We were exultant to be the National Finalists of Colgate Transcend 2018 as we had put in a lot of efforts at every stage of this competition. It was not just a competition for us but also a one-time opportunity to present our ideas to an elite panel including the national head and that was something which we always wanted as a student.
Colgate is a household name in almost every country they are in and thus any idea we present should probably consider the scale they operate on. Additionally, the cases that competition floats are very open ended which gives students an opportunity to explore their creativity and also a free hand to come up with unique ideas. Thus, this competition is a must for any student who wants to get into marketing.
I think the brainstorming sessions which were held before every stage was the key to generate ideas. We used to sit and only discuss (cross-question each other) before putting anything on the paper on every idea we came across. This helped us build our core idea. We had put in a lot of sleepless nights in making our ideas clear and presentable. We had about 25 different versions of the final PPT. The most challenging part was to make our idea suitable to the Colgate‘s scale and also have a category connect.
The biggest conflict was that of time and availability. Being students of B-Schools, all of us had other engagements that limited the time we needed to sit together and brainstorm. So, whatever time we had, we used to brainstorm and at the end, prepare a plan for each one to individually work on, before the next session. Other conflict was, of course, the conflict of ideas and to make better judgements, we used to test each of the ideas with colleagues and friends and finally come to a consensus.
In our team, all three of us had different strengths. One of the team members was good at strategizing and linking the ideas giving it a long term perspective, one of us brought unique ideas and creativity on the table, other was good at reasoning and cross-questioning and also coming up with solutions to fix those gaps. In a way, we were lucky in our team constitution.
There were 5 teams in the finale. All the teams were from elite B-Schools. Since it was a closed room presentation, we cannot comment on any of the teams. But I am sure each of them would have put the same effort and hard work as we did.
The flow of the competition was very smooth and apt. The time frame of the competition was very long which in a sense also provides enough time for the students to work on each stage. The judgement panel had all the department heads and the country head and this I believe would have resulted in a very fair and prompt judgement. The organizers were very friendly and easy to talk to. We would reach out to them freely without any hesitation and they were always ready with answers.
I think the biggest learning we gained was about how to think strategically whenever we create a campaign for products like toothpaste. We learnt about the things like the category connect and the brand connect which we should maintain and keep in mind while promoting any campaign or message.
I think the best part of the competition was the mentor connect. We were lucky to have a chance to interact and discuss our ideas with mentors from Colgate which helped us a lot. Our mentor was very friendly and insightful. After the final presentation, we were joined by our mentor for coffee and we had a general discussion for about an hour which I think was special for us.