Reflective essay

Time spends so quickly, and particularly this year.

I still remember 8 months ago, the excitement I felt about moving to London, and starting this MA in Advertising and the creative economies. After a year abroad in Australia, I was not really scared about living far (not that far actually…) from home one more year, in an English-speaking country. I knew that this year would be full of surprises, nice people and amazing experiences. This year was even better than what I expected. When I started my bachelor degree in communication studies, I did know this would be a wonderful field I wanted to work in, but I had no more specific ideas about my future professional goals. My last year of bachelor in Australia confirmed to myself that I wanted to work in something creative. I always liked human psychology, the communication classes undertook during my bachelor and what can actually be linked to these two things and requires creativity at the same? Advertising. My background allowed me to specialize into advertising and start the MACE degree with a major in Advertising. My goal is to work in this industry and this master allowed me to gain new skills, and confirm this idea.

Social media

I have always been on Facebook, Instagram or even Myspace when it started and quite enjoyed it. Ok, I even have to admit that I am kind of addicted to it. But there are some I do not use, and one of those is Twitter. At the beginning of the year, when it was said we have to be on Twitter and improve our social media reputation, I honestly was not really happy with that. Before that, I never got any interest in Twitter. It is like a vegetable that seems weird and not good but as soon as you try you like it. Well, it was this kind of thing to me. I am happy of having been “forced” to use this social network and I know now how it will be important for my future. The advertising field is constantly evolving, some academics are even going so far to say that it is now a  new element of the marketing communication mix ( Mangold and Faulds, 2009). And Twitter is the kind of thing I’m saying to myself “I should have start earlier”… Anyway, as the saying goes, late is better than never. So I have to admit that at the moment, I’m not this famous person on Twitter, I have nothing to be famous of actually. BUT, hopefully it may help me to achieve my future goal. On one hand, Twitter is “doing by learning”. It is then better that I start practising this year, how to tweet and what to tweet about. Twitter is completely different than Facebook and other social media. Each social media platform has its own purposes (Nahai, 2012). On the other hand, it will help me to create a network and also show what I am interested in. If a potential employer will look at my account, he will notice that I am following the news, and particularly interested in the advertising current topics. With Hero, we wanted to be on social media to generate consumers’ engagement. each platform had a specific purpose. As Rampton (2014) points out, it is important to be on social media for a company but it has to be a clearly defined strategy, with goals and purposes. If not, it can be really bad for the brand. This is on Twitter, we focused on creating a network around the company, but also took the opportunity to tweet about news of the company but also heroes’ story, what was part of our strategy. Facebook was used to create users’ engagement via comments, pictures, stories, etc.  Also, from the class perspective, and particularly in Interactive Marketing Communication, the idea that social media is a wonderful but dangerous tool for company was confirmed throughout the use of case studies and examples. I know that in my future job I will have to use social media and will have to keep in mind what I learnt this year, and hopefully I will use it successfully… The point is that within the web 2.0, “any participant can be a content creator” users were only “consumers of content” before (Cormode and Krishnamurthy, 2008).

Creative leadership

To me, creative leadership was one of the most interesting classes I have ever had, and I definitely think we should have more classes like this one. It is the kind of course that will definitely be useful not only in my everyday life, but also in my future professional life. Whatever will be my job, I hope that the boss will apply creative leadership, and I will definitively use it as soon as I have the opportunity.

“The creative leader is not someone who tell people what to do. The creative leader creates conditions […] and a culture where everyone can have ideas.” (Sir Ken Robinson, 2011).

And this is what is needed today. Because of the globalisation, the time-space compression due to new communication technologies, multiculturalism is everywhere. The MACE is a proper representative of multiculturalism. There are about 20 different nationalities for less than 30 people!

According to some, the cultural economy seems to be like a boundary between “culture, economics and technology” (BOP consulting, 2010, p.11). So it seems that nothing would be more appropriate than creative leadership in order to enhance creativity. I really enjoyed the workshop we had with Piers Ibbotson. It allowed me to learn about myself, and it confirmed the idea about how it is important to listen to each other, leader or led. We practised some simple exercises such as the game of the mirror, in pair one person had to do the same movement as the other. One was announced led and the other one the leader. But at one moment, the led should lead the movement rather than the leader, and the goal was to make this change in a really natural way. This exercise illustrates the idea that a creative and great leader is someone who “recognizes that they will not be able to solve all of their critical challenges alone and that they need a lot of help” (Basadur, 2004, p.120). We had a lot of exercices of this genre and it kind of stroke me “Why do companies do not offer this kind of workshop automatically?”. It is true that companies want creativity and innovation from their employees, but if they do not set up an environment favorable to creativity, nothing would come. I will still have in mind this workshop, in my personal or professional life. I know that if one day I have to manage a team I will not hesitate to make this kind of workshop. Not only people gain to know from each other, but it also enhances teamwork and creativity. Creative individuals need an infrastructure proper to allow creativity, and it can and has to be taught to leaders of today and tomorrow (De Pree, 2011).

Designing a Business

Finally, one of the most useful modules of the MACE program was designing a business. I do not really have any experiences in the advertising field, and I know it is a drawback for me in a world were experience is sometimes more important than degree (Hellyer, 2012). It is not that I did not want to, but unfortunately internship are generally not paid and I needed to earn some money during my summer job. I was happy in Australia to achieve a creative portfolio, made of artistic video and other creative artwork. But thanks to designing a business, I can definitely talk about my “job experience” during an interview. There are so many aspect of a real life professional experience I can talk about. First, team work, that was really enjoyable. It is really rare when you find a group in which you feel completely at ease so everyone is listening to each other, giving their own ideas. There was such a great group cohesion, and this is then that you can notice how important it is to behave in an assertive way in order to maximize the benefits of group meetings. Collaboration was one of the key aspects of our team, and I can definitely say that it is linked to creativity. Alex Osborn developed a brainstorming business model in which individuals have to throw all the ideas that comes to mind, in a non-judgmental environment (Barron, 2013). This was the case for our team, but unfortunately it is not always the case. This is why I will always keep in mind that as a team member, I will have to encourage my peers to express themselves, to show them I will never judge any ideas. Also, we faced some problem together that I can definitely talk about during an interview. For instance we took conscious of the importance of weekly meetings that allowed us to not be in a rush, working regularly and thus being efficient because we had time to put things into perspective.  Brainstorming was really useful for us and we really get this idea that nothing is stupid and all ideas have to be considered. Something that you think can be stupide may actually be a good start for the creative idea of the year! Then, the fact that we faced critics together and turned it into opportunities to get better was possible because we did not hesitate to reassess our work and accept negative comments. The fact of not being alone at this moment was quite good because we really felt the “team spirit” that allows people to get better and better. Finally, it is all the aspect of the business that will be useful to me in my professional future. I already knew a bit about the importance of storytelling in marketing but then we had the chance to apply it. Professionals agree to say that “content must be emotionally driven, describe the brand positioning and communicate the differentiating factors about a product” (Williams, no date) in order to win the market and remain throughout ages. This is what we did with hero. We decided to take this business really seriously and we added a real story telling to our umbrella bag. The main thing was the fabric the product is made from: ponchos used by the British army and that would have been throughout away. The name came out really simply with a logical tagline explaining that it protected our soldiers, now it protects your belongings but also the planet (by upcycling). Because of the importance of the storytelling, Hero became an upcycled brand, a social enterprise and no longer only a product.

 

References

Barron, C. (2013) ‘Creativity and Collaboration’, Psychologytoday.com, 30 March.

Basadur, M. (2004) ‘Leading others to think innovatively together: Creative leadership’, The Leadership Quarterly, 15(1), pp.103-121.

BOP Consulting (2010) Mapping the Creative Industries: A Toolkit. London: British Council.

Cormode, G., and Krishnamurthy, B. (2008) ‘Key differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0’, First Monday, 13(6).

De Pree, M. (2001) ‘Creative leadership’, Leader to Leader, 20, pp.10-13

Hellyer, P. (2012) ‘Decades of Experience Mean More than an Old Diploma’, Thenational.ae, 11 September.

Mangold, W. G., and Faulds, D. J. (2009) ‘Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix’, Business horizons, 52(4), pp.357-365.

Nahai, N. (2012) Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited.

Rampton, J. (2014) ‘Why Most Social Media Strategies Fail’, Forbes.com, 22 April.

Robinson, K. (2011) Creative Leadership [Video Online] Available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAGHCwlfh-o (Accessed on: 25 April 2014).

Williams, D. (no date) ‘No Story? No Brand. Transparent Storytelling in Marketing Helps Brands Win’, Sproutcontent.com.

 

 

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Importance of cover letter and resume (always!)

Cover letter and resume are often the first contact we may have with a company we want to work in. And this is why it is so important.

Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 22.21.48Victoria Jackson, the Employability Consultant at Kingston University hold in March a workshop really useful to my career. Actually, I always struggled with doing my CV because I never really knew what I needed to put inside. Despite the fact that I made a lot of researches on the Internet, all the websites were saying different things and thus I was never really sure about the template. This workshop was so helpful. I liked the fact that we had to bring our own CV and working directly on it rather than watching a presentation that teaches us how to make a good CV. Thus, in real time, according to Victoria’s advices I could change some bits, add some expected ones and delete others. No matter the fact that I have no experiences yet in the communication field, I was quite happy to see that there is a way to put other aspect of my life that could be relevant to the industry. Actually, the part Achievement would help me to balance my lack of experience because I can, for example, add the fact that I have designed a business in team this year and we have been announced finalists. Before, I did not really know if I needed to say it or not in my resume, but Victoria told me that it is a good point. Indeed, it is a good way to show that I like competition, that I am good at teamwork and I like challenges. It can also be a starting point of an interview and then I can describe myself according to this business, my task, how we managed difficulties and found solutions. Thus, I feel less my lack of professional experience because this one was like a real industry situation. Then, after the workshop I modified my CV and sent it to Victoria because I am still unsure about some points. I really enjoy the fact that she can help us, even after the workshop and that I can ask her any questions by emails if I need. I really like this event and I think it should have been compulsory to all students. CV and cover letter are the first contacts we may have with a company, and now thanks to this workshop I feel more confident.

As it seems now to have more demands rather than offers for job, people have to try to distinguish themselves. I heard a story once of someone who got “delivered” in a box in order to talk to the CEO. This person would have probably never talked to him with a typical email (too many…). In this way he had the chance to show what he worth and to apply for a job in the company. The Ceo liked the idea so much that he hired him… So, next step for me : Finding a way to distinguish myself from other candidates! Let’s start by doing an original resume. I understand that while receiving a lot, employers would stop at those that stand out from the crowd and it is also a first way to show creativity.

 

Ogilvy PR guest lecturer

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Ogilvy is one of the most important PR agency, and I assisted to a lecture given by Lee Goodger,  of the company at Kingston University.

He first introduced himself, his background and how he is here today. Being an associate director, he is helding an important social media role within the company. I quite liked the fact that he talked about his personal life and why he wanted to work in PR. He said he started really low and finally, when I see where he is today for a quite young age, it is really encouraging.Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 22.17.23

“We are no longer in a period of testing, but are required to deliver strategies with impact and ROI” (Goodger, 2014).

“We are no longer in a period of testing, but are required to deliver strategies with impact and ROI.” – See more at: http://www.holmesreport.com/news-info/13219/Ogilvy-Snaps-Up-Edelmans-Lee-Goodger-For-Social-Media-Role.aspx#sthash.kwudcK4k.dpuf
“We are no longer in a period of testing, but are required to deliver strategies with impact and ROI.” – See more at: http://www.holmesreport.com/news-info/13219/Ogilvy-Snaps-Up-Edelmans-Lee-Goodger-For-Social-Media-Role.aspx#sthash.kwudcK4k.dpuf
“We are no longer in a period of testing, but are required to deliver strategies with impact and ROI.” – See more at: http://www.holmesreport.com/news-info/13219/Ogilvy-Snaps-Up-Edelmans-Lee-Goodger-For-Social-Media-Role.aspx#sthash.kwudcK4k.dpuf

The guest underlined the importance of social media and how we really need to start now to work our social media reputation. Today, most of the companies are using social media, but some still do not and it is bad for their image. He gave the example of Actimel, which could definitely take advantage of social media to create a community around the brand. I enjoyed the fact that he also points out to be careful with social media, there are not only advantages and as soon as something is going bad, it is going viral and thus may be really dangerous for the company. Social media are actually a double-edged tool to use with care. He gave us the example of the famous Oscar selfie made from Ellen DeGeneres. It is a huge product placement from Samsung, but it really looks deceptive when the audience knows that she is actually using an Iphone and not a Samsung. The same story happened to Alicia Keys with a Blackeberry. Those stories went viral and it was really bad for the image of the brand. He also talked about some great use of social media, and it was really interesting because he talked about his personal experiences. He had to manage British Airways’ Facebook page and told us that the regular updates he had to do were satisfying but not really successful on social media. But once, he asked something to the Facebook fans, “ What do you see in the cloud today”. The results were unexpected; it got a lot of “likes”, comments and shares compared to the previous posts. The lesson he taught us was that you cannot force people to participate on social media. I really liked this point because it will be one of the aspects of social media I will focus on my dissertation. I definitely think it is fascinating the power consumers have through social media and the implications for businesses. I cannot say that I really learnt something new this day, because fortunately, we have already learn the importance of managing social media throughout different classes such as Public Relations, Marketing Communication Advertising or Interactive Marketing. However, he confirmed everything we learnt and giving some real and modern example from his own work was really interesting. It was really impressive to meet this person to give me the hope that one day, I can be where he is too.

 

 

Bright Ideas Competition

 

I think that one of my favorite events I was present this semester was the Bright Ideas Competition 2014.

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The first part was about the winners from last years introducing themselves and explaining how their businesses based on their ideas are going now. I was quite impressed by Shruti Barton, who won a prize last year with “Pozzy”, an “original eco flower carrier”. She explained her process of design thinking and it interesting to see that we have be throughout the same with my team. She observed people in the street who were carrying flowers and noticed how inconvenient it was. This is how she came out with a new design of bag to carry those flowers. Her business is still developing today under her own brand “Aesthetics London”.

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Her speech was really encouraging and inspiring for me because with my team we followed quite the same process and we want to continue our business after this year. Unfortunately, we did not win any prizes but as the vice-Chancellor Julius Weinberg said, the more important is that we believed in our ideas and that is already so great that we created something. It is true that only within few months, we came up with an idea, designed the product, manufactured it and had a whole branding strategy. I was really proud of myself because I never thought 1 year earlier that I could be part of a project like this one.

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Finally, to me, the best speech of the conference was Shed Simove’s one. Shed describes himself as an “ideas man”, and he is performer, author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker on creativity and innovation (Simove, 2014). He quickly talked about his background and how he succeeded by turning conventional objects of everyday life into something funnier and more creative. His speech was really inspiring to me when he talked about creativity. He said that creativity is not only about coming up with a new idea, like an innovation, but that you can be creative by changing a little thing to something that is already existing. His speech was highly motivating and entertaining at the same time. He was telling the audience the importance of believing in us and in our own project to succeed and achieve our goals. Thus he took some examples of what he did, and it was quite entertaining. From traditional candles turned into funny ones, or other funny props, he explained his process of creative thinking. The most striking one was about his best-seller book, “What every man think about apart from sex”, with 200 blank pages! What I really appreciated from this persona is that we can really see it is a real businessman despite his funny appearance and crazy behavior. He also wrote two books, much more serious such as “Ideas man” or “Success… or get your money back”.

Shed Simove has been one of the best speeches I have attended to. As soon as I need to be creative, to think outside the box, I try to remind me some of his words and it is quite encouraging.

 

Hero-The markets and the customers’ experience

During this semester, we had one goal: Selling all the Hero we produced (exactly 40…). We made a market research and deduced that 40 would be an achievable goals. Also, if we needed more, it was quite quick to relaunch the production! If you remember, we had 2 types of design. We did not know before selling which one would be the most successful and this is here that we were careful. We decided to not order all the product tipically “half design A, half design B” and instead would rather prefer crowd sourcing our consumers and people we would meet.

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We were a bit disappointed by the stand in Kingston Business School. But rather taking it as a failure, we put things into perspectives and took it as an opportunity to get better for the next. Let’s say it was like a draft actually. We can definitely see it with the improvement of the stand! Thanks to this first stand fair, we got why people did not understand the purpose of our product at the first sight. Comparing with the next stand, it looks a bit “messy”, people did not really get the word “umbrella cover” (“So you are selling covers to put on umbrella while open?”), etc… It was still a great team experience though and allowed us to improve our sell speech, the way to talk to customers and the overwhole design of the stand.

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We were quite confident in our product and the second market was quite a success. I think it was one of the most suitable places for us. Shoreditch, new way of thinking, emerging trends, open-minded people… in few words, my favorite market. I was not really anxious about selling, because my summer job in France and Australia has been salesperson, but I have to admit that as I’ve never done any market before, I was a bit nervous about the unknown. It was different from Kingston because there, it was not about students anymore but real potential customers. But not surprisingly, after having talked to one, two, three persons and practiced a bit the commercial speech, it was alright and enjoyable.

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 21.31.06Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 21.30.53

The third fair (Picture on the right) was not really successful. Despite our good will, the target was not really there… but we made up on the last one that was almost as successful as the one in Shoreditch.

Actually, when I say “successful” I mean the number of product we sold. But success is also how we improved and then I can definitely say we succeeded at all fairs. We were quite pride to be the only group attending all the fairs offered, and despite the fact that sometimes we did not meet our sales objectives, we were quite happy to still participate. The lesson that is confirmed throughout those experiences : nothing better than practising again and again…

Gamification

There are always these kinds of things that you know it exists but you would never put a name on it… To me, “Gamification” was one of these words.

It is one of the aspect of the advertising and marketing field that I never really studied, and I found this topic quite interesting. It could actually be described easily as it sounds, the use of  game design elements in non-game context (Deterding et al., 2011).  What I really enjoy about gamification is that it is actually part of our everyday life and we don’t even have conscious of it. The reward for instance. Rewarding a kid because he did his homework is a kind of gamification.

Gamification appears to be quite successful and this may justify the fact that more and more marketers are using this. From a marketing point of view, gamification means integrating game elements and characteristics into a “website, business service, online community, content portal or marketing campaign in order to drive participation and engagement” (Bunchball, 2010, as cited in Llagostera, 2012, p.13).

I simply  love the Volswagen and fun theory campaign. Not only it has a social and environmental impact, but it is also a perfect way to promote the brand. It gives this impression that the company did not do it in order to get a good advertising, and this is then what we can really call a good advertising… Well, this is too much talk, let’s watch the video!

Here is another one, not really related to car but that clearly improve the brand identity. It is not out of subject because it is still too show how game may enhance people’s engagement and I still quite like it.

The company did a perfect advertising campaign (again…). Here is another quite successful example of gamification with another car company, Mini.

This brand is obviously more prominent in this one than within the Volswagen one. The logo is obvious and it is clearly said that it is made in order to promote the car. But the idea was perfectly found so it did not really irritated people, and on the contrary it succeeded in engaging users within the brand’s spirit.

And finally, there are always the goods and the bads… Like social media and any other marketing tools, marketers have to keep in mind that everything they do have to be purposeful, with clear goals and objectives. It seems useless to say one more time that being on social media just to be on social media because everyone is doing this is really bad for the image of the brand. It is exactly the same with gamification, it is a kind of a new marketing buzz word, what means quite attractive and seems exciting. But it does not mean it will work for all companies. So, here is Foursquare, a well-known social platform, which, in 2012 was giving away badges. But for what? People did not really get the purpose.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 20.58.09Because everyone is doing badges, they did so. But marketers should not confuse badges with value (Kleinberg, 2012) and remember everything should have a sense.

 

References

Deterding, S., Dixon, D., Khaled, R., and Nacke, L. (2011). ‘From game design elements to gamefulness: defining gamification’, In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments’, pp. 9-15.

Kleinberg, A. (2012) ‘Brands that Failed with Gamification’, Imediaconnection.com, July 23.

nds that failed with gamification

Read more at http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/32282.asp#wcUDhUo6GojPM6hD.99

Llagostera E. (2013) ‘On Gamification and Persuasion’, SB Games, Brasilia, Brazil, pp.12-21.

The end of a third of the year…

Wow. Time spends so quickly, I still have the impression that I pushed the door of Kingston uni last week.

I thought for my last article of the semester that it would be great doing something about my major, but not only, it is also one of the things that passionate me: advertising.

This creative industry changes so quickly… but at the same time keeps some rules that are key factors for a company to succeed.

First, advertising is about brand’s image and identity. Difference between image and identity. I saw few days ago an interesting example of this brand patagonia that does a kind of “no advertising” (it’s the impression that is given to the audience) but it is actually a clever strategy. By encouraging people to not buy too many products of their brands (avoid over-consumerism) and repair them when needed, the brand shows an image of a trustful company because they do not look for selling by any ways. Thus, when people will need some of their products, even if they may be more expensive than basic brands, people will be more likely to buy Patagonia because it is a brand which don’t ask them to buy unnecessarely.

More information here.

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Then,  advertising is also about maintaining the brand identity such as throughout social media. It can be as good as bad but companies have to keep in mind that social media are dangerous… We’ve seen this case of crisis communication with the case of Nestle and kit kat [More about the story here]. I remember one of the dragon who told us the importance of crisis management, and having some strategies in case of… There are actually two kinds of crisis: The unknown unknown, the one that we can’t even imagine to happen, such as an airplane crashing on Kingston University, and the known unknown that have chances to happen and for which we can try to plan some solution such as a fire starting in the cafe.

Here is the video made by Green Peace to denounce the use of palm oil and the responsibility in the deforestation for Nestle.


There is one rule that we have to keep in mind after this situation: On social media, when there is a problem, companies don’t have to hide it because obviously it’s already too late… Everything goes so fast throughout word of mouth!

Also, I have re-discovered this year one of the components of the marketing communication mix that goes really well with advertising: Public relations. Influencing people opinion is a great way to advertise your brand and company. Even if social media are more and more important, this field still lies on traditionnal newspaper. As people of the Y generation, we don’t have to think that it is all about the internet and word of mouth. We have to keep in mind the importance of traditional media. It is really important to not think that we are the target audience, and we have to think as our USER to target well our customers. In this way, it is important to not avoid any way of promoting a product because we think it’s “useless”.
Here are some awesome PR campaigns… wish one day it could happen to me!

Well, it’s actually impossible to summarize all the concepts of advertising in one post, but I just wanted to share with you some interesting facts. It is evolving so quickly that we’ll never know what happen next and when. So many other things to talk about, such as the new album of Beyonce that didn’t get any advertising and what a success!! Just because of this word of mouth, the internet and all these things that allow people to share all over the world…

To come to our Hero, we obviously don’t have any budget to spend in advertising but it does not mean we’ll just wait for the customers at the fair.

We’ll obviously write a press release and send it to some traditional newspaper (maybe we’ll get a chance to be published and at least we try 🙂 ), then we’ll obviously have a facebook and twitter page. Also, we’ll used owned media such as our company website composed of a blog with heroes’ story. But we really want to create a kind of relationship with our customers and this is why we want to create a gallery event where we will expose some heroes’ story, distribute Hero badges, ask people about who is more of a hero for them and send him/her an email saying “keep up the good work”…

Dragon’s Den, here we go!

So finally, here we are. After 2 months of works made of:

-15 hot chocolates per person in one of Kingston’s bar (At least!)

-Hours of meeting (What includes also a lot of hours of buses/tubes)

-A lot of passion

-A bit of competition

-Brainstorming (again and again)

-Destruction and reconstruction

-And love!

We were on the 6th of December presenting our product and its branding strategy to the Dragons. Before this important date, we met again around a hot chocolate to improve a bit our presentation and practise. We decided to reduce the part where we talk about the channels. We practised the presentation after Mark’s class, as we finished earlier, we met Dan and practised again to be more than  ready.

Before the presentation, I knew I had to work a lot about the oral presentation, because I’m quite an introverted person and as you might have noticed, my pr

esentation skills need to be improved. I tried to put in practise what we did at the end of one of Corinne’s class: Trying to breath and talk using my belly instead of my chest. I know I speak generally quietly, and I am generally stressed about presentation but actually there is no secret: Practise again and again. At least for me, I know it’s the solution. Some people are luckier and have oral ease, but that’s not my case. This time, I was feeling quite comfortable, I knew what I needed to say and the fact that we practised gave me a lot of confidence: We respected the time, we had a group consistency and we trusted in our product and its brand.

Before the presentation, it was nice to feel everyone pretty excited (maybe to hide some stress?) to present to the Dragons.

photo 2

Groups getting ready…

Selfie!!

Selfie!!

photo 1

2 of my lovely team members (Where is Dan??)

Corrine told us how we would be organized within the two different rooms (Yes, we had to present twice!), and then, everything happend really quickly.

We watched the Loo Lala presentation (Great job girls by the way 🙂 ) and then it was our turn. I think we made a better impression to the second group of Dragon’s den, that looked more interested in our product than the first one, but both seemed to be satisfied with our product.

The feedbacks we got were quiet useful. And it’s always the negative ones that are the most useful actually… We did a mistake about the financial aspect of our product: We simply didn’t talk about that at all… What a stupid mistake when we think after all. But we had the chance to exchange a bit with them after the presentation, so we talked about the price. They agreed 10 pounds is a good price for our product. They wanted to see the product, if it was really waterproof and how it really looked. One of the Dragons told us that it would be such a useful product for him, and he completly recognized himself in the situation (problem) we presented. We also talked about our target group, and how it can be so diverse actually. One even said that we could publish an ad in some airlines magazines… Time spent so quickly we had to stop talking and wait for the judges to vote for the best presentation and best idea.

We knew we did a good job, but we also knew that all the groups were quiet good so we didn’t have any expectations about the results.

After a while, we met all in the same room and… ta dam! Congrats to Le petit sac for the best presentation and Enamel London for the best product idea!

That’s so good to see how every group has evolved since the first “idea presentation” in class… 🙂

Finally, we had a chance to talk with some of the Dragons to have more details about what they think about our product. We asked the only woman of the Dragons, who created with an associate an umbrella that changes of colours under the rain (so cool!). She said she would not buy our product because the color (camouflage) does not fit with what she usually wears. It is in this case that you take conscious about how subjectivity is high in this kind of judgement because a moment ago, one of the dragon told us he would buy it! Well, after we tried to think about how we could figure it out, and if it would be possible to use other product (and thus other colors). She also raised the fact that what is our solution if we can’t use the army ponchos anymore? So it’s true we may have to think about some other cloth still with the idea of upcycled product in case of there is an issue with the poncho cloth… One of the dragon confirmed this idea saying how crisis management is important, and how we need to think about that before it happens. We also talked about trademark, the brand name, etc. A lot of interesting feedback and in few words such a GREAT ADVENTURE, with a wonderful team..

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The next steps are about receiving and sending ponchos to transform them into umbrella covers in Germany, ordering the labels, creating the website, and so on. A lot of things to be done next semester, and hopefully, we’ll see you as one of our customers 🙂

And everything started to get more and more serious…

… as we were approaching the Dragon’s Den presentation.

To remind the context, we are working on designing a new business with my lovely colleagues: A waterproof umbrella cover, made of a unique cloth that comes from the poncho used by the British army to protect soldier under the rain. From this story simply came a name to our mind: Hero. “It protected our soldiers and now it will keep your belongings dry, and save you from many bad situations”.

However, the story behind all our branding strategy was not a long quiet river. I can’t actually tell how many meetings we had either after school at uni or in this bar (But I promise, we drunk only hot chocolate!).

For us, it was important to try to create a link with our customers. You may think “For an umbrella cover?!”, but actually, we really wanted to play the game and try to practice the most of we can as if it was in the real professional life. So, instead of just saying that we gonna use social media to promote our product, we wanted to find a real way to make people come to our pages and being interested in our brand. This is why came to our mind a comic strip, in which a character (our hero) would help people in every day’s life situation. However, as we had many negative feedbacks about it, we rejected this idea. To create this relationship with our customers, we decided to create a kind of hero blog, but also a hero gallery (Maybe at school?) where you could find heroes and their story. We also want to promote our brand at this gallery event by asking people “who is more of a hero for you?” and then send an email to them, encouraging to keep up the good work! Also, some badges with our logo “hero” would be distributed, so people can give it to their “hero”.

On the internet, we also want to create a really simple game where you will have to catch the drops with the Hero umbrella cover before it touches your belongings.

We worked a lot on this first branding strategy, Dirk did wonderful design for the packaging, the logo and the cartoon. We were all really excited and ready for Wolf Ollins!

I was a bit stressed to present front of professionals, in such wonderful offices where I would love to work one day…

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We were the first to present, and got some feedbacks. One thing that was confirmed this day is that receiving negative feedbacks is something positive actually, because it’s a way to get better.

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One of the comment was the fact that our product was maybe not solving such a huge problem. But actually now it was too late to change our product idea. The feedback about our brand was more useable, actually they said that our brand was too strong compared to our product. It’s true that you can’t imagine any companies that would do an entire communication strategy about an umbrella cover… but actually, we really wanted to play the game and this is why we took our product so seriously. However, we did keep in mind this comment and tried to work on it for the next presentation.

This afternoon was such a great experience. It was also good to see everyone’s presentation improved. Surely it was an exhausting day, but I will redo it as soon as I can! It’s so great to go throughout some stages, good or bad sometimes with a team, and this is in this kind of situation (after this day for example, when you got criticism!) that you feel how team spirit is important to keep working and encouraging each other 🙂

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Evaluating our Business Idea

Last Friday, we had to present to the class our business idea.

I was quite excited to discover other groups’ idea, and a bit stressed about what people would think about our business. We met before the class to figure out what could be our target group. We all came with one (or more) defined tribes and we noticed that we have all one in common : The “business” people.

The business we want to design is about an umbrella cover, but a unique one, that doesn’t exist. First, it is made from waterproof cloth (Have you ever noticed that many umbrellas come with a cover, but when the umbrella is wet, it made the cover wet as well?). Then, and above all, there is a story behind, an emotional appeal. We will not use a simple waterproof cloth to produce it, but the one that the army uses and that they trow away when it is no longer usable for them. So there is also an idea of recycling behind this.

[ Here is an interesting article about the importance of storytelling in marketing ***. ]

The feedbacks we received were really encouraging and we were all really exciting to keep working on this project. We met yesterday, to define our product name, and we came out with one that we really like, and completly fits with our product and the whole idea around it. BUT it’s a surprise, we’ll tell you tomorrow!