With just three days to go, the CTF workstations were bustling with acitivity. In the middle of all the action, three reporters from GT were trying to get a glimpse of what exactly happens in these k!ore teams. When we did manage to get them away from their laptop/cellphone cluttered workstations, here's what they had to say...
MARKETING [ interview by Allijothi. R, 1st year, GI & Monisha Prakash, 3rd Year CS]
Anush Sagar J S, Ananth R K, Sangavi Priya S, Priyadarshini S are the student directors of marketing. Their roots go as deep as first year, where they all sat for k! open call as freshers...except for Anush. Anush was busy even before becoming a k!ore.
They say that the chemistry they have as a team and as friends, is what makes them work.
While they have fun, the conversation takes a serious undertone when the team is imposed with questions regarding marketing, showing that they mean business!
How have you upped the marketing game this year?
As a team, we started out by researching about all the types of marketing done in various fields.
We've made improvements and new additions to each stream of marketing concerning k!.
As age old members of k!, we learnt from all the mistakes the previous teams had made and worked towards correcting them this year.
We've introduced Ad placements in Google, Facebook etc and telemarketing reminders in the stream of digital marketing. New forms of content based marketing have been introduced. CTF has introduced its own website and there's also a personalised k! blog. We've also done marketing in the potential active student community outlets like book banks, libraries, etc.
What is the crowd that you're targeting? What’s different?
The major difference in the crowd that we're targeting is that, we prefer quality more than anything. The workshops/lectures/events are mostly marketed to interested groups who could potentially gain something from attending it. We've also opened up to corporates after getting requests from them for participation in workshops. The pre k! event saw a rush of school kids as well.
Marketing falls in many categories. How do you manage all the teams? What’s the work flow?
The ultimate motto of k! is CEG branding as an engineering based organization. We make sure that all the teams work with the same ideology and vision as us. The work flow is ever changing. We always make sure that everyone is updated about the current happenings. Among us four, we split tasks rather than streams. That way, any mistakes that one makes is easily detected by the other. This also keeps us fresh and engaged in terms of coming up with new ideas… which is what marketing essentially is about.
What are the difficulties that the marketing team has faced this year? How did you overcome it?
Besides minor glitches here and there, which is normal, the floods were one of the hurdles that we had to overcome as a marketing team. We couldn’t keep up with our schedule in terms of direct marketing as most colleges reopened only in Feb beginning, which is very close to the date of k!. This kept us on the edge till the very end, but with the help of some great juniors we've managed to pull it off successfully.
Another hurdle that we faced is assessments being cramped to dates close to k! for second, third and final years. This affected our direct marketing strategies. But this year, for the first time, we trained first years for direct marketing and they did a great job of taking over for us.
What is the crowd that you're expecting? What has been the response by far?
Like we said, the juniors worked hard along with us which made it easier to bring in the crowds. As far as response is concerned, We had an auditiorium overflowing with kids, students and even teachers for the pre k! event, from which we sense that there'll be good crowds for k!.... 80% of the workshops have been booked and its filling up pretty fast!
MEDIA [interview by Mark Benjamin, 3rd year, Mech]
We all had that moment last week when our parents brandished a newspaper pointing out that k! was in the morning news. That’s the sort of coverage the media team is looking for: among not just students, but people who make up the larger section of the general public. After all, what would be the point of an amazing project or an idea for a startup if nobody wants to hear it?
Swetha Sridharan, the media k!ore tells us why Media is such an integral part of k!
Can you give us an overview of the Media team and how it’s different from the conventional Marketing team?
The Media and the Marketing teams are similar, but the Media team is more focused on reaching out to the general public. Additionally, we have a social initiative this year, which we believe the media at large will be looking forward to. Our primary goal is to get the efforts of the students of our college recognized.
For the last two years, you have partnered with The Hindu. Who are your partners this year?
This year we’re powered by the Hindu again, and our Tamil partner is the Dinamalar. We also have a magazine from Mumbai joining us – Youth Incorporated, and a photography partner in Webdefy. Our radio partner is Chennai Live.
Can you elaborate on the structure and organisation of the Media team?
So basically Media is subdivided into two – Partnerships and Projects. We have on our team people who are interested in photography, writing press releases, contacting journalists, negotiating with organisations for partnerships and so on. Projects is concerned with getting the work of the students exposed to the media.
What has the role of the Media team been in the days leading up to Kurukshetra?
We just had our press conference on the 10th, where we told the press about k! and we had the projects displayed as well. Following that up, we have articles written and released in the media, advertisements and so on.
Have there been any changes in the working of the team from last year? Or are you continuing with the same overall structure?
This year we have a media partner for start-up weekend, which is YourStory, so they’ll come over during k! and take the ideas that come up during start-up weekend and post it on their site to get publicity.
How would you describe the hype leading up to this year’s Kurukshetra?
Oh its big…it’s the tenth edition after all, so we have a lot of new events and the workshops are all a first of their kind, with new technologies. We also have the CEO of Freshdesk coming over for a Guest Lecture too.
And finally, what are your goals for this year, as the Media team?
We hope there’s a good turnout this year, and that the event gets the coverage it deserves.
Anything else would you like to tell us about your team or Kurukshetra in general?
I think that covers most of it, but this year is special for the social cause we have, which is E for Educate. We are very glad it’s a success – it’s sort of like our symposium’s CSR.
DESIGN [interview by Mark Benjamin, 3rd year, Mech]
Ever registered for k! event or workshop just because the poster looked so irresistible and eye catching? Deep in the design studios of CTF, Jyothikrishnan T S, Malini R R and Pavithra K let out an evil laugh for it is exactly with such ends in mind does the design team toil away at Photoshop and Illustrator with. From the arcipluvian banners and posters that herald the various events to the live sketched web comics, the design team brings symposiums alive before our eyes, combining aesthetics with form and functionality, seamlessly.
So what are the roles of the Design team? What, specifically, do you design?
We are the face of k! We have a number of workshops and events, and our role is to project what they will be like. Our works involve posters and banners, some online. Our posters should give participants a good idea about the event.
What’s the structure of your team like, with regard to members?
Like all the other teams, we have coordinators, but when it comes to Design, everything is flat-structured – both the second and the third years do the same kinds of jobs. It all depends on their Photoshop skills, and their interest.
Is there any specific design characteristic that underpins all your work?
There is no theme as such, but we have a set of rules for designing the posters, so if you look at our posters, we pay a lot of attention to the templates that we choose; we cannot be flashy with our choices.
Have you made any changes to the overall design theme since last year?
Last year all the poster were too direct, if you know what I mean. This year we have paid more importance to minimalism and to the typography, and we are also focusing on making GIFs.
How important do you think Design is to the success of K!?
Even though the other teams are in charge of the events, I feel the Design team plays a major role in bringing these event to the participants. If we do something wrong with the design, the whole ship goes off the rails.
Creativity Team [interview by Mary Jeana, 1st Year, EEE and Sri Vishnu, 1st year, Material Sciences]
Ever wondered what happened to the Contents team in CTF? Sad to inform that the team has been scraped out. But no worries, the Creativity team has taken their position and they seem to branch out a lot of ideas to other k!ore teams. The team is led by Sudar M and Halidha Fathima.
What does the creativity team do that differ from the other teams?
- Halidha: Before, everyone could contribute their ideas for design and the contents put up.
- Sudar: Last year there was only the Design team which directly designed the posters but now a new team has been formed exclusively to brainstorm the design for posters, the Facebook contents, blog etc.
This year, we wanted to have unique designs. To make this possible, we incorporated a team where we think about different ways to attract the students because the website and posters are what can attract the participants. So now, we give inputs to the Design team.
Creativity team also has to send periodical mails to UNESCO updating about the progress.
What have you gained by working as a k!ore member of the Creativity team?
- Halidha: I know what can go wrong, how it can go wrong, when it can go wrong and now I know how to fix it. We’re a team which works right from when an edition of k! gets over, so we’ll be working in social media and we know what a tiny slipup can do. We try to make sure that doesn’t happen and this is one of the things that I’ve learnt.
- Sudar: Being in creativity, I don’t have any restrictions. Other teams will have their own domains and when one team gives an idea to another team, it comes off as a suggestion.
But when we give ideas, it’s like Ok let’s consider this. Our domain is spread across other teams. Personally, my thought process has changed and I’ve learnt to talk to different kinds of people. I might have to talk to the dean, sponsors, faculty or even a watchman to give permission for hostellers. The most difficult task is talking to juniors and asking them to complete the given task.
Why did you choose creativity?
- Halidha: That’s what I feel I do best. So I decided to stay with creativity.
- Sudar: Last year I worked for contents and when my seniors told that there won’t be a contents team this year, I was clueless of what to do. They suggested me to go for HR or Creativity. Usually juniors work in such a way that, once they climb up the ladder in that team, they’ll choose that as the team to work for. At the end I chose creativity. Then, we had an intense recruitment session for one and a half months.
What qualities will you expect from someone who’s there in the creativity team?
- Sudar: The pre- requisites of creativity will be writing. They should be able to put into paper.
- Halidha: First of all, they should be willing to work. It shouldn’t be just me giving them tasks what they comprehend. All that’s required for someone to work under creativity is a clear thought process, good writing skill and most importantly dedication. We’re a team that keeps working, so we need our juniors to be fully dedicated and complete the tasks at the given time and not come up with excuses to do something. They should actively check out if something new has come up that we can write about, blog about or put up a design. They don’t have to give creative ideas to design the posters or write anything, but they should be interactive and part of the team.
Give an example of a situation where you had a conflict with a team member, and how did you handle it?
- Halidha: The only conflict I have is when everyone wants the writings to be short and crisp. I really like the elegant writings but it’s really hard for me to say no to a writing just for being long even though it’s really good. Even if there are conflicts, I push them to face it.
- Sudar: Well, we don’t really have conflicts. We do face criticism, but at the end of the day if you take all this into your heart, you won’t be able to survive. Especially because we have 8 or 12 hour meetings and we get to discuss a lot. At that time, there will be a lot that’s given around as suggestions. So we don’t really have any conflicts with each other.
Do you ever have informal sessions with your team members or is it completely work oriented?
- Sudar: It depends on the juniors who join the team. Once they sync with our work and get used to our regular tasks, we start developing a sort of friendship.
- Halidha: If discussing how classes are going and about our future plans is considered as informal sessions, then yes.
We do need informal sessions but that’s only after one or two of their tasks. I really talk to them about the reality, pros and cons of being in the team. So it’s like “Machans” right now.
How did you handle the hectic schedule while working for K!?
- Halidha: It’s not that tough. You should just know what to do when. I study just before the exam and not every day. Luckily, so far, we haven’t had any conflicting assessment time tables. So, whenever he’s busy I’ll take care and vice versa.
- Sudar: The intensity of the work did increase during the last 2 months especially after the floods. But managing time is one of the few things I’ve learnt. At times, I had to compromise on my personal engagements and social life. But at the end of the day when you’re given a responsibility, it’s up to you on how to do it.
Any idea on the fanciest merchandise given away this year?
Sudar: K! Chocolates. Bags with new designs which I cannot reveal.
When we finally managed to get all the interviews from the busy k!ores, we let out a sigh of relief. A k!ore in CTF actually gave us a friendly smile and said, " welcome to CTF!" .Thanks to the seniors who took time away from their work to answer our questions. Wishing them all the best for a successful and smooth operation of K! 16.