Archive for February, 2011

Certainly, there are various rankings of the global brands, especially in terms of the health, social responsibility, environmental and social impact of products. Not only consumers but also companies are becoming more aware of the impact of these rankings over the consumption preferences. As a result, many brands are increasing their popularity among more conscious consumers that are interested in whether the goods they purchase are really healthy and environmentally-friendly.

Nowadays, the rankings released by the GoodGuide system, created back in 2007, is under the spotlight. As an independent website, GoodGuide provides consumers with expert ratings and information about the health, environmental and social impact of products and companies. So far, over 95,000 food, toys, apparel, personal care & household products, babies & kids, electronics and appliances produced by both local and global companies (including Starbucks, Levi’s, H&M, Nescafe, Nike, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Diesel to name a few) has been thoroughly studied and ranked by experts of GoodGuide. And now the results are available at the website and on the iPhone app.

The introduction to the apparel rating says, “Our [GoodGuide’s] highest rated apparel brands work closely with their supply chains to improve working conditions and minimize environmental impacts. The best brands disclose the identity of their suppliers, audit how they perform on labor issues and make public the steps they take to respond to violations. They also design their products using life cycle principles and educate consumers about how to reduce impacts. Our lowest rated apparel brands are made by companies that are not focused on improving working conditions or reducing environmental impacts across their supply chain.

GoodGuide, which launched its first-ever rating system for apparel companies, has provided ratings of 118 brands on a number of key metrics including overall environmental efforts, sustainable material use, integration of lifecycle approach to product design, management of supply chain, restricted substance program, and vigilance in monitoring manufacturers and working conditions, among other things. There are 8 major categories with 1-15 subcategories in each.

The original denim brand, Levi’s was ranked first in the denim subcategory with a score of 7.4 out of 10 among 51 jeans brands studied. Also, Levi’s rests on the 6th place in the apparel category (the Dockers brand is on the 5th place there), leaving Timberland, Nike, Umbro, Converse, H&M, Gap, adidas, Reebok, Diesel, Lee and Wrangler behind. The brand Prana was listed as the next highest, with a score of 6.3 – followed by H&M (6.1), Banana Republic (6.1), and Old Navy (6.1). Bottom ranked brands include Polo, RLX, American Living, Ralph Lauren, and Hollister with just 3.7 points and the highest ranked brand is Hae Now with 7.8 points.

The environmental assessment is based on evaluating sustainable product design, green production practices, and the brand’s commitment to transparency. The social assessment is based on evaluating fair pay for workers (specifically whether the brand has a meaningful policy to support living wages), whether the company audits working conditions, commitment to transparency, and responsible purchasing practices.

For more than two decades, Levi Strauss & Co. has been a leader on social and environmental issues. The company was the first apparel company to establish a comprehensive workplace code of conduct (Terms of Engagement) for manufacturing suppliers, setting standards and addressing the important issues of child labor, forced labor, disciplinary practices, working hours, wages and benefits, freedom of association, discrimination as well as health and safety. In the fall of 2010, LS&Co, along with H&M, led a global ban on the practice of sandblasting in the retail industry, a practice that when done incorrectly, can cause serious health issues for workers.

Also, the company has established environmental requirements for suppliers, guidelines on water quality, and restrictions on the substances that can be used to make its clothes.Within this respect, it studied every stage in the life cycle of a typical pair of Levi’s® 501® jeans and discovered that the largest water impact comes from the cotton growing process and through the laundry habits of consumers after they leave the stores.

Most recently, the Levi’s brand unveiled the ‘Care Tag for Our Planet’ campaign. Under this campaign, the global product care tags in Levi’s jeans have been changed to include instructions about ways consumers can reduce the environmental impact of their clothes by washing less, washing in cold water, line drying and donating to Goodwill when no longer needed. Last month, the Levi’s brand furthered its environmental efforts by launching Water<Less jeans, a collection of denim made using significantly less water in the finishing process.

We don’t have nutrition labels on clothing yet, but GoodGuide is the first independent company to give consumers data to make informed comparisons about the clothes they purchase,” said Michael Kobori, Vice President of Social and Environmental Sustainability for Levi Strauss & Co. “We believe that increased transparency is the best way to empower consumers to support brands that are creating products in a thoughtful way.

Since social media came into our lives, many experts have been trying to find statistical facts that show the relationship between social media and change of branding strategies. Surely, social media, and more particularly Facebook, is becoming a part of a corporate branding strategy. However, it seems impossible to determine a decisive, generalisable measure in order to verify exact impacts of social media on every brand.

According to a new study conducted by a U.S. West Coast as agency named WongDoody, the leading global brands could improve their Facebook usage. While evaluating the Facebook activity of the top 100 brands, as determined by Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2010 rankings, the WongDoody Facebook Global Practices Study demonstrates that sixteen of Interbrand’s 2010 best global brands don’t even have an official corporate-run Facebook page.

Focusing on the remaining 84 brand pages for 2010 Best Global Brands, the study analyzed over 60,000 wall posts, nearly 13,000 comments, and over 119,000 “Likes” to see how companies are utilizing Facebook. As a result of this study, it was found that there are a great deal of missed opportunities.

Fans seem to be engaged with the brands. Not only the average number of fans across the 84 pages amounted to 1,807,360 but also the average number of fan posts per month is 857, the average number of comments per post is 157, and the average number of “Likes” per post is 1,456. On the other hand, the average number of corporate posts per month was 24, suggesting that most of the companies post on their wall almost every day. Although 79% of the 2010 BGB official Facebook pages allow fans to post on their wall, only two out of three of the brands reply to fan posts and comments consistently.

It is truism to say that brands could do a better job in terms of content and involvement techniques. Nowadays, video content is the most common post and 88% of the brands are posting videos, which are mostly television commercials, on their Facebook pages. WongDoody emphasizes a Facebook page is no place for a hard sell” and “unique content is most motivating for fans to join your community.”

Even though 82% of the brands solicit fan stories and comments, only 66% of them actively reply to fan posts or comments. The obvious meaning of this situation is that a third of the corporate Facebook users are missing an opportunity to create a dialog with their constituents. Also, another result from the study indicates that the top brands are not so creative with their Facebook usage: less than 40% post surveys or polls and only one third of the brands use Facebook to promote contests.

According to WongDoody, Facebook is a social ecosystem designed for interaction. … The marketing challenge lies not in convincing users to Like your page, which takes only a cursory click, but to make sure your page is not forgotten as just one more link on a fan’s Info page.”

After all, social media is a new world, promising more than what we see. Instead of following suit, every brand should formulate its own, specific strategy and try to sustain a two-way conversation in this new world.

When we see the name Calvin Klein on a billboard with an attractive woman or man, and the shorthened title “ck”, most likely we clearly understand that this is an advertising of fragrances by Calvin Klein.  For many years, we have been exposed to this kind of subliminal advertising. Maybe we dreamed of being attractive like the woman or man on the billboard, if we use these fragrances although this seems incompatible with the reality. However, Calvin Klein laudably has managed to create a perception of “quality brand” with its ck one line of fragrances, debuted in 1994.

Nowadays Calvin Klein is preparing to extend this perception by transforming its ck one line of fragrances into a global lifestyle label, which will include not only fragrances but also denim and underwear. The brand is kicking off a massive ad campaign on a range of platforms including online, mobile, print, outdoor and social media channels in order to promote the launch on March 1.

We worked with Steven Meisel, who shot the original campaign for the launch of the ck one fragrance in 1994,” told Kevin Carrigan, Global Creative Director of Calvin Klein Jeans and ck Calvin Klein, in his interview to Vogue.com. “Mark and Kate [Kate Moss and Marky Mark] were just young kids then and we wanted the same feel. We wanted to show how diverse the collection is when worn by different people, so we took one jean, one shirt, a great grey T-shirt; classic American basics, and gave them to these cool kids.”

Although fashion model Lara Stone is the key person of the campaign, in prints and videos there are also other people including musicians, actors, sports stars and models such as British boxing star Robert Evans, Swedish artist Viggo Janason and British model and dancer Jackson Blyton Megran. Consumers will be able to learn more about 30 cast members, showcased in the upcoming advertising wave, by clicking on the ckone.com online destination. The models will also ask consumers some questions but it is not clear yet how exactly it will be done.

We put them all in a room, just a big mirrored box surrounded by cameras, and let them try the collection,” Carrigan continued. “The ck one collection is not about wearing clothes the way you’ve been told, it’s about making them your own. We put the pieces in there in all sizes, from XXXL to XS; it’s not about the perfect size—it’s a play on proportion and androgyny. Girls were wearing jeans that were baggy and far too big, or wearing oversized shirts as dresses, they made the collection their own. It’s the personalisation of fashion—and the campaign is really just a reportage of them trying the clothes.


Thanks to the highly interactive hub, the visitors will be able to explore the reinvigorated label, purchase products and discuss them online (both on the website and in a range of social media networks), as well as uploading their own videos. Moreover,  the brand does not forget the smartphone users. It has developed iPhone, Android and Symbian mobile applications. Through these applications, users can easily explore more features including the augmented reality elements of the campaign.

Jack Daniel’s is the first brand that comes to mind when you want to drink whiskey. You can experience this special taste by mixing it with Cola, Diet Cola or Ginger flavour. However, this mixing can be difficult, particularly, as you are outside and want to drink whiskey with your friends. Consider that you want to drink with Cola, however your girlfriend that is on a diet prefers drinking it with Diet Cola and one of your friend wants to drink it mixing with Ginger flavour. In this situation, you no longer have to buy all Cola, Diet Cola and Ginger. Because Jack Daniel’s mixes for you and puts it in special aluminium bottles.

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey announces the release of its new Tennessee Whiskey-based ready-to-drink beverages in the United States. It is scheduled to hit the shelves in March in most U.S. markets. With these perfectly mixed beverages, consumers can enjoy the legendary Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 with some of America’s favorite mixers.

The Tennessee Whiskey-based beverages will contain 5% alcohol by volume (10 proof) and be available in both Jack & Cola and Jack & Ginger flavors in early March, with Jack & Diet Cola arriving in late March. All varieties will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce recyclable aluminum bottles with four packs of 12-ounce recyclable cans available in select states. The suggested retail price for the four-pack is $9.99.

The Jack Daniel’s offerings are said to be the first ready-to-drink beverages in an aluminum bottle on the market. The single-serving packaging features the iconic Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey label at the center of a sleek, black aluminum bottle, perfect for keeping the smooth whiskey pairings chilled.

With the launch of Tennessee Whiskey-based ready-to-drink beverages in the United States, we look forward to providing our customers with a refreshing, convenient way to enjoy their favorite Jack Daniel’s mixed drinks on more occasions,” said Joseph Carvajal, U.S. Marketing Manager for Jack Daniel’s Family of Brands.

The distinct, flavorful taste of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is crafted using a unique charcoal mellowing process during which whiskey slowly passes, drop by drop, through hard maple charcoal and matured in new handcrafted, white oak barrels. The whiskey is then added to popular mixers for a convenient way to enjoy some of America’s favorite Jack Daniel’s drinks.

Although Valentine’s Day passed so quickly, it is not easy for most of us to forget what happened in this day. Not only lovers but also brands competed for making this year’s Valentine’s Day unforgettable by organizing interesting events. I can’t wait for telling about Puma Love Run that seemed similar to Nike’s Run Club. However, Puma’s only aim was not to make people run to become fit like Nike.

Ahead of this St. Valentine’s Day, Puma helped single Melbournians find their love in the ‘sportive settings’. As well as promoting urban running, Puma gave couples a chance to spend an unconventional Valentine’s weekend. The sportswear brand launched Puma Love Run on February 12 inviting people of Melbourne. The aim was to make them have a nice time together in this special day while covering a distance between 4.5km or 6.5km in the inner-city park Birrarung Marr.

Approximately 1500 Melbournians, including singles and couples, participated in the first-ever Puma Love Run which had been developed by Ogilvy Group Melbourne and supported by a range of other companies. Giving the message ‘meet someone fit’, Puma launched a campaign supported by viral elements, a micro-website and on-street promotion. People were encouraged to get their hearts racing.

In order to distinguish single participants from those who are already in love and to prevent unwanted misunderstanding, Puma gave out T-shirts of different colours (red and white ones) to participants. The couples and single participants who managed to find a match during this event or had a chance of chatting with many people enjoyed good music and relax under the stars at the Puma Love Run Music Concert, featuring disco pop Miami Horror band. The registration for the “rigorous stretching of love muscles” cost $45.

The Puma Love Run was created as a fun event for people who love staying fit and the challenge of exercise but are not necessarily elite runners; the perfect fit for Puma’s positioning of ‘joy.’ We thought it would be a great experience if Puma could bring these runners together in a social sense, and help connect people together in a fun, fitness-inspired way. But we needed to make it different from the other fun-runs and Valentines Weekend provided the perfect inspiration,” commented Michael Knox, Ogilvy Group Melbourne Executive Creative Director.

The ad can be viewed below:

It is really difficult for a brand to manage its call center, which is one of the most important factors to sustain brand identity and image on customer basis. When I observe my boy friend working as an outsourcing manager in a well-known company in Turkey to manage some call centers, I am not strange to the concepts such as quality standards, supervisory control and data acquisition. Especially, my boy friend’s mobile phone that doesn’t stop ringing even all weekends and his overextertion to solve problems in the call center make me interrogate the importance of a call center for a brand’s identity and image created in the minds of consumers.

So it should be taken for granted in the branding world that there is a re-emergence of a fervent debate about the relationship between a company’s marketing department (which is responsible for a brand’s personality) and its call center (where that personality literally speaks to customers calling with a problem or question). The main question here is whether marketing should control the call center or keep its hands off it.

Although Forrester produced an influential paper titled “Why Marketing Should Own The Contact Center” in 2004, just a year later CustomerThink, which is an online community of business leaders, retorted that that was a better idea in theory than practice due to the fact that running a call center requires very different skills than those possessed by most marketers.However, I am of the opinion that the marketing department should control the call center or at least supervise the call center in order to see whether quality standards that are accordant with the brand identity and image are implemented.

The reason is as plain as a pikestaff. Marketing department spends millions of dollars on ad campaigns to build brands and sustain the positive image in the minds of customers. However, “…when a consumer call headquarters with a problem or question, it’s the consummate moment of branding truth. And, too often, marketing has little or nothing to say about how that moment turns out.” says Eric Camulli, Vice President for Virtual Hold Technology.

If this moment of truth is not compatible with the brand’s identity and image, you can expect that the brand’s reputation will be ruined on the angry caller’s Facebook page, Twitter account, youTube, his blog or any number of online review sites. These profanity-laced posts not only are spread by word-of-mouth but also demonstrate how your call center can become your own worst enemy. “Terrible upbeat piano music while on hold with [brand x] customer care center just seems like throwing salt on the wound.” says Camulli.

Surely, we all know how these problems arise because as customers we, too often, face the difficulties when we call a bank to solve a problem about our credit card or account. It is the most common problem that customers expecting convenience get put on hold for a decade instead. What is more, customers, who hope for glitch-free service, are asked to repeat their information over and over as they get passed from agent to agent.

The point technology comes today makes it easy to solve these problems while saving costs and increasing efficiency. We have technology which allows visitors to peek into the call center from the company’s website to see the current length of the wait for service. Once site visitors know the wait time, they can place their call or opt to hold virtually. However, the main problem is that the new frontier for customer service is moving to the social space like greased lightning before conquering the problems. As a result, both marketing and the call center look for a way to better serve customers who may likely contact them through Facebook, when they aren’t even handling traditional inbound calls well.

After all, a strong relationship between the marketing department and the call center surely increases the level of customer loyalty that sustains “brand reputation”. Instead of measuring a center’s performance with metrics like average call length, what is needed is to have a call center that pay tribute to actual customer satisfaction. Since customer satisfaction leads to customer retention, they are more likely to buy more product and recommend to others. And this is the general rule defined under marketing.

Nowadays many brands resort to launching products that are compatible with the protection of environment. While Walmart is launching an eco-focused GeoGirl make-up beauty line for tween girls, clothing giant H&M pays tribute to sustainability by unveiling a brand-new line called Conscious Collection, which will be on sale in all H&M stores beginning April 14, 2011.

H&M cannot be regarded as stranger to sustainable clothing. Last month, H&M also created a new line dubbed Waste, made up of several different fabrics from pieces, which were left over from their capsule collection with Lanvin. Sustainability has been a trend at H&M and the Conscious Collection collection takes this trend to the next level. The collection, an ongoing range for women, men and kids is made frım environmentally friendly and greener materials such as organic cotton, Tencel® and recycled materials.

“It’s not just about organic cotton any more, the possibilities for creating a complete fashion statement with eco smarter materials are huge now. By designing recurring ‘Conscious Collections’ we have the opportunity to show in a variety of ways what’s possible using more sustainable fabrics,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M Head of design.

While working on the Conscious Collection, H&M’s in-house designers have been inspired by different shades of white, one of this spring’s most important colors. “Shades of white are the season’s biggest fashion trend and it feels right for this collection. White creates a romantic feeling with lace and Broderie Anglaise, but is also the basic color in a sporty, relaxed style and in a preppy tailored look for men.” says Johansson.

The Conscious Collection features a minimalist, tailored look combined with romantic lace, broderie anglaise, frills and draping. The women’s collection is inspired by an updated romantic style and tiered dresses are wieldy and perfect for day. There are also more dramatic Grecian gowns that will unearth your bright and breezy goddess hidden inside. In this collection the long skirts are key as the cut-off shorts. Key trends also includes an essential white blazer and pleated trousers for a more clean and tailored look.

Men’s collection reflects a preppy mood, with a white two-button blazer, collarless shirts and T-shirts with Henley detailing at the neck. Not only printed and striped T-shirts but also tank top for layering are included for men. Meanwhile, in the kids’ collection there are lots of white pieces for girls and boys. It’s all about tiered dresses, tops, skirts and T-shirts as well as jeans and leggings.

The Conscious Collection is a recurring collection that reveals the retailer’s strive to be eco-friendly. The collection, which is a follow-up to last year’s successful Garden Collection, will be featured at H&M at different times during the year and in different forms. With items in this line running from around $10 to less than $60, this H&M collection attracts not only environmentally conscious people but also those that are economically conscious.