by Marilyn Hazlett
Nestled between cadence and agency, Cadency is the culmination of a year of research and creativity. The concept for this interdisciplinary student agency was developed in the Brand Communications: Research, Strategy & Student Agency Planning Creative Inquiry project under the direction of Katie Hildebrand from the Erwin Center for Brand Communications. Additional mentors for the project include Tina LeMay, Creative Director for Student Affairs Publications and Director of Campus Banner + Design, Jackie Herr, an Adjunct Lecturer in the Erwin Center for Brand Communications and Michele Cauley, a Professor of Practice in the Department of Marketing. Seven College of Business students collaborated with multiple units throughout and beyond campus to begin conceptualizing the growth and expansion of this student agency.
Cadency will partner with Campus Banner + Design with the goal to provide professional development in strategic and creative brand communications to students from a variety of backgrounds. Cadency will also contract its services to clients in local communities.
The foundational concept for the agency was perfected this year by undergraduate students in the Creative Inquiry project. Brianna Moore, a senior marketing major, started working with the Creative Inquiry team in Fall 2019. While the ultimate goal of the project and her professional goals are well-aligned, that was not her only inspiration for joining the team. “I joined this CI because of the ability it provided me to contribute a lasting impact on Clemson’s campus,” Moore said. “Through the creation of Cadency, future students will have the opportunity to do real agency work with real brands as undergraduates—which is an exceptional opportunity.”
Cadency will be staffed by student interns through the University Professional Internship/Co-op (UPIC) Program. The interdisciplinary agency will serveclients by producing high-end brand content and communications materials. Cadency’s magic is that it combines students from a variety of disciplines and offers a critical balance between professionalism and relevancy as brands seek to know more about how to communicate with Gen-Z.
The Cadency model will likely involve a partnership between the Erwin Center for Brand Communications and Campus Banner + Design. The Erwin Center was founded in 2012 thanks to the generosity and commitment of Clemson graduate Joe Erwin (‘79) and his wife Gretchen. The Center’s mission is to provide students studying brand communications with hands-on experience through real brand projects. It offers classes in content and brand strategy, hosts the Clemson CMO Summit alongside Forbes and industry professionals and houses the Brand Communications minor.
The team planned an in-person pitch in New York City in late March. Unfortunately, the trip was canceled due to travel restrictions enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, everyone logged on to Zoom and presented their pitch virtually. The Creative Inquiry team shared their past year of work, the proposed organizational structure and examples of Cadency’s abilities and services. As a next step, the Erwin Center is working with internal Clemson University partners and Erwin Center Board members to test services in the Fall of 2020.
Barbara J. Speziale