In 2013, the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at the University of Akron launched a student-run social media agency, thanks to the support of Sam Falletta, CEO of Incept, whose company has been providing mentorship support from the very beginning.

Known as “Kanga Communication,” the agency offers real-world experiences to students. Kanga Communication provides students from across the University of Akron opportunities to gain practical experience in managing and executing social media campaigns, content marketing, and account management. The institute recently formed partnerships with Sanctuary Marketing Group, Tremco Inc. and Fathom, who also provide educational and mentorship support to the Kanga team members.

One of the key objectives of the agency is to engage with local non-profit organizations and small businesses to solicit opportunities to act as their agency of record in order to accomplish their social media objectives. Kanga currently manages the social media accounts for ACCESS and TEDxAkron. Future plans include branching out to work with small businesses and other nonprofits in the community. Another objective of the agency is to help students learn to develop strategies and determine the primary customer and the desired conversational goals across all social media platforms. And finally, the agency exists in order to introduce students to social media field and social media practitioners who act as mentors.

Like many current students involved in Kanga, IMC major alumnus Ryan Rimmele, of TRIAD Communications, was eager to participate when the opportunity was presented to him.

“My experience with Kanga Communication was one of the best decisions I made while in school. The exposure to industry professionals and the opportunity to network was immensely helpful. Kanga Communication taught me to work in a team environment and to surround myself with people who care about their work. It taught me that not all group projects need to be preceded by a groan and a scowl. Also, my current work as a Digital Marketing Specialist is almost directly influenced by my experience in Kanga.” – Ryan Rimmele

Jacob Farrar, Director of the Taylor Institute, is thankful for the involvement of students, faculty and practitioners, and believes that this agency is the perfect example of “Where Theory Meets Practice.”

“The mission of the Taylor Institute is to develop and inspire future marketing leaders. In order to do this, we need to provide students with the ability to gain experience and put into practice, the marketing techniques, tools and principles they are learning in their marketing classes. We felt the best way to teach this for social media was to develop an agency in which students can manage social media for outside clients. Thus, Kanga Communication was created by the Taylor Institute, for students, to learn social media tools and develop campaigns for local non-profit or for-profit organizations. Everything about Kanga Communication is real-world.” – Jacob Farrar

As a faculty advisor for the agency, I am truly thankful that such an initiative exists on the University of Akron campus. The practitioners involved are outstanding professionals who understand and value social media game with confidence in a forever changing market. IBISWorld projects that the number of firms in the social media industry is forecast to grow at a 25.9% annual rate in the 10 years. Hence, the job market for those with social media skills and experience looks very promising.

Marketing your organization and opportunities to the University of Akron students is an important part of your on-campus recruiting strategy – and we’re here to help. Contact us at taylor.cba@uakron.edu and learn more about how you and/or your organization can get involved with Kanga Communication and the Taylor Institute.

By: Vanja Djuric