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

Economics Professor Collaborates with United Nations to Develop Measurement Standards for Green Economies


Professor Eduardo Zambrano presented his research findings to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this past spring as part of an ongoing effort to build a composite measure of social, environmental and economic progress.

Zambrano worked with a team of UNEP researchers and international scholars to build a methodology for tracking progress in three key dimensions of a “green economy” — social inclusivity, environmental sustainability, and economic efficiency. For each dimension, the team identified targets to aspire to, thresholds to stay away from, and formulated a methodology to measure comparative progress towards those targets. Zambrano and the other team members traveled to UNEP meetings in Geneva, Switzerland, in April and June, to present the findings.

The project supports the organization’s mission to improve the comprehensive well-being of its member countries and monitor the sustainability of such well-being. Zambrano was selected for the team based on his past work with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in which he assisted in the redesign of the Human Development Index and the design of the Gender Inequality Index.

As the leading international organization for addressing environmental issues, UNEP is well positioned to play a critical role in developing and supporting green economy progress indicators. Zambrano’s involvement with UNEP is ongoing, and the Green Economy Progress Index is set to be released by UNEP by the end of the year.

In addition to his excellent work abroad over the past year, Zambrano was also recognized by the Orfalea College of Business as the 2015 Distinguished Teacher of the Year.

Business Professor Honored for Marketing and Public Policy Research

Brennan Davis, third from right, accepting the award with his coauthors in San Francisco.

Brennan Davis, third from right, accepting the award with his coauthors in San Francisco.

Brennan Davis, associate professor marketing at Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business, was honored with the Thomas C. Kinnear/ Journal of Public Policy & Marketing Award at the annual American Marketing Association Educator’s Conference in 2014. The award honors articles that made the most significant contribution to the understanding of marking and public policy issues within the last three years.

Davis coauthored the paper titled “From Nutrients to Nurturance: A Conceptual Introduction to Food Well-Being” in the spring of 2011. The authors propose that the “food as health” paradigm should shift to “food as wellbeing” with a greater emphasis on a positive, holistic understanding of the role of food one’s psychological, physical and emotional health. The paper examines food literacy, marketing, availability, policy and socialization at individual and societal levels.

Davis’ coauthors include Lauren G. Block, Sonya A. Grier, Terry L. Childers, Jane E.J. Ebert, Shiriki Kumanyika, Russell N. Laczniak, Jane E. Machin, Carol M. Motley, Laura Peracchio, Simone Pettigrew, Maura Scott, and Mirjam N.G. van Ginkel Bieshaar.

Davis joined Cal Poly’s marketing faculty in the fall of 2014 after teaching at Baylor University and Azusa Pacific University. He is currently developing new curriculum regarding marketing analytics, data and transformative consumer research.