Whilst there is undoubtedly much overlap between business and branding, the article on “How I did it…The CEO of Heinz on powering growth in emerging markets” gives some insights into the differneces too.
Bill Johnson describes his 3As strategy – Applicability, Availability and Affordability. Applicability means making sure your product suits the local culture, Availability means you ensure your product is in the channels relevant to the local population and Affordability means recognising the need to price (pacakge and size) to match the income of your target groups. All good business sense and great lessons in business strategy
A few years later he says they added a fourth A – affinity, which is wanting your local customers and employees to feel close to your brand. He goes onto to describe how they achieved this with a combination of introducing and establishing the Heinz brand and a “buy and build” strategy and it is here that brand and business really mesh. To deliver the fourth A successfully you need both business and brand thinking.
It was early on Saturday morning when my boyfriend and I were watching the England vs. Scotland world cup game. It wasn’t a great game so during the half time break we were a little frustrated about the performance until the ‘Get up for England with O2’ advert came on. A normal England supporter’s alarm goes off in the early hours of the morning and feeling a little drowsy the England Rugby team physically help him get out of bed, put on his England shirt and cook his breakfast in time for the game, leaving the wife in bed.
It was the best England had performed all morning! My other half’s eyes lit up: the most brilliant advert he had ever seen, really capturing the reality many men are facing, waking up early to catch the game. He even declared that when his phone contract expires he is going to change to O2.
Amazing! This is exactly the emotion O2 wanted to provoke… however what they failed to realise was the flip side to having such a strongly emotive advert. What were the Scotland supporters going to think? One Scottish supporter responded that the advert has managed to alienate every Scottish O2 user from O2 by showing it during the England vs. Scotland match: ‘Totally insane marketing by O2. I am due to renew my O2 mobile contracts so rest assured it won’t be with O2. Stupid stupid stupid O2.’
While it is such a great advert in that it elicits strong positive emotions among England fans, the timing of its broadcast has also run the risk of alienating those that aren’t. Shame.
Call me old-fashioned, but I am not convinced that an ad slogan based on “try me” or “I’m the best” can work effectively for a premium spirits brand. This may have some impact with low-end repertoire products, but as you move up the price range, consumers need a more convincing and precise argument, be it rational (70% ABV) or emotional (Johnnie Walker’s ‘Keep walking’).
The brand is not new to the UK market, but what is surprising is that both, the cinema ad and the billboard, were working pretty much at “try me” awareness-building level. There was not much of a focus on “authentic Russian heritage and unparalleled smoothness” as was mentioned a few years earlier. In fact, the reasons to believe were not particularly clear – except for Russianness itself…
The Russianness of the brand is clearly supported by the name, but is it enough? It might be quite tough to convince consumers in the UK that the Russian vodka is the proper vodka, when French and even British brands articulate their refined products and while bars and shops are well stocked with varieties of vodka and liqueurs from Poland!
Therefore, it leaves me with two unanswered questions: what makes a proper vodka and what else, apart from the obvious Russianness, can bring success in fighting the Zubrowkas, Absolutes and Smirnoffs of the UK market?
It’s so easy to look at a piece of news or a brand’s latest move / innovation and form a ‘view’ on it by only looking at one side of the picture.
We recommend that you read the latest piece in The Grocer on Post Cereals’ Honey Bunches of Oats launch in the UK, in which Alex Waters is again quoted this time in reference to the possibility that Weetabix owners Lion Capital are looking to acquire Post to build a US presence – which emphasises the strategic opportunity for the brand not just of its potential relevance to consumers through a multi-occasion cereal but also of the impact that a UK presence could have for this US brand that’s potentially up for acquisition.
We think this is a great example of the tactical use of a brand for both brand growth and business strategy.
Today is the day when America’s National Hockey League (NHL) conducts its annual entry draft. The 30 North American clubs that make up the league will select junior players to join the premier league in international hockey. The teams make their selections over 7 rounds based on the position they finished in the previous season. This is portfolio management NHL style.
Each team has a different strategy and will draft players depending upon the needs of their team. The process of selection is long and rigorous. Scouts will have viewed the potential prospects many times over the preceding years and will have assessed their key hockey attributes; skating ability, stature, vision, hockey sense. Once these reports have been compiled, the intangible elements are also assessed with a similar rigour; attitude, work ethic etc.
Does the process work? Reviewing the 30 first round picks in each year from 2000 to 2005; on average 8% will not play in the NHL whilst 59% will go on to have a substantial NHL career.
This is a 60% NPD hit rate, way in excess of the poultry 10% ration frequently cited in consumer goods industries. There are obviously lessons for us all in the NHL play book so here are our top 5:
Product lifecycle management is key: understand your current portfolio and when existing products are likely to decline in performance so that you can develop new products that can take over
Take the long view; develop for where you want to be, not where you are now, and recognise that development takes time
A portfolio perspective is essential; not all new products will become an “all-star”, develop products to strengthen the overall portfolio
Take multiple views of the new product in testing to obtain a complete picture; consumer, brand and your own employees