Presenting creative ways for a growing sticker business to engage new markets was the task at hand for Lethbridge College media students last month as they participated in the eighth annual Tecconnect Challenge.
The collaborative event groups students in the college’s Multimedia Production (MMP) and Digital Communications and Media (DCM) programs into teams of five, who then have five hours to build creative pieces and assemble a presentation to address pain points identified by an entrepreneur in the Tecconnect environment.
This year’s client, Kenny Joss (Engineering Design Technology 2008), is the owner of Steam Engine Stickers – a Lethbridge-based start-up that produces custom, high quality, vinyl stickers. In a pre-pitch meeting, Joss expressed a desire to grow his business into several key market areas by overcoming barriers he identified as low website traffic through Google and difficulty creating engaging social media content – specifically for Instagram.
“This unique assignment gives students from the MMP and DCM programs a chance to collaborate to help solve challenges for a local entrepreneur just as they would in a workplace setting,” says Tanya Weder, MMP instructor. “Not only do they have to develop a marketing strategy with creative assets on a tight deadline, but they also have to keep it on brand and within budget. It’s a great hands-on learning experience.”
After spending the morning building collaterals and finalizing their pitches, students presented to Joss and a panel of judges made up of local entrepreneurs, marketing specialists and business advisors. Strategies ranged from traditional off-line marketing like transit posters, branded take-out containers and direct mailers to predominately online approaches involving keyword searches, QR codes and Google ads.
It was a close final tally, but team Engine-uity – Kathleen Bernal, Jordan David, Nicholas Rabl, Margot Simard and Trey Tymensen – took home the win. Their well-thought-out pitch of digital newsletters, first-time buyer discounts, a budget-friendly Google ad campaign, and pre-built Instagram templates resonated with the judges, as did their market research and professionalism.
“The Tecconnect Challenge was a fun opportunity to step outside of our comfort zones and demonstrate our skills,” says Rabl. “Everyone did such a great job of playing to their strengths with the more entrepreneurial-minded people stepping up and leading their teams and the quiet creators coming out of their shells to showcase their talents.”
From a client’s perspective, Joss says all the presentations were amazingly creative, and he plans to use several of the students’ ideas this year to help grow his business.
It’s the second time Joss has participated in the Tecconnect Challenge. “I love coming back to Lethbridge College to help out with this competition,” he says. “I’m a hands-on learner, so I really feel this competition gives students a great idea of what to expect out in the real world. I can imagine the time-crunch was a big challenge for everyone, but they all did great!”
The Tecconnect centre for entrepreneurship and innovation is a vibrant place for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses within a supportive and innovative environment. It’s a space and community that encourages the development of new ideas that transform industries and shape the future.