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Business, new media students partner for Tipton marketing project

July 18, 2016

KOKOMO, Ind. — When the Tipton Community Schools needed a marketing campaign, its leaders didn’t hire a high-cost agency.

Instead, they made it an educational opportunity for business and graphic design students at Indiana University Kokomo.

“These students got their hands dirty, working on real-world projects,” said Alan Krabbenhoft, dean of the School of Business. “They experienced what they would do working in an advertising or marketing agency.”

Krabbenhoft connected Superintendent Kevin Emsweller with a team of Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) students participating in a consultancy class. They produced a meticulously researched marketing plan, recommending the corporation hire someone to create print and video products.

That’s where students with the campus Design Center stepped in, to create the requested materials, prepare branding, and highlight the school’s programs and accomplishments.

Michael Koerner, assistant professor of new media communication, leads the design center, where students create products for free for not-for-profit agencies.

“This experience impacts the students by putting them in a position that they become invested in their community,” he said. “Working with a community client pushes their portfolios from a hypothetical situation to working with real people, with real needs and opinions.”

Students in the Design Center created branding guidelines with a standardized Tipton Blue Devils logo and specific color shades to be used in advertising and promotional products. In addition, they produced brochures, a video, and a fact sheet that can be updated by school officials as needed. They presented their ideas to school administrators, who selected two of the brochure designs to use. Both were printed at a Tipton print shop, selected through a bidding process led by students.

Emsweller received the completed products this month, and distributed them to area real estate agents and the Tipton Chamber of Commerce, so people considering moving or locating businesses in the county know about what the schools offer. The marketing video is featured on the school’s website.

As an educator, Emsweller was pleased to have the marketing materials he needed serve as a learning experience for college students.

“It’s a great opportunity for students who want to enter this profession to create something authentic, that will be used in real life,” he said. “We benefitted from their learning experience, by receiving high quality products on our tight budget.”

As a Tipton County native, recent M.B.A. graduate Gary Rogers Jr. was pleased to use the skills he is learning to help a local school. He’s more interested in finance, and said he stretched his abilities by learning marketing with this project.

“This project helped me become more rounded as a business student,” he said. “I thought the school leaders were great to work with, and they were open to listening to our ideas to market their school. It is gratifying to work so hard and see a positive outcome from our project.”

Emsweller received the completed products this month, and distributed them to area real estate agents and the Tipton Chamber of Commerce, so people considering moving or locating businesses in the county know about what the schools offer. The marketing video is featured on the school’s website.

Sarah Swoverland, Kokomo, designed one of the selected brochures. It was a challenging project, but she enjoyed the professional experience.

“I'm excited that Tipton County School Corporation chose my work, and feel lucky to attend a university that offers these types of learning experiences,” she said.

Rob Trlak, from Amboy, created the video, and appreciated the chance to work with real clients, making something that would really be used.

“The work has been challenging but rewarding, forcing me to think outside the box to meet the unique challenges that come from working with real clients while increasing my skills and knowledge of new media as well as allowing me to build a working portfolio that will give me a competitive edge in the work force after graduation.”

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana University Kokomo

Last updated: 07/18/2016