Tag Archives: brand

Chinese Find IKEA Is Swede Place for Romance

Ignore local knowledge at your peril: this is the lesson for retailers heading for China in the recent Wall Street Journal article “In China, Ikea is a Swede Place for Senior Romance” which Laurie Burkitt capably details.

Recounted in her revealing piece are educational stories about international retailers — IKEA, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s — that are getting accustomed to Chinese consumers expecting to use them as their home away from home, aiming to spend a great deal of time—if not serious money—at these usually generous sized, comfortable stores.  Examples from the article (below) can spare any business expaqnding there much time and stress:

Ikea: At the weekly IKEA romance session in Shanghai, the elderly arrive in swarms of 70 to 700 to get the free coffee offered to holders of the IKEA Family membership card. Ms. Tang, seated amid the backdrop of Poang reading chairs and Vreta poufs, sips coffee and says she is grateful to have such a meeting place. “I make more senior citizen friends when I come here,” said Ms. Tang. In China, IKEA is planning to up its nine locations to 17 stores by 2015 to meet demand from the nation’s growing middle class, who aspire to Western lifestyles at affordable prices. On a recent Sunday in Beijing, Liu Yunfeng sat in a 3,999 yuan ($625) white leather Tirup chair, watching home videos from the screen of her Sony digital camera while her shoeless daughter jumped on the Nyvoll bed of a mock-up room.

Wal-Mart: Several years ago, some Wal-Mart stores in China set up a children’s camp for summer and winter school breaks. During daily sessions, children are encouraged to try their hands as part-time greeters and announce deals over the broadcast system. “If I go to Wal-Mart I’ll want to go for the day,” said Cui Hongyan.

McDonalds: With its free Wi-Fi and clean bathrooms, is adding more electrical outlets to most of its China stores in hopes that people will actually come and hang around longer. In Hong Kong, the fast food giant is developing a service known as “McWedding” to encourage people to marry in their stores. One proposed feature of the ceremony: When it is time for the big kiss, the bride and groom can each chomp on the end of a french fry until their lips meet.

But did these retailers do their homework? Were they prepared for Chinese consumers expectations?

It seems that the retailer s relied on what worked in their home markets and are now struggling to adapt to consumers wanting to turn the retail experience into a full day social experience – “retailtainment.” Chinese consumers love Western and European brands and generally prefer them to their own Asian options. Retailers need to be educated about the unique demands of customers – they need to be relevant and have personality, which is exactly what Ikea, Wal-Mart and McDonalds have done – just a little too late. IKEA, however, is missing one of the biggest brand lessons – cultural sensitivity – when they propped up a notice board at the entrance of the cafeteria, which stated “IKEA would hereby like to inform this group and its organizers: Your behavior is affecting the normal operations of the IKEA cafeteria,” the notice said.

Comparably, Mercedes called on the local culture by flying over some of its best customers from China to join in a focus group to determine customer expectations in a new market. The brand not only differentiated itself, but it also went through the brand localization process, increasing its brand relevance and image in China. Again the key lesson here is to always challenge your assumptions and be prepared for foreign consumers’ very different expectations, particularly in the Chinese market.

Murdochs cause waves on both sides of the Atlantic

Rupert Murdoch (C) walks from a hotel to his flat with his son James Murdoch (L)Last night I was asked on BBC’s Newsnight, its influential current affairs television program, what Rupert Murdoch should do wearing his corporate diplomat hat given he’s now being pursued by a high-profile range of interested parties — UK Parliament’s Culture/Media/Sport select committee, London’s Metropolitan Police and the FBI who all are very interested in the extent of his company’s phone hacking and police bribery practices.  Is Rupert Murdoch’s defiance going to be seen as a Tony Hayward moment, the former BP executive wanting his life back? Clearly his newspaper brands in the US and UK have a lot more defending to do, with the mere whiff of wrongdoing taking the shine off both News International’s share price and the levels of trust in its brands.  The UK impact of this drama hopefully will result in not only a change in the privacy laws and regulation of the media, but will shine a bright light on the nature of British news media ownership and the dysfunctions that imbalances of market power bring.  Stay tuned!

Chilean Miners: Recap of my BBC Breakfast Interview

As I discussed this morning in my BBC TV Breakfast interview, the successful rescue of the 33 miners is a welcome respite from the otherwise depressing news about economic turmoil, banker bonuses, paltry pensions and property prices.  What is key once the miners have had a chance to process all they’ve experienced, is that they get good advice about any marketing opportunities that are presented to them.  It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that life insurance, beer, personal hygiene manufacturers amongst others approach them to endorse their brands.  No doubt the William Morris agency is already on-site to secure movie and TV rights for their amazing story which might bring them at least a financial cushion on the back of the horrendous trauma they’ve experienced and the fact they are now all unemployed.  The happy ending in any case is one that delights everyone, regardless of where in the world they are.

An unexpected benefit I suggest is Chile’s country brand is now much more favourably viewed than before the miners were rescued.  It demonstrated to the world it can manage expectations (having told the media it would be Christmas at the earliest before the miners are rescued) and projects, having engineered the rescue capsule flawlessly and ahead of schedule.  Hopefully their inward investment team are working overtime to capitalise on this unexpected success and showcasing of talent.

Mad Men Series 4 UK Launch Tonight: London Ad Men Discuss All Things Mad Men

Series 4: Betty, Peggy & Joan

Mad Men is an amazing phenomenon, and clearly strikes a chord with those in and outside of the marketing business.  Leveraging the show’s huge following in the US and UK, Banana Republic has partnered with the program for a 2nd straight year for its “Mad About Style” collection, reflecting the styles of the 60’s (were they that great the first time around?)  Recently, Mad Men entered a realm of the pop-culture pantheon that its creator, Matthew Weiner, says has surprised even him: Mattel has created versions of Barbie and Ken styled after four “Mad Men” characters.

Whether you want the Betty Draper look or Joan’s pencil-skirt look, it’s smart to be marketing nostalgia in these challenging economic times, which we know is what consumers do in seeking reassurance and stability in their lives.

Here’s Some Questions I Put to the Good People at Dare Advertising:

Q1. Does Mad Men’s appeal have little to do with advertising and much more to do with nostalgia?  And if so, what are we nostalgic for?  Why is the advertising industry used as a template for that era and why does it resonate so strongly in the present?

It’s that whole life was simpler back then nostalgia, it probably wasn’t but that’s the insight it taps into. They’re always doing one of three things – drinking, brainstorming or presenting to clients. Easy. No project managing, excel docs or annoying little details.

I think it links back to that idea of power there were only a handful of tv channels and media outlets back then, if you worked in advertising it was code for saying I am brilliant enough that the company trusts me to write a message that will go out to x million people. There were less brands but they were all reaching x millions of people every time, they needed the best in the business to make sure they stayed at the top. Anyone who could nail a decent ad became a rock star and the first wave of genuine innovation and consumer wealth amongst the middle classes suddenly consumers had money and therefore choice for the first time, as affluence grew so did media consumption and supply and the need for brands to be in those media channels with more and more eye catching / amazing creative

Hugo de Winton, Planner at Dare

Everyone in advertising it seems looks back upon the past with these rose-tinted spectacles where they could pull campaigns out of a hat and everyone would cheer.  A time where budgets were less limited and they all had ‘free reign’. It’s all about nostalgia, not really advertising that gives Mad Men its real appeal (it’s peppered with some truths I’m sure – but everyone loves exaggeration and stories).

Also the fashion and way it is shot is stunning, with exciting adulterous subplots all intertwining and all the mystery around the characters (bear in mind I’ve only just finished watching the first series). Tight family units existed, but we are reminded they didn’t always work then, so people feel less bad about them not working now. The men look like they are in charge, but the women are – seeing their role as covering for the men’s mistakes, generally keeping the ship quietly afloat and yet being able to play them at their own game just as well.

Like Monday’s article in the Guardian suggests about Britain and Saatchi’s in the 80’s – advertising for this era in America helped define the culture of the nation. They gave each person their role and from a purely feminist angle some of them really helped push towards more women’s rights. Give us a dishwasher – free up our time for more activities etc…

Planner at Dare

Q2 The Hidden Persuaders, first published in 1957, imparted the view that: “Millions of you are being secretly manipulated by evil ad-men who have wormed their way into your innermost feelings.”  This touched on a collective feeling that had been growing among consumers about modern society – a fear of conformity, manipulation, fraud, and above all, of powerlessness – and that this had somehow all been created to sell products.

Is this still relevant in advertising today?  What are your biggest challenges in getting the attention and buy-in from consumers?

Of course it’s still relevant. The premise for most advertising is that the product or service has a benefit; that it could improve your life in some way; that you’ll feel better for using it; that others will judge you favourably for having it. To maximise the impact you dramatise the benefit. But it’s the same in all walks from life, from politicians to parenting: people want other people to do stuff and they’ll try everything to persuade them accordingly.

The techniques and psychology of selling have come a long way since 1957 – in the digital space especially. For a start, everything is measurable, so advertisers can tweak messaging and media planning on the fly while a campaign is still running.

The biggest challenge is that consumers know they’re being sold to. How could they not? They’ve become fluent in the language of advertising and they become ever more sophisticated in consuming it – which is why all those ads from the 50’s and 60’s seem so quaint and naïve. Interruption isn’t enough. These days the buzzword is ‘engagement’. How can we encourage customers to spend time with our brand, to actively engage with it rather than just sit passively in front of the TV and have a 30” commercial wash over them?

Digital is growing fast and will continue to do so because it’s the perfect environment for brands to engage more deeply with their customers.

The other problem advertisers have had to contend with is the media fragmentation – so many channels, so many new ways to consume media – in the real world and online. But you can consider that an opportunity as well. With a computer on everyone’s desk and a mobile phone in everyone’s hand, advertisers have a way to reach customers wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. But the silver bullet has never changed: right message, right time, right place.

Jonny Watson, Associate Creative Director at Dare

Trying to defend working in the advertising industry to a lot of my friends has been quite a challenge – but I see it this way: It’s going to happen. If you can get into the industry and try to help the big companies do better things themselves – however small, then it’s a step in the right direction. By helping them come up with ‘Ideas that can be advertised’ we are trying to improve them, and then tell everyone about it.

Consumers are more savvy these days – and if they see a hole in a brand and its messaging, they will pick at it. The key is for a brand to be clear about what it is doing, so that people don’t feel like they are being tricked. If you do something worthwhile – then good things will happen to you. It’s all Karma at the end of the day  ; )

Planner at Dare

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How to Measure Brand Value: Likes, Followers, Influencers, Views? No, Social Currency

This is a really interesting article by FC Expert Blogger Kevin Randall – read it and tell me what you think!

“A new confluence of market forces (including popular interest in charitable giving post-Haiti quake, the coming of age of the idealistic Millennials, public anger over Wall Street bonuses, the Sustainability movement and near universal hostility directed at BP–“Beyond Pollution”) is requiring brands to be socially “good”–hence more rankings and metrics: Brandkarma.com; PSFK Good Brands.

Of course there are already rankings for brand financial value: Interbrand; Millward Brown BrandZ; Credit Suisse Great Brands; Equitrend; brand equity; and brand word-of-mouth buzz/promoting from McKinsey–all of which try to correlate a brand’s score with its bottom line.

Add to the rankings list now: Brand Social Currency. The inaugural study was completed earlier this year. “Building Social Currency is probably the most important investment companies can make to create value for themselves,” says Erich Joachimsthaler, Founder and CEO of Vivaldi Partners, the author of the study. He views Social Currency as a new, strategic dashboard to help corporate leaders diagnose, build and monitor the long-term heath and value of their “brand assets” in the shifting marketplace.

The methodology was developed in conjunction with MIT Sloan statisticians and Lightspeed Research. Brand Social Currency is defined as the extent to which people share the brand and/or information about the brand as part of their everyday social lives at work or at home. It is made up of six key dimensions or “levers”–Utility; Affiliation; Identity; Conversation; Advocacy; and Information. The study surveyed 1000 respondents on more than 60 brands across a dozen categories. Questions for each lever were posed to brand users. Results then rolled up into a composite Social Currency score.”

a>via How to Measure Brand Value: Likes, Followers, Influencers, Views? No, Social Currency | Fast Company.

Paul: The first millionaire octopus? – CNN.com

London, England (CNN) — Before the World Cup started, few could have foretold that one of the biggest winners of the tournament would be a psychic octopus. But now Paul, who correctly predicted the outcome of eight matches in a row, is on course to be the world’s first millionaire octopus.

The mystic mollusc is retiring from the prediction business while he’s ahead, his owner Sea Life announced on Tuesday. But as the company considers offers to “spread Paul’s fame even further, without involving the canny cephalod directly” marketing experts say it could earn millions by selling his image for advertising products and services.

PR guru Max Clifford, best known for generating tabloid headlines such as “Freddie Starr ate my hamster,” believes Paul, who was born in England, has ended his soothsaying days at exactly the right time. “Obviously his 100 percent record is remarkable but the minute he gets it wrong it all disappears,” Clifford told CNN.

Now Paul could star in light-hearted commercials. “If you get it right, and remember Paul has had worldwide success … you’re talking about an earning potential of £2 or £3 million (up to $4.5 million), maybe more. It’s got to bring a smile to everybody’s face. You’ve got the world’s first multimillion-pound octopus here.

“This story is just incredible — an octopus correctly predicts eight World Cup games — but you’ve got to act quickly.

“He could be used in TV endorsements and adverts: ‘We’re the best in the world. How do we know? Because Paul says so.'”

The adverts must not be too serious though, and would need to be related to his area of expertise, Clifford added. “‘If you think I was good on football, when it comes to fish I’ve got no competition.’ So if you had a worldwide chain of fish restaurants, the equivalent of McDonald’s, you’d use Paul to launch it.

Another expert agreed, saying there was no limit to the ways in which Paul could be marketed. “Obviously he has a short shelf life but there are many options,” said Allyson Stewart-Allen, director of London-based International Marketing Partners.

“A good use for him would be in adverts featuring two competing brands, such as Coke or Pepsi. Which does Paul prefer?” said Stewart-Allen.

“The gaming industry would be the logical use for Paul, or marketing a service that compares the market. Or he could just be an icon, marketing a company like Octopus Travel, for instance.

“I think it would be too frivolous to advertise financial services, but you could licence Paul for children’s toys. He could be an icon for a brand, an image for cartoons or video games,” she added.

But one thing is certain though: at the age of two and a half — just six months away from the life expectancy of his species — Paul’s moment in the spotlight will be brief.

via Paul: The first millionaire octopus? – CNN.com.