Archive for the ‘Mktg – Brand Management’ Category

Bang for the buck … err, make that $1.6 million bucks.

March 1, 2013

$1.6 million  … that’s what advertisers shelled out to be on the Oscars.

Wasf it worth it?

Here’s the AdAge recap of what some major marketers did with their time during the broadcast.

  • Chobani was a first-time Oscar advertiser with “Real is Original.” Hard to believe this was once a small Greek company.

Who else did AdAge highlight?


At ripe age of 132, P&G’s first mass marketed brand gets a makeover …

October 17, 2011

Punch line: P&G launches Ivory soap in new colorful packages and with a redesigned logo, and a back-to-basics nostalgic marketing campaign.

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Excerpted from, “P&G launches for Ivory soap

… The remake is part of an effort to breathe new life into Ivory. It comes at a time when Americans are scaling back on spending in the down economy, but are looking for little, cheap ways to pamper themselves … As P&G has focused on bigger, faster-growing brands, the white bar of soap has lagged behind its rival Dove and faced increasing competition from Dial and Irish Spring.

Ivory isn’t among the 24 brands with at least $1 billion in annual sales at P&G … but the soap that floats has a long history with the company.

Ivory was the first brand mass-marketed by P&G. It is the namesake of a P&G research and production center called “Ivorydale.” It’s deeply entrenched in American pop culture as a sponsor of early television soap operas and the first televised major league baseball game …

Ivory is where our origins are … It has a special place in a lot of people’s hearts around here. It’s incredibly important to keep it alive and growing.”

… P&G expects the new campaign to remind people why their families used Ivory in the past, and to attract new users with quality for low price …

“There is so much tail wind at our back: the economic environment, this trend of getting back to things that work, and reminding us of a time when things were a bit simpler.”

… Instead of Ivory’s usual nearly all-white packages, new ones will be more colorful. One is mostly bright blue. The new package emphasizes the 10 bars compared to 8- and 6-packs sold by most competitors with a big “10.” A simpler logo plays off the previous of the 1950s and carries the slogan, “pure, clean & simple.”

… The ads have some understated humor, calling Ivory “meticulously scented to smell exactly like soap” and pledging that “when dirt changes its formula, so will we.” …

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Ken gets a makeover … now, a“babe-magnet”

March 30, 2011

 Not me, silly …. Barbie’s “arm candy” in toyland.

I missed that Barbie dumped toy Ken in 2004, ending a 43 year relationship.  For the past 10 years, the jilted Ken toiled in obscurity.

Well, he’s back.

Mattel brokered a reconciliation between Ken and Barbie as part of its brand-marketing, sales-recovery strategy.

Ken’s remake has boosted the brand’s sales to $1.25 billion in 2010

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Excerpted from: BW Magazine, “Why Ken Is the New Babe-Magnet in Toyland”  February 10, 2011 BW Magazine

The world’s most famous plastic couple – Ken & Barbie — is getting back together.

Ken’shandlers revamped his image, giving him a Justin Bieberesque makeover complete with floppy locks, skinny jeans, and graphic T-shirt.

That landed Ken a scene-stealing part in Toy Story 3, restoring him to his previous status of pop culture icon.  The filmmakers cast Ken as a vain, leopard-print-wearing metrosexual. In one scene, Ken cries: “I’m not a girl’s toy.”

Ken now has his own Facebook page and Twitter feed (sample tweet: “Weekend Ken-fession: I may have knocked somebody over while walking and playing Madden on my iPhone this morning. My bad.”).

Beaming with confidence after his big-screen debut, Ken won his ex back with professions of love on big-city billboards and ads in Us Weekly. One message: “We may be plastic, but our love is real.”

Despite Ken’s breakout movie role and his growing ranks of Twitter followers, his future depends, as always, on the woman he loves.

He’ll stay in the spotlight “unless he does something to really upset Barbie.”

A Coke by any other name would taste as sweet

September 9, 2010

TakeAway: When one brand becomes dominant enough in the marketplace, its name can become a synonym for the entire category.  In many places of the U.S. Coke simply means any cola soft drink. 

However, in India, Pepsi is the default name for a cola soft drink

This is problematic for Coke as it seeks growth opportunities outside of the mature U.S. market.  To gain some mindshare, Coke is trying to associate its name with cold as it seeks to promote a broad category of beverages in India, not just cola.

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Excerpted from Bloomberg Businessweek, “Coca-Cola can’t speak its name in India as Pepsi enters Hindi,” by Mehul Srivastava, September 8, 2010

Coca-Cola Co. offered to buy Rajesh Yadav a refrigerator for his New Delhi store if he would sell only the company’s drinks.

He kept his part of the bargain and lines of Coke and Diet Coke cans glisten behind the glass screens of the fridge. … Yet Yadav doesn’t mention his partner when he describes his shop.

I sell Pepsi and cigarettes,” said Yadav …

Yadav isn’t reneging on his deal with Atlanta-based Coca- Cola. Pepsi became a common synonym for cola in India’s most widely spoken language after having the market to itself for three years until 1993. PepsiCo Inc.’s linguistic advantage translates into higher sales. Its cola brand’s market share is 73 percent greater than Coke’s, according to Euromonitor …


In much of the Hindi-speaking belt of northern India, home to three of the five most populous states, children begging at street corners will point to bottled juices inside cars and plead for “Pepsi.”


In addition to competition from Pepsi, Coca-Cola … has to contend with consumer preferences for other drinks. About 90 percent of India’s beverage market is composed of tea, milk and coffee-based drinks, with bottled soft drinks holding less than 5 percent … The company relies on drinks other than Coke to be the country’s top beverage seller.


While Coca-Cola uses the cola brand to drive market share in other countries, the company’s top three products in India by sales volume are Kinley bottled water, Thums Up cola, and Sprite, according to Euromonitor. …“Pepsi is bigger than Coke as a brand, but Coke as a company has very smartly introduced other brands that have done very well,” said Bijoor, [a] consultant. …

That’s Coca-Cola’s strategy, said Atul Singh, the company’s president for India and South West Asia.

“We want every part of our portfolio to grow, so that any consumer, on any occasion, anywhere in India, makes a choice to drink a Coca-Cola product” …

Coca-Cola has run an advertising campaign called “Thanda Matlab Coke,” which translates to “Cold Means Coke.” North Indians speaking in Hindi regularly use “thanda,” the word for cold, as a noun when offering someone a drink.

“It was definitely a good idea,” said Bhushi, [an] anthropologist. “If Pepsi means cola, then emphasizing that a ‘thanda’ means Coke is perhaps the best way to gain control of the vocabulary.” …

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LVHM’s luxury house of brands expands to include hotels

April 15, 2010

TakeAway:   LVMH made an interesting business decision when it decided that opening hotels was the best option to continue its corporate growth. 

Yes, it said that there were no good acquisition targets left in its core business area. 

Yes, it observed that other high-end brands had opened hotels. 

But, the hospitality business is very different from the luxury consumer goods business. 

Although hotels may be a good way for LVMH to expand its presence in the luxury market and provide a new point of sale for its luxury goods, this strategy could require LVMH to devote enormous marketing funds to gain customers in the already-crowded luxury hotel market and could backfire if the hotel experience does not meet customers’ expectations of the LVMH brand.

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Excerpted from WSJ, “LVMH Extends Posh Label To New Luxury Resorts,” By Christina Passariello, April 9, 2010

… LVHM, the world’s largest luxury-goods company, said Thursday it will develop resorts using the name of its Bordeaux winery, Cheval Blanc. 

LVMH tested the concept with a first location that opened in the French ski resort Courchevel in 2006. Two more hotels are scheduled to join the chain by 2012 in Oman and Egypt …

The project is “a natural extension of activities in luxury hospitality with Cheval Blanc,” LVMH said in a statement.

Like many top hotel operators, LVMH is limiting its exposure to the volatile hotel industry. It won’t own the real estate or finance construction, but will instead run the resorts under management contract, a similar model to other high-end chains such as The Ritz-Carlton …


The move shows how LVMH is trying to grow without resorting to costly acquisitions. Two years ago, the company pushed the boundaries of its luxury-goods universe to include yachts when it bought Dutch ship builder Royal Van Lent. A few years earlier, LVMH developed a new high-end rum, 10 Cane, instead of buying an existing brand.

LVMH grew throughout the 1990s and until 2001 thanks to expensive acquisitions. But many purchases … haven’t turned into major successes. Now, as the industry leader, there are few targets for LVMH that would have a significant impact on its growth.

LVMH’s hotels will be a showcase for many of its brands. The Cheval Blanc in Courchevel has a Givenchy spa, and visitors can buy its Louis Vuitton and Dior goods in the hotel.

Luxury brands have moved into the hotel business in recent years, looking for new ways to increase their presence …

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Memo to Playboy: Even a bunny knows when to stop …

April 9, 2010

TakeAway:  Playboy’s loyal collectors have followed the brand for decades and some have even dedicated entire wings of their houses to Playboy paraphernalia.

So, you know something has gone really wrong when these loyalists complain about Playboy’s latest category extensions. 

Though it is better to get consumers to switch within a brand franchise, it appears that Playboy has gone beyond the loyalists perceptions of fit.  Maybe Playboy executives need to step back and reacquaint themselves with the loyalists associations to and beliefs about the brand.   

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Excerpted from WSJ, “As Playboy Bunny Logo Multiplies, Collectors Are Barely Interested in It,” By Russell Adams, April 5, 2010

Over the past nine months, Playboy has turned its bunny loose, slapping its famous logo on a tanning spray, a disposable lighter, a mattress, a couch and a line of drinks designed to boost the libido.

The new Playboy paraphernalia should be welcome news for Ken Ritchie, who has a wing on his house precisely to hold stuff like this.

Ken has spent most of his adult life collecting and selling Playboy merchandise. For about a decade, he was spending $3,000 a month on paraphernalia … But Mr. Ritchie turns up his nose at what Playboy is selling now.

“These are a lot of silly things that have no connection with Playboy,” Mr. Ritchie says. “How many guys do you think are going to go out and buy navel rings because they’ve been licensed by Playboy? It’s not a must-have item.”

Playboy launched more than a magazine when it put Marilyn Monroe on its inaugural issue in 1953. It created a brand that came to represent a rebel ethos … Over the years Playboy Enterprises has capitalized on it by attaching its logo to nightclubs, cuff links and other trinkets.

As advertising has drained from its magazine, Playboy has come to rely more heavily on its licensing efforts. That’s rankled some core fans, highlighting the delicate task facing Playboy and other struggling magazine companies: how to capitalize on their brands without diminishing their value in the eyes of the people who cherish—and in some cases profit from—them most …

Playboy has been licensing its brand on an array of seemingly random products for decades … However Playboy has sought to usher the brand up-market during the last 20 years … canceled licensing contracts with makers of items such as fuzzy dice and air fresheners and instead targeted high-end apparel and accessories for women.

Playboy’s new CEO … is shifting gears, making expansion of licensing a priority. “I think we might have been a bit more conservative about category expansion previously” …

The CEO acknowledges that it is difficult to expand the high-margin licensing business and please hard-core collectors at the same time. The ubiquity that fuels strong sales is precisely what turns off collectors …

Still, the CEO says Playboy takes pains to determine whether new products will sully its media properties or other products. “So far, we can’t point to an example of a product we’ve licensed that we regret,” …

In February, Playboy reached a deal to outsource its licensing business in Asia, where Playboy-branded apparel has become especially popular among young women.

That doesn’t sit well with male collectors … they are reluctant to put on a Playboy shirt given the growing popularity of Playboy apparel among women. “Now it’s almost too feminine to wear something like that,” …

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AdAge reveals seven truths behind successful brand management

February 5, 2010

Takeaway: Even top MBAs need a little help every now and then.

AdAge’s one-pager on the seven universal brand management truths may make for effective cubical flare, though some may want to keep it out of sight in a locked drawer to gain a competitive edge over their peers.
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Excerpt from AdvertisingAge, “The 7 Universal Brand Management Truths” by Nitish Gupta, January 5, 2010.
Coke has a market capitalization in excess of $100 billion because the perceived value of its brand is significantly higher than the sum total of all the assets of the company. By staying true to seven core principles, a marketer can weather economic highs and lows while building an iconic brand for target consumers.

1. Leverage information via hypothesis-led data analysis. This refers to leveraging information and converting it into a forceful rationale to take the right action for the brand. The key to this is understanding the issue at hand by anchoring the hypothesis and then looking at the data or information to prove the hypothesis right or wrong.

The pain-relief medicine brand Aleve had been struggling with single-digit market share. The team anchored two hypotheses: Consumers were not aware of the brand Aleve, and consumers were aware but didn’t want to try the brand. Through data mining, they found that 35% of heavy pain-relief medicine users had tried Aleve in the past year but had been using other brands as well. Thus the issue was clear that the brand had the awareness and trial but needed to drive loyalty. Then, based on the top attributes that drove preference for the brand (control over pain, and freedom to do things you want), they developed the “Dramatic Difference” campaign, resulting in an almost 10% to 20% increase in sales and shares hitting an all-time high.

2. Understand the competition and maintain your point of difference. Having a broader category-competitive understanding is important because that sets the context under which consumers will be viewing your brand. It’s critical to maintain the point of difference for your brand and play to its strengths.

When Coke managed to get sponsorship rights for the 1996 Cricket World Cup in India, Pepsi gauged the competitive threat and stuck to its point of difference (youthful rebellion brand positioning). It launched the “nothing official about it” campaign during the Cricket World Cup, which actually helped Pepsi strengthen its leadership position in India.

3. Be consistent with your positioning over time and across platforms. For any brand, it’s imperative to create a distinctive and meaningful position in the mind of consumers for the offering. So no matter what brand extension or innovation you are planning for your brand, ensure that it builds on and strengthens that distinctive positioning.

The Dove brand has extended across categories from skin care to hair care to others like deodorants by positioning itself on the soft/smooth platform and the fact that it contains moisturizing milk. Dove deodorants are positioned as leaving the underarms feeling soft and smooth. The brand has extended itself only in those categories where these soft/smooth and “contains moisturizing milk” equities are relevant, thus staying true to the positioning over time and across platforms, thus strengthening the brand.

4. Know what your target consumer wants. Evaluating all the marketing choices from the vantage point of the consumer will help you to connect with the consumer and genuinely make a positive difference in his or her life. It’s important to understand both the stated and unstated needs — the insights into your target consumers’ lives.

Louis Vuitton was launched in the late 1800s by supplying LV-branded suitcases to travelers. Travel then was a luxury afforded to only the wealthiest. Thus the brand became a symbol of status — it helped consumers showcase their differences from others. By leveraging this core human insight, LV was able to extend to shoes, apparel and bags. It has became one of the most extended brands but has suffered almost no diminishing returns. The brand was positioned not just on a functional need (like storage), but instead it tapped into deeper insights to connect with consumers.

5. Manage budgets with a “scarcity” mentality. Working with a scarcity mentality will help you maximize returns for every dollar spent by answering the question, “Is this the best way to spend dollars on marketing my brand, or is this money better spent elsewhere to generate greater returns?”

Starbucks, instead of spending money on TV advertising, clusters an area with its stores, increasing total revenue and market share. This was contrary to what established retailing houses did, which was to avoid placing stores near each other so as not to cannibalize sales at existing outlets. For Starbucks, doing so resulted in reduced supply costs and made management of the stores cheaper, which more than made up for sales lost to cannibalization. Thus, funding for expansion from internal cash flow was a judicious use of money. Until recently, Starbucks spent just 1% of its revenues on marketing and advertising (compared to more than 10% for companies of the same size).

6. Get the right pricing that offers value in the eyes of consumers. Pricing determines the value that your consumers get for your offering: Perceived consumer value equals perceived brand benefit/price. Thus it’s critical to decide the pricing strategy for your brand so that there is a net positive value for your consumers.

Gillette’s pricing strategy for its flagship men’s razors and blades brand focuses on regularly upgrading them, and hence pricing up on their newest offerings. The innovations are consumer significant, so that they are ready to pay a premium to upgrade to the latest offering. Right from their twin blade to triple-blade Mach3 to Mach3 Turbo (with vibrating motor) to Gillette Fusion (with an additional trimming blade), their upgrades have been significant, and as a result they’ve been able to charge a more than 10% premium with them.

7. Motivate the team via thought leadership. Building a successful brand requires dedicated support, not just from the leader but from the whole multifunctional team — sales, research, R&D, finance. To do the same, the brand leader needs to have a clear vision for the brand and enlist the team toward the same.

When it launched, Cosmopolitan had been positioned on a broad “for the family” platform. However by the mid-1950s it was suffering from declining readership. In the 1960s Helen Gurley Brown took charge. She sharply defined the target audience (progressive, career-oriented and open-minded women) and then rallied the team to deliver a product that would appeal to the target. They came up with innovations like a glossy format, inspirational articles and writings, and talking frankly and honestly about various issues and needs of women. The first print run of about 350,000 was sold out by the end of publication day, and the Cosmopolitan of today was born.
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Who’s to blame for the lack of integrated marketing mixes these days?

January 14, 2010

TakeAway:  It’s unclear whether CPG manufacturers should blame themselves or the retailers, but the CPGs better blame something for their lack of adhering to a key marketing success pillar – integrate your marketing mix.

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Excerpted from Marketing Daily, “GMA Study: Shopper Marketing Still Siloed,” By Karlene Lukovitz, November 3, 2009

Shopper marketing continues to grow in importance for CPGs and retailers, but its effectiveness is being limited by insufficient integration with out-of-store marketing and media channels …

Overall investment in shopper marketing ( … in-store advertising, promotion and design initiatives intended to extend brand equity and provide the retailer with differentiation) is estimated to be growing at 21% annually …

Study concludes that CPG manufacturers have yet to align shopper marketing initiatives with the advertising and promotions that reach consumers at home and on the go. That results in disconnected marketing messages, wasted spending and missed opportunities to drive purchases …

Integrating and quantifying results from shopper marketing is becoming even more critical. Retailers increasingly seek to tap into CPGs’ budgets beyond trade promotions, pushing manufacturers to shift spending into ads on retailer Web sites and in-store video networks, as well as participate in retailer database marketing programs …

Study found brand preference to be the most important out-of-store factor influencing which products go on a shopping list …

The study also found that nearly half of food and beverage shoppers and nearly 60% of health/beauty and household goods shoppers purchase their preferred brands even when a less expensive alternative is available. And, 48% of food and beverage shoppers, 58% of household product shoppers and 59% of health and beauty shoppers — use coupons or price promotions to “justify buying the brands they want” rather than as the key factor driving their decision making …

Shoppers choose 59% of the brands they buy in the store, and 41% before they enter the store. This points to opportunities, even in the current down economy, to influence their brand choices before they go shopping.

For the 59% of items for which brands are selected in-store, 85% of shoppers perceive in-store factors as more influential than out-of-store marketing. After price, communicating benefits on packaging is most influential, whether for reinforcing existing brand preferences, driving competitive switching, capturing purchase when there is no strong brand preference, or creating impulse sales.

While confirming that most shoppers (81%) do research before shopping … 77% of shoppers do not take detailed shopping lists into the store. Instead, most shoppers have “mental lists” that include “brand consideration sets,” but evolve as they are exposed to more marketing at home, in transit and in the store.

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Time for a makeover: the future of brand managers

November 10, 2009

Takeaway: If you are pursuing a career as a brand manager, your role may be very different than you imagined.

A report that will soon be released by Forrester will provide a redefinition of what a brand manager should be. Their groundbreaking finding: marketers should get back to marketing. Beyond focusing solely on your product, you should really get into the mind of your consumers and appeal to their needs and desires.

And with the rise of digital media, targeting specific segments can be done with more precision than ever before.

The report also claims that decisions really need to be performance-oriented, with more reliance on research and analytics.

Hmmm, recommending a focus on people and performance? It looks like those extra P’s we learned about in Markstrat were well worth it.

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Excerpted from AdAge, “Why It’s Time to Do Away With the Brand Manager” by Jack Neff, October 12, 2009

Managing a brand has always been a slightly odd concept, given that consumers are the real arbiters of brand meaning, and it’s become increasingly outmoded in today’s two-way world. That’s why a new report is going to recommend changing the name “brand manager” to “brand advocate,” and fundamentally changing marketer organizations in response to the onset of the digital age.

The report, due out next week from Forrester, finally puts the onus on marketers to change their structures — a welcome conclusion for media owners and agencies who keep hearing how they should change, but often complain that their clients have done little to shift their organizations to cope with an increasingly complex world of media fragmentation and rising retailer and consumer power.

Among the specific recommendations in its report, “Adaptive Brand Marketing: Rethinking Your Approach to Branding in the Digital Age,” Forrester suggests “brand advocates” be responsible for rapid adaptations of global brand platforms and programs, charging centralized global brand strategists with ensuring what local managers do conforms with the brand equity and strategy.

It also advocates recognizing the brand isn’t the only organizational structure that’s important for multibrand companies, but that structures aimed at marketing to demographic or other segment cohorts are equally important. And it also maintains that marketing executives should think less about anchoring annual plans around one or two big hits and more about doing many smaller things quickly and adapting based on real-time consumer feedback and other data.

He believes marketers in the digital age need to be more “numerate,” with more training in research and analytics even if they still rely on staff for help. Marketers today need to balance art and science, he believes, not unlike architects, musicians or cinematographers.

Key to any change, the former Tide brand manager said, is a return to marketing as the focus of brand management, “rather than one of six things a brand manager does.”

“So much of [brand managers’] time is subsumed by internal management, and so much of the creative process and planning is outsourced to agencies and other parties,” Forrester’s Ms. Bradner said. Brand advocates, she said, “really need to be in charge of the heart and soul of what the brand stands for. It does move you off the generalist track to be more of a pure marketer.”

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