The Seafoam Marketing Challenge is a program designed to give local high school students real-world marketing experience by intertwining their learning curriculum with the marketing needs of an area non-profit.
Not only will students be taught how to gather research data on their non-profit client, use this information to map out real marketing strategies, and mold their strategies into tangible materials, but the winner of the competing teams will actually have the opportunity to launch their marketing strategy for their client this summer.
At Seafoam, we’re geeks about what we do. We love to share ideas about digital marketing with one another, with our clients, and with the public. In this quickly-changing space, we know that young people will drive innovation in the future. It’s that awareness, along with our desire to give back to the community we love, that has inspired us to reach out to local students.
As this project unfolds throughout the spring 2018 semester, this page will be periodically updated with the latest news, content and progress.
In the meantime, let’s meet our participating high school and non-profit organization!
MAPLEWOOD RICHMOND HEIGHTS HIGH SCHOOL (MRH)
Located in Maplewood, MO, Maplewood Richmond Heights high school is “designed to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. We pride ourselves on our diversity and emphasize our personal touch with students. Technology is part of our daily learning as is our emphasis on health and wellness. Our students are our greatest assets and we continue to invest heavily in their futures.”
NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS (NAMI) ST. LOUIS
With several locations spread throughout the St. Louis area, the National Alliance on Mental Illness St. Louis’ “mission is to improve the quality of life of persons with severe and persistent mental illness and their families, and promote and provide community support, education, advocacy, and understanding.”
Thanks to everyone at MRH and NAMI St. Louis who made the Seafoam Marketing Challenge possible. We can’t wait to get started!
February 7, 2018 — Seafoam’s Owner and Founder, Nikki Bisel, and Brand Manager, Zach Laidlaw, join Christi Patterson of NAMI St. Louis to officially kick off the Seafoam Marketing Challenge!
For a deeper dive into this program and what it means for MRH, NAMI STL and Seafoam Media, check out the video below.
MASSIVE shoutout to Pam Withers, John Capuano, Otto Schultejans, Sean McCrary (the man behind the camera) and the awesome marketing students at MRH! This program could not have been possible without you any of you. We can’t wait to see what you guys build for NAMI St. Louis.
March 1, 2018 — It’s safe to say that no two marketing strategies are alike. Not only do these strategies change based on a brand’s wants and needs, but their goals and mission will largely influence their digital route to success, as well.
The differences become even greater, still, when breaking down a client’s business structure — particularly when it comes to for-profit companies versus nonprofit businesses.
March 7-8, 2018 — This week, the marketing students at MRH joined the Seafoam team at our headquarters in Maplewood to show off their preliminary research and marketing strategies that they pulled together for NAMI STL. After viewing the presentations, Seafoam’s team provided constructive feedback for the students to fine-tune their strategies before they give their final pitches in April.
Overall, the students’ presentations were insightful, creative and aspirational. We can’t wait to see how the students receive our feedback and inject it into their marketing strategies.
Shoutout to Mrs. Withers and Mr. Capuano for escorting the students from MRH for this rendezvous! Our team had fun spending time with you all!
April 12, 2018 — With the end of the school semester right around the corner, the time has come for the marketing students at Maplewood-Richmond Heights to put their research and knowledge to the test.
In early April, nine teams competed against each other to earn the top spot for the inaugural run of the Seafoam Marketing Challenge. Each team was given just 10 minutes to present their final marketing strategies to Seafoam’s owner and founder, Nikki Bisel, and the Executive Director of NAMI St. Louis, Christine Patterson.
After the dust settled, and Seafoam’s team had time to consider the projects that were unveiled, the best of the best had to be chosen.
Here are the official results of the first Seafoam Marketing Challenge featuring MRH and NAMI St. Louis…
Winning Team: Creative Royalty
Creative Royalty is managed by Cara Bibbs (senior), Sean McCrary (sophomore), and Mariah Washington (freshman). Taking great care to understand their clients’ needs, mission, and goals, Creative Royalty were ultimately chosen as the top team for their ability to understand NAMI St. Louis’ needs and address their concerns.
Runner Up: Global Drive
Global Drive is helmed by Jalia Conner (senior) and Zariah Jones (senior). Following extremely close behind in our runner up slot, Global Drive took the brave initiative to not only build a unique, potentially-viral social media campaign, but they also took the time to launch their strategy and record the results before giving their final presentation.
MVP: Madi LaChance
Our Most Valuable Partner award was designed to recognize the contributions of a team participant that was not a member of the winning or runner up teams. For her exceptional leadership skills and infectious work ethic to push her team forward, this semester, we chose Madi LaChance (junior) as the Seafoam Marketing Challenge MVP.
The students from our winning team, runner up team, and MVP will be given the opportunity to interview with Nikki for our paid Summer Student Internship. Multiple students will be selected from the pool of candidates to join the Seafoam team in our office where they will build out a real, tangible digital marketing strategy for NAMI STL.
From the Seafoam team, we sincerely want to thank all of our teams for participating in the first round of the Seafoam Marketing Challenge. We hope that you learned a lot this semester and are able to take these skills on to your future education and careers.
Finally, congratulations to our winning team, runner up team, and MVP! You all did a phenomenal job! We’ll see you all soon.
Finally, the dust from the Seafoam Marketing Challenge has settled, and our two victors have emerged from the battlefield.
After much deliberation, the winners of the first Seafoam Marketing Challenge summer internships have been selected. They are…
- Madi LaChance
- Cara Bibbs
Congratulations to our internship winners! We were really impressed by the grit, innovation and leadership you both exhibited throughout the Marketing Challenge and in the interview process. We can’t wait to work with both of you!
We also want to thank the remaining students from Creative Royalty and Global Drive who interviewed for the internship positions. This decision was a difficult one for us to make. You all should be extremely proud of the work you’ve accomplished this semester!
What comes next?
Both Madi and Cara will join Seafoam’s team in our office this summer where we will map out and launch a workable marketing strategy for this semester’s client, NAMI St. Louis.
Big thanks to everyone!
We know we’ve said it a few different times, but the team at Seafoam honestly couldn’t be more grateful to have the support of the MRH staff/students and NAMI St. Louis. We thank you all for joining us on this awesome adventure. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Not finished, yet…
Now that the school semester has nearly come to a close and the internship winners have been selected, the incredible first round of the Seafoam Marketing Challenge is only halfway finished. There is still plenty more to do as we roll up our sleeves and get to work on a strategy for NAMI St. Louis.
We will be updating this page all summer long with new content regarding Madi’s and Cara’s progress. We’ll also be posting updates to our social media channels using the hashtag #SeafoamMarketingChallenge.
So make sure you check out this page and our social media feeds often! There’s still a lot more story to tell.
See you soon!
As the final week of the 2018 spring school year comes to a close at Maplewood-Richmond Heights High, we reflect on the incredible journey that we were privileged to take part in.
To get a better look at how the Seafoam Marketing Challenge impacted MRH’s staff, students, and curriculum, we sat down for a quick chat with Pam Withers, the marketing teacher who helped guide this program each and every day. Here’s what she had to say…
A Brief Interview with Pam Withers, the Marketing Teacher at MRH
How do you feel the Seafoam Marketing Challenge went this past semester?
There’s a learning curve with every new adventure, but overall, I think it was a success!
What has the program meant to you as an educator?
Our building metaphor is “School as Apprenticeship.” You can’t get more in line with that goal than by offering the students a real-world opportunity to take what they’ve learned in class and apply it to a real situation to help a non-profit. The concepts they’ve learned and the ideas they’ve generated will actually be put to use with our non-profit partner, NAMI St. Louis.
How has this program differed from the usual marketing curriculum?
In a typical semester, the students will take notes, produce projects, develop presentations, and have discussions. So in that regard, things haven’t changed, but this is SO MUCH MORE!
They are working in their groups, doing research about non-profits and marketing plans, and then presenting to members of the non-profit and Seafoam Media.
Plus, [students] sometimes take what their teacher says “with a grain of salt,” but when it comes from adults who aren’t their teacher? I gain a little more credibility because, “Hmmmm, maybe she does know a little about what she says in class!” 🙂
The stakes are higher and the ultimate prize is a paid internship for the summer with Seafoam. How many high schoolers get that chance? College, maybe, but not high school. It’s an incredible opportunity.
What do you believe the program meant to your students?
There were many students who really wanted the internship. It was a goal for them even to make it to the interview pool. Those who didn’t feel they were ready for that level still gained a lot of knowledge in soft skills and marketing. They were more invested because this was a real client for them to work for. They learned skills that will help them in organizations, clubs, classes, post-high school life — everywhere!
What are your reactions to the students’ projects?
I think the students did a fantastic job. They just learned about these concepts and then were able to apply them to real world. Were they on a professional level? Some were! But we are dealing with freshmen through seniors, so the background knowledge and experience is different. I tried to group different grade levels together on the teams just to help with this fact. Now that we have a body of work to show next year’s students, I can see the projects becoming more and more advanced with each year.
Is MRH interested in continuing this program in the future?
We are so eager for this program to continue! This is such an exciting opportunity for our students that they can’t get anywhere else, and I can only imagine this helping our marketing and business program to grow even further!
To ensure the work of the winning teams from our inaugural year of the Seafoam Marketing Challenge are always celebrated, Seafoam gifted a plaque to Pam Withers to hang in her classroom. As this program continues, the plaque will be updated to give future classes a goal to strive for, as well as to provide past winners with a record of their great work.
Looking back at the start of the first Seafoam Marketing Challenge in February 2018, it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come in a relatively short period of time.
At the beginning of the year, this program was unlike anything the students or the teachers at MRH had ever been a part of. We were all on a maiden voyage of learning, discovery, and creation together.
A Worthy Captain
With Pam Withers guiding her marketing class through the various lessons our team co-wrote with her, and with John Capuano’s additional leadership, the MRH students were exposed to what marketing looks like on a real-world level. Not only that, but they were then challenged to build marketing strategies of their own for this semester’s non-profit client, NAMI STL.
We had the chance to see these presentations in person, and ultimately, a winner was chosen. From the winning team, the runner up team, and our MVP, two students were selected to join us at the Seafoam office on Sutton.
From there, the biggest phase of this program began.
Building Something Meaningful
Madi and Cara were both given the task of analyzing NAMI STL’s current marketing presence to locate opportunities for improvement. Then they were given the freedom to define how these improvements should be implemented.
Our interns quickly identified room for growth in NAMI STL’s website, as well as their social media platforms. From there, they leveraged Seafoam’s resources to draft their proposed website revisions and to build an attainable social media strategy for NAMI STL.
When the Marketing Challenge Internships began, we had intended on Cara and Madi having the chance to present their final work to NAMI STL before reaching the execution phase. However, all great things must come to an end, and the Seafoam Marketing Challenge is no different; Madi and Cara had to return to school for their Senior year at MRH before this final presentation could be given.
Instead, the Seafoam team will be presenting their work to NAMI STL and putting the final pieces into motion on Madi and Cara’s behalf.
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it hundreds of times: thank you to everyone who made this program possible! Truly, we couldn’t have done it without the dedicated staff at MRH (John, Pam, and Otto), and every Seafoamer who worked with our interns (Liz, Zach, Nikki, Holly S., and Tim) throughout the summer.
Finally, thank you, Cara and Madi, for working with us through our trial run of the Seafoam Marketing Challenge! We were excited to have you ladies hang out with us in the office this summer, and we were even more pumped to have you work on NAMI STL’s social media strategy and website enhancements. We wish you both the best of luck in your final year of high school. Go Blue Devils!
What comes next?
Anything worth doing once deserves to be analyzed, improved upon, and done again.
That’s right, the Seafoam Marketing Challenge isn’t over!
The teams at MRH and Seafoam are already planning how to make the next round of the Marketing Challenge smoother, better, faster, stronger, so stay tuned.
We’ll be back for more in early 2019!