Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Marketing at the intersection of music, pop culture and home decorating

Pantone, known for insights into colour trends, just introduced a new colour of purple, shown above.

The name of the colour is a symbol: Love Symbol #2.

Do you recognise this iconic symbol and colour?

They're closely associated with Prince, whose Purple Rain album was recently reissued with new tracks. In fact, this particular purple was inspired by Prince's customized piano.

Now Pantone, partnering with Prince's estate, has introduced a standard version of Prince's favourite purple.

In marketing terms, this is a smart way to leverage consumer interest in music, pop culture and home decorating. Many consumers who grew up listening to Prince will know his love of purple. Whether they're painting a room or a chair or a piano, they can buy this exact purple.

Now that Prince's unique purple is an official Pantone colour, watch for a variety of new products featuring this colour, for decorating, for gift-giving, and more.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Inside Uniqlo's Marketing Plan

The marketing plan of Uniqlo, based in Japan, targets Millennials and other selected groups through social media and distribution, in particular. The UK branch of this integrated retail empire has 100k Facebook likes, 31k Twitter followers and 70k Instagram (indicating the fashion interest of Instagram users). New products and new stores are featured in social media, along with seasonal favourites and topical messages.

Expanding beyond its home base of Japan, Uniqlo has a growing audience of brand fans in the UK and Europe, China, and the US. Many of Uniqlo's products are fashion basics, although it also launches new style collections seasonally. The company markets own-brand merchandise, and controls the design and production functions as well as controlling the retail outlets. This allows it to move quickly to ride the wave of a strong trend, for flexibility in adjusting the marketing plan as needed.

One recent innovation is the introduction of #UniqloToGo, vending machines dispensing t-shirts and light outerwear in US airports. The idea is to appeal to people passing through airports who need an extra shirt or another jacket to wear to or at their destination. It's not just convenient, it's also a way to increase brand awareness and capture extra sales. The prices are moderate, which encourages impulse purchasing.

This, plus pop-up stores in major cities, allows Uniqlo wider reach and more flexibility in executing its marketing plan.

NOTE: This post updates the Marketing in Practice box in Chapter 8 of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 4e

Monday, 7 August 2017

Top UK consumer brands of 2017

SuperBrands has released its list of the top consumer brands for this year, as determined by UK consumers.

Here are the top 5, along with a bit of news about each of these leading consumer brands.

5. Gillette - Gillette is facing competition from UK newcomer Harry's, which offers a subscription-based alternative to buying razor blades at retail. Backed by Procter & Gamble, Gillete's traditional strengths are positive brand recognition and product innovation.

4. Andrex - The well-known toilet-tissue brand is celebrating its 75th anniversary with nostalgia-laden marketing. Andrex enjoys high market share and has slightly shrunk its rolls to cut costs and fund product investments.

3. Rolex - Reinforcing its brand's luxury positioning, Rolex sponsors special events like the Rolex Fastnet yacht race and the Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen showjumping competition. These special events keep the brand top-of-mind in the target market.

2. LEGO - The recent Bricklive special event in Belfast offered LEGO fans the opportunity to build and to watch others build creatively. More than 10,000 brand fans showed up, some to build and many to enjoy seeing the process and the finished results--reinforcing loyalty and engaging fans.

1. British Airways - As part of a trend toward entertaining passengers (and the public), BA recently released a funny safety video starring celebs like Gordon Ramsay, 'Mister Bean' (Rowan Atkinson) and Gillian Anderson. The airline's CEO says he wants passengers to watch the safety video from start to finish. It's also a positive branding association.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

What's New at Cadbury Dairy Milk?

After a period of outsourcing production of Dairy Milk beyond the UK borders, Cadbury has announced that the popular chocolate will once again be "made in Britain" at the Bournville production plant.

Cadbury is also bringing back a product that twice was deleted from the range due to low sales. The Dairy Milk Tiffin chocolate bar, originally launched 80 years ago, is returning to store shelves permanently following a highly successful limited-edition version in 2016.

Not new: the company still offers personalised Dairy Milk bars. Increasingly important: Cadbury UK's popular Facebook page (more than 700k followers), active Twitter account (more than 300k followers) and Instagram account (146k followers). That's how Cadbury's social media marketing strategy keeps its brand and products in front of Millennials who enjoy chocolate.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Reckitt Benckiser adjusts its product portfolio

Reckitt Benckiser's product portfolio includes brands for the home (Vanish, Calgon, Woolite), for personal health (Scholl, Nurofen, Strepsils) and for hygiene (Dettol, Harpic, Lysol). Until recently, RB also had some food brands in its product pantry.

Now it has sold those food brands to McCormick, a major spice company based in the US. This is a strategic move, not just to raise money for debt reduction following the acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition. Strategically, food brands like French's condiments and Frank's RedHot sauce are not core to RB's product portfolio, given the move toward health and hygiene. Also, these food brands contribute less than 5% of RB's revenues.

Interestingly, RB had several bidders trying to buy its food brands, partly because brands like French's are strong in specific areas (US and Canada) but also to keep these brands out of the hands of competitors. French's has a devoted customer following in Canada because it makes its ketchup there, giving the brand a strong local connection.

This post updates coverage of product-mix and product-line decisions in Chapter 6 of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The future of fixed pricing in UK food stores

Have UK food retailers experimented with surge pricing? That's a form of dynamic pricing in which customers pay more at peak times or pay less during off-peak times.

The idea is to effectively manage supply and demand, avoiding queues during busy periods and spreading demand during the day.

Well, surge pricing is not exactly what's happening, at least not yet. Thanks to electronic price tags on shelves, however, food stores have the technical ability to vary prices during the day.

For example, Marks & Spencer last year tested discounting sandwiches in the morning to encourage early buying and alleviate crowds at lunchtime.

Surge pricing could be in the works for petrol, again as a way to manage supply and demand on busy days.

Still, fixed pricing is not going to disappear from food retailers, at least not for a long time. Customers will vote with their wallets if they don't like what a retailer is doing. And no store wants to lose loyal customers over a pence or a pound.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Specsavers focuses on differentiation

Specsavers differentiates itself from other providers of spectacles by focusing on two key points of difference: (1) affordable pricing and (2) stylish frames.

The company, which partners with local optician professionals in the UK and Australia, as well as in Europe, has some 2,000 retail locations. With buying power like that, Specsavers can offer a variety of fashion frames at popular prices. It is also expanding into the niche of prescription safety glasses through a licensing deal with JCB.

The company seeks efficiency of operations to keep costs and prices low. For instance, it is streamlining its information technology arrangements and outsourcing to the cloud. It is also applying the latest manufacturing technology to the products it sells--including sustainable energy to keep Specsavers green.

Among the marketing techniques Specsavers uses is social media marketing on Facebook and beyond. The #LoveGlasses hashtag highlights images and posts that relate to its style credentials, all part of the marketing plan based on Specsavers' positioning of affordability and fashion.

This post updates content in Chapter 4 of Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, 4th edn.