They fit together like BBQ sauce and a pulled pork sandwich.
When Kim Landrum, a senior lecturer in the Advertising and Public Relations (AdPR) Department at Grady College, reached out to Katie Throne, the founder and owner of Porky Goodness, Athens’ first female-owned BBQ sauce brand, she knew the brand would be a perfect fit for her Integrated AdPR Campaigns capstone class.
In the class, students pair with local brands, such as Porky Goodness, to serve as their agencies for a semester. The idea is that students are able to gain real world experience while they support the advertising and public relations efforts of the brands they pair with.
“I always try to find small business owners or student organizations, because then we’re able to make an investment back in the community and support small business,” said Landrum. “Porky Goodness was just right. Katie had tangible requests that students could meet. It aligned really well for our team.”
Early on in the fall 2022 semester, Throne met with the seven-student team assigned to the Porky Goodness brand. The students interviewed her and asked her about the challenges she was facing. From there, they wrote up a plan.
Throughout the semester, the students took a deep look at the analytics behind Porky Goodness’ social accounts, developed content designed to do well on social, helped Throne shoot cooking videos, put wholesale information on the website, allowing interested retailers to easily submit a request for the Porky Goodness product, gave Throne a few lessons on creating TikTok videos and Instagram Reels, and put together a template for a recurring newsletter, which Throne said has already led to several orders.
“The students listened really well to what I needed done in a short period of time and knocked it out,” said Throne, who started Porky Goodness in March 2021. “At the end of the semester, I was blown away with all that they had completed for me. I hope they learned something from me, but I really learned a lot from them.”
For senior advertising and public relations students, this class is a chance to put what they’ve learned to the test and gain practical experience in their future industry. The value of the class is not lost on the students.
“Working with Porky Goodness has been such a rewarding experience,” said Coley Warren (AB ‘22), a December graduate who was on the Porky Goodness team. “From being able to work with a local client to producing portfolio-quality content, my classmates and I were able to gain real world experience far beyond the classroom setting.”
“Katie was so good about giving the students access and really listening to what they had to say,” added Landrum. “It made the experience as good for the students as it was for her.”
It became clear, throughout the term, just how passionate the students were about working with Throne and the Porky Goodness brand. One student, who drives race cars, put a Porky Goodness decal on his car before an upcoming race, Throne said. Another student, Nina Boone, still works with Throne and the Porky Goodness brand.
“When you’re a little company like we are, you don’t have a lot of money to spend on marketing, photos, graphics and so on,” said Throne. “The students were a tremendous help. I appreciated everything that they did.”