5 Tips for taking Local Br ands Global

An article in the FT caught my eye this week. It was challenging companies to search for new marketers who could st and up to the challenge of taking local br ands global and who understood when local specificities make sense and when they don’t. (Read the article here)

In this networked and global market we live in, more and more br ands that are successful locally are being groomed for global roll-out, but what does it take to repeat success at the market level when you launch globally? Here are my five suggestions to help you:

1. Underst and the market

This is the basis of any new product launch and applies just as well to global roll-outs as it does to local developments. Today’s consumers are dem anding, so find out as much as possible about them, their rational needs but also their emotional desires, whether or not they are articulated.

2. Underst and the category

What does the product st and for in the eyes of your consumers? Do the consumers in the new market have the same sensitivities as the ones in the local market where it has met with success? Will the consumers in the target market perceive the same benefits in the same way?

3. Communicate based on a Human Truth

One of the similarities that brings all consumers together is their basic human values. Think parenting and wanting the best for your children. Think women and their frustration at not being considered as beautiful as the retouched models in their magazines. Think of men and their need to charm and seduce women, to affirm themselves. These are traits that can be found the world over and which can form the basis of very successful communication strategies.

4. Can you use your local heritage?

Many countries and regions have strong images that can play to inherent qualities associated with certain product categories coming from them. Think French or Italian fashion, German cars or Japanese technology. If your br and has a strong positive association with local tradition or nationality, then make use of it.

5. Don’t (just) think regional

Just because countries are geographically close, doesn’t mean their populations are similar when it comes to category usage. When planning product roll-outs, consider how alike the consumers are in terms of values, usage and behaviour as well as category trends, before deciding on the order of country launches. This way you are more likely to be sensitive to and better prioritize the markets most open to the new product launch.

Many companies have effectively rolled-out local successes to other countries in the region, if not the world, but many more have failed. What would you add to the list to increase the odds in favour of a regional or global roll-out? I would love to hear your thoughts.

For more ideas on successful innovation check out C3Centricity’s website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/vision/

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New Year, New Challenges: 3 Helpful Ideas for Innovators

As we ramp up to face the economic, political and societal changes that will surely continue in 2012, many organisations are challenging their R&D and hopefully marketing departments too, to develop and launch new products and services.

With luck, these developments were already in their plans and pipeline for this year, but sometimes businesses are forced into going to market sooner than they would have liked, due to market circumstances or competitive activities.

An article in Marketing Week (read here) at the beginning of last year, mentioned that Unilever said that increased investment, as well as their “Bigger, Better, Faster” innovation initiative was the driving force behind its increased profit and sales in 2010.

As we are all only too aware, today’s customers are highly dem anding of novelty and each period of satisfaction becomes shorter and shorter, as they quickly get accustomed to the latest improvements.

In an earlier post (read here), I spoke of the research carried out by Jan-Benedict Steenkamp, a marketing professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler which showed that CPG / FMCG innovation needed to be one of the two extremes of “innovativeness” to succeed:

  • either a minor improvement, or renovation, such as a new flavour, size, colour, packaging, content …
  • or a radically new product that is significantly different from anything else on the market. These are of course more breakthrough and therefore more difficult to develop. Past examples have included microwave meals, Sony Walkman, Nespresso, iPhone, Ipad,

The interesting and perhaps disturbing thing about breakthrough innovation, is that timing is everything; bring it out too early and people won’t underst and or see the need; too late and competition might beat you. This is one of the reasons that IT companies quite often offer “beta versions” of their products or software before they are 100% ready and then quickly follow with a version 2 with corrected or improved functionalities.

Other br ands such as Nestlé’s Nespresso or even Gillette’s Silkience, the first shampoo with integrated conditioner, launched almost 40 years ago, were introduced ahead of the curve, before their consumers were ready for them. The companies then had to decide to either wait it out (Nespresso waited many years to become profitable) or relaunch at a later date, but then risk being pre-empted by competition, who then have the time to copy the new product.

So how can companies better underst and their consumers’ needs, desires, or even unarticulated and unknown needs, and launch just in time to benefit from them? Here are three ideas that I came up with, but I would welcome your input too:

1. Develop Future Scenarios

Most organisations today are following trends, but as competition is almost certainly following the same ones, there is no competitive advantage and little chance of benefiting from identified tendencies. It is only when the trends are turned into future scenarios that the real competitive advantage appears.

 

2. Identify lead countries

Most industries have markets where the consumers are more dem anding or more open to innovation in certain categories. These are great countries for both market testing, as well as for showing others what is likely to happen in the near future. Such examples include:

  • fashion in France and Italy
  • technology in Japan and the USA
  • retailing in the USA

 

3. Collaborate with neighbouring industries

Several companies have formed alliances with others to either prepare first level ingredients for their own product preparation or to develop manufacturing technologies or retailing opportunities with cross-over possibilities. Examples that come to mind include:

  • Sony-Ericsson: a joint venture by Japanese consumer electronics company Sony Corporation and the Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson to make mobile phones
  • The retail giant Walmart formed a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises, Inc., one of India’s leading business groups, which led to their opening business there in 2009.
  • Nestlé and Coca-Cola formed a joint venture for Ice Tea (just ended)

 

Today’s consumers are highly dem anding of bigger, better and faster innovations, so companies must build speed and flexibility into their new product development processes and tools to answer these needs. Being better prepared is half the battle.

How are you preparing for the constant dem ands of your own customers and consumers? Please share your ideas and stories below.

For more ideas on new product and service development, please check out innovation on our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/vision/

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How to Create Better Vision

Every company today has a vision and mission statement that it shares both internally and externally, to explain who they are and what they want to achieve.

Surprisingly – or should it be sadly – few B2C (Business to Customer) companies include the customer in these and yet it would not exist without them:

“There are customers without br ands, but there are no br ands without customers” Anon

If you are in a people-facing industry, it is vital to start your vision and mission with clear statements that your customer is at the heart of your business.

Past, present, future:

In many companies the vision is based upon past performance, and forecasts for the future are then calculated from current sales trends. In today’s fast changing world, the future is less and less like the past, so it is unwise to rely on backward looking measures alone. A better way to prepare the vision for an organisation, is to review the mission statement, what the company is aiming to be and then to see how this fits with its target audiences. If changes are necessary, then societal trends can help to identify them.

 

Foresight:

Foresight is an essential part of the planning process, as it will enable a company to assess its vision with the future rather than the past in mind. Society is constantly changing; it is said that a generation today is as little as 5 or 10 years, whereas in the near past it was considered to be closer to 20 years. What this means for a company, is that its strategy and plans will need almost constant adaptation, since what worked just a few years ago is no longer relevant for today’s customers.

One of the biggest challenges for an organisation wanting to introduce trend following, is that there is too much choice. There are companies that are specialised in trend following, such as Mintel, TrendWatching, Yankelovich (now part of the Futures Company), McKinsey’s Global Institute, TrendHunter, Global Trends, to name just a few. Many communications agencies also propose their own trend following services, McCann Pulse being one of the better.

When you are ready to introduce trend following into your organisation, it is vital that you agree on ONE trend following tool for the whole company and then select the most relevant trends for each business or service. This will avoid duplication of efforts, facilitate exchanges within the business and ensure everyone both speaks the same language and underst ands the trends and their implications for the company in the same way.

Some of the most talked about trends for business to follow at the moment include:

  • Aging Baby Boomers
  • Authenticity
  • Heritage, nostalgia, tradition
  • Community, crowdsourcing, innovative co-creation
  • Making the world a better place
  • Urbanization
  • Health and Wellbeing

 

Scenario building:

So you now have an agreed list of trends you are following in the company, but that is just the beginning. Every company is – or should – be watching societal trends, so there is NO competitive advantage to doing so. How you can get the edge over your competitors is by developing them into plausible future scenarios and then identifying their drivers and trigger points. Scenario planning can often be done with the same organisations you are using to follow your trends, but is of course a proprietary exercise and thus will cost you the same, if not even more than your trend following investments. As it is this second step that delivers true competitive advantage it is definitely worth the extra money.

Scenario planning, is a strategic planning method that enables you to make flexible long-term plans and also be better prepared for the most likely future events. Most scenario work is done by extending the trends into the future and then combining them, to see how they impact one another and also your business. Two to three axes are then identified on which the most extreme changes will occur and the corresponding “new worlds” described.

The last part of the exercise is to then position your categories and markets on the trends and to identify the drivers and  trigger points, which will enable you to be forewarned of possible market changes.

What changes are you following today and how are you working with Scenarios to better prepare your organisation? Please share your most creative ideas.

Need inspiration to improve your own business’s preparatio9n for future opportunities and risks? Check our website: http://c3centricity.com/home/vision or contact us here.

For more ideas on building br and equity: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage/ – See more at: https://www.c3centricity.com/blog/how-your-br and-can-make-a-bigger-impressio/#sthash.FIfaCFhb.dpuf

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