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“Leave them with something to remember you by.”

Sometime around late June I saw a post on the Brandcenter Facebook page about the Griffin Farley Beautiful Minds program, sponsored through BBH and its partners. The program was created to find up-and-coming planning talent, and I thought it sounded like a great opportunity.

Cutting it close to the deadline, I turned in my application 30-minutes before it was due. The application was tough, but it sort of reminded me of the Brandcenter application– I knew that there wasn’t ONE answer. I knew they were looking for responses from MY unique perspective.

Fast forward to when I arrived in NY for the program (I was thrilled to be accepted):

I was put in a group with four strangers and —other students, recent grads, people in their career, people exploring career paths, people from all over the world—a mix of everyone, which made for a diverse team.

We were thrown in from day 1. Not only were we put in a team of people we didn’t know, but we were also given our first brief. Coming from the Brandcenter, nothing about this situation was a surprise to me. Working in a team came naturally to me. As a Creative Brand Manager, I knew the most important thing to do first was to talk to my team members- get to know them and have them identify their strengths. I knew not to focus on “winning” the pitch, but instead focus on the challenge/brief.

The client was “Be My Eyes,” which is an app that strives to improve the lives of the blind by connecting them to volunteers that will narrate quick, every day moments. Our challenge was to increase users.

From the get go, it was a challenging brief. We had 24 hours to come up with our pitch, knowing we were competing against 12 other teams.

From what the Brandcenter taught me, I knew that as long as the idea was there, that would be enough to take us to the next round. With 12 teams competing, we made it to the final 4.

From this point, the stress began to build within our team, but I was able to handle the stress because the Brandcenter. It was here I learned we can choose where we allocate our energy when we’re stressed. We can either add to the value of the project, or give in to the stress. That doesn’t mean you can’t be stressed and upset, but you learn to walk it off and then refocus.

Only hours before our final pitch, I decided I wanted to create a “leave behind” because I wanted to do one thing that no other team would do. The idea of a “leave behind” is straight from Business of Branding class: leave them with something to remember you by.

We had 10 minutes to present our final deck to the judges, and we were proud of what we presented.

We had a solid opening, and we hit the idea that when you lose a sense, it’s like losing a sense of who you are as a human. We were able to tap into a human emotion. We were able to bring to light: how do you create a campaign for people who can’t see when so much of the design is for people who CAN see? Our solution to the problem was that this is not a campaign for us, or for the judges- it’s for a group of people that are going through something we have never experienced.

We won. But even more important, I learned so much about my strengths, and how they apply to this industry throughout the process.

I realized the power of having presence when presenting.I realized the importance of human insight.The importance of creating tension.The importance of being able to manage a team.And finally, the importance of being able to logistically create a campaign.

-KP Thomas, creative brand management track, class of 2018