When we started the year, there were 2 main obstacles that we had to work on as a
1) LACK OF BRAND PRESENCE IN THE UNIVERSITY
We had a market reach of less than 0.1% on a campus of 30,000 and as we have no
expertise in the technical know-how of brand management, and marketing, all of our
efforts were completely reliant on word-of-mouth.
When we started in 2013, we set a vision to ‘be the best-kept secret no more’. We
expanded our marketing department to 15 people (¼ of organization), each with specific
responsibilities, formed targeted partnerships with 5 school departments, and amped up
our social media presence that achieved an average view per post of 10,000.
We ended 2013 exhausted but utterly happy. We have successfully delivered 50+ events
and projects that increased our marketing reach to 3000 people on campus and won the
‘Most Collaborative Student Organization’ Award from the University. AIESEC Seattle is
definitely a rising force on campus now.
2) LACK OF ENGAGEMENT WITH AIESEC US
As geography will have it, we were the most isolated Local Committee in the country,
sitting on the northwest most corner of the country. The closest Local Committee to us
was 1,000 miles away, making conference travel very taxing on the average student
budget. As a result, our members became very disengaged from AIESEC US. This fuels the
vicious cycle in which national initiatives and education were very hard to transmit down
to the Local Committee, which furthers isolates us.
As such, to break the cycle, we started funding members to these conferences. Overall, in
2013 we paid $12,000 (26% of total investments) to incentivize our members to attend
conferences in 7 domestic locations, and even international locations such as Panama,
Ukraine, Singapore, and the Netherlands. In addition, we also hosted 2 national
conferences, bringing the leaders of AIESEC US to our very own backyard.
With every other organization, there are inherent threats and challenges to solve. In
AIESEC Seattle, we strive to embody an indomitable, can-do spirit to overcome them to
create better structures, better people, and ultimately a better AIESEC Seattle.
We learned to be innovative.
Because of organizational structure weaknesses, and geographical threats, we were not
reaching our potential. In both situations, we were pushed to be innovative and pioneer
initiatives that then went on to be adopted by AIESEC US. Our problems were not new to
the network, but we decided to tailor better solutions that fit our current reality and
culture. Innovation happened because we were not afraid to take risks.
We learned to fail, and move on.
In one year, we hosted 50+ events and projects, relying completely on our volunteer base
of students. In our quest for a culture of innovation, we have taken risks and fallen down
time and again. But we have learned not to dwell too long on our mistakes. There was that
one time we had an important Vice President step down from his position in peak sales
season; within a week we have elected his successor. There was the other time one of our
events had a turnout of zero; we went back to the drawing board and worked out a better
marketing strategy within the day.
We learned that failing is important. But getting back up is more so.
Increase brand presence at university:
projects and events
with 5 school
on the grounds of
the University of
Increase presence in AIESEC US:
dollar amount in
US to Seattle
US on a platform