Friday, December 21, 2012

The final run in! Happy Holidays:)

The final run in! The final task for our four finalists was to create a new brand of sports wear, designed to go global. They then had to pitch it in an event to industry experts. This task took place in Manchester, home to the most valuable sports clubs in the world! The candidates were split in to two teams, they both got “helpers”, candidates that were fired earlier in the process. Ashley and Lucy against Patrick and the ever so loud Maria. Ashley and Lucy chose street wear. Ashley then went to a street wear center to meet with a focus group, she truly paid attention to what was said and did read between the lines what it is youngsters are looking for in a brand. It proved important also when it later came to key decisions regarding the brand going global. Release was born with the tag line: Strive- merge- achieve. To make sure the logo can be taken overseas, the R was central because it’s recognizable and can be used in many languages. I thought it was very cleverly done! Hard to believe these are two 16 year old girls! They chose their brand to stand for ethics . The street dancers said they don’t want just another empty brand name, they are looking for someone that cares and would give back to the street so to speak. Patrick and Maria chose to re brand cycling, making it young and hip and so, CYC was born with the tag line: Lead the way. Time to make a marketing plan! Both teams chose to make a viral video and use social media. Patrick decided to use a choir- He asked them spill in to a busy shopping mall in small groups as shoppers turn singers. At the end, they spelled out the brand ‘s name. Looking to reach young, urban and cool crowd, using a choir with an average age 35 was risky. Its a shame they were not dressed the same, the brand wasn’t visible enough to everyone. Only at the end, the people looking from above could see their name. Ashley went with a team of street dancers to the park, looking release them so to speak on unsuspecting people and then film them joining in. It was a struggle for a while but it was a fun video in the end and most important, showcased the brand perfectly. Time to brand and launch their cloths, they could choose from unbranded sports wear fitting their brand. Top professionals were going to be assessing them from Adidas to Rio Ferdinand to global marketing experts. Both gave a good fashion show and a good pitch. CYC’s issues with the professionals was the use of the choir and how it connects to the brand itself or rather the lack of it, the fact they used a student that has little money as their example so what does that say about the quality? How big is the potential to go global. For Release it was about how to translate the logo globaly, the uniqueness regarding street wear in general and how to fund the brand’s charity work. Release won! The final deciding factor between the ladies was what they plan to do with the money. While Lucy was planning to go to law school with it which by the way, was a bit strange since this is a business apprenticeship, Ashley had a solid plan in mind for either an accounting firm or a real estate management company. This made her the winner! And a very worthy one in my view. 12 candidates, 1 apprentice! I wish you all a very merry Xmas and an exciting and successful 2013! Kind regards, Diti.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The final candidates!

Did you know that selling at music festivals in the UK, all 800 of them, is a billion pounds business?! This week the candidates received 1,500 pounds from Lord Sugar to buy two products and sell them at one of the biggest music festivals- Womad. The teams had to choose two out of eight possible products and had one day to sell as hard as they could. This was a commercial task, each getting a personal chance though to shine by selling. Odessey was led by Lucy, they made serious mistakes from the get go... When going to meet the designers of each product they thought would sell the best, they completely forgot the basics of negotiations and how to deal with artistic types. There was no polite introduction, enthusiasm about the products or even a demo. They came right to the point of negotiating a better price, coming off rude and even cold. Second fatal mistake was their choice of products! A self powered washing machine...people come to a three day festival, surely they are not going to say: Hey, I missed Bruce Springsteen singing because I was doing my laundry... People bring enough cloths with them to such events. The team completely missed the fun aspect of the event. Platinum was led by Patrick, they didn’t choose their products too well either. Though they had a good slogan for it- Would anyone like to sit down? The portable (cardboard) toilets did not match this event. This is not really camping and it turned out the organizers offered very good facilities.. Patrick chose the seat umbrella with out thinking it’s summer, on the day it was very hot. Though both teams did their market research, they didn’t really used it. Andrew for Odessey went to the mall where no one would speak to him, Ashley went to the right area- Camden town but the PM decided to book the products before hearing the results. So, after Odessey lost the portable toilet (blessing in disguise) they chose the washing machine and the animal funzies. Platinum went with their original choice since the designers of the products loved their attitude and believed they could sell them well, even though they bid less then the other team! It was a victory in it’s self! On the day it took a while but Andrew soon realized the washing machine is more about real camping comfort and this event is too short term, he joined the rest of the team in selling the wanzies. Too bad though the pricing was more about random numbers just thrown out there with no real thought. Patrick made the same pricing mistake with the toilets, they were really over priced and therefore not sold! The umbrella did surprisingly well considering the heat, mean while, the only reason they did sell some of the toilets was Maria going around selling them for any price. Results... Both teams choose items that did not fit the type of people going to this festival! They completely missed the target group- hippies..They missed the no brainer products which were the perfect items for such an occasion- impulse purchases! Such as the solar hats or organic face paint. Odyssey's mistakes proved to be more fatal then Platinum and they lost the task. Unfortunately this was a double firing, only Lucy survived the cut. Lord Sugar did give Andrew and Steve both his business card and told them both to stay in touch! Cool! The final is coming... Stay tuned! Diti.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lizard king or Très chic?

Week 6: This week Lord Sugar asked the teams to create a hair product, brand it, create a TV ad and pitch it to the industry’s top executives. Did you know that hair products are a 2 million pound a year business?! This week Andrew and Maria could not escape it any longer and were appointed project managers, time to put their money where their mouth is! Andrew leading Odessey, was struggling from the get go. No creative ideas were put forward and so much time was wasted during the early stages that later, at the crucial stages of the process they had to make rash decisions and almost missed their deadline. They decided to aim for the men market creating hair gel, they started throwing names out there and came up with chameleon as their top priority. They met up with a focus group which was a boy’s band, the members of the band disliked all the names except chameleon. Coming back to join the rest of the team, it was pointed out many times over that there is a contradiction here- They wanted their brand to stand out from the rest but chose an animal that remains in the background and adapts to the surroundings. Strange enough Andrew decides to instead of start over, to adjust his message: The gel that adapts to you and continued using the name chameleon. Maria leading Platinum went for the female market creating hair spray. The creative process here was faster and very quickly Ashley came up with the name Strexy- Strong and Sexy! They went to their focus group a girl band and got good feedback. Time to move on to design and branding. Both teams went to the supermarkets to see what other brands were doing, what colors they were using ectra. Odessey chose neon green with an image of a chameleon, their TV ad was shot at the swimming pool. The point of their ad was three different guys, three different unique styles. At the last minute Andrew decided to add the comedy touch and be cheeky or so he thought, the last guy walked out with toilet paper stuck to his shoe..oh the horror! To describe Platinum's product and ad in one word would be- tacky! Tiger print using pink (but of course..) This was a clear decision on Maria’s part to make it tacky. When shooting the ad in the boxing ring there was a clear power struggle between Maria and Ashley, leading to confusion and irritation among the professionals shooting it and the hired actors. The story was about two guys boxing, harassing the girl so she puts the spray in her hair and kicks guy ass as a result. Time to pitch- Platinum did a good job presenting their in your face product. It was deliberately tacky but it did stand out which caught the attention of the retailers. Nevdeep pitched for Odessey and did a poor job and therefore, did not really sell their brand. The executives now met Lord Sugar to split hairs with him regarding the winner... The boardroom was very tense, two issues came up almost immediately- Chameleon- Wanting to stand out by using an animal that blends in! Platinum- Having a very tacky cheap looking product might be a turn off. For Odessey the clear contradiction, added confusion combined with an un attractive ad was a bust. The executives thought the toilet paper joke made a joke of the person, saying yes you have the gel and style and still you’re a joke, sending the wrong message completely. It looked like each guy when walking into the swimming pool’s locker room was stealing the gel... there was no edge to it- pick up the gel, look in the mirror, put it down over and over..They also thought girls should have been in the ad to make it attractive to guys. Though cheap looking, Platinum won the task because it was too much in your face kind of ad and product to ignore! This time it paid off for Maria to be Maria... Andrew 5 times looser saw himself already being fired but then Lord Sugar decided to fired Nevdeep for being too academic and not really a business person. I agree with his decision thought it’s also clear Andrew days are numbers and he will not make the final cut. Take away- With all due respect to focus groups and market research, use your instinct and common sense as well! You can’t create a brand to fit the views of a small focus group! You should take their comments on board but it does have to make sense! Have a productive week and if you're celebrating Chanuka- Happy Chanuka:)