If you look around the Creative California site, you’ll find a number of articles with topics involving the Web, search engines, online advertising, digital design, and so on. From all of this, it would be pretty easy for a visitor to conclude that we’re just a web design company, web development business, or SEO firm. The thing is, while those are all important facets of what we do, they are only parts of a larger equation.
What we do could perhaps be best summarized as,”business development and marketing.” The Internet just so happens to be a huge part of that.
The heart of marketing–whether it’s online or off–is psychology, more than anything else. Our job is to help clients develop an understanding of their potential customers’ desires, thought processes, and priorities, and to incorporate that understanding into how their business operates. The Internet is just a tool that we use in accomplishing that goal.
And it’s a tool whose use is, with every passing day, becoming more and more integral to the professional survival and success of businesses, organizations, and even individuals (how many of you have a LinkedIn profile?). Because of how important the Internet is, we’re constantly racing to keep our understanding of the field in which we operate–the intersection between businesses, their customers, and the Internet–relevant and up to date. If you’ve been paying attention to the world of online marketing, you probably know that many of the methods and strategies for dominating the Internet marketplace that worked yesterday no longer work today. The obvious implication of this is that what works today may not work tomorrow.
This is where you come in.
The future will likely be determined by the millions of students who are sitting in classrooms and lecture halls all across the country right now. Yours is the first generation to have never known a world without the Web. Because of this lifelong familiarity with the Web, your beliefs and behaviors will likely set the standard for how future generations integrate the Internet into their lives. The businesses that will thrive tomorrow are those that understand and react to the changes in online behavior that are developing today.
Due to our line of work, we have an inherent interest in what these changes will look like. We want to both encourage this process of change and development in behaviors, and to understand it. So, Creative California is offering a $500 scholarship to the student who can best respond to the following in an essay between 500 and 1500 words long:
It’s easy to identify what practices are going by the wayside, but it’s another thing entirely to know what’s up ahead. How do you think Internet marketing is going to change in the future? What strategies, tools, or behaviors are businesses going to have to implement in order to succeed? What Internet-related services are marketing firms going to be offering in a few years, instead of SEO and web development?
Be creative! It’s in our name, after all. Nobody knows what exactly what the future will look like, but we firmly believe that there are people who can see and understand the changes that are underway right now. Perhaps that person is you. What do you think?
Once all the submissions have been received, our staff and a few people whose insight we respect will get together and decide which essay is the best. Some of the factors that will go into our decision include creativity, insight, the use of evidence to support your assertions, and the quality of your writing.
For more information on how to apply for the scholarship, please see below.
The Annoying Technical Details
Please take special care in reading the below. Failing to follow these guidelines may make it difficult for us to view and read your essay properly, which would negatively impact your likelihood of winning the scholarship.
- To apply for the scholarship, please submit your entry using the form below. You must include your full name, email address, and current physical address. Please double-check to make sure that you have attached your essay using the file selection field.
- The deadline for submitting essays is January 31st, 2016. Because we’re in California (obviously), this will be according to Pacific Standard Time. Any submissions received after 11:59 PM on January 31st will not be eligible for the scholarship.
- Please submit your essay in one of the following file formats: Microsoft Word-compatible document (.doc or .docx), Rich Text File (.rtf), or Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). Submissions in other formats will not be accepted.
- Please use a standard font that is easy to read, such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Chances are that if your word processing app uses it by default, you’ll be okay. (If you use Comic Sans or Papyrus, we may be seriously tempted to print a hard copy out so that we can set it on fire. Comic Sans and Papyrus: Not even once.)
The Even More Annoying Rules
As with the above, pay special attention to everything below. Failure to satisfy all rules may be considered grounds for disqualification.
- To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be at least 18 years old on January 31st, 2016, the deadline for submitting entries.
- You must be enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution within the United States or one of its territories. Your school must be accredited by one of the organizations that the U.S. Department of Education recognizes as “reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education […] they accredit.” See the link for more details. (Just about every reputable school in the United States meets this requirement, so you’ll probably be okay. We just want to make sure you aren’t going to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.)
- The subject of your essay must fall within the parameters of the topic described above, to a reasonable extent.
- Your essay must be written in English, and be no less than 500 words in length (this word count doesn’t include title, name, or any other typical headings). The maximum word count is 1500 words.
- The funds awarded must be used for expenses related to the furtherance of your education, such as tuition, fees, textbooks, rent, food, etc.
- By applying, you grant Creative California the non-exclusive right to publish part or all of your essay on this site, as well as your identifying information. (We’re not going to sue you if you sell your essay or post it on another site, nor are we going to tell everyone where you live. We just want to be able to publicly recognize essays that we consider to be exceptional, as well as the authors who wrote them.)
- Creative California reserves the right to select a panel of judges at its own discretion, and to employ a scoring rubric of its own design, for the purpose of selecting a winning essay. We will do so in a manner that is reasonably fair to all applicants, and no element of an applicant’s identity or personal history will be factored into the scoring and selection process.