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Business Black Box 2020
Written by Rayoung (Madeline) Lee | Published. 2020.10.10 16:45 | Count : 349

The Business Black Box (BBB) Competition is a business strategy competition run by the Wharton Korea Undergraduate Business Society (Wharton KUBS), a student-run organization at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn). The organization is dedicated to serving as a bridge between UPenn and Korea by organizing events such as the BBB, in which I participated this year.

On the day of the conference, the participating groups are asked to come up with a marketing strategy for the sponsor company or a specific product line. The groups have nine hours to prepare a 10-minute presentation that addresses aspects such as industry analysis, competitor analysis, and financial statement. This competition is usually held overnight, but due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the preliminary round was shortened to one day. Participants are judged on five different criteria: creativity, evidence, delivery, structure, and Q&A. 

[At the venue of the conference. Photo credit: Rayoung (Madeline) Lee]

On August 8, 2020, the 9th annual BBB was held at the Kyowon Vision Center and the sponsor company was Interojo. Interojo is one of the leading lens manufacturers both in Korea and Asia. The company is most known for its contact and colored contact lens brand “Clalen”, which became famous for being promoted by the Korean actress Suzy. Prior to the competition, my group did some research on the vision care industry, along with a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) analysis for some Clalen products, and brainstormed new marketing strategies for increasing Interojo’s sales. When we first heard about our sponsor company, we struggled to come up with ideas because all of us were unfamiliar with colored contact lenses. We had never worn contact lenses before, let alone colored contact lenses, so it was hard to put ourselves in the shoes of the customers. 

We were asked to choose one of the two prompts: create a business strategy for promoting Interojo’s Astra line by analyzing the traits of the company’s main consumers to better introduce the pearl lens to the contact lens market or propose a creative yet strategic marketing funnel for Freedom 380, the world’s first blue light blocking lens. After a long group discussion, we decided to go for the first one because we thought we could present more unique ideas for a wider range of customers. Whereas, for the second, we could only think of promoting Freedom 380 in the e-sports industry and targeting students and office workers who spend a lot of time in front of a screen.

[The document our group was working on for the final pitch.
Photo credit: Rayoung (Madeline) Lee]

As the Astra lens emphasizes on comfort and the natural look of the glitter, we decided to create AR filters in photobooths to help people visualize how the lens would look on them. Photo booths are a growing trend in Korea, and can be easily found on the streets. Although they are mostly used by teens, they can also be enjoyed by families, so using the photobooth can be an effective marketing method to increase brand recognition for all age groups. By employing partnerships with photobooth companies, we could try to normalize wearing glitter lenses daily and not just on special occasions. We also suggested creating a ticket that can be printed when people take photos using the lens filter. The ticket would contain information on nearby stores with Astra lens in stock as well as a discount on the 30-day Astra lens from the website. Buying a month worth of lenses is costly and unfavorable for people who have never tried colored contact lenses before, so creating a three-day Astra lens was also one of our ideas. Unfortunately, we had to abandon one of our ideas. We want to create a subscription box containing Clalen lenses along with othe makeup and beauty products that is delivered to customers once a moth, but the problem was that lenses must be prescribed in Korea. No matter how hard we tried to work around the law, we couldn’t find any way to make this idea work.

Working on out pitch for nine hours was very tiring and grueling because all of us wanted to come up with more ideas that could appeal to the judges, but we were running out of time. Legal restrictions were also a factor that prevented us from presenting many ideas, such as selling the lenses on television, such as through home shopping channels. Although we did not make it to the final round, it was a great experience for me to think from the perspective of the customers to create a marketing strategy that is both realistic and effective. I realized that marketing is much more than just promoting a product with an ad, but that it takes great thought and time to identify the main consumers and their habits. For me, the competition may have been stressful, but it was definitely satisfying to overcome a challenge with my friends and trying something new. Hopefully, there are more opportunities in the future to explore the field of business and hone my marketing skills.

 

 







Rayoung (Madeline) Lee
Senior (Grade 12)
Seoul Foreign School

Rayoung (Madeline) Lee  student_reporter@dherald.com

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