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Hey, I’m Wen Zhang.

2012 Creative Brand Manager VCU Brandcenter

Before I came to the Brandcenter, I was in China. There were two things that made the greatest influence on me, basketball and photography. As the power forward on my college basketball team, I routinely destroyed my glasses while going for rebounds, and have tasted both victory and defeat on the basketball court. I cherish this experience, for it taught me the meaning of team and sportsmanship, as well as how to maturely and optimistically face life. With regard to my second choice, the camera lens has become nothing less than my third eye, one which captures my unique thought style and standard of beauty. A dog sleeping on the grass in the warm sunshine, or an old man selling Chinese egg waffles on the snowing street can easily touch me. The beginning period of my Brandcenter life was a bit overwhelming. When I went to the gym and played with other girls, I realized that I was not even good enough to be called a basketball player. When I saw those awesome photos taken by creatives in the Brandcenter, I didn’t think my works were so good anymore. I was disappointed. My life was full of advertising. Creative brief, research, segmentation study, creative thinking assignment, positioning, ROI, insight... One day, a friend asked me what I was doing out of the Brandcenter. I had no idea. I decided to be myself, not only an advertising person. I started to go to the gym and even tried the rock climbing. Sport plays an important role in my life now. I’m fond of visiting different places, such as craft shops, theme parks, farmers market, or just different kinds of supermarkets. I love watching Korean dramas. I’m good at cooking now. Now, I can tell myself that ‘I’m better at advertising than yesterday!’ every single day. Because I enjoy my life, and life inspires creativity.

923 Kent Rd, Apt4 Richmond,VA, 23221 Mobile Phone: 251-895-5753 E-mail: Website:

Female Oct. 08, 1988



Virginia Commonwealth University - The Brandcenter Master of Science in Mass Communication, Graduation May 2012. Track: Creative Brand Management Current GPA: 3.0

Intern, of COFCO-Sunry Advertising & Exhibition Co., Ltd. Sunry Brand Promotion Agency

Courses: Creative Creative Thinking

Strategic planning courses MBA courses Strategic Thinking Business of Branding Cultural & Communication Accounting for Communication Modern Media Building Global Brands Contemporary Research Methodologies Brand Management Zhejiang University of Media and Communications BA in Culture Industry Management GPA: 3.34

AWARDS AND HONORS Scholarship awarded by China Mobile 3rd Prize in National English Contest for College Students 2008-2009 2009 1st Prize Scholarship & Triple A Student 2008-2009 2nd Prize Scholarship & Triple A Student 2008-2009 3rd Prize Scholarship & Triple A Student 2006-2007

February, March 2010

‘FUSHION’ magazine (Telemarketing & brand promotion) The Chinese International Fur Forum (clients’ data-base) China International Tea Fair Net-China Tea Expo (clients’ data-base) Intern, of Wuxi Broadcasting & Television Group in public relations. Activities: Dance Drama named ‘Xi Shi’ record ESWC China Finals TV direct transmission/ Internet Transmission Major Fantasy of pantomime named ‘FU WA‘ ‘Huang Tu Tang Cup’ warm match of Chinese Table Tennis Team for the Olympic Games (TV relaying-internal field)

July, August 2008 12 July 2008 19 July 2008 24 & 25 July 2008 28 & 29 July 2008

SOCIAL PRACTICE ON CAMPUS Set up a studio named ‘321 Puppet’ about laptop cosmetology, primarily in charge of preliminary planning, brand positioning, as well as propaganda; Assistance: campus promotion, on spot or Internet selling, applies for sponsorship and door-to-door service, etc. Research Assistant on a project named Old-brand Enterprise Development Situation of Zhejiang Province tutored by elective course teacher Cover Old Brand Exhibition in Zhejiang province; Writing reports; Making PPT & giving presentation. A member of Photography Association, engaged in Christmas Day planning photographic exhibition and designed promotional materials. A class organizer in Freshman Debate Competition of Management College.



Basketball, Photography, Cooking, Piano Music, Ping Pong

iWork, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, iMovie Simmons data analysis SWOT analysis, Segmentation studies Crafting brand, strategy, creative and media briefs. Collecting research by online surveys, developing and moderating focus group, and one-to-one interviews.


and The Brandcenter ‘I like brands, I want to do something about brand, and Brandcenter is such a cool name,’ that was what in my mind when I first heard about the Brandcenter in the International Education Fair in ShangHai two years ago. When I finished my application documents and video for the Brandcenter, I decided to spend the next two years of my life there. Because this process made me understood myself much deeper, and I could feel those people in this school really want to know me. Now, I have spent almost 8 months here. That was the best time in my life. This is a place that makes you feel crazy because of failing, pressure, and challenge; this is also a place that makes you have the same feeling because you tried your best with your team and you finally see the value and power of yourselves. This is a place that doesn’t tell you what is right and what is wrong, but how to think, think deeper, come up with an idea, and make it works. I like that purple chair, I like playing PingPong with friends in our basement. I feel proud, since now I’m one of these people that creating the culture called ‘Brandcenter’. As a Creative Brand Manager student here, the best thing for me is that, I not only learn how to do my brand manager’s job, but also learn how other creatives works, and how to work with them.

The Brandcenter #1 ad school by Creativity Top global business/design program by BusinessWeek magazine Top advertising school by 4As #1 digital media and marketing program by Ad age

Creative Brand Management Creative Brand Management curriculum combines the fundamentals of a traditional MBA, the strategic elements of business and marketing, and real world experience working teams to develop brand strategies that solve business problems with a heavy emphasis on team collaboration. This track focuses on allowing students to experience working in cross-functional teams including strategists, creatives, and technologists. Coursework includes development of creative briefs, media plans, consumer segmentation studies as well as a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Solid understanding of traditional and non-traditional media, including digital and social media.

Creative Brief - MUJI Meets America

Case Study - Marpac

Case Study - Williams Sonoma

Brand Reintroduction - Playboy Magazine





Creative Brief

MUJI Meets America

Background "Muji, the Japanese manufacturer, is known for the artful modesty of its products. In fact, the company has earned a cultish following for house-wares so spare and generic they turn anonymity into a high aesthetic” - The MUJI philosophy focuses on earth-friendliness, the use of innovative materials, and efficient packaging for reduced cost. Inventive uses for materials that might otherwise have been discarded or ignored result in innovative product at the lowest cost. Equally important, MUJI infuses style and usefulness into everything produced, no matter what its provenance. The word Muji derives from mujirushi, the Japanese word for “no brand.” What is the challenge/opportunity? Muji operates three stores in the NY, USA. With its contemporary and simplistic belief, Muji has the opportunity to build a culture within a country like America. However, this cannot be accomplished through the limited real-time exposure it has. How are we addressing it? By opening stores across cities with strong cultures/sub cultures, Muji can create awareness of the philosophy it swears by; Modern Simplicity. It can build on its strong following that exists on the digital platform. Who are we connecting with? Young adults between ages 25-44. They are forward thinkers. They are Sleek and chic. They are receptive to other cultures and ideas. Globalization is exciting to them. They see the world as flat. They Value attractive design over trivial accessories. In times of economic downturn, they want to make rational decisions without sacrificing on quality. What is the insight for connection? After a daily routine of complexities and chaos, the Muji consumer wants to come home to external as well as internal simplicity. What is the communication idea/proposition? Live Muji. How are we supporting this idea? We need to build on low key advertising, viral marketing based on creating a culture around the MUJI brand. What is the communication idea for the brand? A habitat. A lifestyle. A culture. A choice. Tone and manner Simple. Honest. Modern.


Marpac Brand Repositioning

Sound Conditioner

Sound Conditioner


Marpac is a 48-year old company based in Wilmington, NC. It is the original inventors of sound conditioners,

including the original SleepMate brand, which creates a synthesized sound that masks background noise.

Current Customers

Challenge . How to reach new customers . Perceptions of sleep


. 8 in 10 people buy them for themselves. 27%

. Gain ground with new target market . Brand repositioning.

The Market


+ 27%

35-64 years old

. Marpac sound conditioner has a great brand reputation, since 73% of users want to recommend it to others.

Brand Association

Although the sleep aid market has grown 27% from 2004 to 2009, there are a number of competitors in this category, including sound machines as well as alternative sleep aid products, which include Sound Oasis, HoMedics, white noise app and OTC sleeping pills.

108 mil


Reliable Helpful



Flashy Fun Trendy Passionate

Trustworthy Clam Size Made in US ...

. Sleep (79.5%) and noise masking (65.2%) are two main purchase reasons.

Potential Customers 25-34 years olds occupies 12.9% of Marpacʼs current market.


138 mil 2009


ʻI will try just about any product or technique that may help me sleep better.ʼ

25% ʻI am always on the lookout for something that will help with my sleep.ʼ


ʻI feel tired during the day, even though I feel like I got enough sleep.ʼ

44% of 25-34 year olds say they do not have enough time to get enough sleep, compared to 25% of all adults.



Key Insights

Sleepless Strivers

For Sleepless Strivers, ʻNot enough time in the dayʼ and ʻquick fix energy drinkʼ are Marpacʼs actual competitors.

(25-34 years old)

Sacrifice sleep time for work / study / social activities Not enough time in the day

Sleepy during day time

24 bottles of energy drinks!

Purchase energy drinks to fight with sleep.

last for more than 30 years

16 coffee times! 4




Positioning Marpac is the solution. Prevent

Poor Sleep

It enhances the quality of sleep. It is a more effective and durable solution for Sleepless Striversʼs busy lifestyle, comparing to other ʻband-aid fixesʼ.

Main Idea Sleep is Not the Enemy. Encourage those sleepless strivers to embrace sleep, instead of look it as the enemy. You donʼt have to fight with sleep by drinking coffee or energy drinks after you got up. Marpac is a better choice, since it improve sleep quality, you can use your limited sleep time fully, and prevent the problem before it happens.

Communication Strategy . Speak to consumers at vital touch points. . Drive traffic to Marpac website.

Advertising Tactics . Pandora Radio . Facebook . Coffee sleeves

ʻSleep is Not the Enemy.ʼ


Business Recommendations . Diversify the functions of Marpacʼs website. Make its website not only supports online shopping, but also enable visitors to download white noise samples, or apply to try it 1 week for free. On its website, add doctorsʼ quotes or recommendations about Marpacʼs products might also be helpful. . Choose retail locations such as Target, Bed Bath and Beyond as distribution channels. . Packaging redesign. (Its package now is just a white hard paper box.)

Simple is the new sophisticated. Retro is the new modern.


Williams Sonoma

Williams Sonoma C













The Brand Today: Culinary Authority For many in our demographic, Williams-Sonoma is “your Mom’s store.” And like your Mom, they know they can look to William-Sonoma for answers to all their kitchen questions. And like your Mom, although you love her to death, you don’t want to be her just yet.

The Challenge: Start A Tradition How to convince a younger audience to make Wm-Sonoma less of a reference and more of a resource? Lets show them its time to grow up and get the right pieces the first time.

The Audience: 24-39 year olds who want the best, even if they can’t afford it. Perfect Nesters: Mostly married, and closer to 30 than 20. They are building a home: furniture, art, fixtures. These purchases are often made a piece at a time; completing a set (lamps, end-tables, flatware) makes life feel more complete. Many are starting this process at more complete stores, like Crate and Barrel, or trendier looking kitchenware retailers, like Sur La Table. Why start building a kitchen at IKEA when you know you’ll be finishing it at Williams-Sonoma anyway. Culinary Rebels: Although not professionally trained, these “chefs” want to cook like they are. They constantly check sites and blogs for cooking tips, religiously watch shows like Top Chef, Iron Chef and No Reservations. The problem is, these shows introduce incredible new foods and techniques without getting in to the specifics of preparation and cooking. These folks want the best tools to make the food that excites them, but their not sure what those tools are. Let’s remind them that Williams-Sonoma is where unique cooks go to make unique culinary masterpieces.

Key Insight: According to Simmons data, the peak area of attitudes including ‘Really enjoy cooking’, ‘Kitchen is the most important part at home’) is at 30-34 age range. It decreases slightly for 35-39 demographic. Thus, we want to keep their enthusiasm of cooking when they grow older, especially after the peak range, 30-34.

Strategic Statement: You’re a grown-up. You should have a grown-up kitchen. We will help your kitchen grow with you.


Williams Sonoma C













Executions: Versioned Catalog Catalog versioning is the way companies like Wm-Sonoma take a huge inventory of products and whittle it down to tailored editions for seasons or new trends. Lets do the same thing, but tailored to our targets: products they might be interested in (liquid nitrogen kits, ceramic knives, very unique/specialized tools). Also, more detailed explanations of cooking essentials, and pieces that tell a product’s story.

In-store app We are providing a smart phone app that, though it can be used anywhere, is encouraged to be used especially when in store. This will allow shoppers to scan items for info, advice, videos, reviews and recommendations. They can also scan QR codes on displays to learn about specific themes. Most importantly, this will engage shoppers so they aren’t using their phones to check prices or reviews on other sites. Idle smart phones are the devil’s workshop.

In-store island displays While we want to maintain the overall look and flow of Williams-Sonoma stores, each store will have 1 to 3 island displays, those built out of Boos butcher block tables, baskets, etc., catered to our targets. These will include: almost always a kitchen essentials display (the best sauce pan, dutch oven, a good knife), a specific avant grade recipe (bacon black ice-cream or smoked blue fish), or a craft oriented display (wine making, cheese making, high-end cocktail hardware).

Cookbooks Williams-Sonoma has published its own cookbooks for years. Lets create some mock up pages for books about modern cuisine, the specifics of kitchen essentials (what you need to have a full grown kitchen), or even cocktails and paired meals.

Dream Kitchen Part of the goal of the in-store app, the web ads and the website improvements is to make Williams-Sonoma the place our target goes to learn about food, cooking techniques, and a proper kitchen, in the store, on-line, and on their phone. We want it to be an aggregate and a conduit for recipes, reviews, tips, videos, anything they need to cook the way they want, with the added authority of the Williams Sonoma filter. Part of the deal will be the Dream Kitchen, a visual wish list that allows shoppers to buy the basics of a set (like Le Crouset enamel ware) at the price they’d be if the set were bought in its entirety. Williams Sonoma will keep these shoppers connected (through the app, website, email, versioned catalog mailers, etc.) so they can continue to build this dream kitchen as they can afford new pieces.

Farm Stands One thing our two targets share is a love of, and support for, local, fresh ingredients. We’ll bring pop-up kitchens to farmer’s markets in key cities, and provide the same sort of demos we offer in-store, but with fresh, local produce bought that day at the market. We’re showing that we share our customer’s commitment to local goods, and to cooking good food the right way. Probably just need some farmer’s market imagery here.



Versioned Catalog - 1


Versioned Catalog - 2


In-store app Consumers can use this Williams Sonoma app anywhere, especially in store. This will shoppers to scan items for info, advice, videos, reviews and recommendations. They can also scan QR codes on displays to learn about specific themes. Most importantly, this will engage shoppers so they aren’t using their phones to check prices or reviews on other sites. Idle smart phones are the devil’s workshop.


Farmers Market Our existing stores will use market vendor stalls in the same way they use their demo kitchens. They'll send chefs or store employees to the markets to create amazing dishes, using Williams-Sonoma hardware and ingredients found at the market that day. Stores will also invite local farmers in for in-store demos. We will be aligning the brand values of Williams-Sonoma with the values shared by our target. It’s also a great way to bring the brand "down to earth," giving it personality and approachability.Â

In-store island displays

Williams Sonoma









We have tried hard to ensure that, no matter where you are on the path of user experience (left side of chart), these touch points work for your current level of engagement.







We feel these recommendations meet our goal of consistently engaging our target throughout the user experience. These suggestions are feasible, they engage the target on a personal level, and they uphold the values of the brand without affecting the experience of the existing customer base. Â We know creating relationships with this demographic is crucial in maintaining a strong customer base in years to come.



Because, just like its products, WilliamsSonoma has a life cycle that lasts a lifetime.


PLAYB Y Provide recommendations for a reintroduction of Playboy magazine. - Don Just

The Situation

Playboy magazine, once among the largest circulation magazines, has seen its guaranteed circulation trimmed from a high of 7.2 million in the seventies to less than 1.5 million today. As a result, of course, it has been battling a decline in ad revenue, a problem faced by almost every magazine, but, unlike many other titles, it is fighting another battle as it continues to lose readers to online pornography.

The Playboy Culture

The playboy culture can be perfectly depicted by the likes of a rich bachelor in a convertible who’s smoking a cigar and has his arm around beautiful women. Needless to say, Hefner lived the culture. When it began Playboy was practically a religion with its own philosopher, its own high priest-Hugh Hefner, and its own Bible-Playboy.

It started off as a form of sophisticated entertainment. Playboy has and continues to believe that they are “Dedicated to providing men with entertainment that encompassed the realm of men’s passions.”


somewhere along the way, Playboy lost its focus. The

passion, the celebration, and the romance that was once an aspirational lifestyle became distasteful and seen as degrading towards women. It was no longer a magazine that men would read with pride, but instead it became their dirty little secret or a guilty pleasure, something they would hide under their mattress. Playboy’s bunny, the iconic symbol that once grasped a frisky and playful personality became a mascot that no longer inspired the same man.

Competitive Landscape

Because of the competition. Playboy entered into the infamous “Pubic War,” which made much of what Playboy stood for became irrelevant. The photography became more tasteless. Since then Playboy has been loosing subscriptions to magazines like Maxim and GQ because they all had a lot of the same content. It became a war of who could show the most skin and aspects of its content was suddenly less important. It then became easily replaced by online porn that show even more flesh and was more hardcore.

Current Audience - The Anti-Hefner Less socially active Avoid time with family & friends Do not consider themselves friendly or cheerful

The Bunny Today Though in the beginning the bunny stood for its manhood, as Playboy began to deteriorate, the rabbit was gradually reduced to a detail or silhouette. The image of the rabbit may still be part of Playboy’s culture, but the meaning has been reduced to an undecipherable and uninspiring mascot.

25-45 Male Open-minded Tasteful/value production Work hard, play hard

Target Audience Being discreet is so much against the Playboy culture and what it stands for, and our communication should be able to shift the place of the magazine from under the mattress to the bedroom shelf.

Main Idea - Put the bow tie back on. By bringing the bunny back we are not only taking the brand back to its core essence but also trying to bring a playboy culture that the audience will be proud to be a part of.

Put the bow tie back on.

New Brand Positioning A monthly invitation to live a more passionate, entertaining life

How to tie a bow tie - Product Revision Respect men & women More glamorous photography Intended to be read

Relaunch Plan For increasing the subscription and to maintain its own market space, playboy not only need to change the content, but also need to let our target notice that.

‘Mystery’ Advertising Bow Tie fund raising parties around country Magazine stand inserts Video game!

‘Mystery’ Advertising We want to use a humors way to let people notice that there is something new about playboy now, and be curious about what’s going on. Playboy will not be featured by name, but the famous bunny logo will be shown. So, we propose to reintroduce Playboy magazine by asking men to reconsider and inquire about the new magazine.

Bow Tie Fund Raising Parties Playboy has already contributed a lot to the society, but people don’t know it, so we want to highlight it and add it as another elements of the brand’s culture. This will help the brand establish positive association, and give its readers another reason to feel proud of the playboy’s culture. These two initiatives would generate a discussion of Playboy's revitalization by mass medias such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Time magazine. That helps to encourage Americans to reconsider what they know about the magazine.

Magazine Stand Inserts In our research, we found that the Playboy magazine is offer available at stores but not publicly displayed. Potential buyers need to ask cashiers for a copy if they want to purchase one. And that’s not playboy’s decision. Thus, we created these boards, that showing ‘ it’s not up for grabs, ask for the bow tie, and that would be placed where other men's magazines are found. These boards would help educate potential customers and prove the new magazine's appeal to retailers.

Distribution Ideas Video Game

Magazine stand inserts

Digital Version

Vending Machine Sports and video game have always been the two main entertainment sources for our target. By sponsering EA Sports, which has a healthy and positive brand image, Playboy can leave a better brand association by doing product placement in video games. Since play already have the ‘’, they could focus more effort on the latest golf video game of EA Sports ‘Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12’.

Because our new target are people who can not live without internet, they are more likely to read online version of magazine, we want to fit their habits. We want to create a more user friendly digital version of playboy magazine. For example, readers can download the 20% of content for free, or buy and subscribe the full content for 1.69per issue, or 12.69 per year through mobile software.


It’s hard to change people’s perspective in a shor period, so we recommend Playboy try a new distribution channel - vending machine. It let people get the magazine without asking the cashiers. You have to slide your driver license on this machins and prove that you are an adult before you purchase it.

Additionally, they can get a code from every copy of physical magazine, and use it to read more information online. That not only make the reading experience more private and flexible, but also helps magazine connect more with other business areas.

2012 Creative Brand Management VCU Brandcenter

Wen Zhang

251 895 5753

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