Rust-Oleum collaborates with Dominican University

College students create imaginative marketing ideas for Krud Kutter brand.

A partnership between Vernon Hills, Ill.-based Rust-Oleum, located in a far north suburb of Chicago, and Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business gives students opportunities to solve business challenges.

One of Rust-Oleum’s brands, Krud Kutter is familiar to DIYer’s who need to clean up after a painting project but isn’t well-known as a household cleaner.

“Students were tasked with developing a marketing strategy that would grow brand awareness of Krud Kutter and motivate consumers to purchase the product for their routine cleaning needs,” said Rust-Oleum.

The students at the River Forest, Ill. school, located on the west side of Chicago, did some heavy brainstorming and created compelling presentations.

Rust-Oleum said it especially liked a strategy that included imaginative ideas such as YouTube videos showing Krud Kutter being used in public places like restaurants and parks.

MBA student Eveliss Zenner said she deepened her understanding of the power of collaboration: “The practicum gave me an opportunity to appreciate teamwork as well as my individual contributions.”

“Working in groups takes a lot of cooperation. My biggest lesson was being able to work through our differences and still produce good results,” added Zenner.

Frank Glowacki, brand director at Rust-Oleum, was impressed by the students’ creativity.

“The student presentations were top notch,” Glowacki said. “It’s what you present, how you present and how you present as a team. They came up with ideas we never considered. They were really buttoned up.”

In addition to delivering creative ideas to Rust-Oleum, the students received lessons from company leaders who shared insights about strategic brand positioning.

A strong supporter of the partnership, Rust-Oleum’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Jim Stinner said he can envision some of the students joining the Rust-Oleum family someday.

“They know a lot about our business, and we’ve built great relationships already.”

Dominican and Rust-Oleum are now making plans for 2022. Rust-Oleum’s focus will revolve around how business models have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it noted.

The mutually beneficial program, the company added, is proving to be a win-win for all involved.