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VCU Brandcenter: The Most Innovative Business School in the World

Posted on February 7, 2012 and read 5,743 times

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brianna VCU Brandcenter: The Most Innovative Business School in the WorldBrianna Graves
Operations Manager, Editor
IHAVEANIDEA

There are many reasons why IHAVEANIDEA is proud to partner with the VCU Brandcenter. But why are we beaming with extra pride these days?

Since 2006, the Brandcenter competed in the Innovation Challenge four times. The first time the VCU team went into battle, they came in 20th, the second time 15th, the third time they jumped up to second place and this year?

Well, this year they were deemed “the most innovative business school in the world.”

That’s right. The Brandcenter’s “Team Brandslam,” comprising Team Leader Jennifer Clinehens, Art Director Cody Pate, Copywriter Katlyn Williams and Creative Technologist Ryan Dowling won the 9th Annual Innovation Challenge, besting 185 other teams. They were up against the world’s most prestigious business schools, including UVA, London School of Business, Harvard, Wharton, Notre Dame and more.

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The Innovation Challenge is a well-established international business innovation competition that matches graduate and Masters students with leading brands, charging each team to find solutions to current business and social challenges. For the first time this year, the competition was held entirely online.

All first-year VCU Brandcenter students participate in the Innovation Challenge as part of Professor Don Just’s Business of Branding class. “Team Brandslam” brought varying levels of expertise to the competition; Pate and Williams came straight to the Brandcenter from undergraduate students, while Dowling worked as a graphic designer before beginning grad school.

“Team Brandslam “worked with AT&T in the “Strategy/Business Model” category, helping the brand develop a product that used cloud computing, specifically for small and medium-sized businesses.

The method to their brilliance?

“We stayed true to our unique voice, and abided by Lee Clow’s saying, ‘If you wish to outsmart, out simplify,’” Clinehens said, “With every image, message, and word we chose, we did so knowing that our point of view was different from the MBA programs. We positioned ourselves as different from the typical MBA presentation in every way, and it was a gamble that thankfully paid off.”

The effort involved intensive quantitative and qualitative research, talking to potential consumers and developing strategies based on key consumer and marketplace insights.

“This win serves to validate the Brandcenter’s focus on developing unexpected consumer insights and then using those insights to craft imaginative strategies that enhance the market power of brands. Here a great deal of energy is expended searching for big, business-building ideas, innovative ideas that resonate with today’s consumers, building brand equity. There is no better example of this approach at work than the winning effort of our Innovation Challenge teams,” Just said.

In addition to the title of “The World’s Most Innovative Team,” “Team Brandslam” won $20,000 in prizes and the honor of ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

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“Ringing the bell was an experience I’ll never forget. It’s something that no amount of money can buy, and we will remember our entire lives. I also got to bang the gavel, which was extra exciting!” Clinehens added.

Congratulations to the team have been pouring in from alumni, fellow students, faculty, staff, the VCU community, and industry leaders. Of course, the happiest of all is the Brandcenter’s own Director, Rick Boyko, who said, “We’re very proud of the team’s success and for the opportunity to prove to the world what we’ve known all along…. that the VCU Brandcenter is “the most innovative business school in the world.”

IHAVEANIDEA would like to add our congratulations to the mix. Being that our mission is to dramatically shape the future of the advertising industry for the better, it is partners like the VCU Brandcenter and winning efforts like “Team Brandslam’s” that give us faith in the future of our industry.





  • http://twitter.com/happygrc Greg Christensen

    Congrats, Brandcenter. Couldn’t be prouder of my alma mater.


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