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A wonderful finale to Second Chance Month, University of North Florida (UNF) students created clever marketing campaigns to promote the mission of Operation New Hope. Students from Dr. Courtney Azzari’s Consumer Behavior course were assigned a case study group project focused on the target markets of the local nonprofit.
“Students do something that’s real-world where they feel they can actually have an impact,” said Dr. Azzari, Associate Professor at the Coggin College of Business. “They’re looking at a real company with real clients, so it makes it more important for them than a textbook case study, and I think they have a greater stake in the work.”
This is the third semester that Dr. Azzari’s classes have partnered with Operation New Hope. At the beginning of the semester, Amanda Mahan presents to the class the scope of Operation New Hope’s work. She shares that one in three American adults has a criminal record which leads to an alarming rate of joblessness, and explains that the nonprofit’s programs reduce unemployment, poverty, homelessness, recidivism, and mental health struggles by providing wrap-around support and job training to people impacted by the criminal justice system. Students then work in groups throughout the semester to produce unique campaigns designed to target the organization’s 3 main audiences – Clients, Employment Partners, and Donors.
“This semester, the students did a great job offering a fresh perspective on our work. I was blown away by one group that produced a jingle for Operation New Hope – it was so clever and engaging!” said Amanda Mahan, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Operation New Hope.
“It’s exciting to share the importance of our work with college students, many of whom have never considered the collateral consequences people face following incarceration,” added Mahan. “I love seeing the creative content students produce for this project. Students do a wonderful job of researching our program and the barriers justice-involved people face, and then create effective campaigns that communicate the impact of our work.”
“Students look at the internal and external influences that shape the buying decisions of the target markets and cause them to make the decisions they do in the marketplace,” Azzari said. “Then they select a target group and create a marketing campaign that they believe will resonate with them. One of the goals of college should be to expand your mind, your worldviews and your perspectives,” she said. “We need to broaden students’ way of thinking, and this topic is completely outside what most of them deal with and think about on a day-to-day basis.”
We are so thankful to Dr. Azzari, her wonderful group of marketing students, and the University of North Florida. Dr. Azzari’s commitment to community and academic advancement is exceptional. We appreciate the support of our mission to build stronger communities by helping people return to work and stop the cycle of incarceration and poverty.