Although I’m familiar with social media, analytics is completely new to me. I realised I needed knowledge, frameworks and tools to get my company out there and flourishing.
What do you think when you hear the word “champagne?” For most of us, champagne is synonymous with luxury or special events. Ask Jing Van Opstal however, and she will tell you that champagne is something to be enjoyed every day.
Van Opstal is in the business of “democratising” champagne. She is launching what she believes to be one of Europe’s first champagneries: a champagne lounge, where her clientele can savour glasses of champagne by established and up-and-coming makers, at accessible prices and at any time of the day.
“We are in the process of doing something new and different and building an entirely new brand around the idea of champagne. Our lounge will offer people a new way to experience champagne. The concept is really quite new and daring.”
Marketing a new and daring concept to customers—effectively rebranding a product that already enjoys a well-established and globalised brand equity—not only requires imagination and vision; it calls for a next-generation marketing skills to reach and engage a dispersed audience; an audience that is continuously bombarded with new product information and choices.
For this reason, Van Opstal joined the INSEAD Leading Digital Marketing Strategy programme in 2022.
“I come from a more traditional marketing background and although I’m familiar with social media, analytics is completely new to me. I realised I needed knowledge, frameworks and tools to get my company out there and flourishing.”
The choice of INSEAD also stemmed from Van Opstal’s desire to gain exposure to different types of people, different perspectives and approaches. As a creative thinker, she wanted to connect with “hard numbers and analytics.”
“I wanted the INSEAD experience of diverse minds and thinking and the campus atmosphere the school offered,” she says. “And going into the programme, my expectations were exceeded. The learning experience integrated vivid, real-world case studies and group assignments with diverse peers, which I loved.”
Peer-to-peer learning was a huge accelerant in terms of her understanding of numbers, says Van Opstal; an effective and enjoyable way to become “more realistic” about costs, revenue and cashflow. So deep and symbiotic were the bonds and ties that she made with classmates that she remains deeply connected to them following the programme.
“We are still in regular contact. If I need something numbers-related, I reach out and ask. Similarly, when my colleagues need more creative input, they come back to me. What I’ve really taken away from the experience though, is that it’s not one thing or the other. It’s not just creativity or numbers or strategy; it’s the whole thing. And the whole thing really boils down to the customer.”
A key learning, she says, is to really reframe your proposition from the perspective of the end-user. Through faculty-led group discussion and analysis, she has had the chance to think about this differently, and allow new understanding to reshape the way she intends to market her own business.
“I have come away with the insight that companies often try to make things easy for our customers, but we end up overkilling the experience with convenience,” says Van Opstal. “Yes, there’s an exciting world of digital tools and modern approaches out there, but at the end of the day it’s about delivering the human touch as accessibly and as easily as possible. At the end of the day, it’s about customer, their needs and their experience.”
So the programme has given me real pause—as well as a challenge to open my mind to new ways of thinking.”
Coming out of the INSEAD experience, Van Opstal felt that it is never too late to learn, to acquire fresh ideas; and to build out new professional networks.
“If you are thinking about doing a programme like Leading Digital Marketing Strategy, my strong recommendation to you is this: just do it. Because quite honestly, INSEAD is magic.”