Friday, 28 September 2012

Supermarket fashion: Morrisons joins the trend

Shop for tops and socks where you buy tomatoes and soups? Yes, the market for clothing sold in supermarkets is expanding, year by year, both in stores and online.

Morrisons has just announced its plan for the Nutmeg brand of children's clothing. Clothing director Tim Bettley explains: 'Customers tell us that they want a range which is fashionable but hard-wearing. We’ll also meet their need for simpler clothing that they can pick up as they do their food shop'.

Created by George Davies of 'Next' fame, George has given Asda momentum in building a nationally-known apparel brand with wide appeal and significant revenue opportunity. George's Facebook page (more than 95,000 likes) features the latest fashions and promotions.

Tesco's F&F fashion brand is also on Facebook (nearly 212,000 likes), with a virtual fitting room and savings vouchers plus, of course, photos of current fashions. The retailer opened Jubilee-themed F&F pop-up shops earlier in the year in busy London areas such as Covent Garden, complete with augmented reality fitting-room technology.

Sainsbury offered its range of Tu clothing in stores only for the brand's first 8 years. Now the retailer will be putting Tu online, just in time for year-end holiday shopping. Collections designed by Gok Wan (above) have helped Sainsbury boost sales and compete against its retail rivals.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Primark on Oxford Street and in Spain

Primark, the 242-store retail chain owned by Associated British Foods, opened a new flagship store on Oxford Street last week.

With 80,000 square feet of affordable fashion and video walls to capture shopper attention, this newest Primark is as up-to-date as it can be...and within walking distance of the 70,000 square foot Primark that opened at the other end of Oxford Street in September, 2007.

Primark's financial results are trending upwards as it continues its European expansion. In fact, Primark opened its first store in Spain in 2006 and this month, despite the ongoing debt crisis, it opened two more stores in Spain. By the end of November, Primark will open six additional stores in Spain--for a total of 35 stores in a country where the economic situation remains uncertain but Primark sees distinct opportunity.

Spain is the home of fast-fashion giant Inditex, owner of Zara and other retail chains. How will Inditex react to Primark's invasion of its home market?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

New marketing moves by Starbucks

Want a Starbucks coffee first thing in the morning? Now the company is selling Verismo single-serve brewing machines. Just pop in a coffee pod, add water, press the button and have a hot latte in a few moments--without leaving your kitchen (or home office).

This is a multinational marketing effort, aimed at capturing a solid share of the fast-growing market for single-serve coffee made at home.

Like Nespresso, Starbucks will begin selling replacement coffee pods directly to consumers through its proprietary e-commerce website.

What if you're in a supermarket or a petrol station and you want to sip a Starbucks espresso? Look for Starbucks on the Go, vending machines being installed in stores, forecourts, airports and other places, featuring the company's Fairtrade espressos. Coming soon to a Starbucks near you: A new drive-through lane so you don't even have to park to order your favourite latte.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Product lifecycle sustainability

Simply put, product lifecycle sustainability refers to having sustainability 'built into' every phase of the product lifecycle, from the original product concept to raw materials to production, distribution, consumption and eventual disposal. Above is the award-winning Boots product sustainability cycle, showing how the company takes ecological factors into consideration throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Tech products represent a special sustainability challenge because of concerns over rare earth metals used in their manufacture. Europe and individual countries have regulations requiring special recycling for electronics products. Apple has its own recycling programme; some PC makers participate in group recycling efforts that comply with EU regulations.

Another issue is understanding the ecological impact of a product. Stonyfield Farm, which markets yoghurts, is taking a high-tech approach here by using software to measure the carbon footprint across every phase of the lifecycle. This becomes the basis for goals to reduce carbon emissions.

Walmart, along with other consumer products companies, has been working on a sustainability index that will show the ecological impact of products. The retailer is also urging PC manufacturers to set their systems to 'sleep' more quickly, which will save energy.

As more stakeholders inquire about product lifecycle sustainability, more marketers are likely to invest time and money in this issue.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Marketing with a larger purpose

What are your values--and are they integrated into your marketing?
Sainsbury's ad
Cilla Snowball, chair of the Advertising Association (and on the board of Comic Relief), recently told an audience of advertisers that 'purpose, values and consistency' are three key principles for showing how a brand makes a difference: 
'Consumers want to connect with brands that have a purpose and if that’s at large in your TV ads and expressed in a number of other ways you’ll do better than brands that don’t'.
Snowball, chief executive of the agency that handles Sainsbury's advertising, mentions the store's strapline 'Our values make us different' as a good example of integrating purpose into the marketing message and the organisation's operations.

Other UK retailers are also very active in purpose-led marketing. Marks & Spencer's Plan A has set ambitious goals for going green in merchandising, production, operations and almost every other function. M&S recently introduced the world's most sustainable men's suit. It's the result of a complex and sustainable supply chain created with the purpose of developing a product that satisfies customers' needs and protects the environment.

John Lewis is another retailer known for strong values that guide its decisions. From the employee ownership model to the green transportation initiatives, ethical sourcing and use of alternative fuels, John Lewis incorporates purpose into its daily operations and marketing. Long after the latest fashions fade, values will endure and remain important to customers as they make decisions in the marketplace.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Coffee, Tea and Nespresso

Nespresso has been marketing premium single-serve coffeemakers and coffee capsules for decades--and brewing up high profits for parent company Nestlé.

Its posh positioning is reinforced by adverts featuring movie star George Clooney and branded boutiques where stylish coffee machines are the stars of the show. In fact, Nespresso recently announced it will build another factory to keep up with worldwide demand.

The single-serve coffee market has attracted a lot of competitors in recent years, however, and Nespresso is now busy defending its market share while launching new products to maintain revenue momentum.

Currently, Nespresso is introducing upmarket machines that brew one top-quality cup of tea at a time, for example. But competition may grow even more intense in the tea segment as Unilever thinks about opening a chain of trendy tea-machine boutiques.

In the core coffee market, Nespresso recently lost a legal battle in Germany to prevent competitors from selling capsules that fit Nespresso machines (but cost less than Nespresso's replacement capsules). Its patents were upheld by the European Patent Office, on the other hand. Meanwhile, Starbucks is launching its own single-serve coffeemaker and already makes replacement capsules to fit the Keurig machines that are popular in North America. What innovations will the market see next?

Sunday, 9 September 2012

PepsiCo markets to local tastes

PepsiCo has US roots but years of experience satisfying international taste buds.

Making a big play for market share in China, where it's been selling soft drinks and snacks for more than 3 decades, Pepsi is introducing flavours favoured by local consumers, from hot-and-sour fish soup potato crisps and cola chicken crisps to wolfberry oatmeal.

The Chinese market is so large and still growing so rapidly that Pepsi must forge alliances with local firms, build new production plants and expand its supply chain to keep up with projections.

Pepsi is vying for market share with a vast variety of competitors in China...not only local firms like Want Want but also long-time rival Coca-Cola, which uses superstar athletes and pop stars in its ads.

Then again, Pepsi's exclusive 'King of Pop' cans featuring Michael Jackson were a sensation in China, showing that Pepsi understands local tastes in music as well as in food.

Friday, 7 September 2012

The marketing power of promotional merchandise

Can giveaways (free pens, pads, mugs and so on) do anything for a brand? Research by the British Promotional Merchandise Association indicates that recipients do feel a positive connection when they get promotional merchandise--and most are inclined to do business with the brand in the future.

Promotional merchandise is cost-efficient and can serve as a brand reminder for days, weeks or months. Think of all the free branded T-shirts still being worn years later! Or the many branded pens that businesspeople pick up and use again and again. 

There is a distinction between inexpensive branded merchandise and more expensive gifts like concert tickets and free trips, which may raise ethical concerns. Many countries do not allow pharmaceutical firms to give away valuable goods or services as a way of influencing doctors, for example. And India has announced that doctors must pay tax on freebies they receive from medical marketers, such as foreign travel.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Byte Night aims for £900,000

Founded in 1985, Byte Night takes place this year on 5 October. It's the IT industry's annual sleep-rough fundraiser, founded in 1998 with 35 'sleepers' who raised nearly £35,000 for the registered charity Action for Children.

In 2012, Byte Night is celebrating its 15th anniversary by aiming to attract 1,000 sleepers and raise £900,000. Sleepers will participate in London, Cambridge, Thames Valley, Scotland and Belfast to raise both money and awareness of the problems of homeless children. 

Byte Night's marketing activities include messages on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and its own website, plus mobile fundraising and downloadable tips and toolkits to support sleepers' fundraising efforts. Its website also features endorsements by Sally Magnusson and other celebrities, as well as the logos of corporate sponsors like RBS and Symantec.

Good luck to all Byte Night sleepers!