Saturday, September 4, 2010

Samsung set to Challenge iPad - New Tablet Unveiled

Samsung has decided to go head to head with Apple. After launching it's own smart phone to rival the iPhone, now Samsung has developed it's own iPad which it promises to be a better option. The new device was unveiled at the IFA consumer electronics unlimited show in Berlin. Rumors have it that the new table will go for sale at as low as half the price of the iPad. Apple sells the iPad starting at £429. Data plans are then sold separately by mobile companies, including O2.

Image: Ipad on the left and the Samsung Tablet on the right

The Galaxy Tab, as Samsung has named it, has a seven-inch screen, making it smaller than the iPad. It runs on Google’s Android operating system, for which there are thousands of apps available, and can be used either with a wifi connection or on 3G, as long as the user has access to some sort of data plan.

Unlike the iPad, Samsung’s device is able to load web pages built using Flash. It also has a camera on the front and back, a feature not included on current models of iPad.

Moreover, users can continuously communicate via e-mail, voice and video call, SMS/MMS or social network with the optimised user interface.

Reports say that it could go on sale for as little as £200, although the company has not confirmed the pricing or the exact launch date. Samsung is only one of a number of tech companies that is entering the tablet computing market. Amongs other rivals are Binatone who revealed their model earlier this week (which however does not have 3G capability) and BlackBerry and Lenovo, who are set to unveil their option later on this year.

Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone has been a hit with consumers and reviewers. It has been promoted in a wide-ranging ad campaign, including television, outdoor and online.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Is social media still an option for businesses?

Today I'n not writing an article as I'll let the video below do the job...

Do you think that Social Media is an option for Businesses today? Well think about the internet, do you think business have an option whether to have a presence there? The same can be said for social media...the number of users there is not small at all, so it might be worth a try.

Have a look at this video and then let me know what you think...

For those who cannot access Youtube, you can access the video from the following free proxy site:-

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is your website customer focused?

Recently I finished working on a couple of website and while analysing the different competitor website before undertaking each and every job, I noticed a stunning fact...some companies still haven't realised that the world does not revolve around them! Some sites are simply egocentric - they are more interested in telling people what they do, who their people are, what achievements they made etc etc, rather then serving their customer needs..i.e. solving customer problems.

The fact is that it is already difficult to attract visitors to your site, and probably when you do manage to attract them the average visitor has an attention span measured in seconds, and he scans the web instead of reading every word. Hence an egocentric website simply turns people off.

A well thought website on the other hand, doesn’t leave a visitor stranded, searching for the customer benefits of the company’s products or services. It is customer driven, provides clear benefit statements and is designed using an outside in perspective. Just think of the reasons your visitors go to your website and your goal should be to help them achieve their goal as effortlessly as possible.

Let's take a fictitious example to illustrate this:

We’re visiting a florist website. Their target market? Flower buyers for special occasions.

The homepage leads off with:

"Since 1975, ABC Florist has delivered flowers to more than 500,000 persons worldwide. What distinguishes us from competition? State-of-the-art technology – including the latest in flower growth and monitoring devices – along with six sigma processes to ensure the highest quality."

How does this sound to you? Where do you, as a customer fit in?

While prospects and customers care a lot about the companies they deal with, they care first and foremost about their own needs. In this instance: “How will ABC Florist help me?”

Here’s another version of the homepage into:

“Whether you are looking for Red, Blue, White or any other color matched flowers, there no need to look further as no other company offers a wider selection, faster delivery or more customer-friendly service than ABC Florist.

Independent surveys show that ABC Florist is the most reliable when it comes to product delivery and we're working to continue improving...

ABC Florists stands for Great selection, Fast delivery, Friendly service...there's no other match.

This time, the homepage speaks to customer and how the company can help them. In this case I still refered to the fact that ABC Florist has the best delivery and the widest variety, but I did so in the terms of the benefits this will bring to the customer...Best selection gives the user more choice and best delivery ensures that the flowers arrive fresh and when the customer needs them.

This is simple identify the customer needs and provide a product or service that meets that need...In this case the website in an extension of the company products and hence must make sure that this too meet customer needs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tesco launches new initiative

In the race to keep its market share, Tesco is constantly trying to find new ways how to increase sales. The the initiative that the retailer unveiled will allow customers to order groceries online then pick them up without having to leave their cars...they just drive through give their name and order number and will be able to pick up the groceries.

The trial is to launch at the Tesco Extra store in Baldock, Hertfordshire, and will be promoted with leaflets distributed in-store and via online deliveries locally. Tesco hopes that this initiative will boost its online shopping, which to date generates sales of about £2.1bn and profits of £136m. This service, if it picks up, will also decrease the delivery costs and increase the potential profits of this service.

Who is expected to use this service mostly? The supermarket expects the service to be used by busy mothers, as well as young professionals who cannot commit to waiting at home for delivery. The need flexibility but at the same time cannot afford the time to shop instore. Customers will be able to order their shopping via, choose the 'click and collect' option and book a two-hour collection slot.

Unfortunately the service is not provided free of charge, which might affect the success of the project. A flat fee of £2 will be added to the bill. However the £2 could still be worth it for time pressed people.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Will people be willing to pay for online access to newspapers?

Does it pay to offer news services online for a charge? This question has been asked by most of the newspapers that offer free content online but very few of them dared to test whether this would work. Surprisingly News International, publisher of the Times decided to take the challenge and start to charge for what it considers a quality newspaper.

Comparative results were recently issued by ComScore and it shows that in May, the free-to-access website attracted 2.79 million unique users in the UK, a slight increase on the level of the previous three months. News International launched its separate and websites on 25 May. It made registration compulsory and began redirecting users from the old site on 15 June and started charging for access to both sites on 2 July.

From figures released by ComScore, the combined number of unique visitors to the two new sites (pay sites) has fallen to 1.61 million in July, from 2.22 million in June, and 2.79 million in May. This had an effect on the average number of minutes each user spent on the site which was 7.6 in May, 5.8 in June and 4 in July. Also page views have dropped from 29 million in May to 20 million in June and 9 million in July.

To try to attract users to their pay sites, News International has run an introductory offer offering subscribers 30 days' access for £1. Its normal pricing is £1 for a day's access to The Times and The Sunday Times and £2 for a week, while subscribers to each newspaper get free access to the related website.

No indications have yet emerged from the company as to how many people have subscribed or how much revenue subscriptions have generated.

Will such strategy be effective? Will have to reduce the cost of advertising due to the drop in visitor figures; and if so, will the revenue generated from subscriptions offset the difference? Few people tend to be willing to pay for what other competitors offer for free especially for something as intangible as online access to a newspaper...will News International rethink its strategy to move back again to a free version?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mining giant BHP makes huge offer for Fertiliser giant

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, the world largest fertilizer producer, on Tuesday has rejected a takeover bid of around $39 billion from BHP Billiton. The bid which is reported to have been made, was for $130 per Potash share, which represents a 20% premium on the share price of last week. The offer is believed to have for cash.

According to the Financial Times, the BHP's offer was rejected on the basis that is was grossly inadequate as it undervalues the company. Potash vowed that it will remain independent as it is believed that it has the right to use a poison pill, that will enable shareholder of the target company (in this case Potash) to acquire additional shares in the company after the takeover for a very discounted price. Such right would make the takeover less attractive as increases the price the acquirer has to pay (or suffers dilution).

Potash refused the bid on the belief that the fertilizer industry is just coming out of the recession and hence it is greatly undervalued. It is believed that PotashCorp shareholders could benefit from the current and potential value of the company as Potash is well geared to take advantage of the upturn. The industry is geared to become more consolidated as the further companies in different countries such as Russia and Canada seek to buy competitors to strengthen their market position.

Today BHP announced that it will take the bid to another level as it said it will take the offer directly to shareholders and hence become hostile...let's see how this huge proposed takeover will eventually end

Peperami will launch first crowed sourced advert

Peperami have launched their crowed sourced advert after they ended their relationship with media agency Lowe which has lasted 15 years. The ad which can be seen below, features Animal, the brand's famous character, who speaks to the viewer about a day spent with his offspring, mini mischievous versions of himself.

The strapline reads "Peperami Nibblers. It's little bits of an animal", referencing the established Peperami strapline "It's a bit of an animal". The ad will first air on ITV1 during 'Coronation Street' on 23 August, with media planned and bought by Mindshare.

The idea for the advert was conceived and scripted by Rowland Davies, an ex-creative director from Munich. Davies entered a competition together with Kevin Baldwin, a copywriter from London, who came up with a press treatment. The team was crowned winner from 1,185 entries to a competition with a $10,000 prize handled by crowdsourcing specialist Idea Bounty.

Peperami managing director, says that Peperami is a brand which is bold enough to experiment with new ideas and advertising techniques in an increasingly consumer-driven world. However this could be a very dangerous idea as sometime entries might be of the level of an ex Munich director and the company might have ended losing time searching for a crowed sourced advert and having still to go back to an agency for the idea development of the advert.

What do you think about this technique?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Android crowned winner

Figures published by Gartner (tech analysts) reveal very ineresting figures. Although the finnish company Nokia has sold more handsets in the second quarter of 2010 then the same period last year, its share of the market has slipped from 51% to 41%.

But you might say, is this possible giventhe hype around the iPhone? Apple's share of the smartphone market increased only by 1.2% points, up to 14.2% for the quarter, which includes the first few days of iPhone 4 sales in the US. In this regard, Apple has claimed that iPhone 4 has been the most successful launch in its history. Gartner's figures show that 8.7 million iPhones sold for the period, but this includes the older iPhone 3G and 3GS, and it forecasts strong sales throughout the second half of the year.

The winner for of this battle was not an individual headset but the Android operating system, which is being used by manufacturers including Samsung and HTC to run smartphones. These have overtaken the number of phones running on Apple's iOS and have increase their market share from 1.8% last year to 17.2% this year.

This success is being attributed to the branding strategy adopted by Anroid and the non-exclusive strategy that enables the system to be used across many communication service providers. This availability to so many device manufacturers, is making the operating system more attractive to use in the latest generation of mobile phones.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Loaded Magazine Launches Energy Drink

British men's magazine Loaded ( is trying a new diversification strategy to try to boost it's revenue streams. After going into affiliate marketing by promoting Paddy Power and PKR amongst others, it has now unveiled its own branded energy shot drink product.

The magazine, owned by major publisher IPC, will launch a stamina shot, which the company claims it could help it's consumers boost their sexual performance. The drink which has been produced by Podium Brands will be available in a 60ml bottle. The company is hoping that Loaded energy drink will tap into a growing trend towards smaller, more functional energy products.

"It has been launched at a time when new research shows that energy drink consumers are making a switch from standard-sized energy drinks to energy shots and are keen to explore functional benefits other than pure energy," the magazine said.

Will IPC succeed in this brand extension? Will it manage to take a share of from existing energy drink power houses such as Coca Cola and Red Bull? Given that the Loaded readership has been decreasing year on year, the prospects are not so good as their readily available market is shrinking...they must invest in capturing new markets, but will people like to been seen with a loaded energy drink and associated with the magazine...let's wait and see

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

M&S to launch new breed of Ads

Who hasn't seen the M&S food adverts like those chocolate puddings with melting chocolate flowing from them! They were simply wanted to go and grab one!

This form of advertising was termed at the time as "food porn" for the way adverts were developed and the way there were presented....however this new form of Porn might come to an end as M&S has decided to focus on price and quality.

The retailer has stopped using its "This is not just..." endline in a new series of ads, in favour of the news strap line "Just because". According to M&S executive director for marketing, Steve Sharp, the ads will now concentrate on "quality, provenance, price, innovation, ethics and offers".

He said: "Virtually everyone loves M&S food – I've certainly never met anyone who doesn't – and everyone has their favourite things. However in these economic circumstances it's not enough to have a nice advert filled with indulgence...people need a bit of a justification to buy. "

The new campaigns which has been built on the success of the 'Quality Worth Every Penny' strap line which was introduced last year to celebrate our 125th Birthday, demonstrates the value and quality proposition that M&S wants to stand for in everything they sell, from clothes to chocolate.

The first of around 20 new M&S food ads, focusing on Easter products with the slogan "Quality worth every penny", is set to break on 26 March on ITV at 7.45pm, while a women swear TV ad launches on 24 March.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

EasyJet Advert targets Ryanair

EasyJet and Ryanair once again face each other in an advertising clash. This is not the first time that one of the airline's advert features the other company. This is what EasyJet did in its last campaign as it was promoting the fact that they fly to major airports whereas the others fly to smaller out of town airports!

The outdoor advert featured the tagline 'Who loves flying you to the place you actually booked?', obviously implying that Ryanair flies to airports some distance from the supposed destination city (sometime the airport can be as far outside the city as two hours bus ride). Under the Ryanair section the advert reported that 'Barcelona = Girona, Paris = Beauvais, Milan = Bergamo, Venice = Treviso'. In comparison to this, under EasyJet section, the same advert reported that they fly to 'Barcelona = Barcelona, Paris = Paris, Milan = Milan, Venice = Venice'.

Ryanair filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority claiming that Beauvais, Bergamo and Treviso had been officially designated as airports for their corresponding cities by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The budget carrier said also that the way they advertise the destination is faithful to the fact they report Girona as 'Girona (Barcelona)', rather than 'Barcelona (Girona)'.

The ASA took note of the complaint and agreed with Ryanairn on the basis that it was true that IATA had designated the airports for Paris, Milan and Venice respectively, and advised easyJet to seek copy advice from CAP for future campaigns.

EasyJet UK general manager Paul Simmons said he was "disappointed" by the ruling. He said: "It is a well-know fact that easyJet flies to major airports whereas Ryanair serves out-of-town airfields which can be a two hour bus ride away from your destination."

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sony PS3 faced calendar solved

Sony's competition with Nintendo Wii and Microsoft XBOX has taken another small dip yesterday as a problem with the PS3 has left many owners unable to access the PlayStation Network or even worse play some other the most sought after games including Heavy Rain.

PlayStation 3 owners worldwide yesterday report huge issues where they were actually locked out of their online accounts and were unable to use any of the PlayStation 3’s online features. An undisclosed number of games have fallen prey to the problem too, presenting perplexed PlayStation punters with a mystifying error code whenever they try to log on.

The issue has been taken very seriously by Sony who has put most of its engineers at work to identify the issue and come up with a solution. The solution was found a few hours after a it was discovered that the PS3 was recognising the year 2010 as a leap year and hence affected the switch from February 28 to March 1 date.

Sony took all steps to communicate updates to the public and has also been using its twitter account to distribute updates ( helped a lot relieving some of the pressure that gaming groups could have exercised if left in the dark!

Monday, March 1, 2010

HSBC thinking to take bonuses in shares rather than cash

After the huge issues that banks all over the world faced, with some of then having to be bailed out by public funding there is a huge issue around the issue of senior management bonuses. Some of the bank bosses of these banks, including Lloyds and RBS have already announced that they will be forgoing their bonuses. Now it's HSBC turn...although the bank hasn't been bailed out from public funding it still had to resort to a gigantic right issue (£12 bn) and public opinion was not in favour of such bonuses being handed out.
Michael Geoghegan, HSBC's chief executive, is believed to be ready to announce that he will not be taking the bonus in cash (as this could be a drain on the bank liquid finances) but instead could opt in taking his bonus in shares rather when the bank reports its full year results tomorrow.
HSBC is expected to announce it made profits of more than $11bn during 2009. But its chairman, Stephen Green, who is paid a salary of more than £1m will once again announce he will be waiving his bonus entitlements for the third consecutive month.

Will this surge of public anger in the face of huge bonus paid to banking executives lead to a new era of banking executives?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Milka to attract Dairy Milk...will it end up as the battle between Kraft and Cadbury?

Kraft...after it managed to acquire Cadbury it decided to go head to head with it's flagship brand...Dairy Milk. In this regard, Kraft is gearing up for a UK roll-out of its flagship Milka chocolate brand in the UK

Kraft will launch Milka with a TV campaign, created by Ogilvy, on April 19th. Shooting for the spots are expected to start next week. The activity will include multi variate advertising including adverts in the press to promote the six different Milka variants and highlight the fact that they are made with Alpine milk.

Currently Dairy Milk is market leader in the UK, with sales of £371m last year, (nearly twice as much as its nearest competitor Mars' Galaxy which made £192m last year).

Will this start causing distress already between these two confectionery brands?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A new flavour will hit the market the fifth taste

A new ingredient will hit British cannot be described as sweet or sour, bitter or is simply the Fifth Taste. This new taste is being launched by Laura Santtini, a chef and food writer.

The Fifth Taste, is basically a tube of umami, whose Japanese name roughly translates as "deliciousness".Waitrose will be the first supermarket to stock Taste No 5, a paste made from umami-rich foods such as tomato, Parmesan cheese and porcini mushrooms.

The new flavour, can be used as a main ingredient in stews, meat, and even as a condiment spread for panini, crostini and dressings. The existence of the umami taste was first discovered early last century by the Japanese and, although widely adopted in Italian cuisine, has only recently been accepted by Western scientists.
Will you be one who tries it? Let us know what you think about week will be on sale.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Toyota is still not out of the woods

Toyota's problems might not have ended at all as it is considering the global recall of 300,000 Prius hybrid models as it is being claimed that these might be suffering from braking problems on icy roads.

A spokesman for Toyota in Great Britain said that the company is looking at all the customer feedback and data they have from US and Japanese bases. However for the time being the company hasn't yet decided what to do.

Should it be admitted that yet another problem has affected another Toyota model, it prove to be a huge blow to the Japanese automotive giant, which has already launched the recall of eight million vehicles suffering with an accelerator pedal fault.

Toyota is actively working on PR to help reassure consumers on the quality promise of the brand. These promotions have been launched five days after the marque rolled out a similar campaign in the US.

Toyota is closely monitoring customer opinions and concerns and no decision has yet been taken on whether to run further marketing activity later on this week. In my opinion, Toyota should not look at costs of marketing at the time being and go aggressive to reassure its current and potential clients. One must remember that Toyota is associated with quality and such link must be defended as it represents a competitive advantage for the brand.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dominos change their route and take onboard Web2.0

Do you remember when Dominos was hit by a wave of negative publicity after some of its employees decided to put a video of their wrong doings online? At the time Dominos did not have any Web2.0 presence but was forced to go in and reply to the video in a few days.

From them on, Dominos looked at the internet as a good medium to promote. They have now issued a facebook campaign, basically a superfans app that sends users a promotional code linked to an offer. In addition there is an online competition to find Domino’s biggest followers or the 'Superfan King' and 'Superfan Queen'.

Fans have to compete between themselves on the number if fans they recruit. The winner will get prices from Dominos. The Domino's fan page on Facebook will also feature Domino's news, events and details of how to order online. Their change in online strategy can also be seen from the words ofDominos the outgoing marketing director who said that Facebook is central to Dominos social media strategy and this application will enable them to leverage the importance of brand advocates in growing their customer base.

Is this an admitance of the importance of the internet?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

HP seeks to make their offer more attractive to the online community

As more consumers turn online to listen to music and on such sites as Spotify, it is being made clear that to attract more customers these sites are a good tie up potential. HP has recognised this and has agreed a deal with subscription music provider Omnifone for 16 of its PCs in ten European countries to offer access to unlimited streamed music from all four major labels and leading independents.

Consumers who buy Pavilion, Presario and Envy PCs will be offered a 14-day free trial for the Musicstation service. The downside of this offer is that the service is time barred and that consumer, after the 14-day trial will be asked to pay £8.99 a month to continue receiving streaming access of up to ten MP3 downloads each month. Is this worth it after all?

Michael Paull, executive VP of global digital business for Sony Music Entertainment, said, “Consumers are asking for innovative digital music services that blend both access and ownership, and come pre-bundled with devices.” However my concern is that, will customers be lured to buy an HP because they are offering a 14day free trial? Most probably such free trials are already being offered by some of the sites themselves and hence this offer could end up not being attractive at all.

What is your opinion on this?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kraft made it...Finally it managed to get Cadburys commitment to sell

As they say the deal is no...and with this, Kraft have managed to get Cadbury's Board of Directors agreement to sell the company. This doesn't come for free to Kraft that has agreed to pay 840p per share which brings the total deal price of £11.6bn in a deal that involves both a cash and share element.

This is the second offer that Kraft made is much higher than the 745p which Kraft had made last September and that Cadbury had totally refused. The market was also expecting a move from either Ferrero or Hersheys as Cadbury preferred to be takenover in a friendly way (rather then in a hostile deal as Kraft tried to do in its initial approach) however both companies took to long to come up with an offer.

This deal did not go down really well with the famous US investor Warren Buffett who said that he had a lot of doubts on the deal. Kraft investors will not have the chance to vote on the deal, which involves the Kraft issuing 265m new shares, equivalent to about 18 per cent of its existing share capital, because that is below the 20 per cent level at which shareholder approval is required.

Mr Buffett, who holds more than 9 per cent of Kraft, said the company was worth more than its current stock price, which fell by 2 per cent at $28.72 in early Wall Street trading on Wednesday and hence the use of stock payment by Kraft make Cadbury's purchase a “very expensive deal”.

What do you think about the deal? Was it an ideal one or could Cadbury have made a better deal by waiting a bit more?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google takes action against Censorship

Google has made the first step forward towards keeping faith to it's mission of providing free access to information. In the regards, Google’s issued a threat to China that it is considering pulling out of the country rather than accept to continue self-censorship.

Google declared that it was the victim of a series of cyber-attacks that originated from China. The cyber attacks where not the usual one as these were very sophisticated and targeted Gmail accounts of Chinese Activists. Google said that only two accounts were hacked into and emails were not read.

Although one would expect that other companies would follow suit given that the first step has been taken, Microsoft decided to back out. The chief executive officer of the company, described the Google affair as “a Google problem” and said: “Every large institution is being hacked. I don’t think it’s a fundamental change in the security environment on the internet.”

How will this go ahead? Will Google back down and continue to pursue large earning potentials that China offer or will it step up it's battle?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Google to launch Nexus One

Google have developed and finally launched a new mobile headset that is set to be a direct competitor of iPhone. This phone is Google's first official mobile phone device from the time it acquired mobile operating system company Android in 2005 (the mobile is being built by manufacturer HTC).

The strategy that Google will adopt will be different from that of iphone when it comes to distribution. Although Google will launch the Nexus through Vodafone in the UK, the operator partner will not be granted full exclusivity (Iphone launched in the UK with partner O2 on an exclusive basis). The phone is set to go on sale in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong initially and will later be rolled out in the UK.

The touch screen, sleek phone will cost $179.00 (£111) for a two-year contract with T-Mobile USA. Nexus One can also be purchased for around $529 (£324) on its own. Verizon Wireless in the US will plan to offer services to customers in the near future.

Like the iPhone, Android offers fully integrated web-browsing and video applications with a five megapixel camera. The phone will offer 18,000 apps and but unlike the iPhone, Nexus One allows multiple use of applications at the same time. Users will also be able access Google maps, emails and aggregated contacts. A voice enabled keyboard has also been embedded for speaking text messages, emails, tweets and Facebook updates.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Royal Mail figures published

Royal Mail posted an increase in profitability for the first half of the year up to September 2009. The Postal Company said that its modernisation programme is a key reason why postal workers staged national strikes in October however it helped boost operating profit by £7m to £184m in the six-month period.

Various modernisation techniques were introduced including a walk-sequencing machine which involves a device which organises letters into the order the postmen and women will deliver them the next morning. Adam Crozier, the chief executive of Royal Mail, said the profits and improved delivery figures on record in the spring proved modernisation of the letters business was working.

The figures reported although they show an increase in profitability it also shows a decline in mail volumes . Mail volumes fell about 8 per cent in the period. This decrease resulted in an increase in rivals' volumes such as TNT Post UK and UK Mail are gaining share. To date, one in three letters is handled by rival companies, Royal Mail admitted.

The figures reported here do not include the effect of October's industrial action by 121,000 staff. This could mean that Royal Mail might lose more share to competing companies. Let's wait and see what the next results will report.