NIU students create brand identity for village

DeKALB – On April 23, the mayor of Rockton, a small town 12 miles north of Rockford, met with Northern Illinois University College of Business MBA Fast-Trak students. Mayor Dale Adams offered the MBA students a big new assignment: “Help us promote our village.”

The Rockton population is 7,500, but the village balloons when people visit the area for sporting events, weddings and other seasonal activities. The challenge: visitors leave to dine, shop and find lodging elsewhere. With historic parks, roomy athletic fields and a riverfront to brag about, Adams looks to the College of Business MBA students to maximize the potential of economic activity.

Their charge will be to create a brand identity and marketing plan to attract visitors, expand economic activity and develop an enhanced business-friendly climate for Rockton. Adams cites economic centers like Galena and St. Charles as models for Rockton to emulate as the bedroom community moves forward.

These “capstone” projects help businesses see their potential through the fresh eyes of 30 to 40 NIU MBA students who have successfully assisted more than 20 organizations, including Delorean Motor Company, Sears Holdings and Applied Watch Technologies.

For more information about the program and capstone projects, contact Dr. James Johnson at 815-753-1116 or

By increasing profit margins, growing market share, and objectively evaluating companies’ growth, students are offering creative solutions to various business challenges.

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