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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Coca-Cola Wraps Largest Social-Media Project Ever

Global Program with Local Activation, 'Expedition 206,' Comes to Close

Coke Expedition

On Jan. 1, 2010, armed with laptops, video cameras, smartphones and plenty of other gadgetry, the three 20-somethings set off to visit 206 countries and territories where Coca-Cola is sold in order to document for the masses their search for happiness. They arrived back in Atlanta at the World of Coca-Cola Dec. 29, 2010, just before the dawn of the New Year. Their journey, tracked at Expedition206.com, as well as through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, has racked up 650 million media impressions around the globe and engaged billions of people.

In China, for example, instant-messaging service QQ received a billion visits related to Expedition 206, said Anne Carelli, senior communications manager-digital communications at Coca-Cola. Ten billion virtual stamps, created by the ambassadors in each country using Haibao, the mascot for the 2010 World Expo, were also traded through QQ.
"We have been extremely pleased with the success it's had in the different markets," Ms. Carelli said, noting that the program created more visibility for the brand in key markets like China. "It's really provided a platform for the different markets to activate as they see fit."

The program -- conceptualized as a global effort that would be coordinated by a team in Atlanta but actively managed by individual markets -- forced many local markets into the digital and social-media space for the first time. It also required increased collaboration among the communications, public relations and marketing teams, something Ms. Carelli says will be instructive for future programs. And it furthered Coca-Cola's goal of creating global programs that are locally relevant.

"It was intriguing how each market went about it in their own special way," said Tony Martin, one of the ambassadors. "We never knew what to expect. In some places we'd go eat with a family. Then, in the next place we'd hang out with a local, legendary surfer. Or we'd show up at an airport and there would be these local traditions."

The group also made appearances at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Canada, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the Shanghai 2010 World Expo in China.

The campaign bolstered Coke's Facebook presences in markets like New Zealand, and in other countries -- such as Argentina, Ukraine and Uruguay -- local teams connected with influential bloggers as a means of promoting the program. Still, there were areas where the program didn't take off. On Twitter, the main handle boasts only about 1,800 followers. Coca-Cola execs stressed that the measure of success was based more on local-level engagement, pointing out that the Dominican Republic and other countries started their own Twitter handles specifically to document the visit.

"We made the conscious decision at the beginning that this was a local activation," Ms. Carelli said. "Equally as important were the relationships formed with influential bloggers and communities. We tapped into [areas] where we might not have had as strong of a presence previously. ... It pushed a lot of markets to start [new] relationships."
The ambassadors also arrived with built in fan bases, having competed for the opportunity to be part of the program. Coca-Cola reached out to the likes of Lonely Planet, as well as its own agencies, including Ignition, an experiential marketing firm, and WWWINS, its digital agency in China, asking for recommendations. It received about 60 candidates that it then narrowed down to 18 individuals who were brought to Atlanta for interviews. From here, nine candidates, three groups of three, were ultimately tasked with promoting themselves to consumers, who determined the winners in an online vote.

Ms. Carelli said the program has exceeded expectations. Just the fact that the year-long trip was completed with the same three ambassadors, Mr. Martin, Kelly Ferris and Antonio Santiago, is an accomplishment, she joked. But that doesn't mean there weren't snafus along the way.

The trio made it to just 186 countries, not the 206 the company had planned on. Part of that was due to security concerns in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. And part was due to logistics. Each ambassador required about 85 Visas and numerous passports, which caused the group to miss some countries. Mother Nature was also a challenge. 

An August trip to Bermuda was rescheduled for December, thanks to a hurricane. And Christmas was spent in Ireland when snow stranded the ambassadors last week. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tapping the Buying Power of Indonesia’s Young Professionals

December 22, 2010
As with other developing countries, Indonesia’s economy is strong, and that development has propelled a growing middle class eager to spend.  In Indonesia, retailers and manufacturers should focus their attention on the nation’s young, married, urban-dwelling professionals, according to Yudi Suryanata, Executive Director, Consumer Research, Nielsen Indonesia, who spoke at the company’s Marketing & Media Presentation in Jakarta earlier this month.

“Yuppie couples are educated, well-employed and represent the next generation of Indonesia’s affluent consumers,” said Suryanata.  “But retailers and consumer products manufacturers need to know how to specifically appeal to them if they want a greater share of their Rupiah.”

So what exactly makes a “yuppie couple?” They are young – below 30 – and have university or higher education.  
They reside in an apartment or a middle-up housing complex located in the city or suburbs.  They work as professionals, typically at the managerial level, in fields such as banking and finance, energy, consulting or marketing, and are focused on their careers.

They live by the motto “work hard, play hard,” and like to socialize with colleagues in cafes, restaurants, bars or at mall.  They also like to reward themselves with expensive fashion brands or with trendy electronic gadgets as a way to compensate themselves for their hard work, their career achievement and their busy life.

In short, yuppie couples believe hard work to be personally meaningful, emotionally satisfying, and a vehicle for self-expression. Nicknamed “DINKs” (Dual Incomes, No Kids) in the West, yuppie couples have postponed having children for the sake of their careers, and have discretionary income which they can use for future investment.

The role of women is important within yuppie couples: the female spouse has the right to express her opinion and her own preferences. In the long run each spouse will develop a mutual taste since they influence each other.

The following facts illustrate the economic power of the yuppie couple:
  • 19 percent read newspapers and 67 percent access news online.
  • 15 percent traveled overseas in the past two years and most go to Bali at least once every two years for vacation.
  • Visit a mall twice a week and spend an average of Rp. 120,000 for food during their visit.
  • 88 percent own microwaves.
  • 100 percent own refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines.
  • 63 percent own cars, with penetration even higher among those living in suburbia.
  • 100 percent cellular phone penetration, with 50 percent using more than one handset; monthly spending for each phone averages Rp. 127,000.
  • 84 percent own a PC.
“When deciding what to buy, yuppie couples place the greatest importance on the quality of the product, recommendations of friends, online reviews, as well as influencing each other,” noted Suryanata.
Various Nielsen studies have yielded critical insight in how to market to this segment:
  1. Quality is paramount
    Yuppie consumers appreciate hard-work and they have a high expectation on quality of a product or a service. However, the real challenge is their sensitivity to the image of a product or a service. If a product or service fails to deliver or perform well, the yuppie couple will never use those products or services again – and they do not hesitate to let their friends, colleagues and family know about their disappointing experiences.
  2. Willing to pay a bit extra for convenience
    Yuppie couples tend to value their time since they have a busy lifestyle.  As a result, they are willing to pay a bit extra for conveniences such as valet parking services, online reservations and special VIP counters at a service center, to name a few examples.
  3. Are modern and liberal
    Yuppie Couples are not conservative. They like the concept of a modern family where each spouse still has privacy for “Me Time” where he or she can do his or her hobbies, activities or vacation with friends or colleagues without the presence of their spouse. However, they are expected to conduct their “Me Time” responsibly.
  4. Like brands with “his & her” designs
    They love to be seen as a perfect couple and sometimes have a need to convey this message to the world.  One way they can do this is by wearing a matching fashion items.  Or they use gadgets from one brand only with a different color and design (his & her design).
  5. Online marketing is effective in reaching them
    They have such a desire to succeed, hence spend much of their life at work which often requires a lot of time online and exposure to advertising there.
  6. They are business savvy, and require credible, convincing communications
    Communicate your product or service message with realistic explanations. Do not over promise and under deliver.  Establish a professional customer service center that is tactful and focused on problem solving. Give consumers the freedom to decide and choose. Listen and understand them, but don’t teach them.
  7. They stay atop contemporary trends
    Stay tuned to the latest trends such as healthy living, organic food, generosity, dynamic discounts, exotic destinations, smartphones, and the concept of sharing and staying connected.
“The yuppie couple is in many ways the consumer product industry’s ideal customer.  They have discretionary income to spend, and they are eager to do so.  But they are discerning consumers, and marketers need to know precisely how to reach them.  These seven principles provide a solid framework around which marketing campaigns towards yuppie couples can succeed,” concluded Suryanata.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Winning the Hearts of Indonesian Consumers

April 7, 2011
Catherine Eddy, Managing Director, Nielsen Indonesia
Indonesian consumers have proven themselves to be optimists. Throughout the economic turbulence that started in 2008, Indonesians remained confident and positive about the country’s economic outlook according to Nielsen’s Consumer Confidence Index. Even among businesses, despite the hard times in 2009, the majority (52%) said that year on year conditions had improved, according to the Nielsen Business Barometer.

Indonesia’s economy is growing, with GDP at 6.1 percent in 2010 with consumption contributing 2.7 percent, according to Indonesia’s Bureau of Statistics. Businesses expect conditions to further improve over the next one to two years, and FMCG companies are even more positive than average. This confidence can be attributed to their experience that Indonesian consumers tend to shop their way out of everything!

In the midst of the global financial crisis in 2008, consumer spending in Indonesia flourished, almost seemingly as if the word “crisis” was not a part of the vocabulary in the country. Sales of FMCG products increased 21 percent in 2008, car sales were up 39 percent and cellphone penetration reached 48 percent in Indonesia’s big cities. 

Consumers spent even more in 2010, with sales of FMCG products rising 12 percent from 2009 levels and car sales blazing a trail with a whopping 58 percent increase. Businesses took a cue from that optimism and spent 29 percent more on advertising in 2010, marking the highest growth in five years.

All is not picture-perfect, however. Even as consumers continued to spend, they are not spending the same way. As the crisis hit and economic conditions deteriorated, they became more budget conscious and showed a high propensity to save on spending related to basic needs so that they could allocate the savings to satisfy their lifestyle purchases.

Businesses were quick to respond, wooing consumers with many new innovative offerings such as downsized products, cheaper and more flexible telecommunication tariffs and low-cost airfares. An example: for just Rp. 10,000 (around US$1), a consumer could purchase fresh coffee from 7-Eleven, buy a ticket to Kuala Lumpur or even do a “top-up” for two-days’ worth of unlimited BlackBerry service.

The new era

With per capita GDP set to hit US$ 3,000, Indonesians’ buying behavior is very likely to change as a result, as consumers adjust to more affluence and spending power and look at options to satisfy their increasingly sophisticated lifestyle needs. There are three emerging trends worth looking at that will help businesses fine-tune the way they engage their consumers.
  • Time poor, cash rich
    With the worsening traffic in Indonesia’s big cities, we saw a defined emergence of “time poor, cash rich” consumers: those who are hard-pressed for time and want to do as many things as possible in the shortest period of time. These consumers are mostly from the middle to upper classes, working in the heart of the big cities but living in the suburbs. They are value conscious: they are willing to pay more for higher quality ingredients – even during downtimes – if they can see the value of the products in their lives. Private label products are unlikely to attract them.
    As a group of consumers with high purchasing power but little time, businesses have a good incentive to make their products and services more convenient and within easy reach of these consumers.
  • Increasingly more connected
    The growth of Internet penetration in the country has been phenomenal. In 2005, Internet penetration in Indonesia’s nine largest cities was only 8 percent; today, penetration has tripled in these big cities, making it the only media that saw growth in the last six years.
    Just two years ago, a tiny three percent of consumers surveyed by Nielsen had made an online purchase in the past six months. Now, 80 percent say they will buy something online in the next six months. Although it is below the average of the Asia Pacific region, Indonesian consumers have a very high propensity toward online shopping – perhaps higher than many would have expected.
    The telecommunications industry in Indonesia is aggressively adding more consumers to their networks, as evidenced by the 58 percent increase in advertising spend in 2010 as measured by Nielsen. Mobile penetration in Indonesia has also tripled over the past five years, aided by the kaleidoscope of offerings.
    The rapid upward trend of Internet and mobile penetration will result in another new phenomenon in the country: real time information will become the “oxygen” for consumers as they interact and share information, via social networking and other sites.
    Consumers increasingly expect to be able to interact with companies in cyberspace or via mobile channels. Companies who offer consumers the ease of “shopping at your finger-tips” or receiving promotional offers via these new communications channels stand to win, and the time for companies to offer these options is “soon,” if not “now.”
  • Family time matters
    Indonesians have strong family values and like to spend time together. One popular way for parents to spend time with their children is by shopping. Increasingly, modern retail formats are adding a recreational solution for families by providing one-stop shopping-and-entertainment centers with restaurants, arcades and cinemas in addition to the usual stores. And with many creative and attractive in-store promotions, consumers are engaging in retail therapy more frequently. One sign of this trend is that sales of consumer goods have doubled since 2006. But don’t count out the traditional retail establishments yet. They continue to play an important role in the retail scene, with 80 percent of Indonesian consumer spending allocated to this channel.
In conclusion, a new era is coming soon, if it’s not already here. It offers FMCG manufacturers and retailers an immense opportunity to engage the “new” Indonesian consumer in new, “fresh” ways. Key to winning the hearts of these consumers is a complete review of how and where consumers want information and offerings presented to them, what unmet needs they have and what digital conversations they are having in the online space. Product and channel innovation will need to start with these key considerations.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Consumer Buying Habits Change as Indonesia Welcomes a New Era

April 21, 2011
Venu Madhav, Executive Director of Client Leadership, Nielsen Indonesia
It’s a new era in Indonesia: global capital markets have recovered significantly since the financial crisis of 2008, and in 2010 the GDP grew 6.1 percent and GDP per capita hit US$3,000, according to the IMF World Fact Book. If the experiences of China and South Korea are any indication, that income level marks the start of accelerated growth, with strong demand across a range of commercial sectors such as automotive, health, insurance and travel. Manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) can also expect to experience stronger growth this year; a new retail audit conducted by The Nielsen Company found that industry to be growing at twice the pace of the economy in 2010.

As consumers saw economic conditions improve, they tended to adjust their purchasing habits, increasing their willingness to spend money or becoming more adventurous by buying in categories they had never before considered. Some consumers used products more frequently or “traded up” to more premium versions of products they use.

Upper class consumers seek premium products
Consuming “regular” products is no longer enough for upper-class shoppers, and they are now seeking products that provide them with greater benefit and added value. Nielsen’s home panel reported that household spending for health and lifestyle categories has increased since 2009. As time is also a concern for these consumers, products that provide them with convenience will see growth.

Nielsen observed three categories that experienced growth by answering the needs of the upper class: lifestyle, health and convenience.
  1. Hair conditioners: By offering convenience with their leave-on product, manufacturers of hair conditioners saw value sales grow 68 percent in 2010. The “Leave On” variant offers practicality, though the price is more than twice of regular hair conditioner.
  2. Liquid Milk: Sales grew 18 percent, with brands promoting health-related benefits such as low/non-fat, added calcium, probiotic qualities and kids nutrition.
  3. Toothpaste: Although it is already purchased by nearly all households in Indonesia, the sales value for this category still recorded 10 percent growth, driven mainly by medicated segments which grew 17 percent in 2010. The new variants promise stronger teeth, sensitivity reduction, calcium, anti-bacterial, natural and herbal.
Middle and lower class consumers buy products that are considered premium
As the upper class is seeking more benefits, the middle and lower class consumers are starting to buy products that they used to consider premium. Nielsen observed three categories (Cheese, Frozen Meats and Baby Diapers) that experienced increases in the number of household purchases.
  1. Smaller packages of cheese have opened to the mid-lower income segment. The category experienced 13 percent growth in sales value in 2010, with the annual sales value of smaller pack size doubling in 2010.
  2. Household spending for frozen fish/meat experienced a 23 percent increase in 2010 among the middle class and 32 percent among the lower class.
  3. Diaper single packs posted 93 percent growth in sales in 2010, with the variant providing affordability and convenience to middle-lower consumers.
The growth in these categories was also influenced by other factors, such as driving availability in more outlets and spending more in advertising to increase awareness and drive purchases. Nielsen’s retail audit found that both cheese and baby diapers have increased their availability by expanding the number of outlets in which they could be bought by 17 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Advertising spending in all six of these categories grew at rates higher than 2010 total advertising growth: Hair Conditioner (+22%), Liquid Milk (+52%), Toothpaste (+35%), Cheese (+32%), Frozen Food (+39%) and Diapers (+70%).

To grow in this new era, FMCG manufacturers need to adapt to these changes in consumer behavior by driving:
  1. Innovation, by understanding the need-gaps of upper class consumers, especially in area of convenience, health and lifestyle.
  2. Accessibility, by understanding purchase behavior of middle to lower class consumers and ensure availability of smaller pack sizes at the right price.
  3. Portfolio management, by having the right product portfolio to meet different consumer purchase motivations and providing the right level of support.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Even P&G's Fairy Dishwashing Liquid Is Part of U.K. Royal Wedding

Other Products, Like Crown Jewels Condoms and Throne Up Sickness Bags, May Be Less Welcome

Brands like Fairy Liquid are going into overdrive creating royal wedding merchandise.

The consumer goods giant already has a Royal Warrant for the Fairy Liquid brand, which is known as Dreft outside the U.K. The regular bottles carry the queen's coat of arms and the words "By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen. Manufacturers of Soap and Detergents." (The royal family lets its favorite product suppliers promote themselves as Royal Warrant holders.)

A P&G roster agency is believed to be working on a design for the royal wedding-themed packaging. P&G confirmed that the Lord Chamberlain's office had approved the move and said in a statement: "We know how much public excitement is already building and we are thrilled to have Fairy involved."

Approval was, however, unnecessary. Until Oct. 1, Prince William has temporarily relaxed the rules governing the commercial use of royal photographs and insignia, in order to allow their use on wedding memorabilia.
Manufacturers are already going into overdrive creating royal wedding merchandise. Retail analyst Verdict estimates that the wedding could bring in an extra $984 million to the U.K. economy next year, with $641 million going to retailers and $343 million from travel and tourism. An extra 300,000 visitors are expected to come to the U.K. this year -- 3% higher than in an average year.

Prince William is allowing manufacturers to produce commemorative items as long as they use approved photographs and the items are "in good taste, free from any form of advertisement and carry no implication of royal approval." T-shirts, tea towels and aprons are not considered to be in "good taste."

It is unlikely that the royal household would approve of the royal wedding condoms manufactured by a company called Crown Jewels that describes itself as "purveyors of the finest heritage prophylactics" and promise they will provide a "royal union of pleasure." 

This condom brand probably won't pass royal muster.

On a more tasteful note, London Transport is issuing a limited-edition special Oyster Card (the plastic public transit card with an embedded chip used on London subways and buses); and the Birmingham Mint has produced a limited run of 50,000 commemorative coins retailing at $8 each.

A directive from Buckingham Palace suggests the use of the phrase "To commemorate the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton, 29th April 2011" on wedding memorabilia. This is part of a drive to re-brand Kate as Catherine, pushing the more regal version of her name in preparation for when she becomes queen. (Catherine, the name of three of Henry VIII's six wives, has long been a popular royal name.)

Ms. Middleton earned the nickname "Waity Katie" by going out with William for eight years before he proposed, and Buckingham Palace is trying hard to shake off the familiarity and encourage a more dignified and respectful form of address.

Not everyone is prepared to treat the royal family with the required respect, however. Designer Lydia Leith has created Royal Wedding sickness bags in blue and red, for people who find it all too much. They are marketed under the brand name "Throne Up."

Even Fairy Liquid's tribute to the royal couple, who probably don't wash a lot of their own dishes, may be suspect.
"In the sense that it fits with Fairy's brand image of a much-loved product passed down through generations of English families, it's quite a nice idea and very fitting," said Claire Gould, who blogs at the English Wedding Blog. "But if a corporation the size of Procter & Gamble is using the gimmick to sell more product or even -- heaven forbid -- add a couple of pence onto the price to increase profits, then I think it's horrific." 


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Starbucks Talks Logo Redesign

Jan 5, 2011

It's hard to believe, but in March, Starbucks will celebrate its 40th year in business, expanding from Seattle coffeehouses to a global caffeine powerhouse with more than 16,800 stores in 50 countries and an array of new products on grocery shelves. Starbucks possesses one of retail’s most familiar brand marks, and the company will celebrate its 40th anniversary by introducing a new modification of its trademark siren logo, the inspiration for which goes back to a 16th century Norse woodcut found by Seattle graphic designer Terry Heckler. Most notable in the redesign is dropping "Starbucks Coffee" from the ring encircling the mermaid. There have also been less obvious tweaks to the visual itself—more emphasis to the top of the siren and less on the scales—but consumers may see stylistic patterns reminiscent of the tails used elsewhere in Starbucks’ graphics. Terry Davenport, Starbucks' svp, marketing, spoke to AdweekMedia about what the company’s changing visual identity reveals about the brand’s expanding business model.



AdweekMedia
: What are your marketing plans for Starbucks’ 40th anniversary?

Terry Davenport
: It’s a big year for Starbucks; we’re 40 years old and going into the new year we have big news this week as we unveil our new brand identity. Ten months ago (Starbucks’ chief executive) Howard Schultz grabbed a handful of us in his office and said, "Next March, let’s make a big idea, a big statement for our (employee) partners and our customers." That resonated among our most frequent (loyalty card) customers and we got encouraging response from them when we asked about changing the logo and about the 40th anniversary.

Q:
Tell us about the new logo.

A:
One of the unique things about Starbucks is that it has a large internal creative studio; 85 percent of the work was done in-house and then we reached out to (design and brand strategists) Lippincott for the global rollout. The logo has been about the same as in 1992 when Starbucks went public, with 165 stores. With this anniversary, we’ve created a brand identity that looks backward and forward. We separated the siren from the word ring and are keeping the wording "Starbucks Coffee" separate. It’s a nod to the future as we see our brand play in different categories both at retail and in CPG.

Q:
How big was the challenge of modifying an iconic mark, given the negative reaction consumers had with the recent redesign of another well-known logo for the Gap?

A:
Obviously with a brand with such a huge profile as Starbucks, we approach this change very sensitively. We actually explored a very wide range of options and when we stood back and looked from afar as well as looked close, we all unanimously gravitated toward the images that freed the siren from the word mark. We really took inspiration from companies like Nike where at one point they separated the word "Nike" from the "swoosh" in their logo. This allows us to bring our identity to life anytime and anywhere. You’ll see it as we apply it to our white cups that will be showing up in stores around the 40th anniversary.

Q:
You’ll be breaking new advertising from BBDO in March. Will the messaging be built around the anniversary?

A:
Clearly BBDO is a critical global partner which is very involved in the brand strategy that led to the new brand expression. We’ve worked side by side to create a comprehensive one voice/one feel to everything the brand does. While these anniversaries seem like a big thing internally, we found that our customers are not so concerned about it. So we may have a little nod to our 40th, but we’ll mostly be celebrating our partners, customers and the role of the brand going forward.

Q:
Will it incorporate new positioning, a new tagline or new creative?

A:
You’ll see some of all of that involved. A lot will look fresh by putting the new identity with it. We have a pretty unique brand offering that in conjunction with our traditional media advertising, we can leverage our leadership in social media and digital. Three to four years ago, if you were writing about us, you wouldn’t have said we were a leading brand in social media and digital, but we’re now the No. 1 brand by a lot of sources. We’ve become a leader in social media and in the digital space, and with our Starbucks Rewards program we continue to grow in how we engage with customers. We have a million registered cardholders. So we have an ongoing conversation with consumers in social media and the digital space and with our cardholders.

Q: How has the brand’s positioning changed over the past two to three years, particularly in the economic downturn?

A: The last two years have been turbulent times for any brand and particularly for retail brands. We’ve used this time to really listen to our customers and to provide them the Starbucks experience even more consistently, and we’ve used this time to look beyond the downturn and focus on becoming a growth brand. We’re a pretty unique brand. On one hand, we’re a retail (store) concept. The Starbucks experience is a big part of our brand and it has become a big brand in the consumer marketplace in retail stores and as a packaged-goods product sold in other venues. One of the things that is unique to Starbucks is our 200,000 (employee) partners worldwide. They are the face of the brand and our brand ambassadors.

Q: You’ve started a new promotion this week with $2 artisan breakfast sandwiches. What can you tell us about new menu offerings, breakfast and other dayparts?

A: We’ve moved from the holiday promotion to the next phase with discussion around our brewed coffee, including Pike Place Roast coffee, which is our consistently best-selling coffee that has been a hit since we introduced it in 2008. It reinforces the everyday values of the brand at $1.50 a cup, in contrast to the perception you can’t get anything at that price point at Starbucks. Our artisan sandwiches have been a big hit and have grown steadily since we introduced them in March 2009 and they’ve become the hero of this promotion.

Breakfast is still our most important daypart and has grown as a brand and business over the past two years. We see tremendous growth in breakfast, with espresso drinks, brewed coffee beverages, pastries and warm breakfast items. We think there is plenty share growth there for us, so we’ll continue to focus on breakfast and morning snacks in and around lunch. We’re growing a second Starbucks’ visit of the day with things like Frappuccino with that brand relaunch last summer. That’s helped us regain and grow afternoon dayparts in the economic downturn. While our die-hard Starbucks’ customers wouldn’t give up their morning coffee, we did see people not coming back for their afternoon treat. Now we’re seeing a pickup in Frappuccinos, ice tea and ice coffee, particularly in the summer months. Between lunch and dinner is a tremendous opportunity for us and we look to bring out some news about menu items there.

Q: Starbucks continues to expand its VIA instant brew into new flavors. Do you think VIA has created a taste for instant coffee with Americans?

A: VIA was an overwhelming success by any measure, not just in the U.S. but in the global markets, and it also brings an innovative edge to the brand. We assumed VIA was going to generate growth internationally where there has been more of a market for coffee in an instant, soluble form. But now in the U.S. you can get an instant coffee with the quality of Starbucks. We’ve almost created a new market.

Q: How is product development changing at Starbucks?

A: We’ll stay close to our brand equity; there’s only so far you can move beyond your roots. But already we have products that don’t contain coffee, like Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino Ice Cream and Soy Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino. We’ve freed up the brand as much as we’re freeing the siren.  

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Coca-Cola Wraps Largest Social-Media Project Ever

Global Program with Local Activation, 'Expedition 206,' Comes to Close

Coke Expedition
Coke Expedition

On Jan. 1, 2010, armed with laptops, video cameras, smartphones and plenty of other gadgetry, the three 20-somethings set off to visit 206 countries and territories where Coca-Cola is sold in order to document for the masses their search for happiness. They arrived back in Atlanta at the World of Coca-Cola Dec. 29, 2010, just before the dawn of the New Year. Their journey, tracked at Expedition206.com, as well as through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, has racked up 650 million media impressions around the globe and engaged billions of people.

In China, for example, instant-messaging service QQ received a billion visits related to Expedition 206, said Anne Carelli, senior communications manager-digital communications at Coca-Cola. Ten billion virtual stamps, created by the ambassadors in each country using Haibao, the mascot for the 2010 World Expo, were also traded through QQ.

"We have been extremely pleased with the success it's had in the different markets," Ms. Carelli said, noting that the program created more visibility for the brand in key markets like China. "It's really provided a platform for the different markets to activate as they see fit."

The program -- conceptualized as a global effort that would be coordinated by a team in Atlanta but actively managed by individual markets -- forced many local markets into the digital and social-media space for the first time. It also required increased collaboration among the communications, public relations and marketing teams, something Ms. Carelli says will be instructive for future programs. And it furthered Coca-Cola's goal of creating global programs that are locally relevant.

"It was intriguing how each market went about it in their own special way," said Tony Martin, one of the ambassadors. "We never knew what to expect. In some places we'd go eat with a family. Then, in the next place we'd hang out with a local, legendary surfer. Or we'd show up at an airport and there would be these local traditions."
The group also made appearances at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Canada, the FIFA World Cup in South Africa and the Shanghai 2010 World Expo in China.

The campaign bolstered Coke's Facebook presences in markets like New Zealand, and in other countries -- such as Argentina, Ukraine and Uruguay -- local teams connected with influential bloggers as a means of promoting the program. Still, there were areas where the program didn't take off. On Twitter, the main handle boasts only about 1,800 followers. Coca-Cola execs stressed that the measure of success was based more on local-level engagement, pointing out that the Dominican Republic and other countries started their own Twitter handles specifically to document the visit.

"We made the conscious decision at the beginning that this was a local activation," Ms. Carelli said. "Equally as important were the relationships formed with influential bloggers and communities. We tapped into [areas] where we might not have had as strong of a presence previously. ... It pushed a lot of markets to start [new] relationships."
The ambassadors also arrived with built in fan bases, having competed for the opportunity to be part of the program. Coca-Cola reached out to the likes of Lonely Planet, as well as its own agencies, including Ignition, an experiential marketing firm, and WWWINS, its digital agency in China, asking for recommendations. It received about 60 candidates that it then narrowed down to 18 individuals who were brought to Atlanta for interviews. From here, nine candidates, three groups of three, were ultimately tasked with promoting themselves to consumers, who determined the winners in an online vote.

Ms. Carelli said the program has exceeded expectations. Just the fact that the year-long trip was completed with the same three ambassadors, Mr. Martin, Kelly Ferris and Antonio Santiago, is an accomplishment, she joked. But that doesn't mean there weren't snafus along the way.

The trio made it to just 186 countries, not the 206 the company had planned on. Part of that was due to security concerns in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. And part was due to logistics. Each ambassador required about 85 Visas and numerous passports, which caused the group to miss some countries. Mother Nature was also a challenge. An August trip to Bermuda was rescheduled for December, thanks to a hurricane. And Christmas was spent in Ireland when snow stranded the ambassadors last week.