Learning beyond the classroom is an integral part of ESSEC’s unique pedagogical approach. Offering students real-life challenges from the corporate world gives them a leg up in the competitive professional market.
In that perspective, the Digital Marketing Challenge (DMC) was built into the curriculum to prepare students from ESSEC’s MSc in Marketing Management and Digital for a fulfilling career while offering the opportunity to impress potential employers.
“We want students to be able to apply what they have learned in our courses to solve real-life problems,” explained Prof Tuck S. Chung, Academic Director of the MSc in Marketing Management and Digital. “The idea was to expose students to industry partners and allow them to gain feedback while I coach them to emphasize what they have learned in the program.”
Tackling the Global Personal Luxury Goods Industry
This year’s DMC garnered the support of two multinational corporations – luxury conglomerate Richemont Group and healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson.
Students who worked on Richemont’s project were tasked to steer the evolution of selected brands into the digital sphere via the development of innovative products and via the improvements in the brands’ engagement with the consumers through the digital media. “We conducted focus groups to ask millennials what they look for in a tech product and found that they want something wireless and adaptive, but which still looks classic enough for use in a professional setting,” said student Manou Steiger.
Having conceptualized the product, the students built a marketing campaign titled Versatile Me that depicted a millennial using the product at work and play. “We proposed a 360-degree campaign involving television ads, partnerships with key opinion leaders in Asia, social media posts, and an offline event for VIPs,” added Steiger whose team emerged as the winner with the best project.
Digital and Media Manager of IWC Schaffhausen, Kailin Ang, shared, "These were a great bunch of students to work with. They displayed their knowledge and thinking skills strategically and clearly."
Learning on the go
Meanwhile, the other student teams assigned to Johnson & Johnson’s project tackled an entirely different challenge in terms of developing a B2B digital marketing strategy for its new robotic medical device.
For the first three weeks, students like Lea Byron read, researched, and watched online videos to learn about similar products and how they were typically marketed. “After doing a competitive analysis, we decided that we needed professional opinions, so we drew up an online survey and sent them to professionals working in hospitals in Australia’s largest cities,” said Byron, whose team focused on the Australian market.
Student Zeng Siyu, whose team was assigned the Singapore market, shared, “We had to quickly understand the basic functions of the product while researching on an industry that we were completely unfamiliar with.”
Her group identified key influencers for the product before examining the customer journey and touchpoints. Additionally, the team devised a partnership with the likes of Singaporean athletes to raise product awareness to engage end consumers. “We realized that it was important to educate the public to dispel common misconceptions and myths about the product.”
Anh Bourcet, Director of ASPAC Market Access & HEOR at Johnson & Johnson, was impressed by the results. “The students were very motivated and bright. They were able to make the most of a challenging situation to deliver on the project," she said.
Picture above 2: Discussion with representative of Richemont
Pleased to see his students’ efforts being met with positive comments from the corporate partners, Prof Tuck commented, “They had few resources to start with but they learnt from their research and from each other, and worked well together to cover all the different aspects for the clients. I am proud of them.”
Also deserving mention was Steiger who secured an internship with Van Cleef & Arpels through her engagement during the challenge. Lucie Pugnot, Marketing and Communication Manager at Panerai, said, “I was extremely impressed by the proactivity, commitment and professionalism (of the students). No doubt, they have the profile to integrate with Richemont and other luxury brands one day."
Projects like these are symbiotically valuable to students and the participating companies as it gives the students real-world experience and the companies the opportunity to tap on creative young minds. It is a win-win situation and an invaluable element of the students’ academic repertoire.
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