How to say McDonald’s in the land down under

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Look closely. It’s not a mistake

Some thoughts on: McDonald’s changes name to ‘Macca’s
in Australia (AdAge, Jan. 23, 2013
McDonald’s has as loyal a following down under (Australia, mate) as anywhere in the world. So, it’s only natural, that superfans call it their own, literally. It’s “Macca’s” to over 50% of the population according to research noted in AdAge. So, rather than rein in the branding, McDonald’s has done the ultimate unbranding thing imaginable to purists. They’ve recently changed signage to meet customers experience and expectations. It’s only a few stores for now — just a few more than 10 in select cities.

But it makes sense, when you think about it. After all, in every nation, McDonald’s has made adjustments to appeal to the tastes and mores of the culture they serve. By inculturating and localizing, the brand has achieved a global harmony that few can match.

What’s your opinion – is McDonald’s setting a new trend in crowdsourced loyalty and branding. Are they putting their brand empire (and intellectual property) at risk. Look forward to your comments.

Make common sense of Target’s new price matching policy

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On January 9, Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) rewarded shoppers with a new permanent price matching policy. This continues the 2012 Holiday price match campaign that clearly delivered to the retailer’s great expectations of keeping customers in the store vs. exiting to shop online.

As pricing/value drives Target’s brand message, there’s no reason not to expect otherwise than permanence in their new policy. The question at the back of my mind was Why? What happens if Target promises and then retracts? Will its core brand be damaged? It’s a risk question of quality and numbers.

In the new normal of everyday crisis brand management, dys-satisfied customers shout, shrug and resume shopping. Changing big, entrenched behaviors (like loyalty) aren’t worth the trouble. Remember threats to leave Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest when policies changed abruptly? Hot-flash irritability gives way to inertia when it comes to promises not kept or unsweetened and untested policy changes. (More about behavior below.)

However the price-match wars play out, Target customers will continue to shop there. The dinosaur minority (i.e., those who read a circular then come in to shop and buy) may change through word of mouth. The growing tech-smart base will no longer stray because the price will always be right, guaranteed says Target. Target shoppers are loyal to price and to themselves first, even though they have strong brand awareness of Target as a value driver. Not a Target customer myself, this is what I hear through the consumer grapevine.

It all makes sense. Most know the expression “Does Macy’s [34th St] tell Gimbels [32rd St]”.  (Some understand it from childhood experience!) Back in the days, Gimbels took on Macy’s in every way, up to opening New York’s first bargain basement in a department store according to David K. Randall. In “Only the Store Is Gone,” (The New York Times, 2/19/2006) Randall describes the intense retail rivalry. Gimbels closed in 1987 and by 2006, ground broke on luxury apartments on the venerable retail ground.

Is retail deja vu unfolding?

Flat out, Target tells Amazon.com, (NYSE:AMZN) Best Buy(NYSE:BBY) (and all the other discounters) that they plan to own their price-minded, tech savvy customers whatever it takes. And there’s the great Amen. For Target and its customers, it’s win-win. Target has taken actions that are brand-savvy. The price matching policy  responds to existing customer behaviors: shopping for best prices. Now, Target-happy customers will head for the checkout, not the exit.

When in doubt, tweak

Tweaking technology to match prices is easy and cost-efficient. Compared to re-pricing and relabeling merchandise, it’s hardly a cost at all. It’s a defensive move that shifts that operational task to your competitors. But now, poised to react to any price, Target is really responding to customer needs and existing behaviors. Now, they’ve taken online price shopping and made it part of the Target customer experience.

In fact, this new price matching is more efficient than rebranding along some price point and suffering the consequences. Think JC Penney and their lingering fiasco. Their new brand angel promising no coupons didn’t succeed because it sought to change a behavior that customers actually like – the thrill of getting a good deal.

Image credit: abduzeedo.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Why we need UN-size empowerment now!

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Thoughts on empowerment:

Via: UN Women to focus on boosting economic empowerment and political roles (UN News Centre, February 2, 2012)

Empowerment: Kenya by Cat Bovis

Images of Empowerment: Kasigau, Kenya by Cat Bovis

Empowerment has found its way into thought leadership circles as a somewhat elegant topic to describe the next level of branding, loyalty, and customer relationships.

Here’s a nitty gritty of where and how empowerment began – at the UN. And with whom – women in their buying, voting, and governing. The UN Women initiative, now in its second year, reasserts the need to continue empowering women in all their roles. At its core, it is the key to regaining a global healthy economy.

Photo Image: Images of Empowerment, via Facebook, posted by www.aiesecmelbourne.org

When empowerment knocks at the board room

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Power Lines

Image by shaundon via Flickr

This powerful Forbes Magazine article describes the urgency of creative customer ecology. Rather than simply describing the triple win of empowerment, it describes the perfect storm of social media, social power, and transparency. The empowerment that began in the ’80s as an internal business management tool has come 360 with consumer empowerment. Is it a perfect storm or prime opportunity?

Social Power -and the Coming-Coporate Revolution

Why Employees and Customers Will Be Calling the Shots

David Kirkpatrick, 09.07.11, 06:00 PM EDT
Forbes Magazine dated September 26, 2011

Did Toys“R”Us® plant too late?

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The view from outside of Toys R Us Times Squar...

View from Toys"R"Us Flagship store, NYC Times Square (Wikipedia)

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Even if you only read the preview, today’s ToysR”Us® feature (via online.wsj.com) emphasizes the critical importance of the “plant” i.e., timing in working with your customers. In this case, Toys“R”Us Inc. customers are potential investors and the advisors who represent them (B-to-B). Following a 2005 buyout, a new public offering launched in 2010, reports Ann Zimmerman (WSJ). She conjectures that the weak (i.e., slow”) response results from poor timing. Quite simply, Toys“R”Us didn’t plant in the right season (2010) to reach potential investors (2012). Was it too early or too late. As a Web 2.0 marketer, I leave that question to the financial analysts.

It’s no small irony that the Toys“R”Us NYC flagship store stands just a block or two from the NASDQ newsroom. The retail store is a multi-tower brand ad, walk-in catalog, and prospectus. Street-level customers are just part of the value game.

The customer ecology lesson: empowerment

It’s also a critical reminder that every business enterprise is an ecosystem (death to the “silo”). Consider it as horizontal with patches working together, or as levels of soil, nutrition, and seeds.

That’s why a failed or weak IPO on the business pages—in this case Toys“R”Us—reads like a failed “marketing” campaign (i.e., B-to-B). Investor relation costs (including IPOs) ultimately affect customer relationships—including customer and brand value.  Empowering investors, empowers the enterprise; customers in turn, are empowered with products, experience, and fully engaged to keep coming back for more.

What’s next, brand-wise?

It will be interesting to see when Toys “R” Us rebrands (B-to-C) to make up the difference. Keep an eye on the advertising trades to see what launches.

Read:  Toys ‘R’ Us IPO: Still Withering on the Vine (tiered-subscription). By Ann Zimmerman, online.wsj.com. Published Friday, August 26, 2011, 12:00am

What’s your experience of B-to-B “planting”?



How have these issues affected the value or your enterprise and/or its brand(s)? Please log in and comment via, WordPress, Twitter, or Facebook. Of course, you can also bookmark or share with a colleague.

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