Friday 24 June 2011

Price is just a number

I'm going to be very lazy today and direct you to another blog rather than having too much original thought.

I have spent more hours than I care to remember over the years discussing the merits of price campaigns vs. value campaigns. And I've usually come down on the side of value, although that always seems infinitely more difficult to get right.

In this blog by Inese Smidre of my old pals The Value Engineers, the issue is discussed in detail, with some great examples from John Lewis to the latest British Airways vs. Ryan Air campaign.

The big truth that shines out for me in this is that price is just a number - which is, of course, not unique, while value is a unique human benefit.

The trick is then to define and communicate what value means for your brand. Which is difficult, as value is something personal and different for every human being.

But just because it's difficult doesn't mean that we shouldn't try.

Sunday 19 June 2011

Read the book, seen the film, bought the T-shirt - now eat the ice-cream

There's nothing I love more than a good brainstorm, thinking up names and ideas for new products. And some of the most fun can be had with food and drink products. A couple of years ago, I noticed a new tea variety from Meßmer - "Romeo & Juliet" - with flavours of raspberry and marzipan, and wondered if this would start a trend.

It seems that it has. No longer happy with mint choc chip or rum 'n raisin, Langnese Cremissimo has named a couple of new ice cream flavours after classic movies. The variety pictured has raspberry and dark chocolate ice cream with raspberry sauce. In English, of course, I am rather concerned about the juxtaposition of raspberries with "Gone with the Wind" but they can probably get away with that in German. There's also a "Dr Zhivago" flavour with a kind of snow 'n vodka theme going on.

I just hope they don't get too carried away and introduce a "Silence of the Lambs" variety.

Tuesday 14 June 2011


The talk on Facebook, funnily enough, is that usage of the social media site has dropped in Britain, USA and other countries where it enjoyed its initial boom.

And it's not just doom and gloom in virtual - social media sites and their use/abuse are dominating conversations from the dinner table to the halls of government.

Of course, the "glass half empty" among us will cite MySpace, Second Life and the rest of the "flash in the pan" casualties of the social media revolution, but I think Facebook has simply made too many inroads into too many people's lives to disappear in a puff of smoke.

I must admit that my own relationship with Facebook is uneasy. I've been part of it for at least four years and never really fallen in love with the place. In fact, my news feed often reminds me of one of those sensory or motor homunculus figures that show proportionately how much of the cortex is taken up by certain body parts - in that it gives an unnatural view of who my real friends are and how important they are to me.

I know I should get wise and delete a few people or at least remove them from my news feed, or create some sub-groups or other such cleverness. But it's just not worth the bother. In fact, what worries me most of all is exactly how you delete your account should you decide to vote with your feet.

It'll be interesting to see if I'm still hanging in there in four years' time.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

I put away childish things

I don't seem to remember my parents being obsessed with who was top of the "Hit Parade", or finding Brutus jeans a "must-have" item, or needing to be an absolute ace when it came to Clackers when I was growing up.

So why are so many people who are old enough to know better (let's say 40+) so much in need of the latest Hollister sweatshirt, so desperate to download the latest game app or so enthusiastic about reading Harry Potter?

Apparently, such creatures are known as "Kidults" - grown-ups who don't see why they should put away childish things. They used to known as "mutton-dressed-as-lamb" which is, incidentally, a great idea for a fancy dress party if you're of a certain age.

But I'm not saying that all apps per se are childish - in fact, a recent report suggests that children these days only really know about those that aren't terribly useful, which is kind of reassuring.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

From Capital-list to Social-list in two decades

In the 1980s, there was pressure to be rich, especially if you were young and going places. I'm pretty sure that this was the era when The Sunday Times Rich List was born. People boasted about salaries and, in one case, a salary was even named after a person.

These days, there's pressure to be social. Not in terms of a 1980s socialite throwing glitzy parties at Stringfellow's but by being a mover and shaker as far as social media is concerned. And The Sunday Times has now launched a Social List through the agency VCCP.

I refrained from joining up and calculating my "social networking activity and prowess" on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare, because I already know the answer to that.

While it's OK, in my view, for a bit of entertainment, if you're into that sort of thing, I really don't like the language associated with the press releases about the site - "competition, climbing the ratings, jostling for position" - it all sounds as vulgar as Harry Enfield's Loadsamoney character did in the 80s.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'll just go and scuttle off to my virtual hermit hole where I can continue to talk to myself.