for HPCAV, which included Allyson Hill, Emily Koehler, Alexander Oberlander, Melissa Cattai and Ana Rallis, redesigned some of the organization’s existing graphic design aspects, including the logo, a brochure, billboard and newspaper ad, giving the campaign a unified look and feel.
“The main thing we wanted to do for HPCAV was create better awareness in the community,” says Cattai, a member of the student team and May graduate of HPU. “We wanted to make sure we were investing our client’s money in strategies that were going to get the client noticed around the community.”
The campaign project was a great collaboration between HPU and non-profits in the High Point community, says Dr. Sojung Kim, assistant professor of strategic communication at HPU. “Thanks to the hard work and creative ideas completed by students, HPCAV is now left with specific campaign plans to help them reach their goals. They are eager to start using the students' innovative campaign ideas.”
Jim Summey, executive director of HPCAV, says he was inspired by the ideas the communications students shared with his organization and impressed by their knowledge and professionalism.
“These students – every one of them – were so very much connected with the course, were intelligent, hard-working, seeking, competitive, driven and purpose-filled to give our organization the best that they could give,” Summey says. “High Point Community Against Violence is so fortunate to have met Dr. Kim and her students, and to have received so much help toward our needs for marketing.”
The “Swim to Learn” campaign for High Point Swim Club, created by HPU seniors Connor Brackett, Grace Connors, Chelsea Donnigan, Mary Hancock, Joseph Marra and Joel Wilson, focused on swim education both in and out of the pool. The team proposed a new logo and slogan, and suggested digital communication to help the organization reach its target audience and stay within budget.
Donnigan, one of the student team members, says they were particularly proud of three swim-related promotional events they created, and that is what gave them the edge in the competition. Working closely with their client also made a difference, she says.
“It was challenging at times, but it was rewarding to work with an actual client as opposed a mock client in previous courses,” Donnigan says. “Throughout the semester, we kept in mind how important it was to keep open communication with the client, so that we could be confident in our job incorporating their wants and needs for the campaign into our own work.”
Helping a client solve a real-world communication challenge is just one of the many benefits of the project, Kim says. Through the class, students experience the entire process of creating a communication campaign – from start to end – as a team.
“It teaches them professionalism and work ethic,” Kim says. “After the course ends, students are left with a professional portfolio with all of the campaign materials they produced, so they can easily take this as a work sample to future job interviews.”
Beyond the benefit to students, the nonprofit clients that volunteer to participate also come away from the project with new ideas for marketing their services to the community.
“The class was a great experience for our staff, and we learned as much as the students, if not more,” says Aaron Reeves, chief executive officer and head coach of High Point Swim Club. “The students at HPU conducted themselves very professionally through the class. They spent time listening to what was important to HPSC and helped develop an online profile we can implement going forward. The creativity of the finished product was terrific.”