Making Brands Pop

Bauer Students Partner with Kellanova for Pringles Market Research

Undergraduate students from the C. T. Bauer College of Business recently took to the University of Houston campus to conduct market research for the iconic snack brand Pringles®. 

This is the seventh project completed through the partnership between the Rockwell Career Center and the Kellanova company, which began in Spring 2018. Students who have participated in this extracurricular project have surveyed the UH campus with products ranging from insurgent brands like MorningStar Farms Incogmeato®, to powerhouse snacks like Pop-Tarts®. 

The team of Sophia Molina, Summer Folwell, Catherine Hohulin, Matt Schroeder, Jennifer Marulanda and Ernesto Alvarez conducted research for Kellanova through product evaluation, taste testing events and social media trend analysis for digital marketing purposes. 

“Projects like this give us skills in being able to present in front of high-level executives, looking at data and having a story to tell about the research we conduct,” Molina said. “There is no rubric or guide for these kinds of projects, so it really is about coming together as a team and finding direction to problem solve and succeed.” 

Molina and Folwell led the team as they worked on the previous Kellanova project that centered around Pop-Tarts. Their prior experience provided them with the knowledge necessary to lead the project this time around. 

“Both of us being on the project last year made a huge difference,” Folwell said. “Last year we were fairly limited on what we could do but this year was totally different. We were able to have a lot of in-person events like taste testings and even with an in-person appearance from Mr. P."  

Once the students completed their research, they were given the opportunity to present their findings to various Pringles sales and marketing leaders. UH alumni who now work for the company, including Brand Marketing Manager Jade Bosier (BA ‘16), and Senior Customer Analyst Michael Fulfs (BBA ‘20), made their return to campus, this time around on the other side of the presentation table as company leaders.

“Our company has had a longstanding relationship with UH’s business school,” Bosier said. “Snacking categories have a very real challenge to connect with Zillennials, or consumers on the cusp of Millennial and Gen Z, which are majority multicultural. Since UH is the second most diverse university in the country, we know the students on this campus provide a unique perspective that is great for our insight research.”

The presentation to Kellanova consisted of analyzing five strategic areas: location, flavor, size, eating occasion and competitive. The students conducted surveys, analyzed where food location was on campus and compared social media data to competing companies to provide solutions for creating a larger Pringles presence with students on campus and online. 

“The students knock it out of the park every single time,” Fulfs said. “They have gotten to conduct research on world class brands, and they always present great insights that spur fantastic conversations. During every iteration of this project, the students really bring their best and continue to impress with their findings.” 

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