The CAMBrand Experience
Although applications for this term's CAMBrand projects have already closed and projects are underway, we thought we'd share with you some more insights into the programme. So today we bring you two pieces from previous committee members about their experience of CAMBrand in the hope that it will show you the benefits of applying or to provide you with some tips about how to get the most out of your CAMBrand experience!
Haleh's CAMBrand Experience:
My project was for a company called PACK’D which sold DIY frozen smoothie kits. A customer using their product would buy packs of frozen fruit and vegetables and superfood sachets to help them make healthy smoothies at home! 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. Solving these problems would hopefully ultimately drive product trial and eventually product loyalty. CAMBrand definitely exceeded my expectations and was a real chance to get involved with CAMSoc. Doing the project for PACK’D opened the doors to their other talks and workshops, and I was able to meet some really interesting people!
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 where the committee told be all about CAMBrand. 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. After being on the publicity team for TEDxCambridgeUniversity in my second year, I had developed an interest in the world of advertising and marketing. I applied to CAMBrand to get more involved with CAMSoc in general, and also see if I could use this interest to develop my skills and passion for the industry. The opportunity of working for a real company was also not one to miss!
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!
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! 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.
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: PACK’D and Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. 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 drink / make a lot of smoothies myself anyway (I mean, who doesn’t love a good smoothie?).
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!
Most of the interaction with the company at PACK’D was mediated by the CAMBrand 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. However, due to the small size of our target companies and the short time-frame of the project, there are some limitations.
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!
Ines' CAMBrand Experience:
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. 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.
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.
We were in a group of seven with one team leader who was responsible for coordinating us. 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.
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. 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…
I think I can say without a doubt I’ve used it [CAMBrand] 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.
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. 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.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author only, and does not represent the views of CAMSoc as a whole or the University of Cambridge.