Twelve Haslam students studied history, culture and business to find marketing opportunities for consumer products during a study abroad program in Spain this summer. Kelly Hewett, associate professor of marketing at Haslam, led the class for its second year, emphasizing the importance of social context in the marketing climate.
“Most of our lectures focused on culture so students could not only understand the different business practices in Spain, but also what is important to Spanish people,” Hewett said. “Spain has a complicated economic and political environment, but understanding social values is also essential to predicting how products will play in any given market.”
During the three-week trip, students visited Tarragona, Spain’s second oldest city, and Camp Nou soccer stadium, to gain perspective on cultural upheavals and niche marketing groups. For examples of large corporate success, students toured a factory owned by Estrella Damm, one of Europe’s largest beer producers, and Roca, the world’s largest bathroom fixture company.
The culmination of the term was a project introducing new products to the Spanish market. Students were encouraged to interact with locals during their free time and explore traditional and modern shopping districts to inform their decisions.
Whitney Bell, a senior in supply chain and international business took the Spanish emphasis on friends and family, along with her own experiences, to propose a value-priced dry shampoo.
“There were no drug-store dry shampoos available in the supermarkets, only salon options for 20 to 45 euros,” Bell said. “An affordable dry shampoo would allow Spanish women to reduce the time spent on their hair care routine and allow them to spend more time with the people that are important to them.”
For Max Gavin, a senior in marketing an international business, the idea to introduce mini-corndogs came from an interaction with his tour guide.
“It’s similar to a croquette, which is already a very popular food item in Spain,” Gavin said. “We were explaining that a mini-corndog is like a ‘porquette.’ The name demonstrates the similarity to a product consumers already love.”
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