Tag: brand positioning
With the success of Apple based on its category-creating innovations like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, companies are focusing more heavily on developing their own innovations. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported the following statistics on the growth of innovation:
- A search of annual and quarterly reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows companies mentioned some form of the word “innovation” 33,528 times last year, which was a 64% increase from five years before that.
- More than 250 books with “innovation” in the title have been published in the last three months, most of them dealing with business, according to a search of Amazon.com
- Four in 10 executives say their company now has a chief innovation officer, according to a recent study of the phenomenon released last month by Capgemini Consulting.
Some of the major stories throughout the past year – whether about politics, business, sports, entertainment or otherwise – share a similar theme: all have been impacted significantly by the power of social media.
What is Pinterest you ask? Just another social media craze? Craze – yes. Just another – not exactly. For anyone unfamiliar with Pinterest and how it works, it’s basically a virtual list of a user’s favorite things. TechCrunch calls it a “socially curated shopping catalog” and says, “…it is addictive.” And they’re right – it is.
Just yesterday, comScore reported that Pinterest had surpassed the 10 million visitors mark, attracting 11.7 million unique visitors, and has become a top 10 social media site. It received 40 times the number of visits during the week ending December 17 than it had received during any single week in the prior six months. That’s a 4,000 (FOUR THOUSAND!) percent increase, making it the fastest-growing social media site EVER.
GM is hoping its Chevy Volt will become a huge success, and from a product design perspective they might well have a great car. It certainly is the only car that competes in its exact category. From an energy perspective, there will be four basic kinds of cars on the market by the end of this year – the traditional internal combustion engine cars, the hybrids like the Prius and Fusion Hybrid that run primarily on gas but switch to electric at times to improve gas efficiency, the pure electric like the Tesla and the upcoming Nissan Leaf, and the Volt. The Volt runs as a pure electric car until the battery is drained, at which point it seamlessly switches over to its gas engine. So GM is positioning the Volt more directly against pure electric cars like the Leaf, but for people who are nervous about the battery dying on a longer trip.
Compared to the Leaf, which will also be sold in the US by the end of this year, the Volt has a lower capacity battery (40 miles vs. 100 miles) and is more expensive ($41,000 vs. $33,000 – although each qualifies for tax breaks). So, unfortunately for GM, consumers are forced to trade better electric milage and significantly more more money for the peace of mind afforded by the gas engine. It won’t be an easy sell, although it’s possible.
The Volt’s price, though, presents GM with a much bigger sales problem because of Chevy’s brand positioning. Chevy has always been GM’s lower cost, every man’s car (separate from the iconic Corvette). Virtually all of its car models have starting prices of between $10,000 and $20,000. People expect Chevy’s to be less expensive. So the Volt’s price will be its albatross – it doesn’t fit Chevy’s brand positioning. Moreover, people don’t associate the Chevrolet brand with leading edge technology and innovations, which clearly GM is trying to do with the Volt.
GM would have been much better off if they had launched the Volt under the Buick or Cadillac brand. In addition to better lining up the car with the brand’s established position in people’s minds, GM could even have raised the price a little to include a larger electric engine. It would then have a car that beats the competition on all fronts.
The time is coming soon, though, when we’ll see how well GM’s strategy worked. By the end of this year the Volt will be on the market, along with competitors like the Nissan Leaf. As an early indicator, though, consider a few interesting statistics. The Nissan Leaf is significantly ahead of the Chevy Volt in terms of internet search volume (Google Trends) and Facebook fans (Nissan Leaf Facebook page vs. Chevy Volt Facebook page).
Domus is a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
Volkswagen deserves kudos for creating an integrated campaign that spans traditional and new media in ways that support and enhance each other, while effectively working towards a classic marketing goal. Basically, Volkswagen is trying to own the word “fun” in consumers’ minds – VWs are fun, driving VWs is fun, VW is a fun company – and they’re doing a pretty good job laying claim to that brand position.
First VW started their “Fun Theory” campaign. This includes a number of experiential locations that entice people to choose a fun option that also coincides with useful behavior (walking stairs instead of an escalator, throwing trash in receptacles instead of littering, etc.). These locations have, in turn, become the basis of much local and worldwide PR. Moreover, videos of people experiencing the VW locations have been the basis of viral internet videos and other social media sites.
Finally, VW has complemented its “Fun Theory” campaign with its ubiquitous “Punch Dub” television advertising. Look at one of those commercials and one of the first words that comes to one’s mind is “fun”.
VW is successfully marrying a broad array of communication outlets with its one common brand positioning goal. They’re a textbook case study for how it should be done.
Domus is a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.
Advertising Age is reporting that AT&T is “undertaking an ambitious rebranding effort under the banner of “Rethink Possible” to reposition itself as a “lifestyle company”. In other words, AT&T is implicitly declaring that it is losing the marketing positioning battle in the minds of consumers and wants to try something else to retain and gain customers.
Similarly, last month, Comcast decided to rebrand itself “Xfinity”. (“Simply put, XFINITY is about offering our customers more — more HD, more speed, more choice and more control over their services…”) Or, alternately simply put, Comcast is feeling the pinch of Verizon Fios’ competition and wants to try something else to retain and gain customers.
Interestingly, in both situations a company who has faltered in delivering upon the promise of its stated brand position decides to fix the problem by rebranding itself to a new position instead of improving upon its original promise. And just as interestingly, in both situations, the faltering company is being aggresively challenged in the marketplace by a company who dedicates more resources and commitment to delivering its brand promise better and better – and correspondingly communicating its success.
It doesn’t take a marketing genius to determine the better strategy for companies to mimic – especially in this age when consumers communicate with each other faster and more effectively than any one company can do on its own. Continue to invest in your brand promise – improve your product, improve your service, improve your delivery – and then your marketing communication efforts have legitimacy. On the other hand, no matter how many times you rebrand, if you don’t have the commitment to invest in your brand promise (whatever that may be), you’ll continue to come up short.
Domus is a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia offering advertising, public relations, digital, and social media marketing expertise in an integrated approach based on sound, classic principles of marketing. For more information, visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
Burger King used to position themselves somewhat traditionally as the number two brand (competing with number one, McDonald’s) – we try harder (“Have it Your Way”), we’re better (“Whopper Virgins” taste test), etc. But their new television commercial doesn’t seem to fit. In it, their “King” breaks into McDonald’s headquarters to steal the recipe for their sausage McMuffin. The ad ends with the announcer saying, “It’s not that original but it’s only a buck.”
Although brands often offer short-term promotions, this time Burger King is intentionally making a point to compare themselves to McDonald’s, and using price as the only comparison point. In fact, they try to imply that it’s the same offering (hence, stealing the recipe), just cheaper. When did Burger King go from claiming that they offer a better product and service to being cheaper?
Domus is an integrated advertising, public relations, digital, and social media marketing agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
In the world of wireless phone networks, AT&T has spent a lot of money staking out its brand position as the “fastest 3G network”, battling Verizon Wireless, who staked out the claim of “broadest coverage” (and a previous variation, “most reliable network”). AT&T’s problem, though, is that they did invest enough to maintain the physical reality of their claim.
First, Verizon marginalized AT&T’s brand position with their “they have a map for it” campaign, visually hammering their spotty coverage. In response, AT&T has tried to regain the word “fastest” in people’s minds with their own huge advertising campaign.
However, while they’ve been busy insisting that they’re the fastest 3G network, Sprint is starting to make that claim as meaningless as a horse-and-buggy manufacturer claiming they have the fastest buggy. Sprint is now rolling out its nationwide 4G network (in partnership with Clearwire), beating both AT&T and Verizon to the punch.
Sprint’s coverage is still spotty, as it tries to roll out its service in more and more cities, but it’s already available in almost 30 cities with more promised by the end of the year.
As such, Verizon’s brand position has not been damaged much – as far as they are concerned, Sprint occupies the same competitive position as AT&T – faster but with spottier coverage, and especially spotty in the high speed arena. On the other hand, AT&T’s position is significantly damaged. First Verizon made its “fastest” claim less significant by pointing out that its 3G availability was limited. And now Sprint has a fast, but spotty network; however, Sprint’s network is 4G – much faster than AT&T’s.
So what brand position does AT&T still hold? They’re the brand with not the fastest nor slowest network that is not the broadest nor spottiest in its coverage. This isn’t exactly a powerful position to hold. If I were a stock trader…
Domus is an advertising, public relations, and social media marketing agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
In our previous blog post, we looked at how Dos Equis has been continually improving its sales in the US while Heineken has been losing its. Similarly, over the last couple of years, Corona has continued to see its sales decline. Are Corona’s numbers declining for the same reason Heineken’s are?
There might be some similarities between their two situations, but there is also a fundamental difference – while Heineken has been relatively quiet in the US, Corona has been consistently advertising. So Corona’s problems are not related to its lack of advertising.
That leaves a few other possibilities – the effectiveness of the ads and the product itself being two prominent ones. Focusing on advertising, we already discussed how effective Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World” ads are, but how about Corona’s “beach” ads? From a product positioning perspective, Corona positioned themselves to own the “cold beer at the beach” imagery in consumers’ minds, and for a while also mostly owned the “Mexican beer” position in the US. However, given that Dos Equis has been advertising strongly for several years now, the “Mexican beer” brand position is more evenly split between the two. Moreover, for the ten months out of the year when most people don’t think of the ideal beer to drink on a hot summer’s day, they’re not thinking Corona. So, although Corona might have been successful in owning the beach imagery, that also pigeon-holed them into a smaller place in consumers’ minds. Dos Equis, on the other hand, remains prominent in any season. Moreover, because of the “Most Interesting Man” ads, Dos Equis holds a more premium image, which is the segment of the beer market that is climbing.
Interestingly, in Mexico, Femsa (make of Dos Equis) has not aggressively run its “Most Interesting Man in the World” ads. Coincidentally – or not – Dos Equis’ market share has fallen significantly compared to Corona.
We’ll have to see what happens next, given that Heineken is now in the process of buying Femsa. Will they be smart enough to expand the successful Dos Equis campaign to Mexico or will they pull back on it in the US?
Domus is an advertising, PR, and internet marketing agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, please visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.
Volkswagon Automotive Group (VWAG) is already neck-and-neck with Toyota to be the largest automotive company in the world, and with its planned takeover of Porsche later this year, it might well solidify its position. VWAG owns the prestige brands of Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Bentley, but its largest brand is its mainstay, Volkswagon. In the US, though, the VW brand is no way near as successful in other countries, especially Western Europe, Brazil, and China.
VW is trying to address that by investing in new dealerships, a new US production plant (VW has not had a manufacturing presence in the US since 1988), and a new set of advertising campaigns. But other than increasing brand awareness, are VW’s marketing efforts coordinated to solidify a brand position in people’s minds? VW used to stand for inexpensive, solidly built and engineered automobiles, but what does it stand for now?
Let’s take a look at two of its higher profile advertising efforts, one on-line and one in traditional media. In traditional media, they have their “Punch Dub” commercials introduced at the Super Bowl. I like them – they are catchy, funny, and memorable – but I’m not sure what message I’m supposed to remember, other than to just be aware of VW cars. That would be OK, but it would be more powerful if they provided a reason – other than a fun game – to be more aware of them. And the tag line at the end of the spot is “That’s das Auto” (“That’s the car”). I’m not sure what that means.
On-line and in real locations, VW has been running a series of concepts and viral videos called “The Fun Theory”. This is their “experiment” showing the easiest way to get people to change their behavior (in good ways) is to make the new behavior fun. As such, they’ve created a piano staircase leading to/from a subway station, a pinball exercise machine at a bus stop, and others. Again, these are enjoyable spots, but what is the message? That VW is a responsible company? I’m not sure.
About the only commonality I find between the two sets of spots is a sense of “fun”. Is that their new brand position? I’m not quite sure. But I do think they would be better served if they knew and made it a little clearer to their intended audience(s).
Domus is an integrated advertising agency, public relations firm, social media agency, and internet marketing agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, please visit us at http://www.domusinc.com.