Thursday, December 10, 2009

Co-marketing is the future

With an increasing number of brands shouting out for the customers "wallet" it is critical that brands seek out complementary brand partners to work with and reach out the the customer in unison.

With budgets - limited, media options - abound and the customers span of attention so fleeting, brands have to reach out and engage customers when and where they least expect. Pure Consumer Electronics brands like Sony should seek out opportunities to tie-up with stand alone White Goods brands like Whirlpool. The core to this partnership should be an unselfish drive of their customers to the other thru CRM, Co-marketing and co-sale promotion exercises.

What makes this tie-up logical is that there are few households out there that have or would like to have their entire Consumer Electronics & White Goods from the same brand. More over with Sony and Whirlpool being established brands recommending the other, the tie-up from the customers perspective is impartial. These tie-ups can also help in competing against other brands present in both these business verticals namely Samsung / LG.

Marketing managers at the Consumer Electronics should be vying to tie-up on a worldwide basis with IKEA to showcase their line of TV's and home electronics as part of IKEA's home / room display. For the simple reason that home electronics is ingrained in the consumers as part of a room / house layout. Tie-ups such as these can span industries. eg. Courier companies tying up with car manufacturers in the quest for a greener form of transport or Airline brands partnering with Hotel chains (not thru loyalty points) but a direct tie-up proposition. The tie-up between Apple and Nike ... is a great example of co-branding and partnering that has to be emulated by a host of other brands out there, for the future will belong to brands that show the customer value beyond itself.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Apple - From Slipstream to Mainstream & the challenge ahead

The past decade has seen the transformation of the Apple brand from riding the slipstream of the major CE giants to being at the forefront of the industry. The seeds of this transformation was set in Apple DNA more than a decade ago as Apple launched its retail initiative with its own chain of stores.

The retail initiative not only allowed Apple the perfect canvass to paint its own narrative of evolution of the CE business, but also provided total control of the consumer experience. This was critical to the success of its products ... from iTunes,iPod, iMac to the most recent iPhone.

Core to the success of Apple was the organization's belief in branding at a time when CE industry worldwide transitioned from analog to digital. The branding initiative and Apple's manic attention to design and customer experience were key factors that allowed the brand to catapult from the slipstream to mainstream and in fact lead the CE industry in innovation in terms of customer interface & branding...something that other industry titans forgot.

The challenge for Apple begins now... as staying on top is greater challenge than catching up. This means a transition from the "Windows" mocking ads to that being an industry leader and a visionary. And backing it up with consistent cutting edge product / service launches that are paradigm shifts without sacrificing the core elements of customer experience...not to mention an increased focus on branding that is mainstream COOL and NOT niche in its approach.

Will this quest for mainstream COOL lead to another disruptive invention / brand from Apple ... OR will it result in the launch of whole new distinct brand from Apple? Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The transition of Brand Ownership and its Democratization

The advent of the Internet and social networking era has seen the subtle transition of Brand Ownership from the organization to the customer. As it currently stands, organizations only notionally own the brands, the intrinsic brand value is dictated by the customer not to mention ... Brand ownership. This transfer of brand ownership is the "Democratization of the Brand"

Branding initiatives and strategy can no longer be dictated by brand managers "inside-out" of an organization. Instead, it is dictated by the customer and in an "outside-in" perspective. Brand positioning statements and promises have to be crafted from a customers perspective of what the brand can do for them and not from a organizations stand-point. Brands that recognize this will craft, believe and implement brand statements that genuinely embrace the power the customer in this new era. Case in point NIKE and its statement "Just Do It". The statement transcends time and truly lends itself to various executions from an advertising / communications perspective...and at the same time empowers the customer to own and craft their own story with the storied brand.