Posted: Tue 13th Nov 2018
Seat belts on! It was a bumpy ride for some of the candidates tasked with creating an airline in last week's episode of The Apprentice. Esther James, Enterprise Nation member and founder of social media agency Socialable, pulls out the small business lessons.
The latest episode marked the half way point in The Apprentice 2018 process.
We saw the candidates take on "the ultimate advertising task" and come up with a marketing campaign for a new budget airline, creating a brand, a 30-second television advert and uniform for the cabin crew.
Candidates pitched their campaigns to industry experts who reported back to Lord Sugar.
So what business lessons can we learn from Wednesday night's episode?
Getting the basics right
What's in a name? Well a lot, especially in the branding task.
'Jet Pop' was the name chosen by Team Collaborate for their budget airline, but it was just so wrong.
The word 'pop' conjures up thoughts of whizzes, bangs and dare I even say it explosions! These descriptors are really not what you want associated with an airline. The two candidates tasked with choosing the name failed to make this connection.
Taking a step back, considering things from other angles and viewpoints could potentially have avoided this situation.
It's easy in a time-pressured environment to make snap decisions but perhaps taking a moment or two for reflection and asking how will this work in the reality is something we could all benefit from doing.
The video produced to advertise the Jet Pop airline was confused. The team assumed that the viewer would easily understand the brand and product, but the advert was muddled and left the viewer none the wiser.
Assuming familiarity is an easy habit to slide into. In the real world we use acronyms and assume others know what they mean.
We become so involved with our own products and projects that clear and succinct explanation can be tricky. Without fresh eyes we can become too close.
Perhaps we should all actively seek out the perspective of fresh eyes every once in a while.
In contrast the advert for the other team's airline, Manage Air, was better. They clearly identified a problem and showcased how their service offered a solution, focusing on the benefits that it brought to the customer.
Style over substance
Branding is important but it shouldn't be at the expense of everything else.
Collaborate, the team working on 'Jet Pop', clearly had their young, fun airline brand in mind and wanted to make a real statement with the design of the cabin crew uniform, but this came at the expense on any practicality.
They overlooked the fact that the uniform has multiple purposes, not only was is supposed to identify the member of staff as part of the cabin crew team but it also needed to be comfortable and function in the variety of climates the crew would work in.
Focusing on one objective of the project at the expense of everything caused this mistake. Being clear from the outset what your objectives are, all of your objectives, is vital.
Listening to expert advice
Of course it's part of the challenge for the candidates to come up with design concepts whilst they are taking part in the branding task but it is also frustrating that the teams don't have the opportunity to speak to the graphic designers they are working with.
Calling in the experts is so important for any business. Having an expert sat in front of you and then calling all your own shots is a waste of valuable expertise. And let's face it designing your own logo is probably never going to end well.
So what's on the cards for this week?
I'm going to practice what I preach and find some fresh eyes to look over the product I'm launching. Conference Connector is a social media package for businesses exhibiting at conferences, trade shows and business events.
The Apprentice candidates meanwhile will be tackling urban gardening.