Posted by Giles Lury on April 25, 2013
Budweiser is introducing what their website says is “the World’s Most Unique Beer Can – a bowtie-shaped aluminum can that mirrors Budweiser’s iconic bowtie logo” and which will be available in a special 8-pack in US stores from May 6.
“The world’s most iconic beer brand deserves the world’s most unique and innovative can. I think we have it here.” said Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Anheuser-Busch
Now the marketer in me whole-hearted approves, a distinctive pack can be a real CEq – communication equity – for your brand as Marmite, Orangina and of course Coke all ably demonstrate.
However when McGauley added “This can is incomparable, like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” I did wonder if he was opening himself up to a few lighted hearted challenges
And sure enough, finedininglovers.com and others couldn’t help but comment that they feel it might be reminiscent of something; in fact it looks “like someone drank then crushed it”
Posted by Will Butterworth on April 23, 2013
Facebook Home was launched earlier this month and seems to have gone down well with the majority of reviewers. Undoubtedly such a land grab will further frustrate operators clamouring for attention from mobile users beyond the standard out of box, problem resolution and renewal journey. The good news however is that the Home platform may well grow operator profits through data consumption; tests have shown that Home chews through data pretty rapidly. There is an option to limit the data consumption however it seems as though this will limit the end user experience somewhat.
Home is not really alone in what it’s doing here, there are other similar programs around with the likes of Blinkfeed from HTC feeling remarkably similar. However such an aggregator from a powerhouse like Facebook is a big move. Given the nature of the mobile experience aggregators are hot property at the moment. Yahoo have just purchased Sumly for £18 million, not for the programming experience of an 18 year old founder from Wimbledon either, he had none. But for the aggregator technology he sourced in developing the application. It will be coming soon to a Yahoo screen near you.
As a pariah on the Android OS and compatible with HTC and Samsung phones Facebook Home will undoubtedly appeal to young Facebook natives using it as their network HQ. However a meagre 2.5 stars in the Google Play Store and only half a million downloads suggests that the jury is out. Having discussed it with peers; those first swept up during Facebook’s launch in 2004/5, it seems as though interest in the platform is wearing a little thin. It feels as though checking Facebook is becoming an, albeit inevitable chore for the inaugural generation once completely submerged in and excited by its use. Whether any backlash will be strong enough to compromise any of Facebook’s plans to become the hub of a social world we shall see. While Facebook Home is clearly an early step towards that end I for one can’t see why I would need to sign up just yet.
Posted by Will Butterworth on March 15, 2013
In the connected retail environment developing in the UK the trend for social, location based and mobile forms of exchange are on the increase. Fuelled by growth in smartphones and data networks the integration of the digital world with the in store shopping experience is on the rise. Two thirds of smartphone users in the US say they use them while in store, with 9% using them for coupon redemption. The latter point highlights that it’s not only technological shifts driving the behaviour; economic conditions are also leading shoppers to make smarter decisions using whatever platform they have at their disposal.
I’ve seen recently that shopper marketing departments are growing and the focus of many is to understand how digital integration can support and enhance the shopper experience. It’s a noble quest and one I’m sure will pay dividends in the future. If shopper marketing planning fails to recognise that a great deal of shoppers research and planning is affected digitally and via social media, even for in-store purchases, then they could be missing out.
Key to understanding the role of integrated media for brands in the shopping environment is as follows:
- Forget AIDA – what does the journey now look like and where can/does digital play a role?
- Get SoLoMo – Bring shoppers the right content, media or offers at the right time using their smartphones as the intermediary.
- There is no single answer – research how the role of digital integration can function most effectively in your category and for your shoppers.
At the Value Engineers our Digital Strategy Team can help with all three.
Posted by Will Butterworth on March 1, 2013
Etch a sketch. If you are my age you’ll find it in the pile of affectionate childhood memories alongside Nokia’s Snake, Commodore 64 and the like. Its French inventor André Cassagnes passed away recently and upon hearing this I was reminded why great products are great; simplicity. Daw something, wipe it clean. Two buttons, one up, one down. No additional features and fit for purpose. Answering a child’s need to create and parents need to occupy.
In a world where peripheral features can be added to devices at will it is a great reminder to us that if the basics are not desired or useful then no matter how many extra benefits you throw at something it’s probably not going help. The old adage stands, you can’t polish a turd.
Sometimes in business this can be hard to accept. Our clients live in a world of timeframes, targets, roadmaps, bonuses and deliverables. As a result it can be hard to hear that the Sinclair C5 you’ve been riding down the innovation highway in has no roof and by the way you’re actually on the A69 and it’s about to rain. However as many an inventor will tell us, failure is part of the process. Innovation calls for us to cherish bumps in the road, recognise that rain can come when it isn’t forecast and to take the learnings and move on.
So if you have lost the thread of what made something you were working on great then don’t be afraid to wipe it clean and start again. Or call the Value Engineers obviously
Posted by Richie Heron on November 30, 2012
We have outlined how different consumers’ needs shape their perceptions of brand fit.
Each brand has its own unique combination of strengths and weaknesses and each product has a different role within the brand portfolio.
But perceptions of individual brands and products are also influenced by tectonics that continually twist and reshape the marketplace and which are typically beyond any single brand’s control. These include competing distribution, pricing, portfolio, innovation and communication strategies that are eroding and redefining market boundaries at any point in time. Consumer trends, the wider environment, and economic climate additionally bring a longer temporal dimension of change.
Therefore, new brands and products rarely enter a stable, predictable theatre that they can control, let alone reshape. Instead they will encounter a very mixed bag of players each of whom will be trying to act out their own agendas.
How differently can products act? We hypothesize 7 main players :
- The George Clooney aka ‘the late bloomer’: The product was launched many years ago and has grown in size and strength over the years – think Diet Coke.
- The Lindsay Lohan aka ‘the child star’: A product that had a large following from its inception but then struggled to keep momentum – think Atkins Diet.
- The George Lazenby aka ‘15 mins of fame’: A product that is heavily promoted before, during, and after launch but is not sustainable by itself – think Red Bull Cola.
- The Christian Bale aka ‘good to great’: A well thought out product that launches to early adopters and then extends its appeal – think Amazon.
- The Daniel Day-Lewis aka ‘niche or different’: A product that may not fit a mainstream profile, perhaps with limited consumption occasions but has a very loyal following – think Talisker Single Malt Scotch.
- The Leonardo DiCaprio aka ‘the superstar’: A product that has universal appeal, maximum flexibility and the longest shelf life – think Heinz Baked Beans or Tomato Ketchup.
- The Jason Statham aka ‘the replacement’: A product that is not your first choice but has the ability to deliver your needs with lower expectations, you know what you get – think own label produce.
A one-size fits all research approach to new product testing is unlikely to have the adaptability to gauge the role that each of these players might have in meeting consumer needs.
One size doesn’t fit all, it fits none.