Addressing Leading Marketers in Cairo, Egypt…
Having worked with a client extensively on a global basis, in June I was asked to speak at their headline customer event. With an audience of 100+ top marketers from the Food & Beverage industry in Egypt, I was asked to outline the drivers of Emerging Market Innovation: “What makes it successful?” and “How can you predict what’s coming next?”
While these both seem like massive questions, it turns out that with the right strategic tools and an overview of global Food & Beverage activity, answering them may be easier than you’d think. As Senior Partner at the Healthy Marketing Team, I use our Healthy Marketing Innovation Model to help our clients predict and create successful products and brands.
It turns out that Egypt is a particularly fascinating market for Food & Beverage Innovation. While the countries is at a political crossroads following last years revolution, the people of Egypt, like the populations of other emerging markets are full of hope that tomorrow will be better than today. They are looking for products and brands to support the development and health of their families as they strive to achieve in an economy which is set to grow.
What I observed was in many ways similar to my observations in Vietnam last year: There is a huge amount of launch activity but there is a lack of structure and clear communication. The result of this is visible in many emerging markets… Lots of new products, all struggling to create meaningful differentiation and all contributing to growth stultifying consumer confusion. The problem is that this ends up with brands fighting it out in the commodity zone and [..]
One of the things I’m most passionate about is brand honesty. (You can watch a video summary of a talk I gave on “Building Brand Trust” at a conference in Austria in 2011 here) I believe that brands and their manufacturing companies should act with integrity. Not surface integrity but from the core. Brand values should not be something which are come out of a quick brainstorm, only to be printed in a smart font and filed away in the corporate archive. No. Brand values should be lived by every employee and embodied by every product that reaches the shelves.
But it should go even deeper than that. When I was speaking at a private VIP retreat for a company in Sweden in June I shared four ideas, four Brand Honesty Strategies that I believe will help brands to survive and thrive in under the microscope of consumer scrutiny that pervades all categories today. I’m astounded that companies are still trying to cover up their failures and shortcomings. The smart move is to innovate around them and to communicate both the vulnerability and the regret around mistakes.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, the US author and physician, famously said that “A mind once stretched can never regain its original dimensions.” [..]
Granted there are cheaper ways of working on your brand awareness, but actually having your brand name added to the London Underground Map as a Tube Station name makes quite a statement of your brand intent.
That’s what UAE national airline, Emirates, has done. Except, they’ve gone one better. It’s always a smart move to make sure your branding initiatives are inline with your brand essence. So a station would be an imperfect fit for an airline. That’s why Emirates have sponsored the new Thames Cable Car or cleverly named “Emirates Air Line” which ‘flies’ between “Emirates Greenwich Peninsula” and [..]