Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Does the Heineken ad improve sales for Carlsberg?

The Heineken 'walk in closet' ad is interesting. I like the creative idea a lot but I'm not so sure of the strategy behind it. Personally I find the execution to be so 'Carlsberg' so I'm pretty convinced that it actually helps to promote Carlsberg rather than Heineken... I have also done some small-scale research with my family and friends and... they all say that the 'closet' ad is all about Carlsberg and that they love it! Hmmm... I'm not sure if the Heineken brand team would be too pleased.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ready-meals take a bashing!

Svenska Dagbladet reports that sales of ready-meals has gone down in Sweden due to a major wave of criticism regarding their nutritional content and, too often large number of additives such as E-numbers and food colourants. Personally I think it is fantastic that consumers learn more about food and nutrition and demand better food. However, I don't think it is fair to pass on all the criticism on the food industry. Consumers also have to take responsibility for what they at the end of the day decide to eat. If consumers want and are prepared to pay for healthy and nutritious foods and ready-meals, I'm convinced that the food industry will ensure that this is being delivered on their plates.

Interesting facts from Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey

All the information below has been copied from the study... Which claims that:
Recommendations by personal acquaintances and opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising globally, according to the latest twice yearly Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries.
The Nielsen survey, the largest of its kind, shows that nine in every ten Internet consumers worldwide (90 percent) trust recommendations from people they know, while seven in every ten (70 percent) trust consumer opinions posted online.
However, in this new age of consumer control, advertisers will be encouraged by the fact that brand websites – the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising – are trusted by as many people (70 percent) as consumer opinions posted online"Brand websites, globally the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising, hold the greatest sway in
China (82 percent). Following China are Pakistan (81 percent) and Vietnam (80 percent). However, brand websites tend to be trusted least amongst Swedish (40 percent) and Israeli (45 percent) Internet consumers. The U.S. ranks 22 amongst the countries surveyed with 70 percent of U.S. Internet consumers trusting brand websites."

How come Swedes are least impressed by brand websites? I'm intrigued and will get back to this topic once I know more...

Life is not about the days that pass - it's about the days you remember...

I think that the Swedish travel group Fritidsresor has done a great job with their new commercial. They've captured a very interesting and strong consumer insight which they've then used to develop a creative idea. And the idea has been executed well! The insight centres around something like 'you only remember the days in life that are somewhat special' and the idea is that a Fritidsresor trip can create those very special days and moments that are truly memorable. I think they've then managed to deliver this message in a strong emotionaly way in their commercial and also in the print and web ads that I've seen. I like it and I think it is the best I've seen in the travel business for a long time. Well done Fritidsresor!

Friday, September 18, 2009

David Aaker - definetely worth reading

Another couple of books that sit firmly on my shelves back home are:
Building Strong Brands
Brand Leadership / with Erich Joachimstahler
Brand Portfolio Management
All three great books albeit being slightly too 'American style writing' for me at times. But Aaker is definetely worth reading, he certainly has lots of knowledge and delivers great cases too.

FMCG Concept Development part 1

Concept development within the world of FMCG is one of the things that I thoroughly enjoy. It's so much fun to see those ideas behing crafted into concepts and then developed into the very tangible products that you and I see everyday on the supermarket shelves. I also find it very rewarding to see that good concept development (that includes products that execute the concept benefits) gets rewarded with high distribution, good margins and high sales volumes.
So, how do one recognise a good concept. Well, first of all, a good concept is not something that's simply written once and then... "Hey, I've got a great concept here and it's going to be a winner!". No, the first thing a good concept needs is a strong idea that delivers against an insight or specific need in a clear target group. This is a very good start! Too often rushed marketeers rush straight to the idea stage without thinking about target groups, needs and insights. This often leads to a whole lot of ideas but also a whole lot of weak ideas.... Need to stop for today but I will get back to this in FMCG Concept Development part 2.

I've identified that brilliant brand!

I read an article today on E24 and realised that I came across that brilliant brand that I want to write about. It's Lexington - the small bed linen turned mega lifestyle brand of a century! Lexington is everywhere and it grows stronger and stronger by the day. And what I did not know is this - Lexington is actually a Swedish company that sells the American dream via their very American brand. I was so surprised to find this out and must admit that I feel a bit like an ignorant idiot not knowing those facts. Did you all know out there?
Anyway, Kristina Lindhe and her colleagues has done a tremendous job with Lexington. Today it is a strong lifestyle brand that sells great products with a strong emotional connection to the promise of a New England luxurious living. And throughout their collections and brand communications they stay very close to this single, strong emotional promise. It's well executed and I'm very inspired by the intelligence behind the Lexington brand!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where's that brilliant brand?

I want to be inspired by a brilliant new brand... the last few days I've searched around the supermarket shelves, central Stockholm retail outlets and the TV ads but it's nowhere to be seen... I want to see something fresh, thought provoking and new. I hope I will find it soon!

The three most important cornerstones of marketing: segmentation, segmentation and segmentation

This will be the very first time that I write about market segmentation on this site. I'm one of those people who just love segmentation and what it offers! And the reason why I regard this marvellous tool so highly is this. Segmentation is like the torch in a pitch dark room. If you have your segmentation in place you can identify the right direction and move along. And if you don't have it you will always feel slightly lost. Not to mention that you will spend countless hours discussing 'who should be my target group?', 'how big is this market?', 'in which direction should I take this brand?' and so on, and so on.
Unfortunately it's my belief that the highly important area of market segmentation is not taught well at Swedish universities. And I believe that there are many out there who think that effective segmentation is 'a la' Kotler style ... 'demographic', 'geographic' bla bla bla...
And, it's certainly not! Effective market segmentation is about creating an in depth understanding of consumer needs and consumer mentality. And to break down this complex set of data into manageable chunks of 'similarity' or likeness'. Each chunk then represents a certain consumer need or consumer type. I will get back to this in more detail soon!

Air Berlin - clever campaign

The new campaign by Air Berlin is clever, it's just a shame that it just seems to be print. I haven't seen it on TV and I cannot spot it on the web either. Basically it's a cynical and very true joke about the benefit of 'no extra charge' customer service that Air Berlin offers compared to all the incredibly annoying extra fees and horrific service that their 'very cheap' competitor Ryanair offers. It's true and it's good from a competitor brand that needs to deliver a differentiated offer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Direct - their customer service still rocks!

First Direct is a UK based bank which has something that few other companies have. They have absolutely fantastic customer service. They rise in my esteem every time I call them and I have been a customer for some time now. You would have thought that they should have messed up their customer service at least once... but no, they are a pride for their sector. And indeed, few companies in other sectors can compete with them. I think they are the best! Yesterday I felt so pleased after having talked to their customer service representative. She made me feel like an appreciated customer. First Direct does place customer service above all else and I think the UKs best bank for customer service is part of their positioning in the market. That says a lot about how important customer service is and I am sure that First Direct makes a lot of money off the back of delivering against that positioning.

I think the whole area of customer service is very very important. Companies need to ensure that they build long lasting customer relationships - not pissed off customers who walk off and talk dirty words about them. Have anyone else got a good example of a company that gives fantastic customer service? I don't think that there are that many around...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dirty news about IKEA...

So... it was just a matter of time until it happened. Now a former employee of IKEA called Johan Stenebo tells us all the nasties behind this famous Swedish brand. I get a bit pissed off... Because I'm one of these people who just love IKEA. IKEA is an amazing Swedish innovative brand and something that all Swedes should be so very proud of. In fact, I find that IKEA is better at promoting Sweden abroad than the Swedish tourist council (sorry guys!). Durint the many years I have lived abroad IKEA has been an oasis of Swedish life and culture. I personally don't care if there are some issues behind the scenes in the Kamprad family. They are still doing a marvellous job and that is enough for me. They are innovative, with fantastic products, and a great strong brand that has more presence than most. Go IKEA!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Demand for premium despite recession

Mintel are reporting on some interesting news in the UK. They claim that shoppers are still turning to premium products, despite generally trading down as part of the recession. And remember that the recession have hit Britain much worse than Sweden... So as far as trading down goes - what do the cash-strapped British shoppers do. Well some of them have traded-down from brands to own-label (but remember that own label is of high quality in the UK). Shoppers also claim to save money by purchasing more products on special offers, with 54% reporting buying more deals. Some 51% claim to eat out less, while 21% says that they buy more products from discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.

This is not surprising at all - the interesting news are that as consumers claim to have saved money by splashing out less, they also claim to treat themselves more on products such as confectionery or premium ready meals. I think this is really interesting news. I have been told so many times by fellow marketeers that the recession will hit hard on premium foods - I don't think it will! Consumers have different needs and their demand for nice foodstuffs won't disappear due to the recession. And food is not particularly expensive if you compare to other goods. It is certainly easier to treat yourself to a nice pack of chocolates or a good bottle of wine rather than a new car...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

SonyEricsson - interesting news coming!

Sony Ericsson is apparently about to embark on its “largest ever marketing campaign to date”. And apparently this is as part of its overall strategy to reposition itself as a “communications entertainment” brand with the slogan Sony Ericsson make.believe.
I was glad to here of these news and of course I'm very excited to see the campaign. And Sony Ericsson is certainly right to do something about its pretty dull positioning - I just hope that they've spiced it up enough. Three new handsets called Satio, Aino and Yari have been earmarked as the big hope to help to reposition SE. So hopefully those handsets are something else.
I do hope this positioning and the new handsets can be the new start for SE. And a new beginning as part of them sorting out their problems. They are certainly in a highly competitive and technically innovative market. It certainly can't be easy with Apple standing at the forefront of innovation and with their very cool credentials. But then, just look at how Apple reinvented themselves... That should be inspiring enough for Sony Ericsson!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Have you identified your Opportunity Platforms?

Many people simply approach innovation as brainstorming exercises - with the principle of 'the more ideas the better'. If you use this approach you might be lucky and come up with some winners... however, most often you come up with a list of me-too loosers or uninspiring and fast forgotten line extensions...
I believe that efficient innovation comes from structured AND creative innovation exercises against well-defined opportunity platforms. And the more you know about your identified opportunity platforms the better. Some questions you need to ask yourself include e.g. if you know the market size of the platform, if you have estimated its future sales potential (based on current sales and emerging trends), if you know your competition and their strenghts and weaknesses and if you really do understand the consumer / customer? So, there's certainly a lot of analysis to do before actually embarking on the more creative elements of idea generation such as various brainstorming exercises! I will certainly write more about this topic some other day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I admire the Ipren 400mg commercial

What a great piece it is! It's to the point and it clearly emphasises the benefit of Ipren. Yet it is both memorable and entertaining. And it is one of those commercials that you'd enjoy watching over and over again. I would like to know which advertising agency came up with this idea. Anyone who knows out there? If you haven't seen it yet you must. The link should take you there.