Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sunkissed London - MBA Digital Marketing Case Study



Produce a digital portfolio and an executive report that outlines a digital marketing plan and makes recommendations for a course of action for implementing a full digital marketing strategy on any topic.


The request was accomplished by creating an online community, or tribe, called Sunkissed London: Cultivated Insights from a Global Community of Women Living in London, an inclusive and interactive online resource pertinent to the lives of global, multi-cultural women who have migrated to London to create a life anew.
The main promotional tactic of the campaign was the production and promotion of Unfiltered, a mini documentary, featuring women from the online community. The film
 was developed and positioned as ‘edutainment’ or educational and entertaining content to pique interest in the Sunkissed London community. The film premiered in March 2014 at Royal Holloway University of London and was subsequently released on YouTube.
To generate further buzz for the online community, an awareness campaign was devised and implemented.  


Online Content Marketing on Facebook, WordPress Blog Development, YouTube Video Marketing, Documentary Production and Promotion, Online Buzz Generation through Instagram + Twitter, Experiential Event Production via the Unfiltered film premiere + promotional Sunkissed London photo shoots and Grassroots Marketing via Poster Flyering and Email Marketing.


Two month promotional period (February - April 2014):
* WordPress Blog Views: 775
* Total Facebook Likes: 252
o Facebook Daily Page Engaged Users (unique users): 3149
o Facebook Daily Total Reach (unique users): 30755
o Facebook Daily Total Impressions (total count): 71886
* Total YouTube Views: 625
o YouTube Estimated Minutes Watched: 1672
o YouTube Engagement: 29 likes, 10 comments
* Documentary Film Premiere Attendance: 40


Digital Marketing campaign and documentary produced by: Kelliann McDonald, Gabriel McKenzie, Rachel Hart; Filmed by: Ejovi Agarin; Directed by: Kelliann McDonald; Edited by: Kelliann McDonald.  (contact via http://uk.linkedin.com/in/kelliannmcdonald/ )
Overivew summary from the Sunkissed London web pages
Sunkissed London, an online community aligning women of diverse backgrounds, founded by three current Royal Holloway MBA students presents Unfiltered, a mini-documentary that captures the distinct views of a group of globally-influenced women as they craft a life for themselves in the UK.
Watch as the women speak openly about the highs and lows of leaving their homeland to create a life anew in London.

SunKissed London Founders:  MBA Kelli, Gabriel & Tammy
Filmed modestly in natural light to allow the genuine authenticity of each woman to shine through, Unfiltered will leave viewers with thought-provoking insight from a global community of women living and learning in London.

Teaser video

Friday, 4 April 2014

Royal Holloway Ambassadors Reach UBC finals !

Royal Holloway UBC finalists & Dr Donna Brown
Each year more than 300 teams drawn from a wide range of UK universities enter teams in a business competition (UBC) that uses a sophisticated computer simulation package to allow students to role play board room decision making.  

Using cycle based decision rounds to represent trading periods, students have to assess the competitive environment and make carefully thought through decisions on range of key business drivers that includes; pricing, production volume, R&D investment, market research spend, capital expenditure to expand production facilities and benefit from economies of scale as well as human resource and CSR factors.  Key to success, as in the real world, is keeping a careful eye on the competition and trying to anticipate what the future competitive situation will be.

Presentation skill development

Royal Holloway's lead student ambassador Helena Wilkin stated; 

"The whole UBC was an interesting experience - I underestimated the amount I would learn from the competition, and together we developed a great deal of awareness of how we work individually and as a team.

Working under time pressure
"We are all highly competitive and would have dearly loved to have won, however to reach the finals was a fantastic achievement.  We will definitely want to be participating again next year !"

Decision making isn't all hard work ?
The team, mentored by MBA Director & second year marketing management module leader Justin O'Brien, enjoyed free flowing conversations about the various decisions they needed to make and what strategy they would look to follow. Justin said "whilst this group clearly enjoyed the challenge they were also seeing how their cross disciplinary management studies were being brought together in a very compelling and realistic manner.  More than doing exceptionally well in the competition, this group got to taste what business decision making can be like."

Fun Learning !
At the semi-final stages, having seen a data translation error (a dodgy 7 was blamed) the team nearly dropped off a winning position, but luckily an unusual market situation arose that saw them recover any losses and win by an exceptionally high margin.  (Ok - the other competitors all decided to leave the B2B market alone, offering high demand and monopolistic pricing potential)

In deeply philosophical mood Mike Den Harthog summed up his experience thus; "Our UBC success can be described like a Phoenix rising out of the ashes.  We were thrown obstacles left and right, with some informed gambling here and there we reached the UBC finals, where we truly displayed excellent team work." 

Dr Donna Brown and Dr Nana Zhao (front centre and right) picture with the successful Royal Holloway Management finalists

Dr Nana Zhao, who co-ordinates the School of Management teams participating in this competition each year, was 'delighted' that the ambassadors team performed so well this year. "This year our student teams did exceptionally well. The UBC gives our students a great opportunity to put the knowledge that they have learned on their courses into practice. The students also get to network with potential employers at the semi-finals and the grand final.”

Head of the Student Ambassador programme Dr Donna Brown stated "This was my first involvement in a programme of this nature. Watching the team put to use their academic knowledge in such a pressured environment was thrilling.  Their ability to support each other and to over come the calamity of the "7", is a testament to their team working skills".  

Photos: Thanks to Helena Wilkin and Nana Zhao.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Writing to a fixed Word Count

Writing concisely is in my opinion the most challenging task, thus I often look to shorten word counts on assignments where I can.  I recall my days back at British Airways when I was asked to draft briefing notes for my director and once for the Chief Executive.  

Invited to deliver a half pager, I spent all day looking at creative ways of putting across a number of ideas using both numbers and words.  Eventually I managed to get it into a wide and long page, using a smaller font, but was sent away to slice this in half.   Lesson learnt - ensure you deliver to the brief !  Half a page means half a page.  

Students often struggle with the idea of presenting their answers within a specific word count limit.  Often this expectation will have some tolerance (typically +/- 10%).  Whilst perhaps obvious to the experienced student and education professional, it is worth flagging that requiring work to a specific length (be that words or minutes of presentation) helps provide a level playing field, to make it reasonable to assess everyone fairly. 

End of term presentation season has again reminded me that often the best presentations are those that are shorter, tighter and seek to garner an emotional response, not one that is overly focussed on putting across lots of words and blows the permitted time allowance.  Unfortunately we had one person lose a job offer because they over talked their slot and failed to heed clear messages to stop.

I tend to work to a maxim that 'less can be more' and certainly presentations that over run tend to lose my marks for being over time, naturally, but also for lacking sufficiently organised ideas.  Written work with 50% additional text can put across a more comprehensive answer and thus gain a stronger mark, which is not fair on those who abided by the rules, thus not allowed.  Hence the harsh cut off, but it also encourages a polish, review and improve discipline that is often expected in professional practise.

Over the holiday period I re-watched the excellent Richard Curtis (of Notting Hill, Four Weddings and Black Adder fame) directed movie 'Love Actually'.  Seeking insights into the sources of the clever stories (14 were generated, mostly whilst recuperating from a back operation during daily walks on a beach in Bali) that make for a multi-plot, ensemble opus to use as the creative inspiration for a new lecture on inversion and surprise in advertising, I purchased a used copy of the screen play.  It does not have quite the rich and insightful content I was looking for, unfortunately.  

All was not lost, however.....

Richard did offer up the following insights into writing a movie, which is the primary motivation for this post.  With 14 interlaced stories, at one point the script was five hours long.  There are norms or rules of thumb in movies that limit kids stories to just over the hour and adults around 90 minutes. Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchise tales of valour that combine deep character development and generous adventure seem to go over two to two and a half hours, unusually. I find these particularly challenging on the bottom in a theatre, but absolutely needing a pause for a cup of tea at home. Three hour epics are exceptional (e.g. Titanic) and represent a tremendous effort from the director to overcome the instincts of the commercially minded studio executives.  So, working to a finite size is important in the real world too !

The Love Actually script was cut from five to two and a half hours, thanks to efforts that 'aged' editor Emma Freud by five years.  Following the first actor read through, Curtis "realised it wasn't ok at all and changed it again" (Curtis, 2003, pg. 3).   It was changed 'a bit' after the full cast read through.  Having completed the shoot the editing team found they had three and half hours of material "in totally the wrong order with no jokes." (ibid)  Not funny, for a romcom.

I draw solace for my own writing and seek to share Richard Curtis' insights here "A film isn't written once, it's written at least three times - first it's written, then it's rewritten as you direct it and then it's rewritten as you edit it."  (Curtis, 2003, pg. 3)

Key Point: Students should embrace writing long and ensure they plan sufficient time to edit and re-edit their work.

  Impact is everything.