Thursday, 21 April 2016

Queen Elizabeth's birthday and Royal Mail's anniversary

Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her 90th birthday! And Royal Mail is joining the celebration by issuing a series of special stamps featuring the royal family and highlights from the Queen's long reign. This is also the 500th anniversary of Royal Mail. As part of the Royal Mail celebration, Queen Elizabeth's local postal depot was renamed in her honour.

The Queen's special stamp series is creating excitement all over the world. Above, one of the special series showing the queen at key moments in her nine decades. Media outlets everywhere are featuring the stamp which shows handsome Prince George with his father, grandfather and great-grandmother.

#HappyBirthdayYourMajesty appeared all over social media as hundreds of thousands of people joined in the celebration. Adding to the festive atmosphere, global coverage (online and in traditional media) showed the Queen lighting the beacons and cutting the cake, amongst many memorable scenes from a momentous day.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

New tax on sugary sodas, new Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

From 2018, sugary soft drinks will carry an extra tax, part of the UK's initiatives to combat obesity.

Now Coca-Cola is renaming its Zero soft drink, after learning that half of British consumers weren't aware the soda is sugar-free. Watch for the new cans on shelves this summer, part of the marketing strategy to give packaging a 'one brand' look featuring the famous red so strongly associated with Coke.

The rebrand will also include a reformulation so the soda tastes more like regular (non-zero-sugar) Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola faces lower demand for its soft drinks among European and North American consumers. It is also examining its pricing policies in Asia, where price decreases have boosted sales.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Boaty McBoatface sails into marketing history - as a brand license?

The votes are in and "Name of Vessel" is not going to be the name of this new polar research vessel.

The Natural Environment Research Council asked members of the public to suggest names for its new vessel, which will debut in 2019. It received a flood of suggestions--7,000 names--and the one that received the most votes was, yes, Boaty McBoatface.

Boaty was suggested by James Hand, once a BBC radio presenter. Whether the NERC will actually select Boaty as the name is in doubt, despite the 124,000 votes it received.

Crowdsourcing is often cited as a great way to increase customer engagement with a brand, product or company. And it has been used successfully by Walkers, for instance, during the popular 'Do us a flavour' promotions to choose the next new snack flavour. LEGO also likes crowdsourcing.

Will the NERC agree with the public vote and name its new vessel Boaty McBoatface? Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way, the new vessel will be in the public eye when it debuts.

My idea is to license Boaty McBoatface to a toy manufacturer. If Thomas the Tank Engine can be a big success, so can Boaty McBoatface the polar vessel. Wouldn't Boaty be a brilliant brand?

Boaty McBoatface is sailing into marketing history, in the 'crowdsource' chapter.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Domino's UK: new research, new packaging and more

Domino's UK has introduced a new box--two boxes--a clever way to reinforce the brand logo (shown at left). One pizza box is red, one is blue, and both are recyclable.

The packaging redesign is based on research showing that 96 percent of all Domino's UK pizza orders involve two pies. So the new packaging doesn't just echo the branding, it subtly communicates the two-for promotion.

Domino's UK's latest results show that nearly 8 in 10 pizzas are ordered via e-commerce--and half of those orders flow through the company's popular app. The brand is highly social, with 1 million Facebook likes, 262k Twitter followers and hundreds of thousands of views for each YouTube post. Clearly, Domino's knows its target market, and keeps its brand in front of the audience in different digital ways. The company also gets customers involved in its social responsibility and environmental activities (such as Pennies become pounds).

Outside the UK, Domino's has made headlines lately for its test of a delivery robot, not an April Fool's joke.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Aldi's strategy for higher market share

Known for low prices and limited services, Aldi is also making a name for itself in own-label wine, nappies, organic baby food and other categories. Expanding private brands is part of Aldi's strategy for attracting shoppers and increasing its market share in the intensely competitive UK grocery industry.

Online retailing is another winning element in Aldi's marketing plan. In addition to wine sold by the case, Aldi's online store now features 'special buys' on non-food items such as home goods and small vacuum cleaners. For now, groceries are not part of the e-commerce initiative, due to the investment needed to manage the physical distribution and delivery of online orders. The company says its e-commerce site has 1 million weekly shoppers.

Aldi has been investing in logistics and physical distribution to support its ever-growing store network. It recently opened a large distribution centre in Over Holton, where it will manage both logistics and training. Next year, it will open a large distribution centre in Wales.

Are competitors stakeholders? Aldi definitely thinks so. Consider the following statement by Aldi's chief exec for UK and Ireland. He's discussing rival discounter Asda's goal of narrowing the price gap between Asda and other competitors to no more than 5%. The Aldi head points out that competitors will make moves that affect Asda's ability to achieve that goal: 'Whether Asda gets to 5% is not just their decision; it’s ours as well. We will not let any competitor get to 5%. That’s a concrete commitment'. In fact, Aldi has been reducing prices steadily to maintain pressure on its retail rivals.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Marketing on April Fool's Day

It's that time again--time for slightly silly April Fool marketing.
  • PR Week highlights the April Fool prank marketing by Mumsnet Jobs, which is teaming with the European Space Agency and NASA to recruit a mum and baby for space pioneering. It also shows Honda's emoji registration plates (above).
  • Kotaku features the best of Japan's April Fool prank marketing. My fave is the Coca-Cola battery. Kit-Kat sushi is a close second.
  • The Guardian shows a diverse group of April Fool pranks, including transforming two of the London Eye capsules into penthouses in the sky.