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ASAP Students Develop Marketing Plan for Oneida Non-Profit

By Brie Deacon

The former Oneida Area Arts Council (OAAC) recently adopted a marketing plan developed by Keuka College’s Utica-area graduate students that included, among other things, a name change to Oneida Performing Arts (OPA).

The students spent the six-week course researching, developing, and strategizing a new look for OPA. They worked in teams and used local resources, historical documents, and current market trends to devise a new logo, ideas for performance offerings, and different forms of communication—all geared toward expanding its patron base. Throughout the process, the class urged OPA board members to get out of their comfort zone and look for new venues and ideas that would bring the organization into the future.

The non-profit organization was contacted last year by Kim Deruby, adjunct instructor of marketing, who hoped it would serve as a live case study for her class.

Brian M. Carroll, president of OPA, said the organization had been struggling over the years to transition its brand to a more relevant, sustainable market.

“We decided that we could use some help from young professionals who could look at our 50-year history and make suggestions on how to keep the base we have but attract younger people as well. The suggestions we’ve gotten [correspond to] what other bigger organizations who have full-time marketing employees [receive],” he said.

Students who developed the marketing plan and members of the OPA Board.

Deruby said the course curriculum calls for students “to understand a current marketing issue or deficiency, to create a marketing strategy, produce tangible results, and provide insight, guidance, and expertise to the organization,” so the OPA project was an excellent fit and provided students with invaluable real-world experience.

As part of this in-depth, hands-on assignment, the class came up with rebranding ideas that included a new logo, a hand-rendered design by local advertising consultant and Keuka adjunct instructor Cookie Caloia, who conceptualized the students’ rebranding vision.

Other initiatives introduced by the students were performances that would appeal to a younger crowd, electronic press releases, new flyers and print materials, and a summer dinner theater experience at a local restaurant, scheduled Aug. 8. The class also recommended OPA offer  a Mother’s Day matinee, which debuted May 12, and no longer offer shows during the winter months when many of their patrons are away.

In terms of the name change, Carroll said Oneida Performing Arts “is much easier for the consumer to understand.”

“We truly hope these ideas will not only help to get their name out there in the community, but also help to create a general interest from a wider range of age groups,” said student Ryan Blehar, who resides in Verona.

“I am very impressed with all of our accomplishments within our cohort and I have no doubt that everyone is more effective professionally and personally as a result of this project,” said John Prendergast, cohort representative and resident of Utica.

Keuka’s 18-month Master of Science in management degree program is part of the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP). Classes meet weekly at Mohawk Valley Community College.

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