Challenges come hard and fast in the University of Sydney Business School MBA program – and our first weekend intensive session for Innovation and Strategic Marketing was no exception.
It’s no secret that Australians live in a country that has a consumer-driven economy – which is why we are exposed to a huge variety of marketing strategies every day. Walking down the street outside the Business School’s CBD campus, people are confronted by a barrage of marketing nearly everywhere they look.
Understanding how marketing works is crucial in business – and learning how to apply marketing principles in an innovative and strategic manner is what sets the very best companies in the world apart from all the rest.
In this unit of study, we were tasked with re-branding and repositioning a luxury watch brand, by assessing and addressing the weaknesses we perceived in the brand’s current strategy.
What do you think of when you see a high-end watch? “Luxury, expensive, old men and heirloom product” were all things that we associated with the brand we had been assigned.
The brand offers both a male and female range in their top-tier watch lines, and our team of MBA students – who were mostly female – noticed that the marketing was very clearly defined over gender lines; For men, the campaigns depicted powerful, influential and successful men. For the women’s range, the imagery was high-end, commercial models.
The natural directional change, we believed, could be found in the marketing for the women’s range. It required repositioning as an heirloom product, associated with powerful, independent and impressive women who inspire success.
We settled on a catch-phrase for the campaign which we believed would encapsulate all of these ideals; “I believe in me”. We also felt that it harnessed a message that would inspire women, and wasn’t simply a cynical marketing approach.
To help propel the message, we decided to re-work the campaign styling that has proven successful in the past for the men’s range, but re-focus it using images that truly epitomized the self-belief of successful women. Our top choices were;
Michelle Obama – a woman who is independently successful, and inspires women every day through her philanthropic work and her role as First Lady of the United States of America.
Anna Wintour – a woman who has achieved enormous success in business, as a fashion leader, a supporter of young designers and as a powerbroker.
We packaged up our ideas, and presented them to the rest of the students in the unit of study – and, in the process, provided a key deliverable for the campaign we were working on in less than 48 hours.
Even better than the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing the task, has been that I’m able to take what I’m learning during the weekend intensive units and apply it on the job straight away.
For the past few weeks in my full-time job as a consultant, I have been working with my team to develop an innovative way to re-position and market some of our professional services both here in Australia and overseas.
Our work outcomes are yet to be finalised, but the experiential process of the MBA has made the transition from theory to practice and then to reality a successful process thus making all the sacrifice and challenges of the program worthwhile.