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Students investigate Millennial reaction to Rocky Brands

Monday, July 18 2016 12:00am

The College brings market research to life in undergraduate classrooms.

By Brianna Wilson

Last week, readers learned how the Consumer Research Center, or CRC, helped Gatesman+Dave gain insight into Millennial eating habits. This week: what they learned about the Millennial response to Rocky Brands boot 

About the Rocky Brands project

This spring students in Hiler’s class completed a four-phase, semester-long project to gauge Millennial interest in a specific Rocky Brands boot model.

The first phase allowed students to explore research theory by designing and developing research objectives, questions, and processes. They then collected qualitative and quantitative research through focus groups, in-depth interviews, and a blind boot test.

In the test, the Rocky Brand model was rated as well as a top competitor’s similar model in terms of style, height, color, and material quality.

After analyzing the data, students prepared a report and final presentation to share their results and brand positioning recommendations. CRC fellows then presented the class’ overall results to Rocky Brands.

“The director of [Rocky Brands] social media campaigns said it was the best research presentation she’d ever seen—not just in terms of student presentations—but the best presentation period,” said Hiler. “I’m very proud of my students, and am excited to work with them for another client this fall.” 

About integrating the CRC into classrooms

Ohio University’s College of Business has always focused on applied learning experiences, but they recently upped the ante.

“We believe in applied learning—and students appreciate it when they’re doing research for a real client and can truly see the impact of their work,” said Chris Moberg, associate dean of OHIO’s College of Business.

Marketing professors partnered with the Consumer Research Center (CRC) to bring client projects into the classroom. Usually, students apply to become fellows for the CRC, and then work on research projects for top consumer brands like Kellogg’s, Dairy Queen, Rocky Brands, and The J.M. Smucker Company—but integrating certain projects into coursework allowed more students to get involved. In turn, it allowed the CRC to offer companies more work, without compromising quality. 

“I would have loved to have such an experience in an undergraduate classroom—or an MBA classroom for that matter,” said Jacob Hiler, assistant professor of marketing. “The opportunities we’re providing students are invaluable. They prepare our students for the real world, and help them stand out to employers.”

What’s next?

This year—and in the future—the CRC will continue to incorporate CRC projects into the classroom.

“They provide valuable learning opportunities for students, while matching course learning outcomes,” said Katie Hartman, chair of the marketing department. “The projects help students build a unique and in-demand skillset by allowing them to understand, analyze, and develop insights, recommendations, and ideas.” 

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.