Team Dy-NM-ite From NMIMS Mumbai – National Runners Up At Colgate Transcend Shares Their Experience

It is said, “Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” That is exactly what Colgate Transcend instilled deeply in us, apart from the technical knowledge we gained while working for this competition.

Colgate Transcend brought together three people, as different as chalk and cheese, and became THE only thought occupying the top of our mind these three months.

Though we all had our expertise in place, Nikita – the researcher, Sunny – the taskmaster, Sandy – the designer, over the course of this journey we were forced to venture out of our comfort zones to assimilate numerous more.

The competition had 4 stages – the quiz, case study round 1, the regional round and the Grand Finale; where every step of the journey came with its unique set of challenges and created a special memory for us. One thing I can take away from this process is that we had to take each step as it came and not think too much about what would come next.

The first stage – the quiz had a plethora of questions on brands and marketing concepts. Our aim was to get all the answers correct. While we were confident about having done well in the quiz, one can never be sure till you see your team name on the list. Eventually, we made it to the top 126 teams for the case study round which came next.

This next round was a case study focussing on a very challenging but an exciting segment – children as the target audience. The premise of the case was that the kids’ toothpaste segment in India is at a very nascent stage; where Colgate Kids toothpaste is not considered a ‘must have’ in households. The challenge was to expand this business, given all the inevitable barriers. We started by directly interacting with a number of kids. Talking to children and understanding their likes and dislikes required a lot of patience and novelty, a task I had personally highly underestimated. The submission we made focussed on drivers, trial inducers, purchase habits, a pen portrait of the bull’s eye consumer and a one-line IMC idea. The market research that followed was way different from the kind we were used to but it helped us in gaining a new perspective to the marketing domain.

Post the case study round, on making it through to the regionals to the top 22, we were thrilled but we also realised that we need to up the ante and better our game style, as the competition was now intense. The regional round was centred around expanding and building on our one line IMC idea. We worked together day in and day out, trying to eliminate all possible errors and making our pitch perfect.

We still remember the butterflies in our stomach when the results of the regionals were being announced. Winning the regionals helped us affirm the potential of our big idea and gave us confidence that it would be a catalyst in standing out on the national stage.

The road to the finals had difficulties of its own –a major one being clashing of our end term examinations. This left us with very little time to refine our work. Just when we thought we were almost at the last leg, we were assigned a mentor from Colgate, Mr Tarun Aggarwal – Senior Brand Manager at Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd. Meeting him helped us look at our ideas from a different perspective and evaluate their scope of implementation. We were back to the drawing board in some areas which were totally a blind spot. The two days before the Grand Finale were extremely tough for us as we kept running from pillar to post trying to tie all the loose ends together and working on the final presentation.

The day of the Grand Finale, more than feeling nervous, we were just really excited to be presenting our creation in front of the senior leadership of Colgate. The smiles and nods of approval during the presentation were a testimony to our efforts and there was no greater feeling than being appreciated by Mr Issam Bachaalani, Managing Director at Colgate-Palmolive (India), for our creativity.

In hindsight, the three months, though taxing, were a lot of fun. As a team, we have grown closer. We have learnt to push our limits further every time we felt we reached the brink. We have learnt to take all challenges in our stride and I truly believe that in today’s day and age, sleep deprivation and slow internet are the true tests of friendship! No team is perfect and no team has ever made it alone. We were supported throughout by an array of friends and well-wishers at every step of our journey, who went out of their way to accommodate and follow through our requests, no matter how absurd they sounded.

It’s generally said that a B-School is a place of tough competition, but we found ours to be a place of collaboration. We’re extremely grateful to all our peers who rallied to show their support whenever we needed it.

We would just like to reiterate the importance of reading the case facts diligently and making sure you have the questions to be answered chalked out perfectly. There will be times when you will have TOO many ideas, but the key is to focus on your idea’s feasibility. Having the right target audience and a key theme that binds everything together will give foundation to your solution. And most of all, believe in your solutions and in your team – all the late nights, the near misses, the struggle towards being perfect will be worth the effort, I know that for a  fact.

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About the Author:

Nikita Pande, Sandeep S and Sunny Vaswani are 2nd Year Sales & Marketing students at NMIMS Mumbai. Nikita received a PPO from Colgate Palmolive and will be joining the company soon, Sandeep S will be joining Gulf Oil and Sunny will be joining Capillary Technologies

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