Expanding Globally- developed or developing?

Please share!

With great risk comes great reward, but when millions of dollars are on the line relying on the success of a product in a new global market… How much risk should you take? When entering into a developing nation like Africa there is political instability, along with a lack of infrastructure and other things you wouldn’t worry about in a developed nation. This can be especially problematic for food producers because of food safety reasons. How is the food going to be inspected? What if there is lack of refrigeration or proper storage? All this has to be built and adds costs, and adding costs increases the risk.  However the buying power of African consumers is growing and there is great potential for profit. As markets in developed nations become saturated, riskier markets need to be entered but not without careful consideration and proper marketing. According to the article, “83% of African consumers are aware of television advertising, but only 19% are aware of online advertising.” This means the normal social media, and other digital tactics used for marketing in developed nations won’t work here.

For a firm to be successful in introducing a new product in Africa I feel the following needs to be considered:

The product needs to show flavor for local tastes.

The safety of the workers and consumers should be the #1 priority, this can also work to the firm’s advantage because Africans are willing to pay more for companies that advertise social responsibility

The firm needs to show interest and investment in being sustainable for the long term

Proper advertising through visual in store displays and more personal interactions rather than TV and digital advertising, since a lot of Africans are limited to TV and internet.

The firm that is socially responsible, as well as innovative is going to be successful in a developing nation. As resources and land become more scarce, taking these steps in global expansion and sustainability is necessary to feed the world. My hope is that firms will continue to be innovative and more responsible to focus on the long term growth and health of society, and developing nations are often rich in untapped resources. The risk is worth the reward here.

Please share!

The Marketing Strategy behind Building a Personal Brand at home and abroad

Please share!

Youtubers today cannot be ignored due to their ability to market themselves- they are becoming celebrities just by posting videos of their everyday lives online. American youtube personalities like Jenna Marbles, Michele Phan, Bethany Mota, Blair and Elle Fowler are entering mainstream media and pulling in 6 and close to 7 figures per year in youtube advertising revenue. They are known for their quirky videos and sharing their personal stories on the internet, but most of all- building their brand. In truth, the revenue not only comes from Youtube, but selling personally branded items on the side, such as Jenna Marbles’ plush dogs to resemble her two dogs in real life, Michele Phan’s Ipsy online store subscription service, or Elle and Blair’s store Glitzyglam. But in reality, the marketing machine behind Youtubers in other countries like the UK is much bigger. The highest subscribed user on Youtube Pewdiepie or Felix Kjellberg, has over 32 million subscribers, just because he plays video games and posts videos of himself playing and commenting in real time. Other users like Zoella, Alfie, and Sprinkleofglitter, easily pull in six figures with their book releases and branded items like Beauty lines. How do they garner so many fans when most people over 35 don’t even use Youtube? 

beth Bethany Mota, who is currently on Dancing with the Stars


 Jenna Marbles, who loves poking fun at everyone and everything


 Beauty guru Zoella with her new book

Youtubers are powerful marketers because of one thing: realism or the appearance of it. Even if everything is filmed on a soundstage, the perception that these are genuine people expressing their own opinions is very appealing to most viewers. Most Youtubers also collaborate and support each other, purposely marketing other users on their own channels to boost views. The superstars with books aren’t to be taken lightly either- Zoella’s new bookGirl Online” is set to be the top seller on the UK booklist with a sequel already in the works. These Youtube stars are pulling in large amounts of money for Youtube and Google targeting 13-22 year old women watching youtube for anything from Beauty tips to how-to videos for decorating their dorm rooms or apartments. Viewers also enjoy living vicariously through users as they “daily vlog” their lives, vacations, and any manager-sponsored trips that they take to destinations ranging from the Mediterranean in France, Walt Disney World in Florida during the annual Playlist Live Convention to Dubai to promote a new collaborate multiple-user channel on Youtube. The key to their popularity is building and maintaining their immense online presence, and viewers continue to watch videos that remind them with hard work anyone can reach their level of fame.

These Youtube users are prime advertisers for big companies like Pantene, L’Oreal, Unilever and other personal hygiene and beauty products. Some worry that they are treading a fine line, and now more regulations have come out in relation to advertising– users need to make an obvious disclaimer on their videos when it is sponsored by a company or when they are being paid to endorse and support a product. Recently, some Youtubers were in trouble in the UK for filming games or discussions centering around Oreo, but didn’t outright say that they had been paid to promote the brand.

A new study claims that the top youtube brands have gone from posting a dozen videos per month in 2005 to thousands in one month in 2014. These videos have been responsible for over 9 billion views, which means that viewers are seeing any advertisements played before these videos. The Youtube users themselves mainly make money from Adsense’s Ad revenue, and they make even more when a viewer watching one of the ads before their videos clicks on the ad. However, sometimes this can backfire if Google thinks a fan or a user is inflating their revenue and views by clicking on an advertisement too many times.

I think that however you feel about Youtube, the users that are very popular are definitely moving into mainstream media, and online companies like Youtube are going to be the advertising venues of the future all around the world. When it is becoming increasingly easier for Youtube stars to have cameras follow them around, they are going to continue to make money from sponsorships from daily brands that want to be seen by these Youtuber’s viewers.  What do you think? Is it worth it to invest in using youtubers as advertisers and promoters?


Please share!

Kellogg’s New International Brand Campaign

Please share!

Kellogg is a global brand with healthy cereal and snack products in many countries. However their Q3 profits have slumped, and Kellogg Special K brand has started to lose its appeal to women (and men in some cases, although it is unlikely they would admit it) for weight loss. We can all remember those campaigns a few years back where they instructed how to lose weight in two weeks using Special K brand cereal. The advertising campaign features eating healthy Special K products and other healthy recipes for 2 weeks to lose five pounds. At that time the food industry was experiencing a trend for weight loss, and the marketing campaign was successful. The brand grew and shareholders reaped the benefits.

However what happens when consumers aren’t as enthusiastic about losing weight anymore? What if consumers are changing their lifestyle to snacking more on nutrient dense snacks rather than eating 3 square meals a day? This shift in the food industry has forced larger companies to either innovate, or buy up smaller “healthy” brands to expand their product portfolio. Based on the article, Kellogg is working on restructuring, increasing innovation, and changing their advertising and promotional campaigns. It’s refreshing to see a large company turn to innovation rather than simply buying up a start-up or a healthy brand from another large firm. Kellogg’s new marketing strategy is already at work with it’s latest “Fruit Loop” commercials targeting young adults to reminisce in their childhood at non-traditional snack times (late at night in the case of the commercial). In order for Kellogg’s global branding shift to be successful, I feel their main focus should be on innovating new nutrient-dense snack products for adults. This is a growing trend among Millenials and market share needs to be snatched up quickly. Trying to re-target a current brand is clever, but Fruit Loops aren’t exactly known for being healthy and nutritional. This may help cereal sales for a little while, but it is not enough for Kellogg to be sustainable. In addition to refocusing their current brands they really need some new, healthy products that appeal to Millenials as snacks and/or meal replacers, and downsize on the brands that aren’t selling as well. Perhaps a whole grain line of Pringles, and new flavor combinations for their cereal bars are in order. Studies have shown that people are willing to pay a premium for food items perceived as boutique and healthy. Kellogg has the size and scope to add unique and healthy ingredients to current products as well as formulate new products to appeal to this growing trend and population. A slight slump is just what the need to create a new sustainable business plan to get back on top.



Please share!

What a Market Sensing Supply Chain Means for International Companies

Please share!

International supply chain and risk hedging are some of the most important challenges facing global companies in the international market today. Companies need to have more than one source for most of their manufactured products to reduce risk in cases like emergencies or disasters. This was a big concern after the tsunami in Japan for Honda and Toyota’s production. So how can a company create an international strategy to prevent a crisis in the future? Other large companies like GoPro have had similar single sourcing issues. Forecasting, planning, and knowing your market are all vital to your supply chain. You need to know how much to order and when. For most companies, stocking out is one of the greatest challenges. That’s why companies like Amazon have been so successful, because customers assume they have the product, or they at least have a good “available to promise” strategy.


In this article, Visibility and Agility are key in a company’s control over their supply chain. The other article mentions a third key theme: Adaptability, and being able to adjust to market demand quickly. Companies like Walmart are trying to do this, since most of their goods are in large volume like P&G products. Adjusting your company’s output for demand is key in any marketing strategy and product rollout.


So how can companies make their supply chain more adaptable, reliable and overall better, especially when production is overseas?

1- Companies need to keep an eye on their supply chain and make sure they are not wasting time, money, or inventory during production. Converting your plants to lean manufacturing is the first step.

2- Knowing your demand ebbs and flows. Knowing if your company will run out of a product during holiday time or a popular summer/winter seasonal product is the next step. This includes the marketing manager needing to know when to market the product for peaks and troughs in the product’s lifecycle.

3-Quality: Quality, sustainability, and knowing your product’s cradle to grave cycle is important to the consumer, so it should be important to your company.

4- And finally, a backup plan for the unforeseen natural disaster. Having more than a sole source for your product’s raw materials can help alleviate this risk.


Predicting risk and updating your company with new innovation is also important for your supply chain. This article talks about how companies like Toyota and Intel were impacted heavily from natural disasters that might have been predictable and the company could have prepared for. It’s important to have an emergency plan for your production as well as your virtual data. Most of all, managing consumer expectations and being able to deliver a product on time and in the right amount is the key to a successful business.


How do you think a company can improve it’s supply chain and make it bulletproof? Do you think worrying about the supply chain is vital to a company’s survival?


Please share!

Product Placement Technology and Whole Foods Fail

Please share!

Advertising today needs to be more and more creative as consumers are inundated with information left and right. How can a company build a good international marketing strategy?

First we should look at why a company is running an ad campaign.

If you look at this article by Joe Dobrow about Whole Foods recent campaign, the company is profitable, growing, but didn’t reach its 2014 investor goals for sales for the year. They are trying to boost brand awareness and move away from the negative idea that shopping at Whole Foods means “Whole Paychecks” disappearing when you get to the check out.


The article goes on to ask if Whole Foods is targeting the right segment, or expressing the right segment with the tagline “Values Matter”. The author of the article argues that implicitly values matter, and you don’t need an advertisement for that. They might need an ad to keep up with competitors of organic and natural food retailers like Sprouts and Trader Joe’s. Ironically, the author comments that Whole Foods might be sending the wrong message and not debunking the idea that their stores are expensive, since even their ad campaigns look expensive (above).

The author goes on to talk about his marketing efforts for Whole Foods in the 90s including, “direct mail programs, radio campaigns, print campaigns, a glossy magazine, a sophisticated loyalty program, and a co-branded credit card”. Originally they didn’t want to try any of the basic marketing ad tactics because the CEO thought it was an unnecessary waste of money. He felt that if their product had good quality, customers would materialize and stay loyal. Will this campaign speak to Whole Foods customers and gain popularity or did it completely miss its mark?


Another strategy is what this article talks about: product placement where you wouldn’t expect, like music videos or film. Analytics and algorithms seem to be the key to targeting millennials based on their age range, salary, or location.  Mirriad’s 3D in-video advertising seems to be the wave of the future, or is it another something that everyone will learn to block out? This is an interesting “pull marketing strategy” technique, since “at the time of writing some music videos, the product is available in exactly three countries, yet anyone in the world can watch the music video.” This allows international consumers that might not have access to buying a product to request it and create demand for a company to enter a new market. Since Youtube and HBO already seem to be huge revenue generators, the next frontier would logically be companies like Netflix and Hulu (according to the article). This could mean in the future older movies could also be re-edited to include current products. What do you think of this advertising technique? Is it annoying or revolutionary?

Please share!