SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--W2O Group, a network of innovative analytics-driven, digital-first marketing and communications firms, and Syracuse University (SU) today announced that they will celebrate the five-year anniversary of the W2O-Newhouse Center for Social Commerce (CSC) with a special program taking place from November 8-10. The program will feature an array of notable guest speakers from the technology, healthcare, pharmaceutical and aviation industries, along with W2O Group staff and professors from SU’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, School of Information Studies and the Whitman School of Management.
The CSC, one of the most successful industry-academic partnerships, was the brainchild of W2O Group founder and CEO, Jim Weiss (Newhouse ’87), and his wife (Whitman ’87) Audra Weiss. They established the CSC with a generous gift and continue to fund the initiative annually by providing staff time, resources and access to industry leaders.
“Given the transformative nature of business, we believed it was imperative to create a mechanism to educate the next generation of communications professionals to excel in a social and digital environment,” said Jim Weiss. “As a global firm, W2O Group is investing heavily in talent and technology to service our clients in this new reality dominated by influence and advocacy and underpinned by data and insight. Equipping students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in this new data-oriented reality unlocks their future potential, creating opportunities for both employers and employees.”
Since its inception, the CSC has conducted twice annual “Social Commerce Days,” where students and professors are immersed in the latest thinking on social and digital strategies, tools, techniques and models. These events have featured keynote presentations by thought leaders from the automotive, energy, financial services, medical technology, consumer brands and technology industries, as well as interactive workshops, classroom visits and career guidance opportunities with W2O Group staff.
The CSC also spearheads several initiatives and opportunities to help students gain an edge, including a year-round Student Ambassador program. In this program, two SU students, selected to represent the CSC, intern with W2O Group, publish research in the field, and take part in a sponsored trip to the firm’s digital-focused SXSW events in Austin, Texas. Additionally, CSC’s Affiliate Internship program offers a Newhouse student the opportunity to work with W2O’s client, Medtronic, both at the firm’s Minneapolis office and at the company’s Minneapolis headquarters, providing a dual agency/in-house experience.
“Jim and Audra, along with the entire W2O Group team, are an incredible partner for our students and faculty,” said Lorraine Branham, Dean of the Newhouse School. "The Digital Age is forcing all of us to rethink our relevance as social commerce is disrupting the status quo. Having the energy, knowledge, foresight and collaboration of Jim and W2O is truly game-changing for the School.”
The CSC operates year-round on SU’s campus, with a home base in Newhouse. It is co-led by Maria P. Russell, noted Professor of Public Relations and Director of Executive Education Programming at the Newhouse School.
“Giving students the means to comprehend this new age of commerce driven by social media and digital platforms is a real advantage to their development and confidence, and we continue to receive excellent feedback from our students and professors each year,” said Russell. “We look forward to hosting W2O Group experts and industry thought leaders for our five-year anniversary program this semester.”
“Being given a chance to experience the elements of social commerce in a digital world and applying it to communications and marketing has opened my eyes to a whole new reality,” said Janine Bogris (Newhouse ’18), one of two CSC Student Ambassadors this year. “The practical side of knowing the models of influence and advocacy coupled with the strategic end in terms of planning have given me a new perspective on how to assess stakeholder needs.”
For a deeper look into Jim’s reflection on the anniversary of the CSC and his vision ahead, read his blog post.
About the W2O-Newhouse Center for Social Commerce
The Center for Social Commerce (CSC) was established in 2012 as a first-of-its-kind partnership between W2O Group, an integrated communications firm, and Syracuse University’s S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, a leading academic institution. The CSC was made possible by W2O Group founder and CEO, Jim Weiss, a Syracuse alumnus. Through interactive programming and training opportunities, the CSC helps bridge the gap between communications curriculums and industry realities, while creating a laboratory for new ideas and innovation for clients, staff and the profession. For more information, please visit socialcommerce.syr.edu, and follow the CSC on Twitter at @SocCommSU.
Founded and led by CEO Jim Weiss in 2001, W2O is an independent network of complementary digitally-oriented marketing and communications firms focused on integrated business solutions to drive change and growth for the world's leading brands and organizations. W2O is built on insight integration, a strategic approach based on unearthing transformative insights and integrating them —across all marcom disciplines—for our clients’ brands. The goal is to create Unfair Advantage for our clients who face dramatic challenges in a shifting environment by following the right data to get to the solution. The right data clarifies your audience, what matters to them, and where your brand fits in their lives. W2O employs proprietary analytics models, methodologies and approaches in a digital world to design precise communications and marketing strategies and engagement to deliver sustained business results. W2O’s network includes WCG, Twist Mktg, Pure, Marketeching and Sentient, with a growing footprint of offices in the United States and Europe. For more information, please visit www.w2ogroup.com.