Monday, 17 December 2018

Competitors as partners (and stakeholders)

Not only can competitors be key stakeholders (meaning your marketing performance may be influenced by rivals and influence the performance of rivals) - but in some cases, competitors can be key partners.

An entrepreneur recently explained when he considers it good business to partner with a competitor in strategic ways:

  • Partner to take advantage of opportunities for entering new markets - with co-developed products, for instance. Or to tap a new channel for distribution.
  • Partner to co-purchase raw materials used by both, at a lower price due to high-volume buying in combination.
  • Partner with complementary products or marketing, letting customers know about the complementary offerings and receiving customer referrals from the partner as well.
  • Partner to undertake activities that will achieve societal objectives.
Microsoft, the giant technology company, asked last year: 'Are we partners or competitors?' The answer: 'Yes, we are.'

Partners, whether competitors or non-competing vendors, are clearly stakeholders when it comes to each other's performance.

In this 2017 blog post, Microsoft wrote the following about working together with competitors as partners to provide customers with what they need and add value for all participants.
It’s not a we-win-you-lose sort of deal. In fact, it’s the opposite. Every time we come together with our partners for a solution, we open a new socket that creates value for everyone. We all need to work together and use transformative technology to help partners build successful ecosystems for customers.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Tracking trends via Google search results

What were some key UK trends in 2018?

Google recently published a list of the most frequently-used search terms amongst UK users. It's not a surprise that many people searched for Meghan Markle, given the hoopla over the royal wedding this year. I was surprised that her name was not at the TOP of the search list. It was #2, followed by the royal wedding.*

At #4 was searches for Black Panther, the blockbuster movie.

At the very top of the list, at #1, was the World Cup. Football fever!

To see the trends globally and country, by country, go to the page Google's Year in Search and select a place.

Globally, for example, Google says the #1 search was . . . World Cup.

Even in the United States, World Cup was the #1 search during 2018.

For historical comparison, you can also select a different year. No individual country results are available for 2001, but globally, the top search term was Nokia, followed by Sony, BMW, Palm (remember that brand? It was a personal digital assistant back in the day) and Adobe.

Fun and an interesting look back on trends from the past.

*Expect Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and the royal baby to trend very high in 2019 search results, right?

Friday, 7 December 2018

When brands include sounds

For many years, computer users have noticed a specific musical sound during bootup: Microsoft Windows has one sound, Apple Macintosh has another sound. These are examples of sonic branding. Similarly, brand jingles and musical straplines are part of sonic identity.

Now sonic branding is becoming increasingly important as brands seek to further differentiate themselves in this era of Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Echo and other virtual assistants and smart speakers.

In other words, the audio component of branding must support visual elements and other aspects of brand identity, because so many consumers rely on voice commands and audio response.

To be effective, the sound must be brief and memorable, consistent with other brand elements. It can be used in both audio and video brand experiences. And it should appeal to the target market, developing an emotional connection with the brand.