Catawba College students gain experience with real world project

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 10, 2014

Nine Catawba College students had the opportunity to develop a strategic marketing plan for Lutheran Services Carolinas — allowing them to apply their learning from the classroom in the real world.
Based in Salisbury, the organization provides care management, skilled nursing care, rehabilitation, assisted living and retirement options to seniors in North Carolina. In addition, it deals with foster care, adoption, veterans’ services, mental health services, refugee resettlement, disaster response and residential care for people with disabilities in both North and South Carolina.
The organization represents the 2011 affiliation of Lutheran Family Services and Lutheran Services for the Aging.
Dr. Phillip Frank’s spring strategic marketing course was asked to develop the marketing plan to assist Lutheran Services Carolinas by organizing the consolidation efforts of the organization’s family services and services for the aging operations.
Students in the course met with key executives, administrators, employees and clients of the various agencies, and even visited Trinity Oaks, one of the local senior living communities, They learned about each of the programs and potential clients, developing knowledge they used when developing their strategic plan.
Then, they presented their findings and proposed various improvements. The improvements included re-branding the corporate website to allow for cohesive messages and co-branding with potential businesses in the area, as well as promoting community events at each local establishment.
“This project allowed students, primarily seniors who will be entering the workforce, the opportunity to see how the marketing material we teach in the classroom is applicable both in profit-oriented as well as not-for-profit-oriented organizations,” Frank said.
Students in Frank’s strategic marketing class included Jacob Breig, Quaneasia Coleman, Sara Handy, Emerson Hughes, Jacob Jester, Kimberley McConnery, Trevor Sieracki, Savannah Tomlinson and Hannah Wunschel.
Students in Professor Dana Lanham’s advertising and promotions class at Catawba completed a semester-long video project for the organization.
In class, students learned about organizing as an agency and how an agency functions in relationship with its client.
“In the classroom we learned how to organize like an agency, and design a creative brief for the project, but outside of the classroom, the LSC project provided us with a real client, and real experience as we created and executed a recruitment and retention video for their staff, giving students a taste of the real world,” Lanham said.
The class account team was responsible for communicating with the client, Katie Scarvey, a communications specialist for organization, and with the rest of the agency team to ensure timely delivery of the video to the client.
The research and media team analyzed competitive services within Lutheran Services Carolinas’ market, and looked at different channels of communication.
The creative strategy and execution team created the script and provided direction for the video.
“Lutheran Services Carolinas has always enjoyed its relationship with Catawba College, and we had a lot of fun working with the students on these projects,” Scarvey said.
“We are certainly open to future partnerships, and we hope to be able to offer some internship opportunities for Catawba marketing students.”
Students working on the video project included Madison Kennedy, Kimberly McConnery, Chelsea Hammill, Hannah Wunschel, Jacob Jester, Ebony Mills, Savannah Tomlinson and Quaneasia Coleman.