Marketing students from the Carey Business School and
design students from Maryland
Institute College of Art are teaming up this fall to help
get a new generation of contractors and
do-it-yourselfers stuck on products made by DAP, the
Baltimore-based caulk, sealant and adhesive giant.
The 18 students in the inaugural Competitive
Advantage: Design + Business course are pooling
their expertise to encourage both professional builders and
new homeowners in Generations X and Y
to use DAP's line, already a staple of the Baby Boomer
fix-it arsenal. The idea is to welcome a new,
younger customer base without alienating longtime DAP
enthusiasts, according to course instructor Ed
Weiss, practitioner faculty and academic adviser in the
Department of Marketing at the Carey
"DAP [executives] understand that as their
constituents grow older, they need to branch out to
a younger generation to increase the value of their brand,"
Weiss said. "During the course, we will
meet with both their vice president of marketing, David
Fuller, and their director of brand
development, Rosalyn Williams, to talk about where they are
in the marketplace and their brand
essence, meaning the personality of their product."
The Carey students, many of them in their early 30s
and already working in marketing fields,
can tackle the course objectives from positions of
strength, as can their MICA counterparts, who are
immersed in the design world.
"Our students particularly are looking at graphic,
easy ways to attract new customers," Weiss
said. "Maybe they'll be using MySpace.com or Friendster, or
working through blogs. They are going to
find ways to reach an audience that is difficult to reach
because they are multitasking so much that
it's really hard to get their attention."
How successful the students will be depends on how
well they work together to share their
strengths to create long-range commercially viable plans
incorporating the principles of both
marketing and design — a lesson in teamwork that will
serve them well in the real world, Weiss said.
"This is one of the biggest challenges both large and
small companies face," he said. "It's not
always an easy communication between the artistic side of
marketing and the technical side of
marketing. For instance, the art side wants to be creative
and often thinks the business side is trying
to stifle them. The idea behind this course is to strike a
balance and find a comfort zone to reach a
conclusion that will benefit everybody."
Weiss said the goal is to offer the course as often as
possible, perhaps once a semester, by
finding additional businesses in the region that are
interested in participating. The course has plenty
of win-win potential: Businesses benefit by gleaning fresh
ideas from a talented pool of students,
while students gain real-world experience.
"The students love it," Weiss said. "When they can
show bosses or potential employers that
they've worked on something like this, it's almost like
developing a portfolio. If students can leave
here showing they have solved problems for various types of
companies, it increases their
marketability and their viability in the workplace."
The course is one of three new offerings at Johns
Hopkins this fall funded by the Provost's
Arts Innovation Program, a new initiative offering funding
to faculty and staff for courses in the arts,
with an emphasis on interdisciplinary and