Nuggets of insight on brand and business growth
http://wheresthesausage.typepad.com/ - Dec 9, 2013 3:05:35 AM - Dec 4, 2004 5:53:42 AM
The consumer journey exercise is likely to throw up plenty of opportunities to grow the core. The next step is to then size these, which may well be tricky. You may be creating new consumption opportunities, rather than stealing market share from existing brands. So, you may need to be creative in how you size the ideas. In the case of the Starbucks train you might need to spend time immersing yourself in this world, to measure customer traffic, how many people buy a coffee on a journey and how much they spend.
Most marketers make a good go of sizing opportunities. The harder bit is looking at your ability to win. What capabilities does your business already have that can be used to go after a new opportunity? And where would you need to partner or out-source? Launching initiatives like the Starbucks train are complex and require lots of behind the scenes work creating relationships to make them happen. The bad news is that this is hard work. The good news is that for companies who do have the skill and stamina to succeed, they can create barriers to entry that make it hard for competition to easily copy the idea.
In conclusion, the Starbucks train is a good example of using distribution to drive growth of the core. It will be interesting to watch how it works, and see if its a one-off, or an opportunity that is big enough and feasible enough for Starbucks to expand it.
Interesting to see the first Starbucks train leave the station in Switzerland on November 21st on a route running from Geneva Airport to St. Gallen, as reported .Thanks to German Ramirez for the tip off. This is another good example of a brand growing the core by creating new routes to the consumer. Interesting that they chose to do this in the home country of Nescafé and Nespresso!
1. Look at your consumers' daily "journey"
A common workshop exercise is to to look at a day or a week in the life of your consumer. Doing this you can then map out potential opportunities for your core product or service. When and where are they consuming direct or adjacent competitors? Or when would they like to have your product or service, but can't get it?
In the case of Starbucks this might have thrown up moments including train journies, sitting in traffic jams and drinking crappy coffee at work/school/college.
2. What the size of the prize?
The consumer journey exercise is likely to throw up plenty of opportunities to grow the core. The next step is to then size these, which may well be tricky. You may be creating new consumption opportunities, rather than stealing market share from existing brands. So, you may need to be creative in how you size the ideas. In the case of the Starbucks train you might need to spend time immersing yourself in this world, to measure customer traffic, how may people buy a coffee on a journey and how much they spend.
3. What's your ability to win?
Most marketers make a good go at sizing opportunities. The harder bit is looking at your ability to win. What capabilities does your business already have that can be used to go after a new opportunity? And where would you need to partner or out-source? Launching initiatives like the Starbucks train are complex and require lots of behind the scenes work creating relationships to make them happen. The bad news is that this is hard work. The good news is that for companies who do have the skill and stamina to succeed create barriers to entry that make it hard for competition to easily copy the idea.
In conclusion, the Starbucks train is a good example of using distribution to drive growth of the core. It will ne interesting to watch how it works, and see if its a one-off, or an opportunity that is big enough and feasible enough for Starbucks to expand it.
December 04, 2013 Comments (0)
Sales of Aga cast iron cookers are reported as growing again, up 15% and at the highest level since 2005/06. This comes after several difficult years of people cutting back on this £10,000 a pop luxury item during the recession. The renewed success of this iconic brand has some interesting lessons on growing the core.
For readers who don't know the brand, Aga is over 80 years old. The cookers were traditionally run on gas or oil, took several hours to heat up and then kept their heat. Indeed, some users say the oven works not only as a cooker, but also as a type of radiator to keep the kitchen warm.
1. Stick to what made you famous
The brand has stuck with what made it famous in terms of fundamental design and premium pricing. This must have been tough during the economic downturn, with the temptation perhaps to cut prices and/or create a more accessible and modern looking cooker.
Whilst the basic product design has stayed the same, Aga has innovated the product's functionality. A key change was to offer an electric version. This accounts for c. 65% of sales, compared to only 5% in 2003. A "greener" version of this oven launched in 2011 heats up in only eight minutes, versus six hours for a traditional model. This saves both time and energy costs. And with a real touch of high-tech, the Total Control range allows users to control the oven by text message or smartphone.
Aga reminds me a bit of Burberry's, in the way they have taken a traditional, long established product and given it a contemporary twist. As long ago as 1968 the company was adding a range of colours to match with different peoples' kitchens. And the "Iron Age Woman" ad campaign that ran in the 2000's made fun of the idea of the brand being old, giving the brand a contemporary feel.
With confidence in the home market now renewed, the company is also looking to grow the core by expanding into China in 2014. Aga does seem to be one of those quintessentially British luxury brands the Chinese would like. Though time will tell how the product fits into your average Chinese kitchen!
In conclusion, Aga is a good example of a brand who has remembered and refreshed what made it famous, sticking to its guns during the hard times and coming good in the end.
December 02, 2013
Guest blog by Prasad Narasimhan, brandgym Managing Partner for Asia, based in Bangalore.
In an earlier blog, I talked about how brands can create deeper relationships with consumers by exploring three spaces – language, navigation & narratives.
While this is true for all kinds of brands, service brands offer considerably more scope for this to be explored and expressed. This is because service brands allow for so many more consumer touch-points and a lot more flexibility on how consumers can be influenced at these touch points. Indeed, each person who interacts with consumers IS the brand, and every single interaction has the power to either make or break the brand.
One brand that does this brilliantly is Orange County Resorts (OCR), a luxury resort chain in India. Even with rooms selling at a whopping $500 a night, they have an enviable occupancy of over 95%! And they continue to repeatedly win all the top awards including the
- · World’s Leading Online Tourism Marketing Campaign award
- · Asia’s Leading Experiential Holiday Resort award at World Travel Awards
- · Asia’s Responsible Tourism award at World Travel Awards
- · Asia’s Leading Themed Resort award at World Travel Awards
- · India’s Leading Wildlife Resort award at World Travel Awards
And guests are ecstatic. To quote Robert Blackwill, former US Ambassador to India- “what a spectacular setting & facility! I recommend Orange County to all, even if they have to travel thousands of miles to get here ..”
It starts with a BIG IDEA
Very early on, OCR realized that they would face competition from all the biggies in the resorts business, each capable of outspending them on luxury. They also realized that their best chance to create distinctiveness would come from creating a completely new attribute that they could own, one that could be valuable to their customers.
OCR crafted its Brand Vision around ‘Spirit of the Land’, and sought “to be the most sought after true-to-the-land-of-origin experience; by providing an exquisite holiday experience, while preserving the purity of nature and culture of the land”. This vision allowed them to create a distinctive point of view that they have ‘lived’ intuitively over the years.
In order to keep engaging & enriching their guests beyond the experience of the resort itself, OCR created a have unique e-platform that celebrates the spirit of the land in a charming way, constantly exploring the rich diversity of the flora & fauna as well as the culture in the land around their resorts. This has become a powerful referral tool in the hands of delighted guests who continue to savour the OCR experience vicariously, wherever they are.
OCR has invested continuously in building a distinctive language around this initiative. They have enrolled 18 of India’s best wildlife photographers whose outstanding photos bring alive the splendour of the land (visual language). Top entomologists & wildlife specialists add their expert views, while the editor, Rajesh Ramaswamy, stitches it together in beautiful prose. This team has remained intact for years, adding to a consistency & charm that guests have come to love. A fortnightly newsletter keeps the conversation going.
A holiday in OCR is memorable in some of the most unusual ways. Of course it is the lap of luxury with private swimming pools & the works. But then you are also invited to put on wellies and muck around harvesting coffee, wrap yourself on a gunnysack and climb trees to pluck pepper, go coracle-riding at midnight to soak in the jungle in deep sleep, and then wake up at the crack of dawn with Ganesh (the bird whisperer) and go around talking to over 150 species of birds! Ladies are invited to drape the exotic Coorg saree, a symbol of the grace of the locals. Children get drafted into a young naturalists club & are encouraged to discover their surroundings. Guests are encouraged to visit nearby tribal villages, soak in their customs and even pay forward in terms of helping to preserve indigenous customs. Right through, the belief is that each employee is the brand. And by hiring largely from the local tribal population, OCR underlines a core belief that what is key to brand navigation is a warm smile & authenticity, not spit & polish.
What OCR does when it behaves is this authentic manner is to create several nodes of organic yet cohesive narrative for its guests to enjoy. Each employee is a storyteller, no less. And the stories are varied, ranging from the king cobra that was swimming in a pool the previous week, to an elephant that rescued its mahout in the jungle nearby last month.
Like the proverbial fish that grows bigger & bigger each time an angler talks of it, guests retell these stories again and again, in social media & beyond. This is the social currency that builds the legend of the brand well beyond the resort experience itself.
Language, navigation & narrative offer a simple yet practical framework for marketers to think through how they could express their brand so that it not just delivers a great experience, but also goes forward to engage & enrich its consumers in a symbiotic longer-term relationship.
November 28, 2013 Comments (0)
An intriguing collaboration between two of my favourite brands caught my eye this week.
The first brand in this new collaboration is Fifty Three's Paper, a beautifully designed iPad app that allows you to create notes, drawings and pictures.
The second half of the partnership is Moleskine notebooks, that I posted on here. The collaboration called Book allows you to transform 15 of your favorite Paper pages into a real-life Moleskine notebook.
Below I share some insights from this collaboration.
1. Let's get physical
Book shows how in today's digital world we still crave physical objects we can hold, touch and feel. I believe there are many more opportunities for brands who can transform digital content into physical products. Another example is Stickygram, who transform Instagram photos into fridge magnets and iPhone covers.
If people are going to pay to turn their digital content into a physical product, the product in question has to be beautiful. The Book product costs $40, which is expensive. This premium price is supported by an attractive, specially designed Moleskine books, as The Verge explains: "The notebook format was created by Moleskine exclusively for FiftyThree, and when opened matches the iPad’s 4 x 3 aspect ratio. You can choose colors for the book’s spine and back, draw a cover, or go with the classic black Moleskine leatherette finish."
3. Make it easy
The second important feature of a service like Book is to make it super easy. Millions or even billions of photos are stuck on our iPhones, partly because we just can't be bothered to figure out how to proint them out. With the Book you can have a simple drop-down menu within the app to let you select, customise and order your Moleskine book.
In conclusion, even though the world is becoming more digital, we still love physical objects, with Book and Stickygram the first of what I think will be many opportunities to bridge the gap and make the digital physical.
November 26, 2013 Comments (0)