After five weeks of coaching sessions, countless team meetings and getting step by step closer to perfecting our pitch presentations for the client Fairphone it was finally time. Everyone could feel the excitement of the groups to reveal their big ideas and show the valuable insights and skills they learned through all the coaching sessions with Coopr’s PR experts. The room where we spend our Thursday evenings preparing for this very day was filled with nervous faces as the groups were excited to present and find out what creative approach the other group came up with.
Group 1 with Domnica, Jet, Lena, Ellie and Claudia who were coached by Shelly went first. After telling us why they each, just like Fairphone, are positive disruptors they presented their idea. In short, they wanted to work with the bold statement “Don’t buy a Fairphone 4” highlighting Fairphone’s commitment to sustainability and their actions against unnecessary smartphone purchases. They would portray this statement on sustainable banners including a QR code leading to the company’s website across the Netherlands’ biggest cities. To really make use of these banners they planned to repurpose them after the activation by turning them into shopping bags and other items that would be distributed through partnerships with other brands. This out-of-home activation would be supported by Influencers, Fairphone’s presence at Dutch universities’ sustainability weeks and many other aspects. After the pitch, they confidently answered the jury’s questions and could then sit back and watch the presentation of Group 2.
Group 2, coached by Lotte, consisted of Paul, Mara, Zoë, Daria and Hannah. They had a very different idea and wanted to promote Fairphone through a big event where they could give the target group Gen Z the opportunity to really experience Fairphone and the values they stand for. For this, they wanted to collaborate with Dutch art schools to create an interactive piece of artwork made out of phone waste that would be exhibited on a special day in Amsterdam’s Westerpark. To really make it an experience that attracts attention the event would include a small DJ, a Fairphone stand and sustainable food trucks among others. In order to further increase engagement the group came up with a hashtag so people posting about the event on social media while using this hashtag had the chance to enter a lottery to win a Fairphone 4. This main activation was complimented by an Influencer promoting the event and being present on the actual day, a survey to get media attention and much more. Group 2 was not spared of questions either but after mastering those the pitching part was done.
But even though the main event of pitching the campaigns was done the excitement stayed the same and both groups congratulated each other on their great ideas. While the jury then decided on a winner the groups could calm their nerves with a final dinner together reflecting on the past weeks together. Then came the moment of truth when the representative from Fairphone announced Group 1 as the winners. After the congratulations, it was time to take some group pictures to capture the memories and thank the mentors for their constant support. We would all like to thank Coopr and the Erasmus University Rotterdam for the possibility to participate in this year’s Coopr Academy and the client Fairphone for providing such an interesting and challenging task. It was the perfect opportunity for us to bridge the gap between academia and practice and we all got a better understanding of what PR is about and how complex and diverse it is. During these past few weeks, we made some great connections and friendships and can confidently say the Coopr Academy was yet again a complete success.
I think you should brush your teeth on one leg. Why? Well, because this session was not about a new yoga position, but rather about finding ways to boost our creativity, improve our brainstorming techniques, and learn how to master our pitch. And yes, that is one helpful technique. Although the final pitch will take place in two weeks and all of us are focused and determined to nail it, this session not only helped us come up with new ideas for our assignment and be confident in our creativity, but it also helped us loosen up and be ready to embrace the challenge. This was all thanks to Lotte, accompanied by Marloes, who took us through the unrestrained journey of building up creative ideas, by introducing us to some theory, strategies, and also by giving us some fun challenges to complete. Hence, hold on with that leg still up, grab a pen and a paper, and stay focused!
To begin with, the first half of the plenary session was about creativity and brainstorming. Did you know that creativity can be convergent, creating something completely new, and divergent, making use of previously acquired information to come up with an idea? Or that the older you get, the more difficult it is to have convergent theories? Indeed, Lotte fascinated us with some engaging takes on theory, raising questions about the meaning of creativity, giving us real-life examples, and suggesting us some tricks on how to be creative, such as taking several 5 minutes breaks during the day, or drawing your thoughts. Never underestimate yourself, as creativity is something that you can train! Also, remember the napkin method: the shorter the idea, the better. Next, for brainstorming, we were presented the steps for preparation, generation of ideas, and evaluation. Don’t be afraid to go crazy about your creative approach and respect everyone’s ideas, as no idea is a bad idea!
During our break, we happily enjoyed our delicious warm meal offered by Coopr, for which we are all very thankful. It is interesting to see how friendships have been developed during this project, and how we even make use of the break to talk about improving our strategy for Fairphone. I noticed a great sense of teamwork and respect among all of us. We also make use of the break to chat a bit more with our coaches.
When the break was over, we returned to the second half of the plenary session and we learned how to nail our pitch. Pitching in front of a client can be quite stressful, but if you follow some rules such as deciding on the roles in the team, rehearse the pitch a few times, and think of a possible Q&A, the whole process should run smoothly. Lastly, to spice things up, Lotte challenged us to write 8 creative ideas on a piece of paper individually, and then comment them with our group members, ideas that we could use to build the strategy for our Fairphone case.
To sum up, the fourth week’s plenary session was very engaging, letting our creativity roam, and improving our brainstorming and pitching skills. Unfortunately, the Coopr Academy is close to an end, but we still have two more weeks to prepare our strategy and presentation for Fairphone. All the plenary sessions gave us sufficient knowledge and insight into how to approach the Fairphone case. Thus, each group will focus on doing their homework assignment on creativity and meet with their mentors a few times before the great presentation. The clock is ticking, so we’d better get back to work!
Coopr, thank you for all the valuable lessons, guidance, and for welcoming us every week! We would make great use of all the information to nail the pitch! Let the competition begin and may the best presentation win! We’ve got this!
Last week already wrapped up our last session of the Coopr Academy – once again proof of how time flies! Five weeks ago, we set foot into the Candid office for the first time, not knowing what to expect from the sessions ahead of us or who we would be working for on the PR case. I remember the nervous faces in session one when we were about to find out who the client would be, then excitedly listening to Ivette from Madurodam’s marketing team sharing the challenge with us: “Show people that Madurodam is more than just miniature.” Challenge accepted! So, for the following weeks, the ten participants of the Coopr Academy worked on a case in two teams, both supported by one of Coopr’s PR experts. The team of Group 1 had the pleasure of working with Anouk, while the team of Group 2 was supported by Lotte. The weekly sessions guided us along the way to in the end come up with a complete, well-thought-through PR strategy to solve the challenge set to us by Madurodam. We learned about insights and strategy, corporate communication, brand PR, influencer marketing, and how to best use our creativity for brainstorming and the pitch. Sounds like quite a lot, right? We can with certainty say that the range of practical knowledge we gained within those five short weeks was nothing we could have learned at university within the same time. But what did the teams come up with in the end? Was it enough to convince the critical jury of their creative ideas? And did all the hard work in the end finally pay off?