Showing posts with label brand integrity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brand integrity. Show all posts

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Art and the brand - how Mondrian 'made' LEGO into a building block for modernism…

                                                                                                                            pic: Andrew Sullivan
In 1946, Lego creator Ole Kirk Christiansen became the first toymaker in Denmark to buy an injection moulding machine, and began experimenting with cellulose acetate construction blocks.

His son Godtfred Kirk simplified his father’s brick design, perfecting its signature clutch power and switching plastics to the even more durable acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. For his colour palette, he looked to Dutch modernist Piet Mondrian’s Composition series: bright yellow, red, blue, and white. He patented the brick on January 28, 1958, and from that moment only looked forward.…

Given that modernism is based on making ideas new, repeatedly, these unprecedented times provide modernist NAMs with the opportunity to renew their markets and initiatives, over and over again, while others rely on more of the approach that worked in the old days, but is now patently inappropriate…

Likewise, making it new (over and over and over again) is an inextricable part of Lego’s DNA: just six two-by-four-studded pieces can be configured in 915 million ways….

Incidentally, if you are still in doubt about Mondrian and LEGOs’ mutual debt, ask yourself if you will ever again look at a Mondrian, without seeing the LEGO studs…

Thursday 29 August 2013

When less is not more: How small packs work out cheaper than bulk-buy deals

 Big pack
 Small pack
 Cathedral City Cheddar
 £6.98 (2x 350g)   
 £2.00 (350g)
 PG Tips tea bags
 £4.68 (160)
 £2.00 (80)
 Nescafe coffee
 £11.50 (500g)
 £5.00 (300g)
 Clover spread
 £3.70 (1kg)
 £1.00 (500g)
 Loyd Grossman Sauce
 £2.79 (660g)
 £1.00 (350g)
 Napolina Olive Oil
 £6.49 (1 ltr)
 £3.00 (500ml)   
 Mild cheddar
 £3.10 (400g)
 £2.05 (270g)
 Filippo Berio Olive Oil
 £7.59 (1 ltr)
 £5.49 (750ml)
 Absolut vodka
 £19.60 (700ml)
 £9.00 (350ml)
 Scottish Still Water
 79p (750ml)
 45p (500ml)
Source: Daily Mail survey

The mismatch tends to happen when supermarkets cut the price of small packs for a temporary promotion – or to match reductions at a rival. Whilst the mix-ups are understandable, the real issues are the impact on the savvy consumer-shopper and probable distortion of demand.

However, apart from an inevitable spike in small-pack sales for the duration of the price-cut, retailers need to monitor the effect of the resulting suspicion and lack of trust in terms of impact on shopping behaviour for the remainder of the shopping trip.

For suppliers, the issue is more about the extent to which the shopper blames the brand, rather than the store...

…and since you are probably picking up the promotion-tab, perhaps it is time to add multi-size analysis of unit prices to your promotional checklist in assessing the ROI on the initiative…? 

Friday 12 April 2013

Supermarket copy-products: compounding the horse-meat aftertaste?

The latest Which? report on the supermarket practice of designing own label pack-graphics that keep them out of court, - just-, provides a good illustration of retailers' inability to appreciate that the 'letter' of the law has very little relevance in marketing and branding...

On the contrary, in preserving hard-won brand integrity, suppliers have learned that keeping within the 'spirit' of the law is a fundamental part of the unwritten 'contract' made with the consumer, and is in fact, the raison d'etre of branding. 

Sure, many suppliers can be easily intimidated into not litigating in cases of 'crossover' pack designs, and expensive legal help can optimise the hair-splitting in-court encounters with those that insist on making a stand, publicly..

However, the real issue is the damage caused to a retailer's integrity-image by being seen to be the party to a deception, a misleading impression affecting the consumer-shopper in the aisle, already busy second-guessing the content of their private label burgers...

The emergence of the super-savvy consumer-shopper, coupled with the aftermath of the horse-meat scandal, now makes it even more imperative that a retailer prevents what could be a tell-a-friend endorsement morphing into a 'tell 10 friends' criticism...
....thereby converting a raison d'etre into a raison d'eath... 

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Exorbitant hidden charges 'could be consigned to history' by new up-front legislation...

The popularity of price comparison sites has influenced firms to highlight low headline prices, forcing hidden extra costs 'underground', into the small print.

In a new report by the Law Commission, cited by The Telegraph, reforms, along with airline pricing, could also affect mobile phone contracts, cancellation charges for weddings, payday loans and estate agents, with courts able to intervene to stop any unfair hidden charges.  In practice, an attempt by the law to frustrate the hit-and-run marketing tactics of those who do not understand the laws of repeat-purchase...

In other words, the law will try to put true like-with-like price comparison 'on-the-tin', theoretically making it easier for the non-savvy consumer to make an informed choice at the point of purchase...
However, the super-savvy consumer will appreciate that the ultimate responsibility still remains with the person paying the money, and remains unwilling to outsource the purchasing decision to marketers and retailers ever again.
In addition, the meat scandal has shown that even on-tin descriptions are no guarantee of the ingredients within...

While the Law continues to seek a one-stop solution to betrayal of trust, there has to be an opportunity in the marketplace for suppliers who are prepared to break ranks with 'normal industry practice' strip their offering down to basics, and strive for clarity in helping the consumer to satisfy a need via their combination of Product, Price, Presentation and Place.

Being 'in the business' such suppliers are in a position to identify where all the bodies are buried,  understand how easily the consumer is deceived, once, and can focus on formulating  a trust-based offering that truly does what it says on the tin.

This honesty will obviously result in a shelf-price in excess of 'less-honest' competing products in the category, and advertising would need to focus on explaining the difference. In effect, the supplier is thus creating a category bench-mark in the brand, educating the consumer on what they should seek-and-compare in evaluating available alternatives...

However, the consumer is still left with, and should retain, the ultimate responsibility for the decision-to-buy. The supplier simply facilitates the process, and relies upon the resulting 'tell a friend' endorsement to grow the brand, like in the old days...

What if:     Airlines sold paint

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Opportunities for all brands in a horse-meat crisis?

Anyone who believes that the current crisis is about meat-ingredients needs to re-examine the small print.... What we are witnessing is a fundamental challenge to the meaning of branding, that assumed guarantee that a branded product contains what it says on the tin, no less and occasionally a little more, in a world where every little helps...

One of the first past the post, the Savvy Consumer, lost faith in intermediaries a few years ago. She learned never to outsource her purchasing decision-making to marketers or shopkeepers, ever again.., instead demanding demonstrable value-for-money before handing over a penny... Her lack of trust and purchasing insight has now extended all the way back up the supply chain, and discovered horses in a field...

Can we blame her for never trusting any of us again...?

The meat crisis has converted us all into savvy consumers, and therein lies the opportunity...

Essentially, those brands that are prepared to deliver what it says on the tin, plus a little more, in quantities and of a quality that meets or even exceeds consumer expectations, now have a clear run...

That old-fashioned combination of Product, Price, Presentation and Place, packaged harmoniously to meet created expectation are all that is required to be better than many alternatives, in these unprecedented times..

When ingredient-cost increases can no longer be absorbed, and retailers refuse to budge, the answer is to eliminate attributes now superfluous to consumer need, rather than substituting inferior quality in attempts to short-change a savvy consumer by cheating on brand delivery.  In other words, if the product does not need a handle, its removal will not be missed, and the cost goes down...

Reverting to meeting a combination of the consumer's functional and emotional needs, better than the other guy, then becomes a basis for NAMs to build a similar 4P proposition for the retailer.

Rocket-science it ain't...

Friday 25 January 2013

Horses for courses - an exercise in brand devaluation?

The multiple horse-joke reaction to the burger-meat scandal has tended to obscure the real issues involved:
- patently, it is no laughing matter, especially for the most important stakeholders, the consumers...
- brand integrity, the fundamental reassurance that allows consumers to avoid the need to personally check the contents of the tin before purchase, has been seriously compromised...
- market segmentation, the process of tailoring a brand to consumer taste is about informed modification of ingredients, not the misleading of the consumer via artificially low price-points...

Anyone in any doubt as to the extent of the damage need only walk the aisles, and observe the focus on white meats, the subtle references to local sourcing of red meat ingredients, and the reduced uptake in the burger section.....

....and these are still early days, while retailers are exploring alternative arrangements.

Essentially, this all goes back to a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of branding, and an under-estimation of consumer sophistication in terms of their ability to evaluate what they are getting for the money. Given that much of the brand experience is 'enjoyed' in the home, a disappointed consumer may not choose to articulate their dissatisfaction at point of purchase, but simply switch brands, or even worse, shop elsewhere, pausing only to tell their friends on the way....

If we accept that these savvy consumers are very capable of picking up subtle content-downgrades, then it calls into question the ingredient-answer to a perpetual freeze on price increases, a 'secret' compromise of quality.  The use of horse meat or indeed any other 'filler' is but one example of how an obsession with cost control can compromise brand equity, be it supplier or retailer...

Moreover, as any experienced brand owner knows, consumer praise operates on 1:10 odds, while criticism is given 10:1 every time a brand disappoints...

Finally, should anyone be left with an impression that this is simply about might be borne in mind that any reduction in pack size or amount of ingredients is in danger of straying onto the same consumer-disillusionment territory...

The issue is hard-won, easily lost brand integrity, whatever the odds...