Saturday, 24 June 2017

Marketing Manifesto Brands

The French food giant Danone, known for yoghurt and other dairy products, as well as for Evian water, is now promoting its Manifesto, putting societal goals alongside marketing and financial goals.

Danone's website says: 'We built our Manifesto to reinforce our dual commitment to business success and social progress and to acknowledge that we cannot work for healthier choices and lifestyles without caring about the health and wellness of our communities'.

In fact, the company is planning new or repositioned products (manifesto brands) that fit with these goals of giving consumers the tools (in this case, food choices) to be healthier. Danone recently acquired the US-based White Wave company, which markets soy milks, almond milks and other products, to increase its presence in the growing American market for plant-based food products. As part of this acquisition, Danone had to divest Stonyfield Farm yoghurt, a brand known for organic ingredients and social responsibility, to satisfy regulatory concerns.

Danone's CEO explained the White Wave acquisition this way: 'By combining 100 years of dairy fermentation with plant-based technology we can reach customers all around the world through multichannels and invest in sustainable nutritious solutions for tomorrow'.

Now Danone will concentrate on its growing portfolio of healthy brands for multiple nations, advancing its financial and marketing goals as it advances its societal goals worldwide.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Beauty brands seek multichannel availability

Consumer behaviour is changing, and so beauty brands are changing their distribution strategies to be where consumers want to browse and buy. As department stores consolidate and shoppers seek out specialty shops and online outlets, brands like Nyx are opening their own UK stores for direct customer contact. Nyx, for example, recently opened a flagship UK retail location with digital elements designed to appeal to Millennials.

Beauty-sample subscription businesses like Birchbox give consumers more access to more new products. This is another channel for brands to reach consumers who like variety or want to test different items before becoming a loyal buyer of a particular brand/product.

Birchbox is, in fact, considering a UK store as another channel to supplement its online-only business model. 'Physical retail enhances the relationship with the brand, but it has to be profitable in their own right, it’s not just a marketing activity for us', says cofounder Katia Beauchamp. If Birchbox opens a store, the brands it distributes gain yet another channel of access to retail customers.

Yet the Birchbox cofounder's question is very important for multichannel strategy: Will brick-and-mortar retail shops be profitable on their own? The answer depends, in part, on how consumers adapt their browsing and buying habits in a crowded multichannel marketing environment.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

UK legacy grocery retailers continue to evolve

Sainsbury strapline
As in the rest of the world, UK legacy retailers are buying specialised firms and sharpening their competitive positioning. 

Why? Changing consumer behaviour and evolving industry dynamics.

Nisa logo
With fierce price wars raging amongst UK grocery chains, and online competition growing, legacy retailers are looking for new marketing roads to customer loyalty and for supply chain efficiencies to help the bottom line. For example:
  • Sainsbury is expected to buy Nisa convenience shops, a 'family' of 2,900 'independent grocers' that serve local neighbourhood shoppers.
  • Tesco announced the acquisition of wholesale food firm Booker, a deal that is currently being evaluated by regulatory officials and may result in industry changes.
Meanwhile, US grocery retailers are responding to the news that Amazon has acquired Whole Foods Market, giving the online giant an instant brick-and-mortar distribution channel. In fact, UK and European grocery retailers may also be affected. And European deep-discount grocer Aldi is aggressively expanding across the US, adding to the pressure on legacy supermarkets--just as Lidl opens its US stores.

So grocery retailing is increasingly global even as the industry adjusts to low-price, no-frills competition and the growing popularity of online shopping via Amazon and others.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Ad blockers and consumer behaviour

If you're among the 22% of UK consumers using an ad blocker, you already know that some content-heavy sites (like The Guardian) will allow you to see what they publish but will also request (not require) that you turn off the ad blocker or pay.

And you know that some sites will block you for using an ad blocker--requiring you to turn it off when viewing their pages. If the ad blocker remains on, the content will not load.

Now Google is going to release its own Chrome-based ad blocking software in 2018. The idea is to give consumers more control over ads that are particularly annoying or that don't fit Google's guidelines for some other reason. Why? Because 'it's far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web - like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page', says a Google exec.

Google will also allow content providers to either require that consumers turn off their blockers for those sites or levy a fee for viewing the content.

Consumers who want to access content will have to change their behaviour. Already, content sites are educating visitors that content costs money, one way or the other, and turning off the ad blocker allows a site to continue receiving advertising revenue without any direct payment from the consumer.

Will the new Chrome ad blocker change consumer behaviour and increase the number of UK users? The answer may depend, in part, on whether the blocker comes preinstalled and in place. We'll have to wait a little longer for the details.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Sustainability Marketing: Fashion Helps Save the Planet

Adidas has partnered with Parley for the Oceans to make and market shoes made from plastic ocean waste. The idea is to raise awareness of the need for clean oceans and recycle this waste in a productive way. Adidas has set a goal of selling one million shoes made from ocean waste by the end of 2017. 

Stella McCartney, who was involved in the Adidas designs, has also partnered with Parley for the Oceans on a new limited-edition backpack made from recycled ocean waste. This product is one of many that will incorporate a new fibre made from ocean waste plastics.

Other fashion marketers are saving the planet as well. ASOS, Tesco, Nike and H&M are some of the brands that will be using only sustainably sourced cotton by 2025. All over the world, fashion marketers are looking at sustainability issues and ways to reduce the stress on natural resources.

How much value do consumers see in buying fashions marketed with sustainability in mind? From the perspective of consumer behaviour, are the ethical issues of sustainability marketing compelling enough to motivate purchasing?

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Ryanair adds share, profits and partners

Not every marketer can achieve both higher market share and higher profits, but Ryanair's marketing plan has accomplished these two key objectives through price cuts.

By adding more jets and cutting fares to attract passengers, the no-frills airline has successfully boosted market share while forcing competitors to respond.

Even as Brexit proceeds, Ryanair is preparing for the future through partnerships with European airlines. The plan is to allow passengers to book longer-haul travel through Ryanair and connections with its partners, including Air Europa, Aer Lingus and Norwegian Air.

Ryanair's long-term goal is to be flying 200 million passengers yearly by 2024. Currently, the airline projects it will fly 130 million passengers in the next 12 months--with lower prices and higher profits.

This post updates the Ryanair case in Chapter 3 of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 4th edn.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Luxury brands move toward omnichannel marketing

Luxury brands were, in many cases, late in adopting ecommerce strategies because of concerns about top-notch customer service, price competition and other issues. Now leading luxe brands are moving into cross-platform marketing to accommodate changes in consumer behaviour and buying preferences.

Consider LVMH, the €37.6 billion French-based group marketing top-quality, upmarket brands like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Tag Heuer and more than 65 other brands (soon to include Christian Dior Couture).

LVMH had a previous ecommerce venture, eLuxury, but eight years ago, during the great recession, the company closed the retail function and transformed the site into a digital fashion magazine.

Now LVMH is launching a new ecommerce venture. This new business (both online and app version) is 24 Sèvres, named for the firm's Paris street address. The business will go live in mid-June.

'Increasingly consumers want pictures over words', says LVMH's chief digital officer, Ian Rogers, mentioning the rapid rise of Instagram and Snapchat. Therefore, he says, 'if you look at our site, we lean far further toward visually-led merchandising than the more editorial skew of our competitors'.

Instead of brand-specific sites and apps, this new online retail platform will feature multiple LVMH brands--and some non-LVMH brands as well, with a visually innovative customer experience. Rogers says: 'There is . . . currently a major focus on omnichannel and experience, and we are moving from a mass culture to a mass of niches'.