Archive for December, 2010

Procter & Gamble’s Gillette has decided to end its Champions marketing campaign and cuts ties with Tiger Wood, who started the ad campaign in 2007.

P&G had used Woods, Roger Federer and dozens of other athletes as part of its “Gillette Champions” marketing campaign. Gillette, which plans to phase out its champions marketing program in the first quarter of 2011, will not renew its endorsement contract with golfer Tiger Woods. The endorsement is reported to end on the 31 December as a consequence of which Procter & Gamble will be terminating its Champions marketing campaign. The campaign was scheduled for the first cut up of the upcoming New Year.

According to the announcement made by the Gillette communications director Michael Norton, ‘Gillette’ and Tiger Woods will be parting ways after 2010 ends.

Gillette said, “His contract ran its full term like many other athletes that were part of the Champions program. We are ending the Gillette Champions program after three years. Like any brand, we refresh our marketing efforts to ensure they continue to be relevant for our consumers.”

Woods has lost several corporate sponsorships since news broke of his extra-marital affairs. Woods has earned more than $1 billion from endorsement deals over the years, but last year’s sex scandal and his winless 2010 season scared away many companies, including Gillette owner Procter & Gamble.

Not only Gillette but also Gatorade has planned to end sponsorship deal with Woods. However, there are still eight sponsors that have not entered the infidelity cult. Nike Golf, Upper Deck, EA Sports, Tag Heuer, NetJets, TLC Laser Eye Centres, Golf Digest and the Tiger Woods Dubai Resort thus plan to stand by the golfer who was recently divorced by wife Elin Nordegren and lost the world number one position in world golf ranking.

“One must be very careful with his/her reputation because once you smudge it, the return is quite difficult. It’s a great lesson for every athlete,” said Mike Paul.

Woods is still included in the top 50 highest earning athletes and despite Gillette’s absence, the 34-year-old golfer will still be making more dollars than most of the golfers around


I like shopping for hours without stopping for a rest like many people and Gap Inc is one of my favorite brands although I do not usually prefer to buy something due to high prices. However, I should admit that I take advantage of pictures that are all over the Gap Inc stores while combining my clothes. It’s a common scene in Gap Inc stores for shoppers that have visited the shop’s website, decided what they like and printed off the pictures tell store workers: “I want this”. This is a way from the virtual domain to the real one.

Nowadays customers must be much less willing to shop at Gap store because the US’ largest specialty clothes retailer sells its products on its website and offers a free delivery service. Moreover, customers can find dressing tips and hosts interactive programs in the website.Glenn Murphy, chief executive officer of Gap, thinks that having online store is a fundamental tool in the e-commerce era.

Last month, the online strategy of the fashion brand has been launched in China, which is the world’s fastest-growing economy. There is a Chinese-version website and online store, The virtual shop is a joint venture with a Shanghai-based information technology company managing orders and Gap controlling the e-commerce and storage side.

So far, Gap China’s online store has received orders from places as far apart as Harbin in Northeast China, Kunming in Southwest China, Xinjiang in Northwest China and Guangdong in South China.

Early in November, Gap participated in a platform developed by social website for retailers to provide potential consumers with discount products. The fashion brand immediately launched a marketing initiative by sending free jeans to the first 10,000 netizens who joined and attracted lots of customers to its stores.

Although Gap is a late-comer compared with its global competitors such as Zara and H&M, Murphy said, “We are not in a hurry.” He told that the company would develop multiple channels. “Our online service can help the brand stretch to cities without stores,” he said.

According to Murphy, online stores promote word-of-mouth marketing. “If someone says to his friend, ‘Have you ever heard of Gap? You can find it online’, that’s way more powerful than billboards, television and advertisements in the newspaper. It is really cool,” Murphy said.

On the other hand, Yue Sanfeng, a partner at Hejun Consulting company, said Gap should speed up to enhance brand awareness, otherwise many small companies could seize the market using lower labor costs and imitating successful lines.

Yue said that in the United States, ordinary people only spend 1 percent of their income on a pair of trousers from Gap, but in China it should be about 5 to 10 percent. “Under pressure from high housing and car prices, many middle-income people would rather choose cheaper clothes, only buying a luxury item after saving money for a long period of time,” he added.

Murphy added that the global specialty apparel retail industry was highly competitive and its first month of booming business will not guarantee its future popularity in China. But he said the company was determined to enter China.

“It’s a huge market, and we are sure to expand new stores in Hong Kong next year,” Murphy said. “An online store will be opened in advance for promotional purposes.”

Surely, you all have an account in Facebook and visit the website at least once a day not only to watch videos shared by your friends but also to hear the latest gossips about your friends: Who is in a relationship with whom? Which party are your friends attending? And so on. Today Facebook has over 500 million active users spending an average of 700 billion minutes per month. This is a prima facie evidence that many brands and retailers are turning towards ‘Social Shopping’ on the popular networking site. They regard  ‘Social Shopping’ as an effective tool to promote trade and branding.

There is a more severe competition between innumerable luxury brands. As a result of this, e-commerce has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years with many sophisticated e-commerce sites.

With thousands of products launched every month, marketing through traditional platforms are not sufficient to stick out and attract attention of consumers. That’s why brands are looking for ways to connect with consumers on a more personal level.

Nowadays, Facebook is integrating e-Commerce features and options on its pages and building analytical tools to interact with its users. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Facebook is trying to induce companies like J.C.Penney and Delta Airlines to sell products on its pages. In fact, Delta has already established the application through which users can book tickets online.

Levi’s is another major brand which is among the first to turn towards the social networking site for connecting with users through social shopping. It has already integrated with Facebook for online shopping.

However, Facebook is not the only player of the game. Last November, Google also purchased which includes high range fashion items used by celebrities. Not only users can follow each of these items but also they can determine which items are good for them with a Like/Dislike button.

Under the strong wind of globalization, it is much more difficult to maintain your brand. However, the findings show that business executives, regardless of company size, have less and less time to maintain their brand’s image and reputation. Instead, a third-party brand management team come on the scene and understand the philosophy behind a company. In order to to preserve the image and operations of a product or service, this team act as a chief marketing officer.

On The Way To Creating and Managing Global Brands

Although CEOs are looking for the financial value when it comes to branding, we cannot ignore the importance of maintaining a brand. Today social media, definitely, is saddling companies with much more responsibility to maintain their brands. Customers, consumers all have an opportunity to comment or participate in the branding of a business and affect its performance to maintain image and reputation.

Not only the face of economy is changing but also the questions being asked by executives are very distinct from the past years when it comes to brand management. The battle field is mobbed by the crowd of many rival brands, so that it is not easy to wangle one’s way through this crowd. As a result, companies are trying to define their business opportunities and challenges while focusing on brand management to solve those issues.

According to Andrea Sullivan Executive Director, Client Services of Global Branding Consultancy for Interbrand, there are three ways to define a great brand: the brand drives demand, commands premium products, and engenders loyalty from clients and/or employees. In order to attain those three elements, companies are in a competitive struggle with how brands work and how to convert a brand strategy into something meaningful for customers.

“Clients are interested in looking at how corporate citizenship can become part of the over-arching theme of a brand and how the company can take on a role as a citizen of the world to make sure what they’re doing is making a positive difference with their branding strategy,” Sullivan says.

Integrating Your Branding Strategy With Social Media

Depending on a company’s budget for brand management services, still traditional advertising, such as commercials, magazine ads, radio spots, and outdoor billboards seems to be the easiest way to reach larger audiences, although not sufficient in today’s fast-moving world. Today the level of interactive relationship with consumers determines the value of a brand. Many companies use social media and the Internet to increase a client’s presence on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google ads. Social media, which is very distinct from conventional communication tools, is becoming more and more a trend in marketing and marketing communication.

Also, global brands are blending social media with more traditional advertising to grow effectiveness even more. However,  global brands are approaching social media more prudently when the effort of social media inclusion is growing. Since it is very important to use social media creatively and effectively, they are analyzing the issue, determining their strategy/a guide for them and then taking action.

For instance, B360 Studios which is a brand management agency specializing in brand development and positioning, licensing, mobile solutions, and Web 2.0 technologies is currently managing Los Angeles-based fbe (Firm Body Evolution) Spa, a high-end holistic fitness center and spa. They leverage new ways to market the business. Not only they use group buying sites like Living Social and Groupon to offer deep discounts for membership but also they have segments on TV shows like ‘Access Hollywood’ and ‘The Doctors’ to share information about fbe to other interested individuals. This is a perfect example of how they maintain their brand by integrating a brand management strategy.

Although leaked government documents, diplomacy cables and passwords seem to be in sober earnest, they are a mere instrument in the hands of a creative advertising man who make fun of the issue.

In Pakistan Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks controversy has inspired a maxipad company’s latest ad campaign. The ad agency has turned this controversy into an insanely humorous ad for a feminine hygiene product, with the slogan “WikiLeaks…Butterfly doesn’t.” The billboards were erected in Karachi, Pakistan earlier this week, and for everyone who can appreciate the crude humor here, be happy to know that a print campaign to accompany this ad is already in the works.

So far, the agency behind the campaign, RG Blue Communications, has had no regrets about the new campaign. Head of business development, Amjad Hussain, says that it has “received a very good response” to the billboards. He also laughingly told The Express Tribune, “Nobody has said it’s in bad taste yet!”

According to Hussain, Butterfly was a new client that had recently come on board. They loved the idea when it was pitched to them and so the campaign rolled out very quickly

Munir Bhatti, the agency’s art director, told Pakistan’s Express Tribune that although he’s been swamped with phone calls about the ad, it’s achieved precisely what he intended it to. “I could have also shown a girl like other ads have. But the idea was to make it very different and to use the word WikiLeaks — and that’s what this is,” Bhatti explained.

Most of us is going to IKEA to taste the wonderful meatballs while shopping at the same time. IKEA continues to mesmerize not only the market but also the streets by extending the limits of advertising. To reach more consumers, IKEA goes outside and is furnishing street sidewalks with bright and comfortable pieces from its stores.

From 10 through 24 March 2010, the iconic furniture retailer, IKEA is providing great installations by creating home environment in the space of a Paris underground stations. Last year the home products retailer organized a similar campaign in Lyon, and this time the company is surprising Parisians and guests of the capital by creating a warm spot just in the middle of the busy place.

Even it continues the movement by taking sofas to the streets of the capital by focusing on areas that are heavily trafficked during the holiday season (such as the Champs-Elysées and the Latin Quarter). IKEA invites passengers to sit and rest on one of the sofas in a cozy environment. It’s simple to make yourself at home wherever you are with the help of IKEA. The unique installations occupying bus shelters around the city have been on display from December 15 through December 21. Not only Parisians but also visitors to the city taking the bus have a very different experience while waiting for their ride to arrive. Sofas, shelves, lighting and decorations are now part of the trip.

Although the idea of converting bus-shelters is not new, there’s something worth telling. One of the latest projects of this kind was created by Absolut, which turned the places where people wait for their bus into lounges decorated in style of the brand’s drinks. This new initiative by IKEA is not dedicated to some specific product, however it seems compatible with the brand’s philosophy in general: with IKEA furniture, virtually any place becomes your home.

Along with the street component of the campaign, IKEA also launched an online competition on Facebook. On its French page, the brand encourages fans of comfortable interiors to join the ‘The Race to the Bus Shelter’ contest by photographing each of the 12 destinations around the city. The brand is giving out € 100gift card to the entrants, who will be the first 10 to complete the task and will also give the contestant with the most original and surprising stills a special prize.

It won’t be truism to claim that this will result in more people using the bus. But the Swedish furniture giant gives people a pleasant experience of making public transportation.

Cafe Coffee Day is ramping up fast to meet its biggest challenge: the entry of Starbucks

Instead of giving interviews, The Coffee Day Chairman; namely V G Siddhartha wants his brand to do the talking. Approach him for a meeting and the standard response is: he is more focused on building his business. The secret recipe for his success is its strategy which is all about a keen focus on the consumer and his wants, needs, desires and aspirations at the front-end, and a matching delivery in terms of quality and brand experience at the back end.

Last month, Café Coffee day opened its 1000th café. It has also been able to outsmart Indian peers such as Barista, which has gone through multiple ownership changes since its launch in 2000, and global players such as Costa Coffee and Gloria Jeans.

However, Siddhartha may be facing the biggest challenge of his career in its 14th year of operation, as Starbucks is planning to enter India next year. The global retailer is in the final stages of discussions to select an Indian partner to roll out cafes in India. That would create a new battle field smelling the coffee. As a result of this, the Coffee Day Group is feverishly putting together a global plan for marketing and communications. It has also been building its network at a steady pace and has now reached an average of opening a café once every three days. And it is likely that the average will be once a day, pretty soon. And not a single of its 1020 cafes is franchised out.

After establishing its growing network in India, Café Coffee Days is brewing an active overseas expansion plan. It has set up cafes in Vienna, Austria, Karachi and has plans to spread its presence across West Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Egypt and South East Asia in the near future. In fact, Café Coffee Day recently acquired a chain of cafes in Czech Republic as part of this global expansion.

Competition will come and competition will go, but the brand stays forever…”

Harish Bijoor, a noted brand consultant and who has had a long stint in the coffee industry believes that companies must not be obsessed with competition from outside. “Competition will come and competition will go, but the brand stays forever. I do believe the company needs to set for itself very high standards. Standards those are higher than what one witnesses today. This will insulate it from every type of competition,” he says.

According to him, Café Coffee Day has the ability to put Starbucks into a corner of a niche. “It has the ability of emerging the mass cafe brand, pushing Starbucks into a niche in a country where true-blue brand success is measured in mass,” he says.

When a brand is able to connect with its target group, it builds an umbilical brand connect. According to brand experts, Café Coffee Day has been able to build such an umbilical brand connect in a relatively short period of time. When such a connect exists, brands can milk margins and more. The coffee chain’s strength is its ability to manage prices even when the going is tough.

The brand positioning of Café Coffee Day is all about being a common man’s not-so- common coffee, industry analysts say. “The brand is in the street, and not on the high street alone. It is accessible by all,” Bijoor says.

“I do believe India is a crucible market for the best of innovation and the best of service delivery. What works here, will work everywhere else,” notes Bijoor.

Advertisement of Café Coffee Day: