A class of LeBow College of Business students revealed their national marketing campaign for Chevrolet Nov. 16 in the Pearlstein Business Learning Center, in an event attended by three product specialists from the company.
The students are all a part of a special topics course called “Business Planning” offered by LeBow biannually in the fall and spring. To enter the class a student must be referred by another faculty member or approved by Professor Dana D’Angelo.
D’Angelo found out in July that Chevrolet had chosen to work with Drexel University. The company gave students the objectives of developing a campaign that communicated a clear message while integrating promotional vehicles with the College Discount Program and executing an event to get the students engaged with the vehicles, all with a budget of roughly $3,000.
Although alterations had to be made to the plans due to inclement weather, the event was still considered a success. The three Chevrolet representatives were knowledgeable of the promotional cars on exhibition — the Volt, Cruze and Equinox.
“The goal of this class is to give students an opportunity to have experiential learning, which is what Drexel is all about, to give them a chance to do and not just read,” D’Angelo said. .
At the event, the class handed out surveys, Chevrolet lead cards and credit card magnifying glasses to nearly 900 students. This was “one of our biggest goals of the event,” James Hamalian, a sophomore majoring in finance and accounting, said. He said the original plan was to host the event outdoors on Spangler Walk.
“ After checking the weather earlier this week, we decided that we should have a contingency plan in the event of rain. My classmates and the members of my department worked very diligently to remain in contact with our vendors and prepare promotional items that would work for both our original event idea and our plan B. Overall, I think we had a very successful event that achieved many of our organization’s goals,” Hamalian added.
When asked if working with a $2,500 budget was difficult, Bernadette Ikhena, a sophomore majoring in economics and finance, said, “It wasn’t extremely difficult, but it required a lot of attention.”
The students teamed up with other events to promote their campaign for Chevrolet vehicles. They handed out flyers and glow sticks at Midnight Madness Nov. 5 and breath mints at the Dave and Ethan College Dating Coaches event Nov. 8. They were also present at the Fall Comedy Show Nov. 12 and advertised at a performance by Laura Cheadle Nov. 16.
The class’s campaign theme was “Find Yourself.”
“The whole idea was that Drexel students in particular find themselves in so many different places and settings and ways that are unique that many other colleges don’t, and Chevrolet has products that can fit all the different places and ways the students can find themselves,” D’Angelo said.
On Dec. 6 the class will present its final project to Chevrolet’s district sales manager, John Quinn.
Within the competition there are three “Milestone Awards” for which the class is eligible: best campaign brief, for which each student would receive a flip camcorder; best event activation and content generation, for which each student would receive a GPS system; and overall campaign and achievement of client objectives, for which the students would receive a netbook.
Chevrolet and Drexel were brought together through an EdVenture Partners program. EdVenture Partners is a marketing education consultancy that works to develop industry-education partnerships by blending academics with hands-on application, creating a “real-world” marketing and learning experience for students. Through this program, Drexel students can implement campaigns and design strategies for a real client like they are doing with Chevrolet.
“Working with any client, you need to adhere to their policies and rules,” Leming Chen, a junior majoring in business administration, said. “In our case we found some challenges with handling all of Chevrolet’s requirements. The fact that we have a shorter term has made it more difficult for us.”
The class is composed of 22 business students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, in a variety of concentrations. The students were divided into five departments — advertising, public relations, campaign event implementation, research and finance — and began work on the project the first week of classes.
“We accomplish more than other programs do in 15 weeks, so I am really proud of my students for that,” D’Angelo said.
The advertising department promoted the student-created campaign. Public relations established media relations with the community. Campaign event implementation organized activities and events around the campaign. Research analyzed the target market and measured the project results. Finance budgeted and monitored the expenses and value added. There was also a coordinator and vice coordinator.
“I’ve gained practical experience in a typical business environment,” Ikhena said.
“The students do analytical research, financial planning and reporting, and integrated marketing campaign, but it is based in research, and they deal with real money,” D’Angelo said.
The business planning course has been offered for seven years, but not always with the same client. Other clients that Drexel has teamed up with are Citigroup, Subaru, the FBI, the CIA and the Navy. Budgets in these programs also ranged from $2,500 to $3,000.
“We have had tremendous success in past years, and that is why clients keep wanting to work with our Drexel students,” D’Angelo said.
“We are hopeful for a new client in the winter or spring term.”