Jelena K. is a student in the Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program. She is an international student from Croatia, who has also lived and worked in Luxembourg and neighboring Germany. Jelena worked for the European Commission and the European Parliament as a proofreader and a linguist.
Tell me a little bit about the award that you won.
I was honored as an author and received a certificate for one essay and a case study. The first essay was entitled, “Nivea’s Multicultural Campaign, ‘White is Purity’” and the second was a case study on Zara’s successful fast fashion techniques.
Could you expand on the topics you researched for your papers?
For the essay, my topic was about the failure of Nivea’s campaign to garner positive consumer attention. The campaign targeted Middle Eastern women with the message that “white is purity,” which was criticized as controversial and racist. The brand did not have its target audience in mind while crafting the message. For the case study, the topic was about how Zara was built on the customer-based brand equity model (CBBE). Customer-based brand equity implies that the focus is on the customer, and all business functions revolve around the customer. For Zara, the customer focus is in their stores. They provide a great customer experience in their stores supported by innovations. They listen to their customers in stores, in order to know how to better serve them.
Where will your essays/paper be published?
My works will be published in the annual publication, Perspectives: Selected Readings in Communication, Media, and Society. This is a non-juried journal open to students in any of our programs, as well as students from any RU program who may have written an excellent (or even very good!) paper in a course offered by our department.
How did you conduct your research? Did you learn anything surprising or new?
I relied heavily on Roosevelt University’s library to find my research. I checked out a variety of books and read online articles for both essays. I learned a lot about building a brand, especially the customer-based brand equity model, which is something I studied in class. My research was a way for me to make my own determinations and connections about what I was learning inside of class. Learning about this topic took a lot of research, but it helped me understand the significance of putting the customer in the focus of a business. Through my research about Nivea, I learned the importance of knowing a consumer’s culture before marketing to them because you can’t market something when you don’t have the right message to your customers. So, you really have to know about the culture and its members. You have to show respect to the culture and the cultural elements before you market anything. My professor repeatedly emphasized that a member of a culture should be involved during the creative process and participate in the campaign.
Would you consider putting someone on your campaign if they belonged to the culture you were targeting but was unfamiliar with marketing?
I would consider putting someone on my campaign who’s not familiar with marketing but is familiar with the culture. I would need that person’s input and opinion on how to formulate and send the right message without offending any member of the culture. I would suggest doing a test beforehand with a smaller sample, before testing with a larger audience.
What areas in your field are you interested in studying/learning more about? How do you think you will be able to achieve this?
I’m interested in global corporate communications, specifically, in marketing approaches using technological advancements and innovations, and through digital marketing to reach my target audience. Since I speak several foreign languages (English, Italian, French, and a good knowledge in German) this has sparked even more of an interest in global communications. To get where I need to go, I need to learn a lot more and acquire more knowledge about international campaigns and integrated marketing campaigns in general. That is why I appreciate the possibilities for internships, which is a great way to learn from established professionals.
That being said, where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself being a part of a well-known global communication team that is using different channels to send one unified message to its audience.
How has the Integrated Marketing Communications program prepared you for your career goals?
The Integrated Marketing Communications program has helped me acquire a general knowledge of brands and branding, and marketing campaigns. I am learning a lot about integrated marketing communication, what it means, and how all aspects of marketing communication need to be connected in one strategic idea. It is very interesting and always evolving, and has enticed me to think outside of the box and constantly progress in my work. I still have one more semester to go and I still need to do an integrated marketing campaign for a real brand. My professor chooses the brand for us instead of us picking our own brands, so this should be an interesting project.
Interview conducted and written by Desi M.