NC State Jenkins graduate students win BrandNC Case Competition

Apr 15, 2014

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Cardinal Marketing Group, a team of students in the NC State Poole College of Management’s Jenkins Graduate School, earned first place and a $5,000 cash prize in the BrandNC Case Competition. Theirs was one of three NC State Jenkins teams in the top 10 of the university entries in the case competition, which drew 105 entries overall.

The competition was part of The Brand North Carolina Project, an open initiative sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Commerce and conducted by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The final round of the competition was held Saturday, April 12, 2014, at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, N.C.

The intent of this initiative was to “capture and document what makes North Carolina, North Carolina,” according to the project’s website

The case competition drew teams from across the state to tackle tough marketing issues around branding and to recommend brand positioning, the unique and credible benefits that should be featured, and other factors common in brand development program. 

“It was impressive that three of the top ten university entries were from the NC State Poole College,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. “I’m thrilled with the creativity and innovative thinking offered by all of the contestants. The passion these entries display for the special place we call North Carolina is truly inspiring.”

"Information gathered by participating teams will provide a starting point for an advertising or marketing firm to develop a full-fledged branding plan for the state," said Commerce Strategic & Economic Development Communications Director Kim Genardo. The commerce department is currently reviewing entries submitted in response to a request for proposals to develop a statewide brand.

Photo of winning NC Jenkins Graduate School team in the BrandNC competition

The Cardinal Marketing Group proposed “Chart Your Own Course” as their brand slogan, supported by a full brand campaign including recommendations for generating buzz through digital channels like a mobile app. 

“Our brand campaign shines a light on what North Carolina stands for: opportunity, innovation, excellence, variety, beauty and fun,” said Lauren Wright, of Raleigh, N.C., member of the Cardinal Marketing Group team. Her team members are Annie Bishop of Cary, N.C.; Christie Montague of Cary, N.C.; Meagan Sams of Greenville, N.C. Bishop, Sams, and Wright are Jenkins MBA candidates graduating in May 2014; Montague is a Jenkins Master of Global Innovation Management candidate, also graduating in May 2014.

Two additional teams from the Jenkins MBA program were among the top five in this competition:

  • Team CMYK proposed the theme, ‘Where Goodness Grows. Team members are Scott Barnes, MBA candidate graduating in 2014; Chad Clapp, Kurleen John, Janelle Tracy, Leah Haile, and Jared Whitehead, all Jenkins MBA candidates graduating in 2015.
  • Team Bossa Insight proposed the theme, “North Carolina: For All Seasons. Team members are Hollie Jones and Sajani Abraham, both Jenkins MBA alumni, 2012 and 2011, respectively; Daniel Easley, and Nathalie Donaghy, all Jenkins MBA candidates graduating in May 2014, and Mina Liu, a designer.

The teams' mentor and sponsor for the competition was Stacy Wood, Landgon Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Poole College and executive director of the Consumer Innovation Consortium.

The team members applied knowledge from their academic coursework, including the Consumer Innovation Practicum, a hands-on course in the Jenkins MBA program taught through Poole College’s Consumer Innovation Consortium (CIC). In this course, students work with faculty advisors and partner companies on custom-designed research projects aimed at answering marketing and consumer behavior question posed by the client companies.

“Our classes in market research, consumer behavior and brand management, as well as our experience working with companies as part of the CIC, considerably added to our ability to create this branding campaign,” said Wright, one of three team members in the practicum course.

Colbey Reid, professor of the practice and director of the CIC said, “I am so excited for our MBA and MGIM students who participated in the BrandNC Case Competition. The work submitted by all three teams was incredible, and for them to be among the top 5 percent of submissions brings to life the concepts we are teaching as part of the consumer innovation curriculum.”

Reid noted that the students constructed a persuasive argument for their brand by combining information with the kind of design techniques that move consumers – and judges. “They drew from art, music, good storytelling, and a personable presenting style to design their brand," she said.

Note: This story has been updated with comments from the N. C. Department of Commerce and additional information.  - 4/25/14

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