Unilever plans an innovation drive

28 July 2014
LONDON: Unilever intends to put innovative products at the heart of its European strategy to stem a decline in sales caused by competition from discount retailers.

Speaking to investors in a conference call on Thursday, chief executive Paul Polman said the FMCG multinational is placing greater emphasis on innovation to improve its pricing mix and to increase sales, Marketing Week reported.

Second quarter sales fell 0.8% to €3.6bn in Europe, the company said, although there was a slight rise in the UK and overall global sales increased 3.8% to €12.7bn, including a 5.1% rise in emerging markets.

"In developed markets most consumers are not seeing a pick-up in the economy and they are increasingly value conscious. Competition is increasingly high," Polman said.

"We are taking balanced decisions on pricing, always with a watchful eye on consumer affordability," he added.

In a sign of where the Anglo-Dutch group may be heading, the company credited innovations such as its compressed deodorants and a new toothpaste brand, called Regenerate, for driving underlying sales growth.

Regenerate is supposed to have a "unique formula" that helps to rebuild tooth enamel. Priced at £10, and coming with a serum that costs £30, it is much more expensive than rival brands.

Innovation will take precedence in its European markets and Unilever said it is not planning to increase marketing spend to boost sales.

While marketing spend has increased in emerging markets and North America, the company said its brand-building efforts in Europe will concentrate on supporting its digital channels and moving spend away from non-working media.

"We are continuing to focus on innovation, portfolio reshaping and driving efficiency, doing the right things to adapt to a world that is increasingly volatile and unpredictable," said Polman.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc

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Brands 'not ready' for digital era

28 July 2014
DANA POINT, CA: Many brands are still "not ready for the digital era" as their marketing departments lack the skillsets necessary to thrive in the connected age, a leading executive has argued.

Speaking at the 2014 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference, Bob Liodice, the organisation's president/ceo, asserted that technology was a "critical enabler" for brands.

But exploiting the opportunities currently available – from formulating one-to-one conversations to driving innovation and pursuing purpose-driven branding – will require a significant shift in skillsets.

"We need to build skills," Liodice said. (For more, including insights from senior marketers from Unilever, Ford and more, read Warc's exclusive report: ANA's Liodice outlines challenges (and opportunities) for the digital age.)

At present, he continued, the majority of organisations do not have the requisite talent in place to move ahead at the desired speed.

"Survey after survey suggests that we're not ready for the digital era," Liodice said.

"We found, in one survey, that only 25% of marketers said that they have the skillset necessary to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that are now afforded to them."

Taking the next step, he reported, would demand a transition in mindset away from the existing marketing model towards a genuinely integrated approach.

"We essentially need to make a change from digital marketing to marketing in a digital age," the ANA's president/ceo asserted.

Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble's global brand building officer, has put forward a similar theory, as he reflected that traditional ideas of digital marketing were almost "dead".

Liodice drew attention to other marketers who had elaborated on such themes, like Joe Tripodi, evp/chief marketing and commercial officer at soft drinks giant Coca-Cola, who has called on brands to "embrace the values of millennials".

Antonio Lucio, global chief brand officer at financial services group Visa, has further asserted that millennials are the most "equipped" to drive change, adding that "digital natives will rule the world".

Yusuf Medhi, chief marketing and strategy officer for the XBOX games console at Microsoft, has equally encouraged marketers to "consume new technology – use it, spend time with it and learn from people it has benefitted".

Data sourced from Warc

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Most UK consumers will share data

28 July 2014
LONDON: More than half (58%) of British consumers are unconcerned about how much data they share with brands, a percentage which rises to more than two-thirds (68%) among 18-24 year-olds, a new survey has revealed.

According to a poll of 2,000 UK adults aged 18 and over by research firm Webtrends, just 23% of these younger consumers believe data-sharing will be viewed negatively in the future, Retail Times reported.

And nearly two-thirds (64%) of 25-34 year-olds are also relaxed about sharing data, although older consumers are more sceptical, the report found.

Half of consumers aged 55 and over object to sharing data with brands completely and another half (49%) believe data-sharing will be viewed negatively in the future.

John Fleming, marketing director EMEA and APAC at Webtrends, said it isn't surprising that young consumers are willing to share their personal information with brands.

"Younger generations have grown up in a far more connected, data-centric world and often recognise the benefits of sharing personal info with their favourite brands," he said.

The research also revealed the main drivers for encouraging UK consumers to share personal data. These include a discount on clothes (36%), free delivery (31%) or a discount on a holiday or travel (28%).

They are most willing to share their name and email address with retailers (64%), but this falls to just 17% when asked for more detailed information, such as their income level or home address.

Almost half (49%) would share information with a travel brand, but this declines to 10% when asked for more detailed data. They are most reluctant to share greater detail with charities – only 5% say they would do so.

"Brands often have to compete with legacy perceptions," Fleming explained. "For example, people may have had a bad experience with a charity using their information for persistent communications and telemarketing."

But he said brands could overcome these perceptions by making better use of the data they have available.

"Brands can personalise their communications, time them more appropriately and engage with their customers in the way they prefer, which leads to greater brand perception, loyalty and trust – a win-win-win," he said.

Data sourced from Retail Times; additional content by Warc

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Chinese consumers plan to spend more

28 July 2014
HONG KONG: Middle-class and affluent consumers (MAC) in smaller Chinese cities plan to spend more on products compared to last year while consumers in larger cities remain more cautious and selective, a new report has said.

Based on responses from 1,000 people in 12 cities, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found overall Chinese consumer sentiment has improved since last year, but it rose the most in lower-tier cities.

"Last year was the first time in recent history that more Chinese consumers wanted to cut spending than to increase it. This year, the balance has shifted back," said Youchi Kuo, an expert principal at BCG and a co-author of the report.

"The number of consumers who plan to spend more money in the coming year exceeds the number who plan to spend less," she said.

BCG found sentiment between the smaller and larger cities to be widening, China Daily reported – the percentage of MAC respondents in big cities who plan to spend more over the next 12 months has fallen to 28% from 31% last year and 35% in 2012.

By contrast, the percentage of MAC consumers in smaller cities who plan to spend more has grown to more than a third (34%) compared to just 26% last year.

It appears that the more stressful lifestyle of big city residents is responsible for the difference, as the survey uncovered that they have more anxiety about the future and more concerns about job security.

Although big city MACs have become more cautious and selective about their spending intentions, they are willing to spend more than before on high-priority categories, the report said.

However, they are no longer interested in trading up in non-essential categories, such as packaged food, beverages or entertainment.

There is also strong demand in the large cities for lifestyle categories, such as baby products, fresh produce, cars, home renovation and tourism, BCG added.

Data sourced from BCG, China Daily; additional content by Warc

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Confidence varies in Australasia

28 July 2014
SYDNEY/AUCKLAND: Consumer confidence in Australia fell to a record low in Q2 2014 while sentiment remained stable in New Zealand, a regional breakdown of Nielsen's latest global consumer confidence index has shown.

With a score of 100 used to signal optimism, Nielsen found consumer confidence in Australia declined four points to 85, the country's lowest score since it began measuring global sentiment in 2005.

It was the fourth consecutive quarterly decrease and also represented a 13 point fall since the 98 points recorded in the same quarter last year.

By contrast, consumer confidence in New Zealand fell just one point to 99 in Q2 2014, although this was six points higher than the same period in 2013, Scoop reported.

The majority (56%) of New Zealanders were optimistic about their job prospects and personal finances whereas only one-third of Australians felt the same about job opportunities and less than half (48%) were optimistic about their personal finances.

The proportion of people who intend to buy over the next 12 months remained a minority in both countries, although Nielsen noted that this sentiment has not been reflected in underlying consumption activity – at least not in Australia.

Only 37% of Australians said they intend to buy over the coming year, down four points, but Nielsen said consumption expenditure had increased at an average 5.1% over the past year while retail sales growth also accelerated.

In New Zealand, however, where 41% of consumers intend to buy over the next 12 months, Nielsen found sentiment had not translated to increased spend.

"Compared to 2013, New Zealand had a relatively positive first half of the year," said Rob Clark, managing director of Nielsen NZ.

"However, there's still more people who see it as a bad time to buy things they want and need than good. Sentiment hasn't translated to an increase in spend, instead New Zealanders continue to direct spare cash into savings and paying down debt."

The survey also found that more than a third (34%) of Australians believed the rising cost of utility bills to be their biggest concern – up from 29% in Q2 2013 – making it the highest rate in the world.

Data sourced from Nielsen, Scoop; additional content by Warc

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Unlocking Brazil's Twitter potential

28 July 2014
NEW YORK: Marketers have a "unique and valuable" opportunity to win the attention of Twitter users in Brazil who are already following brands on the platform, but not yet engaging with them directly, a new report has argued.

That is the conclusion of digital marketing agency 360i, which analysed how Brazilians used Twitter as part of its ongoing series exploring social media behaviour in the country as well as in India, South Korea, the UK and the US.

It found Brazilians have some unique cultural and social habits when it comes to using Twitter – for example, using it more as a means of self-expression rather than as a means of connection.

Compared to the other countries surveyed, Brazilian Twitter users are less likely to interact directly with other users, the report found, and they post a higher proportion of status updates about themselves and their personal views.

Also unique to Brazil is that the volume of tweets peak during the mealtime hours of breakfast, lunch and dinner whereas volumes peak during the evening in the US and are more consistent throughout the day in the other three markets.

And unlike in the UK and the US, where emotions other than joy are less likely to be shared publicly on social media, Brazilians are inclined to share any emotion they feel, suggesting they have a higher level of comfort with online self-expression.

In another key finding, the report found a majority of Brazilian Twitter users follow brands to keep updated about new products or share their opinions, but their level of engagement is comparatively low.

Only 3% of tweets in Brazil involve mentions of brands compared with 6% in the UK and as much as 15% in India, but the report expected an increase in brand engagement and brand presence as Brazil's economy continues to develop.

Data sourced from 360i; additional content by Warc

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Broadband users engage video apps

28 July 2014
PLANO, TX: Almost half (49%) of US adult broadband users watch some form of mobile video app at least once a month, but engagement depends very much on age, a new report has found.

According to research from The Diffusion Group (TDG), a Texas-based technology firm, nearly a fifth (17%) also watch mobile videos every week while a similar proportion (16%) does so daily.

Not surprisingly, younger users are more inclined to use mobile video apps, both in terms of general uptake and frequency of use.

TDG said nearly two-thirds (63%) of Late Millennials (18-24s) say they use mobile video apps at least once a month, compared with 56% of Early Millennials (25-34s), 55% of 35-44s, and 41% of users aged 45 to 54.

The portable computer is the most popular device for engaging mobile video apps, the report found, leading TDG to advise brands and marketers not to concentrate exclusively on tablets and smartphones.

Over a third (39%) of US mobile video-watchers use a portable computer, compared with 30% who use a tablet, and 22% who rely on their smartphone.

“Too often the industry conceives of mobile app-based viewing as something done on a tablet or smartphone, while leaving portable computers out of the mix,” said Michael Greeson, TDG president and author of the report.

“This is unfortunate, as portable computers are by far the most common platform for using mobile video apps,” he added.

Elsewhere, TDG found online service apps are the most popular type of mobile video app. They are used by 40% of adult broadband users in the US, compared with broadcast network apps (25%), cable network apps (19%), and TV operator apps (16%).

Data sourced from TDG; additional content by Warc

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Coke tops World Cup brands

25 July 2014
LONDON: Coca-Cola, an official sponsor of the recent FIFA World Cup, has emerged as the most recognised brand of the tournament, according to post-event research.

An online poll of 5,000 consumers in the UK and Brazil by Millward Brown's Consumer Neuroscience practice found the soft drinks giant was recognised as a sponsor by 81% of consumers in the UK and an impressive 92% in Brazil.

Furthermore, consumers associated Coke with the tournament 52% faster than average in Brazil and 34% faster than average in the UK.

Millward Brown's methodology involved measuring consumers' intuitive feelings about a brand, using the speed of reaction to questions as a test of the linkage between brand and event.

The research highlighted that while non-sponsor brands and those with an association with other football competitions scored highly before the event, they were subsequently outscored by official sponsors.

For example, both Nike and Champions League sponsor MasterCard were strongly associated with the World Cup in both the UK and Brazil before the tournament, but they were later outscored by official World Cup sponsors Visa and Adidas.

Visa "massively boosted positivity towards its brand with its sponsorship activity", the report said, rising by 300% in the UK, while MasterCard's emotional bond, which was initially higher in both markets, decreased as the tournament went on.

"This research shows that when brands try to piggy-back major events like the World Cup, they are not guaranteed success," said Sarah Walker, global director at Millward Brown's Neuromarketing practice.

"But the post-event wave of research showed that by its conclusion, consumers had intuitively grasped who was a genuine sponsor. It was these sponsors who then gained the most in terms of feelings of positivity," she added.

Another brand considered to be a winner from the event included Yingli, the Chinese solar power company.

Before the tournament, it was recognised by only one-in-ten consumers in the UK and 11% in Brazil, but then scored 21% in the UK and 30% in Brazil in the second wave of questioning, which took place just before the semi-finals and continued until the end of the final match between Germany and Argentina.

Data sourced from Millward Brown; additional content by Warc

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Final Innovation Prize judges named

25 July 2014
LONDON: Six leading agency practitioners as well as two client-side senior marketers from PepsiCo and Unilever will join a full complement of 14 judges for the Warc Prize for Innovation 2014.

Chaired by Peter Espersen, head of community co-creation at Lego, the judging panel will assess case studies that demonstrate how marketing innovation delivered meaningful results for a brand.

Entries are welcome from any country, communications discipline and product category and there is a Prize fund of $10,000. The deadline for entries is Friday 15th August and full details are available on the Prize website.

The latest judges to join the panel include Neeraj Kalani, global market insights director at PepsiCo, and Hamish Priest, manager of global communications planning for Unilever's Dove skincare brand.

From the agency side, the new judges include Alastair Beattie, European president of Tribal Worldwide and head of strategy and innovation at DDB Europe, and Nigel Jones, global chief strategy officer at FCB, who until last year was chairman and CEO at Publicis UK.

Also participating is Awane Kawana, general manager of the Business Innovation Center at Hakuhodo, the Japanese ad agency, and Sonja Lakner from Swedish agency North Kingdom.

Sophie Maunder-Allen, chief executive of direct marketing agency VCCPme, also joins the group along with Leesa Wytock, vp and head of digital at Jack Morton Worldwide.

Commenting on the Prize, new judge Alastair Beattie said: "The Warc prize attracts diverse original thinkers that demonstrate that innovation is the life-blood of our industry. It's where we see all our possible futures taking shape before our eyes."

A full list of the judging panel, including those already announced, is available here and further information about previous winning cases and their common themes can be found in Warc's Innovation Casebook.

Data sourced from Warc

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Getting sponsored content right

25 July 2014
NEW YORK: Brand familiarity, trust and subject matter expertise are the main drivers for consumers open to in-feed sponsored content on news sites, although positive opinion about a publisher's credibility also matters, a new survey has found.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and market research firm Edelman Berland questioned 5,000 consumers who visit US news sites from PCs and showed them mock in-feed ads that resembled those that appear on business, entertainment and general news sites.

It emerged that when respondents had a positive opinion about the credibility of a news site, the perceived credibility of ads on the site increased by a third (33%).

And nearly two-thirds (60%) said they would be more open to advertising on sites that focus on a story rather than selling a product.

When it came to what factors generated interest about in-feed ads, or sponsored content, the vast majority (90%) cited relevancy.

Brand familiarity and trust were important for 81% while subject matter expertise was a key issue for 82%.

Respondents were also asked whether the mock content shown to them made it clear if it was sponsored or not, and the study revealed significant differences between those who viewed a general news site compared with the others.

A full 59% of those viewing a general news site found it difficult to recognise if content was sponsored or not, compared with 15% of those looking at entertainment sites and 18% of those on business sites.

"This new study shows that in-feed sponsored content can be a win for both brands and publishers, when consumers' viewpoints are taken into account," said Sherrill Mane, senior vice president of research, analytics and measurement at IAB.

"News publishers get greater impact when they work with familiar and trusted brands. By the same token, marketers see greater lift when publishers are perceived by consumers as credible news outlets," she added.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc

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Chinese economy set to overtake US

25 July 2014
SHANGHAI/LONDON: China is expected to leapfrog the US to become the world's largest economy in 2014, at least in terms of purchase power parity, a white paper from Euromonitor International has forecast.

It predicted that the two countries will account for 37.5% of global real GDP growth up to 2030 and that China will add US$18,026bn in GDP over that period – equivalent to the size of Western Europe – while the US will add $US8,658bn.

However, there remain important differences between the two countries, with China lagging significantly in key areas, such as income and consumer expenditure. Also, even in 2030, per capita GDP in China will still be less than half that of the US.

The report found China's large population is gradually beginning to fulfil its mobile potential on the back of rising incomes as well as greater affordability of services and devices.

And China is rapidly catching up with the US in terms of research, development and patents – total patent grants stood at 256,943 in 2013, up from 93,706 in 2008, and compares with the 264,960 patents granted in the US.

In terms of consumer expenditure, Euromonitor found China's per capita gross income was 10.5 times lower than that of the US in 2013, yet was surprised that its per capita savings rate was only 2.7 times less.

China is expected to remain a nation of savers, the report said, and the country's savings ratio will remain high, at more than a third (35.7%) of disposable income in 2030.

It concluded this showed Chinese consumers are not spending enough, especially as much of the country's growth, unlike in the US, is mainly investment driven.

Even by 2030, consumer expenditure will account for less than half (40.9%) of total Chinese GDP, the report said, meaning it will not be a driver of growth.

But with China likely to surpass the US this year in terms of overall economic size, Euromonitor described the development as an "economic milestone".

"This year is a landmark year for the world economy, one when the dominance of the USA appears to be over as China becomes the world's largest economy," said Sarah Boumphrey, head of strategic, economic and consumer insight, Euromonitor.

"Taken together, the two economies play a crucial role in driving global growth. A strong China in conjunction with a strong USA, whichever is nominally the larger of the two, is central to a stable, well-functioning global economy," she added.

Data sourced from Euromonitor International; additional content by Warc

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Australian retailers miss out mobile

25 July 2014
SYDNEY: Even though most Australian retailers recognise the importance of developing a mobile strategy, the great majority are unprepared and no more than 30% have mobile-enabled websites, a new report has found.

A joint study from the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and NetSuite, the cloud-based software company, also found only a fifth (21%) of the country's retailers have developed a mobile app despite 65% of Australians owning a smartphone.

Conducted by market research firm Frost & Sullivan, the "Mobility: The New Opportunity for Australia's Retailers" report questioned 120 ARA members, of whom most were from smaller companies with fewer than 50 shops.

Although Frost & Sullivan welcomed the discovery that over half have a website and nearly a third (30%) offer online purchasing, it warned retailers that they are falling short on mobile and the omnichannel shopping process.

It found only 9% of smaller retailers offer free in-store Wi-Fi and only a fifth (22%) have capacity for using Quick Response (QR) codes.

Mark Dougan, managing director for Australia and New Zealand at Frost & Sullivan, warned that the rapid growth in ownership and usage of smartphones is revolutionising the way Australian consumers shop.

"The ability to access the Internet whilst on the move has transformed many aspects of consumer behaviour," he said. "Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones for shopping to research, compare, share, purchase and pay for merchandise."

Reflecting this development in the omnichannel experience, the report also noted the mobile features and services that Australian consumers most valued.

Over two-thirds (68%) want access to free Wi-Fi while their other requirements include stock level information (58%), directions to relevant departments (57%), customer reviews (50%), product information (48%), and being able to purchase using their smartphone (43%).

"Australia's consumers are demanding that retailers provide services and features to support them in their omnichannel shopping process," continued Dougan.

"Those retailers who fail to respond to the new era of mobility in shopping face being isolated and left behind as the behaviours of their customers change," he said.

Data sourced from Australian Retailers Association, NetSuite; additional content by Warc

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Dell takes social out of the silo

25 July 2014
DANA POINT, CA: Dell, the information technology giant, is using insights gathered from social media to shape its broader digital marketing efforts, and vice versa, according to a leading executive at the company.

Ana Villegas, Dell's marketing director/North American Commercial Business, discussed its strategy at the 2014 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference in Dana Point, California.

"Social has really become part of the DNA of the organisation. Where we are going next is: how can we keep growing our footprint?" she said.

“But, at the same time, we're integrating [social] with everything else that's going on … across marketing." (For more, including details of Dell's approach to tracking social ROI, read Warc's exclusive report: How Dell recovered from a disastrous social start.)

Generating impressive metrics on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is "great", she continued, but brand custodians must also look at "where [social] fits within everything else you're doing" in marketing. "You cannot work with social media in isolation," Villegas asserted.

Rather, it is essential to consider how this activity fits in with their other digital tactics, so as to ensure they are integrated and mutually supportive. And this requires assessing each channel carefully.

"What are you doing in search? What are you doing in lead generation? What is your email strategy? What is your print strategy? Your management strategy?" Villegas asked.

"It's a two-way street: you can use social to gather insights from how your customers … are engaging and talking about [your product] and driving your demand."

For Dell, the goal is to tap data and insights from social to influence its output in areas like paid search and the content of its marketing emails – and to use information yielded by these sources to impact its social strategy.

"Based on what [we] have learned from search and the keywords that customers are engaging [with] more, [we] make sure that those keywords are also something [we're] investing in on the social front," Villegas said.

Data sourced from Warc

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Digital wallets fail to attract users

25 July 2014
KETTERING, OH: Although nearly 80% of consumers are aware of "digital wallets" such as PayPal, only about a third (32%) have ever used them as a payment option, a new survey has revealed.

Based on responses from more than 2,000 US smartphone, tablet and desktop users, the 2014 Digital Wallet Usage Study found security to be their leading concern (46%).

Finding it easier to pay by cash or card is the second main reason for not using digital wallets (37%), followed by not considering the option (32%), said Thrive Analytics, which released the survey.

Jason Peaslee, managing partner at the Ohio-based marketing consultancy, said this presented a "vast opportunity" for digital wallet providers and retailers to educate consumers about their benefits.

"The key to increasing consumer and overall market adoption is understanding and operationalising critical demographic usage profiles and purchase patterns," he said.

For example, the survey found half of all consumers carry less than $20 on a regular basis and three-quarters of those who carry no cash at all are aged under 40.

PayPal is by far the most-used digital wallet, at 79%, followed by Google Wallet (40%), Groupon (26%) and Apple Passbook (17%).

Women tend to use apps from stores like Macy's to obtain coupons and discounts while men use them mostly for browsing and service related activities.

The survey coincides with news that internet retailer Amazon will be launching a new app, Amazon Wallet, which allows users to store loyalty cards or gift cards, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The app will be preinstalled on its Fire smartphone, which is set to be released on Friday.

Data sourced from Thrive Analytics, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc

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Global marketers remain upbeat

24 July 2014
LONDON: Confidence among global marketers remained positive in July, according to the latest Warc Global Marketing Index (GMI), which found marketing optimism to be particularly high in the Americas and Europe.

The headline GMI figure, which assesses marketers' expectations in three main areas – trading conditions, marketing budgets and staffing levels – held steady at 56.6 this month, but this was still a 2.3 point increase over the year.

Warc's GMI is a unique monthly indicator of the state of the global marketing industry which tracks conditions among marketers within their organisation and region.

A reading of 50 indicates no change from the previous month, while a reading of 60 indicates rapid growth.

In this month's report, optimism was the highest in the Americas for the fifth consecutive month. The region returned a GMI of 57.7, which indicated improving conditions overall despite representing a 1.6 point decline from June.

Marketers in Europe were also upbeat about conditions – Europe recorded a GMI reading of 57.2, up 1.5 since June – although the headline index for Asia-Pacific remained largely flat on 55.1 (+0.2 points).

Looking at the component parts of the index, strong trading conditions in Europe and the Americas helped both regions to record positive readings of 59.9 and 59.7 respectively while Asia-Pacific was also positive with a score of 57.8.

However, the index for marketing budgets contracted 0.9 points globally to 53.2 in July, even though this still represented the eighteenth consecutive month of budget improvement.

Europe was up 1.3 points to 54.1, the Americas fell 3.7 points to 52.8 while Asia-Pacific also declined by 0.6 points to 52.5.

Interestingly, there was a sharp decline in net budgeted spend for TV in the Americas, where the channel's individual index fell 8.6 points to 42.8 in July. Globally, the index for TV budgets stood at 49.6, the first indication of declining spend since October 2013.

The Americas region was more positive about staffing levels, the GMI's third component. Its GMI for hiring staff was the highest on 60.5, followed by Europe (57.5) and Asia-Pacific (54.9), creating a global average of 57.6 (+1.6 points).

Commenting on the figures, Suzy Young, data and journals director at Warc, said: "The global headline GMI remains consistent with June data on 56.6. Within this, the indexes for all featured regions have stabilised significantly since the end of 2013, with marketers generally upbeat about their business environment."

Data sourced from Warc

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Highest consumer confidence since 2007

24 July 2014
NEW YORK: Global consumer confidence rose one point to 97 in Q2 2014, its highest level since the first quarter of 2007, the latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index has revealed.

Based on responses from 30,000 online consumers across 60 markets, the Nielsen survey also found half of consumers globally expect their job prospects to be good or excellent for the coming year since last polled in the first quarter.

With a score of 100 considered to be the benchmark signalling optimism, Nielsen found confidence to be highest in Asia-Pacific (106), followed by North America (103, up 3 points), Middle East/Africa (93, -1), Latin America (90, -3), and Europe (77, +2).

Although Europe lagged world sentiment, consumer confidence rose in 72% of its 32 markets and only six reported declines, including a sharp increase in Italy (51, +6).

Denmark (106), Belgium (80) and Romania (73) all reported six-point increases while the UK saw an impressive year-on-year rise of 11 points to 90 as its economy outperforms those in the euro-zone.

The Netherlands (81), Ukraine (61) and Croatia (50) each reported five-point rises while confidence in France rose for the second consecutive quarter to 60. However, Portugal (48, -3) was the most pessimistic.

In North America, US consumer confidence continued an upward trend that began in Q1 2013 and half (49%) of Americans said it was a good or excellent time to spend, the highest level reported since 2006. Confidence in Canada rose three points to 102.

"Steady gains across confidence metrics within parts of Europe and buoyant increases in North America strike a positive note with regard to economic recovery in mature markets," said Dr Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at the Cambridge Group, a division of Nielsen.

Turning to Asia-Pacific, India (128, +7) overtook Indonesia (123) to become the most confident market in the world, although Hong Kong (103) and Japan (73) saw the largest declines from the previous quarter, each falling eight points.

Confidence held steady in China (111) and increased in the Philippines (120), South Korea (53) and Malaysia (93), but fell in Australia (85, -4), the country's lowest score since Nielsen began its measurement in 2005.

Colombia (95, +2) was the only country in Latin America to record an increase in the second quarter while Brazil (100), Chile (92) and Venezuela (72) all fell by six points. Mexico fell one point to 85 and Argentina declined by three points to 68.

South Africa (85, +3) posted the only regional confidence increase in MENA, although UAE scored 109, down five points, while confidence held steady in Saudi Arabia (102) and Pakistan (99).

In sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria (121, +1) was the highest, followed by Kenya (111, +1) and Ghana (103, +6).

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc

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'Brand love' drives MINI forward

24 July 2014
DANA POINT, CA: MINI, the auto marque, has been able to maximise the impact of a comparatively limited marketing budget by tapping directly into "brand love" among its most passionate fans.

Lee Nadler, marketing communications manager for MINI USA – a division of BMW – discussed the brand's strategy at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference.

"About half of our owners name their car," he revealed. (For more, including details and results from MINI's "Final Test Test Drive" campaign, read Warc's exclusive report: MINI breaks the car-launch marketing rules.)

"How many of your customers would have the kind of relationship with your product or service where they would actually name it or invite it into their life in some special way?" Nadler also asked the event delegates.

Given that such loyalty is at a premium in any category, MINI is aware of its potential value. "We don't take that for granted," said Nadler.

Indeed, actively leveraging this enthusiasm on the part of its core customer base has helped MINI make a significant impact with a budget that is lower than that possessed by many rivals.

"We're outspent ten-to-one by other car brands. So we have to be really smart with our dollars. And we have to be nimble," said Nadler.

One indicator of how the brand engaged its passionate followers – who often describe themselves as "MINIacs" – came with the unveiling of the 2014 Cooper Hardtop.

"What we said is, 'Before we bring this car [to market] – before the dealers even get to drive it – we're going to ask our owners how they would want to test it.'"

The resultant competition asked MINI owners to customise designs of the Cooper Hardtop online, and to suggest novel ways in which it could be put through its paces prior to its official launch earlier this year.

Such a strategy, he reminded the conference audience, marks a considerable departure from the category norm when introducing a vehicle.

"They bring it to their dealers. They bring it to an auto show. They do a big press event. The dealers have a party and they invite people – current owners and new prospects – to the party," he said.

"But most dealers don't enjoy the brand love that MINI does."

Data sourced from Warc

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Chinese lose faith in Western fast-food

24 July 2014
SHANGHAI: Up to 69% of Chinese consumers say they will no longer eat at a Western fast-food restaurant after poor practices have emerged at a US-owned food supplier to KFC and McDonald's.

This was one of the key findings in an online poll of 25,000 people by news portal Sina Shanghai, South China Morning Post reported.

The poll also revealed that over three-quarters (77%) thought the Western brands were aware of what was happening at the Shanghai Husi Food Company, which a weekend TV report revealed to be processing meat beyond its expiry date.

An investigation has been launched by the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration and both KFC and McDonald's released a statement emphasising that they have halted use of all products from Shanghai Husi.

This is another setback for KFC, which had been working to improve its image in China after another scandal in December 2012 revealed it had served chicken containing unapproved levels of antibiotics.

Meanwhile, US coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Swedish furniture chain Ikea and Chinese fast-food chain Dicos all sought to provide clarity about food they had received from Husi.

Starbucks said its only affected product was a chicken and apple panini sandwich while Ikea used its Weibo account to say it had previously sourced meat from Husi but stopped in September, the Financial Times reported.

And in a further development, it emerged that the plant also supplied meat for about a fifth of the Chicken McNuggets sold by McDonald's in Japan, prompting the Japanese authorities to announce that imports will be blocked and they will take "firm measures to ensure food safety".

Data sourced from South China Morning Post, Shanghaiist, Financial Times; additional content by Warc

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Indians use smartphones 3 hours a day

24 July 2014
NEW DELHI: Indian consumers spend more than three hours a day on their smartphones and a quarter check them over a 100 times a day, a new survey has revealed.

About one-third of the time they spend on smartphones is for using apps and this trend is expected to continue, said Ericsson ConsumerLab.

The technology insights firm polled 4,000 smartphone users across 18 Indian cities from April to June 2014 and found they spend 191 minutes a day on their devices, compared to 128 minutes a day watching TV.

The report said there had been a 20% rise in the average time spent by smartphone users over the past two years as well as a 63% increase in app usage.

Social and chat apps are the main drivers for buying a smartphone, the report said, but consumers are not just using mobile data for social purposes, but also for business and online shopping.

A full 40% of mature smartphone users say their usage is no longer just for social purposes and a quarter (24%) use mobile apps for business.

"Maturity is an important dimension in mobile broadband behaviour," said Ajay Gupta, vp strategy and marketing at Ericsson India.

"Mature users consume almost twice as much data as new users," he continued. "As consumers explore more apps and services relevant to their interests and needs, mobile broadband usage is set to grow."

However, network performance and app coverage were also found to influence perceptions with satisfied users experiencing three times better web page load times.

They also spend more time streaming videos via apps and staying connected using mobile for longer.

"Interestingly, smartphone users prioritised the service provider's ability to solve mobile data issues as and when they arise over cheap mobile data tariffs or plans," Gupta said.

Data sourced from Ericsson; additional content by Warc

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MTN is top valued brand in South Africa

24 July 2014
JOHANNESBURG: MTN has retained its status as South Africa's most valuable brand in an evaluation of the country's top 50 brands that gives the mobile operator a brand value of more than twice that of its nearest rival.

According to the South Africa Top 50 study from consultancy Brand Finance, MTN has a brand value of US$5.4bn compared to second-ranked Sasol, the chemicals firm, which has a value of $US1.9bn.

Coming in third is Vodacom, another telecoms company (US$1.7bn), followed by Standard Bank (US$1.6bn), Absa – or Barclays as it is known in the rest of Africa (US$1.22bn) – Nedbank (US$1.19bn), First National Bank (US$1.05bn) and Mediclinic (US$899m).

Rounding out the top ten are Investec and Woolworths. Taken together, the top ten account for over half (52%) of total brand value.

Brand Finance calculates brand value using the "Royalty Relief" methodology, which involves estimating the future revenue attributable to a brand and calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for the use of the brand.

Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa, paid tribute to the nation's top brands.

"In large, the measure, the strength of the country's reputation is attributable to some of its global corporate, product and service brands – most of which appear in our Top 50," he said.

Financial services account for 26% of total brand value in the study even though only 13 brands feature from the sector, htxt.africa reported.

The telecoms sector follow (25% value, five brands) and then food and beverages (22% value, 16 brands).

"The pan-African dominance, global reputation and success of the Top 50 shows that South Africa has the creativity, skill and experience to continue building great brands and a great, growing nation," concluded Thebe Ikalafeng, chairman of Brand Finance Africa.

Data sourced from Brand Finance, htxt.africa; additional content by Warc

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Beacon tech lifts Hillshire Brands

24 July 2014
CHICAGO: Hillshire Brands, the food manufacturer, has seen an improvement in several core brand metrics as a result of using beacon and geofencing technology to connect with consumers in retail stores.

The firm worked with BPN, its media agency, and inMarket, a company that operates a network of beacons – electronic transmitters capable of two-way communications with smartphones – on the recent in-store campaign.

"We started experimenting with location-based technologies and increased focus on mobile a year ago, recognising that location is key to engaging with our consumers," David Ervin, director of integrated marketing for Hillshire Brands, asserted on BPN's blog.

Its beacon-led effort, run for American Craft Link Sausages, was active from April to June in ten major markets across the US, and was aimed at members of the brand's primary target audience.

These shoppers were given the chance to receive digital coupons, add the sausages to their shopping list or earn points for engaging with the product.

Purchase intent among people exposed to campaign messaging rose 20 times, a figure 500% higher than the norm for mobile advertising engagement in the consumer packaged goods sector.

Brand awareness also leapt by 36% and the brand experienced a "lift in overall sales" as well. Fully 6,000 in-store engagements were recorded during the first 48 hours of the initiative alone, too.

One motivation behind the campaign was the knowledge that members of American Craft Link Sausages' customer base were becoming less likely to reclaim traditional printed coupons.

"By engaging with shoppers while they are in-store in a timely and relevant manner, we are elevating the conversation past seeing a traditional advertisement to shifting the discussion to include our clients into consumers' everyday actions," said Chris Hiland, chief growth officer at BPN.

As a result of this successful test, Hillshire Brands is planning to extend the beacon programme to a campaign for its Jimmy Dean brand later this year.

Data sourced from BPN; additional content by Warc

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Record entries for Warc Asia Prize

24 July 2014
SINGAPORE: The Warc Prize for Asian Strategy has received 183 entries in 2014, a record total for the competition.

Entries came from 13 different markets around the region. As in previous years, India was the biggest single source of entries, accounting for 73 of the 183 entries. Next came China (37) and Singapore (23).

Now in its fourth year, the Prize is the region's leading showcase for strategic thinking in marketing. Entrants had to submit a case study showing how smart strategy had delivered brand success. It is free to enter, and the winners will share a $10,000 prize fund.

"The record number of entries to this year's Prize show how important it is becoming for brands and agencies to prove their creative thinking is rooted in sound strategy," said David Tiltman, Warc's head of content.

"Over the four years we have run the Prize, we have noticed a growing sophistication in the case studies we receive. It is clear that strategy is growing in importance in Asian marketing."

The entries have been sent to the judging panel for first-round scoring. The judging panel comprises senior client-side marketers and agency-side strategy experts. This year's judges are led by Freddy Bharucha, chief marketing officer of Procter & Gamble Asia.

The Prize hands Gold, Silver and Bronze awards to the best entries. The author of the overall Grand Prix will win a $5,000 cash prize, and there are a further five $1,000 prizes for entries that show excellence in specific areas. Full details of the Prize, plus videos from last year's competition, can be found on the Prize website.

Warc expects to announce the shortlist in early September, then the winning entries in early October.

Data sourced from Warc

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Brands 'miss' Commonwealth Games

23 July 2014
GLASGOW: As athletes and sports fans gather in Glasgow ahead of the opening of the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, brands have been warned that they may come to regret their muted approach to the sporting event.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Rupert Pratt, managing director of sports sponsorship agency Generate, said the London 2012 Olympic Games raised the profile of sport and that should have been rolled into commercial plans for the Glasgow games.

He said the momentum failed to materialise and that a number of big name and "obvious" categories are now missing from the sponsorship roster.

"It's really suffered from a marketing and profile perspective and the perception of something that's happening in Scotland and not commercially for the rest of the UK, something that will change once the games have begun," he said.

Nigel Currie, director of sports marketing at BrandRapport, agreed that marketers may have missed the boat by not building on the commercial legacy of London 2012.

"It feels like the sponsorship industry has missed a trick not exploiting the commercial legacy London 2012 offered," he said. "Brands should have looked at London 2012, Glasgow 2014 and the World Championships in 2017 and used it as a five-year programme to grow their stature in the eyes of the British public."

However, some major brands have been making preparations for the tournament, which will feature 71 participating nations competing in 17 sports.

US automaker Ford, for example, is launching its "Play Your Part" campaign across social, print and outdoor to promote its environmentally friendly cars.

And SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy) hopes its "#GoGlasgow" social campaign will reinvigorate its brand image among consumers.

Meanwhile, Twitter, which is not an official sponsor, has launched its @Scotland platform to promote Scotland's culture and national image via the reporting of cultural events, The Drum reported.

It comes as a new survey of 1,000 UK shoppers from Leeds-based retail agency Savvy Marketing found 40% want supermarkets to provide offers on food and drink products during the event.

Over two-thirds (36%) want to see event-related competitions being run, Retail Times reported, while 35% want the chance to win tickets to see the Commonwealth Games live.

Shoppers in North East England are most interested in the event (66%), followed by Yorkshire and Humberside (58%) while, perhaps surprisingly, only half of shoppers in Scotland are interested, the survey found.

Data sourced from Marketing Week, The Drum, Retail Times; additional content by Warc

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Yahoo seeks mobile ad growth

23 July 2014
SAN FRANCISCO: Internet giant Yahoo has confirmed that it is acquiring Flurry, an app analytics firm, in a move that could bolster its position in a mobile advertising market that is dominated by Google and Facebook.

Although the two companies have not disclosed the purchase price, it is thought Yahoo paid between $200m and $300m, making it one of Yahoo's largest acquisitions since it bought micro-blog platform Tumblr in 2012, the BBC reported.

“With Yahoo, we will have access to more resources to speed up the delivery of great products that can help app developers build better apps, reach the right users, and explore new revenue opportunities,” said Simon Khalaf, chief executive of Flurry.

Yahoo's acquisition follows similar moves by its internet competitors to buy mobile advertising technology firms.

Earlier this year, Facebook acquired LiveRail, a start-up that places more relevant ads in videos on digital platforms, while Twitter has bought the MoPub mobile advertising exchange.

Yahoo and Flurry “can now start to battle Facebook and Google for mobile ad dollars,” said Raj Aggarwal, CEO of app analytics firm Localytics, in comments reported by Forbes.

The key is in bringing one of the world's largest content companies and mobile ad networks together to connect inventory and demand, he added.

Mobile ad spending in the US is set to grow by more than 80% this year, taking it to nearly 10% of all media ad spending, according to recent estimates from research firm eMarketer.

Most of the rise in digital ad spending will benefit Google and Facebook, which together account for roughly half of digital ad revenues, eMarketer said.

Yahoo's acquisition also comes just a week after it reported a 3% year-on-year fall in revenue to $1.04bn for Q2 2014.

The company's digital ad revenue fell 7% in the second quarter to $394m, minus traffic costs, down from $423m during the same period last year.

Data sourced from BBC, Forbes, eMarketer, Fortune; additional content by Warc

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Unilever puts sustainability at its core

23 July 2014
BOSTON: Unilever, the FMCG multinational, has combined its marketing and communication divisions to drive clarity and alignment of message as it seeks to double growth while promoting sustainability, its CMO has explained.

In an interview with the Harvard Business Review, Keith Weed said Unilever CEO Paul Polman tasked him with drawing up a strategy to double the business while also increasing the company's social impact and reducing its environmental footprint.

He did this by adopting a double-edged strategy – an environmental component called the "Unilever Sustainable Living Plan" and a new marketing strategy called "Crafting Brands for Life".

This required each brand to define its social purpose and articulate what the brand does to support the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, he said.

A further development included making sure all the company's global marketing and communications became aligned so that its corporate social responsibility (CSR) did not operate in a "silo".

"One of the first things I did was to move away from the old-style CSR mentality by effectively closing down the CSR department," he said.

"Instead, we wanted CSR to be an integral part of our business, embedded in everything we do, and so activities formerly isolated within CSR became strategic initiatives directed towards nutrition, water, hygiene, health and self-esteem."

Weed saw no contradiction whatever in trying to sell more products while simultaneously promoting sustainability.

He said the Crafting Brands for Life strategy is centred on thinking about people as individuals, not as consumers, and using innovative products to help people and to change their behaviour.

For example, its Comfort One Rinse brand is a fabric softener specifically designed to conserve water when rinsing, which appealed to people in the developing world when it was marketed as a way of reducing the amount of time they had to spend fetching water over long distances.

"The role of marketing as I see it is identifying those deeper human needs and providing solutions," he said. "Done right, that can address social, environmental, and business-growth goals all at once."

Data sourced from Harvard Business Review; additional content by Warc

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Intrusive ads irritate app users

23 July 2014
LONDON: More than two-thirds (67%) of young British app users find ads annoying and almost one-third (28%) always turn off push notifications as soon as they download an app, a new survey has revealed.

Based on the responses of over 1,000 UK students aged 16 to 24, youth insights consultancy Voxburner also found their other frustrations include apps that take too long to load (45%) and fire too many push notifications (34%).

Other common aggravations include being required to login to use an app (30%) and finding an app is not available on their mobile platform (35%).

Commenting on the findings, Precious Hamilton-Brown, creative coordinator at mobile technology firm Swiftkey, warned brands not to take young app-users for granted.

"Young people rightly have high expectations when it comes to giving away a prime spot on their homescreen," she said.

"They expect quality apps that deliver genuine value, keeping them coming back for more. Companies that want to grow their teenage fan base must have integrity, credibility and not rest on their laurels for a moment."

Luke Mitchell, head of insight at Voxburner, also urged advertisers to avoid excessive push notifications or intrusive ads, but added that switching to apps that take a "freemium" approach could be their best option.

"The number of apps young people keep on their phone indicates that there's no space for those that aren't providing fun or utility,” he said. "Annoy them with excessive push notifications or intrusive ads and you'll feel the full impact of the 'uninstall' button."

Elsewhere, the survey found almost three-quarters (73%) of its sample keep a core number of up to ten apps that are used each week even though 53% have more than 30 apps downloaded on their phone in total. In all, 4% have more than 100.

Data sourced from Voxburner; additional content by Warc

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Mobile overtakes PCs in China

23 July 2014
BEIJING: The proportion of Chinese internet users who use a mobile device to go online has overtaken PC usage for the first time, according to official figures from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).

China had 632m internet users at the end of June, an increase of 14.4m since the end of December 2013, and 527m (83.4%) of them went online via mobile while those doing so with a PC accounted for 81% of the total, Reuters reported.

E-commerce powered much of the increase in mobile usage, as the number of mobile shoppers grew 42% in the six months to the end of June, but travel booking, online banking, games, music and video also recorded double-digit growth.

Mobile payment was the fastest growing internet service, experiencing 63.4% growth, while mobile travel booking and online banking recorded rises of 65.4% and 56.4% respectively.

"The mobile payment is becoming much closer with consumers and it has been making greater contributions to e-commerce development," said Liu Bing, CNNIC deputy director, in comments reported by China Daily.

However, CNNIC also noted a decline in the number of people using social networking sites and microblogs, such as Weibo.

Social network users declined 7.4%, or 20.4m users, to 257m while microblog users fell 1.9% to 275m over the past six months, although internet analyst Yin Jinxue believed sites like Weibo and WeChat still had a future.

"Instant messaging applications such as Weibo and WeChat are still used the most among mobile internet users, followed by online shopping apps, including Taobao and Jingdong," she said.

Data sourced from Reuters, China Daily; additional content by Warc

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Frito-Lay's three tips for digital success

23 July 2014
DANA POINT, CA: Frito-Lay, the snacks division of PepsiCo, typically draws on three key "lessons" when pursuing its digital-marketing campaigns, a leading executive has revealed.

Ram Krishnan, Frito-Lay North America's svp/marketing, discussed this topic at the 2014 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference.

Successfully connecting with 19–24-year-olds, he asserted, is complicated by the vast amounts of information they are exposed to and the huge number of choices on offer.

In response, Krishnan told delegates, "three lessons and a mindset of philosophical change" now support a variety of Frito-Lay's marketing efforts.

The first of these requires delivering engaging content which users will actively want to spread on social platforms. (For more, including examples of putting these ideas into practice, read Warc's exclusive report: How Frito-Lay masters digital for brand engagement.)

"Make sure you're not just starting with a 30-second ad, but focus on trying to come up with content that's actually worth sharing," Krishnan advised.

Alongside formulating stimulating material with viral potential, it is equally essential to identify the best channels to distribute and promote it through.

"Make sure the media is actually amplifying the content in such a way that it actually adds value between the consumers – a big mind-shift change for us as we approach creative," he added.

The third recommendation provided by Krishnan involves context – a long-standing consideration for brands, but one which has to be reimagined for the digital era.

"To make the good creative great, the right context is always important," Krishnan asserted.

"It's always been important in traditional mediums like TV and print, but it's doubly important in the social-media age, as you're really interrupting people's lives."

Data sourced from Warc

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Malaysians are keen to shop online

23 July 2014
KUALA LUMPUR: Online retailers in Malaysia and Southeast Asia should be able to extend their reach after a survey for Google showed a high proportion of people who have never purchased online before plan to do so in the next 12 months.

Working in partnership with TNS Research, Google polled more than 1,000 consumers aged 16 to 60 in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

It found that two-fifths (43%) of Malaysians intend to start shopping online over the coming year, a similar proportion to Indonesians (46%) and Filipinos (40%), CIO Asia reported.

When asked what will be their first online purchase during the year, half of the Malaysian respondents said it would be clothing, although only 31% of Singaporeans shared that choice.

The findings prompted Shylendra Nathan, industry head of Google Malaysia, to suggest that Southeast Asia "looks like a great place" to run an online clothes store.

However, he cautioned that online retailers must earn the trust of consumers and overcome their concerns about security after the study found half of Malaysians are worried about the security of their financial details online.

More positively, the report also found almost three-quarters (72%) of Malaysians take direct action from ads – as do 79% of Indonesians – while "saving time" is as much a motivation as "price" for all countries surveyed apart from Singapore.

Turning to the views of retailers, the survey found Malaysian retailers do not expect to get the highest prices online but appreciate the opportunity of reaching a large audience of consumers.

Almost two-thirds of Malaysian retailers said the main reason for selling online was because of the sheer volume of consumers available.

Data sourced from CIO Asia; additional content by Warc

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Digital is top priority for FMCG C-suite

22 July 2014
PARIS: The importance of digital strategy for the FMCG industry has been highlighted in a new global study, which found over half (54%) of C-suite and senior executives see digital as their top priority over the next 12 months.

According to the second annual Global Top of Mind survey from the Consumer Goods Forum and consultancy KPMG International, the focus of executive attention has shifted from economic uncertainty to data, technology and the supply chain.

Based on responses from 469 C-suite and senior executives from FMCG brands and retailers in 32 countries, the report also found 56% thought data analytics to be important, making it the highest-ranked strategic area in the survey.

Nearly half (47%) said they saw data security as being very or critically important to their business while 29% said it will be one of their biggest challenges over the year.

While digital strategy and data analytics clearly emerged as the top issues for senior executives, around a third (32%) felt their capabilities in these areas were inadequate, and KPMG also criticised companies for not doing enough about data security.

Willy Kruh, global chair, consumer markets at KPMG International, said: "While data analytics may be at the top of the corporate agenda, the challenge that should really be keeping companies awake at night is data security.

"Although 47% of the respondents cited data security as being very or critically important, this is not enouggh. Companies are still a long way from where they need to be in terms of protecting their client and proprietary information from security breaches.”

Supply chain management also emerged as an important concern after 38% of respondents referenced it as their main challenge over the coming year while 42% said it would be the main area for increased investment.

Other areas identified for increased investment included international expansion (32%), data analytics (28%) and digital strategy (28%). Separately, 45% said speed and agility is their top priority for improving the supply chain.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), transparency and environmental sustainability were also highlighted as important issues for the next 12 months.

A full 56% said health and wellness as well as CSR and sustainability are very important to their business while 44% cited traceability and transparency in the end-to-end value chain as a top goal, ahead of reducing waste (42%) and sustainable sourcing (41%).

Data sourced from KPMG International, Consumer Goods Forum; additional content by Warc

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Switzerland and UK lead on innovation

22 July 2014
GENEVA: Switzerland has been named as the world's most innovative economy for the fourth consecutive year, with the UK, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands rounding out the top five, new analysis has revealed.

Now in its seventh year, the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) surveyed 143 countries around the world and was produced by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The report based its rankings on countries which it said have created "well-linked innovative ecosystems, where human capital combined with strong innovation infrastructures contribute to high levels of creativity".

But the study also assessed the quality of innovation, such as university performance, the reach of scholarly articles and the international dimension of patent applications.

By this measure, the US topped the rankings for high-income nations, followed by Japan, Germany and Switzerland – although in the overall rankings, the US was placed sixth, followed by Singapore, Denmark, Luxembourg and Hong Kong.

Among the BRICS, four improved their rankings. Brazil was ranked 61st (+3), Russia was placed 49th (+13), China was ranked 29th (+6), South Africa reached 53rd (+5), but India fell ten places to 76th in the rankings.

The progress made by China and Russia was among the most notable of all countries, the report said, with China's ranking now broadly comparable to that of many high-income economies.

"China significantly outperforms the average score of high-income economies across the combined quality indicators," the report said. "To close the gap even further, middle-income economies must continue to invest in strengthening their innovation ecosystems and closely monitor the quality of their innovation indicators."

Among low-income countries displaying above-average performance, the Sub-Saharan African region made up half of what the report called "innovation learner" economies.

Overall, Sub-Saharan Africa recorded the most significant improvement of all regions, with Côte d'Ivoire rising 20 places and Mauritius taking the leading regional position at 40th, an improvement of 13 places since last year's report.

Of Southeast Asian nations, South Korea was considered the third most innovative (16), followed by Malaysia (33), Thailand (48), Vietnam (71), Indonesia (87) and the Philippines (100).

Entries are currently open for the Warc Prize for Innovation, which recognises the demonstration of innovations in marketing communications. The deadline for entries for the Prize, which is free to enter, falls on July 31st.


Data sourced from World Intellectual Property Organization; additional content by Warc

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Facebook tests a new 'buy' button

22 July 2014
SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has begun testing a new 'buy' button that will allow users to make purchases direct from their newsfeed without being redirected to a vendor's website, the social network announced in a blog post.

To allay concerns about privacy, Facebook insisted it has built the feature "with privacy in mind" and that no financial information shared with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers.

Although currently only in the test phase, if it proves successful then Facebook may earn revenue by charging a fee from advertisers for processing any direct payments and boosting conversion rates, TechCrunch reported.

The 'buy' button would complement its 'like' button and is designed to sit in the bottom right corner of advertisements where, once clicked, would lead to purchase as long as a user's payment details have been stored on the network beforehand.

It means users would not have to fill in lengthy finance and contact details while at the same time it may boost conversion rates and impulse purchases.

As well as being of potential value for advertisers, by simplifying the buying process, Facebook hopes it would help to keep users on the network without forcing them to go to another app or site to make a purchase.

The development comes as Twitter announced that it will acquire CardSpring, a mobile payments infrastructure company that allows vendors to offer deals to consumers that can be loaded onto their credit cards, the New York Times reported.

When the card is used to pay at the store, the coupon is automatically applied – and it, too, means users would not have to leave the Twitter site.

Data sourced from Facebook, TechCrunch, New York Times; additional content by Warc

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Chinese cities will join luxury club

22 July 2014
SEOUL/PARIS: Six out of the seven new cities that will join the list of top cities for luxury goods over the next decade will come from China, although mature markets will still remain highly relevant, a new report from McKinsey has forecast.

The management consultancy used its CityScope proprietary methodology to predict that Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Tianjin will be among the world's top luxury cities in ten years' time – and Rio de Janeiro will be the seventh new entrant.

Furthermore, of the top 20 luxury apparel growth cities, seven will come from "Next 15" countries – or the 15 top growing emerging nations – China foremost amongst them.

However, cities in mature countries will remain "critical" in terms of the absolute size of their luxury market, McKinsey said.

For example, it expects Paris to be the top market for luxury women's ready-to-wear (RTW) in 2025, followed by Tokyo, Milan, London and New York. In fact, McKinsey said, no Chinese city will be included among the top 20 in this category by then.

Similarly, by 2025, American cities are expected to dominate the market for luxury spirits – the top six places going to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Houston and Dallas, with London coming in seventh.

But it's a different story for luxury beauty products where Hong Kong is expected to be the most important market in 2025 with Shanghai and Beijing ranked sixth and seventh respectively.

McKinsey went on to predict that the world's top 600 cities will account for 85% of luxury apparel growth in 2025 versus 66% for luxury beauty products and only about 40% for FMCG.

Important as mature cities will remain for luxury goods, the report still identified steady growth in emerging countries.

For example, it said that emerging markets' share for spirits and high-end cosmetics will double over the next decade to 44% and 47% respectively while RTW fashion will grow to 32% from less than 10% a decade ago.

Data sourced from McKinsey; additional content by Warc

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Brand enthusiasts are key for Equinox

22 July 2014
DANA POINT, CA: Equinox, the chain of premium fitness centres, is yielding major benefits from playing on "high-level emotional ground" and zeroing in on its most passionate brand enthusiasts.

Carlos Becil, Equinox's chief marketing officer, outlined the organisation's marketing strategy at the 2014 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference in Dana Point, California.

"We play on a very high-level emotional ground," he told delegates. (For more, including details of the firm's "Equinox Made Me Do It" and "Preapologize" campaigns, read Warc's exclusive report: Equinox cheekily celebrates an upscale value proposition.)

One core component of the company's approach involves asking its members to tell their personal stories, and discuss how their lives have changed since joining Equinox.

"It's incredibly powerful when someone like that inspires us and we're able to share it with a broader audience and inspire others," said Becil.

Equinox's mission is premised around creating "the possibility for people to maximise the potential within themselves" – an objective which extends beyond exercise and into the lifestyle arena.

"Demand for life-maximisation content continues to grow with our focus on one-to-one personalised programmes," Becil said. "We have the authority to engage our members in the science of fitness and the art of living."

But rather than using an intense and overly-serious tone of voice, the brand connects with its current and potential clientele with messaging that Becil described as "irreverence justified".

Given its premium price point and self-ascribed status as a "temple of well-being", Equinox is able to attract its share of fervent advocates, even if it is not a mass-market proposition.

"We embrace being challenged. And we understand that we are not for everyone," said Becil. "Our members have a strong emotional connection to the brand. They are very protective and loyal."

Data sourced from Warc

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Indian Baby Boomers still matter

22 July 2014
MUMBAI: Brands should not neglect the Baby Boomer generation because it has considerable purchasing power and offers large business opportunities, two leading industry practitioners have argued.

That is the opinion of Madhukar Sabnavis, vice chairman and country head, discovery and planning, at Ogilvy & Mather India, and Anisha Motwani, director and CMO at Max Life Insurance.

In a discussion with Campaign India, they accepted that India's extremely youthful population made it understandable for marketers to target younger consumers, but they said brands should remember that spending power increases with age.

Motwani said the number of seniors in the consuming class A and B amounted to 9m people in India, representing a market larger than the UAE and almost the size of Sweden.

"World over, Baby Boomers are darlings and doyens of medical and healthcare services, pension and annuity plans," she said. "They are also heavy consumers of travel, tourism and vacation services. Unfortunately, the opportunity has not been tapped in to aggressively here."

She highlighted the success enjoyed by mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Japan, which launched a "Raku-Raku" smartphone that featured larger buttons and easy-to-read numbers and which went on to sell more than 200,000 units.

"Elderly TG can be viewed as a low hanging fruit for brands that are willing to understand the needs of this demographic and are inclined to invest in this market opportunity," she said. "Like the West, our life insurance, healthcare, medical services industry is uniquely positioned to address this high potential base."

Sabnavis agreed that Baby Boomers offered a big opportunity for brands and saw no reason why special messaging couldn't be created for this generation if it is being done already for the young.

However, Motwani cautioned that marketers should be careful in their approach because Baby Boomers are not so concerned about image or the emotional component of brands.

Instead, they are more concerned about corporate reputation and quality, and so any communication would need to reflect that.

"All elements of the communication, its tonality, and its creative language therefore have to take reasonable account of all these messaging ingredients," she said.

Data sourced from Campaign India; additional content by Warc

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Brands should segment US Hispanics

22 July 2014
CHICAGO: Brands would be more successful when targeting US Hispanic consumers if they factored in their differing rates of acculturation, bilingual abilities and national ancestries, a new report has argued.

At 50.5m people, Hispanics now account for a sixth of the US population – an increase of 43% since 2000 – and have $1tr of purchasing power at their disposal, said market research firm IRI.

IRI argued that with 70% of this rapidly growing demographic aged under 40, it has become more important than ever for marketers to improve their metrics, MediaPost reported.

For example, brands should assess the levels of acculturation among different Hispanic communities, the report said.

It described 11% of US Hispanics as "mostly acculturated" with no tension between Latin American and US American cultures, 28% as "American Latinos", who experience very little tension, and 21% as "New Latinos", who experience a medium level of tension.

IRI said that means the majority of US Hispanics move between the two cultures with ease and regularity, although – not surprisingly – the less acculturated are more likely to be major consumers of Spanish-language media.

Brands are also advised to take account of the national heritage of US Hispanics – two-thirds (67%) are of Mexican descent, 10% are from Puerto Rico while another 4% each come from Cuba and El Salvador.

Furthermore, US Hispanics have distinct preferences when it comes to shopping, IRI said. It found they are significantly more likely than the general US population to shop at particular types of stores.

Over half (56%) like to shop at dollar stores compared to 30% of the general population, 74% prefer superstores, such as Walmart, (versus 61%) while one-third (33%) like warehouse clubs (versus 23%).

And in perhaps a surprise finding, IRI said US Hispanics prefer to use English-language sites when they shop online.

Regarding language, IRI said over half (52%) of all Hispanics primarily speak Spanish at home, but only 39% do so outside the home while about half are comfortable speaking Spanish in social situations.

Data sourced from MediaPost; additional content by Warc

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Promotions fail FMCG volume sales

21 July 2014
LONDON: Total value sales for FMCG goods in Europe amounted to €345bn in 2013, but a new report warns retailers and brands that they need to look beyond promotions, which may have increased sale values but not volume sales.

According to the latest "Price and Promotion in Western Economies" report from retail analysts IRI, the quantity of food and non-food products sold on promotion increased 0.8% to 27.5% last year.

While European retailers increased value sales by 0.7%, or €2.5bn, the report said promotions and discounting did not increase volume sales.

Volume sales continued to decline, falling -0.7% in food categories and -0.8% for non-food items, raising questions about whether European retailers will be able to maintain their margins in the long term.

Now in its fourth year, the IRI report collects data across seven European countries – France, the UK, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands – and it found the alcoholic drinks category increased its promotions by 2.8% to 35%.

Although this helped to increase value sales by 2.5% for the category, sales volumes decreased by 0.1%, the report said.

Similarly, the pet care and pet food category increased promotions by 4.8% to 21% last year and, although its sales value increased by 1.2%, volume sales fell by 2.2%.

"Price wars are unsustainable for manufacturers, retailers and even shoppers, who won't accept them if they mean lower quality products," said Tim Eales, strategic insight director at IRI.

"Brands must lose their focus on increasing sales volumes and look to develop more innovative and creative promotions, such as themed offers, experiential in-store events and the use of mobile apps to ensure that they deliver value for brands and retailers alike," he added.

Speaking to the Retail Times, Eales went on to advise retailers to be as transparent as possible when launching promotions.

He said retailers should communicate effectively with their customers, while also ensuring their discounts are genuine to prevent "promotion-weariness" and to comply with Office of Fair Trading guidelines.

Data sourced from IRI, Retail Times; additional content by Warc

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APAC leads mobile online shopping

21 July 2014
SINGAPORE/LONDON: Nearly half (48%) of mobile users make regular purchases online while a fifth browse products online before buying in stores, according to a new global survey which also shows the APAC region is leading the way for mobile.

Taken together, more than 70% of mobile consumers shop online, said mobile advertising network BuzzCity, which worked with the Mobile Marketing Association to question 3,590 consumers in 26 countries, including 11 in Asia-Pacific.

It found a third (32%) of APAC consumers shop with their mobiles compared to a fifth (21%) with PCs while another third (30%) of those surveyed said they would consider using their mobiles for shopping.

Malaysia has the highest number of mobile shoppers, at 42% of the population, compared to 39% in Sri Lanka, 35% in the Philippines, 32% in India, and 28% in Indonesia, The Star Online reported.

But there's a similar pattern in Thailand where 1-in-4 use their mobiles to make purchases and 29% use their devices in-store for research purposes.

Wararin Phoonuch-Aphai, BuzzCity's manager for Thailand, told Mobile Commerce Press that she expected advertisers to increase their digital presence to connect with shoppers as smartphone penetration in the country grows from its current 60% level.

Returning to its global findings, BuzzCity warned that more consumers are leaving physical stores without making a purchase.

It found 22% leave stores for a better deal online compared to 13% in 2013 while another 27% reported they could not find what they wanted in stores compared to last year's figure of 14%.

With fewer shoppers engaging directly with shop assistants, Dr KF Lai, CEO and founder of BuzzCity, warned retailers that "mobile first shouldn't mean mobile only".

"Consumers are changing the way they chose their purchases – it has become more complex and will continue to evolve," he said.

"The survey highlights mobile's potential to undermine traditional brand power and the imperative for marketers to maintain the relevance of their message across all digital media," he added.

Data sourced from BuzzCity, The Star Online, Mobile Commerce Press; additional content by Warc

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Social influences business outcomes

21 July 2014
CAMBRIDGE, MA: Social business initiatives positively affect the business outcomes of two-thirds of companies, according to a new global survey which also found the level of value achieved is related to their social business sophistication.

This opinion is held by nearly 60% of B2B and 68% of B2C participants in the Moving Beyond Marketing: Generating Social Business Value Across the Enterprise report from the MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, the consultancy.

The survey polled more than 4,800 business executives across 26 industries and 109 countries and found a high degree of support for social business maturity.

Of respondents who rated their companies as having a sophisticated approach to social media, software and networks, a full 80% analyse social data and two-thirds (67%) integrate it to improve the decision-making process.

Furthermore, more than 90% said their company leadership believes social can create powerful and positive change for the organisation while a similar proportion (87%) use social business to spur innovation.

"Sophisticated companies are increasingly integrating social across many aspects of the organisation," said David Kiron, executive editor at the MIT Sloan Management Review.

"Companies are taking a holistic view of how social can affect not only their marketing, but also international communications, customer relations and business operations," he added.

As an example, the report pointed to how the American Red Cross had successfully integrated social tools across all its activities rather than leaving them just within its communications division.

This meant that the company's digital command centre in Washington D.C. was in a position to respond rapidly to tweets from members of the public seeking advice about an approaching tornado.

Elsewhere, the survey found that 90% of respondents believe social business will be important over the next three years while over half (57%) say an organisation's social business maturity is at least somewhat important in their choice of employer.

Leadership is important too, as 86% of C-suite or board-level respondents agree or strongly agree that social business represents an opportunity for fundamental change to their organisations.

Data sourced from MIT Sloan Management Review, Deloitte; additional content by Warc

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Apple criticised over in-app purchases

21 July 2014
BRUSSELS: Apple has come in for criticism from the European Commission (EC), which accused the technology giant of not providing "concrete and immediate" solutions to deal with problems associated with in-app purchases.

The EC has been working with national authorities to deal with concerns about games advertised as "free", but which may have hidden costs, as well as inadvertent purchases by children without parental permission, the BBC reported.

It wants Apple, Google and other app vendors to be clear about the true costs of app purchases and wants other measures, such as app companies providing email addresses so they can be contacted if there are complaints or queries.

Google has decided on a number of changes due to be implemented by September, the EC said, which went on to single out Apple for apparently not committing itself to change.

"Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation, Apple has proposed to address those concerns," the EC said in a statement.

"However, no firm commitment and no timing have been provided for the implementation of such possible future changes," it continued.

However, Apple responded by insisting that it is leading the industry over parental control features.

"We are always working to strengthen the protections we have in place, and we're adding great new features with iOS 8, such as Ask to Buy, giving parents even more control over what their kids can buy on the App Store," it said.

The EC said it and the 28 member states of the European Union will continue to monitor the issue, leaving enforcement in the hands of the national authorities.

Data sourced from BBC, European Commission; additional content by Warc

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US social media usage evolves

21 July 2014
NEW YORK: Social media usage in the US is changing as a result of trends including the growth of "lean-forward" behaviour, greater concerns for privacy and the rise of niche sites based around personal interests.

Kevin Moeller and Heather O'Shea of UM, the media agency network, discussed these themes in their paper, Cracking the social code: Aligning consumers' need states to marketing objectives, published as part of the Experiential Learning series of articles from the ARF's Audience Measurement 9.0 conference.

Their research drew on data from 4,000 active web users in America, and found there was a "progressive shift from lean-back to lean-forward behaviour" on social media, fuelled by smartphone usage and exemplified by multiscreening.

Working simultaneously with this increase in activity, however, is a heightened emphasis on privacy, and precisely which information should be available for anyone to view.

Two-thirds of UM's American panel were worried about their "online persona" being public versus only one-third who were unconcerned – a negative imbalance that represents a "sea change" in perspectives on this topic.

"While this may seem like a disconnect from the very idea of a social network, it proves there are nuances in what consumers believe is publicly fair game compared to what they actively would like to share," Moeller and O'Shea suggest.

Another indicator that user habits are becoming more nuanced is the uptake of newer or smaller social networks reflecting specific passions and interests.

Examples of niche platforms include deviantART, a site for art lovers, Ravelry, a community for crocheting enthusiasts, and Medium, an offering from the founders of Twitter that hosts longer-form content.

"While Facebook remains the main internet presence for audiences to connect with one another, niche social networks are becoming a driving force in the growth of the social sphere," say Moeller and O'Shea.

Given that UM's figures indicate that the creation of new social media profiles has effectively "stalled" even as usage grows, the major mainstream players may soon move to acquire their smaller counterparts.

"This could be the beginning of the 'Profile Wars' in which a battle for new sign-ups ensues with larger networks increasingly buying out niche cousins," say Moeller and O'Shea.

Data sourced from Warc

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Mexican brands grow in value

21 July 2014
MEXICO CITY: The combined value of Mexico's top 25 brands exceeds US$32bn, representing a growth rate of almost 90% over the past five years, new analysis from brand consultancy Interbrand has revealed.

The latest findings mean the top Mexican brands are now collectively worth 80% of Brazil's top 25 brands (US$40bn), 51% of India's leading brands (US$63bn), 46% of Canada's top brands (US$70bn) and 28% of Japan's (US$115bn).

Telecommunications, beverages and financial services comprised six of the country's top ten brands by value, although BBVA Bancomer, the market leader in the financial services sector, was not included in the rankings because it is part of Spanish-owned BBVA group.

Telecom giants Telcel and Telmex were ranked first and third with a valuation of US$5.8bn and US$3.6bn respectively, and these two companies alone accounted for almost a third (29%) of the total value of the top 25 brands.

Despite the comparative success of Mexican telecoms revealed by the report, Interbrand cautioned that the sector will need to increase its infrastructure investment over the next few years as well as become more client-focused.

Beverage companies were well-represented in the top ten, reflecting Mexico's status as the world's largest beer exporter and its sixth largest beer producer.

Corona, part of the Grupo Modelo brewery, was ranked second with a brand valuation of US$4.2bn while Modelo Especial, another brand owned by Grupo Modelo, was ranked sixth with a valuation of US$2bn.

El Jimador, the tequila brand, was ranked 19th with a valuation of US$319m and Interbrand noted that Mexican tequila is seeing "unprecedented growth" in global markets.

Financial services brands were also prominent and included Banorte (#7, US$1.9bn), Banamex (#8,US$1.7bn), Inbursa (#11, US$751m) and Compartamos Banco (#14, US$472m).

Unlike in many other countries, confidence in the financial sector has increased considerably in Mexico over the past five year, Interbrand said.

This was, the report added, partly because of efforts by Mexican banks, notably Compartamos Banco, to improve customer service and to meet consumers' preference for banks to share their values rather than concentrating simply on financial gain.

Rounding out the top ten were Oxxo, the convenience store chain (#4, US$2.6bn); bakery chain Bimbo (#5, US$2.3bn); media group Televisa (#9, US$1.6bn); and Walmart-owned Bodega Aurrera(#10, US$1bn).

Data sourced from Interbrand; additional content by Warc

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Fast food chains revamp China offer

21 July 2014
BEIJING: International fast food chains KFC and McDonald's are adapting their menus and redefining their image in China so that they can better cater for local tastes while a major local operator is also changing its strategy.

KFC, which has been operating in the country since 1987 and now has almost 4,600 outlets on the mainland, last month unveiled a new look restaurant in Beijing that is designed to look more like a "dining room" with wooden chairs and potted plants.

In addition to dispensing with its traditional red-and-white colour scheme, the fried chicken chain also revealed 15 new dishes, including Sichuan-style roast chicken, South China Morning Post reported.

"[To launch so many new dishes in one go] is unprecedented in KFC's history," said Su Jingshi, China CEO of Yum Brands, KFC's parent company.

Mirroring its US rival, McDonald's has also started to offer more dishes geared towards Chinese tastes and it opened the first of its new-style restaurants in Guangzhou in April that incorporates Chinese-style furniture, such as lanterns.

Both chains are seeking to offer their Chinese clientele more dining options, but they are also responding to an increasingly health-conscious consumer sentiment.

Local operator Dicos, an American-style fried chicken chain controlled by Ting Hsin International of Taiwan, has also recognised it's time to change.

The company, which operates mainly in third- and fourth-tier cities, is planning to concentrate more on quality rather than expansion.

Gary Ghao, president of the Dicos business division, said: "During the past ten years, we were mainly pursuing an increase in shop numbers. But now we are focusing on how to improve our service quality and management levels."

And in a sign that there are still opportunities for Western-style fast food in China, Dicos plans to open up to 500 outlets on the mainland this year, concentrating on first- and second-tier cities.

Data sourced from South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc

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TV 'binge-viewers' are open to ads

18 July 2014
NEW YORK: Just over twice as many "binge" TV viewers remember ads than viewers who watch TV in shorter sittings and they are also more likely to discuss ads with friends and family, a new survey has revealed.

Annalect, Omnicom Media Group's marketing technology platform, found 21% of binge-viewers remember ads more from TV bingeing compared with 10% of non-binge viewers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Defined as people who watch three or more episodes of the same TV show in one sitting, binge-viewers are also twice as likely to share ads via social media (15% versus 7%) while 20% discuss ads with family and friends (versus 12%).

Furthermore, more than one-third (38%) say they would not object to seeing ads while binge-viewing if it lowered their subscription rate and a similar proportion (35%) believe ads provide a break for them whilst viewing.

The research – based on responses from 1,307 adults aged 18 and older who spend five or more hours a week watching televised content on any device and including 826 binge-viewers – also found they are typically younger than other viewers.

Four-in-five (80%) are Millennials, 68% come from Generation X, while 49% are Baby Boomers, the report said.

Jed Meyer, US research director at Annalect, said binge-viewing is now an emerging trend that provides opportunities for brands to engage with consumers.

"Many consumers understand that there is a value equation, so if they're getting to watch on their own terms, they have to sit through ads," he said. "Live TV is ad-supported and people do watch ads. The good ads cut through the clutter."

For example, advertisers might be able to take advantage of "dynamic ad insertion", a new technology that allows TV viewers to see up-to-date and relevant ads even if they're watching old content via video on demand.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc

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Aldi is named UK's top brand

18 July 2014
LONDON: Aldi, the German discount supermarket chain, has been rated as the UK's top brand for the first time in the latest YouGov BrandIndex 2014 mid-year Buzz rankings.

Also entering the top ten for the first time is Lidl, another German discount supermarket, which YouGov ranked fourth, suggesting a trend towards consumers valuing brands that can save them money.

Based on analysis of 850 brands in 32 categories, the survey based its 'buzz score' on whether respondents had heard anything positive or negative about a brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth.

Retailers made up half of the UK's top ten brands, the report found – Aldi achieved a buzz score of 25.9, department store John Lewis came second (20.5), Lidl came fourth (18.2), upmarket supermarket Waitrose was joint fifth (14.4), while Sainsbury's came tenth (11.5).

The remaining top brands were BBC iPlayer, which dropped from first to third place (19.6), vacuum cleaner manufacturer Dyson in joint fifth (14.4), the BBC website in seventh (13.4), MoneySavingExpert.com in eighth (12.1) and technology giant Samsung in ninth (11.6).

"Consumers want to do their weekly shops affordably while losing nothing in terms of quality and they believe these German brands do this," said Sarah Murphy, BrandIndex director at YouGov, in comments reported by Marketing Week.

"The other supermarkets in the top 10 may need to react and adapt to the challenge in order to maintain their place in the hearts and minds of consumers," she said.

Findus, the frozen food brand, recorded the best improvement after increasing its buzz score by 18.8 points to -0.3 while entertainment group HMV increased 12.8 points to -0.9.

Data sourced from YouGov BrandIndex, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc

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A new model for shopping

18 July 2014
LONDON: Journey planning has never been more important or more complex for retailers who will have to deconstruct conventions and identify new rituals to succeed, a leading figure has argued.

Writing in Admap, Aaron Shields, strategy leader/Europe for brand communications consultancy Fitch, outlined how the advent of online retailing had led to new developments in the bricks-and-mortar retail world

The old one-size-fits-all model has been replaced by three broad formats. A hub-and-spoke model uses rich experiences to drive consideration for the brand at busy 'hub' stores and pick up volume in more pragmatic 'spoke' stores in the periphery.

Destination shopping is being supplemented by ‘near and often', as everyone from grocers to banks look for a retail mix that will put their products and services in a place that will be accessed more often.

The third model Shields described as 'online ranging', where chain stores of all types attempt to make their entire online catalogue visible in a practical and compelling way.

All of these changes have come about as shoppers are able to choose to shop in any way they want, and retailers have taken up the challenge, experimenting with new ways to deliver products and experiences.

Consumers themselves are playing an increasingly important role in these developments, whether it's writing reviews on customer forums or renting out rooms on Air BNB.

"The key to understanding opportunities for challenging conventions lies in the ability to reshape the constellation of stakeholders in a retail journey to create new forms of value,"" said Shields.

One way of looking at this is to unpick the relational ties in a network, including customers and employees and anyone else who can add value, as determined by customer needs.

Shields argued that both bricks and clicks retailers needed "a common vision to shape a unique customer experience, with digital interactions that stitch all the touchpoints into a seamless whole".

But the complexity involved – a shift in one area of the matrix would require adjustments elsewhere – meant a requirement for a master plan that could build long-term difference for the brand.

Successful companies, he said, would "thrive by creating standout experiences that fit with the way people want to shop".



Data sourced from Warc

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Coke is most respected US brand

18 July 2014
NEW YORK: Coca-Cola has emerged as the most respected brand in the US, according to the second annual survey of the country's top 100 brands from CoreBrand, the strategic consultancy.

The soft drinks giant was tied in first place with rival PepsiCo in last year's Brand Respect report and, although Coca-Cola has now edged ahead, both brands have declined in favourability as consumers have become more health-conscious.

Based on information from 10,000 business decision-makers from the top 20% of US companies, CoreBrand compiled its rankings by identifying the top 100 brands that had the highest familiarity and then measured them for their favourability.

Brands with both high familiarity and favourability were defined as the most respected while those with low favourability, such as Delta Airlines, were ranked as the least respected.

IBM, Apple and General Electric entered the top ten for the first time, CoreBrand said, although it suggested Apple might be held back by perceptions of its future management following the death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

Meanwhile, the inclusion of IBM and General Electric in the top ten could be a sign that US consumers are regaining respect for traditional companies as the economy improves, the report suggested.

CoreBrand listed the top ten US brands as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Hershey, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Harley-Davidson, IBM, Apple, Kellogg and General Electric.

Joining Delta Airlines in the ten least respected brands, the report named H&R Block, Big Lots, Denny's, Best Buy, Rite Aid, J.C. Penney, Capital One Financial, Family Dollar Stores and Sprint Nextel.

CoreBrand CEO Jim Gregory said high respect for a brand is "essential in assessing the foundations of a company's future" because it instils trust among consumers and key stakeholders.

"The respect a brand has earned, and can keep, speaks directly to its overall valuation and acceptance," he said, adding that the least respected brands should work to realign perceptions in order to enhance their image.

Data sourced from CoreBrand; additional content by Warc

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Chinese retailers increase FMCG share

18 July 2014
SHANGHAI: International retailers have seen a modest yearly fall in their share of the Chinese FMCG market as domestic retailers have made impressive gains, a new report from Kantar Worldpanel has revealed.

It said overall FMCG growth slowed to 5.6% in the year ending June 13 2014 compared to the same period last year while FMCG sales in Q2 2014 remained relatively stable at 4.7% versus the 4.6% growth recorded in the first quarter.

However, this was a significant decrease from the 15% growth recorded in Q2 2011 and Kantar attributed the slowdown to fewer consumers trading up to more premium products across many categories.

International retailers took 20.4% market share in terms of sales values in Q2 2014, a year-on-year fall of 1.4%, although the picture differed across the regions.

They achieved nearly a quarter (24.5%) of the market share in the eastern region, but secured only 15.2% in the north where Yonghui alone reached 2.4% share in the second quarter. The domestic chain also performed well in the south.

Also expanding rapidly in the south was fellow domestic retailer Bubugao, which overtook French retailer Carrefour to become one of the top five vendors with 4% regional market share.

On a national basis, Carrefour's market share fell to 4.7% (versus 5.1% in Q2 2013) while Auchan, also from France, declined slightly to 1.6% (1.7% in Q2 2013).

Meanwhile, UK chain Tesco fell to 1.7% (2%) – although its joint venture with China's Vanguard took 8.5% (9.2%) – Walmart fell to 6.6% (7.1%) while Netherlands-based Spar held steady with 1.7% share.

Sun Art Retail Group, the Chinese hypermarket chain, secured the largest share with 9.1% (up from 8.7%) while RT-Mart increased its share to 7.5% in Q2 2014.

Separately, Kantar reported that e-commerce is continuing to change the country's retail landscape.

It said e-commerce channel penetration for FMCG sales reached 32% in the year to June 13 2014, up 44% since 2012, driven particularly by categories such as beer, foreign spirits and non-UHT milk.

"The future belongs to retailers and brands that see the bigger picture and leverage the opportunities of e-commerce and offline by developing a bespoke multi-channel strategy," the report said.

Data sourced from Kantar Worldpanel; additional content by Warc

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SOL REPUBLIC relies on principles

18 July 2014
NEW YORK: SOL REPUBLIC, the headphone brand, believes marketing based on "principles" will be crucial in winning over millennials – and help it prosper in a category that has become increasingly competitive.

"Principles are going to be what drives marketing," Seth Combs, the firm's co-founder/cmo, told delegates at Internet Week 2014. "You have to have some guiding some principles, and you have to have a belief system."

One primary contributor to this shift is the unique attitudes and preferences of millennials, a demographic that is the main target audience for SOL REPUBLIC – especially as 53% own at least three pairs of headphones.

"We're in an incredible day and age, because people care about brands in different ways now," said Combs. "The millennial generation is the first generation that is not inheriting their parents' brands." (For more, including more tips on attracting millennials, read Warc's exclusive report: SOL REPUBLIC builds a headphone brand with a purpose.)

Not only do members of this cohort actively recommend products they care about, but they will be vocally critical of those not meeting their approval.

"It's not even: 'I don't want to inherit your brand.' It's: 'You're choosing the wrong brand, and this is what's right and this is what's next'," Combs said.

Marketers looking to tap into the passions and beliefs of this customer base must re-imagine the role of brands, he added, and ask themselves a simple question with profound consequences: namely, "What do I believe in?"

"And in order to actually make that work for you – in order to foster that brand identity – you've got to start thinking differently; you've got to starting thinking with different principles," Combs said.

SOL REPUBLIC has embodied its own mission in a corporate philosophy that stretches to more than 150 words, and is centred upon the notion of "changing the world … one listener at a time."

"We're crazy enough to believe we can change the world one listener at a time because we know a couple of things. We know that if music sounds better, it feels betters. And we also know this: there are only two universal languages: mathematics and music," said Combs.

"So if we can get our headphones in the hands of music fans all around the world, we can change the world one listener at a time."

Data sourced from Warc

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APAC used multi-screens for World Cup

18 July 2014
NEW DELHI: Mobile became the second most popular medium after TV in Asia-Pacific for watching the recent FIFA World Cup, according to a new report which also found the tournament was regarded as the 'most social event ever'.

A full 80% of football fans in the region used multiscreen TV and smartphones to watch matches, a higher rate of multiscreen engagement than the global average, said Vdopia, an online and mobile video advertising firm. Just over half (56%) used tablets.

Furthermore, 250,000 Indian unique viewers visited football sites every day via their mobile devices with social buzz volumes reaching their highest between 8pm and 4am, the Financial Express reported.

Commenting on the findings, Preetesh Chouhan, VP Asia-Pacific at Vdopia, said a typical viewer watched a match, checked updates from FIFA, shared the highlights on a mobile, updated them on Facebook and then looked for information on a tablet.

He said: "'My time', 'my content' and 'my device' is where today's consumer is moving. TV no longer gets undivided attention as consumers are consuming more and more content on their smartphones and tablets. Multi-screening is here to stay."

Separately, LIVSports.in, India's official mobile and internet broadcaster of the tournament, reported that Indian viewers spent an average of 28 minutes watching the live streaming of matches across online, mobile and the tablet LIV Sports app.

It also said 83% of the total viewers in India were aged 18-34 years while women made up a quarter.

The maximum percentage of unique views came from six metropolitan areas (53%), LIV Sports said, with Mumbai and Delhi on 13% each, followed by Bengaluru (10%).

Data sourced from Financial Express, LIV Sports; additional content by Warc

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