In support of my second FLEX 30 activity, I deliver a workshop presentation designed to give students an overview of basic marketing principles – and reflect on how I create and deliver this content in a classroom environment.
Having been involved with the development of the Media Industries module of the Film and Media BA for 2021/22, and met the students online and for an in-person workshop, I was keen for my next activity to be more active and prepared. The previous sessions had allowed me to reflect upon the dynamic I have with both the students and my academic colleague, but I felt it would be useful to deliver something practical to make use of those reflections.
It was agreed that a ‘Marketing 101’ session would be useful in giving the students a context around the work they’d been doing. I focused the presentation on the specific challenges one might face in a marketing agency environment and the tools and skills needed to overcome them, while rooting the material in the academic approaches which had become part of my FLEX 30 learning journey. Using PBL, the aim was to set out examples of challenges one might face in an agency setting and, through storytelling, talk the students through my own experiences in tackling them.
As Barrett and Moore (2011) suggest, the classical definition of PBL is not only how students learn from being given information, but also “the process of working towards the understanding of a resolution of a problem”. With this in mind, I was keen to incorporate at least an element of interaction that would in some way challenge the students to consider how the tools of the trade are deployed in addressing an authentic marketing problem. So, having established the five core components of what makes a ‘brand identity’ (08:58), I asked them to identify these in a real world setting (13:18).
However, Barrett and Moore also note the design of the initial problem is key to the success of PBL in a classroom environment, and that the problem should be engaging, authentic, open to interrogation, multidimensional, collaborative, challenging and encouraging the development of transferable skills. By emphasising the existing problem, they suggest students can be triggered into considering the different ways in which it can be tackled, for example the use of different media. This in itself benefits learners in a number of ways, by acknowledging they may not all have the same skill set, but that they may not even have the same marketing career goals, for example some may want to work in a creative field, whereas others may favour data and analytics. Not only is this something we had seen in the group work that the students had undertaken, with roles assigned internally according to interest and skillset, it is, for me, another correlation between PBL as both a teaching approach and something which exists in every day marketing practice – and is even reflected in Barrett and Moore’s use of language around assigning roles, interrogating ideas, brainstorming concepts and developing authentic, multidisciplinary solutions.
It was, therefore, important for me to share an example not only of what marketers might use as part of that solution (35:50), but also provide an example of how this is done in practice. Using a film that was created for an event to encourage a very specific audience to donate or get involved with the University’s First Generation scheme (40:13), I outlined the story behind the charity, the event and the audience, before talking about the problem with the existing film and why we thought it needed to be replaced. I explained how the project came about and the challenges faced, and the perspective we took in developing a solution that was more considerate of the audience and their potential reaction to the message we were looking to convey. After playing the film (42:29), I went back and reiterated not just how it was developed, but the storytelling functions within the video itself (45:40) and how they were specifically designed and deployed to inspire, encourage and educate the audience.
McDrury and Alterio (2002) suggest storytelling is a useful in teaching because of its power to introduce new material in entertaining and interesting ways, and share practical experiences. They also outline a five-stage approach that assists in the development of stories to make them more meaningful. This process includes involves highlighting “emotional resonance”, defining the “human experience”, exploring areas of importance to be exploited, looking for context to emphasise meaning and constructing the narrative so that transformation can be encouraged in the ‘learner’. This approach, as illustrated in this particular example, is every bit as familiar to me in my professional role as it is in my teaching endeavours. Establishing a problem, interrogating the information and telling stories to educate, inform and even invoke change are natural, vital part of my skillset – and something I hope to build upon further as part of my longer-term career aspirations.
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IMAGES AND VIDEO
Mellor, N. (2021) Fig 1 – 2021-2024 action plan.
Mellor, N. (2021) “Media Industries: Marketing 101.”
Mellor, N. (2019) “Why are we wearing bras on our heads? Occult perceptions in the home video era.”