21 Feb 2012
Although the theme given was What’s Next in Brand Management and Generational Marketing, the topics covered were diverse, ranging from personal branding to running a social media campaign.
Here are the proceedings of the morning session:
Corporate Image Development in a Changing World
Fahad Qadir – Director Public Affairs and Communications –Pak Afghan – Coca-Cola Export Corporation
- We are living in a world of changing cultures.
- Tahrir Square was a revolution sparked by Twitter.
- In 2002, Netscape IPO was the biggest in history, today the company is no more.
- Facebook has swept the world with lightning speed, becoming equivalent to the second biggest country in the world.
- ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and just five minutes to ruin it.’ – Warren Buffet.
- Actually it takes longer than 20 years to build your reputation. Some of the most reputable companies have been around for more than 100 years.
- Consumers are not attracted by sleek packaging anymore.
- Corporate image is a major part of what sells a company and its products.
- Corporate image building results in trust.
- Coke has been instrumental in helping out with the relief efforts in Pakistan whenever required and goes all the way to help out instead of just writing a cheque.
- Wendy’s Hamburger was one of the most famous burger joints in US, until 2005 when a woman discovered a human finger in her burger. Wendy’s refused to talk to the media while investigating the incident including checking the fingers of its employees in that joint. The woman sued Wendy for $10 million. It was finally revealed that the woman was a conman who pulled such stunts. The finger belonged to her boyfriend. Wendy’s never really recovered from this PR fiasco.
- Tony Howard, CEO of BP went for a holiday with his son in the middle of the 2006 Gulf of Mexico oil spill controversy, pretending as if nothing had happened. He came back and said to the media ‘… I would like my life back…’. He was sacked.
- Toyota in 2010 recalled 700,000 cars which had an issue with the brakes.
- Facebook ran into privacy issues 2010 which they didn’t address properly.
- Iphone 4 had an antenna issue whereby if you kept your hand at a certain point, the signals were lost. No real action taken.
- You could argue that these issues didn’t impact these two giants. Apple is going great guns with $97 Billion in cash reserves alone.
- The point is to stay prepared for the bad times by resolving all issues right then and there.
- Three pillars of Corporate Image:
- Corporate Politics
- Corporate Culture
- Design of the organization
- The golden triangle : Government – Community – Culture
- Jack Welch changed the entire corporate culture of GE, making it one of the biggest American corporations during his reign. He had to take some decision like firing quite a few people but he got it done.
- Coke Studio is a perfect example of the benefits of positive corporate image.
- Coke Studio has done much to improve Pakistan’s image in the eyes of the world, receiving raving reviews on such prestigious publications as Wall Street Journal.
- It is the fourth largest music entity in the world on Google.
- The website receives most hits outside of Pakistan especially from Europe.
- On social media, it has received thousands of views and reviews.
- Interbrand has ranked Coke as the No.1 brand in the world for nine consecutive years.
- Coke is one of three most reputed companies in Pakistan.
- ‘21st century CEOs will be judged not only by how they changed their industries, but also how well they led their companies to have positive impacts on the world.’ – Hecto Ruiz – Chairman & CEO AMD
A. Somewhere in 1992 our then CEO decided to leverage the Coke brand and come up with a new formula for Coke. After extensive research New Coke was launched while the classic Coke was phased out. People, especially die-hard fans of Coke rejected the new Coke, thousands of letters were sent to the CEO demanding the return of the Red Coke.
- What was the tangible impact of New Coke or even Coke Studio? –Yasmeen Zafar – IBA
A. Both of these incidents affected the bottom-line. I can’t tell you the figures, but it was double-digit.
- You mentioned Coke has indulged in CSR, with the relief efforts and all. Can you give the specifics of it? -Zeeshan – Owner private firm
A. Coke was the first entity, even before the US government to not only pledge but disburse $2 million within 24 hours for the 2005 Earthquake. It then gave $3 Mn for the relief of flood victims. Apart from that, Coke initiates sustainable projects. For example there’s one in Nathiagali that has been going for four years, then Women Empowerment through KAAF Foundation since 2 years. All these projects have been devised to be self-sustaining, that at some time we can hand them over to the people to by run by themselves and help the community on their own.
- What has been the impact of negative sentiments associated with America on Coke being an American brand?
A. Yes, Coca-Cola originated in US and we’ve had our fair share of troubles and pitfalls owing to the negative perception of US in this part of the world, but this was 125 years. Now Coke is an entity owned by millions and not by one country. Warren Buffet has the most shares, but that’s just about it. In Pakistan just like everywhere else it is run by the locals. No ‘Gora’ comes here to run the operations, we do it ourselves. The entire supply chain operation of Coke employs 5 million people. Coke contributes 1.5% of the total tax revenue of Pakistan.
- I thought I was going to be lecturing a group of students. What I’m faced with now is a room full of intellectuals more educated than me. I’m not an MBA. I didn’t have any mentors in my life. I went to cadet college, then I became a food scientist.
- Before my 21st birthday, I was the most fight-prone person. I just loved to get into a fight. If anyone wanted to pick a fight with someone, he would put me in front. Nothing frightened me.
- On my 21st birthday party, a female friend of mine much younger than me told me that I was the most afraid person, that I was afraid of what people think about me. All my ego went down the drain. I got angry and threw her out of my party. Later I begged her for forgiveness.
- Our perception of what is desirable and what is not is completely influenced by the media.
- In the 80s, we were told that Cindy Crawford and Brooke Shields were the most beautiful women on the face of the planet. They were mere teenagers and large-frame women as opposed to today’s supermodel definition.
- Then in the early 90s Kate Moss with her negligent chest and hips and a face full of freckles became the darling of the media. All of a sudden, women wanted to grow freckles.
- Further into the 90s, tanned skin and Brazilian hips came in vogue.
- I as a person have no opinion. I’ve to go along with what the media feeds me.
- When a mother goes looking for his son’s bride, the traits used to track down the perfect match are what the media tells you – fair, slim, pretty, educated. The match is finally found and the nuptials tied. The man is congratulated by his peers on getting the trophy wife. The man himself feels proud of having a trophy wife. And yet he goes and has an affair with the maid. The maid is the complete opposite of his trophy wife, of whom he’s proud of, and yet he still has an affair. Why is that?
- I once interviewed a kidnapper, and asked him why did he indulge in this cruel trade. He said it was his family business. Plus he didn’t kidnap the poor people. He only kidnapped rich people who could afford to pay. Likewise the brain can justify even murder.
- You don’t need the outside world to tell you what is good for you or not. The mind, heart and body are enough to make you succeed in life provided that you listen to it.
- Take smoking for example. When you first smoke, the body coughs telling you it’s bad for you. You do it again and again, and the body finally allows you to do it and eventually kills you for abusing it.
- I opened my studio in a small dilapidated alley. People told me who would come here. I didn’t know anyone in Karachi as I had been in the US for 15 years and before that I spent five years in cadet college. I still tried, relying solely on my self-belief.
- Prejudice is a natural fear of strangers and is alright as long as you don’t nurture it which then turns into racism.
- I reinvented my attire, making generous use of pagri, dhoti, and all sorts of non-conventional clothing.
- Initially, I was faced with stiff opposition. People would not allow me into the hotels, thinking I was a worker or something and I would play along with them.
- Once at Heathrow airport, I was standing in the line in all my fashion glory when one of the attendants approached me and asked if I needed a translator. I said I do if you don’t understand English. She cracked up laughing and got me through the immigration in no time.
- Once I was stopped at the entrance to Sindh Club because of my dhoti. I told the guard that please allow me, the girl who had just entered was wearing a frock that was higher than my dhoti.
- How do you deal with competition and how do you succeed by being different
- You have to take calculated risks. Without risks, you will go nowhere. Competition will always be there and you’ve to take it all in in a healthy spirit. I’m actually flattered when someone copies my designs. You just need to have unshakeable belief that your Creator will provide you sustenance and then do your own thing.
Marketing to Youth
- 180 Million people of Pakistan present an ideal opportunity for any marketer.
- This becomes all the more lucrative when you consider that 63% of these people are below the age of 25.
- There are 39 Million people in the age bracket 15-24 years and they constitute 21% of the total population.
- Only 53% of these youth are literate. Females only 42% literate.
- An overwhelming 82% of the females in this bracket are married while only 31% males are.
- The typical ad on youth shows a guy looking out for a date, or going on a date. That is actually not true as most of the youth are married. It is only a typical class that might find this situation relevant.
- Just because 63% of the population is youth doesn’t mean that they are one big segment and can be marketed as such.
- In reality, there are numerous sub-segments within it that require a unique marketing strategy tailored to it.
- The following is a rough break-up of the urban population of Pakistan:
- SEC A – 8%
- SEC B – 8%
- SEC C – 15-20%
- SEC D,E – Remaining
- A rough break-up of the sub-segments within the youth:
- Primary – Madressah, Government, Private
- Secondary – Matric/Inter, O/A Level
- Young Executives
- The way to know these youth is to go out, intermingle with them or watch them in their habitat.
- I was once observing a couple of kids from SEC C at a swimming pool when one of the kids said to his friend, ‘Why are you vibrating?’. If I wasn’t there observing them in action, I would never have known that the new word for shiver in this target market is ‘Vibrate’. This shows the extent to which mobile devices have seeped into our psyche.
- The learning can be had via three different methods:
- Ethnographic Studies
- Qualitative Research
- Quantitative Research
- People born between 1987 and 1997 either do not know or have had no affect on their mindset, a number of major events like Lebanon massacre, Zia ul Haq, Fall of Russian Empire, Revolution in China etc.
- This group is more influenced by General Musharraf, Taliban, war on terrorism etc.
- JWT conducted a focus group of the young adults and the following insights were gleaned from that session wrt their traits:
- Traditional, simple but outgoing.
- More personal bonding with family.
- Consider their parents as friends. They are more like their ‘peer-ants’.
- Independent, however within their tradition and cultural norms.
- Want to increase the quality of their life and their family.
- The youth value ‘Me’ time more than the previous generation. While the National average is 2 hours, the youth average is 3 hours.
- There has been a paradigm shift in the ownership of electronic devices. While at one time it was cassette players and video players, today the dominant device is the cellphone, surpassing even DVD and MP3 players.
- According to a study, 58% of the youth value Ads whereas just 43% of the entire country.
- According to a study conducted in August 2011 by Anxiety Index, youth were asked positive or negative reaction about a number of factors including Food and petrol prices. Not a single factor was rated positive by them.
- The problems of Roti, Kapra aur Makaan that were dominant 30 years ago are still relevant and directly affect the youth.
- The levels of anxiety amongst the Pakistani youth are one of the highest in the world at 89%, just behind Japan at 90%.
- What’s even more alarming is the level of pessimism. They feel alienated in their own country.
- They were also asked to rate their favorite TVC and from what they told us, we’ve a fairly good idea of what to show in a TVC.
- You need to create a TVC which is either Escapist, Revolutionary or inspires Hope.
- The challenge is to come with a campaign which increases your market share in spite of all odds, including the pessimistic state of the state and the target market.
- Band-Aid is one brand that was able to increase its sales in spite of holding 82% of the market share and having a product that didn’t inspire, and was looked down upon.
- They did it by hiring the Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch to come up with innovative designs for the bandage and use it on fashion models during his shows.
- The result: using band-aids became a fashion statement, with people using band-aids on all sorts of apparels and accessories apart from on their own self.
- Ford used the popular social networking site Bebo to strike a conversation with its target market in New Zealand for its new Fiesta in an interview style campaign.
- Kit Kat in Japan is called Kittu Katsu, meaning ‘Wish u luck’. Because wishing luck is an important part of Japanese culture, and they still use snail mail to send such cards, Kit Kat created a brand alliance with Japan Post Office whereby people could send Kittu Katsu to their loved ones whose wrapper was shaped in the form of a post-card.
- This strategy created $11 Million worth of free publicity.
- Indian Panga League was a spoof of Indian Premier League created by Virgin Mobile whose purpose was to promote its new call rates during the IPL. The activity went viral on social media.
- Coke Studio’s success was largely due to the digital medium instead of just the TV.
Q. How do you propose marketing to the rural market as social media is still very limited in penetration in a country like Pakistan.
A. TV ads are still very important and one of the most effective ways of reaching the mass market that social media cannot. Having said that, TVC alone cannot achieve your brand goals and it will have to be part of a campaign in which social media plays a big part as well.
End of First Part…….