The Pamplin College of Business launched its new website at exactly 12:15 p.m. yesterday, timed perfectly to mid-day class changes.
From the timing of the release, to the color choices on the website, the effort — spearheaded by Pamplin Reinventing Social Media, or PRISM — has been driven by an attention to detail.
PRISM is a student-led organization out of Tech’s business school that focuses on marking, communication, social media, branding and design.
Donna Wertalik, PRISM’s faculty advisor, said Pamplin’s old website was “static,” something that needed to be fixed.
“There was a lack of engagement, it wasn’t an experience for consumers,” Wertalik said. “I think a lot of information is recycled these days instead of re-imagined.”
And re-imagining is what students in PRISM have done. The website features an all new design, layout and color scheme. It represents the peak in social media integration and stands out from other vt.edu websites.
“It’s definitely more visual; captivating images, more color and less text,” said Jordan Jacobson, a junior marketing major and marketing co-officer for PRISM.
One main goal of the new website is to provide clear and easy navigation for both internal information and external channels, like Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
According to PRISM’s Analytics Officer Mark Wilkinson, a senior marketing major, extensive research was done before the website launched to help pin down fixable problems. Wilkinson said one big issue was that faculty had difficulty navigating the page.
Jacobson said the new website changes that.
“You should be able to find whatever you’re looking for in two clicks,” Jacobson said.
The website’s launch was a well-envisioned marketing tool in and of itself, featuring big-screen computers for students to explore the new website, raffles and a photo-booth.
McCann, Carousel 30 and Venveo, marketing and web-design companies, had tables where PRISM members and Pamplin students could chat with company representatives. Blue balloons and ribbon decorated the Pamplin Atrium.
“We want to make it engaging for students, invite them here... we wanted to bring everyone together,” Jacobson said. “It’s the personification of the college.”
And Pamplin, through PRISM, has striven to personify the college as forward-thinking.
“(The website) is cooler, more hip to be honest,” Wilkinson said.
Richard Sorensen, the Dean of Pamplin College, has been a big proponent of the project, allowing it to continue through support and funding.
“We thought we were a little bit behind,” Sorenson admitted, “It’s exciting to be at the forefront (now.)”
Long-term, PRISM hopes this venture sets an example for other colleges and classrooms around Tech. If a college can be convinced to contract a student-run internal agency to market, produce social media or re-create their website it can have positive effects, said Jacobson.
“It benefits the college and the university because we have more relatable contacts,” Jacobson said.
Jacobson and Wilkinson both believe that, as students, they can understand what students want and expect from a website and marketing more than any outside company can.
And the benefits go both ways. PRISM provides real-world experiences for students in marketing, advertising and design.
“I’ve learned more in PRISM than any of my other classes,” Jacobson said.
PRISM’s analytics team will continue to collect data and information over the next week as the website goes live.
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