Student-led research helps improve park’s brand

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Wicksteed Park in Kettering has benefited from a four-month research project conducted by a Northampton Business School (NBS) student.

Ross Hodgson, from NBS’ student-led business support agency hot house, will help drive a £2 million rejuvenation project at the park.

In May, the agency was commissioned by Wicksteed Park to provide insights into the brand and help formulate a new branding strategy.

Working closely with Wicksteed Park and overseen by senior academics Grant Timms and Kardi Somerfield, hot house consultant Ross planned and implemented a research project which concluded with a pitch to Wicksteed’s managing director Alasdair McNee.

Mr McNee said: “I chose hot house to conduct an extensive piece of qualitative and quantitative research for us and the results were insightful and highly useful and excellent value for money.

“It also provided a real life opportunity for a student to gain valuable experience and this will no doubt help him when he graduates and seeks his first full time role.”

Ross added: “This project provided me with valuable experience and allowed me to gain key insights in to market research. Completing this project has also provided me with a 12-month placement opportunity and the real life commercial connections I have made are invaluable.”

Grant Timms, the lead marketing academic on the project, said: “The student-led project from the university’s hot house team added fresh creativity and academic understanding to the different ways the Wicksteed Park brand could be revitalised.

“Kardi Somerfield and I worked with the client and the hot house team to design a research programme that delivered real insight to the management team and Wicksteed Park. Ross Hodgson did a fine job and showed great energy and enthusiasm. He certainly earned his money and we hope this will be the start of a long term relationship with NBS and Wicksteed Park.”

As well as the current lake rejuvenation, Wicksteed Park also has plans to rebrand in order to strengthen its market share.