Case in point: After getting her first foot in the door, Harte,
also class of 2008, moved onto global marketing agency Digitas, where,
among her many accomplishments, she helped develop a mobile-ordering app
for Taco Bell which increased average check totals by 25 percent. She
also helped hire fellow Blue Hen Eric Leighton, class of 2014. In his
most recent project for the company, Leighton helped rebrand the
Jenn-Air product line, helping it transform from last place in a survey
of luxury kitchen appliances to holding 60 percent of the brand voice.
“It was the most college-esque project I’ve worked on,” he told UD
undergraduates during their New York visit. Leighton compared the
process of creating logos, typefaces, digital interactions and other
components to the various projects he was assigned as student — and to
ones he would help assign as an alum.
Leighton, Harte and fellow alumna Michelle Lobien (class of 2013),
ended their presentation by handing out a one-page case study to the UD
juniors and seniors in attendance, tasking them with developing
mobile-responsive websites for a variety of well-known brands, from
Amtrak to the DMV.
A month later, on another perfect fall day, the three alumni returned to campus to critique the student presentations.
For two hours, the students shared the websites and apps they built,
videos they created, and ideas they developed to help their brands stand
out in a “sea of sameness.” For instance, students tasked with
refreshing the website for The Olive Garden restaurant suggested a
marketing stunt where the restaurant could cater a millennial’s
Friendsgiving. Another group designed a mobile running app for Asics
running shoes that prioritized women’s safety.
The alumni offered constructive feedback, and the students soaked it all in.
“We get tested and critiqued every day in class,” said senior Max Gold. “It’s the norm.”
Senior Sara Kuzmenka said similar messages from different kinds of people can matter.
“Hearing it from our professors is like hearing it from our parents,” Kuzmenka said. “Advice from alumni make it more real.”
Senior Sarah Muldoon said knowing that alumni had similar experiences helps with confidence.
“They’ve been where you’ve been, and they’ve made it out alive,” Muldoon said. “And they’re successful.”
Article by Artika Rangan Casini; photo by Kathy F. Atkinson