Reflection on Marketing Video Project

Making a marketing video instead of doing a regular presentation excited me in the beginning of the term! It would be my first time shooting and making a video, which I wanted to but never knew how to start doing before this marketing class.

Through the video project experience, I learned to use a video camera to catch shots and use the iMovie software to edit video clips. This video project also made me realize how much creativity has been lost throughout my education in the past 18 years. I had difficulty thinking about a creative approach to deliver our business analysis and recommendations, which was supposed to be the highlight of this project. Luckily, my teammates came up with the idea of acting like Mad Man, the popular TV show, to express how Blackberry is desperately asking a marketing firm for suggestions to make revolutionary changes to save the company. In order to imitate the environment of the TV show, we bought Nestle ice tea powder to create “Scotch Whisky”, borrowed cigarettes from dad, and we all dressed up like in the 1960s. It was very fun and exciting to make all those efforts to create the best video shooting atmosphere.

Learning fundamental marketing principles is important; applying those concepts into real-life problems is more valuable and challenging. Through out the course, I realize that opening my eyes to look at all kinds of marketing activities happening around me can support me to become more thoughtful and creative. I desire to think out side the box while hitting the key points that are necessary. Merging myself to the local culture while having my own unique point of view, knowing how famous products are influencing people’s life, and understanding different perspectives on certain marketing campaign and phenomenon would definitely increase my confidence and allow me to think more bravely and freely.

This is where I am going to start! Happy Spotting!

PR Activities: Starbucks Focuses Hiring Strategy on Veterans and Military Spouses

On the Starbucks Newsroom website, I found this article about Starbucks hiring US veterans, which reminds me of the improvement on brand image that PR activities can bring. Starbucks announced to adopt a comprehensive hiring platform for veterans and active duty spouses in anticipation of a 500,000 person in the future global workforce. This action will not only decrease the high unemployment rate of veteran groups, but also help Starbucks build and maintain a positive image, showing that it produces tasty coffee & beverages along with supporting the community to become more socially sustainable.

By publishing articles online and releasing news, Starbucks made efforts to let potential consumers realize the incredible value that Starbucks has created. It emphasized the idea that many veterans are talented individuals who have team work skills, high level of integrity, the ability to handle stress and learn to utilize those transferable skills into workplace. Hiring those individuals are beneficial to both the veteran community and Starbucks itself.

To enhance the positive impact of this PR activity, Starbucks emphasized the fact that it received the recognition and applause from Joining Forces which spoke on behalf of the First Lady and Dr. Biden. The great brand image and reputation that a successful PR activity creates will definitely motivates more companies to think about how to reward the community and make smart business decisions just like Starbucks. Most importantly, the PR activity has to do something real good for the society, otherwise there may be serious backfire incurred to damage the brand image.

Video: Interview with veterans who are hired by Starbucks


RE: “From MEC to MEH…” Starbuck’s Rebranding Shows its New Strategy

Anita’s blog inspired me to write another blog about brand repositioning. Here is the link to her blog for your convenience.

Rebranding refers to a strategy in which marketers change a brand’s focus to target new markets or realign the brand’s core emphasis with changing market preferences. Often companies and brands need to reposition or rebrand themselves in order to stay up to date with society and often due to losses in market share.

In 2011, Starbucks abandoned the external ring of it brand name, which turned out to be simpler. This action implied that Starbucks would extend to more other fields.  Howard Schultz, chief executive of Starbucks, said in a webcast: “We’ve allowed [the Siren] to come out of the circle in a way that gives us the freedom and flexibility to think beyond coffee.” The high recognition degree of its logo will unconsciously impose Starbucks’ brand image to its new products. Due to consumers’ trust and loyalty, it will lead to success in popularize its new products.

With the evolution of the brand logo, consumers can taste the changes in Starbucks’ business strategy which is to further implement its brand extension, such as snacks, coffee mugs, candies… Meanwhile, it stays loyal to the image of Siren – a storyteller, who carries the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembers their past; a muse, that is always there, inspires them and pushes them ahead. (Steve.M)


Since the myth of siren is well known to consumers, the picture of siren is chosen. Siren is part of the culture which indicates that Starbucks is a brand with deep meaning. Thus, customers will define the brand as of high quality and classy, and keep buying its coffee and more.




Re: Good Beer Deserves Good Packaging

This blog post is a reply to author Adam Sadowski’s Good Beer Deserves Good Packaging.

Good packaging for beers can tell a story and make people wonder what’s on the inside. It can also bring an unique experience to beer-drinkers who are not only looking for tasty beers, but an authentic and aesthetic feeling when spending quality time with family, friends or themselves.

Heineken is not only famous for its high quality beer, but the initiation of the redesign campaign by customers/designers themselves to celebrate its 140th year in the beer business. Your Future Bottle Design Challenge puts an extensive archive of some 250 treasured items and images from the brand’s archives in the hands of designers around the world for use as inspiration.The theme of the designing is connection and future.


Competition: Heineken Future Bottle Design Challenge 2013

Heineken involves its consumers with the company’s history, development, as well as its value and believes. Besides the redesign campaign, Heineken addresses technological innovations, which can be adopted in packaging the beer products to provide better drinking, clubbing and social experience.

It launched a fun “Smart” bottle, which can respond according to the surrounding. Clinking two of them together for a toast causes them both to light up simultaneously, while taking a drink causes the LEDs to flicker rapidly. Setting one of them down for a moment will also trigger a sleep mode, where it slowly dims until it’s picked up again. The lights can even be controlled remotely to have them match up with a musical beat, turning a party into a synchronized light show.

Heineken: Ignite Story

Heineken emphasis the importance of packaging which brings the additional value to beer-drinkers and party people who are looking for tasty beer and fun experience.



Craft Breweries Utilize Social Media

Troika Brodsky, St. Louis Brewery’s communications director, believed that part of what makes the craft-beer industry so accessible and successful is the fact that consumers know the faces and names of the people who made it all happen. People are far more attracted a product that they can relate to, and you just can’t do better than hanging out and drinking beers with the folks who made it.

Now, the sense of familiarity, accessibility and community translates to social media.

Advantages of social media for small-sized craft breweries:

–          Social media is a transparent platform to let actual consumers see how the brewery is dealing with their products, services and customers, especially there are unpleasant experience occurred.

–          It is cost-effective to benefit both growing breweries and insatiable consumers who are looking for craft beer options and information about beers. Small, medium-sized breweries cannot afford the Super Bowl, but they can well organize their social media accounts.

–          Since most small craft breweries are community-oriented and depend on community’s support, social media is able to create a community for beer-lovers and let the brewery hear their voices and talk to them in-person when fellows come to store and check-in on Facebook showing that they are hanging out here with friends. The owner may be able to come out and invite them for two pints of free beers.

Disadvantages of social media:

–          It is difficult to convey in-depth message and diverse information through social media compared with the traditional newsletter, etc.

Another thing that breweries should avoid is that when becoming massive, it should never forget listening to what the community wants. Holding Tasting Festivals or having Friday Nights Gathering Specials is always a good way to bring folks together and develop customer loyalty.



Business Ethics: Falsly Advertising Leads to PR Disaster

Once a good brand is involved with false advertisement, it can suffer from a huge loss of customers, criticisms from various media, penalty from the government authorities, etc. Disastrously, the valuable brand imagine will be destroyed, leading to devastating public relation problems.

Benefiting from the giant yet developing market in China, some transnational corporations started to forget their promises in good food quality and how they once benefit from their once reliable and exceptional brand reputation.

The popular fast food restaurant KFC had experienced several PR disasters, coming from its misleading advertisement and food safety problems. In 2011, KFC advertised its popular soybean milk as “pure” and “natural”, presenting its customers with pictures of ground soybeans as if it was produced from them. However, many customers have witnessed that KFC staff used soybean milk powder or concentrated soybean milk to replace the ground bean.

Soybean milk is a traditional Chinese drink, and Chinese customers extremely value the purity and healthiness of the milk, preferring the traditional process of producing it. Comparing with those unreliable street vendors without food certificates, Chinese customers trusted KFC’s food quality so that they were willing to pay six times higher the price than the regular price in local supermarkets to buy their soybean milk. Yet, the falsely advertised commercial completely wiped out people’s interests in the product, also led to huge mistrust and criticisms to the brand among the society.

A remarkable brand image and solid reputation can help the company grow sustainably. For those famous franchised restaurants, they should maintain the high standard and treat their customers around the world responsibly and equally. In the case of KFC, some Chinese customers even questioned why those transnational companies cannot guarantee the food quality globally and comply with their promises and visions in a different country. I think that this is a discrimination and inequality towards developing countries in the form of bad management decision in terms of marketing.

The troubles given by Iphone.

“I will say that iPhones in general are good smartphones but not great. They are excellent entry level to mid range smartphones. But in the end it does not matter what I say because as long as their is an Apple logo on it, people will mindlessly buy it.”-Athanasios Zarkadas

I am an Iphone user and I do acknowledge the strengths of Iphone. However, facing the troubles and inconvenience brought by Iphone, should we step back and rethink the value of Iphone?

When consumers choose monthly plan, most of people will choose the most economical one, as long as the mobile company support the cell phone we already have. For example, Wind Mobile provide $25 per month with everything unlimited. However, this economical monthly plan is not supportive for Iphone. Thus, Iphone user can’t benefit from the cheap plan provided by Wind mobile. Iphone users can choose Fido $25 monthly plan, but only get 150mins talk during day time and unlimited text within Canada.

The one of the reasons that Iphone users can’t have cheap phone bill is that the network of Iphone differentiates from mobile companies that provide cheaper monthly plan.

“We do not have the iPhone. Apple’s current iPhone is not compatible with the WIND network (AWS/1700 Megahertz/BandIV). When we hear an AWS iPhone is in the works, believe us, we’ll be knocking Apple’s door to get the scoop!” said a staff of Wind Mobile.

Wind Mobile as well as other cheaper mobile company such as Mobilicity, can provide services for HTC users and Samsung users, but not Iphone users.

Mobile companies are looking forward to cooperate with Apple so that more Iphone users can benefit.

Picking Brand Names in China Is a Business Itself.

Western companies looking to bring their products to China face a problem not unlike that of Chinese parents naming a baby boy: little Gang (“strong”) is regarded quite differently than little Yun (“cloud”).

An off-key name could have serious financial consequences, due to the negative meaning of the translated name. For example, Microsoft should be careful. The phonetic Chinese character for Bing, its new search engine, means, “disease,” “defect,” and “virus.”

However, a successful translated brand name brings good brand images and stimulates consumers’ interests to buy the products.

The paradigm probably is the Chinese name for Coca-Cola, Kekoukele, which not only sounds like Coke’s English name, but conveys its essence of taste and fun in a way that the original name could not hope to match.There are many others. Consider Tide detergent, Taizi, whose Chinese characters literally mean “gets rid of dirt.”

The art of picking a brand name that resonates with Chinese consumers is no longer an art. It has become a sort of science, with consultants, computer programs and linguistic analyses. So far, there are already some professional companies running translation brand name as a business.

However, if we could come up with a universal appealing brand name, wouldn’t we save money to think of translation, making the brand name world-widely famous once the brand succeeds! (outside li)


Branding strategy: An universal brand name!

After reading A Look at Branding Strategies from Fidèle Armstrong’s Blog, I was inspired to research more on branding strategies.

A good Brand name helps companies increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage, especially when a local brand explores oversea market.

Paris Baguette cafe is a famous for its up-scale french style cake, cookies and bakeries in Chinese market.

As a fan of Paris Baguette,I used to believe that it is a French company not only because of the French style products but also the French brand name. However, Paris Baguette is a Korean company, headquartered in Seongnam Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.

Personally I like this brand name very much because it introduces the main product- French Baguette and tells consumers the key character of this brand is French bakeries.

Besides, a English-French name supports its oversea expansion. Language used in brand name can partly influence the brand image. Paris baguette leaves a French style image in my mind, which makes me more willing to purchase bread there because of the good reputation of French bakeries.

Now, customers can find Paris Baguette in US, Singapore, China and Korea.

Compared with Paris Baguette, a Chinese bakery chain store (Dao Xiang Cun)which is famous for traditional Beijing pastries is using the antiquated Chinese name and a simple PinYin name to help foreigners recognize.

The PinYin translation is unattractive and meaningless for English speakers, which could have help this traditional bakery be more successful when it seeks to expend.

Thus, my recommendation for Dao Xiang Cun would be finding a better English brand name, which may help this company expand worldwide.


Starbucks in China- meeting for parents!

Exploring new market in a totally different culture can be challenging. One of the challenges for Starbucks is how can it always hires the most appropriate employees who are enthusiastic and responsible.

In China,In order to hire more compatible employees, Starbucks held meetings for parents of many targeted employees, telling them Starbucks would grow and develop with their kids. Starbucks knew that in China, because of the one-child policy, parents are willing to help their kid succeed at any expense.

Now, many young employees are living with their parents, which may strongly influence employee’s attitudes toward job. For example, if parents believe their kids can develop better in Starbucks, their kids are more likely to work harder in order to get promotions fulfilling their parents’ expectation.

In China, winning the mind of parents can improve employees happiness to a certain extant.