Posted by Jossie Clayton on March 26, 2010
- ‘Much wisdom often goes with fewer words’ (Sophocles)
- ‘Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after’ (Anon)
- ‘Be sincere; be brief; be seated.’ (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
- ‘Communication is the real work of leadership’ (Nitin Nohria)
- ‘Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind’ (Rudyard Kipling)
Borrowed with pride from all over the place.
Posted by Alan Morrison on March 26, 2010
It’s one of the staple innovation anecdotes for marketers: “Guinness can’t innovate. Consumers don’t let them. The brand might be iconic but it’s too tied to the product”.
As a result past successes have mainly come from fairly conservative innovations in stouts that stick within well-worn tramlines and play to the perceived strengths of Guinness draught; characterfulness, confidence, complexity, and almost certainly a black colour. Guinness Red (which, come on, is black) plays by these rules and so did the successful BrewHouse series which our Director of Innovation, Richard Oldham, helped Diageo to develop.
Now though, the brand is being much more brave. Guinness have launched a lager, “Guinness Black Lager”, in Northern Ireland and Malaysia. According to Michael McCann, head of Diageo Northern Ireland, “like all lagers, it is characterised by its refreshing taste. The addition of Guinness expertise, roasted barley and a late hopping imparts a taste that is unique among lagers” and of course… makes it black.
It’s a very interesting departure for Guinness whose only real forays out of stouts have been into licensed merchandise (golf umbrella, anyone?). Certainly some of the hallmarks of successful Guinness innovation are there, but the old marketer’s tale about consumers not allowing the brand to innovate might come true. The danger is that it may be seen as the worst of both worlds: a bad lager and a bad Guinness. As a fan of the brand I only hope they got the product right and that consumers prove the marketers wrong and are open enough to give it a try.
Posted by Dave Lawrence on March 24, 2010
The Value Engineers Kids and CITV collaborated recently to host a kids seminar with the theme of ‘Measuring Up’. There was a great turn out from clients to witness an excellent and stimulating range of presentations from CITV, Dr. Amanda Gummer (Child Psychologist), Ella’s Kitchen and of course The Value Engineers Kids.
The opening session reviewed the current dynamics and challenges of the kids market and contextualized this in a critique of key trends over the last few decades. The presentations then took on a positive and practical perspective on the opportunities for future constructive brand development with a mix of academic theory, strategic principles and practical case studies from Ella’s Kitchen and CITV, all of which successfully highlighted how this new generation of kids can be engaged to build long term positive brand relationships with both kids and parents.
If you missed this event and would like to know more, you are very welcome to email me – or if you’d prefer to talk please call +44 (0)1494 680999…
Posted by Dave Lawrence on March 23, 2010
On Wednesday 17th March I was a guest speaker at the seminar entitled ‘Children in the Commercial World’. This was hosted by the Westminster Media Forum whose remit is to facilitate debate of key social issues to help inform policy making. It was extremely well attended with a mixture of both commercial companies, charities, lobby groups and politicians. all of which boded well for stimulating and construct discussions. However I was quickly disheartened to witness the chasm of opinion between those that support the involvement of children in the commercial world and those that are vehemently anti-brand and called for nothing short of the termination of all kids brands and media channels.
Industry groups such as the Advertising Standards Association and ISBA were present and helped to highlight how tightly-regulated the kids marketing sector already is and how seriously brand owners take their moral reponsibilities. Sadly this seemed to aggravate rather than appease the anti-brand extremists and as such the debate tended to go round in circles rather than finding common ground for us all to agree on and move forwards.
On the basis of this experience I sense that the kids marketing debate will rage on in political circles and further underlines the importance for companies to ensure that their kids marketing activities leaves little scope for future lobby group and media attacks.
Posted by Giles Lury on March 23, 2010
Interviewed recently in his office in Seattle, Howard Schultz was asked by a FT journalist why he came back as Chief Executive of Starbucks.
“The reason is love….” he said. ”I love this company. I love its 180,000 people. I feel a responsibility to them and to the shareholder base”. This reminded me of a definition of a brand I whole-heartedly endorse and suggests one more stakeholder group Howard has a responsibility towards.
The definition is that, “a brand is not just a promise it’s a responsibility”, and the extra stakeholder group is us, his Starbucks customers.
Mr Schultz clearly recognises this and has been leading the fight against (to use his words) the “commiditisation” of the Starbucks brand experience. Recent results show that he seems to be winning but he clearly is a man who takes responsibilities seriously as he also noted, “we can’t allow mediocrity to creep back into the business”.
If he keeps his word, then I promise I’ll keep buying my Grande Cappuccinos from them!