Report: Mango applauds the Challenge 2014 projects

One year, four reusable design bags, and four different charity causes. In the end Mango’s innovation team went for the simplicity and consistency of the Magic with Mango proposal presented by Anastasia Umovskaya, Danijela Mendanova, Dominik Hartl, Myall Budden and Sparsh Verma, five students at the UPF Barcelona School of Management who took part in the 2014 Challenge. “The idea is consistent, easy to implement, visible and with social value. And it also works with the brand’s reputation. Sometimes all you need is a good, simple, well-constructed idea,” said the Mango representatives.

Magic with Mango is part of the open innovation applied to learning project from the UPF business school, in which teams of students from different programs and of different nationalities work together on the same business challenge. The four finalists were invited to Mango’s headquarters, at Palau Solità-i-Plegamans, to hear the opinions of Mango’s innovation team. “The company plays an important role in the process because it isn’t just about proposing a challenge for students to work on but creating a relationship between company and university to discuss and work on real challenges together,” observed Daniel Serra, Dean of UPF Barcelona School of Management.

The winning project

The winning project, Magic with Mango, proposes that the company manufacture eco-friendly, reusable bags, designed by talented young designers. The profits will go to a social cause in collaboration with an NGO. The idea is nothing new, but the key differentiating factor is in the discussion of opening new markets. How is a multinational like Mango to enter new markets like India, China and South America, and take a dominant position? How can the company approach different types of consumers? “When looking at similar prices and quality, the statistics tell us that consumers tend to change brands for one that is associated with a good cause. In countries like India support for development is highly-valued allowing the company to create a bond of trust and admiration between brand and client, observed the students.

The project also highlighted the opportunity to give young designers a chance in new areas, offer a discount to customers and produce a new bag collection. Four bags, four different models and designs, four good causes. “This is CSR project that fits with our president’s deep social conscience”, said Eva Fité of Mango. Whether the proposal will actually be implemented remains to be seen, “It would be easy to implement but this will have to evaluated.”

The second project to reach the final, Naturally Inspired, de Nicole Chemali, Maria José Nivelo and Marco Giannini, proposed a partnership between Mango and supermarket chains. A creative strategic link between the different Mango ranges (Mujer, Violeta, Kids, Young, HE...) to a specific fruit, along with an original dissemination plan using QRs, apps and discounts. Other proposals included installing vending machines at strategic points in cities to sell ties, socks and underwear and a sophisticated advice and personal shopper app. “For us it has been a great experience to see the students’ capacity for original thought and innovation, as well as their professionalism in presenting their projects,” said Eva.

Tour of Mango HQ

The students visited Mango HQ, learning about the company’s process of creation, production and distribution starting with the designers and dressmakers creating the new pieces, through the showroom for the new season, window dressing, photo studios and the online shopping department. Some students already seemed interested in the idea of interning at Mango, which collaborates with the Careers and Internship Service at UPF.