Combining Marketing, Digital, and International Business Knowledge and Skills to Bring Thailand Its First International Brandstorm Win
Written by Wendy Farrell
Team Chemerical: Journey Ling, Belle Ling and Veerin Worakittisophon
Veerin Worakittisophon, Journey Ling and Belle Ling (graduating 2017, International Business Management Major) wanted to find a way to apply their classroom learning in a real-world situation. That opportunity presented itself in the form of the L’Oreal Brandstorm 2017. The competition provided 25,000 students worldwide an expansive platform to display their competency and capability with regards to either Brand or Technology. The 2017 brand challenge was “Disrupt Men’s Grooming with Life-Changing Innovation.” Entries were judged based on innovativeness, usefulness, feasibility, and scalability.
Having worked together on class assignments in the past, Veerin, Journey, and Belle knew they worked well together and decided to take advantage of this opportunity to apply the knowledge they learned throughout their time at MSME Business School. Veerin credits MSME Business School for providing them the knowledge and experience they needed to participate in this competition.
"All three of us had no business knowledge before we entered Assumption University. I had a background in Literature and Music while Journey and Belle both had backgrounds in Science and Math."
They formed Team Chemerical and began the process of brainstorming and researching men’s grooming habits and needs. Journey described those initial brainstorming meetings:
"We decided to go for a problem-solution pitch and had frequent meet ups to brainstorm potential problems faced by millennial men. We tried to think what kind of lifestyle they have and found out that they enjoy going to the gym and travelling. We thought of our own lives. As we travel frequently to our hometown, we found that the most annoying thing while travelling is packing and carrying our liquid shower products because they leak, they are heavy and there are carry-on restrictions at the airport. We recognized millennial men would face the same problem due to their active lifestyle so we tried to develop a convenient and dry product that is able to combat this problem."
Team Chemerical entered the Ultimate Man Bullet as their brand concept. It is a 3-in-1 solution for face, body and hair that takes the form of a water soluble compact powder pressed into sphere-shaped “bullets.” Its main attributes are that it is leak proof, lightweight, non-liquid and convenient to meet the needs of millennial men as they travel, go to the gym, or play sports.
Initially, the team had to make a 5-minute pitch using a 3-slide PowerPoint presentation. After their pitch was selected, the team qualified to compete in the Thailand national round. Belle discussed what they had to prepare to compete in the national competition:
"There were four main things that we had to prepare for the competition. The first thing was idea development which included problems faced by target group, product concept, marketing strategies and financial part. Besides, we had to prepare a product mock-up so people can easily visualize our product. We also had to prepare presentation slides and make several drafts for our script. Finally, we studied lots of researches and prepared list of questions for the Q&A session so we would be able to answer the judges professionally, logically and naturally."
The team had 10 minutes to present their pitch using a 30-slide PowerPoint presentation to a panel of judges. Their pitch included an Integrated Marketing Campaign which incorporated iBeacon Technology and digital marketing solutions. Winning the national round was an enormous honor for the team and the MSME Business School.
Team Chemerical doing their pitch
Winning the national round qualified them to compete against over 20 teams in the Asia regional competition. During that round, they had one minute to virtually present their pitch in a teleconference. Placing among the 10 best teams qualified them to go on to the international finals in Paris, France.
At the international finals, they competed against 41 other teams, each winner of their respective countries and regions. The finals took place within one day and were structured in two rounds. The first round was conducted in the form of an innovation fair and the second was the final round where the top six teams, three winners for each category, from the innovation fair would compete. During the innovation fair, the team had five minutes to pitch their brand concept to six separate groups of panels consisting of three judges.
Team Chemerical pitching to a panel of judges
"The hardest part of the competition was to deliver an impactful and memorable pitch while engaging the judges in the innovation fair. There were 21 booths in the hall and all teams had to present to the judges at their booths at the same time, which resulted in a noisy and loud environment. We had to be energetic, confident and loud as well as to keep eye contact with the judges to engage with them as we repeat our pitch for 6 times to the 6 panels of judges."
Team Chemerical at the innovation fair
After placing in the top 3 in the innovation fair, the team was invited to present their concept to a panel of VIP judges and a full audience. That final round consisted of the best of the best teams with Thailand’s team Chemerical being declared the winner. They represented Assumption University and Thailand with intelligence and integrity. This was the first time a Thai team not only made it to the top three but also won the grand prize.
Looking back on the competition, the team remembers how valuable the experience was for them:
"The best part of the competition was growing closer as a team and closer to our professors. The three of us and our professors had been working hard and had spent a lot of time together in the past 6 months. We learned to be emphatic and to always support each other in difficult times. There were times when we felt like giving up, but we cheered each other up and told ourselves “Hey.. we gotta pass this together and we can do it” all the way until the international round. It felt amazing to have someone by our side through the good days and the bad days, and it felt even more amazing at the end when we all got to see our hard work being paid off as we won the competition."
When asked if they would recommend future generations of students to should join, all three answered: “definitely!”
Watch the video below to get a glimpse of the L'Oreal Brandstorm 2017 in Paris.