As part of a recent job application, I was tasked with presenting answers and solutions to role-relevant situations for the agency Relish.
Despite making it through to the final two candidates, they wanted to hire the both of us but unfortunately did not have the means to do so. However, due to my high standard of interview, preparation, effort and presentation, I was invited for another role – unfortunately again, it was not suited to my skillset.
I am so proud of the deck I created to showcase my solutions and of the feedback I received – that they were very creative and brand-aligned, and covered all bases so much so they did not have any further questions concerning the second half of my response!
Some key skills I called upon in this task were: lateral thinking, decisiveness, competitor analysis, social media analysis, excellent communication and presentation skills, rationality under pressure, adhering to deadlines, flexibility and design using Canva.
The presentation is available with my accompanying notes below.
This is the cover page for my presentation and task one, investigating and resolving a supply chain issue.
- I started by setting the scene mostly for my own benefit, detailing the extent of the scenario and rewording the task.
- So we’re two weeks away from the crucial delivery deadline, but my approach to the initial situation is how I approached all of my university deadlines – taking a breath, popping the kettle on and breaking it all down step by step.
- On this slide I thought it would be beneficial to illustrate my understanding the supply chain and the dependency of each part of the chain on each other.
- In its simplest form, it is showing that one agent failing to deliver will have knock-on consequences for everyone else.
- As outlined in the task, a delay in the production of a key (and agreed) product may have implications for our 2-week timeframe to deliver products to our warehouse, ultimately meaning a potential delay for our very important customer.
- On this next slide I thought it would be useful to compile a variety of points detailing and reinforcing how important it is to not let our customer down in reference to why the supply delay matters.
- Not only is it our job to deliver this calendar, but there are a whole host of benefits in doing so.
- ASOS will be counting on us to deliver the products we have presented to them, and need to be informed of any changes.
- The campaign yields a huge revenue for the company and is featured heavily across multiple online publications, and in magazines with large readerships such as Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
- ASOS has also cemented its place as one of the go-to beauty calendars thanks to its wide range of products featured within. Especially with 3 calendars at different price points and catering to different needs.
- ASOS is obviously a very impressive name to have in our portfolio and a customer we want to keep, not disappoint! With the big stake in their industry, it can open doors to similar brands in the future.
- Share of voice is high, reflecting positively on the company’s overall marketing efforts.
- I thought a really beneficial way of approaching this particular dilemma, or the campaign as a whole, was through the MoSCoW Technique allowing you to set out your priorities and goals.
- It really helped me to see things clearly and begin my plan of action.
Must Have, the end product will not work without this element.
Should Have, the end product can still go ahead without this element, painful but doable.
Could Have, would be nice to have in the end product.
Will not have, certain features of the end product.
- So ideally, the delay would not happen in the first place as we would ensure a plan B or even C in the event a supplier could not deliver. Being proactive rather than reactive.
I thought it would be important to make sure that before the delay has a chance to occur:
- A clear schedule should be drafted and shared with them, with frequent follow ups. Set up regular touch points and meetings that increase in frequency as the deadline approaches so we can iron out issues well in advance and spot potential delays before they happen. Check in if they need anything?
- Can’t foresee every issue but we could proactively build in safety nets to limit disruption e.g. putting certain clauses in the contract like compensation or sourcing alternative items.
- Build and keep good relationships with other suppliers incase we need them to step in at the last minute.
- Consider having stock of a beauty item that doesn’t have a shelf life as a reserve, such as brushes, tools or accessories just in case.
Overall we would hope that this issue would not arise, if we take the right steps to prevent a delay so close to the deadline.
1)The most important thing to do first would be to find out what exactly is going on – what is the production delay? We need to quickly find out whether the issue can be resolved in time and then what could we do to help them? Could we provide them the resources they need and bill them for the extra costs? Could be incurring a higher cost but at the trade-off of keeping the customer happy and delivering.
2)If we cannot expedite the key item: can they provide us with a similar item that will be appropriate? And then if so, they must provide something in line with expectations e.g. if it is The Ordinary, can they provide another serum just as good as the one we were promised. This is the approach I would be most willing to take as they would owe it to us to fix their error and if the replacement product came from the same brand, it would most likely not impact things too much.
Alternatively we may have to contact other suppliers for the key item or a similar one [perhaps letting the supplier know this as they will not want to lose business].
3)Let ASOS be informed – not that we won’t be able to deliver, but that there might be a slight change to their calendar so they have time to update their press releases and general information. They need to know about any changes to their product and we definitely cannot keep them in the dark – have to be as transparent but as reassuring as possible.
4)So, whether there is a slightly higher cost to ensure we get the agreed product, or we end up going with a just-as-brilliant product, a solution must be found. Everyone must be kept informed and communicate efficiently.
5)It may also be worth considering whether to use this supplier again if this has happened before and if it might be a problem again next year.
Summarising the key points.
- Providing the back story to my task response, we must do everything we can to not lose this customer so we need to hatch a plan.
- Again we need to communicate effectively with the brand and find out why they chose to go with Boots over us.
- It might be that they have a better offer from Boots and will be offered more money in that partnership, there might be a more flexible schedule and less pressure/longer deadline, perhaps they believe Boots will give them better exposure for their target audience, or maybe there were some signs we missed from them – but hopefully not!
- It would be more effective to directly call the brand as we are in the later stage of the project, as this will demand a quicker response.
- As soon as we know the problem we can begin to start resolution, and again communication is key!
- Businesses want to get the best return on their investment, in this case the calendar, so we have to prove to them they would get this with us.
- I thought that an effective way to approach the situation would be to produce a report detailing the key, unique benefits if the brand chose to partner with us and ASOS.
- Once the issue is identified, we can start to carry out research to support our claims, finalise our solutions for them and compile the case to present to the brand.
Slide 15 and 16
- I decided one of the ways we can present this is through social media insights and stats. I chose Instagram because this is where the majority of the buzz is going to be created and photos shared of the products.
- As you can see, Boots have a following of 1 million and just over 300 posts under their calendar hashtag.
- By contrast, ASOS have amassed over 11 million followers and boast more than 1,000 posts under their hashtag.
- ASOS’s following is over 10x that of Boots, meaning it is likely to have a far greater reach.
- The marketing strategies that ASOS employs with user generated content and harnessing influencers to promote their goods is unparalleled with Boots, their following speaks for itself.
- This comparison appeals to the marketing and numbers side of the brand and reinforces the greater exposure of their product if they were to select us.
- I also thought it would be useful to address the target market of the brand.
- As you can see Boots is thought to target the middle class woman, I would estimate anywhere around 30 and upwards, although they have made more recent moves to refresh their brands and offer a wider range to younger beauty lovers.
- ASOS’s demographic is basically defined as “twenty somethings” but extends to any fashion and beauty conscious consumer on top of trends.
- Taking the example of Too Faced which has featured in both calendars before, if this were the brand in question that we were convincing of staying with ASOS – I would include information about their target markets.
- I found out that the ASOS and Too Faced target market aligns really well, so that in being part of the calendar, Too Faced’s product will reach the right people which could then lead to customers actively buying from Too Faced again.
- More research could be done into this but this also suggests both brands would have similar followings and benefit mutually from the partnership, as opposed to the less-aligned and engaging Boots.
So, a few more things we could include!
- We would pull together key market data to support our case as often the performance and numbers speak for themselves – market share, units sold.
- We would reinforce to them the importance of the global reach of the physical products not just on social media, and how well their brand aligns with the others featured – something I would be more equipped to speak about with some more research.
- The fact that the beauty calendar is advertised and reviewed on some of the biggest online magazines is also an attractive feature. In the period between April 2019 to March 2020, Vogue (in print and online) reached over 2.4 million people in the UK and Cosmopolitan had an average monthly reach of around 3.5 million adults.
- I think it would also bode well to remind them of how much we value them as a customer, not just a business opportunity, and how excited we are about their product.
- So then the final steps would be to again outline the financial figures as a persuasion tactic, as brands are interested in how many units would be sold, and the potential return on their investment which is why they choose to collaborate in campaigns such as this.
- We would also prepare to bargain and negotiate with them which could entail guaranteeing a contract for next year, more favourable rates/terms and potentially a bigger involvement in the calendar if they chose to stay on – within our means but hopefully they would be persuaded by the information we present them – doing so again on a call or in a meeting.