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Sam Davidson's blog

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Putting Money Where Your Brand Is

Here's a little more proof that investing in yourself (and your company) is a good idea.

AT&T just did a cool deal where they empowered marketing and advertising students at the University of Arizona to design national ad campaigns. 

While I've heard of classes or student groups coming up with business plans or marketing campaigns for companies before (Cool People Care has participated in such an endeavor before), this is the first time I've seen it funded.

Most of these assignments are merely hypothetical and students take what they've been learning in class and dream up something big and bold. Company reps come to class one day and listen to the students pitch, offer feedback, and then the students get graded by the professor.

But this time, AT&T made it as real as it gets, offering student teams $3,000 to pull their ideas off. They're shelling out cash for unproven ideas that might not work. Why?

In the hopes they get one that does.

Millennials can be tricky to reach and market to. So why not leverage this generation to harvest ideas that can help you reach their peers? This seems to be a good move and an win-win-win for all parties involved.

The catch, again, is one of investment. AT&T puts money down as an investment in their own brand and company. They didn't just send out a survey or ask to be a part of a class. They took the time and the risk to see if something great could happen.

Big returns can happen even with a modest investment. But no return will happen with no investment.