I recently visited the Good Food and Wine Show in Joburg, and I realized there that a brand can spend enormous amount of money on communication to, admittedly, obtain a high SOV (share of voice), but the impact of the message remains extraneous to the public. The Tastic stand at the show had minimal participation from the audience and the communication was more passive rather than interactive. The Spekko stand, on the other hand, was booming with people were invited to participate and interact with a famous chef on their cooking show. What was interesting was that the Tastic stand was rather stayed and staged while the Spekko stand which is the challenger brand to category leader Tastic, was more interactive and fun.
Spekko, up until recently has been quiet, and more of a price fighting lower LSM brand. They may have had a positioning, but consumers might not have been aware of it. It seems that they have now identified this affordable quality positioning as something they can own, and doing it with vengeance. Spekko showcased at the Good Food and Wine show, a relatively premium event, and in my opinion owned it better than the category leader. Their stand had more of an impact on me, and I definitely took note of their new ‘world’ range which seems to be a focus. Spekko is upping it’s game both in communication and product offering, and positioning itself up against Tastic while maintaining their value proposition.
It will be interesting to see how far Spekko takes it, and how consumers react to this. Does Tastic have an unbreakable brand equity, a guaranteed habitual purchase? Or can Spekko eat (excuse the pun) away at this?
Thobeka Sibiya, OIL InternRead more
Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages daily, yet it still seems as if many marketers neglect a basic common denominator in every human being irrespective of any colour, age, nationality and gender: the human touch.
One brand that does seem to understand this, however, is SAB’s Castle Lite. This brand has proved its worth by tapping into something which many consumers want: a cold beer. Castle Lite marketers knew that competing on packaging or taste alone against the likes of Heineken, Windhoek or Amstel, would be optimistic. Instead, they opted for the human sensory elements of see, touch and taste to validate their positioning of coldness in the marketplace. After all, most consumers always respond to their thirst for beer as a “need for a cold one”, an insight that Castle Lite understood and explored by introducing a thermo chromatic icon onto its packaging. It is in the shape of a nifty little snow castle, which is synonymous with the Castle brand, that turns blue when the beer is at the perfect drinking temperature letting the consumer know that the beer is ready to be enjoyed. It’s a gimmick, yes, but gimmicks are fun… and clearly they work! Today the brand is achieving exemplary results with an annual growth of over 25%, making it the largest growing premium brand in South Africa. In the words of Mr Norman Adami, MD of SAB, he articulated that, “we will not sacrifice volumes for brand equity. We don’t just make a brand more available, stack it high and discount it. We are not chasing volume or going head to head with Heineken, we are playing to our strengths, not theirs”.
The era of pushing brands to consumers has long passed its sell by date. The question marketers should be asking is, “What is in it for the consumer?”, because consumers are certainly not asking “What does this piece of communication tell me about the brand?”
In the words of Leo Burnett, “The greatest thing to be achieved in advertising, in my opinion, is believability. Nothing is more believable than the product itself”. This is a profound truth that, in my opinion, Castle Lite has incorporated through understanding the human touch.
Thabiso Ramolefe, OIL internRead more
Yesterday, OIL came across the Joburg TOODU list of activities for this spring . One of the events is a Bring & Braai fun day sponsored by 5FM and Robertson’s spices. What better way to get us out and about and enjoying the outdoors, a great idea!
The Robertson’s brand has been incredibly active of late. They have been everywhere, and doing it well! This Bring & Braai is yet another example of a great fit between brand and event, and they have made sure to bring it to life in-store with huge braai POS media and brand partnerships. In terms of the Robertson’s CI, it probably broke some rules, but it also works
What did get us scratching our heads, however, was the brand fit for 5FM. Both the event and the Robertson’s brand scream “family”, so we were left asking: Would this not be a better fit with 94.7 Highveld? We understand that bands like Flash Republic and The Graeme Watkins Project are rock bands with broad appeal, but 5FM is about youth and pushing bounderies… not mum, dad and the kids?
Strategic Planner, OIL JHBRead more
I’m no Justin Bieber fan but I must admit he’s a hard one to ignore. Take one glance at him and you naturally want to pass him off as just another new age teen sensation. That would be an easy solution but that’s not fitting for the biggest teen sensation on the face of the earth.
On closer inspection you’ll realize that there’s a lot to be learnt from the Justin Bieber brand by marketers, especially for those who are launching new brands/products in cluttered categories.
1. Fish where the fish are.
Justin Bieber’s entry into the music industry wasn’t a Cinderella story. As much as we’ve been led to believe that he was an overnight sensation – he wasn’t. Bieber was at first unable to secure any interest from major record labels and radio stations. The economic downturn and the inability to categorise his music were some of the hurdles he came across. This didn’t stop Bieber. He took to playing anywhere & everywhere that teen girls could be found. He performed at water parks, high school gymnasiums and malls. His dedicated mother would upload his videos onto Youtube. This is where Bieber would be discovered and where his loyal fan base was built. Giving up is not the answer, let your fans/customers give you the legs you need to enter the market. Persevere! Believe in your offering & don’t give up. It takes hard work & time to get to the top.
2.Harness the power of social media
The Justin Bieber brand was launched on Youtube and has relied on other social media platforms to further catapult his brand. Bieber relies on social media platforms to build a transparent relationship with his fans. His thousands of fans know they can rely on Twitter or Facebook to share a joke with Justin or to hear of his latest teen dilemma. Bieber will make appearances on traditional media (talk shows etc.), but his strength lies in his ability to remain directly connected to his fans 24/7.
3.You’re as strong as your team
Justin Bieber‘s team has ensured that they have consistently cultivated a winning brand. He has entrusted people with the right amount of passion and expertise to see him to the top – his dedicated mom (first manager), Usher (a seasoned industry veteran) and Scooter Braun (an influential young dedicated manager). Appoint the right people and you’ll stay winning.
4. Great hair helps!
Image is everything. Justin Bieber’s image has been closely monitored. From the clothes he wears, to who he’s seen with, the platforms he appears on and his mannerisms. He’s far from perfect – ok maybe his hair is! He’s cultivated a ‘boy next door’ image by associating with ‘Successful, influential and hard working’ Hollywood names. Usher, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian and Ludacris are a few that come into mind. Always remember that the company you keep speaks volumes about you.
We don’t know what the future holds for Bieber but he’s played his cards well up until now.
When Top of the Pops editor, Peter Loraine, dubbed Victoria Adams as “Posh Spice” in 1996, little did he or she know that this would be the kickstart to her career as a fashion icon and glam diva. Ironically, Victoria was the least noticed of the Spice Girls group, often criticised as the least musically talented of the lot. She was there to look pretty, and did just that.
Fast forward 15 years to the Baby, Ginger, Scary and Sporty Spice girls being all but unforgettable memories of great fun, but cringe worthy fashion crimes (Daily Mail) like the Union Jack boobtube, platform shoes and feather boas. All but one: Posh Spice has stood the test of time.
So how did Victoria build a brand that’s lasted and evolved over 15 years, in a highly critical celebrity-scrutinizing society? There is no denying that in managing to bag herself David Beckham, an icon in his own right, Victoria guaranteed her spot as a Paparazzi darling as the head WAG. But, we feel she deserves more credit in having actively carved her own path of brand building:
1) Define what you stand for & maintain it: Image has always been everything for Posh, and she knows it. She is never seen looking anything but glamorous. She has been critised for being too thin, too harsh, too unapproachable, but she never wavered or let the public get to her. She stayed true to herself, all the while evolving her style with the times.
2) Consistent single-minded messaging: Google anything about Posh and it goes directly to fashion. No doubt this has strategically been achieved through PR and website optimisation, but it has worked in slowly seperating herself from music (which she was never realy admired for) and the Spice Girls, to rather establish herself as an independent and intelligent style icon.
3) Engaging communication: Posh has treaded the media landscape very carefully. Along the way mastering the art of keeping a relatively private personal profile whilst divulging a few saucy details to keep the media enchanted. Posh has managed to maintain an air of mystery about her that has kept magazine editors and photo hogs eating out the palm of her stylish hand. In an age of tailored personal communication, Posh has picked Twitter as her weapon of choice. Again she’s opted for the medium with only a 140 characters to communicate that demands an even smaller amount of personal information! She’s no rookie.
4) Good ol’ fashioned hard work: Despite being married, and now pregnant with her fourth child, Victoria is constantly building the Posh and Becks Empire. In the quest to solidify her status as a reputable fashion icon, she broadened her empire with three stylish fashion ventures: dVb denim brand, Intimately Beckham Fragrances and Sunglasses labels. This ventures have managed to secured her a spot as a guest judge on Project Runway 2008, and accolades such as accessory designer of the year in 2011. Not to be outdone, Posh has also released two best-selling books; an autobiography and a fashion guide.
Her clever combination of PR , hard work and keen fashion sense have paid off handsomely for Posh. She’s managed to rise the above the commonplace titles such as ‘former girl band member’ or ‘WAG’ and solidified her spot as a bona fide style icon. Victoria has convincingly evolved from ‘pop sensation Posh Spice’ to ‘power couple Posh and Becks’ –a phase where David seemed the bigger star and finally to the more sophisticated ‘seasoned fashionista-Victoria Beckham ’ brand.
Kathryn Aquadro, Strategy PlannerRead more
In keeping with our colour psychology blog theme, we take a look at Blue brands.
Blue is known to be one of the most universally accepted colours with calming properties. Lighter hues of blue are associated with serenity and peace. Electric blues are associated with reinvigoration and exhilaration. Darker shades of blue are said to represent wisdom, self mastery, self realization and self introspection.
In the brand universe we’ve witnessed an explosion of dark blue brands in the social media sphere. Think Facebook, LiknedIn and Myspace. Interestingly they all operate in a space where users are expected to share personal and sensitive information. My guess is these brands have cottoned onto the colours calming properties and its ability to communicate stability and security thus creating the perfect breeding ground for trust.
Outside of the social media sphere brands like Standard Bank and FNB also use blue. Standard bank would use blue in the high risk financial sector to communicate that they are dependable, trustworthy and committed to their clients. FNB however, seems to use the colour to communicate its progressive & energetic, somewhat youthful personality, in order to stand apart in a conservative and staid industry.
Overall it seems that blue is very popular colour for brands who operate in high risk industries/ categories, where a relatively high degree of trust is required from consumers. Blue would then lend itself very well to brands because of its ability to represent serenity and stability.
OIL JHB.Read more
“The little black number”, “Any colour as long as its black”,” The new black”, Black diamonds. These are all phrases that have etched their mark into the fabric of popular culture. Looking through them all it becomes quite clear that there must be something to this colour “black”.
According to colour psychology, a dominant symbol of black holds negative associations such as evil and menace. In ancient Egypt, black represented life and rebirth. Black is often used in fashion because of its slimming quality. In branding and marketing terms however it is a colour that has helped build a profile that stands for sophistication, class and all things premium
If we consider Woolworths, within its renewed corporate identity there has been a shift to a much bolder more dominant use of black which has elevated their brand in more sophisticated premium cues.
There is a trend amongst fashion retailers to use black in their branding – think Truworths, Foshini, Zara, Mango, Topshop (to name but a few). Black is thought to be classic – allowing the brand to remain timeless, a blank canvas for the fashions that are updated season after season.
The recent rebranding of Cell C from red to black helped shift the brand towards a greater sense of modernity, according to their CEO Lars Reichelt resulting in a total immersion in the colour black across collateral and communications. It could be argued that it is much more striking in the cellular colour wars
Within the alcohol category the use of black is often reserved for the premium brands. Consider the status and related associations of Johnnie Walker Black Label (even if it is not the top of the blends). The Warwick Wine Estate has set aside their Black Lady Syrah, with a somewhat understated black label, as a flagship within their wine range
One of the true symbolisms of black is that of authority and power (think black swan) and nowhere else is more prevalent than in financial services. One of the most prolific products offered by AMEX is the Centurion Card which is also known as the Black Card. This anodized titanium card is an invitation only product offered to extremely high net worth individuals.
So all things considered, while there is an argument for Green being the new Black as in our previous post, we still maintain that nothing will ever replace the true authority and power of black in providing the quality and timelessness that a brand can offer or stand for. Brands that have black in their corporate colour should consider the potential opportunities it allows for them to differentiate in class and status against competitors, but it is something requiring good logic and considered thinking
Lesego & Velma, OIL Cape TownRead more
The past two weeks have seen many comments, opinions and accusations been thrown around with regards to the Vodacom and Cell C saga. In true OIL style, we simply can’t miss out on the action, so we thought we’d put our own spin on it: What does colour really mean for a brand and why would a brand spend millions on changing it?
Introducing the psychology of colour. It’s a concept that has been around for years, but has only recently been meaningfully linked to brands by the likes of Martin Lindstrom and his sensory branding theory. Now this by no means implies that if you are red you will be bought, and if you are black you won’t (for example), but subconsciously colour has been proven to influence consumers decision making. Colors dictate an inherent personality, so will evoke certain emotions and feelings towards your brand.
“Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.”
Why colour matters.
This is a pretty amazing statistic. So it’s no wonder that when Cell C forfeited their ownership of red to become black – Vodacom pounced on the opportunity. In a very short space of time, the brand has effectively spread the word that they have gone from blue to red. They didn’t say too much, didn’t claim anything outrageous, but quite literally splashed red paint over blue, and changed overnight. This has been a great move for the brand for various reasons:
1. They are aligning themselves closely with their highly credible international parent brand, Vodaphone
2. They are simplifying their brand architecture, and as a result, making it easier for consumers to understand their product offering and service. e.g 3g
3. But most importantly to this blog, claiming red allows them to build on the brand personality that South African’s have come to love over the years.
• Red is about love and warmth – the very sentiment we have for the iconic characters like Portuguese guy in leopard print attire, the gentle but cheeky old black man, the outrageous meerkat, and of course the fanatical Jan and Elton. All of these characters have played their part in the rebranding of Vodacom, not only bringing back great memories, but also ensuring that the rebranding is not too far removed from what we know about the brand.
• Red is masculine and strong: Besides the female meerkat, all characters have been male, and sponsorships have been even been masculine – think rugby and the Stormers
• Red is about energy, excitement, and passion: We have certainly seen this in the characters splashing and fumbling about as they ‘paint’, and getting consumers in on the action in crazy ways. But we have also seen this in the brand behavior: they have managed to change every single possible logo and piece of communication quickly, quietly, and brilliantly. Is anyone else thinking this is a much better job of… ‘SWOOOOOSH’??
• Finally, red implies for leadership: While Cell C has scrambled to squash unsaid claims and make Vodacom look inferior – Vodacom can be proud of themselves for maintaining their integrity throughout all their communication.
The argument can be that Vodacom was all these things before they turned red, so was it entirely necessary to spend millions changing it to say the same thing? The answer remains, yes. The strategic reasons behind the move were invaluable. But it was also made possible because Vodaphone was not pink, purple or yellow. The reason the change has been so smooth and so easy to accept is because it fits with what they already know about the brand. The same way that if Virgin, or Mr Price had to change to green or orange, a very different message would be communicated, and the change would probably not go down as well.
The irony in all this is that Cell C once used to own the colour red, so they could just as easily have lived up to all that is positive about the property had they thought further than the end of their pointed finger. It will be interesting to know what black says about a brand personality – we will see next week!
Kathryn Aquadro, Strategist, OIL JHBRead more
As each business sector requires a little “something different” in its marketing approach, Marketingweb will be looking at tips from those in the know on a variety of campaigns. Here, Velma Botha, Head of OIL, looks at the vines . . .
The world of wine can be complex and intimidating. In fact, wine aficionados like it that way – they have their own sensory language that revolves around taste, smell and terroir that separates them from everyone else. And for the most part, real wine connoisseurs are few and far between, the rest of us are merely plebs who enjoy drinking it. We believe that we know the difference between a good bottle and a bad one, despite not being able to smell or distinguish the “wonderfully perfumed aromas of strawberry, chocolate, herbs, earth and underbrush” in the blend.
So it is no surprise that the average wine shopper spends 1.42 minutes choosing wine in a store, after which 38% will end up leaving empty handed and overwhelmed. We also recently witnessed the Carte Blanche expose where blind tests done with average wine drinkers revealed little taste difference between expensive and cheaper wines.
An important question to ask here then, is what role should wine brands be playing in all of this?
In an increasingly cluttered category that is difficult to navigate, we believe that the role of wine brands is to help make the choice for consumers easier – not to add to the complexity.
To achieve this, one needs to step into the shoes of the average wine consumer and apply a healthy dose of common sense.
It’s all about the story
“Talkability” is the key. Building a story that is genuine and differentiated not only taps into the emotions of your consumer, but it also gives her something to justify her choice and to share around the dinner table. And a well-told story is going to be much more compelling than a dry list of facts and benefits.
The hard part is that you only have the label to tell the story. It’s therefore essential to invest in a relevant and eye-catching design to tell your story at a glance – it’s no secret that a picture speaks a thousand words – especially to an overwhelmed shopper scanning multiple shelves of wine.
An example of excellent design work is La Motte’s Pierneef range: every year, a different Pierneef in the family collection is featured on the label.
Moreson’s Miss Molly provides another great example. Miss Molly, the Môreson Weimaraner, is such a huge presence on the farm that it was felt she deserved her own range of wines. Her larger-than-life personality, unique quirks and naughty nature ensure that she is indeed a love magnet. All the Miss Molly wines have been carefully designed to capture the fun and good-natured naughtiness that characterises Miss Molly. And a portion of the money made from every bottle of Miss Molly sold in South Africa is donated to the SA Guide Dogs association for the blind. There is actually a whole range dedicated to this beloved farm dog: “in my bed”, “kitchen thief” and “hoity toity”.
You can’t fake authenticity
The story also has to be rooted in truth for it to have credibility. You may make up a fabulous story, but if it is not true, consumers will find you out sooner or later.
For example, the Swartland “small berries big taste” line is based on the bush vines that are unique to the region. The bush wines are pruned to tame them and no trellises interfere with the natural landscape.
The “Splattered Toad” range from Cape Point Vineyards is named for the beautiful Western Leopard Toad, which is endemic to South Africa but threatened by loss of habitat and urban encroachment. Cape Point Vineyards donates R1.00 for every bottle of Splattered Toad sold to help protect these amphibians.
Highlight quirks and idiosyncrasies
The more interesting and original you make your story, the more likely it is going to be retold.
A good example of this principle in action is LaCapra from Fairview. The label depicts the winemaker with a missing finger – he lost his finger in an accident – so it’s a slightly gory yet true story….and, it makes for interesting dinner party conversation!
You can’t rely on packaging alone
Strive to over-deliver on price and quality. The bottle may look great and you may get people to buy it on packaging the first time, but not the second or the third. If you want consumers to keep coming back then you need to ensure that you have a great tasting product at a fair (not cheap) price.
Provide some reassurance
Consider the product endorsements that you can give to provide overwhelmed consumers with the reassurance that they need. Typically, wine brands have relied on awards for this – but can you think beyond awards to celebrity endorsements and even chef endorsements? The right recommendation can go a long way! Just think of what Oprah’s book club does for the books she endorses. Examples of this are the Parlotones at Woolworths and Capaia, endorsed by Ruda Landman.
Keep up and stay relevant
The wine industry is currently shedding its skin and undergoing a number of fundamental changes. Wine has traditionally been made from vineyard grapes and sold in glass bottles with one predictable label in a curvy font. Now brand names, icons and imagery are becoming more modern and daring – wine RTDs are emerging and retailers now own their own labels.
And in response to consumers’ demands for eco-friendly everything, biodynamic, organic and fair trade wines are also making more of an appearance – as well as low carbon footprint packaging.
So what should wine brands be doing about all of this?
Our advice is simply to keep up. It takes on average 12 years to change cultivars, but smaller and immediate changes can be made now. Whether you focus on your brand home, have more of an engaging presence in wine festivals, or re-assess your brand story, you need to continuously keep consumers interested and talking. It’s about thinking outside of the box, surprising consumers, and pushing the boundaries of expectations.
As wine makers, it is important to take a step back and view your category and product from the perspective of the average consumer who loves wine. Are you staying relevant to them? Are you innovative and sustainable? Are you really giving people a reason to choose your wine over others, and then to verbally advertise it to their friends?
Finally, are you making it easier for them to make a choice – or are you just adding to the clutter and complexity?
Velma Botha, Head of OIL CPTRead more
A 30 second spot at the Super Bowl costs $3 million dollars – that is $100 000 per second. Despite ridiculously high costs the demand to buy the ‘stage space’ has grown, with 2011 Super Bowl spots being sold out by October last year. And within the swirl of numbers and demands, the age old marketing question of ‘ROI’ pops up – is the Super Bowl really a platform that brands should covet?
As an experiment, we have placed ourselves in the shoes of an outrageously profitable brand and questioned whether we should Super Bowl for 2012.
* We have dubbed our hypothetical brand: Jello Pingo, a sweet brand of a major conglomerate.
Nielsen Co. has announced that Super Bowl 2011 has set a record with an estimated 111 million viewers tuning in to watch the game (and adverts); this is not counting the millions of others who have trawled the internet for Super Bowl commercials. In the age of information clutter, indifference and TiVo, the Super Bowl rises as a golden opportunity to channel messages to a receiving public. The sheer numbers are enough to wet any brand’s appetite, and to Jello Pingo’s Head of Marketing, the numbers seem to justify the cost.
However, there is a catch (as with most things); numbers do not mean sales and entertaining does not guarantee loyalty. As one commenter on Adage noted:
Despite afore mentioned ‘catch’, the latter option has dominated the Super Bowl ad format, with slapstick humor and mini-movies being the plat de jour. This year saw ads that were funny, but mostly obscure; from dragons breathing fireworks to award winning celebrities endorsing, well themselves really. The brands these commercials are advertising have not spent millions of dollars trying to engage the consumer with their products; instead it appears they have spent millions of dollars to win a popularity contest.
But what is wrong with that? Sure that in these digital times the strategic use of social media can result in wide-spread connections and participation with hardly any expense as compared to the Super Bowl costs. However, the Super Bowl has history; it will always have a special place in the hearts of football fans and advertisers, and the hype leading to the big day is as deeply entrenched in tradition as the singing of the national anthem.
One must also keep in mind that the Super Bowl is not the beginning and end of the ad; in fact many brands have used the Super Bowl as a platform to launch their campaign for the year. So within this context does not winning the hearts of your audience make sense? Instead of viewing the Super Bowl ads as a sales pitch, from a branding perspective, winning ‘Ms. Congeniality’ could strengthen a brand’s subsequent campaigns. VW was applauded for its adorable Darth Vader commercial; however, many criticized its focus on the ‘story’ instead of the car model. But what is more important: the relationship built on the emotional connection the consumer feels towards the brand or the Passat model features? We leave this up to you.
If you have the budget and the right advertising team; then display your swagger at the Super Bowl, coupled with a solid campaign strategy and a popularity-winning formula your brand will be flying high with the branding big-boys along with Old Spice. Our vote: Jello Pingo to Super Bowl.
Elizabeth Sun, Intern at OIL CT
Kate Macgregor, Intern at OIL JHB