McKinney to Host Brand-Strategy Workshop for UNC Students

The 101-Level Introduction for Seniors Will Benefit Both Students and Agency

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Sixteen undergrads from University of North Carolina are sacrificing their fall breaks to better understand brand strategy, and that means spending vacation at an agency.

Durham, N.C.-based independent McKinney will host a brand-strategy workshop for UNC journalism and mass communication students who applied to participate in the program developed in conjunction with the school and agency.

The three-day workshop, called "StratShop," will be held at McKinney Oct. 21-23. The agency is calling it the first workshop for undergrads to focus entirely on strategy.

"It's not a new idea that agencies contribute to education and add to already excellent schooling," said agency partner and Director of Account Planning Jeremy Holden. "This is real-world exposure at the undergrad level; this is a first for a pure focus on the strategy side of advertising."

Martin Agency, for example, hosts a twice-yearly, two-week workshop for undergraduate college students during winter and summer breaks to expose to those with expressed interest in advertising everything from creative and copywriting to media, planning and interactive.

The idea for the workshop sprung from an already established relationship with the school; the agency has a history of hiring interns from the university. The workshop is designed to be a 101-level introduction for seniors who have an interest in the industry. It's also expected to be a win-win for both students and the agency: Trade a look at real agency frameworks for potential talent that's primed to think about brands beyond traditional advertising. The agency has pioneered what it calls "connection planning," its methodology to identify new ways to connect target consumers with brand ideas.

Themed "Building a Brand Conversation," McKinney strategy team will lead the workshop, touching on topics including interactive strategy, which includes consumer monitoring online and social media planning. Students will not earn credit for participating.

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