Students Rebrand Local Organization

Feb. 27, 2017 - by Carol Best

Every year business professor Dr. Lisa Wallentine and graphic design professor Brian Merriman join forces to bring a real-world experience to upperclassmen. Nine teams of students in the promotions (marketing) class and corporate identity (graphic design) class competed last fall in the annual project to provide an integrated marketing communication plan to a local organization. This year’s client was Wyandotte County, Kansas, Parks and Recreation.

Wyco-webWith strong branding aimed at pride in being part of the county, Sauerwine, Cunningham and Brisco created the campaign and graphics representing blades of grass (think Parks and Rec) while invoking a warrior theme and a Wyandotte proud feeling.The partnership came together when alumnus Russell Love (’15), recreation specialist for Wyandotte County, contacted Wallentine. Just two years ago Love had been a student in the promotions class and had been a team member in the annual competition. A sports management major, Love had just landed a new position and believed that MNU students could generate ideas to reach his target audience.

The teams, which usually consist of two marketers and one designer, met with Love and then began researching the characteristics of Wyandotte County’s population and studying the parks and recreation industry. Students then devised a strategy and campaign to engage the target audience on a modest budget of $5,000.

Love says all the teams had good ideas on how to reach the community. One team utilized a bilingual approach to reach the Hispanic population of the county. In the end, the team of Jaren Sauerwine, Daniel Cunningham and Josh Brisco won the competition and bragging rights for the Class of 2017. According to Wallentine, the group created a campaign that made a strong connection to the cultural identity of Wyandotte County. Love said the concept was bold and recognizable. 

Love enjoyed the experience of being the client.

WYCO-Admin MNU Students-webMNU students presented their marketing campaign to Wyandotte County Administrators in February. Front row, left to right: Seniors Jaren Sauerwine, Daniel Cunningham and Josh Brisco, flanked by Dr. Lisa Wallentine and Brian Merriman. Alum Russell Love, far left, back row.“Having been on both sides of the pitch, it’s far less stressful being the client,” he says. “I was anxious to see what the students would come up with. It’s a worthwhile venture, giving the students real-life experience in presenting to a client. As a client it is fun to see the creativity and how far technology has come—even in a couple of years—to reach the target market.”

Love thinks alumni should consider participating in the competition.

“If you’re an alum, absolutely do it,” he says. “I know the professors at MNU are making sure their students get what they need to be successful when they graduate and the more you can do for your school the better.”

The combined class competition is held in the fall of each year and professors begin vetting potential clients during the summer.

 

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