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IMC Students Continue Capstone Relationship with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®

Ten students from the WVU IMC graduate program recently worked directly with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® (St. Jude) to develop and present creative work to help increase St. Jude brand affinity among U.S. young professionals between the ages of 21-30, an age range within the millennial demographic cohort.

IMC students were given a hypothetical budget to create a 12-month IMC campaign including qualitative and quantitative research, a target market analysis, brand positioning, integrated marketing strategies, and at least 10 creative executions.

At the end of the Fall 2014 term, the following students joined hospital representatives via video conference to share their research and creative ideas: Lisa Armstrong (Elkins, West Virginia), Sarah Bell (Clarksville, Pennsylvania), Jerome Brown (Atlanta, Georgia), Melissa Glass (Austin, Texas), Andrew Hansen (Portland, Oregon), Mary Henderson (Boca Raton, Florida), Julie Long (St. Augustine, Florida), Kim Martin (Princeton, West Virginia), Althea Taite (Atlanta, Georgia) and Colin White (Milwaukee, Wisconsin).

IMC student research resulted in proposed events including: relays/runs, “paint-n-sip” gatherings, parties/carnivals, sponsored professional sports events, partnerships with regional TED talks and more.

Shelby Anderson, executive director for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, says hearing the IMC students’ unique perspectives firsthand demonstrated a level of professionalism and excitement that one might not see on paper.

“We thoroughly enjoyed the WVU student-led presentations, which had some great ideas to help ALSAC/ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital reach the millennial audience and how they can help support our mission,” said Anderson. “It’s one thing to read campaign proposals, but it’s another to actually hear the passion and experience the depth of thought from the students themselves.”

Recent IMC graduate Sarah Bell brought a valuable perspective to her capstone project as a millennial herself. Her project, titled “Leave Your Print,” focused on providing goals, objectives and tactics related to ways that millennials can leave their print on the world through involvement with St. Jude.

“Because the campaign targeted millennials, like myself, I was able to research and speak to my generation; I got to see how the world sees us and how we, as a general group, see ourselves,” said Bell. “Being a millennial, I felt like I was at the heart of this campaign from the start, but also like I really had something to prove. Speaking to other millennials gave me a lot of hope, and I centered my campaign around that. I definitely feel more connected to the St. Jude brand after my time spent on this IMC campaign.”

Another IMC student presenter, Colin White, presented his plan titled “Be Mission Critical with St. Jude.” He proposed using a social media campaign and user-generated content contest, a Warrior Dash relay, geocache dash, Pandora radio and Hulu ads, and rapid transit platform lighting in major cities, among other tactics. All of these tactics are designed to help millennials realize that they are a “critical part of St. Jude’s mission to save lives and rid the world of pediatric cancer.”

A new father, White’s work helped him realize the importance of St. Jude’s mission.

“It was an incredible privilege to be able to work so closely with an organization that for over a half-century has provided both tangible and intangible care to sick children and their families,” said White. “This storied organization is there for sick children and their parents, and I tried in earnest to approach the campaign as if I were trying to appeal for support critical to the benefit of my own child.”

St. Jude team members are currently vetting the projects to determine which tactics they might implement.

Highlights from selected campaigns IMC campaigns can be found on the IMC student work page.