Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Marketing for Halloween 2013

Halloween is an increasingly popular marketing opportunity for UK businesses and nonprofits.

Especially now that zombies and vampires are part of pop culture, Halloween is easing into the mainstream and spending may be even higher than for Guy Fawkes Day festivities.

According to Planet Retail, Halloween is now the third-largest holiday in terms of UK consumer spending, after Christmas and Easter.

Here are just a few of the many All Hallow's Eve offerings being marketed for the 2013 holiday:
  • Splashing out on a costume? Think about the one-million-pound Morphsuit, with more than 20,000 diamonds (at left).
  • For a ghoulish day with lots of exotic animals, visit Bristol Zoo and join the lantern parade (see above).
  • How about a spooky evening ride on the Ghost Train in Leicestershire?
  • The London Canal Museum has a special Halloween boat experience waiting, complete with children's activities.
  • Tour the haunted castle at Muncaster in Cumbria, with magic and a baby dragon and more.
A few tricks and a lot of treats for a day of trick-or-treating!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

More top brands lists from around the world

According to the research firm Colmar Brunton, the top brands in New Zealand are mainly those with a long history in the country:

  1. Whittakers (chocolate)
  2. Tip Top (ice cream)
  3. All Black's (rugby)
  4. Cadbury (chocolate)
  5. Trade Me (online auctions)
  6. Air New Zealand (airline)
  7. Pineapple Lumps (choco-covered sweets)
  8. Edmonds (baking products)
  9. Heinz Wattie's (foods)
  10. L&P Lemon & Paeroa (soft drink)
According to the Reputation Institute, the top brands in Canada are also well established--and, interestingly, local brand Tim Horton's is #10, while global fave Apple is way down the list at #27:
  1. Disney (entertainment)
  2. LEGO (toys)
  3. Johnson & Johnson (health)
  4. Rolex (luxury watches)
  5. Nestle (foods)
  6. Microsoft (software)
  7. Google (you know)
  8. BMW (autos)
  9. Sony (electronics)
  10. Tim Horton's (restaurants)
According to Millward Brown, the top 10 most valuable local brands in China are:
  1. China Mobile (telecom)
  2. ICBC (banking)
  3. China Construction Bank (banking)
  4. Baidu (tech)
  5. Tencent (tech)
  6. Agricultural Bank of China (banking)
  7. China Life (insurance)
  8. Bank of China (banking)
  9. Moutai Baijiu (alcoholic beverages)
  10. Sinodec (petrol/gas)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Reckitt Benckiser's Vision: Healthier Lives, Happier Homes

The mission of multinational household/health products giant Reckitt Benckiser is to make a difference by giving people innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes. The company, known for brands such as Mucinex, Strepsils, Dettol, Durex and French's, operates according to four values: achievement, entrepreneurship, partnership and ownership.

Now, updating the preview example from chapter 1 of my Essential Guide to Marketing Planning, here's more about Reckitt Benckiser's marketing plan for future growth.

The company is launching innovative products under established brands such as Nurofen to build profitable turnover in emerging markets like Latin America. CEO Rakesh Kapoor says: 'Scarcity is the mother of invention'. His point is that an abundance of resources is not needed to stimulate innovation--in fact, people become more creative when they don't have everything they need to develop a new product.

What about communications and creativity? Reckitt Benckiser's brands are now reaching online audiences through captcha advertising activities.

As at left, when an Internet user has to show that he or she is a person, not a bot, the captcha at right achieves that goal with a touch of brand-related whimsy. Users drag the rusty penny into the Cillit Bang cleaner--linking the brand with its benefit.

Finally, Reckitt Banckiser is currently considering a major strategic change: Whether to sell its pharmaceuticals business, which is under pressure from lower-priced products.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Planning B2B content marketing

According to the infographic at left, from a Content 4 Demand survey, social media is used by many business decision makers to share white papers, case studies and other content that can influence what and when companies buy.

It's not a surprise that LinkedIn is the top social media site for sharing B2B content and for researching vendors that sell all kinds of goods and services that businesses buy. Technology firms in particular are heavy users of LinkedIn for B2B content marketing.

A Content Marketing Institute survey shows that 93% of businesses use content marketing for B2B marketing--yet few firms are confident that content marketing is actually effective in achieving marketing objectives. Mobile marketing, now a growing element in consumer plans, is not yet a major focus of B2B content marketing.

B2B experts suggest these five tips for developing effective content marketing for a B2B marketing plan:

1. Know your target audience and what those businesspeople need. Also understand what media the target audience uses. However, don't restrict your targeting too narrowly, or you may not reach the people who might need your content (such as 'influencers' in the buying centre).
2. Understand how targeted businesses buy, how long the buying cycle might last and what will help bring decision-makers through the process towards a purchase.
3. Consider what content businesses need at each stage of the buying process. Early on, they might need more general information and then, just before they buy, more details about specifications and training. Don't push too hard to close a sale before buyers have barely begun to look at your content marketing.
4. Be sure to highlight how your offer solves an important problem for your buyers--specifically, the benefits the product will deliver.
5. Have a definite plan for content marketing, including a schedule of what content you will release and in which media (social and traditional) during each step of your overall marketing campaign.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Ikea's ambitious marketing plans

Ikea UK is aiming to increase turnover to £2 billion annually by 2020 and double its market share at the same time, through the addition of new stores and higher online sales. This is part of Ikea's worldwide goal of doubling turnover by 2020. The company currently operates 303 stores, but in this age of multichannel marketing, it's smart to increase its emphasis on online sales.

Ikea carefully plans ahead for new products, especially expensive product systems like new kitchens that will be marketed to tens of millions of customers all over the globe. Recently, the Swedish furniture retailer introduced a newly designed kitchen system that can be tailored to each buyer's specific situation.

The product development process unfolded over more than five years--an unusually long period but necessary because Ikea sells one million custom-designed kitchens every year.

The process began with indepth studies of customers in 38 nations. Ikea's researchers visited home after home, observing how customers moved around their kitchens, where they stored utensils and what they liked and disliked. The company also examined trends to envision future needs.

Next, Ikea's designers developed each component, working closely with suppliers and transportation experts to keep costs within the company's strict guidelines. Not every component will be bought by every customer, but all must look good and fit properly, delivering both function and fashion benefits at affordable prices.

The catalogue is Ikea's main marketing tool outside the stores. New for 2014, Ikea has an augmented reality app that helps customers get a preview of how a table or another product pictured in the catalogue might look in their home or office.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Supermarket shopping expands on Boxing Day

In today's multichannel world, shoppers can click to buy online or via mobile or on a tablet computer. They can use QR codes or UPC codes or browse virtual products. In short, store shopping isn't the only way to buy.

Yet some supermarkets are already announcing that they'll open more stores on Boxing Day, accelerating a trend that began after the turn of the century (this century!).

Back in 2007, Asda opened NO stores on Boxing Day, while rival Tesco opened a few dozen of its supermarkets. Fast-forward to 2010, when Asda opened 105 of its stores, Tesco opened 410 supermarkets and Sainsbury opened 236 stores.

For 2013, Morrisons will be opening grocery stores on Boxing Day--a first for that chain--while Asda, Sainsbury and Tesco will continue adding to the number of stores they open. Given the slow pace of economic recovery and the intense competition for shoppers, this isn't surprising. A Morrisons manager explains: 'We believe these opening hours mean customers will come to us rather than a competitor'. . .

Supermarket competition is especially intense because, according to a Payments Council study, 58p of every pound spent at a retailer goes to a UK supermarket. Those pence add up, and every grocery chain wants to get their share.

Two more factors are driving these Boxing Day openings: Bargain hunters are shopping at giant deep-discounters such as Aldi and more shoppers are seeking convenience. So even though grocery purchases are forecast to rise in the coming years, supermarkets will be fighting to hold onto their store shoppers every day, including Boxing Day.

Monday, 7 October 2013

No Cadbury trademark for Dairy Milk purple

Colour really counts: Consumers often recognise products by the distinctive packaging or labelling colours. Over time, a certain colour comes to be closely associated with the brand and individual branded products. Cadbury has been wrapping its milk chocolate bars in purple packaging since 1905, so when it applied to trademark the colour in 2004, that tradition seemed in the brand's favour.

In 2008, rival chocolatier Nestle contested the trademark, starting a legal battle that appears to be over--for now. Last year, Cadbury prevailed in court. Last week, however, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that Cadbury cannot have the trademark because the application 'required clarity, precision, self containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration'.

The result is that Cadbury is not able to have exclusive use of this purple colour for milk chocolate bars or any other product. However, it still retains the legal right to prevent competitors from copying its trade dress (the visual appearance of a product, including its shape and the colour of packaging) in an attempt to 'pass off their products as Cadbury chocolate', as the company notes in a statement.

Cadbury has the option of appealing through EU legal channels. Or it may reapply for trademark protection with more specific language.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Most Social Byte Night Ever

Friday, 4th October, was Byte Night 2013, a night to sleep rough as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Action for Children. The goal was to raise £1 million to support the fight against homelessness and poverty.

This year's sleepout was the most social ever, building awareness, increasing participation and encouraging sleepers to raise lots of money. Although the final numbers are not yet available, Byte Night probably achieved its fundraising goals and involved many more sleepers and sponsors than in the past.

Here's a small sample of the social media marketing supporting Byte Night 2013:
  • The official Byte Night site instructed participants to share their photos via Instagram with regional hashtags (above). It also included links to Action for Children, where donations can be made online, plus instructions for texting donations.
  • Byte Night tweets from organisers, sleepers, sponsors and others kept up the marketing momentum all night and into the morning, using hashtags such as #MakeIt1Million (see below). The official Byte Night Twitter account has more than 1,000 followers.
  • Byte Night has its own LinkedIn admin profile, with 47 connections--corporate connections that mean multiple relationships to attract sleepers and donations.
  • The Byte Night Facebook page has 729 likes and its YouTube page has videos from this year as well as those uploaded on previous years.
  • Many industry groups and companies got involved, donating supplies, posting tweets and photos, interviews and updates before and during Byte Night.
Now we have to wait for the final numbers!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Top Global Brands: Apple Tops Two Lists

Interbrand just released its 2013 list of best global brands. As the table at left shows, Apple has zoomed to the top, followed by Google and then Coca-Cola.

This is the first time in 14 years that Coke is not the leader in the Interbrand list.

MillwardBrown publishes its own 2013 list of top global brands, and Apple is at the top of that list, too.

Its top 5 global brands are: Apple, Google, IBM, McDonald's and Coca-Cola.

In the UK, MillwardBrown names these as the top 5 brands: Vodafone, HSBC, Shell, Tesco and BP.