Just when we were looking for a competition which required skill set and knowledge congruous to ours, Eximius (Annual Management Festival by IIM Bangalore) happened. The competition was called ‘Sell-e-brities’ and as the name suggests, it required us to formulate branding plan for celebrities who are past their heyday. First round was an off-campus one and the celebrity assigned to everyone was Arvind Kejrival. Though the world had given up on him, we had to somehow rekindle his appeal through our plan among the Indian junta. Deliverables for this round entailed a holistic branding plan, which essentially included a review of status quo, STP (Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning) analysis and communication strategy. After multiple rigorous brainstorming sessions, we arrived at a branding plan which made use of consumer behavior theories that helped us to differentiate ourselves.
A total of six teams were short-listed for the next round and different celebrities were assigned to each one. While every other team got Indian celebrities like Amisha Patel, Vinod Kambli etc, our team was given Dominique Strauss Kahn (DSK), erstwhile IMF chief who was embroiled in multiple sex scandals. The task of rebranding a celebrity about whom we had little idea seemed pretty intimidating at first. It was then we sought help from Dr Tulsi Jayakumar –economics professor at SPJIMR. She acquainted us with DSK’s successes and failings and suggested brilliant ideas for rebranding him in France. We performed some due diligence and extended those ideas to arrive at a full-fledged positioning plan. The positioning was unique in the sense that it required us to juxtapose his amorous side with his professional achievements. We projected him as a ‘performer’ and further elaborated that France needs a guy like him who’s insatiable and unstoppable in every sense, to rescue the country from economic doldrums. It was risky and challenging at the same time. We had to be absolutely unapologetic and objective about his tumultuous private life and involvement in sex scandals.
We also had to submit a Facebook meme as the second deliverable for round 2. Our batch mate Pratik Sawant helped us in coming up with a whacky (a bit inundated though :P) one-liner that garnered a huge number of likes on Facebook.
The D-day came soon where we had to go to IIM Bangalore and present our branding plan. We were competing with five other teams from IIM B and all of them comprised of second year students. We sat through a couple of PPTs and realized that some teams had used comprehensive quantitative frameworks as a precursor to the branding plan which made us jittery. We were also the last ones to present. We weren’t too sure of the way our presentation went and we couldn’t gauge much from the judges’ reactions too. We could do nothing but wait. And then we were announced winners for the competition and it was such an amazing feeling!
Apart from the monetary benefits, the competition helped us immensely in learning the formulation and implementation of branding plans and improving our presentation skills.
-Geetika Vasudeva is a first year PGDM student pursuing Marketing at SPJIMR. She teamed up with Shruti Sabherwal and Sakshi Bholowalia for Eximius Bangalore.