University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Core Marketing: Students Place Concepts into Practice

image description of the featured image goes here
January 13, 2021

Share this via:

By Lori McLemore

Hmmm.  Which one should I buy?

Every day, consumers are faced with options. People often base purchasing decisions on what is familiar, the lowest price, industry research, tradition or what their friends buy.

In clinical assistant professor Anne Velliquette’s senior level Integrated Marketing Communications classes at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, students dive into consumer buying behavior and what informs buying decisions. For their final class project, students put marketing studies into practice with a client who can use their solutions in real campaigns.

Three classes divide into student teams to create integrated marketing campaigns that include everything from digital advertising to print promotions and even special events. Velliquette invites a local business to discuss current challenges. Then teams research, brainstorm and present possible solutions.

For the marketing project, Velliquette brought in Jessie Core, owner and founder of Core Brewing & Distilling Company based in Springdale, and staff members Cole Brothers and Shelton Wooley who run Core’s marketing, social media and creative content.

For Core Brewing, new products – such as Core’s Scarlet Letter hard seltzer – create new challenges in marketing and sales. Core competes against national brands with large advertising budgets and with brands who have existing client share. With a new product, Core must create awareness and encourage a consumer to take a chance on their product.

Core discussed its Scarlet Letter hand-crafted spiked seltzer water, and student teams went to work.

Each team considered how to create brand awareness, induce trial, create product excitement, loyalty and community benefit. They researched the product, competition and consumer demographics. Then they developed marketing plans to entice the consumer to purchase the product based on influences such as price, familiarity, availability, etc.

“Core Brewery presented to all of Dr. Velliquette’s Integrated Marketing classes in September. During the presentation, they highlighted some of the key components and ideas they wanted to accomplish and spread to their ideal target market,” said Adrian Hannah, a Walton College senior majoring in finance with minors in marketing and in management.

“Our group, for the most part, met via Blackboard Collaborate to discuss and coordinate our marketing pitch and creative brief ideas. Aubrey Dixon was vital in developing and designing the format of our presentation and is also responsible for presenting ideas for Scarlet Letter to revitalize and revamp their student ambassador program. Luke Waller, who had recent intern experience with a local Northwest Arkansas company, Leisurlist, presented the idea of Scarlet Letter sponsoring the community-held event, Bark Bash. Luke had helped organize the event during his time with Leisurlist. I presented the idea of Scarlet Letter hosting “launch parties” at local establishments like Grub’s to celebrate by creating a marketing buzz and for the release of new flavors and products. The main objectives our group created for the Scarlet Letter marketing campaign were expanding brand awareness, creating customer loyalty and fostering the brand image of the Scarlet Letter lifestyle.”

Team Buzzed Marketing includes (left-to-right) Adrian Hannah, Aubrey Dixon and Luke Waller. Will Nelson (not pictured) was also part of the team, which was selected by Core Brewing as a co-winner of the integrated marketing competition.

Hannah’s team, Buzzed Marketing, was selected as the co-winner of the class competition and included classmates Aubrey Dixon, Will Nelson and Luke Waller. The team presented marketing solutions involving brand ambassadors, consistent product availability and special events, all focused on educating consumers and creating product awareness.

The On Tap team (left-to-right) included Mackenzie Johnson, Addison Smith, Natalie Lieber and Falyn Brothers.

The other team named co-winners was On Tap Advertising, which consisted of team members Addison Smith, Falyn Brothers, Natalie Lieber and Mackenzie Johnson. On Tap’s campaign centered on digital marketing such as Instagram contests and Snapchat filters and traditional signage such as large billboards and small flyers inside retail stores, restaurants and bars.

Differential Concepts designed a wooden dachshund-shaped serving tray to capitalize on Core Brewing’s logo. (left-to-right) Daniel Roberts, Stephanie West and Bladen Ketron used humor and craftmanship in their campaign. (Not pictured Violet Duffy.)

The Differential Concepts team – Daniel Roberts, Stephanie West, Bladen Ketron and Violet Duffy – also used social media photo contests, TikTok videos and social media hashtags to drive sales. For in-store displays, they designed a wooden serving tray in the shape of a dachshund – Core’s logo – to use for Scarlet Letter flights or tastings. Humor drove the tagline for the flights by asking “Can you handle a big wiener?”

The Thrive team consisted of (left-to-right) Jules Fletcher, Megan Lafferty and Samantha Gregory. They used TikTok for product promotion in addition to giveaways, partnerships and influencers.

The Thrive Marketing team – Jules Fletcher, Megan Lafferty and Samantha Gregory – promoted Scarlet Letter through giveaways, strategic partnerships and digital media influencers. They developed a TikTok video featuring young adults skateboarding while drinking a Scarlet Letter seltzer to take advantage of a growing social media video application.

Innovation Hive – (left-to-right) Annika Nielsen, Sarah Auge and Gabi Gifford – used humor to promote Scarlet Letter’s flavor profile and brand.

Another team, Innovation Hive, used the theme Sinfully Flavorful playing off the Scarlet Letter product name and tasty flavor profile. They used taglines to encourage consumers to “start the right kind of rumor” and to “savor the scandal.” Promotions used social media, brand ambassadors and strong taglines. Innovation Hive included Sarah Auge, Gabi Gifford and Annika Nielsen.

“I would advise other students to put 100% effort into these projects, because you will grow, and it is a fun opportunity to help a business grow,” said Aubrey Dixon, a Walton College senior majoring in marketing with a supply chain minor. “It’s an overwhelming feeling when you worked this hard and someone recognized your hard work.”

Core, Brothers and Wooley served as the judges for the class project. They will incorporate elements of the class project into their marketing plans for Scarlet Letter hard seltzer. The project reflects the marketing strategies and tactics learned and prepares students for marketing careers.

“With professors like Anne, it is not a surprise U of A is turning out such talent,” said Jesse Core, founder of Core Brewing. “For instance, Cole was in Anne’s class and now he is an integral part of our business development.”

Walton College

Walton College of Business

Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become the state's premier college of business – as well as a nationally competitive business school. Learn more...

Recent Posts