This month we chat to Daryl Bartkunsky, co-founder and MD of Student Brands, a dynamic youth portal that strives to facilitate students through their university careers. An entrepreneur at heart, Daryl started his first successful import venture at the age of 13 and from there has grown from strength to strength. Daryl believes the key to success is proactive and strategic team work.
How did the idea to start Student Brands come about?
Student Brands was born out of 3 entrepreneurs looking for an opportunity to make a little extra pocket change on campus, looking at our environment the idea of handing out flyers for nightclubs on campus seemed to be a good one. We quickly realized that we needed a website and so we set forth on developing a student lifestyle platform, providing everything needed for student life, aged 16 to 27.
What kind of information and benefits can one find on Studentbrands.co.za?
Student Brands youth portal offers everything from where to study, what to study, things to do on campus, bursaries and internships available filtered through over 100 different variables. We constantly run engaging competitions and publish general and institution based news.
What marketing channels do you use to promote the site?
As a student marketing company our marketing channels change over time as the demands of our audience does. We use social media, email, sms, radio, print and on campus activations.
How do you retain users once they’ve signed up?
Provide valuable content on a relatively constant basis.
How would you describe your content strategy?
Tailored to the student.
How do you work with Affiliate Marketing?
If Student Brands has capacity or we believe the offering is of value to our database we engage in banner advertising, social media posting and email communication to our base. We most frequently work on CPM however we do offer CPC and risk models.
Are advertisers and retailers putting enough focus on the Student segment?
I do believe they are, however I think because it’s still a relatively new segment for the majority it’s difficult to understand how to do it effectively and efficiently. This is where the Student Brands focus groups and strategy team assist brands.
Any advice for aspiring ‘self-branders’?
The missing ingredient for many is the USP, Unique Selling Proposition. The question one needs to ask oneself is; what makes me different? what do I do better? Once you understand or are able to answer those questions you need to keep pursing, regardless of rejection. I follow my personal business philosophy: “Seek the opportunity – Evaluate the risk – Strive for the Reward”.
The key to building a strong team is…
Look for the hungry, driven person. The rest can be taught.