2020 marks the Future Business Magnates 15th year of the Durham based competition for secondary schools. The competition is launched each year in the Autumn term. Each school selects a team from Year 8 who are given a brief to start a business inspired by the theme of the competition. The theme changes each year and reflects the aspects and elements of the current business environment. Each team develops its business idea and participates in a series of six challenges which include everything from team building, product design, marketing and finance. Ultimately pitching their business to a panel of industry experts at the close of the competition before the Awards Dinner at the end of the competition where the winners are announced (Business Durham).
For the past 5 years, TICE has been tasked to design and deliver Challenge 4. Challenge Four is based on the fundamentals of Marketing your Business. This an area we are very familiar with and of course, in true TICE style, delivered in a creative hands-on style. One other aspect to mention, each year the competition adheres to a particular theme that the teams need to direct their business ideas towards. This year, extremely topical, the theme is Build a Business to Protect the Planet. This year there are 16 Durham based secondary schools involved in the competition, so we delivered over two days. Our venue which gave a stunning background to the workshop was Durham County Cricket Club.
Our days started with understanding the concept of marketing and discussing with the teams the importance of identifying their value. Teams were first tasked to outline statistics, research and the overall benefits of their business ideas.
Once gathering this information, the next aspect to consider was their target audience. Even more importantly figuring out if every member of the team was thinking about the same target audience! So, to confirm this, a quick character drawing, in silence and secret was performed and their true customer was revealed. The teams then needed to make sure they were all on the same page.
The most important areas to then discussed were marketing concepts. We chose 4 areas to showcase and then let the students decided which areas were most appropriate for their ideas and for the target audience.
We took the students through Advertising, Direct Marketing, Personal Selling and Public Relations. Carefully chosen examples presented examples of each marketing strategy, the groups then were to think if these strategies were cost-effective in terms of their ideas and how creative could they be?
Our final challenge of the day was about bringing all their new knowledge together and start to visually build their identity for the business. Now that the groups knew what benefits they were trying to showcase, their target customer and the strategies that suited them best, their final task was to develop their logo and pull all of this together. After brand values and do’s and don’ts, the teams started generating ideas. Some excellent logos were developed.
After a full morning of marketing and business development, the teams were left in the afternoon to draw upon business leaders in the room to help and format their on-going business plans. Once again, we are delighted to see the creativity in the room, the ideas being expanded upon and seeing the younger generations come up with businesses to protect the planet!