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At WorldCup 2010 in South Africa, Bavaria - a Dutch brewer - creates a marketing conflict during a match opposing the Netherlands and Denmark with women dressed in sexy orange dresses. The action, considered as ambush marketing, irritated FIFA and Budweiser, the official sponser and directe competitor of Bavaria. In the mean time, the orange dresses are "hot" to have and Bavaria has won its publicity stunt.

On Monday’s – June 14th - match opposing the Netherlands and Denmark, a group of about 30 women were accused of ambush marketing for being dressed in orange dresses from Bavaria, a Dutch brewery. The orange dresses are Bavarias’ World Cup promotional items that are offered with the purchase of a pack of beers in the Netherlands. The women were said to strip from Danish “red – white “clothes to the sexy orange dresses.

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Bavaria Dress (EPA)

Reaction of FIFA: correct or exagerated

For information, Bavaria put the same stunt on at the 2006 World Cup where man wore orange lederhosen during a match. While no Bavaria logo or name can be seen on the front of the dress, since the logo is only at the back, the story has made a scandal at the World Cup since the action is considered as a marketing act. Budweiser, the official brewer sponsor of the event, pays a huge price for it and its logo is supposed to be the only beer logo seen during the whole World Cup. Bavaria has confirmed that the women were paid by Bavaria, but Bavaria Director Peer Swinkels nevertheless considers the arrest of the women exaggerated and difficult to understand.


For those unaware, orange is an official colour of the Netherlands, and part of the Dutch culture, it is a habit to use and wear orange in any event where the Netherlands are represented as a nation. However, with the action evoking such a conflict, voices raise already calling to stop the action during possible upcoming matches with the Netherlands. Irritation from FIFA and Budweiser may have even risen to the level of an official complaint to Bavaria ad the matter is closely followed in the Netherlands, even by the governement. In the mean time, the Bavaria dresses have become a hot item and are sold at internet at various prices and Bavaria itself has created once more a good publicity stunt.

More information about the dresses and Bavaria

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Bavaria Dress (EPA)
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« Bavaria creates a marketing conflict at World Cup with orange dresses » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 18 June 2010 on Marketing Planet.

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Fri, 18 Jun 2010 05:35:59 +0100 Branding Creative Event http://marketing-planet.com/news/bavaria-creates-a-marketing-conflict-at-world-cup-with-orange-dresses.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/bavaria-creates-a-marketing-conflict-at-world-cup-with-orange-dresses.html#comments
[News] The most creative people event http://marketing-planet.com/news/the-most-creative-people-event.html

Fast Company organises the 2010 edition of the most creative people in business. It will take place on June 16th in New York, US. Inspiration and creativity garanteed.

On June 16th the Most Creative People in Business Event 2010 will take place in the USA, New York. The event is organised by Fast Company and a glance on the agenda makes the event look tempting. So for those who are looking forward to a creative event, have a look for yourself: agenda most creative people.

What is it about you will say, well let’s have a look: «With this event, we give attendees live access to our Most Creative People - the most creative visionaries in business today - with the goal to learn from and to be inspired by their practices and insight.

The event itself is a great conversation/debate starter, but the greater value is in taking attendees inside the minds of these Most Creative People and teaching them something they don’t know: unexpected facts, smart techniques, best practices.»

And if you won’t be able to join the event, I think that with the following links you’ll be able to have some good reads and come up with some inspiration any how:

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« The most creative people event » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 31 May 2010 on Marketing Planet.

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Mon, 31 May 2010 20:37:06 +0100 Creative Skills Event http://marketing-planet.com/news/the-most-creative-people-event.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/the-most-creative-people-event.html#comments
[News] HP buys Palm, a technology fusion to come? http://marketing-planet.com/news/hp-buys-palm-a-technology-fusion-to-come.html

End of April, 2010, the announcement of HP buying Palm seems for certain to come as a surprise, others however see the purchase as a very interesting and strategic movethat comes logically. HP paid about 1,2 billion USD for the purchase, and final validation of authorities is expected this Summer.

Palm, mostly known for its Palm Pilot from about 10 years ago, was one of the early innovaters in the market of smartphones. However, after their breakthrough competion did catch up with them and Palm never really seemed to have recovered his initial leader position.

HP on the other hand has not yet managed to ditch into the smart phone market and might seems to target with the Palm purchase the possibility to achieve its breakthrough this time. Palm is still renowned for its Operating System - WebOS- and this represents one of its main interests to purchase.

Mutual agreement

Both parties seems very keen on the purchase, and officially announce their mutual respect and advantages for joined development:

«Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices», said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. Further he mentions that «Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market».

«We’re thrilled by HP’s vote of confidence in Palm’s technological leadership, which delivered Palm webOS and iconic products such as the Palm Pre. HP’s longstanding culture of innovation, scale and global operating resources make it the perfect partner to rapidly accelerate the growth of webOS», said Jon Rubinstein, chairman and chief executive officer, Palm.

Is it all about the smartphone market, or is there already more ongoing? Elsewhere on internet it can be read that HP’ purchase of Palm may in a way be linked to recent announcements regardings their development on "Slate", their tablet device.

Read more

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« HP buys Palm, a technology fusion to come? » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 4 May 2010 on Marketing Planet.

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Tue, 04 May 2010 21:54:29 +0100 Strategy Competition http://marketing-planet.com/news/hp-buys-palm-a-technology-fusion-to-come.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/hp-buys-palm-a-technology-fusion-to-come.html#comments
[Surveys] Buzz or true ... women prefer iPhone-men? http://marketing-planet.com/surveys/buzz-or-true-women-prefer-iphone-men.html

One week after the publication of the study, things are still not clear but what will remain in all heads of those that have heard / read about it is that women seem to prefer men with iPhones to men with other mobile phones and are more likely to give them at least their phone number. The marketing effect of this buzz is great and shows once more that in marketing the information needs just be tickling to create the buzz and have effect in a very short time. The question of the information being true or false seems less important.

The survey

What happened? A survey, said to be carried out amongst 1500 women in the UK, showed that women were having preferences to men with an iPhone rather that another mobile phone. Obviously, any single man in a hurry to be successful with women would run to buy an iPhone.

To recall certain points mentioned in the result of the survey:

  • 54% of the women would be more likely to give their digits and date an iPhone owner than a non-iPhone owner
  • 37% of the women said that owning an iPhone makes a man seem more reliable.
  • one of the interviewees argued that “If he’s got the cash for an iPhone then he must be very good at his job, too."
  • the survey also found that iPhone owners were better groomed, more likely to have a good sense of humor, and better at conversation.

I would nearly start to belief that soon marketing wizards get to belief that whatever Apple touches turns into a success, even lonely men. But …

Removal and denial

Shortly after the publication of the article at www.techcrunch.com the author was requested to remove the article, and was informed that not only the source was incorrect – not by Phones4U – but that the results was not valid either. The story goes that the commmunication agency StickyEyes did the survey on its own whilst mentioning that it was initially on account of Phones4U. Things go weird somewhere. Nevertheless, by that time though various tech-sites and blogs already relayed the information and the buzz was done.

Even Apple seems to disagree

What is so interesting in this situation is that Phone4U and their regular communication’s agency JCPR both mentioned that even Apple wanted this survey result removed from the internet. Why?

This may be explained because of a previous study mentioned by www.earthtimes.com «that men who own the iPhone tend to have GBP3,750 less disposable income per annum than those who do not own an iPhone; proof that first impressions may not always be accurate in the dating game.»

So what to make of it?

Whatever the truth is, it seems a bit like the buzz that Apple created «themselves» during the launching of the iPad and controversy of the name. With the android phone markted developping currently, the iPhone can use all buzz and communication that will be proposed. And, why not, when things go wrong, maybe Apple could create a marketing /communication course?

Some argue that the journalist who published the article should have carried out better verifications as to check the accuracy of the source. However, this can be argued in the context where the source proposes the article and publishes themself on their own website too.
That too is the way internet works.

To read more

  • The original story and how it all evolved can be found here at Techcrunch.com.

The results of the survey come from the following websites, as the original article is thus difficult to find:

ps: Special thanks to Cécil Schmitt who pointed out this buzz to us. By the way, he has an iPhone .... does that make him even more attractive?

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« Buzz or true ... women prefer iPhone-men? » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 4 May 2010 on Marketing Planet.

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Tue, 04 May 2010 21:05:51 +0100 Branding Customers Competition Communication http://marketing-planet.com/surveys/buzz-or-true-women-prefer-iphone-men.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/surveys/buzz-or-true-women-prefer-iphone-men.html#comments
[News] Apple beware, there's Lenovo's U1 Hybrid Ideapad http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-beware-there-s-lenovo-s-u1-hybrid-ideapad.html

Behind the fuzz around the launching of the iPad, there is more .... the Ideapad U1 Hybrid of Lenovo was presented beginning of January this year. With the advantage of being a hybrid, the tablet can be connected to its Notebook. So two in the price of one.

The tablet is very nice looking, fully tactile and you can turn it around, for exemple to read books. Up to 8 hours batterie, Wifi and 3G integrated. Available 2nd half of 2010. The hybrid fonction is a good outcome. Sounds promising. See how they will market it.

Even though there is seemingly less hype around this one than around the iPad, it might be dangerous to Apple. Lenovo is gaining market share and notoriety and for those who are not fully Apple-minded it’s all with advantages. Yeps, the market of the tablets will be promising and interesting.

Read more

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« Apple beware, there’s Lenovo’s U1 Hybrid Ideapad » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 30 January 2010 on Marketing Planet.

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Sat, 30 Jan 2010 13:41:16 +0100 Trends Competition http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-beware-there-s-lenovo-s-u1-hybrid-ideapad.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-beware-there-s-lenovo-s-u1-hybrid-ideapad.html#comments
[News] Apple's Tablet: thou shalt be iPad .... or not http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-s-tablet-to-be-ore-not-to-be.html

Apple launches the iPad.

The news of a super tablet to make reading more comfortable was awaited since long. Indeed, the 2010 Keynote of Apple should bring the newest tendency and modify the way of living as only Apple – as it seems – is able to do so. Romours were ongoing since a while: geeks were dreaming of the newest invention, editors and media companies seemed to be in serious negotiations already as to be included by Apple, and many marketing and IT experts were predicting the next Apple move.

From a stone tablet to a digital tablet

Reading yesterday’s tweets and listening to the information on radio, television and internet, Apple does not seem to have invented the new hype on the product itself, that’s according to the geeks (the IT experts). The generalists however are still “wowed†by whatever move Apple makes and this one included. They say “take the iPod Touch, make it much bigger, but thin as 1 cm and you can read everything on it in an easy way. According to them it should modify the way we were reading internet.

According to Steve Jobs, who started by showing an image of the known stone tablets, the new product positions itself between a smart phone and a laptop and is the missing link between both. It should therefore be better on the key elements of both. In Apple terms this means: browsing the web, emails, view photos, watch videos, listen to music, play your games and … read books. This does also mean that it does not have the telephone function; well, one can say that Skype may do the rest …..


Apple aims to stress on the flexibility of its products: maximum technology with liberating arts and the possibility to have external developers provide applications. For this use, a special SDK is already proposed on the Apple website. Let’s be honest, the Apple products are also a success thanks to this input from external applications. To motivate these external developers – essential to the success of this tablet - the Keynote showed us some developers explaining how cool it was to work on the new possibilities. Even the New York Times was being represented. As the first products should be available in 60 days from Keynote date, external developments for dedicated applications might immediately be proposed.

Whereas on one side they open spaces for external input, on the other hand however Apple wishes to increase there single entry point they have started with iTunes Store. The launching of iBooks Store is a direct confrontation with Amazon. Time will show how it develops, but their negotiations with 5 publishers (eg. Penguin, Harper&Collins, Hachette) that could be announced directly shows their ambitions and their current negotiation strength.

Another partnership that is important success factor for Apple is the carrier as to use the browsing facilities. In the US a deal is signed with AT&T, other may follow according to success and terms. On international levels, negotiations are to start.

Apple may play big by wishing to be the single entry point, but needs its partners to join in as to make it a success.

Branding difficulty

Whereas Apple has managed to become a high tech company with a good innovative sense of product names, this time they seem to have forgotten about a detail. Since the Keynote launched the product name iPad, Twitter has been experiencing traffic jams with #tampon and other like names as to illustrate the confusion and astonishment about the unmistakable association with monthly periods. A lot of people wonder if there are no women in their marketing department.

For those who want to have a better understanding of the association of the word iPad with the feminine hygiene product the urinary incontinence, I advice to read the following article from shoppingblog : Women Horrified by iPad’s Ridiculously Inappropriate Name and the YouTube video that explains even better Youtube.com Apple I-Pad video

There is different possibilities : might be any reaction from Apple, or if it all calm down, or was this the buzz they were hoping for and was it all on purpose? (In which case it worked).


The new tablet, comes with some accessories enabling it be more easily used with a digital photo screen, and a doc for the keyboard. If you put it all together, Apple is very ambitious with the new product and competes not only his direct competitors but also his next market and his own products. They confirm their capacities to use their technology which is rather user friendly; the tactile part and software part are indeed good. Maybe their bet on combining different products into their iPad succeeds but it may also be risky.

From a practical point of view, according to the size of you bag, you will not easily take your tablet to the café to show the pictures, be at ease in a crowded metro to read, or have the right connection with internet. Because it positions in-between the laptop and the Smart phone it needs to confirm its usefulness and be more than a gadget. Another point, time will tell if they are too ambitious in wanting to become the single entry point for all media activities. Their approach starts to look like the way Microsoft proceeded some years ago to position themselves “unavoidable†and what Apple defended at that time.

More to see and read

« Apple’s Tablet: thou shalt be iPad .... or not » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 28 January 2010 on Marketing Planet.

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Thu, 28 Jan 2010 12:14:51 +0100 Branding Positioning Negotiation http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-s-tablet-to-be-ore-not-to-be.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-s-tablet-to-be-ore-not-to-be.html#comments
[News] Apple makes Disney dream bigger http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-makes-disney-dream-bigger.html

While the world still is concerned with reductions of costs, Disney just launched a huge plan to redynamise its retail outlet with the support of Steve Jobs and Apple. The plan is to transform the shops in complete experience parcs where children will want to go as often as possible and become part of the Disney world all around them.

Steve Jobs’s fingerprint

Apple and Steve Jobs will provide their experience of the success of the Apple stores - average store sales is about $4,700 a square foot in 2008 [1] - and the technology that has made Apple Ipod’s so popular. Steve Jobs’ message: "Dream bigger" makes the idea behind this project clear and shows his fingerprint behind the plans.

The experience ecomony

The idea of experience in a shop and in marketing approaches has already started in different branches some years ago - Starbuck’s is one the of the exemples - and seems to have appealed Disney. As Jim Fielding, president of Disney Stores Worldwide, puts it in the NY Times article: “The world does not need another place to sell Disney merchandise — this only works if it’s an experience†. Disney is planning to spend $1 million per store over the next five years as to succeed in their idea.

Read more


[1by far the highest for any retail chain, according to Charlie Wolf, an analyst at Needham & Company

« Apple makes Disney dream bigger » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 20 October 2009 on Marketing Planet.

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Tue, 20 Oct 2009 07:57:42 +0100 Branding Distribution Consumer behaviour http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-makes-disney-dream-bigger.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/apple-makes-disney-dream-bigger.html#comments
[News] Report suggests iPhone users more attracted to ads http://marketing-planet.com/news/report-suggests-iphone-users-more-attracted-to-ads.html

TheQ4 2008 Mobile Advertising Report from Limbo and GFK Technology published recently shows that iPhone users might be more tempted to react to advertising by phone. This might represent an interesting challenge for the advertising market.

With the hype of the iPhone and continuous attempts to attract new revenues through telecoms, a new report seems to show that iPhone users are more easily interpelled by ads then other telecom users and more likely to react to these.

This is published by Limbo in cooperation with GFK Technology in the "2008 fourth quarter Mobile Advertising Report (MAR)", February 2009, and states that «iPhone users are more than twice as likely as non-iPhone users to browse the mobile Web and more than three times as likely to use a location-based service (LBS) or a location-based social network. With more than 80 percent of iPhone users taking advantage of non-voice mobile data services, compared to just over 60 percent of non-iPhone users, the report suggests that advertisers can reach iPhone users with mobile campaigns more easily than with other platforms.»

This is one of the first times that a report is carried out where iPhone users are compared to non iPhone users and can therefore be an interesting indicator in telecom behaviour.

Some more details coming from this report include

  • One in three consumers that recall seeing a mobile ad responded in some way; this rises to one in two for iPhone users
  • Calling a toll free phone number published in the ads is the most common means of response; iPhone users called twice as much as non-iPhone users
  • One in seven mobile phone users visit a mobile Web site, the second most popular response; this rises to one in five for iPhone users
  • One in seven consumers reported buying a product or visiting a store as a result of seeing a mobile advertisement; for iPhone users, more than one in four bought something as a result of seeing an ad
  • While men and women are equally likely to recall mobile advertising, women are 85 percent more likely to respond to ads than men

For more information on the report, please see here: Limbo study - presscenter - iPhone

« Report suggests iPhone users more attracted to ads » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 9 February 2009 on Marketing Planet.

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Mon, 09 Feb 2009 17:16:49 +0100 Advertising Trends http://marketing-planet.com/news/report-suggests-iphone-users-more-attracted-to-ads.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/report-suggests-iphone-users-more-attracted-to-ads.html#comments
[Reviews] Sales and Marketing - organisational conflicts http://marketing-planet.com/reviews/sales-and-marketing-organisational-conflicts.html

I just came across an article written on BNET’s blog about the organisational conflicts that may arise between sales and marketing. As both services are in fact made to work closely together, this issue seemed rather interesting to me and I thought about sharing it with you.

Conflicts are not to be considered normal

Whereas Steve Tobak, the author, gives word to the most common thoughts that this animosity is inevitable, he claims that on the contrary this is not inevitable" and should not be considered normal. He clearly points out the type of organisational conflict he stresses on: "about organizational conflict — the seemingly endless animosity, finger-pointing, and disruptive churn that plagues most companies."

Facing the conflict may offer ways to solve it

When acknowledging the problem it provides you the possibility to approach it in a more rational way, thus being able to suggest different solutions. Let’s face it, any organisational conflict jeopardises the company’s results. Whether the CEO may or may not be aware of it, sometimes these conflicts are very delicately hidden but very persistent; he (or she) wants results in the end.

Steve Tobak suggests some guidelines on how to overcome this conflict situation, and moreover with some rational ideas such like different measurement types: they can share certain success metrics and goals for example.

Read more

If you want to read more about Steve Tobak’s article: Steve Tobak at BNET on sales vs marketing conflicts

« Sales and Marketing - organisational conflicts » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 4 November 2008 on Marketing Planet.

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Tue, 04 Nov 2008 13:08:03 +0100 Strategy Sales http://marketing-planet.com/reviews/sales-and-marketing-organisational-conflicts.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/reviews/sales-and-marketing-organisational-conflicts.html#comments
[News] Philips launches intimate massagers for couples, that’s a change in strategy http://marketing-planet.com/news/philips-launches-intimate-massagers-for-couples-that-s-a-change-in-strategy.html

117 years old Philips group launches a controversy new product and aims to reorient its strategy towards health and well-being.

The new product launch of Philips can be called more than surprising for a company that is renowned for its lightbulbs and is seen as an electronics player. Indeed, on the 8th of September 2008 Philips has entered into a possible new era of its positioning with the launching of specific intimate massagers for couples (target 35 – 55 years). The launching started for now only in the UK and in specific stores as the market there seems to be more accustomed to this type of «toys». It will be sold at Boots and Selfridges or Amazon UK and the packaging seems not to be forgotten and appears to be rather discrete so no worries about being «noticed» by the neighbours.

Strategy change, but how will it influence the global Philips image?

We were aware that Philips was focusing more and more on the markets of medical healthcare since the consumer electronics is more competitive with players from Asia, but this takes the Philips strategy in an even more intimate health care direction. As it turns out, the past two years have been busy at Philips for specific research on the market potential as well as product development studies. This new launching may represent thus a turning point but sceptics are still waiting on how this may influence the global image of Philips.

More information

For more information look on internet or read more about this on the following dedicated pages:

« Philips launches intimate massagers for couples, that’s a change in strategy » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 14 September 2008 on Marketing Planet.

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Sun, 14 Sep 2008 09:40:10 +0100 Strategy Positioning Trends Product http://marketing-planet.com/news/philips-launches-intimate-massagers-for-couples-that-s-a-change-in-strategy.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/philips-launches-intimate-massagers-for-couples-that-s-a-change-in-strategy.html#comments
[News] Facts & Figures: presence of Procter & Gamble around you http://marketing-planet.com/news/facts-figures-presence-of-procter-gamble-around-you.html

According to an article in the Fortune Europe edition (April 17th, 2006) Procter & Gamble (number 24 in their Fortune 500 list) owns as much as 22 brands that top 1$ billion in sales. P&G gained 5 of them in its $61 billion acquisition of Gilette (the largest merger of 2005).

According to ACNielsen, 99% of U.S. households now use a P&G product.

« Facts & Figures: presence of Procter & Gamble around you » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 21 June 2006 on Marketing Planet.

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Wed, 21 Jun 2006 13:45:04 +0100 Customers Sales http://marketing-planet.com/news/facts-figures-presence-of-procter-gamble-around-you.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/facts-figures-presence-of-procter-gamble-around-you.html#comments
[Studies] Entrepreneurship vs. employment: a genuine difference http://marketing-planet.com/studies/entrepreneurship-vs-employment-a-genuine-difference.html

This is the first of a series of articles about ImFusio’s creation from a marketing point of view. More about this series:.

Their previous article of this chronicle: Market Research… or the search for a market!


Quitting an employer to become your own is just like getting on a boat thinking about the final destination, but not realizing the essence is in the actual journey, and the destination is never final… This article will be exploring the redefinition of our working frame and habits, and how we had to undergo a sustained and deep analysis of our attitudes and behaviours in front of these new challenges.

It can be paralleled to a «Usages and Attitudes» survey for a given customer target: it is important to understand their values, their purchase behaviours, their expectations, how they live, what they do, to fine tune the products, the offering, etc. Well, facing the realities of creating, developing and managing a business, we realized we had to revisit a lot of our convictions and preconceived ideas.

Jump in and see what can be done to manage and improve a key asset of your business plan and your offering: yourself!

The comfort of employment

Being employed brought us three levels of comfort:

  • The financial comfort: we had to work hard, so we could justify our pay checks. However, our performance had an effect only on a mid to long term basis, but rarely on a short term basis. The risk was limited, and easily managed.
  • The process comfort: we were part of a group, an entity, and whether we were a driver or a follower, we did not have to worry night and day about the “what to do?†or the “why do this rather than that?†because it was being expressed and managed collectively.
  • The time management comfort: this might be the biggest challenge, because you never see the truly positive aspects of office hours until you loose them.

The combination of the three brought a whole new dimension to our professional lives, and clearly challenged our pre-conceived convictions.

On the financial aspect, the key learning is simple: we have to work to earn money (and not to justify our pay check), and worse, it is not assured that it will be enough. This creates a different type of stress. The danger lies in feeling paralyzed. It has a direct impact on our relationship to time: suddenly, our anticipations go further and have a different feel.

Planning becomes a key driver, while it was only a tool amongst others in our employed life.
Process-wise, we suddenly had to think and decide on every single detail of our professional life. No more false excuses, it was the end of complaining about our boss, or hiding behind our personal bad opinion of management’s strategy. This as well had a direct impact on our relationship to time: if you take reporting to hierarchy or management away, you can easily procrastinate and never go anywhere.

Time management was indeed our biggest shock. We had never realized the chance of working office hours! Extracted from employment, it took us a few months to adjust to our new working times: as we already knew, we are not efficient 8 or 10 hours a day. But it is difficult to admit, and tough to change your habits. We now know when to stop trying if we are not efficient, and focus on something else… or relax and go back to work 2 hours or 10 hours later. In that perspective, your working hours are more flexible (with a clear tendency to widen too!). It creates this paradoxical sensation of total freedom and unbreakable ties with your work!

These differences made it difficult the first 6 to 9 months to be really efficient. It led to waste of energy, concentration, even personal confidence. We had to do something to improve this situation: understand what it was about and know how to react.

Learning about ourselves: a personal U&A study

We followed two routes: we looked for training that could help us improve in the fields we felt problematic, and we went out for advices, asking questions to our (more experienced) peers.


  • We followed a 3-day session helping us to understand our personal relationship to time, and how to improve your efficiency while limiting your feeling of guilt (for not doing what you think you should be doing). The key learning on this is that ready-made solutions are not applicable to all. If you are reading books about time management, be aware that all advices or exercises are not fit for you profile. Use the ones that seem simple, natural to manage – you will keep using them over time. Others, despite their excellence in practice, will be difficult to sustain over time, and only add to your feeling of guilt!

To give you an example: let’s say you are a creative person, always looking ahead, thinking about the next step, and not so keen in looking backward. With such a profile, it can be useful to create TO DO lists, to organize your day, and make sure you don’t forget anything important. But don’t be frustrated if you never do everything in your to-do list or if you never really look back at it! It is normal: your profile calls for moments where you put everything on paper to clarify your thoughts, but not for an item by item guideline for your day.

  • We also did our MBTI. It helps understand how you act in professional environments, and it helped us understand, as a team, how we work together. A very strong tool to enhance your self understanding.
  • We also rapidly identified fields where we could gain more expertise. We followed sessions that helped us improve professionally. They included training and group facilitation, phone marketing techniques, sales tools and techniques.


We spent (and still do) a lot of time exchanging with peers, mentors, supportive people from our close friends or family. We actually created an informal group of 3 start-ups with similar profiles (selling B2B services, owned by two managers and created at the same period of time), to share our doubts, difficulties and ideas. It brings all of us a lot, and helps move forward when you have doubts or questions. We also have a couple of “mentors†, i.e. experienced people that informally support us, with advice and to whom we can show elements for feedback.

Networking to openly discuss your situation and doubts is the number one element to do, as, here again, it helps rationalize what we are experiencing, and improve.

And finally, we identified elements or expertises that we could not get without a tremendous effort. Since our energy goes into the project, we decided to use specialists to help us: accountants (it is a temptation in the beginning to save on this item by doing it yourself. It can be a big mistake once your business takes off), lawyer, PR, amongst others.


Take care of you when launching a business. You are, at its start at least, its most valuable asset. If you have malfunctions, or if you cannot identify some personal (and technical) limitations, you are putting your project at risk. No one can do it all by himself. Don’t be afraid to ask and exchange. Do not put your pride in trying to do it all by yourself, but in making things happen. You are the driver, even when you look for advice.


  • If you can, join an incubator. No need to be a Bio-tech start-up or a dot-com company. We are part of Paris Pionnières –helping women launching a business: www.parispionnieres.org
  • Networking events: make great use of Viaduc, E-cademy, OpenBC to meet people. Out of all the members, you will find a couple that matches your view and expectations. With time passing by, you will get a good proficiency level in managing your expectations with these networking events. The authors of this column met Marketing Planet’s editor in one of these evenings: as you can see, you can never anticipate what will come out of such a meeting, but it can only be for the better!
  • More information and resources on MBTI: wikipedia.org/wiki/MBTI
  • A particularly interesting method for international managers, mixing personal preferences and cultural aspects: SPM profiling, from www.futuretobe.net/

Web sites and references:

  • «Good to Great», from Jim Collins. A very wise book on what makes the difference between performance and excellence in a company. Buy this book at Amazon.com
  • «Briser la dictature du temps», from Bruno Jarrosson. A disruptive approach to time, mixing philosophical and empirical approaches. A must read if you can read French.
  • «Imparfaits, libres et heureux», from Christophe André, to read whatever degree of self-esteem you have for yourself.
  • Networking sites: www.openBC.com, www.viaduc.com and www.ecademy.com
  • For women specifically: EPWN – www.Europeanpwn.net. A very good networking site for professional women.
  • For France-based readers of this column: if you are looking for training in the following fields:
  • Phone marketing techniques: www.Janusia.com
  • Sales tools and techniques: http://scorrdv.siteo.com/fr/. These 2 consultants clearly made a difference for us.

The introduction to this chronicle on ImFusio can be found right here: Introducing ImFusio

« Entrepreneurship vs. employment: a genuine difference » has been published by Nathalie Nowak, Yael Guillon on 24 March 2006 on Marketing Planet.

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Fri, 24 Mar 2006 09:27:25 +0100 Creative Methods Skills http://marketing-planet.com/studies/entrepreneurship-vs-employment-a-genuine-difference.html Nathalie Nowak, Yael Guillon text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/studies/entrepreneurship-vs-employment-a-genuine-difference.html#comments
[Reviews] BCG paper - Taking care of brands through vertical integration http://marketing-planet.com/reviews/bcg-paper-taking-care-of-brands-through-vertical-integration.html

«Taking care of brands through vertical integration» is a paper from November 2005 by the Boston Consulting Group as a result of a study they carried out regarding the retail market and the possible threats for the manufacturer’s brand.

Are retail market principles a threat to today’s brand effectiveness?

The paper starts with examples from H&M, Zara and Esprit who have obtained sustainable results by controlling the whole value chain. In today’s consumer markets traditional retail principles no longer seem to be a reply to success activities and therefore manufacturers are looking for better ways to manage their way to consumers. It is for this reason that BCG carried out a detailed survey where they studied different ways of integration. The study includes the different types, risks and advantages. The paper presents its highlights.

It is true that today’s retail market faces a different situation being in between specialty shops and discounts. Retailers find it difficult to manage the quantity of products and how to increase the quality of communication towards the manufacturer. As a result, the manufacturer faces a risk regarding its brand effectiveness, precisely the part that is so important to him and often transmitted by a large part though the retailer.

Vertical integration: advantages and risks

One of the approaches of vertical integration is directly operated stores, such like flagship stores. The advantages can be numerous and this type of integration is often found in luxury brands: Versace shops, Luis Vuitton shops etc. It enhances the brand but costs a lot. The paper develops various pro and cons regarding this type of integration.

Read the BCG paper

There is no standard solution to what type of integration should prevail. During the study of the topic, each manufacturer should take into account costs, local specificities, importance of the retailer and its added value and the capacities of the manufacturer.

Marketing Planet invites you to read the full highlights of the study on the website of the Boston Consulting Group:

  • About the Boston Consulting Group: «The Boston Consulting Group is an international strategy and general management consulting firm whose mission is to help leading corporations create and sustain competitive advantage. As a truly international firm, our strong global presence offers clients and employees a wealth of cross-cultural experience.» BCG has opened its first office in 1963 and counts end of 2005 2.900 consultants and 60 offices in the world. Visit the corporate website: www.bcg.com

« BCG paper - Taking care of brands through vertical integration » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 22 March 2006 on Marketing Planet.

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Wed, 22 Mar 2006 19:16:29 +0100 Branding Distribution Research http://marketing-planet.com/reviews/bcg-paper-taking-care-of-brands-through-vertical-integration.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/reviews/bcg-paper-taking-care-of-brands-through-vertical-integration.html#comments
[Studies] Is marketing the answer to all? http://marketing-planet.com/studies/is-marketing-the-answer-to-all.html

The movie "Last Holiday" is about to come out in Europe this beginning of 2006. Nothing special at first sight, wouldn’t it be that the main actors are not mainstream actors making it a movie that would have been impossible 10 years ago. What’s the role of marketing?

An "un-common" casting for a "common" movie

Last Holiday is a movie in which the main actors are Queen Latifah and LL Cool J. Not actors that much famous for making a blockbuster. The doesn’t matter, the movie will be positioned like a mainstream movie.

The target of the movie being all type of public is quite original for the fact that till now, mainstream movies were having in general a white casting. Not to be racist but, especially in the USA, Afro-American actors are not that much taking all the main roles. But maybe time has changed and so the "rules" and habits.

The story of Last Holiday is not especially about Afro-Americans, not is the subject. It is a story about a woman who learns she has only 3 more weeks to live and decides to take up all her savings and leave for holidays and enjoy life. As you see, nothing special, some nice ingredients for a beginning of a humorous movie.

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Last Holiday - the movie

Queen Latifah and LL Cool J are not that much known neither for these kind of roles. Both more known in the music world, they have had some experiences in the world of cinema but not in these kinds of movies.

What has made it possible to position this film as a mainstream?

Ten years ago, a movie like this would not have been imaginable. The public would have been shocked or the public would only have been Afro-Americans. Even those might not feel attracted to see the movie for it would not deal with topics of their interests.

A lot has changed though, or at least the producer and actors think so. In an interview, LL Cool J mentioned that it is all about marketing, less about the product. He compares the positioning of Last Holiday like the way rap music has been positioned:

Originally rap music was made by Afro-Americans and dealt with their topics and their environment. The music was nevertheless very quickly diffused throughout all types of population and adopted by them. It was the marketing around the music style that positioned it like music for all. Even is many rappers are Afro-Americans, there are quite some American and European rappers that have joined the "catwalk". How about Vanilla Ice - quite some years ago already - and today’s Eminem.

The actor states that with Last Holiday it can be the same: position the movie as a mainstream movie is possible as long as you use the marketing to this positioning: "it is not about the product, it is about the marketing."

Marketing, the solution to all our questions?

Whereas some voices say that marketing is in a dull era and needs to be reinvented, maybe other are right when saying that marketing can do it all. Probably, the right answer is in the middle - as often - but most of all depending whether you are willing to use marketing properly and to its real extension.

Though we from Marketing Planet will not state that marketing is the solution to all your questions - there are a lot of questions to be answered in the world - marketing can definitely do more than many think or will admit. Most of it’ success depends on how you use marketing. If you play it right, marketing can indeed do a lot for many products: it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.. Haven’t we heard that before already?

« Is marketing the answer to all? » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 18 January 2006 on Marketing Planet.

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Wed, 18 Jan 2006 12:40:44 +0100 Segmentation Positioning Culture http://marketing-planet.com/studies/is-marketing-the-answer-to-all.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/studies/is-marketing-the-answer-to-all.html#comments
[Studies] DVD marketing war: Sony’s Blu-Ray against Toshiba’s HD-DVD http://marketing-planet.com/studies/dvd-marketing-war-sony-s-blu-ray-against-toshiba-s-hd-dvd.html

A "déjà-vue" in marketing warfare

Remember about 30 years ago when the video cassette war was being fought? Well back then it was the Betamax format from Sony fighting its place against VHS format from JVC. Even if you don’t remember this – it has become a major classic in marketing case studies – you know that today the video-cassettes run on VHS.

The same case is applying today, in the market of the high-definition next generation DVD. The actors:

  • Sony, with the Blu-Ray
  • Toshiba, with the HD-DVD

You see that Sony, still renowned for its market research but in a less favourable position today then yesterday, is back on the stages. Its competitor has changed though from JVC into Toshiba. In today’s situation it is Sony that has most at stake: their profits have declined in the electronic and entertainment industries and they don’t want to loose again.

What went wrong before?

Sony lost the previous match with its Betamax, but what went wrong at that moment? On the market of video cassettes there were different players: Sony (Betamax), Philips (V2000), and JVC (VHS). All trying hard to impose their standard as the official one. Sony wanted to start alliances and proposed JVC, not aware that they were about to launch their own standard. Logically, JVC declined the offer. Philips’s V2000 declined first in the market, thus leaving the floor to Sony and JVC.

Though the Betamax was technically speaking a better product, people were not aware of this aspect and not necessarily seeking this. Sony was late in some crucial alliances and communication. During a moment, both standards lived together. But, Sony finally made a wrong move by having shorter tapes. The VHS tapes were weaker in quality of the tape but enabled a longer recording period. It seems to be this difference that helped JVC win the game.

Today’s situation – the lessons from the past

In today’s situation, both players have technical products that differ but have equal advantages. In the same time, both have signed major strategic alliances:

Technology: As mentioned, both products have a very good technical standard. Sony’s Blu-Ray is a leap forward in technology with high storage, super copyright protection and Java menu software [1]. Toshiba’s HD-DVD is rather an evolution, but this makes the product cheaper in production, whilst providing high quality images.

Alliances: Sony convinced FOX and Disney studios, as well as their own of course. Dell has also promised to use this standard for their PC’s. On the other hand, Toshiba says it has a partnership with Microsoft and Intel. Even Universal is to be said to have joined the HD-DVD clan.

Use: On the same side we see the use of the computer games: Xbox vs PlayStation, where both parties implement their standard. Voices say that Microsoft, in their war for the position of the Xbox, may also make theirs compatible to the Blu-Ray.

Lobbying: In the market for the DVD, no one wants to have to cope with 2 standards – having good memories of the Video cassette war. Currently, both are still in the preparation phase with commercial launching scheduled for spring 2006. Those who want to have good copyrights or those who prefer cheaper production cannot be together. As stated in an article from the magazine Fortune, ed. december 12, 2005, it is important to see what other big players will do such like HP and Apple, as well as what decisions might be taken for compatibility by Universal and Microsoft.

The Outcome?

The DVD market has grown very quickly in 2005, maybe consumers will want to have cheaper DVD’s, in which case the HD-DVD will win. But on the other hand, with the increase in copyright violation, the Blu-Ray will win points too. What will be the verdict? A special DVD-Forum is said to be created as to facilitate the outcome …. but this doesn’t withstand that everyone must first choose its camp.

And what if there is no "quick" outcome? As mentioned on the website www.consortiuminfo.org If that happens, according to Mr. Lieberfarb, the developer of the original DVD format, "everyone is a loser, particularly Hollywood studios, the retailer community and, most importantly, the consumer."

What counts in a marketing war?

  • It is not the technology that wins it in the end, even a product that is less performing in the end can win the battle.
  • Strategic alliances and lobbying are very important to position yourself.
  • Your product needs to be available: if your customer sees it everywhere he will think in the end that it must be the best.
  • Communication on the product must be done: the common public will not always read the technology papers and must be confronted with your products. Word-of-mouth is important. See also to point above.
  • It is not always the bigger player that wins, you can be small and play smart: sell the features that interests the customer.

[1Fortune, Europe ed. Dec 12, 2005

« DVD marketing war: Sony’s Blu-Ray against Toshiba’s HD-DVD » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 22 December 2005 on Marketing Planet.

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Thu, 22 Dec 2005 21:31:38 +0100 Leadership Competition Product http://marketing-planet.com/studies/dvd-marketing-war-sony-s-blu-ray-against-toshiba-s-hd-dvd.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/studies/dvd-marketing-war-sony-s-blu-ray-against-toshiba-s-hd-dvd.html#comments
[Surveys] Nation Brand Index - what brand image does your country have? http://marketing-planet.com/surveys/nation-brand-index-what-brand-image-does-your-country-have.html

What’s your country’s branding?

When speaking about marketing, we all know that branding and positioning are important elements. However, who did think about bringing this into the spheres of geopolitics? Well Simon Anholt did so since beginning 2005 when he launched a completely new topic: the Nation Brands Index.

This index ranks various countries and the image the have upon others in the world. How about explaining the fact that some prefer German cars, Italian design, or French cooking? According to Simon Anholt and the company GMI, together Anholt-GMI, these nation brands are far more important than a Nike or Nestlé. It is their vision that with globalisation, "countries compete with each other for the attention, respect and trust of investors, tourists, consumers, donors, immigrants, the media and the governments of other nations." It is thus clear that as a country’s government or organisation it is important to know where you stand.

How do you define the branding of a country?

The Anholt-GMI Nation Brand Index is based upon people’s perception of a country by means of 6 different areas. These areas are:

  • Tourism
  • Exports
  • Governance
  • People
  • Culture and heritage
  • Investment and immigration

Each country will be ranked on these 6 areas and the result is indicated by a hexagon. The country with the highest overall score will become the country with the best branding. But beside the world’s number 1, there is also a winner for each area.

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Anholt Hexagon

The first Nation Brand Index was edited in Q1 2005 with a limited number of countries. In the edition of Q2, this number already rose to 25 and gradually increased during the rest of the year.

The Q3 Edition: even more innovations

Recently the Q3 edition of the Nation Brand Index was edited and showed a new approach. This time it where the inhabitants of a country that ranked the other countries. Some of the major results were that for tourism most inhabitants preferred their own country. The main exceptions on this were the Dutch and the Polish. The Dutch, often prefer to go the South of Europe for their holidays, and place their country only on an 8th place. It is indeed rather Dutch to "poorly" appreciate their local aspects.

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Cover of the NBI Q3-2005

This Q3 report can be downloaded for free - after a simple and free registration. To have a look at the report, simply tick on the link: Report Q3 2005 Anholt-GMI Nation Brand Index. (Link for the NBI-Q2 edition The Q4 edition promises some more features that may interest many.

But who are Simon Anholt and GMI?

It may sound strange to you that this Nation Brand Index is for free available; there are today very few philanthropists. But the occupation that brings in the real money for Mr Anholt and GMI is probably not the Brand Index. Let’s have a look who’s behind this all:

  • Simon Anholt has had a large international experience with Proctor a Gamble, notably in market research. On his own website Earthspeak.com it says that he’s "regarded as one of the world’s leading specialists in creating brand strategies for countries, cities and regions". Further on, his biography states that "Simon Anholt advises governments, ministries, civil services and NGOs on the branding aspects of public diplomacy, economic development, public affairs, cultural relations and trade, tourism and export promotion."
  • GMI, founded in 1999, provides e-Business solutions for global market research offering a range of software applications and database services which enable MR firms to conduct global research, either on an ASP basis or via stand-alone Enterprise systems. Accordingly, Net-MR, GMI’s main software product, integrates panel management, project management, mixed-mode data collection, data processing, analysis and reporting into a single solution, enabling their clients to more efficiently conduct market research.

Well, you can combine the two and you will end up with the Anholt-GMI Brand Index family.

And now also: the City Brand Index

The Olympic Games for 2012 have already been appointed to London, but if the City Brand Index would have existed before, maybe this could have saved Paris from their defeat. For yes, Anholt-GMI have recently also launched the City Brand Index. What city - out of currently 30 in the world - is the most attractive? The website on the City Brand Index reveals the secrets.

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Anholt-GMI_city brand index

The principle of this index is the same as for the countries. Especially for tourism this index may be very interesting. Not only government organisations but also the tourist offices can find their interest in positioning their city among the others. Knowing with what cities you have to compete for weekend tourists is very important. Here the rules of marketing apply without any difference from any other products. The first report can be found here: citybrandindex.com/downloads

Its clear that this reports are condensed ones. More specific reports are available - not free - and can reply to special needs such as:

  • Compare their city’s image against their regional competitors
  • Identify which cities are their real competitors
  • Create more understanding and collaboration between stakeholders and sectors by showing them how they all can contribute to their city’s brand
  • Show potential investors which overseas markets are likely to favour their city’s exports
  • Track progress in city’s image enhancement
  • Create pride in their city’s international profile
  • Target investment promotion more efficiently and effectively

To find some more information about this new Brand Index, you can have a look at their press releases.

What will the future bring?

With the development of these brand indexes, we are likely to expect some more innovations from Simon Anholt and GMI. With Anholt’s link to government organisations, maybe we can even expect a brand index regarding organisations or associations (like Red Cross, Unesco etc...)

« Nation Brand Index - what brand image does your country have? » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 22 December 2005 on Marketing Planet.

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Thu, 22 Dec 2005 09:23:19 +0100 Branding Competition Countries http://marketing-planet.com/surveys/nation-brand-index-what-brand-image-does-your-country-have.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/surveys/nation-brand-index-what-brand-image-does-your-country-have.html#comments
[Studies] Market Research… or the search for a market! http://marketing-planet.com/studies/market-research-or-the-search-for-a-market.html

This is the first of a series of articles about ImFusio’s creation from a marketing point of view. More about this series:.

Their previous article of this chronicle: Finding your business idea


So we had it! Our own business idea. We were going to manage Japanese tourists, and help them make the most of their stay with a comfortable furnished apartment filled in with elements from Japan and France, as a “trait-d’union†between the two cultures.

It was – so we felt – a «brilliant» and, moreover, very motivating business idea. Yet, thinking on your own is not sufficient. We had to take this idea from a constraint-free environment to a competitive one. The first step for this is Market Research: our first rendez-vous with the real thing - marketing in action!

From an «business idea» to a «business deal»

We had multiple challenges: where to start from? What were we researching? Who would be our clients? Our competitors? What was the frame of our competitive field, precisely? Where to find the necessary information? How to find it? What could we expect?

It was clear: before going any further, we needed to go back to basics – the field. All these questions needed to be organized and phased. Doing everything at once was certainly not the right solution.

We split the process in 3 steps:

  1. Benchmark and competitive review: Looking for best practices in a sector or an industry, as well as identifying and classifying key competitors. It is designed to help us frame the scale of our project, what we are facing, and adapt our ambition with a (sometimes cruel) existing market situation.
  2. Customer surveys: They are meant to give us a laboratory understanding of customer behaviours faced with our concept or product. Customer feedback helps identify main pitfalls.
  3. Analysis and conclusions for action

1 - Benchmark and competitive review

Benchmarking and looking at our competitors was not as easy as we thought initially. In this phase, we did our first – and very soft – confrontation with reality. Well, it was not so good, and dimmed a little our excitement.

Starting with a search on the Web, we quickly realized two things: first of all, we were not the only ones going for this market. And secondly, we were actually quite behind!

We concentrated the review in a limited period of 30 days, using the Internet as main source of information. We found approximately 80 companies doing something that was more or less what we wanted to do. And this number was for the Paris region only, not even the entire country! We also found about half a dozen specialized in the Japanese market, with Japanese management for all of them. The fact that a non-japanese management did not exist meant that either nobody had the guts or that they all failed!

We also quickly identified the 20% top companies dominating the market. You do not need to have figures, it shows by their offering, the staff, the services, the quality of their communication tools, etc. This identification helped us understand the standards in this market.

We also classified our competitors in sub-categories, to have a better understanding of the market’s dynamics, and try to see where we fit best. We understood that key categories were: volume-based transactions, family-runned (very) small businesses and niche-market service offerings.

By being aware of the standards, we had the ability to:

  • make sure we would provide to our clients what they expected in terms of offerings and services. You have to match with market standards
  • identify innovation holes, where we could differentiate ourselves strongly

What were the learnings of this first analysis?

  • If we could not (or did not want to) go for volume, we needed to create a very qualitative, therefore Premium priced, service.
  • We decided to continue to focus on the Japanese niche market. We also realized at that point it was necessary to open our market and go for the B2B target, especially the short-term assignments. This decision is a key finding, as it has had a tremendous impact in our evolution: it has become the cornerstone of a «revolution», in the Copernican meaning. But more on this later.
  • We found room for innovation and we realized that our idea of bringing elements of their own culture was clearly a good proposition

2 - Customer surveys

Because we identified Premium Service as the right strategy, we needed to understand what our future customers were expecting.
Thanks to personal relationships (it is key: use your network to get professional tools at a very limited price), we were able to build an on-line questionnaire, in both English and Japanese, and distribute the questionnaire to all our contact lists. We received just enough responses to analyze data, with a little over 100 completed questionnaires.

To be honest, it was quite disappointing at first, given the efforts we put into it. But then, when we looked at how we considered surveys before doing our own, it’s no surprise and quite a good score actually. What’s sure is that we now respond to questionnaires, especially those coming from entrepreneurs!

We had surprises in the results, with, for examples, some very exciting ideas receiving a negative feedback from our target. This survey helped us narrow people’s expectations, filtering our ideas to keep the most relevant.

3 - Analysis and conclusion

It took us a little over 2 month’s full time to complete this work. The end-result was more than useful:

  • It helped clarify our offering
  • It helped gather quantitative and qualitative information on our market. This info was useful when talking to people or financial institutions
  • It gave us reassurance and therefore confidence in our decisions and choices
  • And it was from this analysis that our final positioning and offering started to build up.

Another important thing we learned in this market research process is that of attitude toward quantitative survey results: this process will have an effect on your initial idea. You must adapt to the results, it has very positive benefits. This period of work is ideal to challenge your initial thoughts, to stay open and to be creative and adapt subsequently. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time doing this.

You also need to keep in mind that a survey is nothing compared to launching your idea in the real world. The small bumps that you drive onto are very limited compared to what you will face later. But if you leave these bumps as they are, they will grow and eventually become a very big wall in front of you. Anything you spot or identify during your survey is gold for your future deployment.

And finally, if you need to remember one thing from this article: the key information is not in your survey, but it is rather this little thing that bothers you when you work on your project. This thing that is not truly conscious and yet already in the back of your mind. Well, keep it, don’t let it go, work on it: it is more than probable that your project will fail or will expand thanks to it.


Doing a Market Research (of any kind) is a key step: it’s a step forward, it’s a step into reality, it’s also a key moment to modify your project accordingly, and fit with your market as best as possible.
What you’ll get from a research can be various: understanding that your idea is not economically viable, discovering that your market is too small to survive or that you should go for the big one that initially scared you a little bit, or simply finalizing your business plan.

But overall, doing a market research is the moment when you go from idea to project, and that is a big milestone in your business development process.


  • Persevere: it takes time, it is sometimes repetitive and not exciting to benchmark competitors, but the reward is worth it.
  • Give yourself a deadline: you could spend a year looking for information and never complete your survey
  • Be curious, and «waste» time going to new directions, different fields of competition. It is helpful to broaden your perspectives in the beginning; you will always have time to narrow them.
  • Objectivity is the last and most important tip: you have to look at competitors without judgement, looking for what they do best. If you find your exact idea in one competitor’s, don’t close your eyes and use it: call them, test them, become a client, search more. You have a terrific field of investigation to find best practices and innovations.

Web sites and references

  • All our thanks (again) to Tequila Japan, who helped us run our on-line survey, using their technology: TEQUILA\ASK. You can find more details on the website of Tequila Japan.
  • French speaking readers can go to Creatests.com. They provide survey support for entrepreneurs.
  • Do not hesitate to contact Business Schools: you can find students ready to run a survey with or for you, for limited costs
  • Use Google smartly: you can register for free to «google alerts», and receive daily or weekly new sites mentioning the words you have selected.

The next article to this chronicle on ImFusio can be found right here: Entrepreneurship vs. employment: a genuine difference

« Market Research… or the search for a market! » has been published by Nathalie Nowak, Yael Guillon on 7 December 2005 on Marketing Planet.

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Wed, 07 Dec 2005 18:51:47 +0100 Positioning Competition Research http://marketing-planet.com/studies/market-research-or-the-search-for-a-market.html Nathalie Nowak, Yael Guillon text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/studies/market-research-or-the-search-for-a-market.html#comments
[Interviews] Promotional products: ambassadors in your customers' environment http://marketing-planet.com/interviews/promotional-products-ambassadors-in-your-customers-environment.html

In this interview, Stéphane Jousset from Pamina, explains to Marketing Planet readers how to make best use of promotional products: turn them into ambassadors of your company. Between Asian products, luxury, delays, budget and the services of an agency, it will all be unveiled to you.

Marketing Planet: As an introduction to this market, can you explain since when companies use promotional items and what evolutions have taken place?

Stéphane Jousset: Like promotion and publicity has always been part of the stock of marketing possibilities, promotional itmes have also been part of the ways companies use to differentiate from competition. Remember in France the “Bonux Cadeau†or the “Pif gadget†.

Regarding its evolution, we can notice two directions. The market reduces as a result of the restrictions of budget from the advertising companies due to crises and cost limitation and also because of the whole sellers that want to sell directly to the advertisers. This reduction of budget and intermediaries can be risky for the market in total. On the other hand the market gets more dynamic with important events: the year 2000, the introduction of the Euro (who doesn’t have a Euro converter), the Olympic Games, and World Foot Cup etc. These different cycles of events are important for the market and keep everyone active.

MP: What is the difference between a promotional item and a business present?

SJ: Generally speaking, the promotional item is of little value, almost systematically marked with the company brand (company logo, slogan, website etc.) On the contrary, the business present, more expensive, is moreover offered like a general present and not to spoil its value with the company branding or any publicity message. This is notably the case with real value branded objects: who would like to have a nice Waterman pen inlaid with the brand “La Vache qui rit†[1]?

MP: What are the trends in promotional items and what products are the “best salesâ€

SJ: There are the items that seem not sensible to trends and still highfliers like the T-shirts and pens. Nevertheless we do notice a clear trend in all types of Hi-Tech products. Advertisers are more and more interested in these types of products such like accessories to mobile phones, USB sticks etc. The products that are mostly used for promotional items are the pens, textile and key hangers. But all depends on the market activity and the segment of population that is aimed as well as the available budget.

MP: Where are most of the products being produced?

SJ: Most of the products are nowadays produced in Asia, and moreover in China. This is especially valid for all the electronical products (calculator, radios, watches, etc). For these products the European manufacturers have stopped production since some time already. Nowadays European production is mostly limited to certain areas like pens, leather-tanning products, art de table and luxury products.

MP: Are there reasons to be afraid of products from Asia, in terms of quality, or are some precautions to be taken?

SJ: Normally there is no reason to avoid Asian products and there is no real alternative. Avoiding Asian products reduces thus the choice as we have just seen. Besides, the times where all Chinese producers offered bad quality is now far behind. Precautions that can be taken are to work with professionals of this market who know what they are doing. It is their role to guide and advice you but also to validate the quality for you. This is a real job that cannot be done just like that; it has its rules, procedures and also its risks. The part of the intermediary is precisely to manage this risk on behalf of the advertiser.

MP: How can you know if you pay a price too expensive and if you buy a product of quality?

SJ: There is no mystery, regarding the quality of any promotional items it’s just like everything else, there is a market price. If on 5 sales propositions (for an identical or similar product) one of the prices is clearly lower it will most probably be due to a lack of quality. The reseller puts pressure on the manufacturer as to obtain a competitive price ahead of all competition. But, since the manufacturer will have to be profitable he has to obtain his margin from somewhere and probably cuts down on labour or material. For example, the USB sticks reflect a price difference that is often linked to difference in quality regarding the chip that has been used: certain use quality branded chips whereas other don’t, the price is the result. In the same way we can still see the difference from a pen “made in China†and a pen “made in Europe†.

MP: How much time should one schedule –in the best case- in order to have the promotional item in time?

SJ: For an importation to Europe from Asia one should count with 10 to 12 weeks, out of which there are 3 to 4 weeks for the boat. When the product comes directly from Europe, and there is a stock, count between 3 and 4 weeks. If there is no requirement for the branding, than it takes far less, only about 1 week, if the product is available of course and if the product can be delivered without any other operation (like printing etc).

MP: When is it better to prefer working with an intermediary (an agency) and when not?

SJ: Working with an agency enables often to be more creative: the agency is used to work with short delays in the various part of the value chain and business activities. The agency can also propose you suggestions and original ideas and has a better view of what is currently “in fashion†or the latest trend and where to find it. On the other hand, if you need to order T-shirts or pens, there is no reason to use an agency and you can as well contact directly the distributor. Working with an agency is justified when there is a need for a added value, a reflection more profound on the brief.

MP: How can the advertiser facilitate the relation with the agency and benefit a maximum of the services?

SJ: The most important in the relation with the agency is the quality of the brief from the advertiser: target, message to be communicated, budget, delay, imperatives of the marking (communication guidelines). The better the agency will be informed, the better they can carry out the work. The agency for promotional items is not a substitute for the advertiser to define its message, target and budget.

MP: How can one detect the quality and make the right choice for the budget?

SJ: Before passing your order it is of importance to see a sample of the proposed product. Before launching the production it is imperative to validate the «Go / No Go decision».

MP: What advice can you give us for the «End of the year» presents?

SJ: It all depends once more of the segment, the target. If the target is large, best would be to choice a more general item, that will be largely accepted and appreciated by as many as possible (wine accessories, an fine branded pen, etc.). If on the contrary you aim a smaller target, and a more homogeneous target, you can find a more suitable and precise present (ex. An indoor golf set, some fine cigars etc).

About Pamina

Pamina was created in 1991 and is part of the international group Eurimage – number 1 in Europe promotional products. It is the unique French member of this network and benefits of the advantages of Eurimage’s network and services. Since their existence, Pamina has managed to develop into a full added-value agency for promotional products, managing all elements of this market with high reactivity and the capacity to reply to on-demand creations. Their catalogue, printed in 20.000ex., is edited twice a year. To contact Pamina, Stéphane Jousset: (+33) 1 47 03 64 46.


[1Note of translation: this is French brand of little cubes of cheese used often during the aperitif

« Promotional products: ambassadors in your customers’ environment » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 15 September 2005 on Marketing Planet.

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Thu, 15 Sep 2005 19:52:55 +0100 Advertising Promotion External support http://marketing-planet.com/interviews/promotional-products-ambassadors-in-your-customers-environment.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/interviews/promotional-products-ambassadors-in-your-customers-environment.html#comments
[Studies] Disney opens itself to cultural differences and adapts its latest park to the local culture http://marketing-planet.com/studies/disney-opens-itself-to-cultural-differences-and-adapts-its-latest-park-to-the-local-culture.html

On September 12th, the Disney Company has widened their «magical empire» towards China, by opening a new theme park in Hong Kong’s suburbs. More than 10 years after Disney opened its European park near Paris, “Euro Disney†, in the full American style, Disney, this time tried its best to incorporate local culture. The time since «Go West» seems to have cleared a path for «Go East».

Eurodisney: the American Way

In fact, different experiences have shown the importance of some adaptation to local tastes and culture. For instance, when the European park opened in 1992 in France, restaurants weren’t serving wine. This has been a huge misunderstanding on French culture and has lead to quite some discussions.
Yet, in many respects, the new park in China looks as older ones from America. In fact the classic Disney thoroughfare of 50 years ago has been re-created for everyone’s pleasure. Nevertheless, hamburgers have been substituted by noodles and there is only one fast-food restaurant for seven Chinese ones. Also, the “American standard toilet†has been replaced by a more local type of toilet, considered more suitable.

Disney and Feng Shu

To avoid any other cultural problems, Disney even contacted a Feng Shu master who helped the company to create a specific environment that answers to the Chinese “way of living. As a result, the Feng Shu master has not only decided of the opening date (a specific favourable date), but also advised them to reposition cask registers, to change the aisle to help the vital energy’s (chi) good circulation, and to adjust the number of hotels floors in order to close all second - and fifth floors to public. According to the Feng Shu, the number “2†represents illness, and “5†misfortune.

Even Disney’s stars will undergo some major modifications: Mickey will have a red and gold Chinese suit to wear, and Mulan will have her own pavilion designed like a Chinese temple. Other details such as the building of a fountain and reducing the numbers of clocks in the park have been taken into consideration as to enhance the park’s success.

The American way revisited

Seeing these adaptations, Disney seems to have learned that they can’t simply impose the American culture on another continent. However, some say that they might have taken this policy of cultural adaptation a little too far with the intention to serve shark soup at banquet, something that the environmentalists didn’t appreciate.

Having created this all “new brand world†Disney hopes to satisfy their Chinese clients, even if spitting in the park remains prohibited. The stakes for Disney in succeeding in China are huge. Besides the big population who is not yet a “Disney customer†and who represents a big market for their accessories and DVD’s, Disney also need to succeed the park. Euro Disney is since quite some time under discussion for the profitability and the general management of Disney seems rather in search of stability.

The question that still lies open is to know whether Mickey mouse will soon have slanting eyes. [1]

Financial highlights on Disney

T/O on 2004 went up with about 13% to 30.752 Million Dollars (2003: 27.061 M$). The park revenues seem to represent 7.750M$ and the sales of consumer products 2.511. The main part still comes from the Media Networks: 11.778M$ (2003: 10.941M$).


[1Sources for this article: “yahoo insolite†, and “ASIA Time magazineâ€

« Disney opens itself to cultural differences and adapts its latest park to the local culture » has been published by Caroline Goutard on 15 September 2005 on Marketing Planet.

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Thu, 15 Sep 2005 18:41:22 +0100 Culture Countries International marketing http://marketing-planet.com/studies/disney-opens-itself-to-cultural-differences-and-adapts-its-latest-park-to-the-local-culture.html Caroline Goutard text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/studies/disney-opens-itself-to-cultural-differences-and-adapts-its-latest-park-to-the-local-culture.html#comments
[News] The AMA - 26th Annual Marketing Research Conference http://marketing-planet.com/news/the-ama-26th-annual-marketing-research-conference.html

The American Marketing Association, AMA organises its 26th Marketing Research Conference. This year’s conference will take place from September 25 to September 28, in Boston.

Information to Action - Power of Research

The theme of this year’s conference will be «Information to Action: The Power of Research». As is stated in the welcome word of Joan Treistman, Committee Chair: "This conference will focus on value by looking at it from upper management’s point of view – in other words, what do they want from us? You will see that we have to address marketing research in a different way today, versus the research of yesterday because marketing has undergone many changes."

We can indeed notice that there are discrepancies between the "famous marketing methods" and today’s expectations expressed by the CEO. One of the marketing challenges lies therefore in the capability of marketing managers to include more research in their tasks. How to combine operational - short term activities - and longer term, more academic, research activities. Some companies already manage to do well, but some not.

What the conference will offer

"Powerful research strategies drive today’s most effective marketing decisions. What lessons do they offer? What new models can help you turn information into action? And how can you demonstrate the value of your role?"

The AMA flyer proposes to "Explore the idea of "What? So what? Now what?" at the world’s leading forum for marketing researchers. You’ll come away with practical tools, valuable contacts and renewed enthusiasm for your work."

Various company cases will be presented and the agenda lists a variety of speakers. You will find amongst others Google, Unilever, US Army, TNS, IPSOS, E-Bay, GE Finance and Hewlitt Packard. There will also be the 2005 EXPLOR Award (note: The EXPLOR Awards annually showcase advancements in research, honoring client companies demonstrating the most innovative applications of technology). Of course, the Conference will also propose an exhibition part where marketing research companies can be found (A list of companies present on the exhibition can be found online).

What you’ll learn

  • New trends in marketing research
  • Best-practice solutions across multiple industries
  • The latest online research tools and tactics
  • Techniques for demonstrating ROI
  • How research builds brand equity
  • Modelling that gets results
  • Keys to measuring value [1]

Who should attend

  • Mid- to upper-level marketing research executives wanting to network, enhance their strategies and influence future trends.
  • Newer marketing researchers looking for resources, knowledge and contacts in the field [2].

For more information or to register

  • Visit www.MarketingPower.com/research
  • Recall on the date: September 25-28, 2005
  • Place: Boston, MA - Marriott Copley Place
  • Price: between 745$ (for members) and 1.020$ (for non-members). Additional 100$ will be charged for registration after August 26th.
  • The AMA holds various events, have a look at the general page on their events: www.marketingpower.com/aevents.php

[1list according to their e-flyer

[2as listed in their documentation

« The AMA - 26th Annual Marketing Research Conference » has been published by Jacqueline Oud on 22 August 2005 on Marketing Planet.

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Mon, 22 Aug 2005 16:29:10 +0100 Strategy Leadership Research http://marketing-planet.com/news/the-ama-26th-annual-marketing-research-conference.html Jacqueline Oud text/html en http://marketing-planet.com/news/the-ama-26th-annual-marketing-research-conference.html#comments