Marketing 101 with Brand’s and Joanne Peh

The concept of marketing is an interesting one (no, not when you buy groceries at the market).

So it’s been said that polytechnics are known for the projects they hand out to their students. While some joke about the amount of projects, most talk about their practicality – it’s the very reason why polytechnic education is known for its hands-on approach. And it makes sense: most of the skills one gets in life don’t come only from reading books – work on a project, test your knowledge and skills and see the fruits of your labour.

And sometimes, project work offer you a chance not just to hone your skills, but to work on things you would’ve never otherwise been involved with. In the case of our Year 2 Marketing students, it wasn’t just “some things”, it was also “someone.”

The above powerpoint slide greeted me as I walked into the lecture hall where the Marketing students were being briefed. Prior to me coming in, a representative from Brand’s (as in Brand’s Essence of Chicken) was there to brief them on one of their products – Brand’s Essence of Prune. While I thought that they were there to market the product to our Marketing students (hur hur), I was in fact mistaken… but not entirely off the mark.

Both Joanne Peh and Brand’s Essence of Prune were the subject of the Marketing students’ upcoming projects. They were tasked to get to know both better and then come up with creative ways to market them.

A celebrity and a health beverage. My my. Those are two very different topics.

And speaking of the celebrity…

Isn’t she just SO pretty? … Ahem. Right.

Joanne Peh was surprisingly affable (since common folk like us tend to think that celebrities might come off a bit aloof). She answered questions honestly and entertainingly, and our students clearly were engaged by her.

“Who do you believe are your target audience?”

“What image do you prefer to portray?”

“What’s your most memorable branding project you’ve worked on?”

The answer to that last question, by the way, is “Jetstar”.

Even before the interview, people mentioned Jetstar quite often to Joanne Peh. She, too, concurred that it was the strongest brand she has been associated with. “Even foreigners who don’t know who I am remember me as the ‘aeroplane girl’”, she laughed.

And without me even realizing it, she and our students were already talking shop. Branding, memorable characteristics, target audience – this was marketing discussion.

As for their Brand’s project… Hur hur:

They took to the concourse, each group using different strategies to promote Brand’s Essence of Prune to the masses. Some were funky, others appealed to the health-nut in us and one large bunch of them even came together for a flash mob.

It was nice to see how seriously our students took their work. This wasn’t just another project to them – they had the chance to work with real-life brands, and they took the bull by the horns. Whether it be convincing passer-bys of the power of prunes or whether it be mulling over how to market a celebrity better, it was more than just school work to them – these were opportunities they knew they couldn’t get elsewhere.

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