HIGH POINT, N.C., DATE, 2014 – High Point Swim Club recently gained new marketing ideas from High Point University communication students. Students taking a campaigns management course in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication spent the past semester creating a strategic marketing campaign focused on swim education both in and out of the pool.
The “Swim to Learn” campaign, created by HPU seniors Connor Brackett, Grace Connors, Chelsea Donnigan, Mary Hancock, Joseph Marra and Joel Wilson, won top campaign honors in the class. The marketing plan proposed a new logo and slogan for High Point Swim Club and suggested digital communication to help the organization reach its target audience and stay within budget.
To create the plan, the students put skills they learned throughout their time studying strategic communication at HPU to practice. They met with the client, conducted research by reviewing USA Swimming statistics, distributed surveys in the Triad and developed tactics to help High Point Swim Club share its swimming safety messages.
Donnigan, one of the student team members, says they were particularly proud of three swim-related promotional events they created, and that is what gave them the edge in the competition. Working closely with their client also made the difference, she says.
“It was challenging at times, but it was rewarding to work with an actual client as opposed a mock client in previous courses,” Donnigan said. “Throughout the semester, we kept in mind how important it was to keep open communication with the client, so that we could be confident in our job incorporating their wants and needs for the campaign into our own work.”
Dr. Sojung Kim, assistant professor of strategic communication, says helping a client solve a real-world communication challenge is just one of the many benefits of the project. Through the class, students experience the entire process of creating a communication campaign – from start to end – as a team.
“It teaches them professionalism and work ethic,” Kim says. “After the course ends, students are left with a professional portfolio with all of the campaign materials they produced, so they can easily take this as a work sample to future job interviews.”
“This course was very beneficial to us all and we appreciate High Point Swim Club’s participation and willingness to work with us and especially for choosing our campaign that we worked so hard on,” Donnigan said.
Beyond the benefit to students, the nonprofit clients that volunteer to participate also come away from the project with new ideas for marketing their services to the community.
“The class was a great experience for our staff, and we learned as much as the students, if not more,” says Aaron Reeves, chief executive officer and head coach of High Point Swim Club. “The students at HPU conducted themselves very professionally through the class. They spent time listening to what was important to HPSC and helped develop an online profile we can implement going forward. The creativity of the finished product was terrific.”