Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Apprentice- The finalists!
Week 11: The finalists have been chosen! Last task! The teams had to come up with a luxury brand for affordable prices. They had to display their prototypes in their own shop then pitch their new brand and product ranch to top experts in the business. The best brand and business plan will win, this week the candidates had to finally show off business acumen in depth besides active selling, marketing or management qualities. It was about creativity&vision but mostly, understanding the market, pricing strategy and a business plan. Phoenix got Adam as a PM since Lord Sugar felt it was time. Though he kind of grew on us, this week it was clear Adam was out of his depth. He had no idea what the task was about, what a strategy is not to mention a business plan...he did jump head in with excitement and strength but clueless non the less. They chose chocolate! Quickly though it became also jelly's, hot chocolate and other additional products. They had no lead product to represent the brand. Funny enough, Nick’s first business was a coffee shop with one leading product for his new brand. He should have been utilized better not to mention listen to.. Sterling was run by Ricky, praying third time as a PM will be lucky and he will finally win. Together with Tom they chose the male grooming market. They obviously have a personal interest here which proved motivating too. Creating three products with a touch of tradition and heritage to be sold in boutique like flag stores around the country and Europe. They did major market research and knew their niche very well! They visited a chain of salons for men to discuss branding and business modals. Tom was in charge of the brand name and business plan, Ricky went to the factory to create the products themselves under the name: Modern gentlemen. For Phoenix having a mishmash of products the chosen name was: Sweet thing. Nick was in charge of branding and the business plan, Jade went to the factory to make the products. They did go to a chocolatier to do some research but they enjoyed eating more then anything, therefore, they failed to ask important questions regarding pricing and business modals. Nick tried to warn Adam that they should narrow it down, have a lead product so they have a clear brand identity but no one listened. Jade came up with flavors and names for the range. Testing day! Both teams created a space to showcase their brand and range. Sterling was lacking creativity and color. It was very minimal display. Ricky&Tom felt the gray and minimalistic display represents luxury and tradition but it was a little too blend. They did offer wet shaves using their products to create an experience and interaction with the client which was a great idea! Phoenix had a very interesting store, very colorful. Because one of the products was called drunken jelly's, Jade added a cocktail bar to go with it. Qua atmosphere it was a good idea however, I don’t know that people knocking down shots is very chic or luxury...They did have great visual stimulance, smells and entertainment. Next was pitching to industry experts and Lord Sugar himself! Ricky and Tom were brilliant! They drilled each other before hand so were very well prepared and had all their figures. The best thing was that they took the criticism from testing day on board and implemented changes were possible. They made changes to the packaging to make it standout more and look luxury. They will sell only in their luxury flag shops. Pricing was spot on. Adam’s team created a bright and interesting shop but once they opened their mouths, it went down hill... They had no strategy or any kind of real business plan. Nick tried to save the day but there was no attention to detail and their positioning was flawed. The price was actually for mass sales in supermarkets, not the point... They priced their chocolates at 2.99 pound so it was slightly higher then supermarkets and less then chocolatiers but they took a loss! It made no sense, at that price it was not middle position more like loosing position. In the boardroom Lord Sugar had to chose his finalists! Tom and Ricky were very professional and though a few errors were made, they have a better brand and even better plan securing a spot in final. For Phoenix it was fight time! It was clear that Adam had to go..Jade too since I doubt she would actually win this but there you go, she has more luck then brains. Its almost over..Tune in next week to find out who the victor is! Can't wait!