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Square Crop capitalizes on Facebook growth to develop student market
Company launches private student networks that benefit students, student organizations and corporate sponsors
April 27, 2011 (Toronto) – Square Crop Studios, a young company founded by student market and social media experts, is dislodging Facebook as the social networking partner of choice at a growing number of campuses across North America. The company has developed a private student network, Katalyst, which allows students to stay connected and engaged in campus life through an interactive and centralized web platform that is managed and controlled by student organizations.
Launched in January 2011, Katalyst is a free private student network offered exclusively to student councils, unions and official campus organizations and has already become the largest company in Canada to provide this service. This platform allows the schools to maintain their branding, own their content, control advertising and communicate directly with their student body.
"Our business model is based on doing what Facebook began to do in 2004 - providing an exclusive space for the campus community," said T.J. Donnelly, President and CEO of Square Crop Studios and a 20-year veteran in the student market as former owner of Breakaway Tours, Canada's largest student tour operator. "Unlike other social media solutions, we intend on staying in this space and perfecting our product exclusively for North American campuses and student bodies."
Judging by the feedback to date, Donnelly and his team have been spot on. Feedback has been unanimously positive.
"College life can be overwhelming," said Steve Kosh, Marketing and Communications Manager from Mohawk College, one of the first customers to implement Katalyst. "Students face a barrage of information and choices in both real and online worlds. Katalyst provides a welcomed level of simplicity to student life and a one-stop platform for us that is private, comprehensive and controllable. This program helps us manage our events, clubs, discounts and provides students with a dynamic marketplace to buy and sell items such as text books and supplies."
Square Crop Studios has implemented private student networks with eleven student organizations to date and expects to conclude agreements with 40 more Canadian colleges and universities by fall, representing a total student population of 600,000. In addition, the company looks to expand to 350 campuses across the United States within the next two years, with close to 50 American schools expected to sign on this fall. In each case, the addition of Katalyst has helped student councils develop a greater sense of campus community and improved communication with students. In most markets, soft launches of the program have seen user numbers soar from zero to 25 per cent of the targeted audience in less than two months. The numbers are expected to grow with the upcoming addition of corporate partners who, together, will help to fund the free and much-needed service. Schools that have implemented the program include all campuses of Sheridan College, Mohawk College, St. Francis Xavier University and Nipissing University, to name a few.
Donnelly and Stephen Sills, Creative Director and company co-founder, have recruited a team of creative, passionate and provocative thinkers to align with the overall vision of the company. Together, the tightly-knit team of 14 staff members have more than 75 years of experience working in social media and North American campuses.
"Our team is composed of individuals who possess a deep understanding of social media and the student mindset," said Sills. "We've all worked on campus, with students or with student organizations and we understand how important having a one-stop site for student information can be."
Katalyst is one of several services offered by Square Crop Studios. Others include: web development, branding, conferences, mobile apps, events and publications. These services have been used by school student associations including Durham College, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Waterloo and many others.
Visit squarecrop.com for more information.
About Square Crop Studios
Square Crop Studios offers a fresh combination of design, technology, communication and marketing counsel and services that are geared exclusively to campus communities throughout North America. Founded in 2009, the company unites student councils with their student members in a cutting-edge, engaging way through numerous service specialties as well as a proprietary private student network that is available at no cost to student councils..
For additional information or to book an interview with the founders of Square Crop Studios:
(416) 341-9929 ext. 230