BARNES & NOBLE ANNOUNCES BABSON STUDENTS AS WINNERS OF NOOK STUDY™ MARKETING CONTEST

A team of 5 undergraduate Babson students won the national marketing contest held by Barnes & Noble.

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New York – May 26, 2011 – Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller and leading operator of college bookstores, announced today that a team of five Babson Collegeundergraduates won the NOOK Study&™ Marketing Contest. Launched in 2010, NOOK Study is Barnes & Noble’s free eTextbook reader and study application that was developed with extensive input by college and university students. The nationwide marketing contest extends Barnes & Noble’s collaborative approach by engaging students to develop a strategy for marketing NOOK Study to their peers. 

Barnes & Noble invited teams of two-to-six students from higher education institutions across the country to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign to raise awareness about NOOK Study’s innovative features and time-saving benefits, as well as the substantial cost-savings available by purchasing eTextbooks. Students were charged with the task of creating a complete marketing plan to build brand recognition and increase product adoption of NOOK Study among their peers. The contest was integrated into the curriculum of marketing and management courses at higher education institutions across the country. 

"All the teams worked around the clock to field original research, develop comprehensive marketing strategies, and design creative solutions for NOOK Study,” said Sandra Metraux, adjunct faculty in the marketing division at Babson College. “I am proud of the Babson teams that submitted plans, and in particular our winning team. The team of five students submitted and presented an outstanding, creative and actionable plan for NOOK Study. They are thrilled to be the winning team."

Three teams of semi-finalists were selected to travel to New York City to present their ideas to a panel of judges from Barnes & Noble. Teams were judged on the submission’s creativity, feasibility, and the overall implementation strategy. Aspects of each of the three semifinalist presentations may be incorporated into a future Barnes & Noble NOOK Study marketing campaign. And, each Babson College team member received a NOOK Color.

“Barnes & Noble is committed to being an innovative and collaborative partner to our 640+ campus communities,” said Jade Roth, Vice President of Books and Digital Strategy at Barnes & Noble. “The NOOK Study Marketing Contest exemplifies how our campus bookstores play vital roles in supporting the educational missions of our campus partners. Students had the opportunity to showcase their talent and earn valuable marketing experience, and the contest provided us with great insights into what students want and need to enhance their learning experience.” 

Babson College students Karina Kaffati, Robert Max Traylor, John Goepel, Ali Falkoff and Alejandra Cangas delivered the winning presentation. After conducting a thorough analysis and in-depth qualitative and quantitative market research, the team developed a multi-pronged approach to raise brand awareness; drive downloads of the NOOK Study application, and communicate product benefits. The team personified the NOOK Study brand through its unique ideas, including the development of an iconic character to represent the brand. The team’s marketing plan positions this character as NOOK Study’s spokesperson for several different advertising campaigns. In addition to the iconic character, the winning campaign also included a robust social media plan and video contests for a chance to win free textbooks.

“We felt there was an opportunity to put a voice and face to the NOOK Study brand that students could relate to and embrace,” said Alejandra Cangas, a member of the winning Babson College student team. “A brand personification was essential for the Barnes & Noble application, with the ultimate objective of it becoming the new buzz among students.” 

A recent survey by Barnes & Noble found that 95 percent of students felt that NOOK Study improved or had a neutral impact on their class performance, while 80 percent said they were “very likely” or “likely” to use NOOK Study again. These numbers have increased since a study was conducted last fall, showing that awareness and positive feedback for the application’s valuable features continues to grow. 

About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 720 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, also operates 637 college bookstores serving nearly 4 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble is the nation’s top bookseller brand for the seventh year in a row, as determined by a combination of the brand’s performance on familiarity, quality, and purchase intent; the top bookseller in quality for the second year in a row and the number two retailer in trust, according to the EquiTrend® Brand Study by Harris Interactive®. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, which also features more than one million titles in its eBookstore (www.bn.com/ebooks). Barnes & Noble customers can buy and read eBooks on the widest range of platforms, including NOOK&™ by Barnes & Noble, eBook Readers from partner companies, and hundreds of the most popular mobile and computing devices using free BN eReader software. 

General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.

NOOK Study&™ is a trademark of Barnes & Noble, Inc.

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Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is recognized internationally as a leader in entrepreneurial management education. Babson grants BS degrees through its innovative undergraduate program, and grants MBA and custom MS and MBA degrees through the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Babson Executive Education offers executive development programs to experienced managers worldwide. For information, visit www.babson.edu.


By Nancy Sullivan, sullivann@babson.edu , 781-239-4623 | 05/26/2011 06:00