Saturday, December 4, 2010

Coca-Cola - the maker's of the best christmas commercials ever

There are no competitor up for challenging Coke when it comes to great christmas commercials. The 'open happiness' message is yet again powerfully conveyed through an ad that I simply love to watch. It contains all the emo ingredients that we want to feel and sense at Christmas...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Love the design by this Kiwi based company - The Collective Dairy

I absolutely love the communication and packaging design by The Collective Dairy, a New Zeeland based dairy company that one of my reader's suggested me to take a look at. You can't but adore their fresh take on dairy goods packaging design and their witty unique way of talking about themselves and their dairy products.  I can't wait to check out their products on my next visit to Aeteroa! Check out their website

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ryanair tacky campaign - it surely put me off flight shopping...

So, yet again I forgot about my promise to 'never, ever fly Ryanair again' and started browsing their website.

Luckily this time they totally put me off shopping by their incredibly distasteful 'The girls of Ryanair' charity christmas calendar. Incredible! How low will they go?

I thought I had seen the worst from Ryanair already but there are apparently more distasteful things to come. So you guys, enjoy this cheesy ad to the left... and continue to ignore Ryanair crap and buy your flight tickets from Norwegian, Easyjet, SAS or BA...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Colgate Max White - good emo message in the functional benefit world of toothpaste

The most recent ad I've enjoyed is the recent Colgate Max White commercial that's currently running on Swedish television. The good news about it is that Colgate have found a great insight to work from and  focussed on the emo benefit of 'let the smile speak for you' rather than the functional message of 'gives you white teeth'. That's great news for Colgate and I think the Max White might have a fair chance for success in the marketplace, given the great comms being grounded on insight with substance. Unfortunately Colgate haven't trusted to share the ad on Youtube, so I cannot share it with you. But do visit their website if you want to view the ad.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cadbury conceptualises more - New Bar of Plenty good example

I spotted new Bar of Plenty from Cadbury on a recent trip to lovely London. There are a couple of things that interest me with this launch and I would like to share them with you.

One thing that I find interesting is the thinking behind the concept. Why did Cadbury decide to use a prominent concept 'Bar of Plenty' and a much smaller weighting of the Dairy Milk brand?

There might be a few reasons why. For starters the marketing team might have made the judgement that  'Bar of Plenty' is very different to the Dairy Milk proposition, or, they decided that the new proposition was really not that different and could have been included under a stronger Dairy Milk umbrella but, to truly stand-out and be an effective and unique competitor on the chocolate shelves  it needed its own life, a linked but still seperated life to Dairy Milk. Interesting to follow next brand extensions!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Muller Dairy - Meet Mary commercial

I love the British company Muller Dairy for the lovely ways that they manage to reinvent their marketing communication. I just came across this recent commercial where Mary the cow is in the spotlight. It's lovely. And I love browsing their website. It's an excellent example of how to create a consumer friendly online presence. They understand the main target for their website (the consumer) and they focus on making the web a consumer friendly, exciting and enticing place. Great stuff!

I promise to write more about Muller Dairy soon - and I would love to tell you more about the Muller brand and innovative dairy products. Until then, enjoy Mary!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gap new logo - weak insights, social media buzz experiement or what?


It was interesting to read in Resume and Adweek about the launch and reactions to the new logo from Gap.   After an outbreak of comments from people who hate the (supposedly) new logo, Gap has now changed direction. The story is that they listen to consumers concerns and reactions to the logo change and, instead of simply changing to the new logo, they now want to offer designers all over the world the opportunity to contribute to new logo versions. The idea is to see if any of those new versions will be a better option than the beauty you see above.
Hmmm, is this really a true story? I simply cannot believe it when I look at the 'new' logo that Gap has unveiled. How on earth can anyone view that logo to be something for Gap? From my perspective - harsh reactions... I think any manager that took such a decision should be fired on the spot... Why? Well, the new version does not carry any resemblance to the old logo and none of the current equity is present in the new logo. Why would a brand with such a strong brand recognition and brand equity throw all that in the bin? If they do any consumer or shopper insight work they would now that their current logo carries a lot of power that cannot simply be thrown away. They must be smarter than that - I hope.

So, I opt for the social media experiment. And it sure has been an interesting week for Gap. I don't think that Gap has had this much free buzz for a very long time. And this might be part of a strategy to get Gap more social media savvy. I can't wait to here more about this one.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cadbury - brand extension into chocolate-themed cafe chain

Recently I wrote about Cadbury's Spots VS Stripes campaign. Now I want to mention another interesting launch by this much loved British chocolate brand. Cadbury's will open up cafes called Cadbury Cocoa House which will be Cadbury branded, traditional English style cafes where you can expect to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea, along with a range of Cadbury-themed goods.

According to BBC Cadbury says it has been planning the move for some time and negotiations are already underway for sites and the first outlets - in London - could be open for business before the end of the year. However, Cadbury stressed that it was "very early days" for the plan. The plans are part of a joint venture with retailer Harrods. Spokespeople say: "We want to build on the Cadbury heritage and the British heritage of Cadbury. All food will be sourced from the UK where possible, and we will really develop that heritage of the brand - from fireplaces and fireside chairs to traditional English afternoon teas."

This is an interesting move by Cadburys and I will be keen to follow the developments. Moving from product brand to service brand is a challenge, not just because the business model is entirely different, but also because the consumer interactions are in many ways more challenging. A service is customised and the service experience is highly dependant on the situation. The challenges are way different from the world of product retailing. And the delivery of the total brand experience is paramount to success. Let's follow this one!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Findus understands consumer needs - launch frozen Pasta Gratin kits

Findus is creating new smart meal solutions for Swedish families who experience the 5-6pm 'hell-hour' need for quickly prepared and reasonably healthy dinner needs.

Their latest launch are two innovative Gratin dinner kits, one pasta gratin, and one Taco gratin. Home made Tacos (swedish style) are the Swedish favourite meal no. one - so perhaps this is a fairly expected move...

I was pretty pleased to see these two products by Findus. Yet again Findus shows a focus on being innovative when it comes to ensuring that consumers keep shopping the frozen categories - as fresh makes inroads also in Sweden, albeit at a very slow pace in comparison to many other, larger markets. These products are perfect for the cash-rich, time-poor families of today. And the 'cooking kit' with two seperate components that you simply mix is just a dream for mothers and fathers who want to feel like they've done some cooking (hmmm we all need to fool ourselves sometimes to feel satisfied with our role as parents...)

So, great work Findus, mums and dads are likely to shop this product if it's available and at a reasonable price. And hopefully the taste and quality will make both mums, dads and kids happy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crisp maker OLW taps into Fredagsmys insight to conquer Swedish crisp market

Swedish crisp maker OLW's choice to tap into a strong emotional insight proved a good strategy. OLW has now taken the throne as the king of the Swedish crisp market with a 39% market share. The insight that sits at the back of the Fredagsmys campaign taps into Swedes need for 'cosy, lazy family time' on Friday nights, after a tough and stressful working week. The key ingredient in the campaign is the song 'Fredagsmys' which, in all its 'geekiness', have become incredibly popular. It has been played more than 1 200 200 on Spotify! And the social network following has also been strong with more than 190 000 members in the Facebook group 'We love Fredagsmys'. See the ad below - a show of different Swedes who all love Fredagsmys.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why brand characters?

Well, that is the question that I asked myself as I read the ‘name three popular brand characters’ thread in one of the many Linked In groups that I follow. We’ve all come across famous brand characters as we meet brands advertised and promoted. There are the really famous ones like the Michelin man, the Duracell bunny and the Andrex puppy. And there are the local ones, in Sweden we have the Tele2 sheep and the rather annoying Boxer guy Robert…

So what’s the point of them then and why do companies bother? As I can see it there are a few strong advantages of creating brand characters:

To emphasise a relevant, differentiated benefit
Brand characters are often chosen because they are the advocates of a benefit that the company in question wants to own. In the case of the Tele2 sheep, Tele2 must have come to the conclusion that ‘different due to cheap’ was the most important benefit to emphasise, and… hurrah. The agency came up with the idea that cheap and sheep were connecting words that one could easily play with… and since differentiation is also a key benefit of Tele2 the black sheep was born! The Duracell rabbit is another great example born from the same logic.

To create a holder for storytelling
Brand characters are the perfect holding devices for storytelling. And advertising agencies, at least in Sweden, seem to love to create long (way too long!?) running stories around brands. One example in Sweden are the characters in the ICA commercials. ICA Stig and his colleagues play in a long-winding soap-opera. Personally I’m a bit tired of those ads but because the characters are recognised, the costs are covered by brand owners and the format is so incredibly engrained in people’s mind I’m afraid they might just last forever… ICA Stig goes strong. A favourite of mine is the Ipren man, a made-up character that supports the brand message and new innovations. I enjoyed seeing the Ipren guy in a new settings in the latest ad which I’ve written about before.

To create recognition and ad brand recall
Lastly brand characters are great tools to create brand recognition and brand recall. When you’ve got a brand character strongly associated with a brand, all future communication that clearly displays that character will act as a snapshot reminder of the brand and its benefits. So if you only see a few seconds of an ad you might miss out on the message and the brand logo but at least the actor i.e. the brand character will serve to effectively remind you of the brand. Tele2 very clearly displays its black sheep in all sorts of consumer facing communication whether its TV ads, print, digital or packaging. You surely cannot miss the sheep – cheap connection however hard you try.

I believe these three reasons are the key reasons why we see more and more brand characters supporting the message of brands. There are of course also some issue if you choose this path – and I will get back to those asap. But for now, I hope the above makes some interesting reading. And do let me know if you think I’ve missed out on some additional fantastic benefit of creating supporting act brand characters. Bye for now.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Calsberg Sweden launch Falcon Autumn Lager

In the next move to position Falcon as the beer for 'genuine men' Carlsberg Sweden have recently launched Autumn Lager, a darker kind of lager, lightly roasted and with a hint of chocolate.

This appears to be the next move to strengthen the Falcon brand positioning clearly to its target group of 'genuine men' which I personally trust to be a well-researched and clearly defined target group described as mature, self-confident, grounded 30-50 year old guys with a strong presence. Or something close to that at least... This group is also likely to be interested by international beers and beer culture so this is also an important move for Carlsberg to strengthen the local brand Falcon against the tough and growing international competition. The recent launch comes with a short ad focussing on building awareness for the new launch, but still with a strong message connected to the new positioning. See the ad here.

Another issue for Carlsberg is to define and communicate different positionings for the local brands against the Carlsberg brand. The proposition in the world of Premium must be unique for both Carlsberg and Falcon brands, where each brand should be targeted at a specific segment in the market. With the latest moves by Carlsberg it seems like they've got a clearer plan in place now for how to work with their different brands. I'm looking forward to next steps!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Magnum - a well managed brand

According to the Unilever website there are over a billion Magnum ice creams sold every year. That's a significant number of ice creams! A few days ago I spotted the Magnum Minis collection that was recently launched in Sweden. Now, I am a bit of an ice-cream snob so while I'm frustrated by the less than tempting ingredient list of Magnum I still find the lovely little chocolate mini ice-creams absolutely deliciosly yummy looking...

I would say that Magnum is one of those brands that I think Unilever really manage in style. The brand was launched in the UK already in 1987 and it claims to be the first widely available hand held indulgence ice cream in the UK. Since then, Magnum has extended the brand family with nice additions like my favourite Magnum Almond as well as other lovely ideas such as Double Chocolate (1996), Double Caramel (2000), Yoghurt Fresh and Magnum Intense (2002). I also loved the limited editions titled '7 Sins' (2003) and '5 Senses' (2005). Both were well executed great campaigns with brilliant supporting communication.

The new addition to the Magnum family is apparently Magnum Gold with front figure tough guy Benicio del Toro as the supporting frontman. Sweden is perhaps a too small market for Unilever to bother with any big TV ad expenses, but see this ad from UK and you get the feel for what the Magnum Gold launch is all about.

So what do I like about Magnum? Well, I think that in terms of innovation, concept development and communication it is an incredibly well managed brand. It's all about being the almost sensual ice-cream indulgence - and the new launches support that brand proposition full on. And through the new concepts Magnum manages to stay connected and relevant to its target audience. Great work Magnum!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fritidsresor - the days you remember

I just spotted the most recent Fritidsresor ad on telly - the one with Mads Mikkelsen. Apart from being a beautiful ad it also carries a strong emotional message built around the Fritidsresor brand promise of 'creating more days to remember'. Of course we should all want more great days to remember. Many of us are but too aware that time flies and our individual lifetimes are just tiny little dots on the lifetime of planet earth. And just as autumn comes and Swedes are back behind our desks with memories of a lovely summer holiday behind us, the Fritidsresor message becomes even stronger. I want to book a trip now!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cadbury Spot vs Stripes production - hit or miss?

Cadbury is really going for glory with its big, high investment sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Cadbury spends a record £50m marketing investment on this campaign. The campaign started last weekend with an unconventional TV advert introducing the Spots v Stripes campaign. And the campaign will run until the game starts in July 2012.

The idea of the campaign is that Cadbury's invites the nation to divide into two teams competing to score points on a website. The games can be anything from big and highly organised sports competitions to simple arm-wrestling and they can be played at all locations, everywhere.

The first TV ad features two teams of spotted and striped marine creatures playing a game using seaweed balloons. What do you make of this? Is it a hit or miss? I find it very unconventional and intriguing, perhaps the reaction that Cadbury's want from its audience? I suppose the key objective is to get the audience engaged and to draw people to the site. The ad will be followed by a Spots v Stripes national roadshow visiting UK cities over the couple of months, inviting members of the public to join in using “giant games kits” provided by the Dairy Milk Maker. A spokesman from Cadbury's described Spots v Stripes as “an ambitious programme to get millions of people across the UK and Ireland playing games by 2012, leaving a lasting legacy of community spirit in the UK and Ireland”. It's a big ambition for Cadbury's - good luck guys!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Danone buys Swedish probiotic brand ProViva

This morning it was announced that dairy and functional dairy giant Danone buys the Swedish functional health brand ProViva, up to now owned by the Swedish company Skånemejerier. A Danone spokesperson says its a purchase in line with the Danone brand mission - and a good move to develop their product range further.

ProViva is a successful brand in Sweden with a range of nice fruit drink products with probiotic powers. The ProViva brand is all based on the discovery of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v based on in depth clinical research in Lund, Sweden in the 1980's. Today ProViva benefits from a trusted and well researched health claim.

The ProViva brand claim is something like 'The best friend for tummies' , i.e fruit drinks that help tummies or gut bacteria to be and remain healthy.

ProViva is well represented in most Swedish supermarkets and the brand also benefits hugely from being referred to by Swedish health practitioners. It's mostly the well-kn
own product range of fruit drinks that you see being well-stocked at all leading retailers. But apart from the fruit drinks ProViva also makes an interesting range of goodies. How about the so called Shots? Similar in style to the Knorr Vie shots but also benefiting from probiotic bacteria. And how abut Proviva Active, a range of Fruit Drinks with probiotics but also with added carbs and protein - for those of us who are particularly active and need to boost our energy levels.
Last but not least, ProViva launched ProViva Female last year, a range of fruit drinks especially developed for women of fertile age, with added iron, folate and vitamin C. What a range!

I hope the involvement of Danone will help to build this great brand to even further greatness - who knows, it may even take on the world much beyond our Nordic borders. I certainly hope so! With this purchase Danone takes a further step to strengthen its portfolio of health and functional food brands. ProViva is a good addition to their brand portfolio - well done Danone!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brand positioning case - Ben & Jerrys

Ben & Jerrys is one of my favourite brands. I can pretend that it's got all to do with the taste but... I woul

Ben & Jerry's!Image by Noeluap via Flickr

d be lying. And it's certainly expensive ice-cream to which my rational mind says: - don't buy it! But by then my emotions have already kicked into gear... I simply must have it, I crave it!

Luckily though, I manage to steer away from the ice-cream counter on most shopping trips - but if I've got a weekend night with me, myself and the telly I simply need B & J. So, what has it got that makes it so desirable?

A compelling personality
B&J is so much more than just ice-cream. Buying B&J is about making a statement about who you are. If you find yourself to be just a little bit wacky, a bit creative and in touch with your emotions - then you're sure to like the B&J brand. And if you like those personality traits in yourself - then you like B&J even more! B&J does ice-cream in a way that no one has done it before. It's wacky ice-cream with big bits and weird taste and ingredient mixes. It's fun, quirky and simply brilliant!

A brand story
B&J has a great story to tell. This amazing story is based on the beliefs and principles of the B&J founders Ben and Jerry who had a dream about making the best tasting ice-cream the nicest possible way - you can read more about that story here. And you should be able to trust those founding brand principles even today - despite Unilever buying B&J a few years ago.

Committed to serving good, honest ice-cream with a cause
B&J is committed to a bold social mission statement that should guide the way that the company and the brand interacts with the world.

All in all, Unilever appear to be committed to preserving the things that make B&J stand apart from other brands in the world. I really hope that B&J will be allowed to continue to develop the brand in its own right - I see so many more opportunities for the brand. I hope B&J will see them too!
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Inside the mind of the shopper by Herb Sorensen

I'm currently reading a great book about consumer behaviour in the retail environment. Unfortunately the process of reading is rather long winding these days. Still only managed 53 pages due to constant interactions with my little one. But the insights on those 53 pages are promising indeed - and I cannot wait to learn more about the mind of the shopper. Inside the mind of the shopper is based on sound research from millions of shopping trips and clever eye-tracking studies. The 53 pages I've read have already revealed that:
- There are three typical types of Shoppers (Quick, Fill-up and Stock-up)
- Half of all shopping trips are Quick and include 1-5 products
- Single item shopping account for a whopping 16% of retail sales!

That's just a start for you guys. If I ever get a chance reading more I'll be back with more Shopper revelations.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sex in the city 2 - suffers from too much product placement

Sex and the City: Original Motion Picture Soun...Image via Wikipedia

I enjoyed a girls 'movie night out' in Stockholm last night. These days neither movie nights, nor girls nights are frequent occurances. Last night I celebrated in style with two lovely friends, my highest heels, my lovely Tous handbag, a glass of Bollinger bubbly... and the latest Sex in the city movie.

However, as I left the theater having survived a two hour luxury brand bonanza, I couldn't stop reflecting on the sheer and rather ghastly amount of product placements that are so frequent and too obvious throughout the movie.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe in product placement and in it's power to build brand. But I was still annoyed by how obvious product placement was done in this production. There's hardly a scene without a reference to brands. And sometimes the references are so corny too. One wonders if the movie would have gone ahead at all without the brand owners push and investments.

I hope I won't have to see this kind of product placement destroying movies again. We'll see!
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ramlösa - Honest water campaign

Just a short note between all those little jobs at home. Last night, between watching some telly I enjoyed seeing the latest ad by Ramlösa water again. Ramlösa is the swedish, classic mineral water brand owned by Carlsberg.

I enjoy the new communication from Ramlösa. The new Ramlösa 'Honest water' campaign is very good. The print that can be seen across Sweden is clear, to the point and delivers well on the proposition and the brand values. The TV ad also delivers the 'Honest' message well in a lightly entertaining fashion. And the 'Honest water' comms idea is also really good, a great creative idea based on the foundation of the brand itself i.e. Ramlösa brand proposition of 'naturally refreshing'. Well done Åkestam Holst, the agency behind the latest campaign.

Enjoy the ad below. For those non swedish speakers out there. It's about a guy who comes too late to work and tries to make silly excuses. Another guy shows up and says: -Sorry guys, I overslept to the first guys embarassement.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Merci and Toffifee - Hated comms that sell?

That's what I asked myself as I picked up some Merci chocolate for my grandmother the other day. I scanned the supermarket chocolate shelves in search of something special for a grand old lady who I love. And what do I buy? Well, I got totally stuck on the emo idea of "Merci is my little way of saying thanks - merci, for being you". I even had the tune in my head. Somehow that emotional, tacky, euro ad tune got me buying into the Merci brand.

And as I walked out of the shop I thought of all those tacky commercials that we hate, but somehow also love... Those ads are often German or French for some reason. And the Merci brand owners Storck have managed to create quite a few of those hated ads. Toffifee is another brilliant example. Apparently a quick check on Facebook confirms that there are now 5244 swedes who have signed up to the Facebook group 'The guys who have never had fun times with Toffifee'. This is in response to the much hated 'You have so much fun with Toffifee' ad that's frequently shown over here. Well, is it good or no good for a brand and ad to create this kind of response? Well, as long as Toffifee meets or exceeds its sales objectives I'm sure the Storck guys will laugh all the way to the bank... It's not about creating wonderful ads - it's about effective communication.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How do you find out if you work for an organisation that embrace and encourage innovation?

We often here about well-known and leading edge innovative organisations like Google, Amazon and Apple. Those companies are very open about their relentless focus on innovation and on how to encourage idea generation and development from within.

But then there are all those other companies. The ones who talk a great deal about innovation and about how important it is, but somehow never do anything about innovation apart from designing some long winding innovation processes that will either kill all ideas that come into sight or, if the organisation have got the money, execute all ideas that come into sight - even if those ideas are sure to fail...

Personally I belive that a truly innovative organisation benefits from an innovation agenda and an innovation focus that has been set and communicated top-down, encouraged by top-level openeness to creative thinking. Without this innovation focus at CEO or leadership level an organisation can never become truly innovative and creative.

So, if innovation is important to you and you want to find out if you work for an organisation that's already innovative or at least on the path to becoming innovative, how do you find out? Well, based on my belief in top-management commitment I would suggest that you try to find out what your top-management have got to say about innovation. Do they believe in innovation as a future profit generator? Do they encourage innovative thinking? Do they understand what innovation is all about in your business? Do they know how to drive innovation processes forward in your line of business?

Those are just some of the fundamental questions that you can utilise to understand if your organisation already is or if it is likely to become ahead in the innovation game. Good luck!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NA - Nature Addict concept spotted in France

As promised follows the first product spotting from the France trip. The first I'll give you is Nature Addict or N.A. as the name it goes by on the eye catching packaging. N.A. is an all fruit snack concept that's nothing but 100% dried fruit in flavoursome and fun formats. A great snack for adults but also, as I soon noticed, for toddlers. My little one and a half year old insisted on chewing down a few little chewy fruit bits too. Much to the dismay of her mother who wanted all bits for herself...

So what's so brilliant about this concept then? Well, what I like about it is that's it's not only a great tasting all fruit snack but that it's also packaged and conceptualiased in such an appealing way. It's energetic, fresh and fun - nothing like the dreary 'health' snacks look that you often see on shelf. No, this snack is speaking the language of confectionary retail and shopping - but it's still a very healthy, all natural alternative to more sugar loaded confectionary alternatives. My guess is that the bulls eye target group are health oriented women aged approx 18-35 but I actually think it can appeal to all adults, men and women alike. The packaging is eye catching, fun and perfect size to easily fit into small handbags or pockets. And you feel really good after having your one a day fruit portions in a tasty format too.

So, if you ever spot it on shelf - go ahead, have one too! I'm sure we will see much more of this brand outside France.

Maisons du Monde - their designs are divine!

Back after a week in the wonderful Languedoc region of France. What a holiday! It was indeed a perfect start to summer. Sunny days in the garden, glasses of wine on the patio and cool dips in the pool. But I also managed to do some great shopping. The supermarkets of France are the best! And I will tell you about some of the nice little treats that I found there later. But best of all was my visit to Maisons du Monde - an interior design and furniture heaven that specialises in beautiful French style designs - the stuff that I love. And I got some lovely stuff there - mainly little chic knick-knack style things due to the limited space in my suitcase and the very unsympathetic staff at the Ryanair luggage drop... But lovely stuff no less... Maisons du Monde is a lovely retail concept that I wish I could enjoy back home.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nespresso ad - brand with comms that makes me crave...

This Nespresso ad is absolutely great at doing what it is supposed to do - make people crave to become Nespresso users. I'm already a brand addict - and I don't even own a Nespresso coffee machine. But I want one... I think Nespresso has managed to do 'an Apple' - i.e. create a must have item via communication buzz, fab brand and 'cool' factor. The 'Nespresso way' is, just like the 'Apple way' an impressive example of how one can utilise brand to sell expensive equipment. And perhaps 'slightly' unnecessary equipment?

George Clooney is the perfect brand ambassador for Nespresso - sleek, sexy, clever and so desirable... just like the Nespresso machines of course. And what's also impressive with Nespresso is that they've managed to continue to remain focused on the high end consumer and build a very successful and profitable company during the recession - I quote FT in their May 20 2010 article about Nespresso "Nespresso has not only become one of the Swiss multinational’s best-selling brands, with sales last year of SFr2.8bn ($2.4bn), but is also a remarkable exercise in luxury branding in a niche of an otherwise mass market business". It's certainly a good achievement!

But, as FT also reports - the next step for Nespresso will be tea machines. Hmmm. Will tea machines really emulate the success they've had with coffee machines or is it just a must-have add-on to the current selection? Is it really Nespresso to make tea machines? Does the brand have the power to sell tea? Personally I think they should stick to coffee and not only because the terrific guys at FT think so too... It will be interesting to follow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pour Tea - clever way of promoting consumer engagement

A colleague and friend of mine told me about this lovely concept by the swedish coffee and tea makers Johan & Nyström (a company that I hadn't heard about before - but I'm now well impressed!). Those guys apparently noted that there was a gap in the market and a great opportunity to promote ice tea in Sweden - well spotted for a start! And they realised that they needed a good, well positioned and well designed concept to make it work. So, here comes Pour Tea, a new brand with a range of products that I'm sure are refreshing and tasty, but where they've also realised that it takes more to create consumer buzz, build brand personality and sell lots of modern ice tea! The packaging design was done by Identity Works - nice job! In their analysis they did a great job of utilising the insight that 'ice tea is a drink for social moments, and often drunk in cafés' - this insight they utilised to build a great conceptual idea i.e. the idea of creating the modern 'message in a bottle' by utilising the inside of the label to print different messages from other Pour Tea devotees. And the label also has information on how your own message can be printed on Pour Tea labels or on the Pour Tea website (which I can no longer find - hmm would have loved a link here but you have to google it yourself). Well, apart from the non existing website issue - Don't you love this concept too!?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pass it on - example of clever digital peer to peer marketing

New Zealand Sheep CountryImage by swisscan via Flickr

I find Pass it on an innovative and very fresh way of promoting a country - this time the lovely country of New Zealand, a country that's very special for me. On the Pass it on site you'll find great stories and little movies about NZ that you can pass on and share with other people. And when you pass on a story and the receiver follows your link and sign up to the site, you will earn credits and win prizes! Great thinking - for simple peer to peer marketing!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Urban Deli - fresh retail and restaurant concept in Stockholm

I feel slightly frustrated when I come across a cleverly conceptualised retail concept that I just know that I would love, but I haven’t had a chance to visit yet….

So, I will share with you my most recent discovery called Nytorget Urban Deli. It’s an upmarket food retail and casual eating concept that’s situated in the fashionable Sofo area of Stockholm. Apparently it opened in October 2009… maybe some more ‘drums and whistles’ guys!

The concept idea takes is to take you back to the ‘market square and delicatessen feel’ but with convenient, modern food alternatives and in a setting where you can enjoy delicious food and refreshing drinks (also alcoholic ones!). At Urban Deli you can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, but you can also choose your own fresh groceries and produce to cook at home. Or why not try the ‘weekly dinner kit’ – a bag that contains ingredients and recipes for four dinners that can be cooked at home.

Based on what I’ve understood about the concept so far I’m tempted by the ‘eat in’ idea which I enjoyed in at old Fresh & Wild in London where I so many times ate a fantastic organic/veggie deli lunch in the actual retail space. But Urban Deli also has the cool, clean, airy and crispy Dean & Deluca upmarket NYC feel – well suited for Stockholm. I cannot wait to go and check it out in person! And, purely based on my now very high expectations I wish the next Urban Deli would open near to my home…

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Integrated systematics for strategic brand tracking

Currently I'm intrigued by the thought of identifying some magic tool for 'Integrated Strategic Brand and Product Tracking'. Clever tracking is tricky - and I haven't come across a single company that have a strategic tracking systematics that's totally integrated with segmentation tools, brand platforms and strategic KPIs. And, on top of that - also cleverly reported via customised / tailored reporting systems. If anyone comes across the ultimate tracking device - do let me know!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sussex Safe Roads - One of the best emotional communication you've seen?

I saw a twitter note by Brandamentalist about this road safety ad by Sussex Safe Roads. And I think it's so good so I really want to make a note of it here too. Being a firm believer in the power of tucking into the emotional side of communication I find this ad refreshing, appealing and very creative. So, enjoy some powerful emotions and a very strong message! I guess the issue of wearing seatbelts is not huge in lefty brain safety focussed Sweden. But in countries where this is an issue this message should be very powerful. Would you wear your seatbelt after seeing this?

Fresh brand extension from WASA - 4 crisp mix

I've recently noted the brand extension of Wasa into the Muesli category and, since I find this a pretty wise move I wanted to tell you about it too. Wasa is the crisp bread specialist and a crisp bread institution. For years the Wasa brand has pretty successfully developed and grown the crisp bread category far beyond it's origins. But, to be fair, crispbread is a rather limiting category and it may be very hard to recruit more crisp bread eaters beyond the current base. So, what to do? Well, the recent launch of cereal is an interesting example of how to utilise brand strenght in crisp bread to sell another category i.e. cereal. I haven't tried the '4 crisp mix' cereal yet and can but hope that the product delivers on consumer needs in the cereal category. But I do believe that Wasa stands a fair chance to succeed as an innovator in the rather dull and Kellogg's dominated cereal category. Go Wasa!

However, Wasa needs to do a better job at ensuring bloggers get hold of the link to the '4 crisp mix' ad - unfortunately it's nowhere to be seen online.... And, it's also impossible to find good images of the recent product launch. Some more work needed there guys!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Steve Jobs on Innovation

CUPERTINO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  (FILE PHOTO) Appl...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Steve Jobs said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

"Innovation has no limits. The only limit is your imagination. It’s time for you to begin thinking out of the box. If you are involved in a growing industry, think of ways to become more efficient; more customer friendly; and easier to do business with. If you are involved in a shrinking industry – get out of it quick and change before you become obsolete; out of work; or out of business. And remember that procrastination is not an option here. Start innovating now!"

I read the above text on a website today and being a firm believer in the power of innovation I just had to put it on my blog. Enjoy!

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Proctor & Gamble launches E-store for online sales of consumer products

Today P&G launches an E-store to U.S. Consumers featuring P&G brands. It's called the eStore, and it is an online shopping site owned and operated by PFSweb featuring the breadth of P&G brands including Tide, Pampers, Olay, CoverGirl, Swiffer and Febreze. The eStore has been created with shopper insights to provide a premier online retail site with the goal of offering new and better ways to shop online for household, beauty and grooming products. More brands will be added to the eStore over the next year. The store also gives shoppers a forum to share feedback on their eStore shopping experiences and provide ideas to improve the site. Shoppers can also post ratings and reviews for P&G products and share tips and tricks for taking care of their family and home at the eStore.

Is this the first bold step by a consumer goods producer to try to bypass the big retail chains. Bold move that I'll follow!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FMCG concept development - part 2. Concept crafting

In my little piece on Concept Development - part 1 I wrote about the importance of concept development. I also mentioned that concept development isn't as simple and straightforward as many believe. No, I would claim that good concept development is a skill that needs to be honed by hours of practice. And, in order to be a good concept developer, a marketeer needs to understand a great deal about the consumer or customer, have an idea to conceptualise, and be able to put that idea and the benefit it offers into words and imagery. Those words and the imagery need to carefully crafted so that the concept is crystal clear and can be truly comprehended by the target group (without empty words of marketing bullshit!). For me concept writing is important. And it is NOT about simply explaining an idea in words or some creative rhetorics. No, concept writing is a marketing skill. And a marketing skill that too few marketeers master really well. I've seen too many poor concepts die in qual or quant research - not because of a bad conceptual idea but simply because that idea has been poorly crafted into a concept.

The key building bricks of a good concept? Well, Ï believe those to be the following three:
Consumer Insight: your concept need to rely on a foundation of insight. What's the thing that you know about the consumer that makes your idea relevant? Ideally you've already researched the relevance of your insight.
Idea presentation
: This is the opportunity to explain your offer. This should be presented in an appealing way but do work hard on steering away from choosing 'sales' language here! The one thing that one needs to work very hard on is the uniqueness of the idea in the market - is it something new or different that's really relevant to your target group. If it's not I'm not sure whether you should bother writing a concept at all!
Benefit: concept benefits need to link to the idea presentation. What are the key benefits that your concept offers to the intended target? This is where many concepts really fail. They try to claim too many things, they sometimes claim non relevant benefits or they claim just poor, undifferentiated me-too benefits that no one cares about.

I find the above to be the basics of the actual 'concept crafting' exercise - But to that comes the topic of concept stimulus, not to mention the hard work of researching and honing concepts through different development and screening stages. To that comes the development of moodboards, illustrations, packaging shots or whatever other stimulus you chose to bring your concept to life. I'll get back to these topics at some later stage. Meanwhile, good luck with your concept development!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Carlsberg world cup initiative – “Probably the best team talk in the world”

I was pleased to see that Carlsberg UK continues its impressive communication focus ‘Probably the best’ during the world cup. Carlsberg is the official beer of the England team. This time they've created a strong ad with very high emotional 'I love England' connection. The English are due to love that one! It starts in the England dressing room with Stuart Pearce geeing up players a few minutes before kick-off before they set off for the pitch surrounded by a who’s who of English sporting heroes, as well as chart-topping rockers Kasabian.
What I find encouraging is Carlsbergs strategic comms focus. They’ve reaped rewards with their brand and communication platform – and they won’t, as many other companies do, change a good, winning formula despite recession, internal re-organisations and other issues that can get in the way of strategic, long-term brand development. Great ad and well done Carlsberg!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Converse - insightful innovation in the shoe world

I only have one pair of Converse - a gold leather pair that I bought in London last year. After a long and cold winter they were finally rescued from the darkest corner of the closet last weekend. I wore them again - and they felt so fine! How come a pair of shoes can mean so much? Simply by being different (gold coloured leather) I feel like I've made a fairly cool and slightly individualistic choice. Or is it really an individualistic choice that makes a certain statement? How can it be individualistic when 80% of swedish women, men and kids wear Converse during the summer months? If you really want to look like everyone else you choose the white coloured version...
It's fairly pathetic - but Converse does it again. By simply adding a few new lines of colour, a few interesting new styles (that no one every buys?), liasing themselves with a few cool people (like Ozzy Osbourne who gets his own special and very unique versions) they add some new magic to their brand and become relevant again. Clever! I love my gold leather Converse...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Insight & the Insight pyramid

As a professional in the field of ‘Consumer Insight’ I sometimes feel rather frustrated by the lack of understanding for Insight amongst other marketing, sales and general business professionals. Few understand what ‘Insight’ is, why it is important and what it brings to the bottom line. I don’t want to dwell on the reasons why… but it may have something to do with the way universities portray insight as the very dull and non exiting topic of ‘market research’ and it may also have something to do with the ‘Insight’ industry and us Insight professionals not daring to promote Insight and its important role in strategic business development.

I’ve already made a first attempt to define the word ’Insight’. Today I’ll try to put ‘Insight’ into a context. ‘The Insight Pyramid’ is my tool that I use to give Insight meaning and further definition.

At the bottom of the pyramid comes ‘Data’ – this is the raw market data that’s available via public sources or professional data providers. Data is e.g. real sales figures, Nielsen or GFK data or other forms of market and category data that you can get your hands on. Data is the essential basics behind any form of market understanding. But bear in mind, with data you’re always looking in the rear-view mirror. Only by tracking the ‘long trend’ of data, you might be able to draw a few interesting thoughts about the future. The second tier level of the pyramid I call ‘Information’. When it comes to Information, the actual gathering exercise is a bit different. Information is gathered by listening to consumers and by seeing consumers in action. How do consumers act in the retail environment? How do consumers value different kinds of packaging material? What are consumers attitudes to frozen food? The ‘Information’ questions are always many and varied and the answers to those questions are rarely 100% simple and rational. Moreoften they are highly multi-faceted, emotionally led and incredibly thought provoking. The third tier of the ‘Insight Pyramid’ I call ‘Understanding’. Understanding is the stage that comes through thorough, hard-work analysis – by continuous search for the meaning behind the data and the information that you’ve gathered. Understanding is never a one timer, it’s rather the on-going search for what makes the consumer tick and how you should develop, refine and maximise your offer to meet consumer needs and of course, make loads of money for your business. The impact of ‘Understanding’ comes when your team has got the same or at least a very similar understanding and work towards a common goal. That’s magic! But, if ‘Understanding’ is magic – my fourth and final tier of ‘Insight’ is the real fireworks! Insight is when it all comes together. It’s when you’re really engaged with the consumer, when you can identify an insight (as per my previous definition) as consumers verbalise their needs and, when you gather those insights and actively utilise them for your innovation, brand and category programmes.

Working the insight pyramid sure isn’t easy. But as you work yourself and your team higher in the pyramid you develop a knowledge that will help you steer your category and market your way, the right way. And if you are a ‘Consumer Insight manager’ you need to preach the value of the whole pyramid to your organisation. Beware of simply ending up with the first two tiers…

Friday, April 23, 2010

The strategy behind Pripps Brazil commercial

This morning we heard the swedish communication magazine 'Dagens Media' claiming to be the first to report on the new Pripps Blå ads made by Åkestam Holst. Pripps Blå is one of those brands that Swedes somehow love (which I believe is mainly due to nostalgia connected to its Swedish heritage) but few people buy. In Y&R BAV terms it's got massive brand stature (esteem and knowledge) but I believe it lacks brand strength (differentiation and relevance). And the move from Carlsberg Sweden is this new communication platform. What are they trying to do you think? Well, I belive they must have done some homework before this move. They must have realised that their current platform of nostalgic Swedishness has nothing to offer their intended target group. See one of the old style ads here:

So, I guess Carlsberg Sweden must have got to the point where they feel convinced that youthful feelgood 'Brazil' emo feel ads are going to do the job better. I'm not going to judge this one - I simply look forward to follow the developments. Are the new ads going to deliver against the strategy? Are they going to alienate the current buyers? Are they going to attract the intended 'new' target group? And, on the journey I wish Pripps Blå good luck on their path to brand revitalisation - I hope you've done your homework!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Does music branding via Technologic help to strengthen Telenor brand?

That’s the question that awake when I read the last page of Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) this morning. Music branding is by a definition set by Jacob Lusensky ‘when companies make strategic allies with the music industry to strengthen brands’. Jacob Lusensky is a Swede who helps brands to use the right music in their communication, he is also the writer of a new book on the topic called ‘Sounds like branding’.
I first realised the power music can have to strengthen brand when I saw the Muller Dairy commercials with the 'I'm alive' tune in the UK that ran a few years ago. It was something with that music that added vigour and vitality to the brand. Somehow the music touched something inside me at a very emotional level and I started to view Muller differently, more favourably. During this particular period I was engaged in research and innovation for another big dairy company and it was very interesting to hear first hand just how much consumers engaged in the brand due to the music. I wonder if Muller ever understood the power of that music on their brand. A few years later they totally changed direction in their communication, and the power was gone – at least for me.

A recent Swedish example of the power of ‘music branding’ is the new Telenor communication platform with the Technologic tune. It’s a move for Telenor to freshen up their brand and move from a dull, public institution to a fresh, private and very vibrant brand with cool factor. Despite the logo being dull and Telia like… the new ads, and the music – well, it’s got a lot of coolness factor! The problem for me is that I lack the hygiene factors underlying this ‘new cool’ positioning. The company is still dull and their old school ‘focus on sales’ service attitude and offers are just offputting…So, with ads that are cool and fab music the experience feels very remote from the current Telenor brand. This could end up a dangerous example of moving too fast with ‘music branding’ too soon, without getting the basics right. However, if Telenor does their brand homework right they are hopefully engaged in a range of internal efforts to ensure that they can deliver against the ‘cool’ factor that they set for themselves via music and ads. I hope so anyway – otherwise it’s just branding at its worst. Glitzy surface with lack of substance.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tiger Woods - Desperate attempt to strengthen his brand

This ad by Tiger and Nike is sure an interesting and rather desperate attempt to strengthen his personal brand. For me, it's a typical example of a branding and communication at its worst. At the same time as media reports on his chaotic lifestyle and forecoming divorce. Tiger simply calmly stands there, listening carefully to his fathers wise words, looking like he's learned an awful lot... This is bullshit! It totally lacks reason to believe. Nike nows it - and it's embarassing. Maybe Nike and Tiger should just have been wise enough to wait with any attempt to strengthen brand until the basic hygiene factors had been on track when Tiger had proved himself a bit more, both on and off the golf course. He simply appears to be an even bigger loooooooooser (and now I'm talking about his personality) than before the scandal.

But there's another issue here too. And it is the desperate attempt by one of Tigers main sponsors Nike. What on earth did the Nike marketeers think when they decided to go ahead with this commercial. What's the issue that they want to overcome here? And did they thoroughly analyse this with any serious or smart strategic planner at their ad agency? If so, what on earth what the analysis that gave them the belief that this ad was a good idea? Is it good for Tiger? Is it good for Nike? I'm perplexed!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Definition of Insight - what's an insight anyway?

Well, that is a good question don't you think? Especially when you read a blog which claims to give you 'insight for innovation'! Well, the definition that I believe in and that I work with everyday is the definition of my past employer 'The Value Engineers'. They say that an insight is ‘The penetrating understanding of consumers which provides hooks or clues that lead us towards new brand building opportunities’.
That's a pretty damn good definition of insight! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Springwise reports - Now Sainsbury’s is set to become the first UK supermarket to keep bees, recently announcing plans to install eight 'bee hotels' on land around their new eco-store in Dursley, Gloucestershire.

I love this initiative - it's so Sainsbury's! My favourite supermarket all time!

Living Labs - consumer co-creation in the digital age

I recently heard about 'Living Labs' - a consumer co-creation methodology supported and promoted by Opinion, the rather quirky norwegian research agency. I love the name 'Living Labs' so of course I had to read more about it. And over the last few days I've explored the idea. The concept of consumer or customer co-creation appeals to me. Being a consumer centric professional it is certainly something that I encourage. I'm aware of the power of insights from these activities. And the idea of a web-based, digital community is also very interesting to explore when it comes to FMCG and service innovation. Just imagine how interesting and effective it could be to test a new food service concept in this kind of setting. Especially if you can create an environment that brings consumers into a real 'service reality' online. Community members could help you to evaluate the strenght of various food service concepts in a setting that becomes as close to 'real life' as possible. If anyone out there have got some experiences of 'Living Labs' - let me know, I would love to know more.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Food retail innovation with impact - 'My Supermarket'

I discovered My Supermarket today and now I cannot stop browsing the offers on show. If only I could do online food shopping via the My Supermarket solution! It's not only clever and tempting, you get a bargain too. For a food and food innovation junkie like me I cannot get hold of myself when I see all the lovely offers from the oh so clever food retailers in the UK. Love it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Youth boosts egg sales in Sweden

Fri Köpenskap reports today that it is the swedish youth who boost the latest sales increase. for eggs. Apparently last year swedes ate 71m more eggs than the previous year! That's a bloody lot of eggs! And it is a sales increase of 5%, the highest in many, many years.

So, what stands behind this development? Why on earth do the swedes eat more eggs? Well, You Gov were commissioned by Svensk Ägg (Swedish Egg organisation) to explore the reasons why in what appears to be an 'only' quant exercise based on 1024 interviews. The very quant answer is apparently that more and more swedes eat egg for breakfast. Almost one in four claim to eat more eggs today than a year ago (this is not the easiest thing to measure - since it is hard to put an estimate on past behaviours!). In the age group 18-29 23% of respondents claim to eat more eggs today than a year ago. In the older age group 50-65, 17% claim to eat more eggs than a year ago. I want to know more. So, do a couple of groups as well will ya and let us know the reasoning, behaviours and attitudes that lie behind!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mr Oatman - Havrefras ad is one of those ads that stand-out

When I look at brand communication I try not to value its relative entertainment factor. Instead I want to value it's ability to reach those communication objectives that have been set in the first place. And, when entertainment is an important objective - then surely entertainment factor should also be measured. When reading some of the Swedish magazines that comment on ads and communication entertainment factor get a too high score from my point of view. This week I enjoy the Havrefras ad with Mr Oatman. Havrefras is a Swedish cereal brand owned by Quaker Oats. The Mr Oatman ad is running pretty frequently on Swedish television at the moment. It would be interesting to see sales figures of Havrefras during the last few weeks. Surely, they must have risen! I love the new ads ability to create stand-out on the TV, surely brand/product awareness must have risen like mad. And I also think that the creation of Mr Oatman was a clever move for a rather functional brand. In his rather dumb 'silliness' he embodies the emotive links that the brand owners want us to connect to Havrefras as a brand. And the environment in which Mr Oatman acts is also so full of energy and vitality. I want to eat more Havrefras! Another powerful fact is the song. It's power to get stuck in mind is just brilliant!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Comfort & Via Naturals concept - a first sign of brand migration?

I spend two hours a day commuting to and from work and that's probably the reason why I do a lot of brand and innovation spotting as I travel. Yesterday I saw the new ads for the new Naturals concept by Unilever. This new concept has interestingly enough been launched as part of both the Comfort and Via brands. And it's the concept graphics rather than the umbrella brand graphics that hold the concept together. So, what is Naturals then? It is a concept focussed on the emotional and functional benefits of 'a more natural wash'. And, since it's being launched under both the Via and Comfort brands it may also be a first sign of a brand migration strategy. Will either Comfort or Via become the big detergent brand? Unilever are known to be clever about how to maximise the potential of their brands. And they have a good track record of extending brands to cover new territories. I'll certainly be following Via and Comfort more closely from now on. That'll be all today!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Egypt Travel - attractive and differentiated 'heritage' positioning

After a long, fun and interesting day at the Market Research Day in Stockholm on Thursday, and a six o'clock rise the day after I was rather tired, with slighlty cloudy thoughts travelling home from work yesterday afternoon. Despite my slightly hazed thoughs I couldn't avoid the impact of the new Egypt Travel ads on the tube. For years I've seen Egypt Travel, as well as all other countries with the slightest bit of sunshine and kilometres of beach, trying to position themselves as 'the amazing beachspot with crystal clear waters and glorious sand'. The ads have all showed off a beach and some very happy and tanned, fantastic looking people... Wow, that's some serious differentiation and uniqueness!!! I've been bored by this obvious and endless tirade of 'sameness'...

But Egypt Travel has changed! Their new campaign emphasises something totally different and it does so in a manner that I find well executed and highly attractive.

The new 'where it all begins' positioning emphasises Egyps cultural heritage and unique experiences via historical spots and the imagery they use is incredibly tantalising. This tells me that Egypt Travel has done a bit of homework and that they've, for matters unknown to me but perhaps linked to lack of differentiation, changed their positioning and target group. Hopefully this new positioning is also linked to strong insights with regards to travellers needs and a sizing of the new 'heritage' opportunity. Alltogether it's a bold move and it's a move that I like. I hope it works!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Arla Communication - clever use of packaging

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting around by my kitchen table enjoying a lazy breakfast... Suddenly I realise that I'm not just sitting around enjoying my brekkie. I'm also being communicated to... In a few minutes time while I believe that my eyes have rested on the Arla milk carton I've also learnt about their latest Arla Kelda launch - a Tuscan tomatosoup. That's powerful! I'm being communicated too in my own home by the kitchen table in an engaging and non intrusive manner. I like! And Arla is also keeping it personal and interesting - via little stories and ideas of how I can make my life easier.
I'm impressed with the way that Arla communicates on their packaging. And I'm impressed that their marketing people have made the whole organisation - and particularly production and purchasing who have to deal with an increased degree of flexibility - understand the power of this kind of communication. It sure works!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cloetta Good - great chocolate, right identity?

I came across a newly launched fair trade chocolate yesterday. It is Swedish Cloetta who have embarked on the fair trade journey with the launch of Cloetta Good, a two product range launch based on the simple motto of ‘feel good/better when you eat good tasting chocolate’.
The good thing about the Cloetta Good milk chocolate that I bought and tried is that it does taste awesome. Far better than average bulk milk chocolate. Cloetta has understood the importance of laddering up their benefits and ensuring that the emotional benefit of ‘feel good about your chocolate eating’ is supported by a strong and equally powerful functional benefit of ‘superb chocolate taste’. So, I certainly give the product benefits a thumbs up!
What’s even more important though is a well-executed differentiated positioning and consumer relevant identity visible via packaging, design and communication. Could the Cloetta Good perhaps have benefited from a more bare, classy and stylish positioning and identity rather than the more mid-range look and feel that they’ve embarked on. That’s the question that I’m left with as I munch on my last piece of milk chocolate…

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are these the worst food trends of the noughties?

Came across this list when I checked around for trends... It's an article by Simon Majumdar on The Guardians website.

He has summarised his worst 10 food trends of the last 10 years. The list includes:

10. Slates, smears, commas and skidmarks
9. Small plate dining and international tapas
8. Cheap cuts at cut-throat prices
7. Underground pop-up restaurants
6. MasterChef
5. Molecular gastronomy
4. Gastropubs
3. Seasonal and local
2. Bloggers
1. Chef as brand extension

Well written and a good list too. The funny thing is that a lot of these so called 'trends' are just emerging trends in Sweden...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

ICA To go - for time-starved city Swedes

Are city Swedes ready for ready-meals? ICA, the largest food retailer in Sweden appears to think so with the launch of ICA To go – a new convenience food retail concept for time poor city dwellers. The new concept will be focused on providing fresh food, ‘fast to cook’ food and ready-meal solutions for time-poor, and (most likely) fairly cash rich city folks. The first shop will open on busy Kungsgatan sometime later this spring. The move also follows the success of Gooh, the innovative ready-meals initiative by Lantmännen. After five years in the Stockholm region where Gooh is moving from strength to strength. The Gooh movement is now moving over the Swedish west-coast with 18 so called ‘shop-in-shop’ retail spots opening across Gothenburg during February 2010. From its launch until this day Gooh hasn’t really faced any serious competition. Tthe ICA move is a sure sign that this privileged situation won’t last forever. The interesting thing will be to see what kinds of food ICA have dec ided to offer time-starved city folks and professionals. Gooh’s offer is hard to beat with their offer of high quality, premium ready-meals based on their co-operation with Swedish maestro chef Stefano Catenacci.

Well, this sure is an interesting development in Sweden, where we don’t yet have the convenience food retail concepts similar to e.g. Tesco Extra, M&S Food and Sainsbury’s Local that one can spot on any high-street in the UK. So,soon I’ll be back with my first report after visiting Ica To go. Being one of those time-starved people I hope it will be a positive one!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is this the stove of the future?

I like to see innovative thinking - this time it comes from Swedish kitchen appliance manufacturer Electrolux. Is this the stove of the future?

What do you think?

Where are the differentiated brand positionings in the world of banking and insurance?

That's a good question. I'm just in the process of transferring my home insurance and it suddenly struck me that I feel no loyalty whatsoever to the company that has been my home insurance provider for years. No, instead I'm sick of being ignored as a customer after having paid more than 5000SEK a year for a number of years. Where are the customer benefits or the perks? Why don't I feel special or valued? I'm moving on. And this time I will change to a provider that will be probably be equally rubbish at making me feel special - but this time for 3500SEK per year.

So, what's the problem - why don't these companies try to differentiate themselves and their brands? Is it simply that they don't feel the need to be different? They somehow inherit their customers (the child goes to the same bank as the parents...), tie them to the bank by creating difficult transfer systems (Anyone out there who's keen to swap retail bank?). In the UK some 10 years ago there were a number of online banks that did a great job of creating differentiated brand positionings. One of those is Egg. I loved the way they communicated their brand as youthful, fun and energetic. I've personally never used them as a bank but I think they've done fairly well for themselves. Apart from Egg - another bank that is different and has made me feel special and valued as a customer is First Direct in the UK. These banks have a clear view of their target group. They understand their banking needs. For First Direct this has resulted in an amazing level of customer service and a matter of fact, simple, personal and non-interfering style.

In Sweden I've got nothing to report on when it comes to different brand propositions in the world of banking. But hopefully new names like e.g. Avanza, might realise the potential of brand when it comes to engaging with and creating long lasting loyalty with consumers. We will see!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Benefit - the fresh thinkers in the world of cosmetics

When I visited New York a few years ago I came across Benefit, the wonderful and very creative cosmetics brand for the first time. Benefit is one of those brands that just stands out as special and different in a premium cosmetics category where most brands appear to go after the same target group with the same products and very similar positionings. Well, Benefit sure is different from those brands. It positions itself as the girlish cute, ultra feminine and tongue in cheek premium cosmetics brand for women who are proud to embrace the positive aspects of 'girly'. And the execution of their positioning is clever too. They've got an amazingly creative product portfolio with products to prove their worth. I bought my first Benefit product recently when travelling through KL airport. It was the Hello Flawless powder and... it's far better than any powder I've tried recently. It's the first Benefit product I've bought - but it certainly won't be the last. Unfortunately though, Benefit still doesn't have a presence in Sweden... So, I have to save my money for now. But I do want to be a Benefit gal!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Saab Spyker Automobiles - what's in a brand name?

This is one of the questions I get back to every time I read a new article discussing the take-over. I think the new Saab Spyker brand name just sits so well on the tongue... 'Saab Spyker' - it sounds different, it sounds bold and it sounds fast!
Will the Saab Spyker cars deliver against those criteria? I don't know... only time will tell. But if they are clever and play their cards right they might have something very powerful there... Think about Apple, think about Orange, think about Innocent or any other truly different brand name that you've come up against that sits really well on the tongue... If those names represent the embodiment of differentiated, challenging, niche positionings that appeal to a specific (and perhaps fairly affluent) target group they stand a fairly good chance of doing well. However, I'm also very aware that I say this purely from a brand perspective. I'm surely not an engineer, and I'm surely not a financier either...

So good luck Saab Spyker! Whilst sorting out your financing and engineering, don't forget your most powerful asset - the brand Saab Spyker. If you play your cards right, the Saab Spyker brand will last and flourish. Who knows, I might just crave the latest edition Saab Spyker one day just like I'm currently craving the Apple Iphone...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Santa Maria shows off new concept called 'A more spicy Africa'

Well, I've been quiet for a while but now I'm back again...

So, what's new? Well, I just spotted this new and 'spicy' spice concept by Santa Maria, an innovative swedish food and spice company. It's called 'A more spicy Africa' and includes four new spice products inspired by the african food and taste culture.

The range includes: Durban Curry, Green Harissa, Chermoula and Piri Piri. All presented with a touch of 'african cool' when it comes to product and range design. To present the range Santa Maria also use the Swedish master chef Markus Samuelsson, internationally famous with his well-known NYC restaurant Aquavit. Nice touch (albeit a bit costly?)!

What do you think? Hit or miss? I personally love the idea. The african food culture is certainly one to watch when it comes to new and trendy food flavours. The one thing I would be worried about when spending money on this launch is how swedes will be educated to use the african style and very new flavours and spices in their cooking. I hope the Santa Maria people have a clever communication plan. And I would personally love to learn more about african spices and cooking myself... so bring it on Santa Maria!