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Oct. 31, 2017

The top four finalist teams in the business administration co-op cohort presented their ideas to Dare Foods Limited (Dare) executives during the Spring 2017 Integrated Case Exercise (ICE) finals.

Held twice per year, ICE is a mandatory part of the third year of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics’ bachelor of business administration (BBA) program that has been taking place for over 40 years. Worth 10 per cent of each grade of the courses taken during the term, 600 students in 100 teams presented their proposals in both reports and live presentations to faculty and alumni judges over the 10-day exercise. The top four teams were selected through multiple rounds of judging to gain the chance to present their concepts to executives from Dare.

Dare asked students to come up with creative solutions to drive awareness for their recent (and tasty) innovations in the cookie and cracker categories; Dare provided product packages to all 100 teams to provide them with the opportunity to try the products the teams would be analyzing. The solutions put forward by the finalist teams explored national partnerships with complementary products, linkages with not-for-profit organizations, channel expansion, media outreach, and social media campaigns.

“We were very impressed with the ideas brought forward from the ICE finalists,” said judge and BBA alumna Melissa McCauley, director of marketing at Dare. “It was great to get fresh eyes on our marketing challenge of driving awareness and trial on many new innovative products with Canadian consumers. The students brought forward unique ideas and creative solutions on how we could build our brands – and we’re excited about possibly implementing some of these ideas to help continue to grow our business.”

Dare executives evaluated each of the four finalist teams using the same criteria they use in evaluating a brand manager’s proposal within Dare: strategic fit with brand and consumer target; prioritization of initiatives and the rationale based on potential for success; size of potential opportunity and the logic of the marketing math; and the creativity of solutions and how they address Dare’s objectives.

The winning team comprised of Jacob Darlington, Zachary Guitor, Yuting Pan, Kezia Ramalho and Tyler Raytek. Their creative solution included actually creating a commercial to advertise their proposed partnership with another product-company with similar core values to Dare.

“It still feels somewhat surreal. It is not something you expect to happen, I don’t think anyone in our group expected to win when we got together for the first time,” said Darlington. “We were fortunate to have a group full of very intelligent and motivated people. In the end, I believe what set us apart was the diversity of our team; each group member played to their strengths, whether it be creativity, analytical ability, or public speaking skills. I think having that diversity and utilizing it effectively is essential to winning a competition of this magnitude.”

Tom Hare, Dare’s vice-president of marketing and technical services, spoke to all finalist students about the quality of their degree: “We have the honour of employing a number of Laurier grads and I want you to know that they represent you well. The preparation that’s done here is exceptional.”

The winning team was rewarded with leather briefcases, hoody sweaters, other gifts and gift cards from Dare. All finalists also received a gift card from Dare and hoody sweaters recognizing their position as finalists in ICE.

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