A hard-working team of Marketing students at the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) have recently been awarded AED10,000 and a plethora of other prizes after they created a strategy which could change the way American car giant Cadillac is perceived in the UAE.
Winning team Isra Arif, Kevin Thomas, Mohammad Talha Majeed, Nariman Kulgariri, Roydan Barboza and Tasneem Nawab, guided by Dr K Prakash Vel, Associate Professor and Chartered Marketer at UOWD, took part in a three month project along with a hundred other final year undergraduate students from UOWD’s Faculty of Business. The students were asked by Liberty Automobiles, one of the largest General Motors dealerships in the UAE, to present a strategy which would ignite engagement with Cadillac on social media, change brand perceptions and increase young people’s awareness of the Cadillac range throughout the country as part of their final year studies. Students benefited from an in-depth briefing on the car models available and one-on-one interviews with Majed Abdel Malak, Divisional Sales Manager, Cadillac, Liberty Automobiles and Natalia Tabbara, Marketing Manager, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Opel, Liberty Automobiles, along with the chance to test drive eight different Cadillac models.
After a nail-biting final strategy presentation, the winning team was chosen by Ms Tabbara and Mr Abdel Malak, who were impressed by the students’ imagination in creating a brand mascot, ‘Captain Cadillac’ who personified the values associated with the car brand.
Commenting on the winning strategy, Ms Tabbara said: “We were blown away by how this team focused on presenting a strong structured strategy which works perfectly for the UAE market. They went the extra mile to adapt it across different communications mediums through a unified message and a character which embodies Cadillac’s uniqueness, focusing on what the brand offers in the UAE across its range of models.”
“It will definitely have an impact on the future marketing strategy for Cadillac in the UAE”, Mr Abdel Malak added. “There were so many excellent strategies presented we found it hard to pick just one winning team. The whole project has inspired us to work closely with universities in the future and the experience has been one I won’t forget.”
Team members Isra Arif and Tasneem Nawab were overjoyed with their win, stating “It feels amazing that all of our efforts were appreciated by the Cadillac representatives and the University. We loved the practical aspect of this experience – it wasn’t just focused on academic theory, assignments and exams, but instead bought everything we’ve learnt along our journey at UOWD into ‘real life.’”
The team were presented with a cash prize of AED 10,000, a weekend drive with a Cadillac of their choice and Cadillac merchandise at an awards ceremony at the University’s Knowledge Village Campus. Second and third place winners were also chosen by the brand representatives, winning Cadillac merchandise and a weekend-long test drive.
Dr Vel, concluded: “As a lecturer in the field of marketing over the last 20 years, I have observed that Millennials are strong in ‘out of the box’ thinking. This project has cemented these beliefs – the standards of the final strategies presented by the students have been exceptionally high across the board. It has been an amazing hands-on experience for all involved and gave a taste of developing a marketing strategy in the world of commercial business, away from text books and libraries. Working to shape the strategy of such a well-known brand has helped students put all of the theory they have learnt in to practice. We’re extremely thankful to Cadillac for providing this opportunity, supporting UOWD’s industry-academia collaboration initiatives.”