Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Brandstorm from Jess, Hui Woon and Kok Hin

Dear all,

L’Oreal Brandstorm is an annual marketing competition held by L’Oreal which is participated by thousands of students from all over the world each year. The whole gist of the competition is nicely summed up by its catchy tagline, “Turn Ideas into Products”. Basically the participants, who forms groups of either 2 or 3 members, are given the chance to experience how it feels to manage a particular brand under the L’Oreal umbrella group and turn all their creative ideas into reality by coming out with real life models as well as the advertising and communication campaign for the brand assigned to them. This year, the brand that was chosen to be the case study is L’Oreal’s mass market hair styling product brand, StudioLine, which incidentally is also celebrating its 25th anniversary.
I was actually dragged to join this competition by my friend, and also our team’s unofficial leader, Hui Woon. Since all of us were non-marketing students, I honestly didn’t think we would get far, but I just figured out it will be a fun experience anyway. I figured, we as consumers are always complaining or suggesting how a certain product or brand in the market can be better, so why not have a go at a competition that allows us to take our ideas seriously and make it real?
Still, it was not an easy journey. To begin with, when we registered our team (we named ourselves The Osirians by the way, just because it sounded cool and we didn’t have any ideas:P), we found out that UTM was not one of the participating universities! This was because L’Oreal was of the idea that UTM was solely an engineering and technical university (they were not aware that we do have a management faculty) and therefore will not have their targeted participants, which are marketing students. Still, after a little bit of persuasion on our side, we were allowed to register ourselves for the competition.
The first task that we had to complete was to do a SWOT analysis of StudioLine based on some information and documents that was provided by L’Oreal. We then submitted the analysis done in PowerPoint as required by L’Oreal. From all the entries sent, L’Oreal then chooses 10 teams to go to their HQ in KL to present the analysis in front of their top management. I remember that all three of us were actually very busy that week and we did not manage to do much preparation beforehand. Still, all the years in AIESEC have sharpened our presentation skills and despite our lack of preparation, we just went in and gave it our best shot. One week later, we received the email informing us that we have been picked as one of the top 5 teams to be competing in the National Finals and inviting us to a 2-days briefing in KL conducted by L’Oreal.
The next week we went up to KL for the briefing and finally met the other short listed teams. The 4 other teams in the Finals were from USM (Studio AttiTud), IACT (Manja), UM(Synergy) and UTAR (AnnCorp). During the 2-days briefing, we were given in-depth information about L’Oreal and also the StudioLine brand itself. We were also brought out on a field trip to MidValley Megamall and 1Utama by several L’Oreal personnel so that we can see for ourselves how is StudioLine doing in the market. We talked to some of the L’Oreal promoters in departmental stores, as well as saw what are the advertisements and promotions offered by StudioLine to encourage sales at the point-of-sale venues (i.e the pharmacies, departmental stores etc where the brand is retailed.). The 2-day briefing was quite informative and made us really excited about the National Finals which was going to be held on 12th of May. After the 2-days briefing, all teams were not to have any more contact with L’Oreal (except for logistical purposes in connection with the competition), and we were pretty much left on our own to come up with the best marketing strategy and advertising campaign for the StudioLine brand. Q During the 1 month plus time given to us, we kept changing concepts and ideas in our effort to come up with the ultimate marketing strategy that will bring StudioLine to greater heights. There were several factors to consider when coming up with the winning strategy. It has to be something fresh and new, but at the same time realistic and feasible by taking into account the current and future trends of the hairstyling market in Malaysia. At the same time we also had to stay true to the values embodied by the StudioLine brand itself as L’Oreal places great importance in its brand equity. Also as part of the competition’s rules, each team had a 1 day appointment with the advertising giant McCaan-Erickson, who was the media communication partner for the event. McCann-Erickson provided some professional advice for our advertising layout and prepared the advertisement boards for every team which would be used in the presentation on the day of the finals itself.
Finally the day of the National Finals, 12th of May arrived. Taking place in the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, it was really a nerve-wracking afternoon for us as we battled it out with the other finalists. The closed competition (by invitation only) was judged by a diverse panel of judges comprising of L’Oreal Malaysia’s top management, CEO of 8TV, Mindshare, McCann-Erickson and The Star. We were the third team to present and we started our presentation with a bang by doing a rollcall proclaiming that we were from UTM (another thing that we learned from AIESEC :P). Our marketing strategy for StudioLine was simple- a revamp of the brand by giving it a younger and more hip look by using “Parkour”, an up-and-coming extreme sport that delivered the energy and passion that we wanted to communicate as our ‘ambassadors’. At the same time we also came up with several “mobile” hairstyling products that catered to the needs of the youths nowadays who are constantly on the move. We summed up our whole marketing strategy with our catchy tagline ‘Trust Your Instincts”. The tagline not only projected the positive “just do it” attitude commonly related to youths, but most importantly, the tagline also showed that with the expertise behind the StudioLine product, consumers just need to “Trust Your Instincts” in order to achieve the hairstyle that they want.
The rest, as they say, is history. That evening we bagged ourselves a trip to Paris to represent Malaysia in the International Finals, as well as RM2500 and hampers of L’Oreal products for each team member. Later all 5 finalists had a Mediterranean Dinner at Marche restaurant along with the Organizing Committee of the event as well as L’oreal Malaysia’s top management.
After that we had roughly around 1 month to prepare before flying off to Paris for the finals which will be held on the 20h of June at the L’Oreal headquarters in France. Our presentation and concept remained the same as required in the rules of the competition, but we used the 1 month to brush up on our presentation. We also had our advertisements reprinted by McCann-Erickson, had buntings printed as well as got models of our products done. Armed with these and a whole lot of excitement in our hearts, we set off for Paris on 17th of June 2005.
It was a 12 hours flight and we reached Paris the next day. We then went straight to our hotel, Mercure Hotel, which was actually just a stone’s throw away from THE landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower. No words can describe the feeling I had at the first glimpse of the tower. I was in Paris, my dream destination since I was a child! I was speechless.
After checking in and resting awhile, we went to have a final rehearsal at L’Oreal headquarters for the finals. We finally saw the other teams from other countries that we were going to compete with. The feeling is indescribable. One can really feel the internationalism of the competition, standing there in the headquarters of a major MNC together with people from 31 different countries.
Though it started quite late, the rehearsal and technical check up after that went smoothly. We had the whole afternoon and the next day off so we took the chance to go around Paris. Some of the places we visited included Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coure, Moulin Rouge and others. We also took the chance to try some French cuisine, including escargot (snails) and crème brulee, all at the charming Parisian sidewalk café we always read and hear about of course!
All too soon, 20th June came. There was definitely a buzz in the air as all contestants got on the bus that will bring us to L’Oreal headquarters. After a welcoming message by the Organizing Committee, all teams went to separate rooms to compete within their region first. The 31 countries were divided into 4 regions, Asia, Europe 1 + Australia, Europe 2, and the Americas + South Africa. The winner of each region will then compete in the International Finals to vie for champion.
We were up against 7 other Asian countries which were China, Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It was really interesting to see the different ideas and presentations of each team. Again just like in the national finals, we gave it our best shot and despite the stiff competition, we were satisfied with our performance as we know that we have done what we could and the decision now lay in the hands of the judges.
We then went back to our hotel for rest and also preparation for the Internaional Finals in the evening. The finals were held in a famous TV studio called Studio Gabrial. Suspence hung thick in the air as everyone was guessing who the top 4 teams were going to be. Then it was time to begin. The host started the evening with a few pleasantries, then straight away got down to business by announcing the top 4 teams. The first name she called out was none other than Malaysia! A whole bagful of emotions, from happiness to surprise to fear ran through us as this happened, and we went up the stage together with the other 3 finalist teams who were Switzerland, Australia and South Africa. Then we were given roughly 5 minutes to prepare before doing a shortened, 10 minutes presentation of our ideas and concept (previous presentation was 20 minutes). Unfortunately due to the time constraint, we were unable to finish our presentation. Later the results were announced, and we were placed third along with South Africa, with Australia getting second place and Switzerland bagging the Champion trophy home.
With the competition over and the results out, everyone was packing and ready to leave. The next day we had one debriefing session where the judges gave feedback to each teams on their performance, before ending the day with a delicious lunch buffet served at a restaurant within the L’Oreal headquarters itself. All in all, it was an unforgettable experience.

Hugs,
Jess

Sunday, October 02, 2005

NETWORKING meet.. in PALM & GOLF RESORT

Hey guys,

it's me again.. hehe.. well, as the title implies.. Leonard LCP 05/06 and me has gone to the Networking Event on the 29th of Sept, organised by MICCI (Malaysia International Chamber of Commerce and industry) which were also participated by over 40 corporate figures.. among the big names.. HSBC, CH Williams Talhar & Wong (The chairman of this company is also the chairperson of MICCI) and a few government agencies' personnel.. such as PTP (Port of Tanjung Pelepas - not sure whether this is government of private company) and MIDA.. some came as far as KL.. some singaporeans... and even a japanese guy..

well, wonder how we got ourselves there ya.. hehe.. we already made contact wif Roseline from MICCI, Johor branch earlier as we went to her office be4 to promote ITEP (International Traineeship Exchange Programme).. she treated us (Ethan and I) like her brother and as chatted on.. she mentioned about this Golf Networking meet and then, she promised to invite us there.. but too bad.. Ethan's bz the other day and Leonard went on behalf of him.. but it's worth it u bet.. ^_^

the day started off wif a golf game by all the businessmen from 12.30pm.. and they finish 18 holes at about 6.30.. Leo and I reached there during the pre-dinner cocktail that took place after their golf game and this was carried on wif dinner.. wow, the food by the resort was.. YUMMY!! especially the lasagna.. haha..at last, they gave out the prices to the golfers and almost all of them had a present to bring back home.. haha.. we were not bad either.. each of us got a goodie bag wif some steadler pens and some brochures..

the main idea of going there.. firstly, we got invited.. (so it's free!!)..secondly, to let them know about AIESEC.. in other words.. promoting aiesec to the corporate world.. we weren't selling any products on tat day and basically we were only chatting wif them.. they were very frenly and keen to know wat aiesec is all about especially when it's so alien to them.. haha.. well, Leo managed to get some very gd response whereas i only get to chat wif them as a fren.. guess i need more of this kind of meet be4 i could really promote aiesec.. :P

i guess tat's all .. and i'll upload the photos of the nite.. well, juz took 2 pics of the speaker for the nite whereas we didn't even take our own pic cuz this is our first time and we weren't sure wat's appropriate to do and wat's not.. haha.. but it's such a waste.. maybe those who read this can give me more advice or tips for going to this kinda meeting.. hehe

ciao!! sayonara...


chee han
ER Director 05/06

Sunday, September 18, 2005

LLDS 2005 is over.. :(

Dear all,

hi!! it's me again!! juz came back from LLDS 2005 camp today and it's such a great conference.. i mean so far it's the GREATEST conference tat i've ever attended.. in some way.. it beats the national lvl conferences cuz we're in a smaller group and you can feel the bonding building up in every single day of the conference.. and the smaller group of ppl in the conference, the more opportunities for each and everyone to grab such as a chance to practise their public speaking skills, presentation skills, and even a chance (of a lifetime, mayb ^_^) to become the LCP of an LC.. (a mock LCP of course.. ;P)

personally, it was fun, informative and the bonding between the EBs (or OCs cuz the EBs are also the OCs) has increased tremendously.. and it really tested my @ knowledge during the Exchange Simulation session where i get to know the lvl of my understanding towards the all the major departments.. because the directors (ICX (Rajaei), OGX (Ah Beh), ER(me) and Finance/IS (tutu a.k.a LLDS OCP) - 4 of us) were the LCPs of the 4 LCs consist of the juniors..

hmm.. i guess we should also listen from our VPX, one who equally learned a lot in this conference, by going to this webpage:

http://ethanyongyc.blogs.friendster.com/ethanbloggernet_/2005/09/tribute_to_llds.html

Last but not least, Thanneermalai's session was so interactive and fun yet at the same time very.. VERY Informative... he handled a session called THE LEADER IN ME (he's truly one) and triggered the mindset of the participants thru the games played throughout his session.. and i'm not surprised that this session got the most votes in the category "THE SESSION THAT I LIKE MOST" in the programmes evaluation forms..

Alright, that's the gist of LLDS 2005... and it is such a pity that Alan and Pei Ping (and maybe more) couldn't make it this time after it's postphoned for one week.. it's very unfortunate and it's a loss for LC UTM where initially we could had so many wonderful persons joining us for LLDS... however, i bet we'll be meeting soon with the alumnus for other occassions..

ok, tat's all from me.. and i guess there must be a lot of ppl who want to share their thoughts about this wonderful camp and i hope u could juz key in some comments and share ur personal feelings towards this camp... thank you and have a nice day!! ^_^

p/s: a big BIG thank you to the Facis, OCs, and EBs for this wonderful camp.. the memories have already been tattooed on my heart and will last forever there..well, wat more can i ask for? thank you, thank you and thank you...



chee han
ER Director 05/06

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Blog has RECOVERED!!! ^_^

Dear all,

well, now everything's back to normal and the photo album is already up.. and i guess alumnus can take a good look at their own self in TGI Friday's the other day.. hehe.. well, sorry Siew Fong.. i took the photo too late.. and u ade left by that time.. really really sorry..

hmm.. wat's next? i guess everyone knows wat's in store for everyone rite? LLDS 2005!!! we'll rock the ORCHID VALLEY this time around and this LLDS will be a brand new one where we'll have a senior track and the junior track.. (somethin like MidNatcon and NLDS together)..

alright then.. i'll upload more and more photos into this blog and go take a look ya!! after this weekend (after LLDS la..) there'll be tonnes of photos coming up ok? i promise this.. (if u don see this post after LLDS.. tat means i've failed to get the photos.. hahaha.. but tat shud not happen la.. ^_^)

alright... see ya!! and if anyone of u has anything to say.. pls write in the comments or if u're keen to post something... send them to me.. i won't filter them but straight away help u post it up k? ciao!!


chee han
ER Director 05/06

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I'm home.. in UK..

Heya Guys,

I am back to UK again. I just can’t believe how time has flown…so fast… itseems to me like it had been only a dream… but it wasn’t.I would like to thank to all of you for everything you have done for me. Forcaring for me when I arrived, for being with me when I needed you, for beingmy friends… I hope that you ALL stay in touch with me and I really hope tosee you in Europe…

My life here is back on track. I haven’t started university yet. I am starting university in October. In my free time I am working. I am workingat different places from Millennium stadium (football matches), cafeteriasto kitchen…hehe. Not my career jobs though,hehe.

What about you guys? How is everything going with you? Any news? Exams? Allpassed? Let me know how are your lives going… I will keep you updated aboutme but you need to keep me updated about YOU too. OK?Wish you all the best and I look forward to receive email from you

Lots of love

Eva
eva_cmorejova@hotmail.com

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Alumni Meet in TGI Friday's

Dear all,

Hello there... it's been a long time since i last written here.. yesterday (Saturday 3th of September).. I managed to meet up wif a few alumnus... they consist of the president of AIESEC UTM 2000/01, VPOGX MC 2001/02, VPICX 2002/03, Director of Members' Development, quite a number of Return SNs, one of my predecessors and a few Youthopia OCs.. well, some can already guess who's there rite? well, 9 of us had our lunch (some ordered appetizer but tat's sumptous enough to become their lunch ^_^) at TGI Friday's 1 UTAMA, PJ...

With all the portfolio these ppl have taken in the past, it's undeniable tat they are really.. REALLY Experience type of ppl and they are all working.. except for our beloved Ai'Min who's going to grad very soon.. hmm.. so, only me, an amateur, felt really nervous about the trip at first and was worrying how everything would turn out to be... all becuz i did it all quite last minute... i inform them less than 1 week in advance and tat explains the poor turnup of the gathering... HOWEVER, as time goes by, i could make myself feel more comfortable and manage to act more like myself.. haha.. i guess it's normal to feel nervous especially eating lunch wif such respectable figures..

everyone has their 'aura' when they speak.. they have their own really unique personality and they were very interested in catching wif wat's everyone doing lately.. and we heard a lot of stories from our bro, MEGAT regarding his filming works and also something related to Art.. it's kinda inspiring and interesting to listen to ppl tat are more experienced and how they see the world from a very different point of view.. on wat topic is discussed, i think i better keep it in my mind.. if not, i'll be like a stereotype loud speaker, telling ppl EVERYTHING!!! ^_^

besides, i could see some alumnus want really specific information about something.. regardless of AIESEC or non AIESEC... but that's how ppl got things done very efficiently in the past and now in their working life... tat's something to be admired...

hmm... the meet lasted until 5 pm.. imagine how much of stuffs we chatted.. whoa.. about 3-4 hours of meeting... not bad ya.. ^_^ tat's the gist of it i guess.. there're alot more la.. like advices, reminders and some stories that happens in AIESEC when it was first set up.. but i guess i'll juz keep them in my memory.. (the sweet memory's division ^_^).. and having the chance so many ppl is truly a great experience and hopefully we'll have one more gathering in the future..

however, the food tat i ordered... ehem!! not pretty tasty cuz i guess i ordered something tat i don really like.. TOMATO!!! and my first impression to the food is SOUR!! (i was unwell also.. can't really blame the food) haha.. but no doubt i'll try another type of dish there next time if i have some time to go there... and the arrangement of the table isn't tat good cuz it's rectangular and not circular.. so, ppl sitting at the corner either speaks to the one opposite them or juz lose out of the MAIN conversation.. hhe.. well, anything to add fellas? pls post some comments when free k??


p/s: the photo will be post up soon when the site is fully operational..


chee han
ER Director 05/06

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Farewell Fellow AIESECers..

Hey AIESEC,

Few weeks ago I wrote first update about me and my stay in Malaysia. Today is only one week left…I just cant believe how this time flies away… I have been here for almost 8 weeks now. Can you believe that? I can’t. Yesterday I had last meeting with you - AIESECers… Inside me I was very sad. I don’t know if you have ever had this feeling. You get to close to someone, make friends and then after some time you have to leave… and say Farwell. I don’t like that because I always get very emotional.

Back to my wonderful trip to Malaysia. I had really good time with all of you, with executive board, with you new members as well as alumnae. We recruited you guys, remember? 7 weeks ago. I approached some of you for the first time. I made you to come to MIA and Colours… Remember? It was 6 weeks ago. And now you are AIESEC members. You went to MIA which was a great experience for me to see all of you there. Then Colours came. Another good experience. We again got closer to each other. Then first meeting, second meeting, then some of you went to Singapore, some of you attended Cherries camp… So many events were going on. And look forward what is going to come in September and every month. Just take every opportunity like I did. You will be happy, you will have lots of friends, you will learn how to take challenge and you will gain lots of essential skills. You want to go on exchange like me? Don’t hesitate and apply… I guarantee you that you will have unforgettable experience. My stay in Malaysia is the best one I have ever had. It is my first time in Asia. And I already plan to come back because I like it here so much. I like sun and heat which you don’t like, I like beach and blue water with white sandy beaches which you don’t mind, I like the food which you love and I like the hospitability and friendliness of Malaysian people.

I really hope that I will get opportunity to come back and see you. All of you are very much welcome to come to visit me too. Please if you make a trip to Europe come and visit me. Drop me an email, call me or just come. I will be there always for you…

I wish to all of you all the best whatever you do. The best of all in your studies, in AIESEC, in your personal lives…
If you want to email me please don’t hesitate just email me. I will be happy to receive any of yours emails… let me to know any news what is going on or just say hi.

Best wishes,

Eva