it’s been a while since I posted something here. I’ve been really busy, but most of the projects are done and I can finally catch up with this diary. While I was crafting an article entitle “Consumer Journey” where i was going to share the story of my frustrations with putting together an educational project in Cameroon, Advertising Age (AdAge) published an article about it. Well…kinda.
After the excitement of the mention of the project in AdAge cleared off (read after people close to the story read it) we agreed to disagree with some of the facts. But more importantly the heart of the story was missed. I don’t want to touch too much of the facts but i will clear the biggest one real quick: The minister of tourism never stepped foot on the OU campus, i think if he had it would be known. Representatives of the office of tourism came down to select a winning team that would travel to Cameroon to present their work.
The heart of the story here was the unique opportunity two set of students from different backgrounds had to work together. The assignment came in and was split between two groups of students. The Oklahoma team under renown Jim Avery, and the Cameroon team under me. (unkown up and coming lool).
Over the course of a semester both group were monitored by Avery and I making sure that they would produce high quality work and they did. The key element for me here was giving the opportunity to students in Cameroon to rub shoulders with their American counter part.
I wanted them to build confidence. I wanted them to know they’re as smart as anybody else. And they truly are. From the work both the US and CMR(Cameroon) student groups did, they had the same findings. They found that Cameroon has all the elements for a great tourism destination, but lack the exposure. They encouraged in their recommendation amongst other things to use modern day word of mouth: Social media, to promote and raise awareness. I’m truly amazed that kids from different settings, and environments where able to come down to the “same strategy” on how to make changes to better their image.
I’m proud and thankful for the opportunity to have followed both group of students for a semester. This didn’t fall from the sky, it took me 2 years to put it together. 2 years to convince people to believe in a youngster. I can say I wouldn’t have been able to do it If Avery didn’t step on board providing years of experience and know how but mostly the support (read credentials) and his friendship. Note that I was still a student at the University of oklahoma when we made our first visit to cameroon to teach.
But like i said the true stars here a the students, they crafted quality work, and they defended their work in front of a very, very tough audience. Both teams delivered winning pitches. And i’m happy to say that those recommendations will be implemented in the near future.
Great work guys.
And remember: †Ideas never really die†.
PS: “Consumer Journey” will be up soon, so stay tune for the behind the scenes look of how this project came to life.