Sunday, December 13, 2009

Heinz - it has to be...

is a nice example of a campaign emphasizing the core range of products and brands. Read what David Taylor on his Brandgym blog says about Heinz.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ICA Jamie Oliver commercial - rather appealing

So, Jamie is appearing in the ever so popular ICA commercials for the first time. ICA is the largest swedish grocery retailer with more than 50% market share. During the crucial christmas period they've added the magic of Jamie Oliver to their ads - and I must say that I believe that move to be a rather smart choice. And since the commercials are well executed and funny ICA seems to be on the right track. It would be interesting to see their ROI - I believe Jamie is rather expensive...

Premium crispbread by Leksands Knäcke

I spotted these three new crispbread products the other day and got attracted by the wholesome, earthy packaging design. I still haven't tried the products but I'm actually tempted to buy some crispbread... just because it did look rather mouthwatering and attractive. I do wonder if the product would actually deliver against my rather high expectations. Anyway, the new Leksand crispbreads are three premium line products with either Cardamom, Oats or Linseeds. And the on-pack storyline is that different crispbread bakers at the Leksand bakery have baked different breads based on recipes of their own personal liking. I do wonder if that is a bit of marketing though...? What do you think? Haven't they just stolen the idea from Göteborgs Kex and their Bageriets Bästa and applied it to crispbread? Not very original - but the products do look yummy. I think it is a perfect example of steal with pride and apply other companies great ideas to your own products if you think it will work! Just try to do the job really well!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tele2 - Interesting challenger brand positioning

This year the Swedish mobile phone operator Tele2 have certainly done some great and massive work building their brand as the fun challenger in their market against the likes of Telia, Telenor and Tre. I must admit that I was a bit confused about their brand strategy at first. When I first saw their ‘Sheep/Cheap’ commercial I wondered why on earth cheap was the only thing they wanted to communicate about their brand. But I’ve since understood that the cheap strategy is certainly much more than a cheap message. It’s about being different, a unique challenger. And I’ve become more and more convinced that they are on the right track. With a good strategy and their massive Marcom spending I’m more and more convinced that their challenger brand strategy is bound to make them a leader sooner rather than later. Perhaps not number one but at least number two. And, if I remember things correctly, with a low customer churn in mobile phone operating business, one certainly needs to push hard to gain and retain customers. After a massive Marcom push and with a strong supporting strategy Tele2 must certainly be a brand that is top-of-mind for most customers. And when their contracts are up for renewal, well, I certainly think more of them will choose Tele2.

I will write more about Tele2 soon. I’m impressed with their challenger brand strategy and would love to tell you more about it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Telge Energi - a green energy campaign that I like...

I travelled on the tube today and saw a great ad by Telge Energi, a swedish green energy provider. I will post a picture of the campaign asap.... and I call it the 'thumbs-up' campaign because the print always includes that particular symbol. So, why is it good then? Well, the ads are interesting and I think they are effective due to the following reasons. Firstly, they are noticeable and make the reader feel involved and positive about green energy. Secondly, they made me and I also think they make other consumers interested in how we can in one easy step (contact Telge...) be greener and therefore nicer to the planet simply by choosing Telge Energi. Simple and effective!

Brand Strategy - what should it include?

A good brand strategy is crystal clear, strategic yet operative and, last but not least, simple for everyone to understand. It sounds easy but in order to create a strategy that meets those criteria one needs to work hard. First, let's discuss what the strategy should contain. As I see it there are four 'must haves' that describes what ambition you have for the brand and what the brand is and isn't to everyone that works with the brand:
1) Brand Vision and Goal
The brand vision is your statement of intent for the brand long-term. The goal is short-term, the goal for the planning period. 

2) Market space
This describes what market the brand acts in, the consumer or customer needs that it should meet, the consumer or customer segments it should be relevant to, the situation in which it is relevant(i.e. if the situation is important to your brand, for a beer brand the situation is likely to be very important) and the key consumer or customer insights that your brand positioning is based on. To write this down in a crystal clear manner often requires serious amounts of thinking and insight work.
3) Brand Positioning
This is where you explain the fundamental building blocks and essence and values of your brand. I've written about the most common building blocks of a positioning before. Look here
In addition, if you write a strategy for an umbrella brand you probably need to include information about the portfolio brands with regards to their individual positionings and how the brand family works as a whole to achieve your goals. 

4) Brand Expression
This is all about how the brand is expressed in the market. Your strategic thoughts on innovation, channels, communication, packaging, packaging design and more. Of course you cannot and should not be extremely detailed here - it is more about providing a picture that makes it clear what overall actions you will take during the planning period in order to achieve your goals and work towards your vision.

As I said, it sounds so easy but it really isn't. Let me know if you think I haven't covered anything regarding this topic that you think I should've included. And remember, based on your company circumstances and ambition level you might be able to develop a strategy in a few days, but often it takes months...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Internal assessment of concepts and ideas

About a week ago I wrote about external assessment or consumer screening of concepts at an early stage of concept development. Today I want to add a few thoughts regarding the internal assessment of concepts i.e. the assessment of which concepts can actually be most profitable for the company in a short- and long-term perspective given internal capabilities and resources. I’ve added a shortlist of assessment criteria that I use but simply see these criteria as a suggestion, and have a think about if there are different criteria that you need to add given your companies specific circumstances. The criteria I often use are:
Strategic Assessment Criteria
- Is the concept in line with the vision / strategy of the company?
- Does the concept meet a large opportunity area or gap in the market?
- Is the concept strong or competitive enough to beat off the competition?
Capabilities Assessment Criteria
- Can the concept be developed given our technological platform, purchasing, production and packaging capabilities?
- Can the concept be developed given time to market demands and estimates?
- Cost of developing concept?
- Can the concept be brought to market successfully given sales and marketing capabilities?
Launch Assessment Criteria
- Is the concept strong and differentiated enough to get listed? (fmcg concept)
- Level of marketing and sales support investment?
- Estimated time before ROI?

These are just a few of the assessment criteria I would consider using. But as I mentioned above, the criteria that you use need to be discussed and finalised internally with your colleagues and with the managers who control internal resources. And there are surely specific assessment criteria that your company need to add given your market objectives and circumstances. Good luck!

Nice new organic coffee and grocery shop concept by swedish retailer Coop

Well, is it new or not? I claim that it is new simply because I cannot find any information about it on the Coop website or anywhere else... Isn't that a bit strange? Well, it might be a little less secret now when I write about it...  I spotted this organic concept store in Gothenburg this weekend and the idea and execution was so nice so I had to write about it.
The swedish retailer Coop has been positioning itself as the most organic and fair trade retailer in the market for a long time. And this positioning could indeed be very appealing for consumers. This concept store is one step on the way... a very positive step! I want to know more about Coops plans for this concept!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

10 most important consumer trends for 2010

Excellent trend analysts Trendwatching have summarised the 10 most important consumer trends for 2010. It's very interesting reading - so do take a look!

I had the privilege of attending one of their briefing seminars in London a few years back and ever since then I've been a big fan. Rainer Evers and his trends team all over the globe do a great job synthesising, analysing and presenting the themes that will have a great impact on how we live and consume tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bliw soap – Great new Nordic themed brand repositioning

The Bliw soap brand is a classic Swedish brand. It was launched in 1968 as the first liquid hand soap in Sweden and today its appeal is still connected to its retro 60’s ‘bubble’ shape.

Well, I have bought Palmolive liquid soap for years but when I visited the supermarket today and saw the new Bliw look I just had to buy it. And the reason was primarily that the new packaging design stands out on shelf and looks so naturally clean, pure and fresh. Palmolive didn’t have a chance! But when I also read on the packaging I understood that the Bliw brand has been repositioned as more environmentally friendly (via Svanen, a Swedish quality mark for environmentally friendly goods) and with formulations that have been ‘inspired by the Nordic nature’. I think that this is a great direction and positioning for Bliw. The new positioning gives the brand the differentiation that is so badly needed to defend and gain market share against the likes and financial strength of Colgate-Palmolive. So, I certainly hope my new Bliw soap will live up to my high expectations! Well done Cederroth - great concept development and positioning work. Who knows, I might just turn into a loyal Bliw consumer...

Innovation and how to assess concepts - part 1

Companies spend a lot of energy and investments on bringing new concepts and products to market. But still, most of those concepts or products fail within a year after launch… Research findings vary, but I’ve seen articles that claim that as many as 90% of innovations don’t contribute to company goals i.e. they fail. The monies involved may not be linked to massive investments in production facilities or marcom. But the employee and project resource that’s required to bring a new product to market are enough to make a failure very expensive.

I’ve seen first hand how companies ignore taking the precautions necessary to ensure that they get a return on innovation investment. Human factors like ignorance, incompetence or fear of failure are often at fault. So, if you don’t want your concept to fail (and if you’re responsible and competent) - what steps do you need to take in order to assess that your concept or innovation has got the power to last? Well, the least one can do is to ensure that the concept has been thoroughly assessed based on both external and internal success criteria. External criteria are related to market and consumer factors and internal criteria are related to company capabilities.

Well, I need to try to follow the KISS principle and keep things short and simple. So, today I’ll deal only with the external assessment factors at the early stages of idea or concept assessment. And if time permits I’ll focus on the latter stages of concept screening later on this week. I will also get back to the internal assessment criteria in more detail.  

Early stage concept assessment – Assessment criteria
To make a good job out of this assessment you need to involve qual research with your target consumer or customer. Focus groups, in depth interviews…, mini groups – there are different methodologies to chose from.

I would normally include the following assessment criteria at this stage:
  • Insight relevance – does the insight that the concept is based upon correlate to a prevailing consumer need? Is this needstate large enough to be of importance? And do consumers recognise themselves in this needstate and in this situation? How often? When? Where?
  • Uniqueness – Do consumers perceive the concept to be different to what they’ve seen in the market? Does this difference or uniqueness stand out and is it appreciated as a positive factor?
  • Impact on brand – This is a relevant assessment factor if you plan to add the concept to a branded family where it may have a positive or negative impact on the mother brand and/or other brands in the portfolio. Ask consumers if this concept is something that feels natural or awkward within the branded family.
  • Clarity – is the concept clear and easy to understand? Can you simplify it even further to make it more compelling and easy to grasp?
  • Benefit relevance – Do consumers really appreciate the benefits that this concept offers? Are the relevant and interesting enough for consumers? Are they worth paying for?
  • Price – Since this is an early stage assessment I would only add a couple of short questions to check if the project teams ambitions regarding price point and margin correspond to consumer price expectations.
  • Total market potential – Based on the response to the above criteria I would then make a total summary of the concept potential.
Huh, I’ve done a serious amount of writing now. Have you fallen asleep? I hope this was helpful anyway and as promised, I will get back to the issue of later stage concept assessment as well as internal assessment. Bye!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Taken by Trees track feature in John Lewis Christmas ad

Marketing Week reports that John Lewis is launching a nostalgia themed Christmas advertising campaign featuring the classic rock tune Sweet Child O’ Mine this time in a rerecorded version by Swedish band Taken by Trees and it is the first time that Taken by Trees music is used in a UK ad campaign. Click on the link above to see the ad!
The campaign is supposed to remind adults of the excitement they felt about Christmas as children and bring out “childhood delight”.  It is also supposed to position John Lewis as the place to buy “thoughtful, considered gifts”.
The ad features children playing with Christmas presents, and one girl transforming into an adult as she opens a present.
What do you think? Does it do the job? Well, personally I think that the track is fantastic. And that is a start... so well done John Lewis for choosing such good music. The ad is also very sweet and memorable but I wonder if it clearly connects the consumers to the John Lewis brand... Hmmm, it's definetely nice but is it effective?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Andrex puppy - that's a brand personality!

Yesterday I posted a note about the Alvedon commercial. The use of a dog and a cute puppy also made me think about Andrex, a brand that has successfully used a puppy for some 30 odd years to build and promote its brand of toilet tissues. Andrex is owned by Kimberly Clark and Kimberly Clark has successfully dominated the UK toilet tissue market for years via the Andrex brand. A huge part of the brand is the Andrex puppy. From what I've heard the Andrex marketing team discovered the power of the puppy by coincidence. Apparently the first time the puppy featured in a commercial was in the 70's - when it was part of a larger family setting. But the marketing team noticed that the use of the puppy generated higher interest and recall amongst consumers. Interesting! And they decided to continue to use the puppy and to give the puppy a larger role promoting Andrex. Today, thirty years or so later the puppy is still going strong as you can see in this recent advert for Andrex Shea Butter toilet tissue.

So, the puppy is probably a very strong force within the Andrex brand proposition today. But from what I can tell and understand from the recent commercials that I've seen the puppy seems to have less of a leading role these days. But will the Andrex brand team ever leave their puppy behind...? Well, I think they will continue to use the puppy as long as the brand and advertising delivers against the set targets. But is there a danger of becoming a bit too predictable? What do you think?
And remember... be kind to your behind...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alvedon Commercial - if you're big and strong you've also got to be kind

I haven't commented on any ads recently but I just spotted this one and I just had to write something about it. This commercial is clever, memorable and likable. It's for the swedish paracetamol brand Alvedon and I like the way that the creative have so cleverly emphasised the functional benefits of Alvedon in an emotional and very sweet way. And we all know that dogs and puppies work in commercials, don't we Andrex?
It's interesting - the commercials that I've found really good recently tend to focus on headache pills... It may have something to do with those early mornings that I experience these days. See e.g. again the ad for the ibuprofen brand Ipren that I commented on some time ago.

Brand Positioning - have you got all the bits in place?

I'm fascinated by brands and the development and growth of great brands. Some brands develop fast and become huge success stories almost overnight, others grow slowly and their stature increase over time. And there are strong brands which are multi-fasceted and complex, and others are incredibly simple yet very powerful. Some brands are built on the essence of its physical founder... others are mere creations. Isn't brand development fascinating?

There are a number of things that a brand strategist and developer needs to have in place in order to communicate the brand and to make it clear to everyone - your target group, your agencies, your colleagues... You certainly want to be crystal clear when you communicate what your brand is all about and what it stands for. In order to provide that sense of clarity one needs to have a few basics in place. Some companies spend incredible effort, research and consultancy time on getting these bits in place. Others write their brand propositions in a few hours. It's up to you how much effort you want to spend on this exercise. The key thing is to get it right i.e. to make your proposition compelling and crystal clear!

The basic bits that you need to have in place to explain your brand proposition clearly are:
Market space - A clear view of the market space that you are targeting with your brand
Target group - A clear, in-depth picture of your target group

Insight - A crystal clear understanding of the target group insight or need that your brand is built upon. If you don't know this you don't know why your brand is relevant for your target group (and why and for whom it isn't relevant) so this is important!
Brand benefit/s - The emotional and/or functional benefits that your brand delivers to your target group
Brand personality - Your brand personified... And this is there to explain different physical and mental dimensions of your brand, what your brand would really be like if it was a person
Brand values - Hmm, one can say that the brand values explain what lies at the core of your brand. The values explain what your brand stands for in the bigger picture (which in turn has a direct impact on the everyday actions of your brand)
Brand essence - A short brand statement that summarises your brand in a few words or one short sentence.

Oups, that was a lot of basics and I am pretty sure that I've forgotten a few things. So, don't you all agree that it sounds so easy! However, believe me, to create a proposition that is crystal clear throughout requires both some serious thinking effort and high energy. I have worked on quite a few brand development projects myself - and in diverse industries such as alcoholic drinks, yogurt and milk, petrol, soft drinks, grocery stores, pharmaceuticals, financial services and more. Believe me, some projects were surely more successful than others at creating strong branded proposition. What I think made those projects more successful and their outcome much stronger were the passion and hard work by the brand team, striking the right balance between strategy and creativity and last but not least, a respect for the consumer and profound consumer insight.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is Sweden facing an online food revolution?

Well, I asked myself that question as I read the summary of the Coop report - a usage and attitude consumer report with more than 43000 respondents, with data compiled and published by Coop, a Swedish retailer.
 According to the report the internet has become a highly important source of inspiration for Swedish consumers. Almost six out of ten consumers claim to use the internet as their primary source of food and dinner inspiration. And the most important thing is to compare these findings to the 2007 figures. In 2007, just two years ago, only 14% said the same thing! So, in two years the importance of the internet as food inspiration has increased by 43%... I must admit that I haven't studied the details of how the data has been compiled and analysed but I do find these findings interesting!

It makes me wonder if Sweden is facing an online food shopping revolution. Are Swedes ready for online food shopping too?  I used to love online grocery shopping. In London I used Sainsburys online. I miss Sainsburys by the way... lots! And I started doing online food shopping in its infancy... 2003 it was. In those days I must admit that it wasn't the most fraction free experience. I often received the wrong goods but... it still was far better than taking the bus to and from the supermarket with fifteen plastic bags of very poor quality in tow... This year Mintel reports that one in three (35%) adults in the UK shop online for food, but just one in nine (11%) do so regularly or exclusively. Mintel also estimate that online food shopping will reach £4.4 billion in 2009, which in turn means that the online grocery market has grown a massive 134% since 2005. I think that is a pretty impressive development.

Online grocery shopping in Sweden hardly exists. But lately several of my friends have woken up to the idea and some of them have started to do their grocery shopping online via NetXtra or Coop. Their main reasons for online grocery shopping are to make their lives easier (more convenient) and to become more inspired to try out new foods and meals... So, here we go... here's that big need for inspiration again. Maybe food inspiration is just the BIG benefit that the online grocery retailers should build their offer around! I'm in a massive need of food inspiration. And, with great benefits like that I might just soon do my grocery shopping online too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fewer smoothies due to recession?

I just read that one of my favourite brands - Smoothie maker Innocent is guilty of a £9m loss for 2008. Innocent racked up the loss as sales fell by 7%, including a 17% drop in the UK during the year.  And to that came one-off costs which meant that an operating loss of £1.1m for 2008 soared to more than £9m.
These news came just after figures from Nielsen showed signs of recovery in the smoothie market after a prolonged slump in the UK when e.g. PepsiCo brand PJ Smoothies didn't survive the slump and got axed...

Sales of Innocent, which this year sold a £30m stake to US soft drinks giant Coca-Cola in order to improve their investment opportunities, rose 10% in the 12 weeks to 5 September. So hopefully the bad times are over. What do you think? Will Innocent survive and continue to thrive?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Willys PL chocolate - design makes it an option!

OK, so there I am doing my weekly grocery shopping. These days I am a devoted Willys fan - primarily because it is so incredibly easy to park there... Sad reason, I know - but grocery shopping has to be easy! Especially with a little baby in tow.

Anyway, during my most recent visit to Willys I spotted this upgraded design of their private label dark chocolate. I must say that this is just an amazing improvement to the dull packaging that they had before! It was an easy choice to reach for Lindt (first choice!) or Marabou Premium (pretty good too - but I hate the name Premium!) instead. But, with this design upgrade I automatically added Willys as an alternative. So, I will try Willys and... if it is good I might just become hooked. So, that is the power of great design folks!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Interesting initiative by Volkswagen - The Fun Factor Theory

Innovative communication initiatives are certainly interesting and this one is a very clever initiative by Volkswagen Group. It's called The Fun Factor Theory and is a unusual campaign to promote Volkswagens environmentally friendly car programme Blue Motion. The Fun Factor Theory is based on three different ads where it is proved that you can easily change the pattern of behaviour by making ordinary, and perhaps a bit boring things a bit more fun.

The campaign has been a success so far by being the most spread and talked about campaign on social media. Personally I think it is an incredibly clever and interesting innovative by Volkswagen. It also proves that Volkswagen understands the power of social media when it comes to building awareness and brand stature.

For those english speakers out there. The film that I've added to this post is just one of the three films. It's called the Pianostairs. The films shows the transformation of a staircase at a Stockholm tube stop - from boring, ordinary staircase to fun pianostairs. And the text says: Can you get people to walk the stairs by making it more fun? Then you see the transformation in people as they walk the new stairs. This is followed by text: 66% more people chose to walk the stairs. Fun can change behaviour - we call it the Fun Factor Theory.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Brand repositioning - Case

On this site I regularly want to share some of the good case studies that I've come across over the years. A very good repositioning case is the amazing story of Skoda. Since Skoda became part of VW group in 2001 it has made an amazing brand journey. Prior to this some of the old Skoda jokes were...
Why does a Skoda have a heated rear windscreen?
- To keep your hands warm while you push it
How do you double the value of a Skoda?
- Fill it with petrol
This was the general view of Skoda in the 90's. In 1991 Volkswagen took a first 30% stake in Skoda and VW started to train and educate the Skoda workforce. And in 2001 VW took total control of the Skoda business. The first Skoda to be built on the Volkswagen platform was Octavia launched in 1998. Octavia was launched in the UK with Skoda’s highest promotional budget ever (approx. £10 million). But the launch was a massive failure. Only 6,154 cars were sold over the year after launch despite very good reviews in leading car magazines. It was at that stage that the people in charge realised just how seriously negative perceptions people had of Skoda as a car brand. Research also suggested that over 60% of Brits promised that they would never buy a Skoda due to its unfashionable, poor quality image. An image that was no longer in sync with the very good cars that Skoda now offered to the public.

VW understood that they needed to close the gap between Skoda's poor image and the reality i.e. the good value, high quality cars that Skoda now offered. The new model Skoda Fabia was going to be the platform for the Skoda repositioning. The ad agency brief was something like: “Relaunch the Skoda brand and do it by using the launch of the new supermini, the Fabia”. The agency delivered a SIMPLE and BRAVE solution…
The Skoda brand repositioning was supported by a number of ads. See e.g. this commercial from 2002.

The overall objective with the campaign was to turn the Skoda brand from cheap and nasty to value for money and cheerful. And the idea was to create a message that made gentle fun at Skoda’s poor customer perception.
Theme: “The Fabia is so good that you won’t believe it’s a Skoda”
The campaign ran in both print and TV supported by three different television ads showed situations where people failed to realize that the car in question is a Skoda.
The poster ads featured lines such as “It’s a Skoda, honest!” and “No, really”.

The campaign was also supported by a major PR push aimed at consumer press with the attempts to influence journalists to discuss Skoda in a positive light.
So, what were the campaign results one wonders? Well, Skoda sales grew by 34% in the year of the campaign. By the end of 2000 more than 11,000 Fabia had been sold in the UK and even Octavia saw an increase in sales of 29%. Moreover, customer perceptions of Skoda improved dramatically! Instead of seeing the “old” Skoda they now saw a cut-price, high quality VW. And the agency was of course very pleased when the three commercials for the Skoda Fabia picked up bronze, silver and gold places at the annual British Television Advertising Awards in London.

Create your own watch! Great idea based on need for customised goods!

Yesterday my husband told me about this fantastic idea developed by a Swedish company and brand called Few. Few has developed a 'design your own' wristwatch concept that seems really interesting. It's a simple concept (see their website)and very clever. On the Few site you can design your own watch and choose from different appealing features to make it your own, very unique piece. And the surprising thing is that it is all fairly affordable too. In a few minutes I designed my own watch due to cost only £262. That is a great price given the fact that Few appears to offer not only a customised product but a high quality product too.
I am intrigued and... very tempted to splash out on another wristwatch. However, there's one more thing that I would love to see from Few before I customise and buy my own watch. At this stage Few appears to concentrate on primarily men as their target group. This is fine but I would sure love to see a more feminine version of the Few offer! When that is in place I might just need to design my own Few wristwatch very soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nestlé will use only sustainable palm oil

The Grocer reports that Nestlé has promised to use only sustainable palm oil from 2015. Nestlé includes palm oil as an ingredient in many of its confectionery and dairy products - in fact, the baby porridge that I feed my baby with every day has palm oil as one of its ingredients. Not something that I am very proud of... But you cannot find a single baby porridge without palm oil on the retail shelves! So what should a poor mother do? Well, at least Nestlé promises to use only certified-sustainable palm oil from 2015.

I am pleased to hear those news. But to make a difference to the environment in the long term more companies need to do much more to reduce the amount of palm oil they use or at least ensure that they buy their palm oil from sustainable sources. And consumers need to wake up to frequent use of palm oil in everyday products. In Sweden this is not yet a debate - but hopefully it will be a debate soon and hopefully this debate should ensure that companies buy only sustainable palm oil from that point forward.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Brand or line extension?

If you own a valuable brand with both strength and stature it's of course a very tempting move to plan to utilise that brand more. Stretching the brand into new territory is a very tempting move and can be a smart move too if it's done in the right way. But it may also seriously damage your brand if it's done in the wrong way. There are two kind of stretch opportunities:
1. Line extension
When you innovate within the categories which the brand is already strongly associated too and where it has its current space in the consumer mind
2. Brand extension
When you try to extend the brand into new territory i.e. markets or categories where the brand lacks credentials and consumer associations.

Line extensions are the easy and most common option and it's a great and fairly easy option for less developed categories. But in more mature and well-developed categories line extensions won't be likely to generate the sales you're after. So, in those cases you need to carefully consider extending the brand into whole new territory. This carries both major risks and massive rewards - it's all down to how it is done. Consider how e.g. Levis fell from glory in the mid 90's by extending their brand too far... There are many other cases of poor and even catastrophic brand extensions and many cases of good ones too - I will certainly get back to this topic.

Lastly, since talking about brand extensions I spotted an interesting one in the UK. It's Innocent Drinks that have extended their so much loved smoothie and juices brand to healthy ready-meals. What do you think? Good or not good?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lovely campaign Delicato

The Swedish bakery brand Delicato is running another of their tongue in cheek poster campaigns at the moment in a wave to add new energy to the brand. They stick to the same creative idea that was so successful for them in 2007 when they won the Swedish advertising of the year award. The idea (developed by Ogilvy) is focussed on playing up the strengths of what Delicato offers in a way that is both humourous and slightly cheeky. And the creative and copy is great with messages such as 'Remember to eat according to the food pyramid' or 'Guaranteed to be free of wholemeal' and 'Have you tried the cake method'. It's a great way of defending the strengths of the brand at a time when sugary desserts are facing a lot of criticism. Of course people still need to treat themselves, and the time of recession might well be the perfect time for a 'real treat' brand. In terms of advertising I think Delicato is doing a brilliant job. And in terms of adding new energy to the brand I think they can and should do even more. Delicato would benefit from strategic innovation to appeal to new markets and targets groups, creative concept development and modernised, more relevant packaging. So - if things move on in this direction I'm sure Delicato will be a very fun brand to follow!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Measuring Advertising Effect

Advertising is a costly business and it’s likely to be one of the first areas to get cut during hard times. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the right one to cut... But as long as marketing professionals don’t measure advertising effect in a way that can be understood and accepted it sure is a very easy one to cut for senior management. Why spend money on something that cannot be seriously argued to have a profound effect on business performance?

So, what should you do if you believe in advertising and the idea that it can actually help rather than hinder your company during hard times?
Well, I would encourage the following steps:
1.Set up a very well thought through quantitative measuring system with simple and effective advertising benchmarks
2.Communicate the system internally, so that the people in charge of budgets understand and accept it
3.Get internal buy in for your system
4.Communicate the system to your agencies – ensure that your agencies understand the benchmarks that their creative ideas and execution will be measured against
5.Start using the system for all the campaigns that you’ve got planned

What you get in the end is a tool to track campaign performance. And by learning from each campaign the effect of your advertising will improve over time. The challenge is that you know have a system of also measuring the marketing team. Whilst this is very good for the company the marketing tem and marketing director might find it slightly threatening. After all, if confidence is lacking you may be better off claiming that all the amazing things you do cannot be measured.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Marabou - getting ahead in the innovation game

The Kraft owned chocolate brand Marabou is really moving ahead in the innovation game. The latest addition to the brand family is a limited edition winter version called Marabou Vinter. Marabou Vinter is a simple style block of milk chocolate flavoured with traditional winter spices like cardamom, clove, cinnamon and vanilla. I tried it today and... it is really, really good. Definitely a new favourite for a chocoholic like me.
Back to Marabou and what they are doing in terms of innovation. From my perspective I think they've really improved their creativity when it comes to innovative ways of stretching their brand. The launch of the Marabou Premium sub-brand was a first step into new territory and the new Marabou Sensation concept is a nice and natural way of extending Marabou to meet consumer needs revolving around luxurious pleasure and naughty treat without moving too much into the premium area. And the Marabou Vinter product is a wonderful way of capitalising on consumer mood and needs during this time of the year. I look forward to the next Marabou launch.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Great Tesco concept

So, back from a long weekend in London and of course I had to do some London product spotting whilst I was over there. One new concept that I like a lot is Tesco Ingredients - a premium ingredient concept that entail spices, vinegars, oils and more. The nice thing about this concept is that Tesco seems to have understood one very important thing about a large proportion of food interested consumers. Those consumers do like to show off their ingredients and the ingredients are often on show in the kitchen whilst cooking for guests. So, of course those consumers want to show off nice looking ingredients. And I love the Tesco Ingredients design. I find it sparse, clean and stylish. And you can also just imagine the flavours of the products without being too obvious about flavours and spices.

Friday, October 9, 2009

And the winner is...

So, Nielsen has announced the winner of 'Food Product of the Year 2009' and the winner is.... Procordia with Ekström Fruit Crumble!!!!
The motivation is: "Of all the new FMCG products that were launched last year Ekströms Fruit Crumble was the most successful. It is not only convenient but it also gives the consumer a sense that it's wholesomeness and honest food product. The product has fast established itself in the frozen fixture and it has created further growth to the category as a whole.
As I've said before - great work Procordia!!! You've got your consumer insights sorted with that one and I'm certainly a keen user.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fresh and fast Mexican fast food...

Soon I will visit London again and I do look forward to all things about London right now. The smells, the sounds, the food and the large supermarkets that contain all that marvellous international foodstuffs...
During my last visit I noted that there were quite a few new 'fresh style' Mexican fast food places around but unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to try any of them. With 'fresh style' I mean healthy, balanced and yet good fast food and not the old style greasy taco places of the 90's. I actually read about the success of a fresh fast food restaurant called Baja Fresh on the West Coast in the US some years ago. And the London development seem to follow the Californian development - only a few years later. So, I certainly look forward to checking out those places in London in a bit more detail this time. And I'll certainly try to spot some other new developments too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Successful NPD

It's not uncommon to still see newly launched products that simply lack the stature to survive even a year... Why is that? How come so many companies still embark on costly NPD programmes when all that results is a very weak product launch or 'me-too' competitor copy. Well, I'm certainly aware that many companies think that it's enough to ensure that they can offer a higher margin to the retailers to ensure commercial success. Well, be sure that the consumers will tell you otherwise... Just wait. The truth is of course that retailers are very powerful indeed. However, be aware that their power lasts only until your products are put on their shelves. Be sure that if consumers or shoppers don't like your product then, the retailers won't either. And that is no matter how high margins and how many rapid starts you offer them. The smart retailers want to see you not only offering them their margins but also a commercially powerful product that will survive over time. So, embark on your innovation process with consumers in mind. If you can WOW consumers, you can WOW retailers too.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Knorr Fond du Chef - smart product from Knorr

I spotted new Knorr Fond du Chef the other day. And find it a good, practical and also very predictable new product from Knorr in these days of e-number fears and premiumisation. Fond du Chef is a more premium style stock product from Knorr which contains all natural ingredients with no MSG. As far as I know all the traditional Knorr stock cubes contain MSG - not the most appealing ingredient these days. And as far as I know their competitor Bong has no MSG in their products... So what do health concerned consumers do? Well, I am pretty sure that they go for Bong instead of Knorr...
But with Fond du Chef Knorr has the answer for those health concerned foodies. And personally I find Fond du Chef a pretty appealing product. I think that it's the right 'slightly premium... but not too much premium' move for the Knorr brand and the product itself is both convenient and useful. The 'portion' sized stock idea is interesting and it certainly builds on what Knorr stock is all about. However, today users of premium stock and Bong are used to having to measure up their stock so it will certainly be interesting to see if Knorr manages to get both current Knorr and competitor users to understand a new behaviour.

Other bloggers have also written about this product:
Mat med Mårre: Buljongen får vara chef

Lindex latest - for me it's a case of weak brand positioning

Over the past few weeks there's been quite a few commercials from the large clothe retail companies in Sweden. I always find it interesting watching and comparing those commercials since inevitably, I start to think about their underlying brand positionings. It's those market or brand positionings and their unique differentiators that they should try to execute... So why is it so hard to understand what on earth those companies are up to and what makes them different? Take Lindex, Kappahl and Cubus for example. To me it looks like they are going for exactly the same target group, with the same offer, and with the same promise... Have they got their targets sorted yet? I doubt it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Does the Heineken ad improve sales for Carlsberg?

The Heineken 'walk in closet' ad is interesting. I like the creative idea a lot but I'm not so sure of the strategy behind it. Personally I find the execution to be so 'Carlsberg' so I'm pretty convinced that it actually helps to promote Carlsberg rather than Heineken... I have also done some small-scale research with my family and friends and... they all say that the 'closet' ad is all about Carlsberg and that they love it! Hmmm... I'm not sure if the Heineken brand team would be too pleased.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ready-meals take a bashing!

Svenska Dagbladet reports that sales of ready-meals has gone down in Sweden due to a major wave of criticism regarding their nutritional content and, too often large number of additives such as E-numbers and food colourants. Personally I think it is fantastic that consumers learn more about food and nutrition and demand better food. However, I don't think it is fair to pass on all the criticism on the food industry. Consumers also have to take responsibility for what they at the end of the day decide to eat. If consumers want and are prepared to pay for healthy and nutritious foods and ready-meals, I'm convinced that the food industry will ensure that this is being delivered on their plates.

Interesting facts from Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey

All the information below has been copied from the study... Which claims that:
Recommendations by personal acquaintances and opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising globally, according to the latest twice yearly Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries.
The Nielsen survey, the largest of its kind, shows that nine in every ten Internet consumers worldwide (90 percent) trust recommendations from people they know, while seven in every ten (70 percent) trust consumer opinions posted online.
However, in this new age of consumer control, advertisers will be encouraged by the fact that brand websites – the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising – are trusted by as many people (70 percent) as consumer opinions posted online"Brand websites, globally the most trusted form of advertiser-led advertising, hold the greatest sway in
China (82 percent). Following China are Pakistan (81 percent) and Vietnam (80 percent). However, brand websites tend to be trusted least amongst Swedish (40 percent) and Israeli (45 percent) Internet consumers. The U.S. ranks 22 amongst the countries surveyed with 70 percent of U.S. Internet consumers trusting brand websites."

How come Swedes are least impressed by brand websites? I'm intrigued and will get back to this topic once I know more...

Life is not about the days that pass - it's about the days you remember...

I think that the Swedish travel group Fritidsresor has done a great job with their new commercial. They've captured a very interesting and strong consumer insight which they've then used to develop a creative idea. And the idea has been executed well! The insight centres around something like 'you only remember the days in life that are somewhat special' and the idea is that a Fritidsresor trip can create those very special days and moments that are truly memorable. I think they've then managed to deliver this message in a strong emotionaly way in their commercial and also in the print and web ads that I've seen. I like it and I think it is the best I've seen in the travel business for a long time. Well done Fritidsresor!

Friday, September 18, 2009

David Aaker - definetely worth reading

Another couple of books that sit firmly on my shelves back home are:
Building Strong Brands
Brand Leadership / with Erich Joachimstahler
Brand Portfolio Management
All three great books albeit being slightly too 'American style writing' for me at times. But Aaker is definetely worth reading, he certainly has lots of knowledge and delivers great cases too.

FMCG Concept Development part 1

Concept development within the world of FMCG is one of the things that I thoroughly enjoy. It's so much fun to see those ideas behing crafted into concepts and then developed into the very tangible products that you and I see everyday on the supermarket shelves. I also find it very rewarding to see that good concept development (that includes products that execute the concept benefits) gets rewarded with high distribution, good margins and high sales volumes.
So, how do one recognise a good concept. Well, first of all, a good concept is not something that's simply written once and then... "Hey, I've got a great concept here and it's going to be a winner!". No, the first thing a good concept needs is a strong idea that delivers against an insight or specific need in a clear target group. This is a very good start! Too often rushed marketeers rush straight to the idea stage without thinking about target groups, needs and insights. This often leads to a whole lot of ideas but also a whole lot of weak ideas.... Need to stop for today but I will get back to this in FMCG Concept Development part 2.

I've identified that brilliant brand!

I read an article today on E24 and realised that I came across that brilliant brand that I want to write about. It's Lexington - the small bed linen turned mega lifestyle brand of a century! Lexington is everywhere and it grows stronger and stronger by the day. And what I did not know is this - Lexington is actually a Swedish company that sells the American dream via their very American brand. I was so surprised to find this out and must admit that I feel a bit like an ignorant idiot not knowing those facts. Did you all know out there?
Anyway, Kristina Lindhe and her colleagues has done a tremendous job with Lexington. Today it is a strong lifestyle brand that sells great products with a strong emotional connection to the promise of a New England luxurious living. And throughout their collections and brand communications they stay very close to this single, strong emotional promise. It's well executed and I'm very inspired by the intelligence behind the Lexington brand!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where's that brilliant brand?

I want to be inspired by a brilliant new brand... the last few days I've searched around the supermarket shelves, central Stockholm retail outlets and the TV ads but it's nowhere to be seen... I want to see something fresh, thought provoking and new. I hope I will find it soon!

The three most important cornerstones of marketing: segmentation, segmentation and segmentation

This will be the very first time that I write about market segmentation on this site. I'm one of those people who just love segmentation and what it offers! And the reason why I regard this marvellous tool so highly is this. Segmentation is like the torch in a pitch dark room. If you have your segmentation in place you can identify the right direction and move along. And if you don't have it you will always feel slightly lost. Not to mention that you will spend countless hours discussing 'who should be my target group?', 'how big is this market?', 'in which direction should I take this brand?' and so on, and so on.
Unfortunately it's my belief that the highly important area of market segmentation is not taught well at Swedish universities. And I believe that there are many out there who think that effective segmentation is 'a la' Kotler style ... 'demographic', 'geographic' bla bla bla...
And, it's certainly not! Effective market segmentation is about creating an in depth understanding of consumer needs and consumer mentality. And to break down this complex set of data into manageable chunks of 'similarity' or likeness'. Each chunk then represents a certain consumer need or consumer type. I will get back to this in more detail soon!

Air Berlin - clever campaign

The new campaign by Air Berlin is clever, it's just a shame that it just seems to be print. I haven't seen it on TV and I cannot spot it on the web either. Basically it's a cynical and very true joke about the benefit of 'no extra charge' customer service that Air Berlin offers compared to all the incredibly annoying extra fees and horrific service that their 'very cheap' competitor Ryanair offers. It's true and it's good from a competitor brand that needs to deliver a differentiated offer.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Direct - their customer service still rocks!

First Direct is a UK based bank which has something that few other companies have. They have absolutely fantastic customer service. They rise in my esteem every time I call them and I have been a customer for some time now. You would have thought that they should have messed up their customer service at least once... but no, they are a pride for their sector. And indeed, few companies in other sectors can compete with them. I think they are the best! Yesterday I felt so pleased after having talked to their customer service representative. She made me feel like an appreciated customer. First Direct does place customer service above all else and I think the UKs best bank for customer service is part of their positioning in the market. That says a lot about how important customer service is and I am sure that First Direct makes a lot of money off the back of delivering against that positioning.

I think the whole area of customer service is very very important. Companies need to ensure that they build long lasting customer relationships - not pissed off customers who walk off and talk dirty words about them. Have anyone else got a good example of a company that gives fantastic customer service? I don't think that there are that many around...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dirty news about IKEA...

So... it was just a matter of time until it happened. Now a former employee of IKEA called Johan Stenebo tells us all the nasties behind this famous Swedish brand. I get a bit pissed off... Because I'm one of these people who just love IKEA. IKEA is an amazing Swedish innovative brand and something that all Swedes should be so very proud of. In fact, I find that IKEA is better at promoting Sweden abroad than the Swedish tourist council (sorry guys!). Durint the many years I have lived abroad IKEA has been an oasis of Swedish life and culture. I personally don't care if there are some issues behind the scenes in the Kamprad family. They are still doing a marvellous job and that is enough for me. They are innovative, with fantastic products, and a great strong brand that has more presence than most. Go IKEA!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Demand for premium despite recession

Mintel are reporting on some interesting news in the UK. They claim that shoppers are still turning to premium products, despite generally trading down as part of the recession. And remember that the recession have hit Britain much worse than Sweden... So as far as trading down goes - what do the cash-strapped British shoppers do. Well some of them have traded-down from brands to own-label (but remember that own label is of high quality in the UK). Shoppers also claim to save money by purchasing more products on special offers, with 54% reporting buying more deals. Some 51% claim to eat out less, while 21% says that they buy more products from discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl.

This is not surprising at all - the interesting news are that as consumers claim to have saved money by splashing out less, they also claim to treat themselves more on products such as confectionery or premium ready meals. I think this is really interesting news. I have been told so many times by fellow marketeers that the recession will hit hard on premium foods - I don't think it will! Consumers have different needs and their demand for nice foodstuffs won't disappear due to the recession. And food is not particularly expensive if you compare to other goods. It is certainly easier to treat yourself to a nice pack of chocolates or a good bottle of wine rather than a new car...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

SonyEricsson - interesting news coming!

Sony Ericsson is apparently about to embark on its “largest ever marketing campaign to date”. And apparently this is as part of its overall strategy to reposition itself as a “communications entertainment” brand with the slogan Sony Ericsson make.believe.
I was glad to here of these news and of course I'm very excited to see the campaign. And Sony Ericsson is certainly right to do something about its pretty dull positioning - I just hope that they've spiced it up enough. Three new handsets called Satio, Aino and Yari have been earmarked as the big hope to help to reposition SE. So hopefully those handsets are something else.
I do hope this positioning and the new handsets can be the new start for SE. And a new beginning as part of them sorting out their problems. They are certainly in a highly competitive and technically innovative market. It certainly can't be easy with Apple standing at the forefront of innovation and with their very cool credentials. But then, just look at how Apple reinvented themselves... That should be inspiring enough for Sony Ericsson!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Have you identified your Opportunity Platforms?

Many people simply approach innovation as brainstorming exercises - with the principle of 'the more ideas the better'. If you use this approach you might be lucky and come up with some winners... however, most often you come up with a list of me-too loosers or uninspiring and fast forgotten line extensions...
I believe that efficient innovation comes from structured AND creative innovation exercises against well-defined opportunity platforms. And the more you know about your identified opportunity platforms the better. Some questions you need to ask yourself include e.g. if you know the market size of the platform, if you have estimated its future sales potential (based on current sales and emerging trends), if you know your competition and their strenghts and weaknesses and if you really do understand the consumer / customer? So, there's certainly a lot of analysis to do before actually embarking on the more creative elements of idea generation such as various brainstorming exercises! I will certainly write more about this topic some other day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I admire the Ipren 400mg commercial

What a great piece it is! It's to the point and it clearly emphasises the benefit of Ipren. Yet it is both memorable and entertaining. And it is one of those commercials that you'd enjoy watching over and over again. I would like to know which advertising agency came up with this idea. Anyone who knows out there? If you haven't seen it yet you must. The link should take you there.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm sick of the price focus in food retail...

I know that consumers are concerned about spending money at the moment but still, just how much insight work lies behind the massive price focus in food retail?
I want to know. All the major food retailers focus massively on lowest price and saver deals at the moment... I fear that they forget that there are loads of other reasons for the shoppers to visit their stores. How about selection, ambiance, customer service... Why not identify some insights and fab points of differentiation and then build a strong positioning against those instead of simply focussing on price and deals. Add a low (it might not have to be the lowest) price to that and you are sure to build loyalty over time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mariestad commercial - excellent strategic execution

One of my favourite commercials at the moment is for the beer brand Mariestad. The link should take you to the commercial that I am talking about. Mariestad is one of the most popular beer brands in Sweden - I'm not updated on their latest sales figures but it's certainly amongst the top 3 sold beer brands. And its positioned as the beer brand of choice for those who enjoy the fine side of life. The most recent commercial (superbly directed by Jonas Åkerlund) emphasises that point really well. I like it and I am impressed with the strategic analysis and positioning job that Spendrups must have done to set Mariestad on the market. It shows that they've done a good segmentation and consumer insight job for a start - something that's too often overlooked.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nielsen Sweden - FMCG launch of the year 2009

I just read the Nielsen nominees. And after doing so I got even more convinced that Sweden needs more FMCG innovation. This years nominees are:
1. Pågen Subs (bread)
2. Procordia DIY Crumble fruit pies (frozen)
3. Arla Foods - Lactose free milk
To me it's obvious who should win. The really innovative product of the ones that Nielsen has nominated is by far Procordia DIY Crumble. Pågen Subs - yes, good idea but I don't personally find it category changing. It would be interesting to see what it has added in incremental sales. Arla Foods Lactose free milk - consumers have wanted it for years and I'm simply surprised that it has taken Arla so long to provide it. And then Procordia Do It Yourself Crumble mix (see photo)- I love this product. It's so simple. With fruit and crumble in one bag the stressed out mums and dads of today can cook a crumble in minutes without the mess! And with very simple instructions you cannot fail. Nevermind that the crumble will never look and taste as good as homebaked - it is still an incredibly convenient and smart product! Keep up the good work Procordia!

The market research brief - spend your energy on it!

I have seen many market research and project briefs over the course of the years. Few are really good, some are OK and loads are rubbish! A good brief is highly important to ensure that you get what you ask for - a brilliantly run market research that answers your questions. And don't forget that you pay quite a bit of money to have those questions asked!

So, what's a good brief then? This is my very simplified content list of a good research brief. It's then up to the writer to ensure that all of the content makes sense in the end. But if you start what I've stated below you will be on your way to a good brief writer.
1. Market and project background
Provide the reader with a decent market and project background. Some things are secrets but the more you can tell the better. However, ensure to Keep It Simple Stupid! Be matter of fact with the background - no novel writing please.
2. Purpose / Research Objective
Clearly state the purpose of the market research - what is the big reason for you to spend any time or money on this project? What big question should it answer?
3. Questions (that this research should answer)
Include the big questions that the research must answer. Be very specific and clear here. I usually include a list of 10-15 questions. This helps the research agency to understand the scale of the research, the right methodology, the sample and more.
4. Timeframe
Include the timeframe and be very clear about at what different times you need your deliverables. Be realistic.
5. Methodology
Add your thoughts (if you have any) on what sort of methodology you have in mind. If you want the research agency to suggest a methodology - say so. Also, try to be specific about whether you and your organisation are interested in something very traditional (e.g you will only accept traditional focus groups) or if you are interested in something else and perhaps a mix of disciplines to ensure that you tackle the questions as well as possible.
6. Sample and target group
Include your thoughts on the sample and the mix. Clearly state the target group for the research - this is very important! If you aren't specific here the research agency cannot provide you with good information regarding the costing.
7. Other issues to consider
Here you include information on other things that may have an impact on the project. E.g. you may have a consumer segmentation that you want to research agency to use when they write the recruitment spec. You may also have another project that will have an impact on the research - to ensure that the agency allows time in the timeframe for you and the team to look into that data/information.
8. Team
State who's in the project management team and their roles.

I think that is all, but I might add to this list again. Don't forget to finish your brief with information regarding which day you expect an answer and how you would liek that answer (presentation in person, powerpoint, etc).
Good luck with your brief writing!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One of my favourite books - The Brandgym by David Taylor

A very short note today to tell you about my so far favourite brand book. It's called The Brand Gym and it was written by a guy called David Taylor. I really like it because it is so hands on. David has simplified a lot of stuff - sometimes he has simplified it a bit too much for my liking... But all in all, the Brandgym is a really good and practical book for those of us who love concept development, insight and brand strategy. I also find the many cases in the book inspiring. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kalori - good idea but can it be a long-term successful concept?

It's fun to see innovative thinking within the restaurant business. And this is a nice example of a simple yet very clever restaurant concept that I visited today - the Stockholm based lunch restaurant Kalori. Kalori is a health concept restaurant based on the idea that none of the meals on offer should include more than 400 calories. And Kalori also offers a range of health drinks for the stressed out office workers around the corner. I like the idea - it is a good and very simple to understand idea in theory. But when reality sets in execution is everything... And I did not find Kalori's execution good enough. Why? Well, I belive that food must always look great and taste good. The retail space, the food on offer, the taste - everything could have been so much better if Kalori had added more flavour and taste to its low calorie concept.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fresh innovative thinking by Göteborgs Kex

In the past you wouldn't have called the Swedish company Göteborgs Kex innovative - but over the last few years something has happened. I particularly like the new product ranges Bageriets Bästa and Utvalda. Bageriets Bästa is a range of premium, american style cookies and Utvalda is a range of premium cheese crackers.

Let us delve a bit deeper into Bageriets Bästa. The first smart move by Göteborgs Kex was to identify the market need for a more premium style biscuit line in Sweden. I must admit that I was pretty horrified by the biscuit selection at my local Ica when I first saw it after eight years working in London (a biscuit mecca by the way!). But then came Bageriets Bästa! Göteborgs Kex had managed to not only produce a really fine tasting biscuit - almost like home baked. They had also managed to package it very well indeed! Firstly, the products are supported by well executed packaging design - perfect for the target market (which I bet is 30-50 year old women?) And then they've added those lovely personal product names linked to the inventors of each cookie. And of course I wanted to try 'Emelies Berry Dream' or 'Fridas Oats and Heaven' cookies. However, when I then read the script on the package I got a bit doubtful of Fridas and Emelies existance... Were they real or just another marketing gimmick? Göteborgs Kex press contact claims they are real - I still feel a bit doubtful and I do want to know more about those great cookie inventors!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lovefilm - great example of brilliant customer service

I really enjoy movies and I have spent a lot of money renting DVDs over the years. A while back my brother (who also likes his movies) introduced me and my husband to Lovefilm - I think he gave us an 'introduce a friend' Christmas offer. The offer gave us three months free of charge membership. Since then we have been Lovefilm subscribers. We started off with the 3 movies per month offer and we were really happy with the service from day 1. However, only recently we realised how amazing and customer oriented Lovefilm really is! This started when we had our baby and thus needed to freeze our membership for a while (babies are time consuming little things!). We were impressed that Lovefilm did not have any problem with us freezing our membership. And then a few weeks ago we wanted to see if we could change our membership to something less time demanding and less costly e.g. one movie per month. This was also no problem! Lovefilm has clearly realised that the cost of attracting new customers is higher than maintaining current relationships. Few companies truly understand this magic formula (compare to the rigidity of e.g. telecom companies). I'll certainly remain a Lovefilm subscriber.
If you want to know more about Lovefilm - check out their UK website which has far more content compared to the Swedish version. There's also an ad on YouTube:

Monday, August 17, 2009

The challenge of identifying true and real insight

I like the fact that Insight is taken more seriously these days. However, I have often heard the word Insight being used to describe a simple state a fact or some simple market data - not real insight.
So what is real insight then? Well, from my point of view real insight is derived from thorough analysis and consumer or market understanding. Real insight is a deep and strong understanding which opens up interesting thoughts and market opportunities. Let me demonstrate this. Compare e.g. the following three statements:
1) 40% of the UK population drink coffee and of these, 5% drink more than 5 cups per day.
2) Many women buy their own cars but many women state that they feel inadequate when they visit a car retailer.
3) Working men and women spend less time watching TV compared to those not working.

The first statement is simply data - this data offers you a basic understanding of the market but it's not insight (do you see any opportunity arising?). The third statement is interesting information. But, it doesn't offer any real insight. So, let's look at the second statement. This is what I would call an insight statement. Why - you say? Because this statement tells you something interesting and new about these women. You know already that a lot of women these days have the purchasing power to buy a nice new car. However, many feel inadequate whey they visit their local car retailers. So what? Well, how about this? If a car retailer would like to utilise this insight they should ensure that they understand what makes these women feel inadequate. An opportunity might be to develop a service and retail environment which suits these women better. Why not a specialist car retailer who caters for women needs? I think that could be a great opportunity!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Marketing - the perfect mix of analysis and creativity

Why do I get a buzz from working in marketing? I have asked myself that question many times and the simple answer is - it really suits me and the way my brain works. For me marketing represents the perfect mix of thorough analysis and more intuitive creativity. A really good marketeer needs to be able to analyse and value his data and statistics whilst at the same, he or she can never excell at marketing without a creative mindset. It is not an easy task to balance this right and left brain thinking and to draw strong and cut-through insight from data which then allows him or her to create strong and creative market propositions. It's a challenge and that's why I think it is so much fun!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Frebaco - new costume for a tired brand

I want to write something about Frebaco - a Swedish muesli brand that I had never purchased before simply because it just looked so incredibly dry and non appetizing (see the lower photo). But a few weeks ago I spotted this new Frebaco - with a product design that all of a sudden looks simply mouth-watering (upper picture). Good work Frebaco. This is a real lift to your brand! However, it is a real shame that your website and the rest of the product range looks so dull and dry. Have you got some good brand values in place - let us know! Tell us what your company and your brand is all about. If it's any good - let us see this in the whole product range!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Evian - Totally expressing 'Live Young' !

I'm totally impressed with the latest ad campaign and commercial from Evian called 'Roller Babies'. Evian has worked with the 'Live Young' theme for a few years and I love the way that they committed themselves to link the brand to a real consumer need and to express their brand essence of youthfulness and vitality through the line - in all of their communication. Fantastic! Watch it and get energised!

A brand that I love - Gü

In the UK I discovered Gü - a fabolous brand with magnificent products for girls like me who like their moorish yummy desserts. Let me tell you something about why this is such a marvellous brand. The story begins with James Averdieck, who is Gü’s MD. James came up with the idea of launching superbly yummy chocolate desserts when he was working in Belgium. And we all know that Belgium offers some great chocolate!

James launched Gü in the UK in 2003. And the success was pretty imminent. Today it’s estimated that a Gü dessert is eaten somewhere in the world every 2 seconds!

What I love about them? The idea was simply great - both the consumers and the retailers were ready for Gü's mix of great tasting fresh chocolate desserts from a brand that is both sweet and heart warming. And the best of all - my impression is that this brand hasn't lost it's credibility over time - it's still as yummy and sweet as when it was first launched.
Visit their website:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sales of electrical goods - lack of differentiation...

I have recently been frustrated by the total lack of understanding for consumer or customer needs within the world of electrical goods.

E.g. this week I've seen dozens of commercials from electrical goods companies on Swedish television. Every commercial promises the lowest price. Are there no other points of differentiation in the world of electrical goods and home appliances?

Guess what, I have also visited SIBA, Media Markt and Elgiganten during the last few weeks and they are all doing the same thing... So far I haven't experienced any difference. Their interior displays, the products on offer and their customer service - it's all very similar. This might still work well for them but I lack imagination when it comes to how they express their brand and their consumer understanding.