If you’re reading this, then chances are you might have heard about our brand consultancy programme running this term called CAMBrand. CAMBrand is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain invaluable experience in strategy and marketing. On the programme, you would be assigned to one of our partnered brands (based on your indicated preferences) and carry out real work in teams to solve their marketing challenges!
Three members of this year’s CAMSoc committee completed the programme last year, and have shared their experience…
1. How did you hear about CAMBrand?
Ines: Purely by luck. I was going through the list of Cambridge societies halfway through October in my second year as I wanted to take part more in the university community. I came across CAMSoc and through their website learnt about CAMBrand.
Haleh: I heard about CAMBrand at the CUSU Fresher’s Fair. There are a lot of society stalls at the Fresher’s Fair and I bumped into the CAMSoc one on my way around. I also went to CAMSoc’s freshers drinks event to learn more about the programme and the society in general to decide if it was something for me.
Raghav: I was looking to get involved in more career focused societies as I approached my final year. I stumbled upon CAMSoc and thought I’d give it a try.
2. What was your project about?
I: My team and I worked with ‘Debut’, a graduate recruitment app where employers approach students rather than the other way round. We were tasked with designing a multi-media marketing campaign targeted at students in university societies.
H: My project was for a company called ‘PACK’D’ which sells DIY frozen smoothie kits. The project scope for my team was to create 3 potential marketing campaigns with a hypothetical budget of 50k to tackle PACK’D’s marketing challenges; the public perception of frozen food, and brand awareness and visibility.
R: My team and I worked with ‘GAGAGO’, a graduate recruitment service. We were tasked with organising and delivering a graduate recruitment event targeted at final year students.
3. How did you pick what project to apply for?
I: The Debut app sounded interesting and the prospect of working over social media was something that I wanted to do. What was even better was that the Debut brief was one of the only ones that allowed you to actually apply your ideas and see if they worked. That level of responsibility was a huge reason for why I applied.
H: I have always been passionate about the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) industry and so I definitely wanted to do one of the two consumer good projects offered on the programme. In the end, I put PACK’D as my first choice because at the time I was president of the St Catharine’s Smoothie Society and I drink / make a lot of smoothies myself anyway (I mean, who doesn’t love a good smoothie?).
R: GAGAGO was an exciting new company and their project offered the prospect of seeing real and tangible results. This was the primary reason I applied to work with GAGAGO.
4. Was CAMBrand what you expected? What made you initially apply?
I: Honestly, I don’t know what I expected. I just knew that I wanted more experience in marketing and CAMBrand was the perfect opportunity to find out more in a practical sense, about a sector that I’m interested in. In this respect, CAMBrand definitely fulfilled that, I learnt so much which I still apply today.
H: CAMBrand definitely exceeded my expectations and was a real chance to get involved with CAMSoc. Taking part in the programme opened the doors to other talks and workshops, and I was able to meet some really interesting people!
R: I didn’t really have any expectations to begin, I was just excited by the challenge and opportunity to meet new people. Despite being a chemical engineer, I was always interested in the creative industries and CAMBrand was the best opportunity at university to get first hand experience. CAMBrand was definitely one of the challenging and fulfilling experiences I’ve had at university.
5. How was your team organised?
I: We were in a group of seven with one team leader who was responsible for coordinating us.
H: Our team was very organised, and that is probably mostly down to our team lead who knew lots about the industry and was really committed to delivering on the project. We had a few team meetings but also split into smaller groups with individual responsibilities to develop and present ideas for a marketing campaign. We got on really well as a team, and it was great to celebrate with them at the end of the project!
R: I was in a group of five with one team leader.
6. What interaction did you get with your company?
I: A lot, we spoke to our company representative a few times a week and at the end of the project got to go to Debut HQ to present our findings.
H: Most of the interaction with the company at PACK’D was mediated by our team lead, but I met the marketing manager at the kick-off meeting in October and again when we presented our final ideas towards the end of term. Ideally, I would have liked to have more interaction with the brand, and this is something we are considering for this year.
R: We regularly liaised with GAGAGO via email and at the end of the project visited their HQ to present our solution.
7. What did you learn during the programme?
I: Our brief really pushed me to think creatively. For example, we might want to develop a campaign over Instagram but what could set us apart? What would our audience want to see? It really gave me a sense of how I could develop an effective approach to market a product to others.
H: Talking to our team lead, I learnt a lot about the structure of the communications industry. However, for me, researching the public perception of frozen food, the trend for healthier food, and the influence of social media campaigns were definitely the most interesting parts!
R: It gave me a good grounding on what I can expect and offer the world of advertising and marketing.
8. What skills did you develop?
I: Being able to work in a team; overcoming conflict; proposing and defending my own ideas; thinking originally and creatively; the ability to send over 300 emails in under two hours…
H: The skill I was most able to develop was probably my creativity! Lab work and lectures don’t always leave room for creativity, but being able to just brainstorm with the rest of the team and develop ideas for marketing campaigns was really cool. I also think I developed my communication skills (classic!) just by working in such a diverse team and drafting the final presentation for PACK’D together.
R: Doing a purely science based subject, CAMBrand allowed me to apply and develop my creative skills.
9. Is CAMBrand on your CV? Have you ever been asked about it?
I: Yes, I think I can say without a doubt I’ve used it in every interview/application form I’ve had. Working on something for five/six weeks gives you a huge range of examples of skills and situations that employers want to hear about. It was definitely a worthwhile experience.
H: Of course CAMBrand is on my CV! I think it’s always good to show that you have tried to develop your skills by trying things outside your degree studies, and CAMBrand is really unique in this because it demonstrates real industry experience and initiative. I have mentioned it at a few job interviews and I think it’s always gone down well!
R: Yes, it’s a great example for showing teamwork, organisational and leadership skills.
10. Was the work difficult to balance with your studies?
I: I did struggle at first with the workload but I think that’s another part of why you should do CAMBrand. It’s manageable, not impossible, it’s just a matter of balancing and prioritising.
H: I do Material Sciences and so I had a fair few practicals / supervisions whilst also being mainly based in West Cambridge to navigate my schedule around. Having said that, it’s definitely not impossible as I was able to balance the project with my studies along with another project with the Cambridge Consulting Network. I would advise people with a tricky schedule to talk to the committee and to think carefully before overloading themselves! Talking to the team leads at the beginning of the project would also be a good idea.
R: Yes, initially it’s difficult but I enjoyed it so it didn’t have any negative effects on my academic work.
11. What was the highlight of CAMBrand for you?
I: The presentation at the end. Being able to talk through something that had an impact in front of the company, and having it be your own was great.
H: The highlight of CAMBrand for me was definitely the brainstorming sessions we did as a team where people would share their ideas for different marketing campaigns. At this stage, there is complete freedom to let your creative juices flow! Seeing our presentation come together at the end was also really exciting!
R: The team. Being able to work in a team with people I’d never met was really enjoyable.
12. What would you say to people considering doing CAMBrand this year?
I: Apply! CAMBrand is the only consultancy project of its kind that caters exclusively to marketing and branding. I think it’s really unique and the project briefs are always interesting. It’s an opportunity to gain experience with innovative and fun companies and develop your skills in an area that you might not necessarily know a lot about. I’m really happy that CAMSoc will be continuing it for another year.
H: I would say that it is a great opportunity to learn more about the challenges different companies face in marketing their products / services, and to meet other people interested in the industry. As someone who is only just beginning to learn about advertising and marketing, it was a great way in! It is also a chance to do something meaningful with your spare time (which, lets admit, there’s not much of) and really stands out on a CV!
R: Definitely give it a go! CAMBrand puts you on the front line of advertising and marketing while being at university. It’s challenging but the opportunity to learn new skills and meet people with similar interests is really worth it.
Thinking about applying but still not sure?
Come and meet the committee over a few drinks at our introductory event on October 8th. Find out more on our website and Facebook page. Alternatively, drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help!
CAMSoc Committee 2018-19