Category Archives: Brand strategy

Creativity as commodity

A lot of debate has been brewing on this topic especially with the procurement departments becoming even more active and inquisitive during the recession.

Well, when a global FMCG giant like Unilever puts out a global brief on one of its most prized brands-DOVE, on a freelance creativity website BOOTB for a grand fee of US$5600, one has to say we are scraping the bottom. (Read my earlier post on BOOTB  and Outsourcing creativity).

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et tu HSBC

Picture 20Till now HSBC was brand royalty for me when it came to banks & financial services branding and communication. Seems like even Gods have feet of clay. This banner ad on the HSBC HK site tries to attract new HSBC premier customers ( minimum deposit HKD 1mn or USD 100K) with a “scratch and win”. Wow !!! I used this mechanic to sell a few more soaps and detergent bars to a reluctant retailer in India about 15 years ago. How the world has changed since the recession. Blame it on Lehman.

Panasonic VIERA : Leadership communication??

viera1

Panasonic VIERA has recently launched its 2009 range with neoPDP technology. I saw the print ads in Malaysia this week. Suitably intrigued by the bold headline “No Viera no life” I decided to learn more . Continue reading

Johnnie Walker & Drink Responsibly

Johnnie Walker has been running a “Drink Responsibly” campaign to address the drunken driving issue. Here is a thought  for a tongue in cheek  outdoor and ambient execution.

 

” If you Drink, Don’t drive………..Keep Walking.”jw

 

Talk of branding being integrated within the message :-)))

“Green” pickings for P&G, Unilever, Reckitt ?

method_handsoap

 

 

 

 

 

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Coke has just bought a minority stake in Innocent Smoothies. Before that it was Glaceau Mineral water in 2007. Further, the $2bn proposed acquisition of China’s biggest juice maker Huiyuan will also most likely come through. While Pepsi was off the blocks earlier with Tropicana and Gatorade, Coke’s non carbonated beverage portfolio is clearly looking more sparkling now.

The  beverage giants are nicely rounding off their portfolios with the “healthier” offers.  I wonder why we haven’t seen similar activity in the cleaning products category. We have 2 “green” brands in the category which have been growing their business, profile and footprint over the last 3-4 years : ECOVER and METHOD. ECOVER is almost 30 years old, is Belgium based,  available in 26 countries, growing at 20%+ and will do $100mn+ revenue in 2008. METHOD is only available in US, UK, Canada and Australia. It has private equity backing.

Both brands offer a full range of cleaning products- laundry, household, dish, personal wash- plus  air care products. Both are premium priced and my guess is margins are also higher vs the leading brands. Either of these will be a great buy for P&G, Unilever or Reckitt. The capital infusion and distribution muscle will help immensely. Volume and margins will almost definitely be net incremental plus retailers will love the premium price ( they have already seen the magic with Organic food ranges) and extra margins.  

This is a Win-Win for everyone : company, retailers, consumers and the environment. I am sure the investment bankers have been exploring. Don’t be surprised if you hear of it sometime in the near future.

Brand Growth : Insightful Communication OR Rapidfire Innovation ?

Innovation is the corporate buzz word of the decade, and the talk  cuts across all product categories/industries. Within packaged consumer goods the rate of NPD has never been higher, but the success rate of new products is still very low (less than 10% according to a WARC paper based on UK market data). Continue reading

Marriott misses the mark, again.

Marriott International’s new  brand campaign running for over a year now succeeds in at least one thing. It answers the famous question : “Which half of advertising is wasted?”. In this case it is both the halves. Continue reading

P&G keeps learning.

P&G is one organization which continues to amaze with its hunger  for “more and better” in everything. Its arguably by far the best consumer goods company in the world. Outstanding people are the foundation of this reputation and they have been trained and groomed largely internally. But in today’s fast changing marketing landscape, even P&G is realising that it doesn’t have all the answers and needs to reach out and learn. Connect & develop was one such initiative to accelerate its product innovation pipeline efficiently. Now in another interesting move, there is a planned talent swap with Google with the stated purpose of – “to learn more about each other and about targeting customers”. Read more here.

If Connect & Develop was about maximising the value of R&D dollars, this  is about maximising the media dollars. Think about what this early dalliance can lead to  : The world’s largest advertiser ties up with what is perhaps the world’s largest media property.

The timing is also good. With the recession led pressure on margins and costs, anything which helps maintain or increase share of voice with a reduced media spend is welcome. P&G wants to know more about the online media habits so that it can confidently shift more media dollars away from mass-media. For Google, getting a convert like P&G would mean other companies will follow soon.

Well done !! Stock up on both the scrips.

FORTIS fakes it

Most financial services advertising is undifferentiated and irrelevant, with generic visuals and headlines/taglines like “A passion to Perform”, “Make it happen”, “You and Us” etc (HSBC’s campaign  is a notable exception). It is rare to see communication highlighting specific products or bringing alive insightfully the overall proposition. Continue reading

Design Thinking : A Simple Primer

“Design as differentiator. Design enables premium pricing. Design is more than aesthetics. Great Design Makes People Love Your Company. Design is not an after thought, not a veneer you add to the core product to make it look cool”.

We have all heard this before. Graphic and Industrial design firms have been around for sometime and it is now well accepted within the business community that good design enables product /brand /experience standout leading to superior business results. What is new is the concept of “Design Thinking”. Continue reading