New school reflection [not part of marketing blog]

I’ve always had a fondness of blogging but  haven’t stayed committed to blogging regularly. I think I should start this summer. It’s already April 2013, and I can not believe a year ago I was finished my first year at Queens. I’ve gotten a lot of questions asked this year when people heard I went to Queen’s University. The most common one was “why did you leave Queen’s University?”. I have probably answered this tireless times over the past eight months. The next one is “Why did you choose Queen’s?”. The answer to the first question is that I realized Queen’s University was not right for me. I was in International Relations and Economics minor but I did not know if I wanted to continue my path in this. I knew I had a dying love for International Relations but I wanted more. I thought pairing business and my interest in Global Development was a good idea. Kingston, if anyone has been there is a “lonely” town. Lonely in the sense that it has no apparent towers or buildings. It’s quite the typically University town with a lot of restaurants but lacking in night life. Now the second question, “Why did I choose Queens?”, to be honest, I don’t remember why I choose Queens. I remember I was deliberating between University of Toronto and Queens but I knew Queens was one of the best liberal arts school and it was well known for that. The exact details, I’m not sure.

Returning and becoming a transfer student from out of province was definitely difficult. It felt like being a Frosh once more (Frosh is 1st year newbies, I’m not sure what UBC calls 1st year students) and it was hard adjusting since everyone seemed to have found their “place” at UBC. I felt like the odd pickle in first semester and a bit out of place. While everyone familiarized themselves with UBC, I did not know where Buchanan was or any other building besides the SUB, Library, Sauder and Bookstore. To be frank, I experienced reverse culture shock. I know I graduated from the most “asian” high school but at Queens, Asian’s were the minority. Just seeing a swarm of Asians on the first day of school scared me (not being in any way negative towards Asian).

Business students are quite the studs. I learned a lot this year and one of my closet friends from Queen’s quoted that “I grew up from last year”. That was quite the self-accomplishment. Internal transfers are not easy but being one of the few out of province transfers proved to be the challenge this year.

Final Blog Post: Reflect

What did you learn about your team, yourself and marketing? 

I’ve always had a misconception of what marketing really was. When someone said they were a marketing student, I thought they did sales, promotion and advertisement. I learned that marketing is more complex and has an analytical aspect to it as it involves strategizing and researching.  It was difficult at first because in the start it was a “getting to know you” process but as we learned individual strength and weaknesses, we used that to our advantage. For myself, I learned that it’s good to take initiatives but don’t over do.

What skills did you enhance or develop, if any? 

I enhanced my team-working skills because as I got to know each team member more, I learnt what worked with our team the best. I also developed better editing skills. I have not written essay’s since last year so my writing was a bit rusty at first but as we worked through the assignments, I started becoming more aware of my mistakes.

What would you do differently next time? 

I would match the assignments with the rubric more closely next time. For the first assignment, I did not realize that the rubric was in the assignment submission folder.

What are you top takeaways? 

Do a lot of research on your company but be clear and concise. Also, grammar is important! Don’t neglect your grammar! Start early and finish great.

Response to Jeffrey Tso’s Blog: The Convergence of the Tech Market

I’m not your hard core technology geek but I do like technology, especially phones. Here’s a collection of my phones since Grade 7 I believe, missing my Iphone 4, Samsung Galaxy S2 and Iphone 5 since this picture was taken a few years back. 

 

When I read Jeffrey’s blog post, and his question “Could there really be a single product, which when marketed to multiple market segments, will be able to fulfill all consumer needs?. I think at the rate of which technology is advancing, a single product will or probably has already fulfilled all consumers need. Twenty years ago, a simple hand held flip phone fulfilled consumers needs of communicating from far distances but consumers wanted more, they not only wanted to communicate verbally but textually. Along came texting, all phones moved into the stage where they not only able to communicate but as well as text. If we fast forward to now, we have phones ( ie. Iphone 5) equipped with calling, texting, games, camera, calendar, bill payments, etc. From a touch of a button, we could have ordered a pair of tickets to a Rhianna concert instead of waiting in lines for hours. A simple palm size device fulfills a bucket-list full of needs. I agree that with such innovation and advancement, not all companies have the wealth or abilities to compete amongst each other. It’s the survival of the fittest, in this case, survival of the wealthiest. The niche market will become smaller and smaller, and eventually wealthier and  innovative companies will kick out the competitors that can not compete.

Response to Drew’s Marketing Minute [comment on an external marketing blog]

In class, we learnt that Brand is the sum total of a consumer’s experience with the product, leading to Brand = Trust. On Drew’s marketing minute blog, I read a post “They’ll buy when they trust”, he proposed a equation that every business owner needs to understand: Know+Like+Trust = Buy. A customer must be able to 1) Know you you are, 2) Like who you are, 3) Trust you to make a purchase. I agree with this equation that a customer must be able to have some knowledge of your product/brand, like what you’re product is providing them and trust that your product will fulfill their needs.

 

Drew proposed,

Know = Search

If consumers can not find you, then you don’t exist.

Like = social network/blogs

Through online blogs and social networks (Facebook, Twitter), people are responding to the product and this will help shape your impression on the product.

Trust = consistency online and off .

Is the product providing you consistency and fulfilling your needs. Is it just a one time thing or can fulfill the same benefit everything you use it.

These are what I interpreted from reading Drew’s blog. After reading this, Drew speaks of products or brands as if it’s a person. It’s interesting because when you endow trust into a brand (brand loyalty), you are somewhat forming a relationship with it. If you have one bad incident with your brand (product), even though you may be forgiving because of your loyalty but you don’t give complete trust in that brand again. We can think of a relationship between a brand and a person like dating.

Trust is extremely important when it comes to branding. A company must be able to deliver its product consistently. Not only in terms of distribution channels  but the quality of the product in order to capture the consumer’s trust.

 

 

Kraft Cracker Chips?

I went to Walmart and walked down the cracker section, I noticed “Special K’s  Cracker Chips”.  First, Kellogg! A known cereal brand is making crackers chips?  Second, what is a cracker chip?

The  packaging looks similar to Kellogg’s cereal box. If I just took a glance, I might have mistaken it for the cereal.

Kellogg signature cereal, Special K is known for helping women to “slim down”. Kellogg introduced it’s cracker chips two years go, trying to adjust itself to the trend of the market. Sanjeev Khan, head of specialty at Kellogg’s, explained:

We believe Special K Cracker Crisps will be the next big driver of such growth by tapping into the huge market of women who want the best of both from crisps – all of the want and taste but none of the worry or guilty

 

Special K cereal is more tailored towards women, primarily mid 30’s because that’s when family forms and women’s life gets too hectic to keep track of their diet.  I think what Kellogg is doing is great with product development (current market, new product). Special K cereal is a successful “weight-watcher” cereal so introducing a snack in replacement of competitor’s brand can aid in their brand image of not only being a cereal brand. This brand extension of a cracker chip may be confusing to some consumers because when looking for a snack to satisfy your cravings but as well as maintaing your weight, you might associate chips with being bad and saturated in fat but a cracker can be whole grain, less sodium and a healthier choice. It may only be for me but I tend to associate chips with party snacks and crackers to snacks throughout the day.

 

Goodbye Apple?

Would you have ever thought that day would come when Apple was no longer cool? Apple, one of the world’s leading brands and innovators of new technology has been called “uncool” by future adults. According to a research conducted by Buzz Marketing Group,

Apple is just too popular to be popular 

Teens favor Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and would rather choose a Microsoft Surface tablet over the Apple Ipad. While Apple has done a great job to embrace Generation X and the Millennial Generation, it has failed to connect with the Millennial kids.

Microsoft and Samsung, on the other hand, have spent millions on advertising campaigns that portray the iPhone as a device for older generations, sending a message that teens should move on to the “next big thing.

Samsung emphasis on “communication, media experiences” associated with the phone. If this study holds true to the whole population, then this could have a negative impact on Apple’s business long-term as today’s teens age enter the buying demographics. Apple’s have been here for generations, with their classic looks so many of their demographic of consumers are Generation X and Y. Apple has successfully been able to capture a wide group of Generation X and Y consumers, creating a loyal customer base but the Millennials dont want the same device as their mom, dentist or coffee barista. They want the never seen devices.

Apple has recently experienced several technological glitches (iOS 6 map, which is horrible I have to say) which competitors have stepped up their game, offering innovative and coo products at a much lower cost. Samsung has poured millions of dollars in advertising in the last few months that paints the idea that iPhone is for parents and late adopters. Samsung poking fun with the iPhone 5 in their new ads, pointing out the differences between these two devices might have just worked with the young audiences.

The litigation floodgates are open and Samsung definitely wants to go to war, so they’re more aggressive than ever with their media for that prized [youth] demographic.

 

“Bro’s over Yo’s”

During my break at work, I was reading the Vancouver sun and came upon this article, Brogurt: The manly yogurt Chuck Norris would eat probably. Yogurt, has always been captured in the eye of consumers as a feminine product. We should all know the infamous Activia commercials of women eating Activia with an image of a belly dancer’s over their own stomach. Packed withB.L regularis, probiotic culture, exclusive to Danon. The yogurt market is expanding so quickly with consumer trends moving towards lower fat, lower calories types of yogurt. Last year, Iogo and Pepsico entered the competitive yogurt market.

Target Audience: Men 

You rarely see men boast about their favorite yogurts or how yogurt is o-so-yummy! Men don’t want to slim down, they want to build up. A U.S. Brand , Powerful Yogurt has introduced its own version of yogurt for men. Powerful Yogurt emphasizes on its “zero fat, man-sized” snacks that deliver all the health benefits but none of the risk of emasculation. Food media has given the name of this masculine yogurt, “brogurt”. Rephrasing the tagline “bros before ho’s” into “bros before yos” in attempt to position themselves in the untapped segment for men. Rebecca  Tuvel, PhD candidate commented that “If men are to buy in, Powerful yogurt cannot be portrayed as also for men, but only for men.”. Women’s participation in men’s product has been socially celebrated but for a men to participate in a female-idolized product is another story. Powerful Yogurts has positioned itself in the market where few or no yogurt companies has targeted, men. They are allowing men to celebrate their consumption of yogurt by building their yogurt with an image of masculinity, power and strength

Positioning Statement

Powerful Yogurt defines itself as a manly yogurt, differentiating itself from other competitive yogurt brands such as Activia, Iogo and Astro. The yogurt taste might not differ from other brands but how it promotes itself does. “For Men, By Men”, this strong and clear statement might only be understood by men.

 

 

Cruel yet effective ad by Proactiv

When Proactiv Solution first enter the market in the 90’s, they had a no strong competitors. Proactiv was a new, soothing acne treatment that promised clear and beautiful skin. Proactiv is not cheap, it cost a hefty $70 for 3 small bottles; cleaner, toner and moisture. I remember purchasing Proactiv when I was in high school. Back in the 90’s, Praoctiv had no strong competitors which allowed it to advertise using product features within the product-oriented strategies category. Today, Proactiv has mastered its brand positioning and made its acne system practically embedded in its consumers mind. They combine product feature and positioning to establish a strong competitive advantage in the market.

The ad above is one of their older ads and the strategy of this ad is cruel yet effective. It points out to customers “If you have acne, you dont have a boyfriend”. This is a very strong strategy because acne usually occurs during your teenage years and when teenagers go through emotional and physical changes. While teenage boys do experience acne, we can see that the word “boyfriend” is written in pink lettering signals that the ad is likely targeted at teenage girls. Teenagers being Proactiv’s largest market would be more sensitive to this issue and believe that Proactiv is brought for a rational reason as it “solves” consumers problem.

 

If we consider the 4P’s in terms of Proactiv’s acne solution:

Promotion: many A list celebrities, to name a few, Katy Perry, Justin Beiber and Lindsey Lohan has endorsed Proactiv’s product. By using reference power, many youths look up to these celebrities and if Katy Perry used Praoctiv, then they would use it as well.

Price: It’s price for 3 bottles of solutions (toner, cleanser and moisturizer  ) is on the more expensive side of the spectrum. For a set of 3 bottles, it ranges from $60-$70 dollars depending on destination country.

People: It targets youths, primarily from age 16-20 or those going through their growth spurt!

Place: Proactiv is only on speciality kiosko’s around in malls all over North America. There are now Proactiv vending machines located at specific malls in America. It’s convient for people who just wants to stock up.

Is it possible to change an established University name?

Last Year, the University of Western Ontario finally decided to drop the “University of, Ontario” to just Western. This was an attempt to become a more global recognized education institution. When referring to University’s, people like to give them acronyms or short cuts such as University of British Columbia to just UBC, University of Toronto to UT, University of Ottawa to Ottawa U. Rarely do people now refer to University’s as their full name.  There’s always people who love the change and people who strongly detest the name.  UWO received negative comments about their rebranding. A individual tweeted

” @RyanAI87: “I went to the University of Western Ontario, NOT Western University. Please don’t ever call me for a donation. Won’t ever give to you now.”

“The admin is in love with it, the board of governors is in love with it, the board of alumni is in love with it, so I kind of forgot about what the general student would think once they were smacked on the face with this entire upheaval of their brand.”

A question to consider is that, should BOG’s take the student’s consideration when changing the name? I mean, schools’s are essentially businesses and they have their marketing strategies, target customers and implementations. The change of the name as stated is for marketing and promotion and this might be a smart idea because since people already colloquially refer to UWO as “Western”, why not just tailor it to their interest and essentially playing back to what people already call it. Although the legal name of the University , “The University of Western Ontario” has not changed from diplmoas and legal documents, for marketing and promotion purposes they will call themselves “Western”.

Western published a youtube video (shown below) about their change and it recieved as many dislikes as Rebecca Black’s video (Knowlton, 2012). The cost of rebranding the University cost $200,000 according to the school’s media release. Over the past several years, people refer to the school as “Western” and the school thought that the change will permeate that.

In my opinion, I think that Western University is trying to establish themselves alike “Queen’s University” and since Queen’s and Western are the biggest rival University’s in this country, the change of name puts Queen’s and Western on the same front page now.  I might be a bit bias since I went to Queen’s but the change of name might be fitting for establishing new segmentation base such as Geographic, tailoring to more international grounds and demographic to students in Grade 10 to consider Western. Students know Western as “Western” and when asked , What school are you from? , 99% will reply “I go to Western”.

 

Since Oprah said it, it must be true.

Word of Mouth, is 93% offline! Basically, word of mouth (WOM) is one of the most effective, credible methods to spread a message about your brand. Word of mouth is very strong and especially since it comes from a influential figure, like Oprah her self. Whatever Oprah says, it must be true right? Oprah had a show-out show in Vancouver this following Friday and Vancouver Sun reported that Oprah praised Vancouver for their cleanliness.

“I’m really, really impressed, she said. “You guys are already living your best life”.

Even though, not publicly stated but Vancouver just received very strong , and free advertising from Oprah.

““It’s nice when somebody as popular, famous and influential as Oprah says that because it affirms what we already know and have a reputation for,” he said”

It does seem that Vancouver receives many appraisals for being one or top cleanest cities of North America but with Oprah’s stamp of approval, Vancouver may as well be one of the cleanest cities! Oprah ranked 16 out of 50 media’s most influential women. There’s something called the “Oprah Effect”with everything that Oprah touches, turns to gold. This might be a bit exaggerating but companies and publishers have been fighting to have Oprah take a glimpse of their product. Even a casual mention of a product, exposed to 44 million weekly viewers is a boom for the company that makes or sells the products . Several companies from the 2009 Inc. 500|5000 have been so lucky as to score a spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show over the past three years, perhaps accounting for a great deal of their growth during that period.(Hornuckle, 2009)

Amazon Kindle released in 2007 is a e-book tablet that allows you to download, shop, browse and read  ebooks, newspapers, magazines, etc. Amazon Kindle was very popular when it first released, selling out in mere hours but that slowly died down when other competitors, Hp released their tablet in late 2008. In January 2009, Oprah featured the Amazon Kindle on her show, creating a lot of attention. The graph below shows the impact of Oprah’s word of mouth, attracting half  amillion visitors and 2.5x as many online consumers as the week before.

 

photo credits: http://blog.compete.com/2009/01/07/amazon-kindle-oprah/

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