BANGOR – Hiring an advertising and marketing agency that can help organizations with their strategies and materials is often difficult for small businesses, start-ups, and non-profits due to the costs involved. Addressing this challenge is a new student-run agency at Husson University that’s designed to provide pro bono advertising and marketing assistance to area organizations that wouldn’t otherwise have access to these services. The University marked the opening of this new agency with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Jan. 30.
With a location adjacent to the lobby of the Wildey Communications Center, home of the New England School of Communications at Husson University, the One Circle Agency, has already begun to work with area clients. Up to 24 students, of any major, are anticipated to work at the agency on a variety of different projects.
“This agency is an important new innovation in hands-on learning,” said Alban Michaud, Class of 2023, a student in NESCom’s marketing communications program. “It’s just one of the ways Husson University creates trailblazing opportunities for the next generation of communications professionals. Student-run agencies like this will help students like me get hired after I graduate.”
Successful projects undertaken by the One Circle Agency have included the creation and marketing of an evening event for local area college students at Pepino’s — a Bangor-based Mexican restaurant. The event attracted so many people, the restaurant ran out of food. Promotions for upcoming shows at the Gracie Theatre have also been a part of agency’s promotional efforts. The sold out “Mike Super – Magic & Illusion” performance on Nov. 12 stands as a testament to the hard work and creativity of the agency’s students.
The agency’s new location was made possible thanks to the generosity of Stephen Coston, a member of the class of 2016. Coston is a Bar Harbor-based developer who owns several inns that provide lodging on the island. The space he helped create includes a glassed-in conference room, a large open makerspace, computer stations, high top tables for meetings and comfortable seating.
“This space – the colors, design, furniture and set up – is the culmination of ideas collected from students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Marie Hansen, dean of the College of Business and its New England School of Communications. “Space for meeting with clients in a conference room plus computers, tables and even bean bag chairs allow for students to morph between the environments where they are creative and then meeting focused.”
Theresa Ayotte, an assistant professor and the graphic/visual design program coordinator at NESCom says that her partnership with Nancy Roberts, the program coordinator for the marketing communications program, is helping to make the agency successful. “This is a true collaboration where students are meeting with the client and creating marketing plans and supporting materials including logos, posters, social media, websites, videos and more,” said
Ayotte. “Combining their efforts through this agency provides students with a first-rate, hands-on learning experience where they all get to work with real-world clients.”
“We’re not looking to compete with other local marketing agencies for business,” added Hansen. “In fact, the agencies I’ve spoken with appreciate the One Circle Agency concept. They see it as a proving ground that will help prepare students for future work in a professional environment.”
Students will fill every role in the agency, under the supervision of Ayotte and Roberts. This includes graphic design, social media, messaging, public relations and client management. Participating in One Circle Agency projects will also give students the opportunity to learn about the advantages and challenges that can arise when working in teams.
“Employers are looking to hire individuals with strong soft skills who can positively contribute to projects as part of a team. Those who can communicate well, solve problems and think critically are the most desirable,” said Roberts. “According to LinkedIn research, 89 percent of employee separations are due to a lack of soft skills. In addition, there was a Harris poll that found a third of businesses considered job applicants ‘unqualified’ if they lacked soft skills.”
“Working at the One Circle Agency is a great way to develop the soft skills employers are looking for,” continued Roberts. “Interpersonal skills like teamwork and listening are all essential in today’s modern marketing work environment.”
“As the home of Maine’s largest College of Business, Husson University is the natural choice to offer this hands-on agency student experience,” concluded Hansen, “In addition to furthering the education of our students, businesses get pro bono advertising and marketing services. Everyone who participates will reap benefits including the local business community and Maine’s economy.” Organizations interested in learning more about working with the One Circle Agency students on a project that would benefit their organization can contact them at OneCircleAgency@husson.edu.
Offering an array of undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and certificates that can be taken on campus, on site or online, the College of Business is dedicated to providing students with an education that leads to career success, regardless of whether they choose to work in the public sector; the private and corporate sector; or for non-profit organizations. Courses in the College of Business offer students the opportunity for experiences where they “learn by doing.”
For more information about Husson University’s College of Business visit https://www.husson.edu/college-of-business/.For more than 120 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. According to a recent analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.