Carry on shopping

June 17, 2012

An interesting article was circulating this week about the impact of the recession on shoppers and hence how their behaviours had changed.  This got me thinking, always a bit dangerous, but isn’t it a case of the more things change the more they stay the same?

My take on it is this. 

Yes, we are still in recession and yes it has had an impact, but at the same time the same basic challenges still exist for marketing people.  It is still so much about Product, Price, Place etc, but not only are we having to work in more challenging times but then there’s also this thing called the internet. 

What that means is that a) people, and this is all people, have to some extent or another felt the impact of the recession and have therefore adapted their buying behaviours and b) the internet has been a catalyst for those changes. 

If anyone thought that the internet was going to make things easier for everyone then think again. For some maybe it does (make things easier) but for an awful lot of us it actually make things much more complicated.  We’re seeing that more and more with retailers being unable to effectively integrate their online and offline operations.  The internet has given huge power to consumers in their ability to research, compare, review and purchase.  Add in the economic downturn and this has given them real reasons to do more researching, comparing and reviewing.   Then we can’t forget of course that for conventional retailers it is not only about getting it right online – you’ve also got to get the basics right in store too – witness Tesco’s £1bn investment in its store portfolio and customer service!  And then it’s not just about doing that in a vacuum, you’ve got your competitors all experiencing the same pressures and looking to be more competitive themselves. 

So in short you’ve got a perfect storm being brewed up with consumers having to react to the economy combined with this great tool (the internet) to help them react more effectively.  But my point is this, despite the internet, and despite the economy, it still comes back to the obvious fact that success still derives from getting the marketing mix right.  The world has changed, but ultimately isn’t it still the same?

What’s in a name?

January 27, 2009

As we at Business Blueprints debate our own possible name change I’m reminded of the current campaign for Norwich Union. One of the things we do is measure awareness, be it specific brand awareness, advertising awareness or individual media recall. So perhaps it is interesting to see a company spending heavily on TV using such cultural icons as Ringo, Bruce Willis, Alice Cooper and Dame Edna to highlight their name change to Aviva.

Interesting perhaps but maybe also a little misplaced. I’m sorry, but didn’t they change the name to Aviva some years ago or as a customer am I imagining it? I’m all for getting a news story across which clearly they feel they are doing but where is the benefit? Where are the brand or product messages? Are they targeting current or new customers? Or is it in fact a very expensive b2b campaign for the city? How many people can you see saying ‘Honey, I must change our insurance cover to those nice Aviva people now they’ve got a new name!’

Which brings us back to research, and I hope they’ve done theirs properly. I worked in a sector a few years back where company and brand changes seemed to come around every three months. The only people who seemed to gain anything from it were the design companies who were paid to re-logo anything that moved and a few things that didn’t. I can’t remember a single change doing anything other than further confuse the very people they should have been considering most – their customers.

One assumes that an established company such as Norwich Union knows what it is doing. That is has weighed up the values in the existing brand name and evaluated the potential benefits of the shift to Aviva. But as we know but for every good name change there is a not so good name change, for every 02 success there is a corresponding Consignia.