I had my first ‘advertising and branding’ workshop yesterday which I actually enjoyed. I met my team (team 5) for the first time which was great I am working with three girls, each from different disciplines: Textiles, Illustration and Interior and Environmental Design. Sadly we have no boys – but I am sure we will do just fine :) However we were paired off with another team (6) yesterday for the tasks we were doing.
Our mission was to practice using the tools we were introduced to the day before in our first lecture. The idea was to develop “quick and dirty” (not my words) marketing strategies for selected clients by using the tools. We practiced this in the morning session using three hypothetical clients: DUSA (Dundee University’s Student Association) The Cantena (DJCADS canteen) and the V&A (Dundee’s new museum).
So, here are my summed up thoughts/notes/pictures from the workshop:
Ansoff Matrix, SWOT Analysis, Perceptual Mapping and The Four P’s Marketing Mix. Do them in the Brainstorming fashion we were taught last year – i.e time limits, write down everything (THERE ARE NO BAD IDEAS!) separate post-its or shout-outs.
We chose the Cantena because we felt we had the most experience/knowledge of it.
(SW)OT > Strengths and Weaknesses
Firstly, we all wrote down, on individual post-it notes, what we thought it’s strengths and weaknesses were. We put them together and grouped any similar ones. We also quickly wrote down whether they were service (S) or environment (E) related.
SW(OT) > Opportunities and Threats
The possible opportunities and threats for the Cantena were then listed on another bit of paper. (It just worked out for us that we did the SWOT separately like this, as I said, it was our first time!)
The cantena was then plotted alongside it’s competiton for student business! We decided to test it out for the quality of food from the nearby eating places against the price. As you can see below the Cantena is pretty much on it’s own (according to our perceived rating) so it’s got no immediate competition. However, it is very much in the worst possible quadrant: low price and low quality! Oh Dear.
Group Presentations and main points/strategies/ideas
Each group (there were seven in total) chose different clients so these notes are collective of each groups ideas. I couldn’t write quick enough / was too busy listening so these are rough!
- Less focus on drinking culture
- More daytime events e.g cookery classes, lunches
- More events for international students
- Themed ‘nights’ – Robert Burns Supper
- Package deals – encourage tourism to rest of Dundee’s attractions
- Celebrity endorsements – Jordan(??)
- A proper objective was given by one group which I thought was brilliant: How do you make it ‘owned by Dundee’ – make Dundonians feel more involved and happy about it.
- Build toilets in it – nice ones
- Hold exhibitions of student work
- Give the staff a break away from it
- Given the staff more input
- More staff (possibly students?)
- Meal Deals
- Quieter TV music – encourage local acts to do sessions?
- ZONES (my groups main idea) e.g
- ‘quick zone’ with perched seats and newspapers
- ‘comfy zone’ for groups to sit and relax i.e ‘long stay’
- ‘movable seating area’ with tables and chairs that are not nailed to the floor!
- ‘hot desks’ for people to do work / groups like us to meet
- ‘reading library’ / bookshelves with art/design/relevant magazines (merge with library?)
- ‘outside canopy’ for the smokers…
- > Generally make it more comfortable, sociable and less sparse!
As you can see there were generally more ideas for the cantena. This was probably because the groups analysing it (us included) had more knowledge/experience of it than the others did of the union and museums. This shows how it is good practice to learn about/experience different things so that you have some awareness of it should you ever have to do something like this on the spot.
AFTERNOON SESSION (‘REAL LIFE’ CLIENT)
We were given a brief presentation by Joanna Montgomery, a DJCAD interaction design graduate. She has actually gone into business with one of her fourth year projects and will hopefully have it on the market very soon! As a result, she has set up her own company, “Little Riot” which aims to specialize in physical interaction design – opposed to screen based.
She told us a little bit about her hopes for Little Riot but the main focus was on her sole (for the moment) product: “Pillow Talk”. A sensory device which allows ‘long distance’ couples to hear the real-time heartbeat of their partner. It does this through a fabric panel, which slots into pillowcases, and a wireless ring. The panel also lights up to let the respective partners know when one is in bed. You are best to watch the video below to fully grasp the concept:
Joanna told us her objective had been to create:
“digital intimacy for couples that would be more subtle than an email or other screen based utilities such as Skype”
She mentioned that the product video had already gone viral on youtube. In fact she is getting daily requests from people wishing to purchase a set. We also found out (thanks to an international student who is over for the year) that she is very big in China! Anyway. Our job was to come up with some marketing proposals using the same techniques we had tried out in the morning session.
The Four P’s
In my group we decided to try a technique we hadn’t actually looked at in the morning – the ‘Four Ps’. This was risky but it paid off. The structure of looking at four specific things kept our focus on track but the ‘brainstorming’ technique of writing down every idea gave us variety. We bounced a lot of idea’s around the table and came up with the concept of hiring them. This was born from the idea of selling them separately, rather than a double unit. We realized that it could be a potential USP for hotels who could do deals etc on renting them out. This would encourage returning custom for them thus encourage them to invest in the product. The product would therefore be marketed at airports, train stations and travel websites.
We also suggested she think about separate shipping and even selling as well together with a replacement parts service (such as thing ring which could get lost or the fabric cover which could get grubby). Oh and we thought her target market would be young, tech savvy, working couples with disposable income as students would perhaps be put off by the high price bracket.
We presented these idea to Joanna together with our suggestion that it was perhaps a little bit gimmicky. Whilst she does have a nice little niche target market we thought that the technology could be more “useful” in the ‘mother and baby’ market. A heartbeat and a soothing light might be really comforting to a newborn baby for example. In fact someone even suggested a dog and her puppies (I laughed along with this but their might be something in it…) Ethics and things start to come into things however so this market would need a whole lot of development. Until then, she has a unique product with no competition and lot’s of demand so she should get selling and establish a reputation for herself!
I quickly took some notes from the other groups presentations so here are some of the other suggestions:
- Pitch it towards men > ‘counterintuitive’. It’s a high tech product and they can use it to impress their girlfriends…
- Peace of mind > use it in hospitals to comfort patients staying away from home
- Rent it in hospitals > money could be donation, seen as charitable product. Could go towards Help for Hero’s which strengthens the idea of it being used by army couples.
- Moral booting > troops in war zones have wifi, they could use it.
- Adapt the technology for elderly people > care homes
- Personalize it > engrave the ring / increase the emotional tie with music “our song…”
- Mood light > reflects changes in heartbeat
- Celebrity endorsements (used it when away filming)
- Do more demos to explain how it works
Nearly every group had a different spin on it and it gave me lots of food for thought about how many marketing options there are. We would never have came up with them without the tools however! As a group, we could try to practice these more with different companies and encourage ourselves to brainstorm quickly.