Pascal Sabatnig and Kirsten Ingeneeger attended the same creative high school in Vienna before coming to Westminster Business School. Pascal is studying Business Management with Entrepreneurship, and Kirsten Marketing Management.
Pascal also runs his own businesses: SBTG, a design and media agency based in Vienna, Geofilter Studios and Zebra swimwear. “I’ve always been self-employed,” he says. “It’s how I’ve financed my studies.” The businesses also provide him with material to use in his degree, and with the opportunity to test out what he learns. This, he says “is super-cool”.
Kirsten works with him as Geofilter Studios’ creative director. For those who don’t use the social media platform, geofilters are frame-style images that overlay users’ Snapchat videos or photos. In Snapchat’s words, these “communicate the ‘where and when’ of a Snap in a fun way, whether you’re sending it to a friend or adding it to your Story.”
Personalise your geofilter
You can specify when your geofilter is available and – as the “geo” part of the name indicates – you can make your filter available only to people within a specific geographical radius (minimum: 20,000 sq ft).
“We built an online design shop,” says Kirsten, “where people can pick a geofilter design and personalise it. So, if you’re celebrating a birthday, you choose one of our pre-designed templates. If, for instance, you’re turning 22 and like to have your name or date of birth in the design, you give us these details and we either send the final geofilter to you, or if you have chosen our full submission service, we put it on Snapchat for you.”
The Entrepreneurial Society
Both students are also involved in running the University of Westminster’s Entrepreneurial Society. The Society – one of the biggest university societies in London – is, Pascal explains, “a community and platform for students and business people who, want to get things done. What we believe in is that practical experience along with the knowledge it delivers, cannot be replaced by any world class degree, and it is essential to be successful.”
“We offer a range of different events that are free for members and that non-members can buy tickets for ” says Kirsten.“ The most popular are the LIVE-Talks. We bring successful entrepreneurs or people working for big companies or brands to the University. They deliver a keynote presentation, talk about their experience and knowledge. Each event focusses on a specific, practical topic, with the aim of inspiring our fellow students, as well as helping them to create ideas and get an understanding of the real market.”
How to create a brand
“Our next event is how to create a brand. Our speakers will talk about their practical experience, what they really did to create their brand and give practical advice to the students on how they could do it.
Afterwards, we’ll have a Q&A session where the students can talk to the speakers, ask individual questions and get personal advice.”
“The main reason we’re super keen and working so hard on this,” says Pascal, “is that we figured out that people actually appreciate events, when they get in touch with real business people, real entrepreneurs.
On average, the big events have 250-300 people attending. And the people stay for the full two and a half hours. They write down questions and ask them during the Q&A session. They network and, sometimes if we have famous speakers in, they take pictures with them.”
How to connect with your customers
Pascal and Kirsten have a strong sense of how companies should be connecting with their customers.
“Everything is shifting to mobile and digital,” says Pascal, “but many people still believe that TV advertising and postal advertising are still important. But that’s not a good way to capture people’s attention. You need to advertise on platforms where attention is huge.
On Snapchat, for instance, people actually need to pay attention, because the content disappears after a few seconds [a photo displays for up to 10 seconds, a video for as long as it runs]. That means people need to have their eyes on the screen. That’s super interesting for marketers.”
However, marketers need to do more than simply create Snapchat geofilters. “People don’t really want to get marketed to from companies anymore,” he says. “They’d rather be advertised to by influencers, real people. That’s a huge thing. Influencers in social media are growing rapidly and making a lot of money. This whole industry [marketing] is moving to that side.”