marketing Archives - Collins College of Business


GM gives ultimatum to Cadillac dealers who don’t want to sell electric cars

Cadillac dealers who are uninterested or unable to commit to GM’s shift towards electric cars must decide by November 30, 2020 whether they will remain in business or “just get out” of the business. This ultimatum serves as a strategic move for GM and demonstrates their commitment to responding to consumer behavior changes.

This blog is a project of the NOVA Fellowship at TU.

Trend Hunter’s 2021 Trend Report

Trend Hunter’s list of the top 100 trends that will impact “tech, lifestyle, dining, and more”. The four most insightful trends include:

  1. Increased use of hemp or cannabis in skincare products
  2. In-game concerts
  3. Fast-food reusables
  4. Appointment retail

This blog is a project of the NOVA Fellowship at TU.

5 Big Picture Trends Being Accelerated by the Pandemic

Nick Routley of identified 5 trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Increased screen time
  2. E-commerce market penetration
  3. Changes in globalization
  4. Wealth disparity
  5. Acceptance of remote-work

This blog is a project of the NOVA Fellowship at TU.

Business students team up with local firms and nonprofit organizations

Students in The University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business regularly share their expertise with companies and nonprofits in Tulsa and surrounding communities. These projects not only give the students real-world experience, they also help local businesses and nonprofits find creative solutions to expand their brands and better reach consumers.

Professor Charles Wood wearing a green shirt and smiling
Professor Charles Wood

Professor of Marketing Charles Wood believes that hands-on experience is a valuable tool for learning about the world of marketing. “The purpose of all of these collaboration projects is for students to apply concepts they learn in class to real-world settings,” Wood said. “For an applied discipline such as marketing, real learning occurs best when students are required to synthesize and experientially use theories and concepts in new contexts.”

Dee Harris of Tulsa’s Family and Children Service Center worked with TU business students in both the spring and summer semesters. “Professor Wood’s classes are the perfect example of balancing student learning with community need,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be a partner in real-world learning as it invigorates students and provides nonprofits with a new perspective about our marketing and communication plans. I always look forward to collaborating with students and enjoy watching them discover, create and solve.”

Integrated Marketing Communication

A potent example of this university-and-community engagement arose in the spring 2020 Integrated Marketing Communication course. In this course, undergraduate students formed teams and worked with seven local nonprofit and for-profit organizations. At the beginning of the project, representatives of the organizations came to campus multiple times to check-in with the students’ progress and provide assistance where needed. Then, once the COVID-19 pandemic altered the semester plans, the meetings between student groups and their organizations continued, albeit online.

Despite the unexpected transition to online classes, the students and their companies maintained a close working relationship that promoted growth for both parties. The student teams developed and managed a full Google AdWords campaign to help their clients achieve their goals. A local social media expert, Joe Hart, came to these sessions and supported the teams throughout the semester.

Consumer Behavior

During the summer, community engagement continued, but this time with graduate students. A consultancy brief project in the master of business administration (MBA) Consumer Behavior course paired small groups of students with 10 local companies including Scoops Rolls and Creamery, Runners World and Marshall Brewing. Each group of students listened to their partner-firm’s concerns and developed personalized plans to meet their needs.

For the summer course, Wood explained, “the only selection criteria provided was that the business be locally owned. Students were encouraged to choose their own clients based on what they believed was the organization’s potential and clear need for some advice and assistance, meet with the owners and then proceed from there.”

All the groups delivered potential aids to the companies, including ideas about better use of social media, customer loyalty programs, community engagement, retail layout improvements, partnerships, branding and promotions.

Danny Donley smiling and wearing a blue polo shirt
Danny Donley, MBA student

One student in the MBA course, Danny Donley, said of the summer experience: “The chance to work hands-on with a real company in our community that is struggling a little extra because of the COVID-19 pandemic was a tremendous experience. My team worked with a small massage therapy company and helped use our knowledge and research to immediately revitalize the company’s marketing strategy and reach. We had the opportunity to put creative ideas into action to test our own skills while benefiting a local firm, which is rewarding in two ways.”

A business degree from TU will bring you in contact with faculty members at the forefront of their fields who are excellent teachers as well as scholars. Learn about this vibrant, welcoming community.

Beloved brands by generation – visualization

This graphic …”pulls data from MBLM’s >2020 Brand Intimacy Report and visualizes the top 10 brands that different generations connect with the most.” More information and visualizations at:

This blog is a project of the NOVA Fellowship at TU

The NOVA Fellowship at The University of Tulsa (TU) has a mission to build and support the culture of innovation on campus and in our communities. We believe good universities represent a “safety net” for students which allows them to confidently attempt projects that they are passionate about. NOVA encourages this by providing small grants to help innovative student projects, faculty involved in innovative programs, and curating content related to current trends and recent developments in technology and innovation. This content includes topics relevant to the entire campus, including health sciences, economics, arts management, biology, computer science, finance, artificial intelligence (AI), communication, engineering, and global issues. Because NOVA students are studying in a variety of TU majors, our interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving is one of our great strengths.

NOVA also helps provide training to students and faculty in creativity, problem-solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship. We offer training on the TU campus in meetings and workshops, and through an exciting partnership with Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Every year since 2015, NOVA has sent several TU students and faculty to Stanford for 4-5 days of training with experts and interaction with fellow scholars from around the world. The student program is University Innovation Fellows ( and the program for faculty is the Teaching and Learning Studio Faculty Workshop (

In these ways, NOVA exposes TU faculty, staff, and students to many processes and tools used in modern companies related to creativity, problem-solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship. One of these is “design thinking.” It is one of the most well-known problem-solving approaches used around the world today, used to develop concepts for new products, education, buildings, machines, toys, healthcare services, social enterprises, and more. According to the people who developed this tool, Dave Kelley and Tim Brown of the design firm, IDEO:

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success…. Thinking like a designer can transform the way organizations develop products, services, processes, and strategy. This approach, which IDEO calls design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.” (

As the innovation field develops, new perspectives are emerging. One promising approach we are beginning to bring into NOVA meetings and workshops is called “systems thinking,” which builds upon the emergent field of complexity research. Systems thinking recognizes the inherent interactivity of the dynamic processes in our world and focuses on problem-solving with that complexity in mind. This approach isn’t completely new, but recent work has made systems thinking more accessible to people interested in solving problems of most any type. For example, Derek Cabrera, Ph.D. (Cornell University) has proposed a useful taxonomy designed to improve systems thinking called DSRP (Distinctions, Systems, Relationships, and Perspectives). He defines it as: “The recursive distinguishing of things and their interrelationships and part-whole organization from various perspectives” ( Elsewhere, DSRP has been described as a particular way to think about problems, and that the use of these four patterns notably improves people’s problem-solving abilities – demonstrated in sessions with Kindergartners all the way to CEOs. The complex, adaptive mental models that are formed during systems thinking attempt to identify the most approachable and simplest explanations for phenomena. In his book with Laura Cabrera, Systems Thinking Made Simple, examples of the simplicity that drives complexity include: the interaction of CMYK colors in our world, the amazing biodiversity derived from combinations of DNA’s core nucleotides ATCG, the fundamentals of martial arts which practitioners use together to improvise during sparring matches, the almost infinite variety of models that can be built with modular Lego blocks, and the billions of possible moves in a chess match with just 6 unique pieces.

We invite you to join us and collaborate as we learn more about effective ways to solve problems that you and others care about in the community, in corporations, and on campus! Please visit or email Dr. Charles M. Wood, Professor of Marketing at TU:

Living the learning

Experiential learning — or learning by doing — gives students the opportunity to bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world. Applying skills taught in a classroom, students solve a problem that simulates challenges they will face in the workplace. This type of learning is a hallmark of TU’s management and marketing programs. Not only do students gain valuable experience that carries over to their professional careers, but they also give back to the community through projects that benefit nonprofits and inspire leadership, creativity and innovation.

NOVA Day of Innovation winners

Why incorporate experiential learning?

Traditional classroom settings typically adhere to a structured format and while many professors encourage discussion, that type of instruction only takes a student so far into the material. Experiential learning, however, gives students the benefit of learning from one another in a self-directed manner. Students bear responsibility by creating processes, making decisions and maintaining accountability, keeping them fully engaged in a project. They experience success and failure just as they would in a professional setting.

Connecting with the community

Working with AdWords clients
Students work with local clients to develop a Google AdWords campaign.

Studio Blue, a unique student space in the Collins College of Business, is designed to encourage innovation. Charles Wood, associate professor of marketing, is one of several faculty members instrumental in bringing the concept of an in-house “idea factory” to fruition.

“Part of the strategy behind Studio Blue was to create interesting connections between our students and the community,” Wood explains. “There is a lot of need in the community, and the students need hands-on practice — everyone wins.”

With generous support from the George Kaiser Family Foundation and TU administration, the space opened in 2008. Students use Studio Blue as an agency-like environment to generate product innovation ideas, create business plans and work on projects for businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Wood also worked with the alumnus Joe Moeller and the Charles Koch Foundation to help design the NOVA Fellowship, which equips students with the tools to implement an idea or passion before graduating. The fellowship gives students the opportunity to work with mentors to develop innovative projects outside regular coursework. Students can obtain an Applied Innovation Certificate by taking a set of courses that teach innovation principles and the process of problem solving.

Working with AdWords clients
Students work with local clients to develop a Google AdWords campaign.

In the last few years, students in TU’s management and marketing department and the NOVA Fellowship have led nearly 100 projects on campus and in the Tulsa community. The hands-on projects range from promotional and branding campaigns to large-scale events for organizations including Family and Children’s Services, Mazzio’s, QuikTrip, Women in Recovery and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

Elizabeth Estrada (BSBA ’19), who majored in marketing, worked on a service project for Goodwill during her time at TU. “I think hands-on projects that are offered through Studio Blue and NOVA are extremely beneficial to students’ overall learning,” said Estrada. “Working on the Goodwill project not only taught me great teamwork, time management and multitasking skills, but it was also a great way for us to work with AdWords in a real-life experience. Although our project did not exceed our expectations, we were able to leave with the knowledge of the tool. This was an experience that is not often offered in a traditional classroom, so it was also fun!”

Bringing big ideas to campus

TEDxUtulsaTU’s NOVA fellows have collaborated to organize campus events such as TEDx University of Tulsa and the Day of Innovation that spark creativity and showcase student talent. The Day of Innovation, which began four years ago, celebrates the hard work and bright ideas TU students have developed and implemented to benefit the college campus and local community. Caroline Rodgers, a marketing and French major who will graduate in the spring, said, “Having a small hand in the first and second Day of Innovation here on campus showed me that students and faculty alike crave the opportunity to put their creative skills to the test and moreover, recognition for the projects that they work so hard on — TUDOI gave them both.”

Rodgers explained that being able to help foster a space in which that was possible was such a unique experience and having the backing from the NOVA Fellowship allowed the idea to become a reality within a few short months. “I look forward to the great things that are to come from all TU students in an innovative capacity as the university continues to grow and change.”

Studio Blue works with local organizations

What do you get when you put a team of hardworking TU students from several majors, a creative alumnus, and a puppeteer in the same room? In the case of Studio Blue, that would be a stuffed animal handler character named Joey, a professional film crew, a live boa constrictor, and a level of learning and collaboration not often found even in a topnotch advertising agency.

Launched in 2008 and housed in the Collins College of Business, Studio Blue is an idea incubator that fosters innovation, a cross-disciplinary culture and a creative community. Directed by Charles Wood, Collins College of Business associate professor of marketing, this one-of-a-kind venue is home to classes, meetings, competitions and workshops for students in all majors.

In the past, student teams have tackled challenges such as the development and execution of petition drives for social causes, promotions to encourage food pantry donations, conceiving and delivering an interactive assembly program for children, and forging working mechanisms from pizza boxes.

Funded in part by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Studio Blue works in tandem with the TU marketing program in addition to exploring projects of its own. Each semester, the marketing faculty identifies several nonprofit organizations with a need. Once the partnership is established, the marketing department pulls together a crew of students from many majors who have the skills to tackle the task.

“This is an environment where students can think big,” Wood said.

In 2013, one of Studio Blue’s projects began with a request from the Tulsa Zoo. The identified need was to assist the nonprofit civic animal park with a way to market not only its destination but also its education efforts. Several of the Studio Blue team members were film majors, and Wood reached out to a few local creative professionals from the Tulsa area for strategic counsel. The idea that emerged was the design of a muppet-style spokescharacter, a junior zookeeper named Joey, who could help bring excitement to the zoo’s online educational materials.

After local freelancer Andrew Dale crafted the puppet, the team spent the summer months developing several trial videos that culminated with a presentation to the Zoo leadership. The pitch was a success, and Studio Blue continued the project in the fall of 2013 with the filming of three 2- to 3-minute educational videos with live animals for the Tulsa Zoo website. More are being recorded during the 2014-15 year.

“We are excited with the final product and pleased that we have a wonderful tool to reach kids with quality information about animals,” said Mika Yan, a marketing major.

The first video featured a boa constrictor, and Yan was on hand when additional footage was shot, simulating the concept of Joey’s clubhouse.

“I learned a lot from this practical marketing process, from assessment to research to strategy,” Yan said. “I enjoyed the whole experience including brainstorming ideas and watching the final product. And we got to work at the zoo!”