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Consumer Research Center Fellows wow Kellogg’s with consumer insight presentations

Monday, May 16 2016 12:00am

Snap, crackle, pop! Kellogg’s continues to explore and expand partnership with Consumer Research Center after being impressed by student insights.

Tags: Marketing

By Brianna Wilson

Img 2430Consumer Research Center (CRC) student fellows planned to present findings of their semester-long research projects to Kellogg’s frozen foods marketing team—but as excitement grew, so did the audience. Before they knew it, the fellows were presenting to more than 100 Kellogg’s employees at corporate headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich.

In January Kellogg Company representatives visited Athens to kick off two projects. The first required students to use cutting-edge technologies—including eye tracking and automated facial expression analysis—to examine college-age millennials’ physiological responses to frozen food packaging and advertising.

“These methods are very advanced, and the fellows on this team were among the very first undergraduate students to learn how to apply them in marketing research,” said Alexa Fox, assistant professor of marketing and CRC academic adviser. “They worked diligently, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work they produced.”

Physio Team

Throughout spring semester, one group of fellows, including Beth Cullen, ‘16, Cole Decker, ‘16, Hannah Kusper, ‘17, and Allison Zullo, ‘17, collected and analyzed physiological data—keeping in touch with Kellogg’s along the way—before presenting their findings.

“Having the chance to present to such a well-known company was incredible," said Kusper. "The team worked very hard, and as a result, our presentation could not have gone better.”

Meanwhile, the other fellows—Kurt Kissinger, ‘19, Sean Masters, ‘17, Rachael Smith, ’17, and Erica Walker, ‘19, along with Jacob Hiler, assistant professor of marketing and CRC academic adviser, created an observational videography report by interviewing and observing college-age millennials to learn more about their grocery shopping and food consumption habits. 

“One way to find out preferences is by asking the target audience,” said Dan Dahlen, director of the CRC and marketing lecturer. “Another is to observe them. This group used both approaches to create the most holistic view.”

After learning about students’ eating and shopping habits, what foods are most appealing to them, where they buy their food, how they buy it, and when they buy it, the fellows produced a 23-minute film, which they presented to Kellogg’s.

Img 2435“Their work and professionalism would be impressive for five-year industry veterans, but for a team of students, it’s simply astounding,” said Hiler. “And it showed—Kellogg’s was ecstatic with the work we provided them.”

In fact, Mike Mickunas, vice president of global insights and planning at Kellogg’s, already reached out to see how they could continue to expand their partnership with the CRC.

“We look forward to completing additional projects for Kellogg’s this fall, and developing the partnership on multiple levels,” said Dahlen.

About the CRC

Founded in 2014, the CRC gives students the opportunity to gain marketing research experience through semester-long research projects for top consumer brands.

The center has conducted research utilizing surveys, focus groups, interviews, physiological measures, customer intercepts, store mystery shoppers, and secondary research analysis for The J.M. Smucker Company, Dairy Queen, Burger King, Grange Insurance, Gatesman+Dave, Rocky Brands, Kellogg’s, and more.

Learn more about the CRC online and follow their journey at #OHIOCRC.