The Crossroads Competition was a great success in proving to the community that there is great talent being fostered at Drake University. It also allowed me to learn a few valuable lessons.
1. Be very organized
Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines.
Make sure there is a system in place to keep track of things
2. Leaders must cooperate
When working with other people, there is a certain level of give and take.
Negotiations are particularly important, moreso when the final result is to have both parties come out winners.
3. Sometimes leaders must wing it
Cooperation is important, but sometimes executive decisions must be made on the spot. More often than not, a leader will have time to confer with others before making a decision. There may be, however, that one call during which a decision must be made as soon as possible. A leader is there because he knows (or should know) what he is doing, and is ready and capable to make an intelligent decision on behalf of others, and ready to take the responsibility and consequences of it. This is where the decision is made with a strong gut feeling and belief that it is the best one.
I ran into this last one quite often over the course of the competition, and I really liked it. Conferring with others is a great way to provide a well-rounded perspective, but sometimes what a group needs is that one shot into the dark. Who knows, maybe you’ll hit something and maybe you won’t. That’s the risk a progressive leader should be willing to take.
This marketing competition was a shot into the dark. It was a risk for which I was willing to compromise my reputation and credibility because I believed in it. With a few glitches here and there it worked, and it will be held again next year.
Let me tell you, hitting that target in the dark is pretty damn sweet.
The judging occurred on December 4th, followed by a showcase and awards presentation after the Crossroads Entertainment Conference on December 5th.
Although five of the seven teams competed in the final judging, the event was a great success. The bands involved were very impressed with the physical work of the students, some of which will be used in the future. The bands were also impressed with the students themselves, and some were hired to work on future promotional material. Furthermore, ties were developed with the local community, and the Drake image was strengthened. Finally, a week later I was given a call by a local record producer who wanted to hire a group of students to create a promotional kit for a local artist presenting to a major record label in New York City. The presentation was yesterday.
I can say that I am incredibly proud of this entire event. I am particularly proud of each and every one of the Drake University students who participated. The final work is just the tip of the iceberg of the talents and determination these students possess. Congratulations to each and every one of them.
This past semester I had the chance to sit down with a few people and lay out a concept that we wanted to bring to life. Kathryn Dickel from Swaelu Media, Abbey Robertson from Red Bull North America and I planned on creating a student advertising/marketing competition based on something we had seen at the University of Minnesota.
I strongly believe in the experiential economy, and that people should try to experience as many different things in life as possible. Without trying different things, how can you truly settle on what you like and don’t like?
Anyhow, we decided to team up with the Des Moines Music Coalition with the competition focusing around promoting bands. This way, the teams would have the chance to communicate with local clients face to face, become involved in the community, and come away with important lessons learned and networks created. Each team was assigned a local band, with genres ranging from country to bluegrass and even some heavy metal. Their goal was simple: to come up with a promotional kit for this band that would catch the attention of a venue promoter as the primary target, and a festival promoter as a secondary target. Judging would be based around the idea of Three P’s – Proposal, consisting of a 1 page executive summary outlining the strategy used, Product, consisting of the actual product – the kit, and finally Presentation, which focused on the 20 minutes each team had to pitch their concept to the panel of judges. The judges consisted of a radio promoter, an executive creative director at a local advertising agency, a graphic designer and an owner of a record label.
The teams consisted of between 5-7 people. The teams were divided first by year, so that each team would consist of experienced juniors and seniors to lead the way, and some sophomores and freshman to help and get the hang of the concepts. The second division was by major, either management or creative (graphic design, creative advertising). This way, the teams had not only students with experience as a result of age, but students with experience in the different aspects of marketing and promotion.
…to be continued…