End of teachers’ book. The challenge of turning a brand into an object of love.
By John Capper
Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Poilane bread, Tide soap powder, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Cheerios cereal. What do these things have in common? According to their supporters, they are remarkable products that are more than just brands. They provoke such affection - even love - that their owners often talk about them to the underprivileged people who have not yet tried them.
Some of them are now called 'lovemarks', a name invented by Kevin Roberts, Chief Executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, the advertising agency (or ideas company, as it likes to be known). Mr Roberts prefers products that are 'mysterious' or 'intimate', rather than being useful or competitively priced, and that can inspire 'loyalty beyond reason'.
But love is not a word to be used lightly. For most of us, it means exclusivity: we are not intensely attached to lou of things because we are not built that way. Companies must try either to make products that a few people love, or products that many people quite like; an attempt to do both will produce obstacles and conflicts.
Two things lie behind the craze for emotional involvement. The first is overcapacity: there are too many products in every market segment, and this means it is hard to gain attention for anything ordinary. Seth Godin, a marketing consultant, mentions Frito Lay's launch of Stax, a rival to Procter & Gamble's Pringles potato crisps. He says that, despite a $50m (£27m) marketing campaign, fewer than half of those people questioned by market researchers recognised the name.
Mr Godin's solution is for companies to make only 'remarkable' things that will make consumers take notice. 'The tendency with any industrial or consumer good is to keep making it a little bit better, but that does not help one bit,' he says. A product must be revolutionary, or at least innovative, to attract attention from tired shoppers.
The second factor is the increased ability of consumers to communicate their views about products, whether good or bad. 'In the age of the Internet, goods have real-time reputations,' says Ben McConnell, co-author of Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force. He says that the Internet has increased by a factor of 10 the number of people that one consumer can influence.
A company can take advantage of this by creating a group of enthusiasts who will generate buzz about its products. One company that does so is Krispy Kreme, which puts enormous effort into store openings. To help spread the word and provoke excitement, it distributes free doughnuts to people before the launch. These openings then become theatrical events: some fans camp overnight to be first to get a doughnut.
From the Financial Times
Unit 2. Travel.
Road rages in the sky (17th page)
Airlines and their long-suffering customers arc reporting a steep climb in air rage incidents. Some incidents are apparently caused by problems which are familiar to many regular travelers. One case reported from America stemmed from an interminable delay in takeoff, when passengers were (#10) cooped up in their aircraft on the tarmac for four hours, without food, drink or information. Mass unrest is less common than individual misbehaviour, as in the case of the (#15) convict who recently went crazy on a flight, attacked the crew and tried to open a door in mid-flight. The psychology of air rage is a new area of study, and there are (#20) almost as many explanations as examples. Most analysts of the phenomenon blame alcohol, but many people now think that the airlines are at fault. To cut costs, (#25) they are cramming ever more passengers into their aircraft, while reducing cabin crew, training and quality of service, all of which increase passenger frustration. In (#30) addition, there is inc reasing concern in the US about another cost-cutting exercise, which could seriously harm passengers' health: cabin ventilation. Modern aircraft are equipped with sophisticated air conditioning devices - but running them at optimum capacity burns up valuable aviation fuel. Many (#40) airlines routinely instruct their flight crews to run the systems on minimum settings. Campaigners for improved air quality claim that this (#35) can lead to irritability and (#45) disorientation. In the US, the soaring number of passenger complaints across a wide range of issues is reflected in a number of new Internet sites which (#50) criticise the airlines and demand better service. One of the sites is demanding an air passengers* Bill of Rights.Cabin and flight crews, who are (#55) in the front line of the battle against disruptive and dangerous inflighti behaviour, have called for stiffer penalties against the offenders. Management have also called (#60) for legislation - while denying that its cost-cutting practices have contributed to the problem. But there are some signs, in the US at least, that the airlines are at last (#65) attempting to respond to customer dissatisfaction. Some major lines have announced concessions to the most frequent complaint of all, and are removing seats to make more (#70) room for their customers.
From The Guardian
ICON is a computer software company based in Los Angeles, USA. The Manager of its company travel service is making arrangements for some senior managers to attend a seminar in France. The seminar starts on Friday July 5th and ends on Sunday July 7th. It will include meetings to discuss work problems and executive games to encourage teamwork. This is important because the participants are of different nationalities. The participants will expect to work hard, then relax, enjoy the amenities of the hotel, explore the surrounding area and have a really good time. The Manager of ICON"'s travel sendee wants to book a hotel which is both stylish and for money.
The Manager of ICON's travel sen ice phones the Account Manager for Corp ,: Travel at Universal Airlines. He asks Universal to propose three hotels in France for die seminar. The Account Manager of Corporate Travel asks for more details about the seminar and its participants. Manager. ICON's travel service: turn to page 140. Account Manager, Universal Airlines: turn to page 147.
Air travel in Europe has been shaken up by low-cost airlinesoffering spartan in-flight serviceand selling tickets direct over the Internet. Two national flag carriershave recently gone bust, partly as a result of the success of the low-cost carriers. Deregulationand liberalisation,driven by the competition laws of the European Union, mean that governments are no longer allowed to bail outtheir airlines.
Low-cost airlines are increasingly attractive to businesses watching their costs. Many business travellers are now using them, saying that there is no point in paying more for a flight just to get a badly-cooked breakfast. However,the established players reply that there will always be a place for full-service airlines,especially on long-haul routes,with ground staff, city-centre ticket offices and so on. But all this infrastructuremeans that traditional airlines have very high fixed costs:it costs almost as much to fly a plane full as three-quarters empty, and the main aim is to get as many passengers on seats as possible, payingas much as possible to maximise the revenues or yieldfrom each flight.
This has led to the growth of global alliances.Most national European airlines are now members of either Oneworldor Star Alliance, and two airlines Air France and KLM, have opted for a full merger. Cooperationmeans that airlines can feed passengers into each others' hubsfor onward journeys and costs of marketingand logistics are not duplicated.
Anotheraspect of travel is, of course, the hotel industry.Here there are similar issues of high fixed costs thathave led to the development of hotel chainsable to share them. Each chain is a brandand, whereveryou go, you should know exactly what you are going to find when you get there.
However, business travellers are beginning to question the sense of travelling at all. Some argue that after the first face-to-face meeting between customer and supplier, further discussions can take place using purpose-built videoconferencing suites, webcamscombined with PCs on the Internet and so on. Costs of videoconferencing are coming down, but it is probably more suitable for internal company communication, with colleagues who already know each other well.