Category Archives: Brand strategy

Crowd sourcing keeps gathering Moss

Even more signs that this is going to be a big part of the future.

2 extracts from the post “Future of advertising” at www. fastcompany.com

1. GeniusRocket  is nothing more than a bare-bones website that crowdsources broadcast-ready TV ads from a pool of loosely vetted talent from Poland to Guam. A CMO accustomed to handing over millions of dollars to an agency for a campaign designed around a single spot can now hand GeniusRocket $40,000 — and get seven spots, each of which will be syndicated on 20 web platforms for tracking, testing, sentiment analysis, and wide distribution. GeniusRocket gleans a 20% to 40% commission, and the rest goes to the creators. “It seemed like an interesting, cost-effective way to get some new creative ideas,” says Marshall Hyzdu, the Kraft brand manager who hired GeniusRocket. “We fell in love with one spot.

2. Former Crispin Porter + Bogusky exec John Winsor recently opened Victors & Spoils in Boulder, Colorado. Victors & Spoils has virtually no staff and “operates on the principles of crowdsourcing” — currently the most vilified term in the agency world. Since its launch last year, Victors & Spoils has lured marketers at General Mills, Oakley, Virgin America, and Harley-Davidson, which just ditched its agency of record of 30 years. “Many agencies are hanging on to this idea that creativity is theirs to own and sell,” says Harley CMO Mark-Hans Richer. “[Victors & Spoils] offered a great place to start versus sitting across from a creative who spent weeks crafting the perfect idea and gets upset if you want to change a word.

Advertisements

Marriott : from bad to worse

Spotted the new Marriott campaign yesterday at Hong Kong airport. I have pilloried Marriott twice before in this blog. This time it is so bad, there is no need to waste any space analyzing it.

Enjoy the brilliance of gems like :  “Habitat of the Wildly successful”,  ” Where the Driven go”,  ” Highly functional and dynamic like you”…..and the website mentioned at the bottom has no link to the campaign !!

Bad strategy, Bad execution, Bad Integration

Toshiba: The Cacophony of Consensus

Asian companies often pride themselves on a non-confrontational, consensus building management style. Here is proof that consensus can create cacophony for consumers (and not much for the bottomline). Toshiba makes fine laptops. However their communication singularly and consistently  fails to land a  big singular point.

The example shown above (with my comments against the white background) is just one of the many from their hall of fame, which keep gracing global weeklies. Fine footprints of at least five departments (marked in blue text) can be seen on this work of art.

I can almost hear the “eager to get promoted” marketing manager ask the boss: “Sato San, What would you like to add to this ad ?”.

China : Factory to Studio?

Read my assessment of China’s  prospects of moving from being a factory for cheap goods (and  code) to becoming an origin point for new products, designs and business models.

http://www.ddb.com/yellowpapers/

Sony: Making us believe again ?

If you are watching the FIFA matches, you can’t miss the new SONY ads prominently displayed on the boards near the sidelines. SONY has ditched “like no other” (which was never used on the entire product range) to embrace a new unified brand concept “Make. Believe”.

There is a very elaborate explanation on the website of the concept. The thinking is quite clear and well captured in this quote from the CEO : “SONY is a technology company with an intimate understanding of creative possibilities of content. SONY is a content company with an intuitive grasp of technology. No other company has both”.

It seems the strategy is about positioning the brand as one which empowers consumers to dream, imagine, experience, create (make) great content with the help of Sony’s products and technologies. So far so good.

However, the only strategy the consumer sees is execution and the execution in this case i.e the sign-off line “MAKE. BELIEVE” is just not inspiring and intuitive enough. One can argue that taglines alone don’t make a brand and SAMSUNG has been growing at break-neck speed without a brand tag line ( although the latest one : “Turn on tomorrow” is quite nice). The launch cinema and TV execution (shown below) however is even more ordinary.

SONY as a brand needs as much inspiration as it can find on all fronts- product as well as communication. It desperately needs to regain its salience in the consumers’ minds. It was a leader brand, and now it is not. A series of mis-steps have made it an also ran in the key categories it competes. It no longer dominates the markets and minds, the way it used to 5 years back.

Perhaps an integration of the new strategy with “.like no other” which was a powerful statement of leadership, would have been more interesting. Something like “Create/play/connect/imagine …Like no other” wherein the first word refers to what that particular product range offers.

We need more belief. This is just make believe stuff (pun intended).

P&G : Getting Men ?

The action in male personal care market keeps hotting up. Dove’s  Men range : Men+care , launched 2 months back in US , Europe and Australasia. Vaseline (from Unilever) launched a Men’s range in India in March. Now P&G’s OLAY has launched Olay Men solutions in China, riding on its mega brand status in the country.

While DOVE  and VASELINE are  attempting to stretch a specific equity – Care and moisturization- across genders, OLAY is  riding on a broad equity- skin care expertise, which it can claim via its dominance of the female skin care market in China. All packs in the OLAY Men solutions range feature “Refreshing energy” as a common line, which is clearly a new thought as it hasn’t been used before in brand communication or packaging.

However the brand which should have been first off the blocks in this segment- Gillette- is still struggling to be a serious player in men’s face care. It is frankly stunning that they still don’t have a Globally consistent face care range . The UK site has pre-shave wash & scrub  and post-shave moisturizer but  I couldn’t find anything on the Gillette US website. They test marketed Gillette COMPLETE skin care range in US in 2005, and it didn’t work. Instead we saw the launch of a hair care range in 2008 which is already de-listed in UK.  Gillette’s equity is in men’s skin care not hair care. What are they thinking ?

Clearly, P&G is still trying to “get” Men !

Starbucks: Big bucks in China

If you hold Starbucks stock, I suggest hold on to your shares. With the margins they have in China and the huge potential to increase the store density this is a 1 way ticket to print money. While prices are 10-15% higher than Hong Kong and London, the labor and real estate costs are almost half.  Even with the import duty on coffee beans the margins are clearly VENTI size. The table below says it all. Should we drink to that?