Live Oak Communications, Pace announce launch of Project Echo
Elon’s student-run strategic communications agency has partnered with the global content marketing firm based in Greensboro for an official collaboration. A partnership kickoff event is scheduled for Friday, March 13, at the Greensboro co//ab space.
Elon University’s Live Oak Communications and professional agency Pace have announced a joint partnership benefiting both the student-run communications organization and the award-winning content marketing firm.
Project Echo will provide Live Oak staff members invaluable experience working with real-world clients and projects, as well as networking opportunities and Pace-led educational sessions. The project’s benefits have already commenced with Live Oak staff working with two of Pace’s blue-chip clients from a roster of such companies as Verizon, Wells Fargo, the Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts and USAA.
Additionally, the partnership will offer Pace and the brands the agency represents more insight to the millennial population, gathering the perspectives of Elon students on how to connect to the young adult generation. With input from Live Oak, the partners will attempt to find strategies to create genuine connections between brands and “echo boomers,” a nickname for the millennial generation.
The two agencies will celebrate the partnership’s launch with a kickoff event on Friday, March 13, at the Greensboro co//ab (pronounced “co-lab”), a collaboration lab space in the city’s downtown. Communications faculty and students are encouraged to attend the 4 p.m. launch, which will include an educational component.
“For our students, this partnership is like an advanced internship with very close supervision and mentoring from accomplished professionals,” said Hal Vincent, a lecturer in the School of Communications and the faculty director of Live Oak Communications. “It’s real, assessed work that they are completing for some of the world’s largest clients, and it will be evaluated like they are professionals by those clients. It’s just another notable experiential learning opportunity, making them more employable after graduation. It also raises the profile of our students and Live Oak to be able to work on a national and global level.”
While the partnership will continue to evolve, the two agencies initially plan to host educational networking nights three times a semester. The events, held at the co//ab, will have Pace staff members lead a 30-minute instructional session for School of Communications students, including graduate students in the Interactive Media master’s program. Over time, Vincent said, he hopes the partnership finds other purposes for the co//ab space, which Elon University owns and offers free office space to organizations that promote entrepreneurship and higher education.
Vincent acknowledged he’s wanted to pair Live Oak with a real-world agency since his arrival two years ago. The fact that Pace, the Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 Content Agency of the year, is widely recognized for excellence made the partnership that much more attractive.
Pace President Craig Waller, School of Communications Dean Paul Parsons and Vincent all played a role in the creation of the collaboration, which began as a conversation topic at a meeting in spring 2013. Additionally, Waller was recently named to the school’s National Advisory Board.
The professor expects the project to provide Live Oak students an opportunity to get more involved with content marketing, where brands, products and services disseminate information through the creation and sharing of content. To explain content marketing, Vincent cited an example highlighting Pace’s client Verizon. In place of a traditional commercial, the communications company might create a three-minute video featuring a musical act that uses the company’s technology to update and connect with its fans while on the road. The short narrative would then be shared through social media platforms and other nontraditional outlets.
“Content marketing is a new, innovative and emerging way that advertising, public relations and publishing are all changing business models toward,” Vincent said. “It’s creating branding content for social media and YouTube. It’s an exciting time, and it’s telling where professional business is going.”