Tuesday, 14 August 2018

L'Occitane teams with TerraCycle for sustainability

Group L'Occitane markets all-natural and organic personal care products through 3,200+ retail stores in 90 nations. With headquarters in Luxembourg and Switzerland, L'Occitane's annual turnover exceeds €1,300 million.

Tech-savvy L'Occitane is leveraging the trend of consumers connecting via mobile devices to personalise offers and encourage purchasing through the firm's many e-commerce sites worldwide.

Behind the scenes, the company also works with Provence-based suppliers to source sustainably-produced ingredients for its beauty products.

It's very committed to achieving goals for recycling. As this window display shows, L'Occitane stores in Canada and the US will accept empty containers from any cosmetics brand and recycle them in partnership with Terracycle, which turns the recycled and upcycled materials into eco-friendly new products for sale.

UK consumers can participate in Terracycle recycling in various ways, including bringing recyclable items to a nearby 'brigade' for free recycling.

This post offers an additional example of societal objectives as covered in Chapter 5 of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Private brands sell well

Private brands are owned and marketed by retailers and other channel members

Private brands traditionally sell well during periods of economic recession. That certainly was the case after the 2008 financial crash that led to a global financial downturn, when more expensive national and global brands saw price-conscious consumers switching to less-expensive private brands for many categories of purchases.

In fact, premium private brands have been part of the reason for consumers to switch away from other brands. These provide a 'halo effect' to help boost the image of all the private-brand products in the marketer's portfolio and make these products look more appealing in the eyes of consumers.

Private brands reportedly outperform national brands in four European nations, according to one source. They are strongest in the UK grocery market; research shows consumers consider the quality to be equal to that of national brands (and some consumers say the quality of private brands even exceeds that of national brands).

Many UK supermarket shoppers are admittedly looking for value. The rise of deep-discount grocery chains like Aldi and Lidl is due, in part, to the attractiveness of private brands that provide price-conscious consumers with quality alternatives to national brands.

This post updates private brand coverage in Chapter 6 of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 4e.

Monday, 6 August 2018

What makes co-branding successful?

Co-branding . . . when a product carries two (or more) brands. 

One of the classic co-branding categories is the credit card. For years, companies like MasterCard and Visa have offered co-branding opportunities. Virgin Group co-brands credit cards with MasterCard, for instance. American Express co-brands a credit card with British Airways, as another example. Individual banks that issue cards are also co-branding, as Barclaycard has done with its Uber Visa card (combining 3 brands in all).

Co-branding is most successful when both brands are well known, reputable and able to appeal to each other's customer base. The communication styles and marketing content of the brands involved must be compatible, as well. The synergy from combining brands will be strongest under these conditions.

Google has used co-branding to name its Android operating systems more than once. Last year, it co-branded with the famous biscuit brand Oreo to name the Android Oreo OS. In 2013, it co-branded with the popular chocolate bar KitKat for an Android OS name that also appeared on the candy bar wrappers. The co-branding worked because the combined names were quirky and attention-getting.

This post updates material on co-branding in Chapter 6 of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 4e.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Lego: 60 years of marketing plastic bricks


The Lego Group began marketing its iconic plastic brick sets in 1958. Fast-forward to 2018, and the 60-year-old product is one of the world's most popular toys, with marketing reinvented for the next generation. The brand is also estimated to be the world's most valuable toy brand.

The CMO notes that the brand's mission is 'to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, to reach more kids'. It continues to introduce new building sets, many linked to strong brand franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Ninjago.

Lego's sales in Europe and the US didn't meet company expectations last year. It experienced very good growth in China, however, and the company plans to open more branded stores there as demand surges.

The brand is also building on the strength of Legoland theme parks to keep its toys in the public eye. For the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for instance, Lego built a small-scale version of Windsor Castle on the grounds of Legoland Windsor.

And, with an eye toward social responsibility, Lego is beginning to make some of its bricks from plant-based materials. The idea is to become more environmentally-friendly and demonstrate good corporate citizenship.

This post updates the Lego Group example that opens Chapter 5 of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Omni-channel choices for cosmetics buyers

For more than 125 years, Avon (now headquartered in the UK) has sold its beauty products door to door, via representatives who meet with customers, demonstrate makeup techniques, take orders and deliver products personally.

These days, however, time-pressured buyers are often buying online and watching social media tutorials rather than working with door-to-door salespeople.

So Avon now offers omni-channel choices. Buyers can still request a representative visit. They can also click to buy directly from the online Avon shop and receive purchases via courier.

To engage with buyers, Avon UK is active on Twitter (102k followers), Instagram (115k), Facebook (more than 20m followers), YouTube (24k subscribers) and its own Beauty Connects club blog (254k members).

Some Avon reps have their own social media accounts to show products and explain benefits. After all, in a world where makeup experts can attract hundreds of thousands of social media followers, Avon's reps can shine by offering special tips and personalised service for buyers.

Avon's products are competitively priced and attractively positioned. However, with improved profitability in mind, the global beauty brand is closing some markets to focus on higher-potential regions.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Three visions of the future of retailing

What is the future of retailing? Different businesses have differing visions of how people will shop and buy in the future. Here are three visions among the many being planned and tested worldwide:

  • Suning, a Chinese retailer, is testing unstaffed stores. (Photo above is from its news release.) The company calls this 'smart retailing' because of omnichannel choices and automation. Shoppers who have registered their Suning financial services account are identified via facial recognition and gain entry to the unstaffed stores. The idea is that some shoppers prefer to examine merchandise and buy in person, with tech assistance to speed transactions. 
    Start Today
  • Twenty-year-old Japanese fashion e-commerce firm Start Today wants to help customers order clothing in the correct size. Shoppers dress in a Zozosuit and their measurements are captured electronically. Then shoppers can order clothing made to fit. 
  • Retailers (both online and offline) are increasingly stocking a larger selection of preowned products (meaning gently-used merchandise). This is a trend in the upmarket wristwatch business, for example. It's also a trend in designer clothing and accessories. Not vintage, necessarily, but used items that originally were luxury priced.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Bargains Draw Buyers on Amazon Prime Day

Once again, Amazon Prime Day has broken all records for merchandise sales. Eager shoppers clicked or swiped to buy more merchandise on 16 July than on Black Friday or CyberMonday, two "shopping holidays" that lead into Christmas buying season. Small businesses were among the big winners, promoting discounts to their customers via the Amazon retail platform.

Although Amazon generally puts special emphasis on electronics on Prime Day, Drapers reports that the retailer sold 287k clothing items during its shopping holiday--many of these from the company's private brand collections. Amazon has been more aggressively promoting its private brands in recent years, with product launches scheduled during Prime Day in 2018.

One of the year's most popular appliances sold out--the Instant Pot. But, not surprisingly, Amazon's own Echo Dot speaker was the biggest seller of all on Prime Day, along with its own Fire Stick TV device.

Monday, 16 July 2018

The Fourth Year of Amazon Prime Day Discounts

For the fourth consecutive year, the gigantic online retailer Amazon is celebrating Prime Day, a members-only sale that rivals Black Friday in the number of special discount deals.

To increase anticipation in advance of this sale, Amazon put a count-down clock on its home page. Here's what the clock looked like on 12 July. Despite the name, Prime Day takes place over more than 24 hours, as the clock indicates. According to one evaluation, Prime Day UK's average discount in 2017 was 21%.

In addition to deep discounts on cameras and other electronics, Amazon is also promoting discounts on its own brands, including Amazon Basics. The company's private brands have been attracting customers and increasing revenue year after year.

Currently, Amazon markets 80+ private brands such as Mama Bear, Echo speakers, and Happy Belly bottled water. In 2017, the top-selling product during Prime Day in the UK market was, in fact, the Amazon Echo speaker. Electronics and kitchen products were also strong sellers.

New this year: limited-edition products and new products launched especially on Prime Day.

Based on reports from previous years, bargain-hunting UK shoppers are likely to make Prime Day 2018 the most successful selling day of the year--again. UPDATE HERE

Friday, 6 July 2018

Primark continues Primania

Primark, a master at marketing low-priced fast fashion, continues to engage price-conscious brand fans via its Primania page of consumer-generated fashion content. Want to see how other Primark customers accessorise a special dress or wear the company's newest tops? Browse more than 16k images uploaded by brand fans, subject to the marketer's content guidelines.

Founded in Dublin in 1969, the company now markets under a variety of private brands, including Young Dimension and Ocean Club. In addition, Primark partners with groups to market special product collections. Its recent LGBT+ Pride collection is in partnership with Stonewall, a nonprofit that promotes equality, and a portion of each purchase benefits the nonprofit.

Primark operates more than 350 stores in 12 countries. Its US stores are doing well, but the company is awaiting long-term analysis before expanding there. Unlike nearly every other retailer on the planet, Primark does not sell online, only in physical stores.

Yet its social media presence is impressive. Primark has nearly 6mm Instagram followers, 98k Pinterest followers, 225k Twitter followers.

How will Primark use marketing to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019?

This post updates the "Marketing at Primark" feature in Chapter 1 of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 4th edition.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Update on the UK chocolate market

The UK chocolate market continues to grow, with more competition than ever and new products attracting attention. Consumers in the UK eat more chocolate per capita than consumers in any other nation. Seasonal products are leading the way, as are niche products that represent social responsibility commitments.

Tony's Chocoloney is a company that markets ethically-produced chocolate products. Based in the Netherlands, and already selling to the US market, Tony's plans to launch its first chocolate bars in the UK next year.

For a niche marketer, the company has a solid social-media following (more than 100k Facebook likes, for instance). Its ethical-source mission resonates with many consumers who seek out brands with purpose.

The upmarket company Hotel Chocolat continues to expand. It operates 103 retail stores, some with cafes attached, as well as a sustainability-based cocoa plantation. The company recently reported higher earnings.

Hotel Chocolat recently repaid thousands of bond-holders who invested in its so-called chocolate bonds, providing funding for the firm's sustainability projects and more. The firm recently prevailed in a dispute with Waitrose, saying that the grocer appeared to have copied the company's signature slab chocolate products. Waitrose stopped marketing the chocolates and the CEOs of both firms planned to sit down and chat over a cup of cocoa.

This post updates background information in the "Lost Legends Luxury Chocolatier" sample marketing plan, in the Appendix of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 4th edition.