Sunday, August 11, 2013

Illegal Immigration - Campaign attracts criticism.

Was reading an article on Marketing Week and this was very interesting given the latest news about the issue of illegal immigration in Malta.

The British Home Office came under attack from the ad watchdog in an outdoor campaign that it  recently launched ordering illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest”. The watch dog received about 60 complaints about the campaign and those complaining have reported the campaign as being “offensive” and “irresponsible”. These comments were especially targetted towards the use of the word "Go Home"  which is one of the words used normally by anti immigration groups and racist  groups to attack immigrants. This could also incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multicultural communities.” The vans were driven in the areas of Hounslow and Brent.

The campaign features a vans driving around London carrying posters featuring handcuffs next to text ’In the UK illegally. Go home or face arrest” (image of van above). It features the number of arrests made in the area the van drives around.

How would other nations react if such a campaign was launched in their country?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Billboard Goes Live!

I came across this video about a billboard in Milan and I couldn't not write about it!
Basically how do you think would be the best was to promote a new insect repellent spray through a billboard? You might have a number of ideas but Publicis, together with Orphea (the brand of the spray) came up with a great idea!

They just turned the billboard into an insect trap and over a number of days the image of the spray was developing as it trapped more insects. It actually managed to catch more than 200,000 mosquitoes.

Although almost certainly motorists will not have the time to notice difference in the billboard or think what's happening, it got people talking and like in other similar cases, great ideas go viral! The press coverage that the billboard has attracted more than compensate for it's is obvious that the billboard has extended its reach far beyond those passers-by able to view it in person.

The only unlucky guys, apart from the insects themselves (obviously) were the workers who had the job of replacing the billboard poster...surely not the most pleasant of jobs.

Have a look at the video and let us know what you think:-

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Retail Giant H&M Sees a Big Market in India, Seeks Nod for 'Own' Co

Swedish fast-fashion retail giant Hennes and Mauritz, or H&M, has sought permission from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board of India to invest approx Euro 100 Million in the country to start a fully-owned company that will open 50 H&M stores. Faced with stagnating or slowing sales in key European and US markets, the world's second-largets apparel retailer by sales, has been eyeing emerging economies, including India, for a while.

If the proposal is approved, India will be the 50th market for H&M that had sales of $18 billion in 2012 from its over 2,800 stores globally.

The retail giant plans to fulfil all conditions of the country's single-brand retail policy that includes sourcing locally 30% of the total value of the goods purchased. It also assured it will not retail goods using the e-commerce platform. During his visit in February, while meeting commerce and industry minister of India, H&M chief executive labelled India as a "very interesting" market.

It's a huge market.  We are not there yet. More than a billion people live in India and in Sweden we are only 9 million but we have 150 stores (in Sweden), the H&M CEO said.

H&M will engage in import, export, marketing, distribution, warehousing, manufacture, production  and retail trade of products carrying the H&M brand. If its application is approved, it will sell 10 categories of products  in India such as clothes, footwear, cosmetics, handbags and fashion accessories, bome furnishing, home decoration, toys, kitchen utensils and cutlery among others.

In India, H&M's biggest rival and world leader in sales, Zara achieved break-even within the first year of this launch and has annual sales of INR 260 crore from nine stores. Several other brands such as Levi's haven't been so lucky and are still reeling under losses despite their decade old presence. 

Experts feel that H&M's global model is very similar to Zara-that of quickly duplicating and replicating fast fashion-a key reason why even the Swedish brand should click  with the Indian consumers.

H&M's caters to the mid-premium apparel segment which is one of the fastest growing categories even with a  high base. H&M's global supply chain model is amenable to the Indian context from shorter cycle replenishment and local sourcing. H&M follows in the footsteps of its Scandinavian peer, IKEA, which is currently waiting for the final approval to open 25 stores with an investment of INR 10,500 crore.

After six years of restricting foreign ownership in single-brand retail companies to 51%, India removed this sectoral cap in January and allowed global brands such as IKEA and Zara, which sell a variety of products under a single label to set up fully-owned companies in India. The original policy change came with a requirement of 30% local sourcing, but the government diluted that condition after overseas firms said it was not feasible.

More than one dozen single brand retailers are said to be sizing up the Indian market for entry, many of them in various stages of researching, partner scouting or filing for government approvals. Some of these are direct rivals of H&M including the largest casual wear retailer in the United States, Gap Inc, French apparel retailer Celio and Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo.

Source: The Economic Times | New Delhi | FRIDAY | 19 APRIL 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Long, Turbulent Flight Ahead for AirAsia in India

AirAsia could face a host of bureaucratic obstables to its flying plans in India as a miffed civil aviation ministry may cite the airline's losses on South-east Asian routes and lack of airport in India to delay or even deny key permissions.

Some of the country's leading airlines have also indicated their opposition to AirAisa's aircraft purchase programme, saying they could lobby with the ministry  to scuttle the purchases if they are large in number.

AirAsia, the hugely successful low-fare airlines promoted by Malaysian billionaire tony Fernandes, needs a raft of clearances from the governemnet,including a flying licence or  what is called in industry parlance an 'air operating permit'. It also needs basic infrastructure at airports, including parking bays, landing slots etc. and a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the ministry.

Last month, the airline formed a JV with the Tata Group and relatives of steel baron LN Mittal to launch a new budget airline in India's already crowded aviation market. The JV, where AirAsia will hold 49% received clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board despite opposition from the Indian aviation ministry.

Aviation ministry officials, already upset over the way AirAsia entered the country through a joint venture with the Tatas, may ask tough questions and cite external facctors such as the parent's performance in other coutnr, people close to the situation said.

The airline first needs an NOC from the civil aviation ministry before it can apply for an air oprating permit, a ministry official could arise as one of the key conditions necessary for the grant of an NOC is the health of the industry and its key players.

Source: The Economic Times | Friday 08th  March 2013

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What's in a brand?

What do Apple, IBM and Google have in common? They are all super brands, with a hefty $100,000 million price tag attached to the value of their brand alone (WPP, 2012).

What's in a brand? 

Within this blog, we've always tackled news relating to different brands, however it would be good to start off by understanding what actually makes a brand, and why branding is so important.

A brand can relate to any distinguishing name or symbol, such as a logo, sign, design that can identify one company, or it's products or services, from competitors. A brand also involves the image or association that comes to mind when consumers think about a particular company, product or service. Factors such as product quality, customer service and pricing will also have an impact on the brand - in fact, according to Amir Kassaei, a brand is 'the sum of all the experiences you have with a company'.

For example, when you think of McDonalds's you think about fast service, consistent food taste and quality; Kleenex is associated with a cleaning tissue that is soft yet strong.

Why is branding so important to overall business strategy?

1. Recognition

One of the key benefits of branding is that customers find it much easier to remember about a particular company. The brand in this case acts as a convenient reminder of reputation and good will. When a brand is easily recognisable, customers won't refer to 'that whatsitsname shop' or 'that consultant I met at the conference last week'.

To build recognition, a company needs to focus on unique identifiers and work hard to associate these with the company name in the minds of the public. Some examples include offering unrivalled customer service or using an unusual or eye catching colour combination (such as DHL).

2. Loyalty

Once people start building a positive experience with a recognisable brand, they are more likely to continue purchasing that product or service in future. The aim should be to build such a close bond with customers that they do not only repurchase, but they also up-sell and cross-sell to buy related items of the same brand, recommend the brand to their friends and stay away from competitors' offers. 

A strong brand identity helps to create and embed such loyalty - an example that comes to mind relates to the supposedly millions of people who have the 'Harley-Davidson' brand tattooed on their body. In some cases, customer loyalty to a brand can be so strong, that even the slightest change can have a significant impact on the way the brand is perceived. For example, when Coca-Cola decided to launch New Coke in 1985, the outrage and negative reaction that ensued by the public were so strong that Coca Cola had to retrace it's decision and go back to the 'old Coke'.

3. Price Premium

Nowadays, when competition can be extremely harsh, there can only be a few companies within a particular market that are known as the cheapest. All other market players, will need to identify ways of differentiating themselves from the rest of the market. 

A strong brand will help to achieve this - and will do so in such a way as to encourage customers to pay for the intangible benefits that they get by associating themselves with that specific brand. This might be because it makes them feel cool, clever, younger or more fashionable. Think of some people's willingness to fork out significantly more for a well branded pair of sunglasses (such as Gucci), versus an alternative unbranded pair. 

But how do you go about building a successful brand? We'll tackle this topic in our next article.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Brandless Shopping Experience

"As we become increasingly bombarded with information and stimulation, the world is becoming a noisier place." (Selfridges & Co)From a shopping point of view, I'm sure that many can identify with this. We are constantly being targeted by  different advertising offers, discounts and bargains. The shopping experience on its own can sometimes be a noisy, stressful nightmare.When Selfridges first opened 104 years ago, Harry Gordon Selfridge launched the Silence Room where busy shoppers could easily "retire from the whirl of bargains and the build up of energy". Selfridges have now brought this back as part of their No Noise initiative.

The new Silence Room has an insulated inner-sanctum, that is shielded from the noise and human traffic of the store. The initiative also includes The Quiet Shop, where interestingly, some of the world's most recognisable brands have taken the symbolic step of removing their logos - including Levi's, Marmite, Heinz and Clinique.

And if this is not enough, Selfridges have partnered with Headspace, the modern meditation experts so that through guided meditation they can deliver peace and quiet while shopping.

What do you think of this initiative? Even though it's an attempt to de-brand, there will undoubtedly be many consumers who will clamour to get hold of these special editions of favourite brand names before they are possibly discontinued!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Italian Brands Begin Partner Hunt In India

A clutch of Italian fashion brands is gearing up to enter India, in the latest thrust by high-end merchandise makers wanting to tap new money in a country where luxury retail is showing signs of a pick-up.

Fashion houses Moschino and Alberta Ferretti, Pollini, Gattinoni, Byblos and Scorpion Bay have signed up their entry strategy and partner search operations. Joining these brands are Brunello Cucinelli and Sergio Rossi who are also in talks for a partnership in the country.

India's luxury market is expected to touch $14.73 billion by 2015, according to industry estimates, from an estimated $8.21 billion this year. Analysts attribute it to the expanding class of high net-worth individuals in the country.

India is aleady playing host to sevelral foreign fashion brands, including Italy's Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Tod's and Boggi Milano, which sell their products through local partnerships.

Not all partnerships, however, have fared well, making potential entrants doublethink their India plan. Iconic Italian brand Prada is yet to enter the country, for instance.

India recently allowed 100% FDI in single-brand retail and 51% in multi-brand retail, but with a rider that 30% of sourcing should be done locally.

Despite the easing, luxury brands still prefer partnerships, as operations are easier through such arrangements.

Source: The Economic Times | Business of Brands | February 2013 | New Delhi | India