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Part-time IMC students place second in national social media competition

Three part-time Integrated Marketing Communications graduate students earned second place and a prize of $2,000 in a national social media competition sponsored by NetBase and Coca-Cola.

Kristine Fetalco, Helen Mubarak and Marilyn Stein (all IMC14) participated in the competition on March 28-29 in Dallas. Only four schools were invited to compete, including the Loyola University Chicago, University of Rochester and University of Texas at Dallas, the competition’s winner.

“Our challenge was to use the NetBase tool to create a special social media marketing campaign for a Coca-Cola subsidiary brand,” Mubarak said.

Competitors worked through the night to analyze data provided. They prepared a social media plan based on the information, which was then presented to the judges for the competition.

“Things that set our presentation apart from the others were the deep insights that we took from the data,” Mubarak said. 

All three students said principles from their Consumer Insight class enabled them to come up with those insights.

To set themselves and their social media campaign apart, they identified patterns within the data. They then looked for the meaning within the patterns and ways that information could be applied to a social media campaign.

Another important aspect to their presentation was that they looked for metaphors to use in explanations and interesting pieces of information about the brand that they could use. They identified target data and a target audience.

Fetalco is a research associate at Starcom MediaVest Group and said her position there involves much of what she had to do for the competition. As the team member with the most experience using NetBase, Fetalco worked with Mubarak and Stein to review how to use the tool. 

Completing all the aspects of the competition in 24 hours proved to be one of the most difficult aspects.

“Everyone was saying how great it was and how polished we were, but when you’re up for 24 hours, it doesn’t really seem like it,” Stein said.

It also proved to the competitors how much they can achieve in that time period. They gained experience working with an actual client, creating a campaign that may potentially be used.

“I learned how much I really like consumer insight, to be honest,” Stein said. “It’s really cool to read these insights and sentiments on mentality. It made me rethink the entire idea of marketing.”

While the competition was stressful and high-pressured, Stein said it tested how much she and her team was capable of doing. 

“It became this shared experience and that was what we went off of for our campaign,” Stein said.