How to create a winning pitch at the L’Oreal Brandstorm competition

Photos by Ina Jacobe

Just because school is over doesn’t mean the learning stops. Just ask any not-so-fresh graduate trying to figure out the world of taxes. There really are important things that they don’t teach us in school and for the college seniors feeling the pressure, internships and competitions like L’Oréal Brandstorm are the way to go.

Now in its 25th year, L’Oréal’s signature innovation competition has become a holy grail for kids who are looking to join the industry of marketing and communication. This year’s Brandstorm competition in the Philippines is the biggest in Southeast Asia to date, narrowing 421 teams to the top eight finalists (with three members each) for the national finals. The teams were challenged to come up with a new line of products for L’Oréal Men Expert that’s perfect for millennial men and their lifestyle. Did we mention that they have to propose marketing and digital communication solutions for it as well?

For the competing students, the past few months have been a series of researching, developing ideas and consulting with their mentors — all while making sure their school papers are passed in on time. But the hardest challenge was pitching their ideas to the real adults who have made L’Oréal one of the biggest beauty players in the country. The top eight finalists hailed from all over the country, but it was Team Maxim from the University of the Philippines-Visayas that will move on to the Asia-Pacific Regional Finals on May 5.

In the spirit of L’Oréal’s campaign to #StayAheadOfTheGame, here are three things we learned at the L’Oréal Brandstorm Philippine Finals last April 18 at the L’Oréal Academie. Who knows? Next year’s winning idea might just come from you.

Taking the world by storm: Besides the championship, UP Visayas’ Team Maxim also got the award for Best Marketing Communication Plan.

Innovation starts with one great idea.

Cool marketing gimmicks are nothing if the products you’re trying to sell already exist. Market research allows you to find the problem in the market and give solutions, or to offer something completely out of the box. Team 16°C from Saint Louis University Baguio focused their product and campaign around the maca root and its benefits. UP Diliman’s Team Y3 was all about bamboo, while cedar wood was at the heart of Team Stormbusters. But it was Team Maxim’s interesting choice of using liquor to create a line of men’s grooming products that bagged them the National Finals championship.

Go digital or go home.

The thing about millennial consumers is that there’s the need to engage them consistently and in different ways possible. Kids are always on-the-go but if there’s one place you can always reach them, it’s online. Even if you’re trying to sell them physical products, digital is the way to go. Today’s marketing plans are heavy on social media engagement like video promotions, but mobile applications like Team Stormbusters’ My Giene app might just be the next big thing.

Hard work will take you places (literally).

Team Maxim’s Herna Alpha Tiagan, Genevieve Millan and Jasper Dioco have already come a long way, but their journey won’t end just yet. “We really wanted to show what we can do. Coming to Manila and as one of the top eight was already a really amazing experience, and winning this competition is more than we had ever hoped,” says Team Maxim’s Genevieve Millan. Hailing all the way from University of the Philippines-Visayas, they are the Philippine representatives to the upcoming L’Oréal Brandstorm Asia-Pacific Regional Finals and hoping for a spot among the international finals in Paris, France. It doesn’t really matter where we come from because we’re only as good as our last work. For Team Maxim, the future looks bright.

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