Tuesday, February 27, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: Second Life

Last week, the Flemish radio station Q music launched its Q party in Second Life.

There are already many brands, like Q music, that entered Second Life: IBM, Adidas, Intel, Toyota, ABN Amro, ING, Mazda, Reuters, etc.

Those of you who want to go and see for theirselves, you can go straight to to Second Life, or, there's a good guide on Q's website on how to enter Second Life.

For those considering to enter Second Life with their brand: there's an interesting article and 'tip sheet' in BusinessWeek. Recommended literature!

Read more about this new 'hype' in this week's column.

Brands: Managing private brands

Private brands are professionalising sais Paul Moers, author of the book 'New Private Brands'.

Originally private brands competed on a mere price-value proposition. They just copied A-brands of a generic product to then distribute it to a lower price.

Now moers sais, there's a new phase in the history of private brands. He sees more and more retailers introducing topline propositions. Tesco has an Organic line, a children's line and Tesco's finest in its offering. Albert Heijn has added AH Bio for its bio conscious consumers.

Private brands are thus segmenting. By introducing topline propositions, they aim to strengthen the identity of the private label. This is creating added value by adding expressive and functional characteristics.

Private brands are being managed like A-brands.

Interesting: Moers notes that the introduction of private brands into the market led to a commoditisation. The product category's total value was being put under pressure. The introduction of topline propositions could turn around this trend and boost again the category's value. And that's new, sais Moers.

Source: Marketing Tribune

Brands: Shell's Shell

Fuel giant Shell is to launch a fresh retail identity. Conran Design Group has created a look that features an increased use of white, clearly highlights information on prices and special offers, and enables customers to enter and exit the forecourts easily.

In addition, the logo has been replaced by a three-dimensional shell-shaped symbol, which will appear on canopies and monolith signs across the global retail sites. The design can currently be seen as a prototype at some of Shell’s retail sites in Turkey and will launch globally throughout 2007. The previous design was created by Addison.

Bruce Rosengarten, Shell’s global vice president of retail marketing, says: ‘Our new retail visual identity will help to keep our brand image modern and up-to-date. It is designed to increase the speed and ease through our forecourts and will enable us to effectively communicate about our products.’

Shell has revised its corporate identity regularly over the years, but has retained the basic elements of the name, colours and typeface for almost a century.

Source: designWEEK

Monday, February 19, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 'Black snow'

Europe's ski slopes are endangered. The problem, experts say, is global warming—and it's going to get worse. About 10% of the 666 medium-to-large ski areas in the Alps "are already operating under marginal conditions" because of insufficient snowfall in recent years, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development says in a report released Dec. 13. Within 15 years, one-quarter of the region's ski areas will be unable to offer reliable skiing conditions, the OECD says, and by 2050 the number will rise to almost 40% (BusinessWeek).

The ski industry in the Alps will have to adapt to these changing circumstances. Clever hotel owner are already moving their focus to wellness arangements.

Read all about it in this week's column.

Brands: Shell's move into CSR criticized

Marketing magazine recently announced that Shell will promote it's technical innovations and the work it is doing to reduce environmental damage.

It is believed that the work, which is being co-ordinated internally by Shell Brands International, is an attempt to rival the green credentials of rival oil firm BP, which has already allied itself with environmental concerns.

Further on in the magazine however is an article that criticizes Shell's move to communicating it's CSR drive. "How can Shell credibly affiliate itself with speeding cars while seeking to flag up its green credentials", James Quilter wonders. In March the company will run an ad celebrating the 60th anniversary of its partnership with Ferrari Formula One team. The ad, which also promotes Shell's V-Power high-performance fuel, features Ferrari's F1 cars racing around some of the world's best-known capital cities.

Media: Online videos

Last week in AdAge an article that shows the relativity of the success of consumer 'generated' content.

The No. 1 type of video viewed by Americans is news, followed by weather and movie clips, all of which are types of content produced by professionals, not by consumers (although often this video is consumer-distributed, meaning consumers are posting it to video-sharing sites).

More than 44% of online Americans (ages 12 to 64) use online video weekly -- this has clearly become a mainstream distribution channel for video. The demographic watching online video most frequently is males ages 25 to 34; 64% of them watch online video at least once a week. But it's not just limited to young viewers. Among males 55 to 64 years old, 43% watch online video weekly. Among the females the rates are lower with 49% of female teens watching online video weekly and only 27% of females 55 to 64 watching online video weekly.

Source: Magid Media Futures. Survey of 1,840 online Americans, ages 12-to-64

Monday, February 12, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: The future is back

These days 2007-2008 winter's fashion is presented on the catwalks of Milano, Paris and New York. Many fashion critics point in the same direction: the sixties are back, nostalgia is king.

However, I do not believe it is right to call the newest fashion trends 'nostalgic'. In stead of 'back to the future', it is rather 'the future is back.'

The fashion trends of today do not exclusively resemble those of the sixties. Historians will confirm they also show a lot of similarities with those of the 'Belle Epoque' at the beginning of the 20th century. Two time periods of high economic prosperity, like today.

Besides that, the majority of the target group of the newest collections wasn't even born in the sixties. How can one talk about nostalgia then?

Read my entire discourse in this week's column here. (Dutch)

Media: Web 2.0

Web 2.0 fully explained in 5 minutes. Michael Wesch, Assistent Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, made a nice YouTube video about the evolution from digital text editing to the User Generated Content of Web 2.0 today.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Brands: American Express

How do giant brands ride the waves of time, and how do they adapt to change? This month's issue of brand strategy features an interesting case study of American Express.

In the 1980's the American Express brand was about 'status and exclusivity'. Having money was the expression that someone was successful and prestigious. In the 1980's the business strategy was also to keep membership relatively exclusive, with high fees to guarantee good margins. In its communication everything was explicitly about exclusivity:

Since 2004 American Express runs the "My Life. My card campaign."
It highlights a shift in focus from exclusivity to 'specialness'. People who now carry an American Express card - do not necessarily have a great deal of money - but are sophisticated about the world and creative.

The campaign features celebrities including Robert De Niro, Tiger Woods, Martin Scorsese, and the ones below are featuring Andy Roddick and Kate Winslet.

American Express however did not limit itself to celebrities. The brand also engaged with the online community encouraging consumers to make their own 'My Life. My Card' video and post it on the campaign website.

The brand also engaged in the Product RED campaign already mentioned on this blog earlier. Hereby American Express aims to reach the so called 'latte activist': people who have an interest in social responsibility but still want to live life the full and have experiences themselves. Here is top model Gisele Bundchen being the spokesperson for American Express RED.

The 'My Life. My Card campaign', product RED: this is a nice case study of how a giant can learn to dance to the waves of time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

De Kijk van Van Dyck: 1984

The Apple ad below announced the coming of the Macintosh computer in 1984. With the ad Apple positioned itself as the ultimate challenger of IBM. Throughout it's history Apple continued to keep this 'David vs. Goliath' image alive.

Ironacally Apple recently was dealt a blow when Norway’s powerful consumer ombudsman ruled that its iTunes online music store was illegal because it did not allow downloaded songs to be played on rival technology companies’ devices (FT). It's now Apple being Goliath.

Read more about it in this week's column.