Week Ten, the final task and the candidates are asked to concoct their own perfume to sell to retailers. In the boardroom, for one team it’s the sweet smell of success and for the other it’s the stink of defeat as someone is told: “You’re Fired!”
The Apprentice Episode 10: The Task
It’s Week Ten and Lord Sugar summons the candidates to Burlington House in Central London. A cultural hub for the arts and sciences, it is home to five learned societies including the Royal Society of Chemistry.
For their next task, Lord Sugar asks the candidates to don their lab coats and goggles as he challenges them to create and sell their own perfume. Perfume market is worth £31 billion! A very interesting market indeed.
Teams will have to come up with their own signature scent and design and brand a unique bottle before attempting to secure sales from two major retailers.
This task requires both creativity and a real nose for business.
The Apprentice Episode 10: Key Skills
This task required a number of key skills that are essential in business—below I have articulated each skill and its relevance in real life business scenarios.
1) Personal Branding
As a personal branding expert I keep on banging on about this, but it is important!
We have a scenario, again, where likability has come into the fray. If someone would rather put themselves forward as PM just so that the other cannot be PM—that is an illustration of likability becoming a problem. Today, on my LinkedIn, I talked about the difference between character and reputation—both are essential components in business. I have said it before and I will say it again, people buy from people. Think about your portrayal, perception, character and reputation and make sure they are a positive differentiator for you in business.
Use of words: if you are eloquent, excellent but using vocabulary to alienate others can also cause contention.
2) Market Demographic
Choosing the most popular audience demographic can be favourable because it is a busy environment with a clear market to sell to BUT it also means competition is fierce. Can you ensure that your brand stands out from the crowd?
Equally if a new genre is on brand and is currently exciting, you can be a break out brand.
Can be crippling.
Don’t lose sight of the core demographic that you are targeting when making major decision, this is relevant for a perfume or any other product/service.
Don’t let indecision result in not making a decision and in this scenario they ended up throwing the whole contents of every scent into one perfume (they didn’t know when to stop). Sometimes less is more.
Be clear, have a vision and work on it with clarity.
Imagery is everything. Think about what would sell a high-end luxury perfume. Look at the market, what are competing brands offering?
What do all brands have in common, what could be a USP and how can you convey your agenda to a wider market?
Messaging: think about how to illustrate a power stance that is modern, in a time where gender neutrality and feminism is at the forefront but careful with the picture you are painting to empower appropriately. You need to have seen this episode to understand how bad Lottie’s design decisions were in this case.
They say its the content that counts… but realistically people buy into the box and the bottle before they even smell the fragrance, they are swayed the outside. That is what makes a brand stand out on a shelf and urges you to have a sniff.
Putting a woman on a bottle—unless it is a celebrity brand—tends to be a no go, because it assumes the woman is personifying who the brand is targeting. Be aware of this.
The Apprentice Episode 10: The Reality
There are a few things to think about from this task in addition to the above, so here is a round of quick fire bullet points:
- Think laterally—does anyone else use a photo on the front of the bottle? No. So why would you? It looked very… Poundland chic.
- How many brands successfully market a unisex perfume? Other than elite perfumes like Tom Ford, Louis Vuitton—not many. So this is an opportune moment to break into the market at a lower price point. That said, there may not be many unisex smaller brands, but there are certainly more opportunity here than with a perfume with a mountain and woman in short shorts on the bottle, that is for sure.
- Pitch, as a manager or a leader you do not have to let everyone pitch. Push the people to pitch who are able to do so in a positive way that resonates with the audience. A pitch is an opportunity for story telling, every good story has a beginning, middle and end.
- Don’t make bad decisions twice—if someone is bad at pitching and they have illustrated that in a pitch, you do not let them pitch again to your last hope of succeeding in a major pitch.
- Spell Check—in Lewis’ defence, the person who wrote the text in the graphic design room probably made the mistakes. But it is incumbent upon Lewis to check spelling.
- Correlation—the bottle and the marketing campaign need to correlate but in true Apprentice style they had not seen the bottle before making the campaign. In real life you would have to consider the elements together but hey, this makes good TV entertainment.
- As an aside—Claude Littner really is the MAN!
The Apprentice Episode 10: Who Deserved to be Fired?
*Spoiler Alert* If you haven’t watched this episode, stop reading now.
Of course, Lottie believed she had more experience than anyone else based on 19 years of life and having picked a perfume at a friend’s wedding! And in typical Lottie style she believes she is always right—I think we are going to place this on age and a tad naivety. But well done her, for putting herself out there.
I would have fired both men and had a final 4, and not because I am biased to women.
Well, Dean was fired—which I don’t think comes as a surprise, unfortunately, but I think he will have learnt a great deal from the experience.
See you next week for the best week… the interviews!
Final Five, Here We Go!