At Dean, many of our students complete research projects and capstone projects, including opportunities to work with organizations in the Franklin area to gain real-world experience. This semester, students in the Integrated Marketing Communication course worked with the Community Center of North Attleboro to put together branding and marketing recommendations to help better promote the organization to its community. Under the guidance of adjunct professor Ursula Wefers, two groups of students – Isaiah Duncan ’24, Anthony Pennifill ’24 and Josh Tata ’23; and Margaret Christie ’24, Natalie Falconer ’24 and Sarah Michaud ’23 – worked all semester on their campaigns.
The project was to create an integrated marketing communications campaign, focusing on generating brand awareness for the Community Center of North Attleboro – a nonprofit organization that is new to market, whose main problem was its lack of brand identity and awareness.
“I was introduced to Juliana Hart, president of the Community Center, by Amy Matten, associate vice president of academic affairs and associate professor of Communications,” explained Professor Wefers. “After my first meeting with Juliana, I determined how her needs could be incorporated into the course curriculum. I was able to design a semester-long project where students could apply the knowledge from the class to the creation and development of an integrated marketing communications campaign that would enable the Community Center to develop and create brand awareness about the Center and its services.”
“The Community Center is a great place equipped with all the tools needed by the community to be successful, but they were struggling with building brand awareness and reaching the people of North Attleboro,” said Josh, a Sport Management major with a minor in Integrated Marketing Communications. “We produced a plan and strategy to help them build their brand identity and relevance.”
For both groups, the semester-long process included research, meetings with personnel from the Community Center, generating creative ideas and more.
“We gathered data, researched information about the industry and competitors, and synthesized learnings into a formal presentation,” explained Sarah, a double major in Business Management and Marketing, about her group’s process. “After, we created a brand brief for the Community Center, where we established who and what the client/brand is and their attributes/positioning in the industry. We focused on the company’s inner and outer layers of the brand and the prospect. From there, we were able to create a creative brief, which outlined the strategy of the campaign and established other important elements such as the primary campaign message, the purpose of communications, and supporting rational and emotional proof points. With all of this information, our group created an IMC campaign highlighting the company backstory, customer personas, obstacles for the company, communication objectives, and proposed execution on media platforms with some sample posts.”
To help the Community Center better connect with the neighborhood, Josh, Anthony and Isaiah’s group focused their project on a rebrand and a coinciding marketing campaign.
“We created eight potential digital and print advertisements that are essential for growing the brand and informing the local community about events hosted at the community center,” Josh explained. “We also produced plans on how they could improve public relations and engage the community (for example, the local high school) to create charitable efforts and fundraisers. We also created a plan for rebrand that included a new name, acronym, and logo. We believe that the rebrand is very important for the Community Center’s future success.”
Both groups then delivered their final presentations to their peers and representatives from the community, including Juliana Hart, the president of the Community Center of North Attleboro. Overall, the project was not only an opportunity to support a local organization, but also provide students real-world experience that will be valuable in their future careers.
“The project is designed to build skills of creative collaboration,” said Professor Wefers. “Students were able to undergo firsthand what it is like to work with an actual client, understand their needs and pain points, and gain experiential learning. Students played the role of an advertising agency and were able to produce a campaign that was pitched live to the client. They are also walking away from this class with a tangible product they can include in their media kit or digital portfolio and show to a potential employer.”
“To me, this presentation gave me an example of what I will deal with when I go into my career,” explained Anthony, a Marketing major. “I was able to look at a real struggling brand and access their strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, I was able to come up with multiple different strategies on how we could improve the strengths and remove the weaknesses. I feel much more confident in my marketing capabilities and hope to work with the Community Center and other businesses soon.”
“As a graduating senior who wants to go into marketing as a career, this project has been beneficial in preparing me for my future in marketing,” Sarah added. “This project has been really eye-opening for me, and I’ve been able to see firsthand how the different components of an integrated marketing communications plan come together. Throughout this project, I was able to take my textbook knowledge and actively use it to help a real company. Working with the Community Center of North Attleboro, I was able to see and actively make a positive change to a company. This experience was incredibly valuable, and I’m grateful for it.”