This past Monday, the DEM Association hosted their first event of the year, the DEM Soirée. This event gave the opportunity for students to connect and network with ICCIT professors, alumni, and students. Information was also provided on how to create a digital brand for oneself.

Following the opening remarks from the DEM Association co-presidents, Honarina Syfa Bukenya and Karen Gamus, there were presentations from the ICCIT undergraduate program coordinator, Lisa Peden, and recent UTM graduate of DEM, Ray Khan.

Peden said, “We have grads who are now doing traditional finance and bank jobs and we also have grads who are at CBC working on web design and development.”

There was also a short panel with DEM alumna Darya Balyasnikova, Justin Teng, who is a consultant for Shopify Plus, and Ray Khan, who currently works for both a marketing agency and a virtual reality agency. Topics that the panelists discussed included the changing and competitive job market, overcoming career challenges, and digital branding.

Over the summer, the DEM Association rebranded itself from the DEM Society to comply with UTMSU’s rules regarding clubs and academic societies.

“We kept the same logo for familiarity but we changed the colour of the logo from blue to red because we wanted it to be bold and exciting. It took some intense marketing magic but in the end, we believe it was a successful rebranding,” explains John Fernandez, VP communications of the DEM Association.

On the value of creating an online brand for oneself, Fernandez emphasized the use of social media: “Due to social media, it’s easy for everyone to create a digital brand to better market themselves to potential employers. Employers look for potential candidates through social media so it’s important to at least have an online presence in one digital platform. The most important platform where students can create a professional digital brand is LinkedIn.”

Fernandez suggests that one of the best ways for students to begin building a brand for themselves is by having an online presence on social media: “I recommend LinkedIn for all students, no matter what program they’re in. Employers use it and everything is free and professional.”

Peden and Teng also emphasized the importance of personal branding. During the panel, Teng said: “It’s not enough anymore just to have a good resume, you have to find a way to make yourself stand out. Whether it’s through course work that you’ve done or personal websites, you can use those to your advantage.”

“As students, the best time to start is now,” Khan added.

But social media is not just for individuals anymore. Increasingly, big brands and companies are turning to social media to reach out to potential customers. Fernandez also notes: “The aesthetics of online marketing can affect how your audience perceives your brand or business. A sloppy advertisement can damage your brand or business but an aesthetically pleasing and creative advertisement can increase the appeal of your brand and business.”

The DEM Association is currently working an upcoming Get Involved social happening on October 5. Other plans include workshops about digital marketing and graphic design, as well as the annual Young Entrepreneurs Conference.

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