Millikin University marketing undergrads are currently developing a unique marketing campaign for a local business as part of Millikin's Advertising & Promotional Strategies course. The campaign is being created for Dove, Inc., a coalition of religious organizations and volunteers that coordinate efforts to address unmet human needs and social injustices. The project is led by Dr. Carrie Trimble, Millikin assistant professor of marketing.
"Last fall, a Board representative for Dove, Inc. reached out to me and said Dove realized it needed help with marketing," said Trimble. "Dove needed help with branding because the people in the community know Dove as a place where they have a shelter for victims of domestic violence, but Dove also runs several other programs."
This current project comes at the heels of marketing research Trimble's Marketing Research course completed for Dove last spring. Millikin students developed a survey to see if people knew of the other programs that Dove runs outside the shelter.
"Using that research, students this fall are charged with developing a marketing/communications campaign for Dove," said Trimble. "The project is broken up into five pieces. The first piece is that the students write a client brief that highlights their objectives for the campaign, identifies their target market, identifies why their target market would care about the major benefit of volunteering, and then concludes with a creative strategy statement for the whole campaign."
The Millikin students have also been asked to redesign the front page of Dove's newsletter, develop a social media strategy for Dove, produce a video that can be shared virally, and design a fundraising event that ties into the use of Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding site where anyone can raise money for things such as music, charity, and small businesses.
"It's great that we are getting to work with an actual company," said Ellie Ehrat, a senior accounting major from Shobonier, Ill. "It's also great that we are able to use our imagination and be creative when it comes to developing this campaign. I always wanted the opportunity to work with a company and the fact that we are doing something to help a local business is something that students don't get at another school."
Trimble added, "We are trying to get a lot of social media involved but we are also trying to get Dove to think about ways of communicating with people. It's measureable and the students will be graded on how the client will respond to how well they think these efforts can actually help them reach their objectives if they are implemented."
The class contains 23 students with six individual groups working on the Dove, Inc. project. Dove, Inc. Board of Directors and Marketing representatives will hear project proposals from the Millikin students during finals week and will provide feedback.
Trimble added, "The students are in fact competing against each other and will see each other pitch campaigns to Dove, so all will see the work that they do."
Amanda Podeschi, director of development in the Millikin Alumni & Development Office and member of the Dove, Inc. Board of Directors says, "The project is all about finding a fresh perspective on Dove's marketing needs and it's a great learning opportunity for Millikin students. We're definitely going into this with the idea that one of the group's ideas or a part of the idea could be utilized here in the near future for our marketing efforts."
"Dove is a company that brings people together to help those less fortunate in the community," said Emily Kissel, a senior communication major from Bloomington, Ill. "Dove has so many programs so it's a challenge to come up with a marketing campaign that showcases all of them because they are all equally important. I'm taking away so much from this project and I'll be able to apply these experiences after I graduate."
When asked about the student's learning experiences from this project Trimble says, "In general, I want the students to understand the creative elements that are put together and it's about meeting a specific set of objectives. As always, we want them to be working in groups, working well in groups, and having that hands-on experience of working with a client."
Trimble added, "This class in particular challenges the students in terms of being creative and making connections. It's an excellent stretch for them that I think really mirrors what's going to be part of their job in the professional world. It goes back to being able to really communicate an idea and be persuasive in communication."