A team of three Emory students has advanced in the L’Oréal Brandstorm 2016, a marketing-based competition for students to offer their creative marketing ideas to one of L’Oréal’s international brands, La Roche-Posay, a makeup and skincare cosmetics line, which is the focus case for competition this year. The Emory team will compete against teams from universities across the nation this April in New York City.

Julia Porpora, assistant manager of campus recruitment at L’Oréal, and Kathy Cuevas, assistant vice president of digital engagement and campus recruitment at L’Oréal, hosted the selection at Emory Goizueta Business School on Feb. 9, 2016.

“I really look forward to seeing creative marketing solutions from different teams,” Porpora said. “It will be an interesting challenge because La Roche-Posay is a rather new player in the cosmetics industry.”

Three Emory teams, “E-836”, “Branding Babes” and “Nadir Bound,” presented their innovative solutions as to how to attract young consumers in the 15-to-25 age demographic to La Roche-Posay. Presenters explored growth opportunities for this currently under-promoted venture by offering their SWOT analysis on La Roche-Posay, a matrix that evaluates strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats of a business.

Goizueta Business School junior Rachel Gilson from team “Branding Babes” acknowledged the challenge in promoting the brand, as she said in the presentation that “[she doesn’t] think many people know about La Roche-Posay.”

Gilson added that if customers walk into malls, there are numerous substitutes or competitive brands available.However, as described by B-school junior Jing Zhu from team “E-836,” La Roche-Posay has many competitive advantages and opportunities as a new brand.

“I think emerging young Chinese customers will be the targeted group for the marketing campaign of La Roche-Posay,” Zhu explained to the judges. “The air pollution in China concerns a fair amount of citizens who suffer from all kinds of pollutants which damage their skin. La Roche-Posay can really work on developing products that specifically nourish people’s skin therapeutically [in the Chinese context].”

After the presentation, Porpora said that Zhu’s idea was well-developed and took into account the external business environment, which has a great impact on a new brand, but she also appreciated the ideas presented by other teams.

“I am really impressed by the smart marketing ideas students came up with,” Porpora said. “Each team has its own unique way of presenting – each has its edge.”

According to Cuevas, selecting a winner proved to be a tough process, because the three teams in the semi-final round were winnowed down from a pool of 20 qualified teams. The teams were comprised of sophomores and juniors concentrating in Marketing and Consulting at Goizueta.

After evaluating the three teams’ business acumen and their creative ideas, Porpora and Cuevas finally decided to offer E-836, consisting of B-school juniors Echo Zeng, Jing Zhu and Yuqiao Tang, the opportunity to represent Emory in the national competition. This will be Emory’s first team to participate in the national competition.

“It was totally unexpected,” Zeng said. “The only thing my teammates and I thought [about] was how to pitch our solution in an interesting and memorable way.”

According to Tang, the whole team is “really excited to compete with talented teams from peer universities such as the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Texas, Austin and George Washington University,” and the experience will be enriching “no matter the result.”

Porpora and Cuevas will help E-836 draft their business plan, do market research and practice presentation skills before the three compete on the national stage.