Practice makes Paris







As appealing as shiny new things are, some things are better the second time around. Just look at beautiful vintage trinkets in flea markets or the leftover adobo in your fridge. Joining a contest the second time gives you an edge and advantage. You can apply the things you learned during your first try and you might just win this time around.

This is what team Storm Surge, L’Oreal Brandstorm 2015’s winner, has proven. University of the Philippines students Caitlin Gregorio (21 years old), Mirella Galang (21 years old), and Peter Avila (20 years old) joined their first school competition one year ago and finished fourth place. But even though they lost, the team says that they learned how well they worked together and made a pact to join L’Oreal Brandstorm if ever the opportunity came up again.

This year, L’Oreal Brandstorm challenged their contestants to create a marketing plan for high-end beauty brand Lancome. The main goal was to expand the brand’s travel retail market and make it as innovative and unforgettable as possible.

Breaking brandstorm: Mirella Galang, Caitlin Gregorio and Peter Avila of Storm Surge, L’Oreal Brandstorm 2015’s winner.

By thinking outside Lancome’s current market, they brought their university to the top and they are now planning a trip to Paris to represent the Philippines in the global finals. What was their claim to the gold medal? Instead of innovating a marketing plan for Lancome’s current target market of mature working professionals, they targeted the emerging market of travelling young professionals. They created a three-step plan that brings Lancome to their market’s consciousness pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight. But this isn’t like one of those aggressive advertising stints in the mall that involves a five-minute presentation about a product. They played by the young professionals’ rules and interests and made the brand experience as interactive and Instagrammable as possible.

Because the airport isn’t a place the team can just walk into, the trio did extensive research through surveys and interviews. “One of the qualities of a marketer is you have to learn to adjust. You don’t have to be your consumer. You should just understand them,” says Mirella. And they did. This is also one of the reasons why their team succeeded. The trio learned how to deal with each other’s personalities and they built on each others’ ideas instead of taking them down.


Once more with feeling: Team Storm Surge made the most of their second chance and won this year’s L’Oreal Brandstorm 2015.

Even with friends, winning a marketing competition is no easy feat. What more if they’re doing it with other students outside the country? In true marketing tradition, the team laid down their four P’s in winning a competition.

“Passion because marketing is a really long process. You build it from start to finish so you need to be passionate about the ideas you’re thinking about so you stick through the entire process,” says Mirella.

“Power. Believe that you can do it and know your worth,” adds Peter.

“Perseverance. We lost the very first competition that we joined but we didn’t allow that to hinder us from joining more. If you really want something, you would continuously try to improve until you reach your goal,” says Caitlin. And the last one she says is Play, “because the process shouldn’t be a burden for you and it shouldn’t be something you’re doing just for the sake of wanting to win the prize. But you should really enjoy the whole process. Enjoy working on it.”

These four P’s may not be found in a special winning a marketing competition guide book but this might just be the key to their success in Paris. Who knows, their hard work and luck might just work the third time around.

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