Brand vs. Commodity

A discussion on the difference between a brand and a commodity is going on at one of my groups on LinkedIn. This discussion was initiated by Marco Monfils from Hungary. More than 150 comments have been made so far, highlighting marketing and sales professionals love for this topic. It is interesting that respondents presented their own definition and description of a brand and commodity, no author was quoted and the comments varied greatly. I noticed two significant trends as follows:

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Big Isn’t Always Beautiful

2009 – Toyota became the biggest car manufacturer in the world surpassing General Motors.

2010 – Toyota recalls 8 million cars worldwide to fix problems with brakes, accelerators and steering.

In their quest to be the biggest car manufacturers, it seems Toyota (TMC) lost sight of quality and focused on quantity producing more but defective cars, consequently tarnishing their image for “Toyota’s Reliability”. It will take the TMC a while, huge resources and investment to re-gain their market position. Earlier, the GM was the biggest car manufacturer for years and became so bloated that they lost touch with their customers and lost their loyalty, got consumer perception for low quality, focused on push sales and short-term gains and could not stay profitable. Result – the US government had to intervene to rescue the GM from bankruptcy but not before major layoffs and closing of several plants. Read more of this post

My Favourite Brands

 Harley-Davidson: For over 100 years, Harley-Davidson has successfully targeted, satisfied perceived needs and touched the lives of its target market, that is, men and women of 40+ years. It understands its target market well. It cultivates emotional bond via innovative graphic advertising and classic conditioning through exposure to its ads, merchandising and branding. It fulfills the brand promise with consistent product quality and meets perceived needs for freedom and sense of achievement. Harley Davidson is an iconic brand with highest brand loyality from generations of customers.

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Know Your Market

Marketers know how vital it is to understand the target market and its nuances for successfully positioning and marketing products and services. This becomes increasingly important in international markets, where cultural differences accentuate the significance of understanding consumer behaviour and markets. You may have heard stories about marketers and brands facing problems because of not respecting cultural differences and expected norms.

The following joke candidly depicts a similar situation!

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Advertising in Recession

Some advertisers tend to pull back on advertising during economic downturn. I see several advertisers are contemplating to cut down on advertising and few have already done so. This knee-jerk reaction is natural amid news of slowing economy, job losses, turmoil in auto sector and sub-par (read sub-prime) performance by the financial sector. I believe that retrenchment decisions are largely influenced by emotional and psychological stimuli from the external environment. I would digress momentarily to share a joke with you in support of the above premise. A friend, Ahad Rasheed, sent this joke and I quote with some additions.

 

An old man used to sell hot dogs. His eyesight was weak so he neither read newspapers nor watched TV. All he did was selling hot dogs and he sold lots of them and had a good income. Old man son graduates from a business school and joins him in business. He tells his father that economy is not doing well and he should save some cash, as Cash is King! The old man started buying fewer buns and meat, closed his shop before sunset to save on Hydro bills and consequently his sales went down. His brother retired from a government job and had seen the old man prosper by selling hot dogs. So he wanted to invest in hot dog business too. He seeks old man advice. Guess what, the old man advised; the economy is slow and hot dog sales are down. It is recession!

 

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Creative advertising IV

Life size images were stuck on glass doors at shops, airports in South Africa for the advertisement of glass and window cleaner I.C.U. The expression on the face is priceless.

Creative Advertising III

This is another creative advertising initiative. It was created in Vancouver during the National Non-Smoking Week. The car was placed at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the message reads ‘Death from car accidents: 370, Death from smoking-related causes: 6,027, Quit now before it kills you.’

The visual presentation is relevant and accentuates the clear and short caption. Visual and message convey that smoking kills and draw a comparison to establish severity of problem.

Good Analysis

I found a cool analysis and summary of my recent articles on South Asian Canadians posted by Jim on a blog. Thought you would find it interesting. Check it out by clicking on the following link – Thanks. 

http://influenceresources.blogspot.com/2008/07/south-asian-canadians.html

Yes, you can

Today a client graciously asked me if he could reprint and use one of my recent posts. I told him to use any of my posts, if he could mention the source.  

I would also like to advise you to feel free to reprint or use any of my posts and articles, as long as you include a credit line.

Thank you,

Creative Advertising II

Creative Advertising III

Above is a creative point-of-sale ad and a possible impulse buying reminder. Life-size stickers of people were pasted on automatic sliding doors at a mall in Mumbai, India. When someone approaches the doors at the entrance, the doors move apart and it feels like the people on the door are moving away. The person enters to find the message ‘People Move Away When You Have Body Odour’.
 
Please rate the above ad on a scale of 1 – 10? Are there any constriants to this type of advertising?

What Every Good Marketer Knows About South Asian–Canadians

Inspired by Seth Godin’s “What Every Good Marketer Knows” I have come up with my list of What Every Good Marketer Knows about South Asian-Canadians:  

  • South Asian-Canadians are the biggest visible minority in Canada at 1.26 million
  • Ontario has the largest South Asians-Canadians population – 794,170 people
  •  British Columbia has second largest South Asians population – 262,290 people
  •  More than 80% of South Asian-Canadians live in the provinces of Ontario & British Columbia making it an easily accessible market segment
  • South Asians population constitutes 25% of the visible minority group 
  •  By  2017, the South Asians population will increase by 50% to 1.8 million 
  • South Asians Canadians families spend 23% more on groceries than other households in Canada 
  • South Asian population is younger than overall Canadians. On average, 73% are between the ages 25 – 49 years versus 46% of overall population 
  • South Asian-Canadians have an estimated spending power of $12 billion and 80% of this could be targeted by focusing on Toronto and Vancouver markets Read more of this post

Creativity in Outdoor Advertising

 

 

Creativity by Subway in Outdoor advertising

Creativity by Subway in Outdoor advertising

 

This is an interesting billboard advertisement. Subway leveraged the often used and misused sex appeal creatively to attract attention and followed it with a short & direct statement. They used the advertising elements nicely – big heading, short copy, no clutter, nice layout, black letters on light background – making it easier for passersby to register the message. The big bold heading made good the absence of an image. The ad, however, looks like a tactical maneuver per se and not a part of a campaign. Still you bet the ad had a higher recall and built brand equity.

It enforces the advertising fundamentals that creativity is the king and copy matters. Please comment, what do you think of it?

Family is most important for South Asians

Earlier this month I asked South Asians what they like. I used e-mails & social media (Facebook, Linkedin and Blog) to pose this questions. Mostly Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis living in Canada, the USA, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UAE and Saudi Arabia responded. Many non-Asians also commented. Altogether, I received about 100 comments. Two interesting and distinct findings of the survey are; (i) the family came out as the major consideration by majority of the respondents of South Asian origin, (ii) comments from non-Asian respondents were very different from the preferences shown by the South Asian respondents highlighting a lack of understanding of South Asian culture by the non-Asian respondents.

Further detail and analysis of the outcome of the survey are as follows: 

(i) Majority of the respondents mentioned that family is most important to them followed by relations (relatives or relationships). It shows that marketing communication leveraging family, family values and relationship themes would have an “emotional connect” with South Asians with a greater possibility of striking a chord with them. Based on this survey, as South Asians are family oriented, they would mostly move together and could be reached at family events and melas in large numbers. Furthermore, it could be safely deducted that word-of mouth publicity will be effective in South Asian market segment. Read more of this post

Why this Blog?

Several times I have been asked the reason for starting this blog. Though I had alluded to it in the About page of this blog, I think it will be useful to provide additional perspective here.

When I started marketing integrated media (print, direct & online) for South Asian market segment, I observed that many corporate clients were deliberating on the What, Why, Where, How and When of the emerging market segment. I thought the best way to facilitate clients and add value to their marketing efforts is to share with them the information, research and analysis on the multicultural markets, advertising and other relevant topics. Hence this blog was initiated with the objective of adding value to clients by keeping them informed about latest marketing information, trends, developments and ideas.

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South Asian & Chinese Canadians – A Market To Grow With

Statistics Canada recently published the findings of the 2006 Census. It showed that visible minority population surpasses the 5 million mark in 2006 with an estimated 5,068,100 people, representing 16% of the total population of the country. In 2001 census, the visible minority population was estimated at 3.98 million or 13.4% of the total population. Thus between 2001 and 2006, the visible minority population increased by 27.24%; five times faster than the growth in total population, which grew by 5.4% during the same period. Moreover, according to Statistics Canada projections, visible minority could account for 20% of the total population in next ten years, that is, by 2017.

South Asian and Chinese-Canadians (termed SACHIN for convenience) comprise of about 50% of the total visible minority population. First time in 2006, the South Asian Canadians population estimated at 1,262,865 exceeded the Chinese-Canadian population estimated at 1,216,570. Ontario has the highest number of South Asian and Chinese-Canadians, 794,170 and 576,980 respectively. British Columbia has second highest numbers, 262,290 South Asians and 407,225 Chinese. Read more of this post

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