Successful Brands: Leading, Challenging and Exploring

Successful Brands: Leading, Challenging and Exploring

Coca-Cola dividing their products into three categories – leaders, challengers and explorers is a good way of defining the future of any brand. Those who are successful need to be at least one of these, preferably two, ideally all three. Here are five ways I see brands (and a continent) leading, challenging and exploring in 2019.

1) Uber-Agile

“The only way to remain in business is creating brands. The moment we stop creating brands then the e-retailers are going to rule.” Javier Meza, CMO of Sparkling at Coca-Cola

In an interview with Marketing Week  CMO of Sparkling at Coca-Cola, Javier Meza, shared how the brand remains current by aiming to be extraordinarily agile. He said in Japan, for example, the business was launching two new products a week. Each product is tracked for six weeks and then a decision is made whether to keep or cull.

There’s now a separate entity for Coca-Cola called Global Ventures who scale new products as the business diversifies away from fizzy drinks. Rodolfo Echeverria, Coca-Cola’s global vice-president of creative, says explorer brands require “a typical West Coast, California attitude” which means looking towards healthier products. In China, for example, they have recently launched a tea brand for the eighth time as well as having Coca-Cola Clear with lemon. In Japan the brand has Coke Plus Fibre, which lowers the body’s fat absorption and is targeted at over-40 year olds.

Other big players we can expect to see being uber-agile in 2019 are Samsung (who spent around US$15.3 billion on research and development in 2018), Volkswagen and Apple. But will they be swift enough to match Amazon’s meteoric innovation? Bearing in mind Amazon’s R&D spend in 2018 was a cool US$22.6 billion.

2) On-Site Robotic Personalisation

“There are new possibilities for self-assembly, replication, repair in our physical structures, our buildings, machines.” Skylar Tibbits, Founder of the Self-Assembly Lab

The Ministry of Supply in collaboration with MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab in the US are rolling out a service which introduces the next level of on-site robotic personalisation. Now robots will resize a jersey (or sweater) to fit you while you wait.

Skylar Tibbits, Founder of the Self-Assembly Lab speaks of the innovation, saying there’s something psychologically rewarding about watching a garment transform before your eyes, “You want to see that it’s actually active, that it’s alive and transforming with you and around you.” This is the future of customisable products – not just fashion – robotics sprinkling electronic fairy dust and personalising your product while you wait.

3) I’m Still Standing: Bricks and Mortar 

“We’ve found that interacting with the brand in store makes a customer more loyal.” Paul Hedrick, CEO of direct-to-consumer cowboy boot startup Tecovas

Retailers housed in bricks and mortar will still be around but not necessarily in a way we’re used to. Some of the new stores going up are to support their online sales offering, designed to complement the customer’s digital experience. Digital retailers Everlane, for instance, created technology in a bricks and mortar setting, with the checkout using online customer profiles and their saved credit card details. As VendHQ writes, “Technology will fuel – not curb – the rise of brick and mortar retail.”

We are also seeing some retailers launch stores which stay open all hours. For example, BookXcess in Malaysia has just opened its doors to the country’s biggest-ever bookstore and it will stay open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Within the shop of 3,437m² they stock half a million books. The space (more like a mall) also has individual reading areas and a cafe to entice readers to stay for longer.  We may see more stores like these in the Asia Pacific region as their middle class is predicted to rise  to 65% of the continent’s population by 2030, and physical 24/7 is a way of shopping which suits their lifestyle.

4) More Specialised: Less Spend

“2019 will be the year of conspicuous conservation.” Elizabeth Segran, FastCompany

While brands are working overtime to meet customer needs there are real benefits in store (and app!) for the person who wants to streamline their consumer spend. The recent reveal at CES 2019 of L’Oreal’s My Skin Track pH is an example of this. It’s touted as the first “wearable sensor and companion app to easily measure personal skin pH levels and create customized product regimens.” If it works as well as promised the reality will be ways of really knowing what our skin needs and less experimenting with products, therefore less wastage.

The My Skin Track opens intriguing doors to the future of beauty, health and technology, but brands need to hold on to the human touch. I recently read a list of ways the BBC World Service engages younger audiences which can be applied to what customers want. They are: update me, give me perspective, educate me, keep me on trend, amuse me and inspire me.

5) Brand Africa and the Wisdom of emerging markets

“90% of the media’s 24/7 coverage is concerned with the West, whereas 90% of the opportunity is in emerging markets.” Stephen Jennings, CEO, Renaissance Capital

According to Africa Business Communities, the World Bank estimates economic growth in the Sub-Saharan regions to be at a positive 6% average in 2019-20 and McKinsey says Africa is the world’s next “big growth market”.  CBNC Africa also reports there’s a trillion-dollar opportunity to industrialise Africa, “meeting rising domestic demand and create a bridge-head in global export markets.”

But tt’s not only in the business facts and figures that position the continent of Africa to become a powerful challenging and exploring brand – it is the people. We’ll be seeing more ideas and products being created by Africans to meet our most pressing needs. For example Nigerian college student, Segun Oyeyiola, recently upcycled a Volkswagen Beetle and turned it into a wind and solar-powered car, made up of scrap parts, for less than US$6,000, paving the way for more local innovation in this field.

With consumer spending in Africa expected to hit $25 trillion by 2025, our emerging markets are amazing opportunities for international trade and growth, but it will be our spirit of Ubuntu (a quality representing compassion and humanity) which will keep Africa creating innovative products to improve quality of life.

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

 

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

 

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / LinkedIn

 

The Humanising Factor #BizTrends2019

The Humanising Factor #BizTrends2019

The Humanising Factor #BizTrends2019

In 2019 marketers will be focused on how to best implement the potential wave of artificial intelligence flooding our homes, vehicles, online habits and workplace. But there are important humanising pockets of influence which brands should also take note of. Here are four consumer needs we’ll also be responding to as marketers in 2019.

 

1) Intellectual Snack Breaks with Podcasts

Taking intellectual snack breaks in 2019 will be a necessity to counteract the social media junk food we’re force fed at every consumer touch-point. Where will thoughtful people go when they need to take a break? Very likely somewhere that doesn’t require a screen and provides snackable content, as podcasts do.

Just the  iTunes podcast stats are impressive, it is home to over 525,000 active shows, with more than 18.5 million episodes available, with content in over 100 languages. In an online survey conducted by Nielsen of 7,000 podcast listeners between the ages of 18 to 49 – 69% said the podcast ads made them aware of new products and services.

The five most popular podcasting genres in the US are Society and Culture, Business, Comedy, News and Politics and Health. 19% of listeners increase their listening speed (listen faster) and weekly podcast listeners spend an average of 6 hours 37 minutes per week listening to podcasts. That’s a lot of listening space for brands to tap in to.  Check out the informative and thought provoking Tim Ferris Show to see (and hear) how it’s done.

2) Packaging with Care (and Collaboration)

Products making eco-friendly waves – like L’Oreal  – who has gone as far as launching a new brand called Seed Phytonutrients. The goal for these products is to be separate from L’Oreal and to create “non-synthetic, effective products that support small-scale organic farmers”.

In 2019 you’ll see the words, “craft” and “natural-origin” used more often and if the packaging of Seed products is anything to go by (compostable bottles made from post-consumer paper, combined with clay) the wave of eco-design and product with gather momentum.

Big retailers branching out into natural origin packaging creates opportunities for organic producers and community businesses. Manufacturers will be also be more accountable as to where they source their ingredients as consumers can follow the supply chain journey.

3) Planet or Plastic

In October 2018 the European Union voted overwhelmingly to ban a wide range of single-use plastics in every member state and New Zealand is the latest country to ban single-use plastic shopping bags, which were being used at an incredible 750 million bags per year – about 150 bags per person.

Closer to home Woolworths, The Shoprite Group and Pick n Pay are making inroads into more sustainable plastic bag offerings with good news from Plastics|SA who say South Africa has an input recycling rate of 43.7% above Europe’s recycling figure of 31.1%.

Woolworths’s commitment to zero packaging waste and making all packaging recyclable or reusable by 2022 is ahead of most international retailers and producers whose similar targets are being implemented by 2025. Woolworths are trial-ing a new in-store bag for R5.50 – reusable and locally-made from recycled materials. Their partner is South African small black enterprise development company, Isikwama, who employ and up-skill people from the local community.

Shoprite and Checkers have introduced ‘planet’ bags which are 100% recycled and recyclable plastic costing R3.00 each. Their strategy is to give customers using the planet bag 50c off their tab. A lot of their vegetable packaging will also be in biodegradable and compostable containers from November 2018.

Pick n Pay is introducing South Africa’s first compostable supermarket bag made of vegetable matter, including maize and potato starch. These bags break down after about six months compared to the 500 to a thousand years it takes for an ordinary plastic bag decompose.

Another thing we’ll see more of  next year are  “reverse vending” machines which eat goods for recycling. They are being tested by Tesco in the UK and Woolworths in its flagship green store, in Palmyra, Cape Town.

Other retailers take note, as Jeremy Sampson, Director at Brand Finance Africa, says: “It isn’t unheard of now for shoppers to prefer one supermarket brand over another, purely because they express a serious commitment to recycled content in packaging or encourage their shoppers to bring their bags every time they shop.”

 

4) Embracing Zen (or at least the App)

 Trendsetters Virgin Australia have taken mindfulness to a whole new level – 30,000 feet above ground, to be exact. Partnering with Smiling Mind, an app which helps to create a mindful life, the airline now has mediation on their in flight entertainment, encouraging passengers to practice mindfulness during their flight. But that’s not all; you can also take a yoga class in the Sydney Virgin Australia Lounge while you wait for your next flight.

Mindfulness is on the rise and you’ll find new “zen” apps gently jostling for space on your Smart Phone in 2019, edging your fitness apps to one side. For brands and retailers the opportunity lies in capturing the heart of the mindful consumer.

In the words of Poppy Jamie, creator of the Happy Not Perfect app, “How do we make sure that our technology is helping us feel better rather than worse? How can we wake up in the morning and like ourselves first?” Here are the best Mindfulness apps from The New York Times to help you on your way.

 

Jainita Khatri, Managing Director, Prana Business Consulting

Written by Jainita Khatri. She is the founder of Prana Business Consulting and has 15 years of practical experience in marketing for blue chip organisations and has consulted extensively with entrepreneurial and medium sized businesses. Jainita’s passion lies in digital marketing – helping businesses to build their brands and businesses. Jainita is a speaker at conferences and guest lectures Monash University and UJ on various marketing related topics.

About Prana Business Consulting

Prana Business Consulting is a marketing partner to your business.  Using omni-channel principles, Prana builds a connection between your brand and your client. Prana drives high performance and tangible results in Marketing, Branding, CRM and Social Media. Prana leverages industry specialists to deliver customized solutions for baby, beauty, health and wellness brands, locally and internationally. Prana is a level 1 BBBEE certified company.

Email: info@pranabusinessconsulting.com

Phone: +27 (0) 11 794 1409 / + 27 (0) 83 414 9796

Facebook / YouTube / Twitter / LinkedIn

 

7 Customer Engagement Strategies That Marketers Can’t Omit

7 Customer Engagement Strategies That Marketers Can’t Omit

Customer engagement today is very different than that of the past. Today, people have a lot of choices when it comes to the number of interaction mediums due to the large number of technological advancements, and customers expect brands to anticipate and meet their needs in real time.

Let’s ask the most difficult question – how does a brand go about engaging a modern consumer?

The customer experience is about so much more than just the sales journey — it’s about feeling heard, getting answers to questions, having problems fixed, and feeling a connection to the brand. In addition to marketing and customer service, brands need to be thinking in terms of customer engagement.

 

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is about encouraging your customers to interact and share in the experiences you create for them as a business and a brand. When executed well, a strong customer engagement strategy will foster brand growth and loyalty.

Businesses that focus on customer engagement are focused on value creation, not revenue extraction. They give people something meaningful beyond a sales pitch: a brilliant end-to-end customer experience, great content, or interactive, real-time customer support.

Customer Engagement Statistics

Here are some customer engagement statistics that might explain why so much focus is being put on engaging customers:

  • “Companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.” – Aberdeen
  • “Customers who are fully engaged represent 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer.” – Gallup
  • “58% of executives reported not having a formal customer engagement program in place, and 60% didn’t know how many customers they’d lost over the past year.” – Convero
  • “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.” – McKinsey
  • “Only 25% of Millennials are fully engaged customers, and their engagement is highly dependent on technology. In order to attain their attention brands much achieve excellence in every channel.” – Gallup

 

Here are seven customer engagement strategies that can build a loyal customer following:

  1. Listen to Your Customers

Mobile apps give companies amazing opportunities to learn more about their customers. Using surveys consistently will allow you to get feedback from your customers, which you can then use to improve your offerings. And though you might not like to hear it, negative feedback is the most valuable because it shows you where you can make changes to better engage your customers. The key is not to just gather the data. You have to act on it.

 

  1. Embrace the Omni-Channel Concept

Customers connect with companies via different channels. They have a wide range of channels to choose from and few use just one channel. For example, a customer might start with the brand’s print catalogue, graduate to the brick-and-mortar shop and make the final purchase online. This is the way the consumer operates today and you need to align with their needs, which means offering them multiple channels and an excellent experience across all of them.

  1. Get Involved

Regardless of the platform you use, you need to get involved. Don’t just talk at people, bombarding them with promotional messages all the time. Actually engage in conversations with them. Listen to their problems and learn from those issues. And respond. By responding, you show your customers you care, which can go a long way towards building that ever-important loyalty. Looming over your customers like a faceless corporation will not win you any brownie points, so get involved in the conversation.

  1. Engage them on social media and other online platforms

What’s the best way to get up close and personal with a customer? It’s on social media. Tag them, call them out, thank them, or offer them something to catch their attention. Not just on social media, use other online platforms and communities like Yelp.

But wait, don’t stop there! Share customer reviews and testimonials on your own social media pages to give attention to them.

  1. Use a Rewards or Loyalty Program to Charm Your Audience

There’s one thing everyone wants to get in on – rewards! Just the mention of the word lightens up the mood. And, people love it if they get something in return for their actions. Why not supplement your efforts by having a rewards or loyalty program in place? It’s a sure-fire way to increase engagement!

Host an Event and Invite Your Audience for Exciting Activities

Most companies perform some level of market research about their audience, mostly for marketing campaigns. Why not use that to host your own little event with only your audience as the attendees? It will make them feel special, and show them that you really care about them. Give your VIP customers personalized passes they can use to enter the venue, and then have someone greet them to offer them a taste of royalty.

  1. Invest in Employees

Your staff is your most important asset. The more qualified and experienced they are, the better they will be at engaging with your customers. And you need to promote a culture of engagement that focuses on creating an outstanding customer experience so that everyone in your organisation is on the same page.

  1. Use Customer Data Effectively

Relevant customer information is vital because you can use it to develop other strategies to engage your customers – ones that are tailored to your target market, which will make them even more effective. You should analyse customer behaviour and demographics. Don’t assume you know your customer because the reality might be starkly different to your perception. If you don’t conduct an analysis, you will end up making mistakes that will cost you in the long run.

Use all the tools at your disposal, from customer engagement measuring software to customer satisfaction survey tools, to get an accurate picture of your customers and what they want or need. The more information you have, including customer engagement metrics, the better able you will be to craft and implement effective customer engagement strategies.

Engaging customers is not as easy as it sounds. You have to connect with your audience on a much deeper level emotionally and build trust. Most importantly, it’s about going out of the way for them. We at Prana hope the above customer engagement ideas and strategies help your brand engage audiences of all sizes.

Reference:

https://www.ameyo.com/blog/customer-engagement-strategies
https://www.yotpo.com/blog/the-indispensable-list-of-new-customer-engagement-strategies/

https://www.getcloudcherry.com/blog/customer-engagement-strategies/

Top 10 Customer Engagement Strategies

https://www.outbrain.com/blog/3-golden-customer-engagement-strategies-that-marketers-cant-ignore/

 

 

Written by Prisha Debipersad, Prisha has a love for travel and has lived in Germany and Australia, gaining work and life experience along the way. Being proudly South African she is happy to be back on her home ground. She currently is completing her masters degree as well as providing valuable support to Prana as a Marketing Assistant. .