Marketing students at WBHS study branding through gingerbread houses

By Debbie Adams

Marketing students at William Byrd High School had an innovative assignment this holiday season. They are currently studying the branding unit, which instructor Jill Harris says includes “a plethora” of topics including:

How are events branded differently than physical products?

What role does branding play in an organization’s marketing strategy?

What are the characteristics of effective brand names?

What circumstances might make an organization change its brand?

How do successful companies keep up with the ever-changing landscape of brands?

Harris says she wanted her Marketing students to be able to do something fun while discussing the required material.

So, she gave them this scenario, “There is an underutilized branch of the library that is of concern.  In order to get patrons to visit and see what the library offers, the director of the Roanoke Valley Libraries has asked the members of the Chamber of Commerce to enter a gingerbread house promoting their business or a brand within their business. The display of gingerbread houses would then be an event that would be promoted, which again, would hopefully increase foot traffic at the library branch.”

Marketing students took the role of Chamber of Commerce members and designed the gingerbread houses, which were then put on display in the media center at WBHS.

Students created gingerbread houses for Jerry’s Restaurant, Macado’s, the Hamill Christmas Tree Farm, Kroger, and Master Sgt. BBQ in Vinton, along with Too Many Books, the Great 611 Steakhouse, Walmart, Game Stop, UPS, Magic City Ford, Planter’s, the ASPCA, Tractor Supply, 7 Eleven, Puppy Love, Gander Outdoors, Martin Travel, Fink’s, several businesses at Grandin Village—the theatre, the Roanoke Co-op, Grace’s Place, and Pop’s– and Santa and his reindeer from Valley View Mall.

Jerry’s Restaurant Gingerbread House (photos by Debbie Adams)
Master Sgt. BBQ Gingerbread House
Hamill Christmas Tree Farm Gingerbread creation
Macado’s Gingerbread House
Gander Outdoors Gingerbread House

“The kids had fun with their creations, but many found it more challenging than they thought,” Harris said.

Check out the Vinton Messenger Facebook page for photos of the other Marketing Gingerbread Houses.