February 24, 2009
Morningside College students Stephanie Rude of Storm Lake, Iowa, left, and Howard Wanned of Sioux City, right, discuss their marketing project with Pam Mickelson, professor of business administration at Morningside.
Morningside College marketing students have created marketing proposals for a new product designed to help patients recover more quickly from the effects of a stroke.
The product was created by Keith Johnson, a visiting assistant professor in the business and economics department at Morningside and owner of Johnson Development Group, a consulting business. Three years ago Johnson suffered from a stroke and it was through his personal recovery that he developed his new product.
When insurance benefits ran out on his therapy Johnson was left without answers as to how to continue. He was unable to have full function of his left leg and could not lift his left arm any farther than his waist.
From this point, after some work with a physical therapist in the Sioux City area, Johnson moved to Sioux Falls and found himself resting on his couch more often than he should. The breakthrough occurred when he found a personal trainer without experience in recovering stroke victims, but with the open mind and willingness to try to help Johnson. Now, smiling, Johnson can raise his arm over his head.
When he saw the improvements he was making, he thought he could help others. He set up his video camera and began to tape every moment of his therapy. These videos became the product he was hoping to promote for other stroke victims, physicians, hospitals, families of stroke victims and anyone else who could benefit from seeing the options when insurance fails and the road to recovery feels too long. This is where Mickelson and her students entered the picture.
“I saw her ability to work with students. They flock to her. She’s taken her love for education and turned it into a passion for helping businesses,” said Johnson when asked why he chose to bring his product to Mickelson’s class at Morningside College. The students, many without any knowledge of stroke recovery, were given the video of Johnson’s recovery and the things that he was looking for in order to launch his product.
Students then began the long process toward their final product. They were taught theory and basics of advertising, but had to complete the research on strokes and recovery on their own to find their target market and seek out those who would benefit from the videos. Students next, in agency-like groups, took the advice and teachings of Mickelson, the personal story and recovery of Johnson and created four proposals, including brand imaging and secondary products, to present to Johnson and his wife.
“I was very scared of the project initially since I didn’t know anything about strokes. But our group did a fantastic job with the research and development and we had a great designer so our final project came out extremely well. I felt very confident in what we presented to Dr. Johnson,” said Stephanie Rude, a junior from Storm Lake, Iowa, who is majoring in business administration.
Rude is one of four students who are participating in an independent study course to further this project and put the DVD on the market. The students, with the aid and input of both Johnson and Mickelson, will pick the best aspects of each of the proposals and combine them into one marketing proposal.
“It’s been my opinion for many years that the innocent mind can give or create unbiased products,” said Johnson. He also commented that he videotaped the presentations as well and finds new responses every time he watches them. He was impressed and his wife was overwhelmed with the work that the students created.
Mickelson said, “He and his wife saw the end results of the projects. The product names and proposals were strong. I was anxious for the pitches at the end. It was a neat day for Dr. Johnson. I would say he was pretty blown away. Every presentation had things that he could use. He is now looking for his next step.”