A University of Houston College of Technology student connected the UH Digital Media Program and the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (WCE) from the C. T. Bauer College of Business to create a pilot program that will brand and launch products on Amazon.com. Solida Chem, a digital media major who also is pursuing a certificate in entrepreneurship, saw an opportunity while working with her business classmates.
“During Wolffest (a three-day fundraising event and food festival), we worked with public relations students from the UH Valenti School of Communication,” she said. “It was a great help, and I thought that digital media students could provide similar expertise in creative marketing and design.”
Chem brought together her professors from both programs—Dave Cook, director of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, and Jerry Waite, director of Digital Media program—to discuss the possibility. The result is this pilot program.
“This is a perfect example of the energy that makes collaboration on a university campus so valuable,” said Cook. “Not only did our WCE students have the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the digital media-marketing world, they also got to experience what it’s like working with a consultant. This is exactly the sort of simulation that really reinforces classroom learning.”
This semester, WCE students will work on a project through Amazon Selling Machine. Teams will select a product, obtain samples, order inventory, then brand and launch on Amazon. Each team will “hire” two digital media students to create and promote a product brand through use of graphic design, video, printed materials and logos, among other tactics.
“This may mean creating packaging, creating a website or creating a social media persona in order to market a product,” Waite said. “This transmedia part, the story that extends across all digital platforms, is an important addition to the Bauer class.”
Digital media students participate as part of the Senior Project class. All had to apply to the class, submit a portfolio and undergo interviews. Chem will serve as an executive search firm representative. She’ll review all the portfolios, interview all the participants, and then connect each entrepreneur team to the digital media students.
“Digital media and entrepreneurship go hand in hand,” she said. “We can’t have entrepreneurship without strong marketing and branding, nor can digital media professionals grow without working alongside business.”
The Digital Media program is part of the College of Technology and housed at the University of Houston at Sugar Land.
“What a wonderful opportunity for our students,” Waite said. “We are preparing them to market in a transmedia way. What better way than to partner with the Wolff Center students.”
Chem, who’s professional goal is to own an independent video production company, hopes this collaboration encourages other colleges to find ways to work together.
“When you put passionate people in a room together, this creative hub forms and bursts with energy,” she said.