Monday, January 29, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 'The balance'

Innovation is key for brands to survive in the future. The new 'Huis van de Toekomst' demonstrates how ICT-technologies might impact our daily life. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, they say.

Read more about it in this weeks column.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Brands: citi

Executives at Citigroup are prepared to rebrand the company “citi” and to fold up its familiar red umbrella and instead use a logo with a stylized arc above the name.

The brand makeover comes out of the playbook of other big companies. Apple Computer, for example, recently shortened its name to Apple emphasize its broader ambitions for other technologies, like the new iPhone. Several years ago, Morgan Stanley ditched the suffix of Dean Witter, and Federal Express became just FedEx.

The new name and look, which follows a 14-month review of the bank’s brand, was presented to the Citigroup board last week, according to several executives close to the process. No final decision has been made and it could still undergo some minor changes. Read more (Herald Tribune).

Source: Brand Noise

De Kijk van Van Dyck: Hit or hype?

Grand brands, like Apple, have got to live with the fact that they are increasinly 'out of control' of their own brand. The most recent example is the iPhone commercial from the previous post. But another one, maybe more favorable, is also out there on YouTube.

The Apple-mania is again alive and kickin'.

However, last Thursday Apple shares went down with 5.6%. From hero to zero. It's sometimes only a few days apart. For brands, shareprices, and also for rock stars and hig priests, being... Mr. Jobs.

Read the full version of the column here (Dutch text).

Brands: iPhone commercial

Apple-aficionados have to wait until June (in the US) and the end of 2007 before the iPhone will be for sale in stores. Yet, there are already 'commercials' circulating on YouTube:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 'Creative consumer'

The launch campaign of the new Vovlo C30 puts the consumer at the centre of the stage. A stand at Brussels-South station (last week) and Antwerp-Central (this week) invites people to give their opinion on the new model. Equally does the campaign website and blog. Love it? Hate it? What's your opinion? is the central line of the campaign. Volvo dares to let go. This is the age of the vital consumer.

Another brand that dares to let go is Doritos in the US. The potatoe chips producer has solicited consumers to make 30-second ads from consumers and is going to run the best one during the Super Bowl, traditionally a showcase for ad agencies' finest productions. Consumers are now voting on the website which ad is going to make it to the Super Bowl.

Let it be clear: there is no monopoly on creativity any more.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Research: P&G uses social networking sites for market researcch

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is launching two Web sites aimed at creating online communities where the consumer-products-titan can learn more about its customers and market to them. One site will be celebrity- and fan-club driven, tied to P&G's decades-old People's Choice Awards, and the other one is Capessa, a women-oriented site produced by P&G for the Health section of Yahoo.

The sites will not be about promoting specific brands, but instead, about market research. Both sites will act as continuing focus-group-type environments where P&G can learn more about its target audience's likes and dislikes and what consumers in different stages of life care about.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Agency of the Year: 'The consumer'

The empowered consumer is alive! Advertising Age names 'the consumer' Agency of the Year.

Consumers have always been in control, says Advertising Age. A brand has only ever been as good as consumers' experience of it. However, the difference today is that consumers have lots of ways of communicating those experiences, and trust each other's views above marketers' overt sales pitches. Consequently, they're influencing marketing strategy as never before.

AdAge refers to probably the most famous example of consumer control: the Mentos-Coke videos. Here's one of the most famous ones:

Monday, January 08, 2007

Brands: The social capitalist in Virgin

Last september Richard Branson announced a $ investment plan for the next 10 years in biofuel production, research and development, and other investments in renewable-energy production. This is a very nice example of truly strategic CSR.

One of the projects Virgin is working on, is the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. It's an all carbon-composite jet and Steve Fosset already flew it around the world while consuming less fuel per hour than an SUV.

Another of Branson's projects is the Virgin Galactic, which will offer space tours. Space is the answer to necessary future travel without the atmospheric impact.

Branson's vision on CSR is this: "By making green investment a motive for success - rather than a charitable adjunct to companies' existence - humanity will dramatically increae the chance of its survival." It bet Michael Porter couldn't agree more.

Source: Newsweek (Dec 2006 - Feb 2007)

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 'Social capitalism'

Corporate Social Responsability (CSR) does not necessarily need to be a cost, a restraint or a charitable deed. It can be a source of opportunity, innovation and even competitive advantage, says Michael Porter in december's Harvard Business Review.

He uses his famous value chain model and diamond model to demonstrate how a company can benefit form truly strategic CSR. In the end truly strategic CSR can give a company a competitive advantage. Think of Toyota with its hybrid Prius. The Japanese car manufacturer is well on its way to establish its technology as the world standard.

Read all about it in this week's column here.

A copy of the HBR article is available on request.

Books: The Wal-Mart effect

Charles Fishman's book The Wal-Mart effect has recently been translated into dutch. A perfect opportunity to read the book and write a review for De Standaard Letteren.

In Fishman's view, the "Wal-Mart effect" is double-edged. At first sight consumers benefit from the low prices Wal Mart offers, even if they don't shop at Wal-Mart. However, in the end it comes down to this: the only solution to keep prices low is moving production to low wage countries. And who is benefiting then?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 'The parc is back'

This is a picture of Fruitstock, the yearly festival organised by smoothie producer Innocent. It's free; their way of saying 'thank you' to their clients. Each year it's getting bigger and bigger. Last year they welcomed 150.000 people.

This is - besides of being profoundly good-hearted Innocent people - a brand creating an experience around it's product. They do not sell smoothies. They sell small pieces of joy in people's livess.

And where does it all take place? Regent's Park London. The parc is back. The cocooning era is over. Streeets, squares and parcs are becoming meaningful places again in today's cities, central meeting places for people to meet other people and experience new things.

Read all about it in this week's column.