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Marketing and Packaging Collaborations Create New Opportunities for Students and Faculty

Consumer Packaging Solutions Student

Over the past year, the Orfalea College of Business’ Marketing and Industrial Technology & Packaging areas have seen incredible collaborative success in new hands-on student learning and faculty research opportunities.

In the spring of 2015, the Orfalea College of Business celebrated graduation with the first-ever cohort of business students concentrating in consumer packaging solutions (CPS). The concentration was launched in 2012 and offers business majors entry into the rapidly expanding and dynamic field of consumer packaging.

The intersection between packaging and marketing yields fertile ground for Learn by Doing experiences, such as the CPS culminating senior project experience designed by marketing Professor Lynn Metcalf with support from packaging faculty advisor and Professor Javier de la Fuente. In the course, students work in small groups and use design-thinking techniques to drive packaging innovation. Students have the opportunity to create new-to-the-world package designs, and conduct extensive research in the consumer and retail environments to uncover areas of opportunity for value creation. In the final stages of the project, the groups then develop prototypes to be validated by existing customers.

Matt Wright, president, CEO and co-founder of packaging startup Specright, supported cross-disciplinary student learning in the CPS senior project class. “The combination of marketing and packaging produces a skillset that enhances speed to market, which is critical to a company’s ability to compete.”

Students aren’t the only ones gaining valuable experience in this emerging field. This fall, Metcalf, de la Fuente, and Professor Jeff Hess will build on previous research work to further establish consumer package decisions as a fundamental consideration in the marketing value chain. Faculty collaboration on research is expected to promote a deeper understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the two disciplines.

“If this research is successful, it will motivate marketing and packaging decision-makers to rethink the impact of packaging on the consumption experience and by extension a product’s value proposition,” said Hess.

The college is excited by the present collaborations between the two areas, and is looking forward to continued work in the fields of marketing and packaging.

The team is considering hosting a focus group during the 2016 Open House weekend. Marketing alumni interested in getting involved should contact Lynn Metcalf at lmetcalf@calpoly.edu.

Posted Oct 27, 2015

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