Posts filed under ‘Marketing’

Marketing to the Super rich

In the penultimate post in this three part series, we gained insight into the spending habits of the super-rich and were able to outline a few trends or patterns which could help marketers targeting this segment in reaching out to the people who matter. It is important to understand the peculiarities in the consumer psyche in this segment in order to effectively develop any marketing strategies targeting them. In this post, we shall look at some of the current trends in luxury marketing and also see exactly how brands are striking profitable conversations with the super-rich.

 

Mobile

Mobile is the hottest trend in luxury marketing today. A report by Fidelity Investments suggests 85% of millionaires use text messaging, smart phone applications and social media. Luxury marketers are creating highly customized and engaging experiences for their customers through smartphone and table apps, QR codes and mobile marketing in general.

Mobile marketing is particularly relevant for time-starved, on-the-move global citizens who may not have the time to visit physical stores or when they do, to check on the entire product range the brand has to offer. It is also a boon for those residing in smaller cities and towns, who have the means but not the access to luxury brands in their neighborhoods.

Luxury brands have been taking the mobile platform very seriously and many have launched mobile applications for smart phones and tablet devices. Fashion retailer Nordstrom for example offers a highly functional iPad application that allows users to explore their collection through a virtual dressing room. It also allows users to share the looks they create with their friends and check for the nearest store the clothes they have chosen are available at. Customers can also read other users’ reviews and also have fashion oriented conversations with other fans of the brand. It’s a lot of fun.

And it’s not just fashion, super luxury auto maker Rolls Royce also updated its iPad app for its Phantom and Ghost cars to allow owners and aspiring users to customize and personalize the Rolls Royce Phantom on their iPads. Swarovski allows women to browse their collection and recommend pieces to friends. Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bag App allows users to find additional information as well as offers and promotions in store. It also allows them to scan bar codes and stay updated about in store events. In India, DIESEL designed an interactive installation (essentially, a 42” multi touch screen) in their stores that allowed users to mix and match styles and share them with their friends, in addition to helping users browse popular looks chosen by DIESEL stylists.

car pic for post

 

Thus, having a thriving and welcoming mobile marketing campaign is fast becoming a necessity in the luxury space. Marketers cannot afford to miss the bus as many fast movers are surging ahead on this platform.

 

Social

Social is another buzzword trending amongst luxury marketers for a while now. Affluent people are forming interest clubs with other affluent people online as they have done offline for years and purchase decisions are being driven by online recommendations and reviews from peers. In addition, people are consuming increasing amounts of content online and social is now one of the best ways to propagate branded content.

Burberry, the British brand has revived its flagging fortunes by running an effective social media campaign that helped the brand connect to its customers directly and showcase its products independently of the ‘chav’ image it had built offline. Burberry and their famous checks had developed an image as one of the most faked brands in Britain, and these fakes were routinely worn by violent football fans and street hooligans. This meant death for Burberry as a luxury brand, until they hired a new creative director who put the checks back on the inside of the clothes and focused almost entirely on their higher end products. Burberry has driven this change using online media and technology to connect directly with their customers as a brand and reassuring them of their lineage and focus.

One social media disaster however, has been Abercrombie & Fitch, the American cult brand famous for their casual wear range. They were the target of a social media campaign which asked users to post videos of them donating their A&F clothes to the homeless and the deprived, in protest of the A&F CEO saying his clothes were meant to be worn by attractive and fit people, and not by “fat people”. The protest has been a PR disaster for A&F and CEO Mike has had to issue a public apology for the same. This incident showcases the importance of effective online reputation management.

Brands like Victoria’s Secret and BMW on the other hand have used social media brilliantly by giving the medium the respect it deserves. Victoria’s secret runs promotions and offers discounts specifically for their fans, in addition to creating content specifically for social media. It has become the most talked about fashion brand on social media today and is definitely the most engaging. BMW made a series of brand movies with top Hollywood directors recently and released them to users only through their social pages. Such innovative strategies are required to get people talking about your brands today.

The best part about the social medium is that it allows customers to be a part of a global brand movement and get updates straight from the source. Customers thus become ambassadors of the brand and generate buzz in their private localized communities. DIESEL, for example has the highest number of fans on its global facebook page from India in spite of having global content and imagery with very little localization.

 

Events/ Causes

Events and causes have long been important to luxury marketers as a means to offer affluent people a chance to be part of their brand stories, a trend started by Tiffany’s more than a century ago. Today however, customers seek to be part of brand stories that are personalized and unique, in addition to being authentic and engaging. “The importance of experiential marketing is rising. It’s more than product- It’s about storytelling,” according to Jean-Marc Belliachi, Sr. Partner and global leader of BCG’s luxury, fashion and beauty practice.

Rolls Royce has played this game well. They gained access to high net worth customers through an event in Britain where they hosted select customers, prospective high net worth customers, special guests and media at their March Motor Works showroom in London over a weekend. The showroom was refashioned to be a 1960s dealership for the event complete with vintage signage, memorabilia, a large 1960s style safe and even showroom managers dressed in 1960s style suits and bowties. Scottish whiskey major John Walker & Sons is inviting its guests in the Asia Pacific onboard a yacht to partake in activities that explore the history of the brand, in addition to being a showcase event for their triple malt label “John Walker & Sons Odyssey.”

pic of ship

 

In India, the mobile and social platforms are yet to develop as much as they have in the west and events are still the medium of choice among luxury marketers. Ermenegildo Zegna did an event recently where they hosted a private art show at an art gallery in Mumbai for select guests and media. DIESEL launched its India store with a massive “Fake Party” which celebrated the many fakes the brand has spawned in the country, clearly in tune with its ironic positioning. The guest list however, was limited to a few select customers, brand partners and influencers. Roberto Cavalli (pictured below), Kenneth Cole and Renzo Rosso have all been in attendance at launch events for their brands in the country, indicating their seriousness in this regard.

event pic

In addition to this, the use of technology for innovations in Out of Home advertising, Print and Direct mail is also a big trend. Augmented reality is no longer in the realm of science fiction and the lines between offline and online are blurring fast. 3D printing has been a boon for customization and phone companies have started customizing phones for those willing to pay a premium.

We hope you liked our exploration into the lives of the 1%.  Do leave us a line in the comments if you have any specific opinion about the same.

  • Rahul Sharma

January 6, 2014 at 9:24 am Leave a comment

Mine Healthier Than Yours

 

McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits and Parle Digestive Marie recently came out with ads exposing their competitors and attempting to strongly differentiate themselves amongst the ever-growing list of biscuit options now available to the consumers.

McVitie’s Digestive – What’s inside your biscuit?

McVitie’s Digestive biscuit ad claims that it is the only biscuit in the market that is made up of whole wheat as compared to others that contain refined flour (maida), hence positioning itself as the healthier option even among digestive biscuits which consumers believe are healthier than regular ones. “The commercial elevates the digestive category compared to regular biscuits by honing onto a relevant category truth. The objective is to tell consumers why McVitie’s is better,” said Jayant Kapre, President, United Biscuits.

Parle Digestive – Fat Kum, Fit Zyada


Parle Digestive biscuit ad claims that all other digestive biscuits add a lot of fat to their biscuit to make it taste better, but Parle Digestive has significantly less fat (50%) while still tasting good, making it the healthier option for the consumer.

 

Criticizing and exposing competitor brands seems to be the common route chosen by the brands. Given that the digestive biscuit segment in India is growing fast owing to increased awareness about improved health and wellbeing amongst consumers as well as the simultaneously increasing affordability, it is getting more and more difficult to differentiate oneself in this “better-for-you” foods segment. So while one claims to be refined flour-free and another with 50% less fat, not only are these biscuits positioned on the digestive health platform, but also trying to occupying significant space in the weight management/ weight loss platforms. So while they are trying to differentiate from one another basis the ingredient, the final health benefit(s) they are offering is the same.

So are they really being successful in this ‘mine healthier than yours’ strategy ? I don’t think so. What do you think? Do share your thoughts.

 

  • Roshni Jhaveri

October 22, 2013 at 6:39 am 3 comments

Desh mera rangrez hai babu

A few months ago, I was one of the faculty at a programme that imparts training in the basics of business to micro-entrepreneurs from rural areas (CREAM training programmes run by Tree Society). The audience comprised villagers running simple businesses such as a cycle repair shop, furniture making, honey collection and selling, beauty salon (or, as they pronounced it,‘saalun’), barber shops, a wedding decorator, etc. Most of them were between 20 to 30 years old, all but 3 were men.

During one session, we were trying to illustrate the importance of adding product / service features that consumers value the most rather than others, given the ever-present constraints of cost and resources. We’d made our point using several simple examples and the audience seemed to have grasped it too, however they seemed slightly somnolent after a heavy lunch and we wanted to wake them up with before we began the next topic which was math-heavy.

So we decided to use an example of a product that was ubiquitous even in villages and used by everyone, that was feature-heavy, and from a category where the fortunes of companies selling the product had gone through ups and downs. One product fit the bill – a mobile phone. We began by asking the audience to tell us what features they wanted in a mobile phone, and which of those were must-haves and which were nice-to-have. Internet and multimedia were amongst the first few mentioned by the audience, followed by aspects related to how long the phone would last – sturdiness, a warranty, good battery strength etc. Basic features such as call quality, sms etc. were mentioned much later, almost as an afterthought.

What almost every person below 30 in that audience wanted was to be able to access songs and video on his mobile phone; even if they didn’t know how to download them, they knew that they wanted to be able to store and listen to them or watch them. Many didn’t really know exactly what internet and multimedia meant, but they did know that such phones guaranteed them access to songs, clips, pictures and games. Many of these young men already had cheap smartphones, those that didn’t were quite clear that affordability was the only reason for not buying one. In hindsight, maybe I should have expected this given the lack of entertainment options in a village, and that a lot of these people ran businesses where they spent significant amounts of time just waiting for customers to visit their outlet.

This article from the Mint gives the results of a TNS survey on mobile phone usage in various countries across the world ; while the survey was probably carried out in urban centres, it’s worth a look anyway. Listening to music turns out to be the No. 1 activity that Indians engage with on their mobile phones, the next are playing games, sms/text messaging and taking photos / videos, in that order.

Clearly the villagers that I met reflected a widespread trend.

  • Zenobia Driver

September 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm 5 comments

Colour bombs nail pops – they rock !

This is a post that I’ve been thinking of writing for some time – ever since I made one of my infrequent visits to a small cosmetics store last year and noticed a brand that stood out on the shelf, or in the basket as in this case.

If you’re in India, visit a small ‘gift shop’ or cosmetics shop or bindi-bangle store in your neighbourhood market and take a look at how nail-polish bottles are stocked. Only expensive nail-polishes from premium brands are kept on shelves, the rest that are priced at Rs. 15 – Rs. 50 per bottle are just dumped higgledy-piggledy into a box or a basket – all colours and all brands together, this box is either kept on the counter or under the counter and brought out when a customer asks to see products.

colourboms pic - grouped pic.jpg

As it is, for the vast majority of consumers, nail polish purchase is driven by colour and price, not as much by brand. To add to it, you have staff at the retail counter who often tell consumers things such as this statement, “aapko color jo pasand aata ai woh nikalo, brand se kya lena dena, sabhi same hai, utne hi chalte hai” (“select whichever colour you like, how does the brand matter, they’re all as popular”). Then how does a brand ensure that consumers are loyal to it and pick it up out of the box each time, from among a huge assortment of polishes such as  VOV, Etude, Bo, 8C Lacque, Incolor, Tips and Toes, Caty Girl ( I kid you not !), Bonjour, Priya, Ambar, Blue Heaven, BCC, Miss Claire, Honey Sweet (like the Bond heroine ?), Teen Teen etc. ?

Well, at least one brand focused on understanding their TG, creating packaging that would appeal to them and get their attention, and then communicating the same. Elle 18, HULs colour cosmetics brand for young women was re-launched in Nov 2010 with the ‘Colour Bombs’ range. The brand was positioned as a young, modern, trendy yet affordable brand for its TG comprising 13-18 year olds who are willing to experiment with explosive colors, as the name ‘Color Bombs’ suggests.

colourboms pic 4.jpg

These products were made to appeal to a young woman / teenager every which way, beginning with the name itself – which young lady does not (at least occasionally) aspire to look like a ‘bomb’ ? The range has the bright vibrant colours that are all the rage with young women today, the packs have a shape that’s different from the packs of other brands, with funky illustrations of women on them that utilize the little blank space available on the small pack most efficiently. The imagery and colors used in the new packaging and communication are young and edgy and completely different from the earlier plain-Jane look of Elle 18. I just loved the way the image on the nail-polish bottle – which no competitor has – made this pack stand out and grab attention amongst the clutter of products in the nail-polish box on the retail counter.

colourboms pic 3

colourboms pic 5

Note : While this post has focused on nail polish, the Colour Bombs range has nail paints, lipsticks, lip glosses, black eye-liner and kohl too, all priced between Rs. 45 and Rs. 100.

colour bombs grouped pic 2

p.s Here’s a link to the ad in case you’re interested. Frankly, I didn’t like this ad much and thought it didn’t live up to the excitement and joie-de-vivre of the brand name and the packaging ; but what do I know, I’m not the TG, I’m an Auntyji.

  • Zenobia Driver

July 30, 2013 at 6:16 am 4 comments

Creative Activation

To break through the clutter and to gain a lot more eyeballs, companies are adopting some innovative approaches.

Lifebuoy: Reminder for Hand washing

At the recently concluded Maha Kumbh Mela, Lifebuoy implemented a unique activation to spread the message of hand washing. Over 100 million people reportedly attend the Maha Kumbh Mela and Lifebuoy used this apt opportunity to highlight the importance of hand washing to its attendees. While Lifebuoy created awareness through the usual street hoardings and banners, it also utilized another innovative intervention to remind people to wash their hands before eating.

lifebouy at the maha kumbh melaLifebouy created special heat stamps with the message “Lifebuoy se haath dhoya kya?” (Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?) and put this impression on fresh rotis at 100 dhabas and hotels across the mela. Roti is a staple with every Indian meal and typically eaten by hand. What better place and time to remind people to wash their hands! Their target was to reach over 2.5 million visitors over a month long initiative. What an innovative way to reach a large small town and rural audience, and that too at a fraction of the cost.

 

Chennai City Traffic Police: Drink & Get Driven

An initiative by Zara Tapas Bar and Chennai City Traffic Police brought about a very novel idea to discourage drunken driving. Cause for 70% of accidents in India is attributed to drunken driving. Capitalizing on the god-fearing nature of most Indians, they created a short video featuring guests drinking and having a good time at a bar and when its time to leave, on receiving the car from valet, they are shocked to see Yamaraj (the god of death) himself, sitting in their car. Yamaraj warns them by handing over a “Drink and get Driven” information leaflet about hire-a-driver service. 

Ever so often we see posters or signs about ‘Don’t Drink & Drive’ across streets in our city but we fail to pay heed to it. But this video is sure to make you remember. The video was posted on Feb 15th 2013 and it went viral. It now has over 4.5 lakh views on Youtube and has been the matter of chatter on several social networking sites as well as newspapers and news channels picked up on it within a couple of days of being posted.

 

Have you seen any such innovative campaigns? Do tell us about them, we’d love to hear from you.

  • Roshni Jhaveri

April 10, 2013 at 6:20 am Leave a comment

Innovative Offers in Auto

Reportedly, February saw the biggest fall in the last 12 years in car sales – passenger car sales in February 2013 declined by 25.71% over February 2012. Overall the car sales increased by only 3.68% over last year (Source: SIAM). 

Given the high interest rates and soaring fuel prices, the car market is expected to remain weak. In the wake of such circumstances, car manufacturers are thinking outside the box, or at least stretching it to regain sales momentum.

To lure in customers, car manufacturers are offering several attractive offers across their range of cars. While some are offering 0% interest, others are offering attractive EMI schemes, some are doing buy-backs and exchanges while some are offering additional accessories and fittings for free.  Nothing new in this kitty, these are typical of March, because its year-end for everyone.

But wait, car manufacturers are now offering something new too. For example: Volkswagen is offering a trade-in scheme, where you can bring in your old car + Re.1 and take home a brand new Vento, rest of the payment to be made after one year, in full or in attractive 36 EMIs.

Tata Motors is offering its Manza customers 60% of the purchase price after three years. That’s quite an attractive offer, locking in the resale value, knowing for sure that you will get 60% of your car’s price, Given how poor the resale market has been in the past few years, with so many players in the market and manufacturers introducing new models and upgrades to old ones much more frequently, buyers are spoilt for choice even in the resale market.

It’s understandable that the car manufacturers themselves are offering such bold schemes because they have the deep pockets to take in some of these costs, but there are some entrepreneurial automobile dealers who have come up with some innovative offers for their own markets.

A Skoda dealer in Gujarat is offering ‘Buy a Rapid, Get a Fabia free’! We’ve heard of buy one, get one free offers in FMCG, but a first in automobiles, that too an initiative not by the manufacturer but by a lone dealer! Sure, from your point of view, you get the hatchback (Fabia) free only after five years, but by then won’t it be time to change your car anyways? Who would pass up on such an offer?! He sure has worked out his economics and has gone in head first to tackle the sales slowdown. A source from the trade says, “This is quite a bold move. In a time like this, when they are sitting on so much inventory, it is cheaper to offer such deals than to pay the bank interest. More cars on the road at least ensures us that we will have constant revenues from car servicing…”

A Jaguar Land Rover dealer in the north gave 15 cars to the who’s-who of society without taking a penny. He knew these people would pay him eventually given their status in society, but to just send off 15 of such high-end cars is quite a gutsy move. He was only trying to capitalize on the North-Indian “if he has it, I should have it too” attitude and it worked well for him. 15 Jaguar and Land Rover cars were on the streets of this not-so-big city, getting noticed and inquiries started pouring in. Plus the word of mouth from none other than the who’s who of the city helped him tremendously.

Tough times are calling for some tough calls, and manufacturers and dealers are tackling them with some innovative approaches.

  • Roshni Jhaveri

March 25, 2013 at 8:16 am 1 comment

Response to the ‘Soldier for Women’ ad

This new ad from Gillette builds on the soldier platform adopted by the brand in an earlier campaign.

The current campaign was probably motivated by good intentions – making a positive difference and occupying a higher moral ground, while at the same time dovetailing neatly into the soldier identity that the brand was trying to establish by piggy-backing on a current issue that is top of mind for everyone.

However, I felt that the ad lacked a certain something in terms of execution. It seemed to lather on the sentiment a bit heavy and altogether lacked subtlety; my personal opinion is that a heavy message is better delivered with a gentle hand, this one played to every melodramatic instinct in the gallery – stirring music, B/W frames etc.

Worse still, the ad also seemed a bit patronising towards women. I actually thought that the nicest bit of the ad was towards the end where it spoke about respecting women because ‘when you respect a woman you respect your nation’. If all men respected women, then women wouldn’t need to be guarded and protected, would they ? (But then the ad wouldn’t appeal to macho soldierly instincts either, I guess.)

In contrast to this ad, there’s an ICICI Prudential ad that I noticed on TV yesterday that expressed a far nicer sentiment while showing everyday slice-of-life situations, ‘jo zimmedaari nibhaate hain, jataate nahin’.  Now that’s what I like; though the marketer in me is forced to admit that the Gillette ad will probably go down better with their TG than this one.

p.s. For other opinions on this, you can also watch the Gillette ad being discussed on ‘Brand Equity – Final Verdict’ on the channel ET Now by clicking on this link.

  • Zenobia Driver

February 19, 2013 at 6:23 am 4 comments

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