When we’re not busy saving the world on the Internet, the team at Image Freedom enjoys taking a break and saving the world in a classroom occasionally instead. This past week, team member Roberto Miranda and I were invited to speak at a Career Day event at Dorie Miller Elementary, an SAISD school on the east side of San Antonio.
As dozens of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders filed into the school cafeteria for the opening speaker, Roberto and I looked around anxiously. SEO is hard enough to explain to middle-aged adults. How in the world were we going to get 8-and 9-year-olds inspired to pursue a career in new media marketing? (To add to the pressure, the fire department, EMS and the Air Force were in attendance to put on a big show and out-do us with colorful flashing lights and captivating stories.)
Luckily for me, I had the easy job of being on candy duty (Although if you ask Roberto, my candy-tossing skills were not quite up to his expected level of excellence. I promise to do some target practice prior to future Career Day appearances).
From what I could tell, though, I think our presentation went over surprisingly well. There was only one 4th grader who looked like he was so bored he might melt into a puddle on the ground, and no one tried to throw the candy back at me.
Roberto began the presentation by asking the kids if they knew what marketing was. After letting them stare like deer in the headlights for a second, he pulled up popular, big-brand logos on the screen and after all the squeals of “McDonald’s! Pepsi! Angry Birds!” had died down, he explained how their ability to recognize these symbols is a result of marketing.
The kids seemed to be on board with the idea of being paid to doodle logos, play on the Internet and talk to people about their favorite brands. That is until the image of Justin Beiber came on the screen. My inability to accurately throw candy across the room had made me fairly unpopular earlier in the presentation, but fortunately for me, the hatred for Justin seemed to run even deeper.
This proved to be a teachable moment, however, as Roberto quickly explained that although marketing can be really fun and exciting sometimes, there are other times when you have to work with a client that you find kind of lame. But that doesn’t mean you get to slack off and not do your job. You have to put on your big-kid pants and come up with a killer marketing campaign for the Beibs, despite how unpleasant you find his musical abilities to be. This is a powerful real-life lesson for all of us.
Roberto did a fantastic job engaging the students and getting them excited to think about their future and imagine themselves in a cool marketing career in the future.
While I’m pretty sure from an 8-year-old’s perspective parachuting from a jet above the ocean with the Air Force still seems much more appealing than sitting behind an iMac screen all day, at least we weren’t the bankers who made them practice balancing a checkbook. That’s a small win we’re willing to take.
|Post written by Laureen Kattan, Image Freedom Operations Manager. Follow Laureen on Twitter.|