The namesake confections sold at Dozen Cupcakes are organic, sustainable, locally produced and — by all accounts — over-the-top delicious.
But undergrads from Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business learned firsthand that putting out an exceptional product is only one facet of running a small business.
In a case competition coordinated by the Tepper School's Undergraduate Marketing Organization, student teams were asked to devise a marketing plan that would integrate the company's original Pittsburgh bakery into an expansion plan for a new café and more menu offerings.
"Teams tried to form a uniform brand identity for two locations," explained Puja Katariwala (TPR '08), the organization's president.
The winning team, which included Carnegie Mellon engineering student Jordan Devries (E '08) and Tepper School undergrads Vrushali Paunikar (TPR '08) and Sean Weinstock (TPR '08), suggested combining the cupcake and bakery brands to create an overarching "Dozen Experience."
They proposed a platform highlighting tactical, financial and strategic shifts, including:
integrating the company's separate websites for a stronger, singular online presence
enhancing visibility for the Dozen Cupcakes catering service as an extension of the well-known bakery business unit, and
wrapping the company's marketing programming within the tag line: "Tastes delicious — Dozen it!"
The competition represented the first time the student organization has reached out to partner with an off-campus business to provide the case. (Last year's competition focused on campus dining services.) Judges included Dozen Cupcakes' general manager and a company supervisor, as well as local marketing professionals and Tepper School faculty.
"Students get exposure to solving a real-life business problem. This is a case that does reflect an actual problem that [a company] is going through," said Katariwala.
Of course, there is the added bonus of working with a company that produces delicious treats, 100 of which were donated for sampling during the student presentations. All teams received gift certificates, and the winners will be featured on the company's website.