Friday, April 9, 2010

The Kids Are Alright

Thanks to Greta’s Twitter, I read an article in the NYT today about a really cool initiative here in Minneapolis. The BrandLab, originally started by Olson Agency, is an org dedicated to increasing minority high schoolers’ interest in advertising and marketing as a career path. BrandLab offers classes, scholarships, internships and field trips to agencies and other related environments.

I think this is fantastic, for several reasons.

First, I think it’s important that industries be representative of the nation’s population as a whole, and this is an organic way to heighten interest in communications without promoting programs that make some people angry (rhymes with shmaffirmative shmaction). There are many programs for those interested in law, engineering, and medical tracks, but this is the first I’ve heard of within marketing and advertising.

Second, the inherent ability to gauge what resonates with consumers may not be recognized or praised in traditional curriculums- programs like BrandLab can help students who aren’t necessarily skilled in the “Three R’s”.

Third, this isn’t just benefitting the kids- this is definitely going to benefit the industry as well. You simply can’t underestimate the importance of diversity in an industry where a unique vantage point can lead to the development of a lucrative brand strategy or even a whole new brand identity.

Last, I think it’s fantastic that the students are delving into the anthropological and sociological aspects of advertising and marketing. While some companies rely on quantitative research and straight price points as a way to draw in consumers, I believe it’s more important to create and nurture a relationship with customers. The easiest way to do this is to think of them as people and not just numbers. (Plus, it’s more fun to dig into what makes people tick instead of programming equations all day.) It seems like the Brand Lab kids are really getting involved in the study of what motivates purchasing and brand interaction- a field that will undoubtedly continue to grow as companies look to increase their stake in emerging media.


Greta said...

i love your an obsessive kind of way.

CClawson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.