Dubai student reveals how she is honing her skills in marketing and media

As an aspiring marketer, Krisha spent a summer attending a pre-college program at Columbia University. She also worked with a small business to expand it digitally.

Excerpts from an interview:

Krisha Kavalani

I have always had a knack for creating and advising ideas when it came to my parent’s business. So when I finally enrolled in a business course in school my love for it only magnified as I started to understand business strategies. I decided to dive deeper and explore courses in niche and specific fields in business. I would have never explored this area in business if it weren’t for the online course I participated in with the University of Pennsylvania.

Tell us about the pre-college program you undertook at Columbia University.

One of the biggest takeaways (socially) for me was to take initiative and form relationships and connections with new people. It helped me become more confident and independent. A more academic takeaway was learning how to adapt to a whole new style of learning and understanding more advanced concepts. This was because without having a growth mindset and being adaptable, I would never have survived the academic element/rigor of the course. A general takeaway was not to be afraid to fail or make mistakes because at the end of the day, we are learning.

Tell us how you helped a business.

I partnered with a start-up that had no experience in marketing or any resources to aid marketing. I decided to help this business expand digitally and market its products via social media apps since everything nowadays is online and marketing via social media is inexpensive, effective, and quick. Since the newly opened business didn’t have any platforms, I curated platforms for the business and created posters, layouts, and posts to get them started. However, there was no traffic on platforms like Instagram since no one had heard of them. I came up with a solution to reach out to various local influencers: sending them packages hoping they would provide some advertising in exchange for free products. This resulted in the small business’s audience and brand recognition increasing and boosting overall revenue. I am now an intern, who is regularly asked about marketing advice.

When it comes to marketing a product or service, the idea is not to showcase its features; they are hard to differentiate and not many people are interested. Instead, a brand should focus on showcasing the product or service benefits. People are only interested in what it can do for them so they can make that personal connection and buy it. A great salesperson should tap into what the consumer needs or use manipulation wisely. Since marketing is dependent on evolving tastes, it’s important to align businesses with the bigger picture.

I hope I can make businesses and companies more aware of consumers’ points of view when it comes to marketing as the majority of businesses don’t have effective marketing because of the lack of focus on their target market’s actions/behaviors. Additionally, I hope to influence businesses positively so that their marketing is not only successful for their brand, but society as a whole.

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