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!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

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…