Students work with Boston food bank

by Ross Cristantiello / Beacon Staff • November 11, 2015

The Greater Boston Food Bank accepted a marketing plan Monday designed by Emerson seniors to give the organization a greater online presence.

The pitch, made on Oct. 20 by four of eight team members working on their capstone project in the communications department, is aimed at college students.

The specific aspects of the marketing campaign are still being determined, but it will use social media to illustrate the contrast between money spent by those in college on everyday things with how that money could help feed the people that the food bank works with. These comparisons will be displayed using online multiple mediums, including infographics.

Liana Genito, political communication senior and former Beacon staff member, participated in the presentation. Genito described college students as “destigmatized millennials.”

“We wanted to focus on a lot of students that are consciously aware and want to get involved… and reach out to their community,” Genito said.

While the team proposed several ideas to the food bank, the organization settled on one that emphasizes the idea of “one for one.” This concept is based on a part of the food bank’s September awareness campaign that giving one dollar can help feed a person for one whole day.

The campaign presented will target small, frivolous spending by college students, like daily coffees. The team wanted to illustrate that the money spent by many young people on small things they don’t necessarily need could go towards feeding the people that actually are in need.

“We wanted to play on the fact that you could donate a simple dollar and that could make a big impact,” Genito said.

Luke Richardson, a senior communication studies major, also worked on the presentation.

“It’s not supposed to guilt you, it’s supposed to put [things] into perspective,” Richardson said.

Another key aspect the team intends to focus on is SEO, or search engine optimization. This popular marketing and editorial phrase describes the process of using keywords to appear higher on web searches.

“We’ve been trying to help (the Greater Boston Food Bank) better refine what they do digitally,” Richardson said.

The next step for the capstone students is to expand the framework they pitched by creating the specific content to go online. They hope to have the majority of the work wrapped up by the end of the semester, when many on the team will graduate.

“We want to provide a substantial amount of additional content… so that they can take it further once we’re not working with them anymore,” Richardson said.

This is not the first time the Greater Boston Food bank has partnered with Emerson. Earlier this semester, a produce drive was held by students from the Entrepreneurial Studies Program. They picked up fruits and vegetables from the Boston Public Market at Haymarket and delivered them to other students on campus, donating more than $200 dollars in profit to the food bank.