Archive for the ‘International Marketing’ Category

30
Aug

The summer is almost over, and in this  post I would like to discuss issues related with the “King” of the summer industries – tourism. The question was born in my head during my vacations at my hometown, in Crete. Specifically, the official numbers for Greece – and Crete in particular – showed an increase in the number of tourists in relation to 2013 (which was also a good year). In addition, I could personally observe that there was a big number of tourists strolling on the streets. Nevertheless, the owners of tourism related businesses (e.g., small hotels, gift shops, etc.) were complaining that their business was down. And a quick look inside these businesses confirmed their view: Most shops and small hotels were not nearly as busy as last year.

So how could both of these opposing facts be true? I believe it is because of the existence of two pretty well-defined segments of tourists. The first segment, let’s call them “the relaxers” primarily care about resting and relaxing. What they want from their vacation is as few hustle as possible, even if that means missing out on a few interesting stuff. Naturally, they prefer a vacation package that they book from a travel agent. This includes a big hotel (usually part of a chain), which offers them everything: 3 meals, shops, cafes, bars, close access to a nice beach. They typically leave their hotel only for pre-scheduled excursions either to the closest town, or to a few main attractions.

The second segment, let’s call them “the explorers” primarily care about exploring and getting to know the place they visit. What they want from their vacation is new experiences, and are willing to exert more effort in discovering the “secrets” of the place they are visiting. They usually stay at small hotels, but they spend very little time there. On the contrary, they leave their hotel early in the morning, and it is not unusual for them to eat, shop, have drinks, etc. at a different place each day – or even during the same day. They plan most details of their trip on their own, perhaps with the help of friends and “experts” (e.g., tripadvisor).

So, what seems to have happened in Crete this summer, is that many tourists came (thus, the increase in the gross numbers), but most of them were “relaxers”, and few of them were “explorers” (thus, the decrease in tourism revenues for small tourism related businesses).

Now, is this a problem? I believe it is. In an uncertain industry, such as tourism, it is risky to concentrate only on one market segment. For instance, relaxers would go to any place that their travel agent sends them, as long as they can relax. But travel agents operate based on profit, so they would have no problem to send their clients to other locations, as long as they get a better price. So low prices (at the package level) are critically important for that segment, and can result in big changes in demand from year to year.

I could mention several examples, but perhaps the most convincing is the following. The Greek Ministry of Tourism, seems to want to target both the relaxers and the explorers. For instance, take a look at the following ad – it seems to be targeting for the most part the “explorers”. So are many of the videos of the official agency for tourism in Greece.

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In summary, it looks that the good results in terms of “sales” (i.e., gross tourism numbers) are not the result of a careful marketing strategy building on the competitive advantages of the brand “Greece”, but a result of competitive pricing (which, may be a result of the ongoing economic crisis in Greece). If that is the case, the positive results of Greek tourism during the last couple of years are not likely to be sustainable.  They will be over together the price advantage, largely stemming from the crisis. In order to ensure long-lasting market growth,   an aligned marketing strategy is necessary.

Antonios (Adoni) Stamatogiannakis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Marketing
IE Business School – IE University

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

 

29
Aug

Also if you are not a gallery lovers, likewise can not disregard gallery in London, due to the fact that it is too much. You will certainly locate an unusual vintage snapbacks, also if the slack in the exhibit, the museum’s coffee shop is particularly active, due to the fact that we all understand the truth, the London museum of coffee will not be bad where to go.

In a Soho has Hazlitt called’s hotel, outright through rocks! The construction began in 1718 became an exclusive residence, made use of to live a vintage snapbacks called William Hazlitt paper authors, thus the name. Coldplay approach most via a night feeling antique 9 hotels and resort.

All the furniture of the display inside the hotels and resort there are hundreds of years record, is full of precious ancient publications, even the commode closestool is social antiques. Resort intro of words there is a very worth contemplating: “please address these aged individual in the space, yet if they didn’t manage you, please be sure to inform us!” Hello, cannot be haunted? You understand live an evening. Absolute rate is below you pictured.

Coldplay technique 10 in the gallery store window “tao” for baby. Do you recognize where London really rich people are shopping? Is that there are several shops yet vacant shopping arcade. This is a special can top place, even if you don’t buy things, also have to be in to see exactly what is asked for child. Located in the Piccadilly Burlington Arcade is such a location. All the shop location is little, but the standard only marketing antiques, limited edition and haute couture. Price tag in the browse home window alone, is enough to make a hassle over you for a while. The British folks will be pleased to tell you, this is the real London shop.

Love to climb, can go to the juyongguan Great Wall surface, after the vacation without checking out the man’s head, could discover creative conception. North along the Great Wall in Beijing jingbei-changcheng line nonetheless, forget on camels. See the bird’s nest, water cube, 798, could perceive the contemporary Beijing.

Along with go to all-natural surroundings, still can really feel the palate beat, to the outskirts of Beijing orchard picking fresh fruit, wonderful as well as tasty preference of fresh fruit; To wangfujing street, DongHuaMen flavor snack street, free tasks, in blend treat street documents throughout the nation to find can trigger the idea of the tongue thoughts elantra.

Also if you are not a gallery enthusiasts, also can not ignore museum in London, due to the fact that it is too much. If go worn out, could as well into the tiny New Era Hats relax to a gallery. Museum in London even ask for, the cost is not higher also, enough inside air conditioning and comfortable environment. You will certainly find an odd vintage snapbacks, also if the slack in the exhibition, the museum’s coffee shop is specifically active, because we all know the fact, the London museum of coffee will not be bad where to go.

16
Aug

Should you bet on Sustainability? Does it make business and financial sense to go for a green positioning? What can companies and brand expect for these sort of approaches?

sustainability

I could actually write a book about these questions, but would rather keep it simple today. According to a research from Havas Media Group, Brands must be meaningful. In the sense that they need to embrace values that resonate with customers. If not, you risk becoming part of the mainstream (7 out of 10 brands according to this research) and become irrelevant to your target group… I.e. your customer would not care at all if your brand disappeared…

Meaningul Brands

Bearing this is in mind, there are quite a few possible approaches here. You can create a Corporate Brand Identity around sustainability like the one of Unilever, or you could keep it simple and go step by step. And, if you opt for the latter, then the approach would be simple: Take one value that resonates with your customers and build upon it.

Meaningul Brands Info

One of the possible values is everything related to playing it Green, to positioning yourself as an Environmentally Friendly Company, who cares about Nature and the Ecosystem. And one example of this would be what not a company but an Industry has actually done: The Green approach of the Hotel Chains.

You know what I am speaking about, but let me share one recent example I got so that we are all in the same page. I just went to Penn State University for a Symposium on Digital Learning. The event took place in an Event Centre where everybody was hosted. And of course, when in the room, you could find it with signs that were basically telling something like this:

“If you want your towels to be replaced, please leave them on the floor….

If you want your bed sheets not to be changed, please leave this sign on your bed…

When deciding, please consider the amount of resources that are thrown away and the impact is has on Nature…

We are fully committed Hotel with Sustainability and appreciate your support…”

towel save planet

The result?

Firstly, most customers decide to play it green.

Secondly, the Hotel Chain makes a good impact on the brand positioning, as long as customers end up perceiving the brand as committed with sustainability.

And lastly, the Hotel Chain actually saves a lot of money for not having to wash and replace thousands of towels and bed sheets…

Food for thought

Quite simple, isn´t it? But it works and delivers quite good results. So bear in mind two things from here:

  • Brands needs to resonate with customer values, they need to resonate and engage.
  • The latter does not necessarily imply ad multimillion investment. It could be as simple as taking one value and get your message across.

I look for your comments @ignaciogafo

Reset!!!

Ignacio Gafo

 

12
Jul

Today I wanted to paraphrase a well-known business article (It is the Distribution, stupid!) to showcase the importance of managing Media properly when building the Personal Brand Identity. And for doing so we have two perfect examples that reflect what should be and should not be done.

lebron james

IKER CASILLAS AND HIS MISSTEP

Iker Casillas has managed its Personal Branding relatively well for many years. I am not sure how systematic and structured he was in his approach, but in the end of the day he came across to Spaniards as a brilliant goalkeeper, with a human touch (reflected when he gave a call to Xavi from Barcelona to end up a club discussion) and passion for what he did and achieved (just recall what happened with Sara Carbonero 4 years ago upon winning the Soccer Wordlcup).

iker casillas

Moreover, he has managed relatively well his presence in Social Media, where we can find him in Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram, and has actually got really good PR thanks to some of his prizes, such as the one granted by the UNPD:  Goodwill Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals.

What came out of it? Casillas managed to create a pretty good Personal Brand around himself, as it was reflected in the research by Personality Media, and actually some advertisting contracts with well-known companies such as Liga BBVA and Procter & Gamble.

iker champu

So far so good, till recently… The misstep came two weeks ago when he published a picture of his new-born baby, one “follower” attacked the baby (he basically said that he wished the baby would drown) and Casillas replied with all kind swearing and curse words…

comentario-iker

Had Casillas the right to response back like that? Yes, of course. Was Casillas right when responding like that? Absolutely not. Casillas needs to understand that even if he has the right to do so, he has created a Personal Brand, needs to protect it, take good care about what he does and does not say in public and specially take care of Media and Digital Media. For whatever he says, specially if it is a misstep, is going to be viral and promoted all around the Globe…

 

LEBRON GOES BACK HOME

The story of Lebron is somewhat similar to the one of Iker Casillas in a bigger scale. His Personal Branding started when he was only 17 and made it in the cover of Sports Illustrated: The Chosen one was born.

lebron the chosen one

Number 1 of the NBA draft in 2003, he was really up to the expectations he raised and managed to beat quite a few records during his 7 years in the Cavs, with only something missing: An NBA Championship. In 2010, he became an unrestricted agent and had to decide whether to keep on playing in Cleveland or moving somewhere else… Everybody was awaiting and he finally made his move… A move that he announced in an ESPN TV Program (The Decision)…

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Did he have the right to look for another Team where to win the NBA Championship? Of course. Did he mange it properly from a communication perspective? Definitively not. It was considered a brutal communication misstep, an arrogant move that made him a public enemy in Cleveland and in the minds of big chunk of NBA followers (myself included).

4 years later, Lebron was facing the same situation again. He had spent 4 years with the Heats, won 2 NBA Championships, had the right to choose his team again and got everybody was awaiting his decision. And today, he announced his decision and, in contrast to what happened before, he communicated it smartly: He wrote a well-thought and respectful letter published by Sports Illustrated, where he exposes the reasons for “I´m coming back home”.

lebron coming home

The reactions are yet to come, but I can bet that his Personal Brand Image will be strongly reinforced for:

  • He has amended his previous mistakes.
  • He admits the communication mistakes he made in the past.
  • He comes across as a respectful and considerate person, that looks for something else.

SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS

  • Personal Branding has to do with who you are and specially with how you come across.
  • For the latter Media in a broad sense is critical and needs to be carefully thought and manged.
  • When being a well-known Personal Brand, you need to be mindful and aware that everything your claim is subject to be published, promoted and made viral. This works both for offline and online media.
  • Having said that, you need to define your values and positioning and stick to them, even if rational or irrational critics show up.
  • And last but not least, please consider a professional assessment for managing your Personal Brand. Brand Management well deserves some professional help.

personal branding

Look forward for your comments @ignaciogafo.

Reset!!!

Ignacio Gafo

22
Jun

Can you disrupt the market with a best-in-class shopping experience? Amazon thinks so.

Marketing and Strategy books claim that you should strive to create a Monopoly, to come up with a Blue Ocean where no competition takes place. This approach is also know as becoming a Game Changer, breaking the existing rules and coming up with something that sets you appart.

blue ocean

When analyzing companies that have managed to do so, we mainly encounter companies that came up with innovative products, that outperformed everything available in the market. However, as competition and globalization evolve, this has turned out to be more and more difficult and nowadays, most companies happen to succeed through innovations in the Business Model (Google) or Customer Experience (Apple with the I-phone).

In this context, Amazon has just launched its new Fire Smartphone, an expected move  supported by analysts, that enview it as a Game Changing through a top-notch shoppping experience.

amazon_customer_service

Is it the case?

Before responding, let´s analyze brevely what they have launched and where does Amazon stand.

The launch has been somewhat different from the one done with the Kindle Fire Tablet for two reasons:

a) The smartphone is a top-class one from a spec perspective (compared to a stripped down version from the initial Kindle Fire tablets).

b) The street price has not been undercut (which was the case with the Kindle Fire tablet).

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The latter is basically telling us that Amazon feels more comfortable about its positioning and confident to demand somewhat similar prices than those from Apple and Samsung.

In this regard, it is fair to say that Amazon has done an impressive job in terms of attracting its customer base (mainly the in US) and getting app developers on board (you can now download more than 300k apps through the Amazon Portal), whilst providing a state-of-the-art shopping experience

Being this the case, I do think that Amazon is taking a reasonable risk, that sets the basis for its long term strategy: Reaping the benefits of a loyal customer base, that is expected to keep on purchasing from Amazon, even when discounting is not applied.

Amazon-Phone

My first guess is that the initial results will be positive but will not tell if the bet works. This will be the case for the Phone will be just launched in the US with AT&T, which is where Amazon is stronger and gets most of its loyal customer base. The challenges will show up in the mid-term, when they need to go beyond the american market and convince other markets (like Europe) to pay full price for an Amazon device.

And my second guess is that this will be an all or nothing initiative. For if they are unable to reach in two years to a critical customer base, key app developers and distributors (mainly Telecom Companies) will stop supporting them.

Time to time then. But let´s welcome Amazon Phone on board!

Reset!!!

Ignacio Gafo

PS: This post is dedicated to Teresa Serra, my mentor at IE Business School, and to all my loyal blog readers that have being patient with me. Sorry about so many months without posting. Just needed a small break to Reset!!! and go beyond Think Different!!!

22
Jun

If you’re considering trucker style caps as a promotional thing, gift with investment, or prize, you’re part of a long-standing custom. For many years, lots of organizations have pertained to like the versatility, design and affordable of truck driver hats. Wholesale distributors as well as suppliers are marketing additional trucker hats today compared to at any sort of point in the past. Trucker hats, wholesale or otherwise, were initial manufactured for seed and also feed business, ranch product providers and various other businesses linked to the farming as well as trucking markets. Wholesale cap manufacturers identified the popularity of these head coverings and responded with even more colors as well as personalizing options over the years.

Trucking style hats are normally made of closed foam and also a synthetic mesh. The front two or three panels of foam were designed with a somewhat greater front to fit a firm logo design or slogan that would be quickly apparent. The sides as well as back were made from mesh for breathability and also convenience on also the best days. The brim in the front was designed to keep the sun out of your eyes while functioning outside in the areas or driving long hrs on the Interstate. They were very easy to clean, too! A modifiable tab in the back implied one-size-fits-all comfort. Although you’ll still locate the mesh sides on a lot of trucker snapbacks for cheap, you could now additionally get them made entirely of foam, and even twill.

As time took place, a growing number of individuals acknowledged the practicality and also comfort of these caps. Wholesale cap distributors viewed the necessity for a larger variety of styles and also colors and rapidly came out with twill versions as well as numerous styles that had optional cutting such as contrasting stitching on the brim, cable trim, padded panels and even ornamental touches such as fires or sequins.

In the late 1990′s and very early 2000′s, metropolitan youth discovered trucker hats and also made them part of their closets, originally to make an ironic declaration, but quickly mainstreaming the design as a result of its comfort and colorful charm.

Comedians, entertainers, and film celebrities picked up the trend, catapulting the humble trucker hat to new elevations. When tv and also motion picture superstar Ashton Kutcher started using trucker caps, their sales surged sharply. Individuals began accumulating the mesh hats from a range of firms; the a lot more odd or uncommon the company logo, the even more well-liked they became.

Today, wholesale cap suppliers offer an amazing range of options, including the timeless mesh design, which remains the most prominent. The slightly stiff, higher crown of common carrier caps enables even more space for printing or stitching a company logo or message that makes certain to be seen. If your business is questioning exactly what their following marketing item ought to be, they cannot go wrong with trucker snapbacks for cheap.

Wholesale suppliers as well as suppliers are marketing additional trucker hats today than at any kind of point in the past. Trucker hats, wholesale or otherwise, were first manufactured for seed and also feed companies, farm product vendors and also various other businesses linked to the farming and also trucking sectors. You’ll still locate the mesh sides on most trucker snapbacks for cheap, you could now also get them made completely of foam, or even twill. If your company is questioning exactly what their following advertising product must be, they can not go incorrect with trucker snapbacks for cheap.

I look for your comments @ignaciogafo

Reset!!!

Ignacio Gafo

28
Apr

En un entorno de marcas y consumidores hiperconectados se debate con asiduidad sobre la necesidad de que las marcas dialoguen con sus consumidores . El objetivo parece claro: establecer una relación más fluida y continua en el tiempo.

Se habla de dialogar, de conectar, de storytelling; de crear contenidos, de distribuir contenidos, de conseguir recomendaciones, word of mouth, de seguidores, likes, tweets, retweets …

Buscamos community managers, SEO y SEM managers, creamos attribution models y pensamos qué contenido será mejor para atraer más consumidores, más clicks y generar más difusión e impacto.

Sin embargo, en la mayoría de las estrategias de las marcas echo de menos una palabra mágica: empatía.

Para establecer una relación duradera entre personas o entre un marca y sus consumidores no sólo es necesario dialogar, es necesario dialogar mostrando empatía.

El dialogo sin empatía puede ser correcto, circunstancial, incluso muy frecuente; nos hace ser conocidos pero no construye sólidos vínculos afectivos ni entre las personas ni entre las marcas y sus consumidores .

Mostrar empatía significa comprender y tener la palabra justa ante los sentimientos de las personas , anticipar sus reacciones y compartir sus momentos. La empatía implica capacidad de escuchar y de expresar al otro que le hemos entendido, que podemos ver las cosas desde su punto de vista, no sólo desde el nuestro.

Traducido al lenguaje del marketing es importante resaltar que mostrar empatía no es lo mismo que descubrir “insights”. Los insights son revelaciones puntuales para las marcas que les ayudan a hacerse visibles, presentes y relevantes en la consideración de los consumidores.

La empatía es lo que hace que un “insight “perdure en el tiempo y se convierta en una ventaja competitiva sostenible.

Por mi experiencia profesional en marketing e innovación considero de un enorme mérito la estrategia llevada a cabo por la marca Dove en estos años. Alguna vez ya he comentado al respecto en este blog

Sin embargo, lo que más me llama la atención de esta marca es su capacidad de empatía.

Me gustaría que viesen estos tres anuncios.

Probablemente el primero ya lo conocen, Dove Sketches.

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Quizas los otros dos aún no. Dove Selfie y Dove Shy. Echenles un vistazo.

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La transición del primero a los dos últimos es fenomenal.

Para Dove hubiese sido mucho más “simple” exprimir al máximo su exitosa campaña Sketches, buscando mas posibilidades creativas de “sketches”, nuevos targets mas jóvenes; diseñar concursos, promociones y tweets sobre los “sketches” de los consumidores y un sinfín de prolongaciones de la campaña que ustedes pueden imaginar…. Pero esto, aunque diálogo, no es empatía. Sin embargo, con estas nuevas comunicaciones Dove dialoga con sus consumidores con una nueva perspectiva, demuestra que conoce de lo que está hablando, empatiza con sus consumidores mostrando que sabe como se sienten o como se han sentido.

Desde el punto de vista estratégico para la marca el avance es inmejorable. Un target más joven, un tono menos dramático , más alegre y positivo.

Con los buenos amigos las conversaciones no se repiten hasta el aburrimiento. Descubrimos nuevas perspectivas. Hablando con ellos, nos conocemos mejor.

 

Espero que tengan una buena semana, seguiremos dialogando

 

puedes seguir la conversación en @carmenabril1

 

19
Feb

Desde el Retail

Deloitte publica anualmente el informe Global Powers of Retailing, donde se recoge el ranking de las 250 primeras cadenas detallistas a nivel mundial.

Del ranking del informe 2014, correspondiente a los ejercicios fiscales 2012-2013, se derivan algunos cambios sustanciales en sus posiciones principales si lo comparamos con el del año anterior. Los más relevantes serían la pérdida de dos puestos por parte de Carrefour, que pasa de la 2ª a la 4ª plaza como resultado de la venta de su enseña Dia, y la pérdida de 3 posiciones por Metro, que pasa de la 4ª a la 7ª como consecuencia también de la venta de algunas divisiones de su formato Cash&Carry. En el sentido contrario, Tesco asciende a la segunda posición y Costco a la tercera. Pero en resumen, todos los que estaban entre los diez primeros, salvo Walgreen, se mantienen.

2014

Para verlo con una mayor perspectiva temporal podemos compararlo con el ranking correspondiente al informe del año 2009. Los cambios más relevantes serían el continuo ascenso de Costco (de la posición 9 en 2009 a la 3ª en 2014) y la entrada entre los 20 primeros grupos de Aeon Co (13º), Woolworths (15º), Westfarmers (19º) y Casino (20º). Pero entre los movimientos más notorios sería la entrada de Amazon en esta lista de los top 20, al ascender desde el puesto 55 al 16 en solo cinco años.

Algunos temas destacables serían los siguientes

  • Las enseñas que operan con formatos y posicionamientos discount acaparan una importancia creciente, contando ya con tres grupos entre los diez primeros (Schwarz Lidl, Aldi y Target). Igualmente habría que destacar el peso creciente de formatos Cash&Carry y Warehouse Clubs (Costco y Metro).
  • Se sigue dando un bajo nivel de globalización entre las 20 empresas líderes, al tener presencia en un promedio de 12.5 países (frente a 10.0 países de media para el conjunto de 250 grupos incluidos en el informe). Adicionalmente el crecimiento en esta presencia internacional es relativamente bajo, ya que en el informe 2013 la media era de 11.9 países. Entre las diez primeras empresas ninguna aumenta su presencia internacional en comparación con el año anterior, y dos de ellas (Carrefour y Metro) incluso la reducen. Sorprendentemente, algo más de un tercio de las 250 mayores empresas del mundo operan solo en un país.
  • Conectado con el punto anterior, solo un 32% de las ventas de los diez primeros detallistas provienen de fuera de su país de origen, dato que es casi diez puntos superior al correspondiente a los 250 grupos de distribución considerados en el informe. Destacar también el mayor nivel de internacionalización de las empresas europeas presentes entre las diez más grandes, en las que todas, salvo la inglesa Tesco, obtienen más de la mitad de sus ventas de operaciones internacionales.
  • Menor nivel de rentabilidad de las empresas con mayores ventas, estando el margen de las diez primeras 0.3 puntos por debajo del de las 250 mayores del mundo (2.8% vs 3.1%) como resultado de operar con formatos de distribución más conectados con el eje precio, como puedan ser formatos discount e hipermercados
  • Asia y Oceania, y principalmente Japón,  suponen el 24% de las mayores empresas de distribución detallista (60 entre las 250 mayores del mundo), si bien con un menor peso en las ventas totales generadas (15.1%) resultado de tener solamente 4 empresas asiáticas entre las 50 primeras del mundo

Si nos centramos en detallistas con venta a través de internet, por primera vez considerados específicamente en el análisis de Deloitte, algunas conclusiones incluidas en el informe serían las siguientes:

  • Casi el 80% de las 50 primeras empresas de venta online pertenecen a grupos incluidos entre las 250 primeras empresas de distribución.
  • El 84% de las empresas online tienen o son resultado de una estrategia multicanal, y solo 8 entre las 50 primeras venden únicamente a través de la web
  • Un  21% de las 250 mayores empresas detallistas todavía no tienen un sitio web como canal de venta. Entre el total de empresas, la venta online genera solo un 8% de la cifra de ventas, si bien dado su fuerte crecimiento (+25%) en comparación con de las 250 empresas que componen el informe (4.9%) esta cifra tiene un fuerte y rápido recorrido al alza

Saludos muy cordiales

30
Nov

Big Asian countries, such as China and India, are attracting the attention of companies in a variety of industries. Typically, two kinds of business opportunities are being pursued in these countries. First, many companies (e.g., IBM, Adidas, P&G, etc. – the list is really endless) transfer there some or all of their operations simply to benefit from lower production costs. Second, as the residents of these two countries represent roughly 50% of the total planet population, many companies are entering these markets  in attempt to grow their consumer base. From financial services to pharma, there seems to be something for every business domain.

As smart and profitable as the above practices may be, they are still a bit shallow (or shortsighted as a McKinsey article argues). A closer look reveals an important 3rd business opportunity; The tremendous cultural heritage of both India and China can provide excellent business prospects for companies who wish to be a bit more adventurous and seize opportunities as they arise.

But who would be the customers for such “culturally loaded” products? Well, first, an important part of Europeans and Americans find Asia as an exotic place, and they could welcome some of this “exotic-ness” to their lives. This is evident from both hard-numbers (Indian exports to USA alone are worth about USD 40 Billion) and softer consumer observation perspectives (e.g., influences of a recent Jean Paul Gaultiers collection).

But that is not all. With the modernization of the economies, many multinational firms now have significant offices in India and/or China. The executives of these companies, can be either locals, who have climbed up all the way to the corporate ladder, or expats, who were brought in by their companies in order to bring to these new markets their expertise. Both these types of people are interesting niche markets. The first, living and working in a westernized environment, may feel a little disconnected from their cultural origins. The second, living and working in a far away country, may try hard to “blend it”. No matter if their initial motive, is connecting to the past, blending in, or simply finding signature corporate gifts for their companies, they are very likely to seek for products that carry some cultural meaning of the country they live in. These products, then, could be used either by the executives themselves, or as corporate gifts of the companies they work for, which perhaps also want to communicate “original local identity”

Elements is a company that tries to seize this opportunity. The idea behind Elements was born by a team in which two IE alumni, Aman Goel and Gustavo Salinas, belong. Elements presents a unique approach to marketing hand-made Indian handicrafts, trying to connect rural Indian artisans and the culture their crafts carry, with the mainstream markets.

Aman and Gustavo explained to me the idea in greater detail.

“Indian handicrafts have been appreciated in India and abroad for a long time and already claim a market size of over USD 5 Billion. However, Elements believes, that the potential market for Indian handicrafts is much bigger. Indian artisans, for centuries, have been making the same products with same designs. So, while the world has become more modern and fast paced, Indian handicrafts have not evolved to suit the tastes of modern customers. Especially for the corporate clients, the gifts are seen as a medium building relationships with clients and employees. Therefore, the gifts not only require to communicate the company’s philosophy but also be unique. However, the corporate gifting industry in India is dominated by small regional traders who mostly import gift items from China leaving minimal scope for customization. This is where Elements brings in its expertise to adapt and contemporize traditional designs that are tailor made for each company and that carry the story of arts and artisans who have made the product. The enclosed image shows a business card holder developed by Elements using traditional Tarkashi art (metal wire inlay in wood), which has traditionally been used in making festive boxes.

El_Card holder

 

 

El_Logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, Elements also works closely with the artisans, in order to guarantee authenticity and reliable delivery of the crafts. If needed, it provides the artisans with tools and raw material to improve their production efficiency while reducing their financial burden. In addition, close cooperation helps building strong relationships and allows passing to the artisans maximum benefits from a sale. The video that follows is indicative of this close relationship.”

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Overall, though still in early stages, Elements shows that countries like India and China offer interesting market opportunities that do not necessarily rely on cheaper cost of production, but rather build on the value that products from these countries can deliver.

Do you think of any other similar business opportunities?

You can read more about Elements at:

Website: www.esbv.org

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Antonios (Adoni) Stamatogiannakis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Marketing
IE Business School – IE University

Antonios . Stamatogiannakis @ ie . edu

 

1
Oct

I am not worried about the buzz that says Apple is not as innovative as it used  to be in the past. This company has disrupted three different markets in just ten years. Most companies are not able to do it even once in their history.

I am also not worried  about the fact that Apple stock value has decreased so heavily. They have more cash than they’ve ever dream of.

I am worried about one problem that is reflected in two anecdotes:

  1. The most popular comment about iOS7 is …..how similar it is to Samsung’s interface.
  2. As heavy Apple consumer, I have never carried out more different plugs in my entire life

Haven’t you experienced these issues?

These two anecdotes are strong symptoms of a deeper problem from my point of view : Apple is losing its DNA.

Some Apple’s DNA genomes:

 

genome

-       Simplicity, Taste

  • I like this quote from Pascal 1656  “ I have only made this letter rather long because I have not had time to make it shorter” . Simplicity as Apple understood it requires a strong focus and leadership.
  •  Apple devoted a huge effort in the past to avoid superficial product features and to deliver true value to its consumers. This has been a key component of Apple’s culture reflected in their product and ecosystem design.
  • I am not sure Simplicity  is in Apple DNA anymore…
  • Gold I phone is great for China, however I am not sure if it is related to what Jobs called “taste”..

-       Outstanding consumer experience

  • Investor’s or consumer experiences?
  • Who is deciding the pace of Apple innovation, the consumer’s needs or the investor’s needs?
  • Who should be driving the agenda? Apple should announce news when they are ready to hit the market, not just because September is coming. The pace of innovation is not predictable, and sometimes is not even sustainable. Innovative companies know it.
  • Put first the value to the consumer,  the stock value will come short after.

-       Strong personality , Out of the norm

  • What is Apple’s image on young people? It is comparable to that of Apple’s early adopters?
  • Is Apple spirit started to be confounded with fashion?

Look at how Surface is pointing out this sensitive area in their recent communication

YouTube Preview Image

I believe Apple is one of the most beloved and strong brands in the world. But this is precisely why they need a Time Out.

Breath, Take some air, Re cap, Recover the passion, Commit to the vision …and then…. Beat the market again.

 

Your point of view?

 

Have a nice weekend

 

@carmenabril1

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