The Only Way is Digital (TOWID) is a project set up by the South Wales Business School to engage students and SMEs in collaborative work.
This assignment will be marked out of 100%
This assignment contributes to 40% of the total module marks.
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The Only Way is Digital (TOWID) is a project set up by the South Wales Business School to engage students and SMEs in collaborative work. The project is the brain-child of Jackie Harris, Senior Lecturer in Marketing (and enterprise) and Juli James a Digital Marketer and PhD student. The focus of the initiative is two-fold and therefore its aims are to:
1. Enhance employability and enterprise skills for students of the University by providing them with a Digital Literacy Passport that they will apply in a paid-for multi-client work-based learning environment, thereby experiencing a portfolio-managed career opportunity.
2. Provide value-added resources to SMEs that lack digital insight and capacity for whom employing a full time member of staff to do so would not be viable at this stage. However it could help to enhance their digital offering and could increase, for example, sales, customer service or insight into the value digital technologies that could add to their business.
Working with partner companies from the digital technology industry in South Wales the University is launching TOWID and would like your help “ as a student or as a student working within a company “ in promoting this initiative to a targeted student group that could be interested in getting involved. They have asked specifically that the following outcomes be developed:
1. Using a standard model of marketing communication (e.g., a SOSTAC model) and employing digital tools, and supporting commentary, identify and promote the key benefits of the initiative to a targeted student group
2. The supporting commentary should illustrate how your proposed plan would overcome the proliferation of noise in a digitally mediated world.
3. The report should also seek to gather information regarding student achievements, news and activities, to be communicated in a cost effective, timely and efficient manner post implementation.
Below is an outline of the project with key information:
It is acknowledged that many students engage and use digital technologies in their everyday lives, whether that is to socialise and communicate online with friends and family or seek out others for whom a leisure activity or interest provides common ground. However, recent research by Google and the IDM (Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing) suggests that although many young people are proficient at using such technology for personal means, however, they lack real insight into how to use and apply these skills in an employment or business context.
In addition, research undertaken by South Wales Business School indicates that many SMES in Wales lack confidence, capacity and resources in making the most of digital technologies. Taking on new staff or engaging in resources that require management and monitoring is one of the biggest challenges for a small company and one of the biggest risk factors (and barriers) to growth. The scheme will be promoted from January 2015 “ May 2015, with a follow-up campaign over the some summer “ when summer schools, workshops etc will take place “ to create a buzz around the projects that are due to start in the 2015/16 Academic year “ the initial target for the pilot phase is to have 10 students and 30 companies signed up by 1st July 2015.
Students from any discipline can sign up for the Digital Literacy Passport “ they will be given intensive hands on training to enable them to carry out a strategic audit of their client companies and establish a strategic plan for each. The initial training will be one week in length and they will then be allocated up to 3 clients with which to work. The period of time that they will work with the client companies may be anything from 6 “ 18 months thereby giving the student plenty of opportunity to really make a difference to their client’s’ business or organisation. The University will support them along with an industry partner, but the day-to-day management of themselves and their clients will be their responsibility. They will also be part of an action-learning group that meets once a month to discuss issues, and identify on-going learning and skills development. This will form part of their undergraduate degree programme and could supplement or replace a semester or ˜sandwich’ period of learning during their course. Student-consultants will be expected to go through a competitive tendering process and the companies may choose from the tenders awarding ˜contracts’ to successful student-consultants “ therefore enhancing the realistic nature of the portfolio-career managed environment.
The skills and knowledge they will develop, among others, will range from the development of interpersonal and management of professional relationships; problem-solving; innovative and creative thinking; digital skills enhancement; strategic and operational planning, and managing themselves and others. This period of work-based learning will be accredited against a Personal and Professional Development Portfolio module worth between 20 “ 40 credits “ this will be dependent on the learning outcomes and assessment, and time spent working with clients. The type of work will be dependent on the client environment but it is envisaged that wherever possible the student and client company will have a common interest or factors that will enhance the co-creation of value. That is for example, a student of education may work with a school to encourage stakeholder participation; or a student of business may work with a service or a sector specific company e.g. retail or accountancy to enhance their digital offering. Similarly a student of engineering or sports management could work within their respective chosen career environments not only offering subject specific insights but added-value services and skills.
For many companies the prospect of hiring their first, or an additional employee can be daunting. The prospect of managing another person within what could be a frenetic working environment and/or finding specific (full time) work for them to do is challenging. The opportunity to gain extra resource and to gain valuable digital media awareness should be exciting and rewarding for both parties. However, the prospect of working with a student-consultant 2-4 times a month over a period of 6-18 months as an ˜arms-length’ additional resource could be appealing to many SME business owners. They would gain valuable strategic planning assistance and resource in digital technology that will enhance their online and offline offering as well as raise awareness and provide for example, better service capability or engagement with their customer sectors.
The prospective client companies will be invited to the TOWID stakeholder exploration meetings and the project launch along with the student-consultants, industry partners and institution staff involved in the project. Student-consultants will be expected to go through a competitive tendering process and the companies may choose from the tenders awarding ˜contracts’ to successful student-consultants. They will have the opportunity to explore the possibilities and challenges, but above all find out how working with the University helping students into work, can be rewarding and provide on-going long-term benefits for their business. They will be offered on-going support by the university and partner companies in managing the student-consultant relationship but may also be offered their own digital competency/standards framework. It is hoped though that as a result of this project more companies will recruit graduates into their companies and/or consider the benefits that creating a digital role within their company can bring.
Learning Outcomes to be assessed (as specified in the validated module descriptor http://icis.glam.ac.uk):
By the end of the module, you should be able to:
¢ Define the role of marketing communications within an overall business context.
¢ Be conversant with the principal theories of communications, and of marketing communications in particular.
The assignment will be assessed through the following outputs and against the learning outcomes for the module:
1. The development of a report that provides the approach to be undertaken in the development, implementation and ongoing management of a marketing communications plan in response to the client’s brief. In addition, a discussion held within the supporting commentary of how your proposed plan would overcome the proliferation of noise in a digitally mediated world “ this discussion should be linked to an understanding of the components of and illustration of the ˜integrated marketing communications model’. (2000 words+/- 10%). (100%)
It is important to remember that good plans are based upon a deep situational analysis first and foremost.