The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman for inclusion in Utah State Today.
The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business school hosted the Annual Huntsman Marketing Case Competition last week.
In conjunction with the up and coming Aggie Chocolate Factory, students in the marketing program were tasked with the challenge to come up with and brand new flavors of chocolate.
Each group was to collect data, come up with a plan and present their brand and chocolate to the judges. They had two weeks to complete the task. Seven chocolatiers from Aggie Chocolate Factory and Utah State University faculty members — including President Noelle Cockett — were selected to be judges.
Reese Jensen, a student in marketing and business administration, said the competition helps students get real life experience applying the skills they learn in school every day to help businesses in the community succeed. Jensen is also a sales and advertising representative at Utah State University Student Media.
Eric Schulz, senior lecturer in the marketing and strategy department, reminded the students and judges of the purpose of today’s competition.
“Products are made in factories, brands are made in the mind,” he said. “How do we create an emotional connection between a chocolate and the university? That’s our challenge.”
Each team had three minutes to present their product. To prepare, they collected data from students and alumni. Some students used memories and favorite traditions, such as True Aggie night and Old Main, to inspire their creations and to capture the “unparalleled energy that Aggies of all ages can relate to- young and old,” as one student put it in her presentation.
Jensen’s team created the Butterscottsman, a treat that was meant to remind all Aggies of the spirit of the university. At one point in their presentation, they tried to play a video of students singing the anthem to emphasize the school spirit and unity that surrounds this Aggie tradition, but it would not play. A student in the audience started singing the familiar tune and soon, the room was filled with singing Aggies, including two of the judges, Cockett and Steve Shelton.
One judge, Jim Davis, said, “the best part of the day for me was when we had a breakdown with the music and everybody sang. That was rockin’.”
Cockett said the each of the presentations were fabulous and unique.
“I am so incredibly touched that you folks love Utah state as much as you do,” she said. “You’ve developed ways that are just really special to me because they celebrate being an Aggie and they celebrate what Utah State is.”
The chocolatiers were pleased with all the ideas the students contributed.
Shelton said the marketing concepts behind several of the student’s products were exciting.
“Honestly, you’re better Aggies than you are chocolatiers,” said Dean Doug.
When the laughter died down, he continued, “the level of emotional connection — I’m telling you, I got chills. I got chills listening to these presentations. I am just so proud … of the feeling that you have for Utah State and what you put into this assignment. It was extraordinary.”