.Brand South Africa has welcomed the country's improved performance in the 2016 Anholt-GfK Nation Brand Index. SA went up by three places in the latest survey and now stands at 35 out of 50 nation brands. “South Africa’s improved performance can be attributed to improved perceptions of our governance, immigration and investment, and people. This speaks directly to the work we are doing as a country in implementing the National Development Plan and programmes like Invest South Africa,” Brand SA CEO Kingsley Makhubela says. “In addition, our Nation Brand continues to be admired for our unspoiled natural beauty, with 13 nations ranking South Africa in the top 25 countries being assessed. Moreover, we are recognised internationally for our efforts to preserve the environment. In this regard, South Africa moved up six places to stand at 29 of 50 nations. This resonates with the brand of the country as a good international citizen.” He continues: “We can say with confidence that our country is going in the right direction as a globally competitive Nation Brand.” The study ranks the US as the strongest global nation brand, followed by Germany, the UK, Canada, France and Italy. However, all of the Top Ten suffered falls in their global reputation this year – with eight of those being classed as ‘significant’ drops. Notes GfK senior executive, Vadim Volos: “How a nation is perceived is a function of both long-standing attributes (such as stereotypes of its people or region, and images of its natural and social environment) and short-term influences (such as positive or negative news coverage or dramatic events). Each nation has some ability to impact either of these areas, by promoting the nation’s key positive assets to drive up inbound tourism and investment.”
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Thursday, 24 November 2016 13:06

Tiger’s key brands keep profits roaring

Despite difficult economic times for consumers, FMCG giant Tiger Brands is continuing to deliver a solid business performance, helped in part by a good showing from its eight top brands, which contributed more than R1-billion in turnover during the year to end September 2016. The company said yesterday (Wednesday) that these brands included Black Cat, Jungle Oats and All Gold. Overall, its consumer brands in beverages, home care, groceries and baby products delivered good results. But this was tempered by more difficult times in the grains division – which includes brands such as Tastic, Fattis & Monis and Albany – where volatile prices and high inflation could not be passed on to consumers. Cost-saving strategies had also been an important contributor to the bottom line, the company said. Among these was a R700-million saving in procurement activities over the past three years. Speaking to radio host Bruce Whitfield on ‘The Money Show’ last night, CEO Lawrence MacDougall said it was pleasing that the group’s brands “were as strong as they’ve ever been” and were showing resilience in a tough business environment. Asked whether the company was seeing a move by cash-strapped consumers to cheaper house brands, MacDougall said this had not occurred and sales volumes were actually rising. He believed this was because shoppers preferred to spend their money on established quality brands, as well as the fact that the company had spent almost R900-million on marketing and advertising in the past financial year in support of its brands – meaning that marketing spend was up 7% on the previous year. “As you know, you support your brands; you make sure that the power brands are getting the consumer share of mind,” MacDougall explained. Looking at the group’s performance in other parts of Africa, he noted that Cameroon has done well for the company, as had Kenya.
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The third edition of the prestigious World Branding Awards saw 210 brands from 30 countries named ‘Brand of the Year’ in a ceremony held at London’s Kensington Palace on Tuesday. Among those honoured were four African brands. South African-based fast-food giant Nando’s was a ‘National Tier’ winner, along with Kenyan telecommunications company Safaricom and Nigerian retailer Spar Park ‘n’ Shop. MTN, the South African mobile communications brand, was chosen as a ‘Regional Winner’. For MTN, the World Branding Awards honour comes hot on the heels of being named as the Most Valuable Brand in South Africa in the Brand Finance awards. Winners of the ‘Global’ brand category included some of the most prominent names in world business: Apple, BMW, the British Council, Cartier, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, Lego, L'Oréal, Louis Vuitton, McDonald's, Nescafé, Nike, Oral-B, Pampers, Rolex, Samsung, Starbucks, Schwarzkopf and Visa. The awards are organised by the World Branding Forum, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing branding standards. It organises and sponsors a range of educational programmes. It also publishes branding news on its website that reaches a global audience of over 5 million. Participants are judged through three streams: brand valuation, consumer market research, and public online voting. “Over 120000 consumers from around the world voted for more than 2 800 brands from 35 countries. Winners at the awards have clearly demonstrated their ability to stand out from their competitors,” said Peter Pek, Chief Executive of the Forum.
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Mobile telecommunications brand MTN is South Africa’s most valuable brand for 2016. The annual Brand Finance top 50 list released last week says MTN’s brand has a value of R37-billion. It retains top spot despite losing a third of its brand value due to ‘reputational challenges’ earlier in the year. Rounding out the top five when it comes to brand value are Vodacom, Sasol, Standard Bank and Woolworths. The fastest-growing brand this year was Telkom, which was in 23rd place last year and climbed to 15th spot this year. The researchers said Telkom’s rise was the result of “the integration of Business Connexion and improved performance on the retail side, with good ratings on Value for Money and Customer Satisfaction, according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index”. Two brands entered the top 50 list for the first time: clothing brand Country Road, which is owned by Woolworths and comes in at number 31; and Growthpoint, a property investment company, which is in 50th place. “The more competitive the market, the more important it is to have a strong brand, leverage it to its full potential and measured and monitor [it] at all times,” says Jeremy Sampson, Director of Brand Finance Africa. “Brands are increasingly the major assets of companies, yet does anyone have an idea of their true value? Marketing is no longer a 'nice to have'; it can be the difference between success and failure” The top 10 brands, according to the 2016 study, are: 1. MTN 2. Vodacom 3. Sasol 4. Standard Bank 5. Woolworths 6. FNB 7. Absa 8. Nedbank 9. Investec 10. Mediclinic
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Google has reclaimed top spot as the world’s most valuable brand in the annual Brand Z Top 100 Most Valuable Brands survey. It displaced Apple, which is now in second place. Overall, nine of the top 10 brands are strongly technology-focused, food brand McDonald’s (in 9th place) being the odd one out. Coca-Cola crashed out of the top 10 for the first time since the survey began in 2006, possibly due to increased consumer concerns over high levels of sugar in soft drinks. In the 2006 survey, Coke was rated the world’s third most powerful brand. Google increased its brand value by 32% over the past year, with the researchers saying this was due to ‘continual innovation, increased revenue from advertising, and growth in its cloud business’. The value of the brand now stands at US$229-billion. Apple’s brand value declined by 8% and is now valued at US$228-billion. The study is conducted by marketing and brand consultancy Millward Brown, which is part of the global WPP advertising and marketing network. “Disruption was the dominant trend, with brands changing the status quo with their offerings in a number of ways, often beyond the use of digital technologies,” say the researchers. “Amazon built its own logistics network using independent contractors, which enabled it to offer flexible and one-hour delivery options, and started producing its own content. Facebook began hosting publishers’ original content to keep members active. Starbucks (21st on the list) moved into the e-commerce space with a ‘tap and go’ app, enhanced its cold drinks and savoury ranges, and offered beer and wine to extend its relevance.” The top 10 brands are: 1. Google 2. Apple 3. Microsoft 4. AT & T 5. Facebook 6. Visa 7. Amazon 8. Verizon 9. McDonald’s 10. IBM
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Tuesday, 17 May 2016 07:07

Birthday year for brand icon Vespa

One of the world’s most iconic brands – the little Vespa scooter – turns 70 this year. But rather than retiring, the famous Italian-made two-wheeler has tripled global sales in the past decade and cumulative sales now stand at 18-million. The brand’s official birthday was celebrated in late April, although various events are taking place throughout the year to mark its seven decades. The patent for the wasp-shaped machine (the name also means ‘wasp’ in Italian) was registered in the city of Florence in 1946 by Piaggio, previously an aircraft manufacturer, and was intended to provide cheap-and-cheerful transport for Italians who could not afford cars and petrol in the wake of the devastation caused by World War Two. Vespa soon became popular with film-makers and movie stars of the 50s, among them Hollywood superstars Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, who rode one in the 1952 film ‘Roman Holiday’. In more recent times, the brand’s marketers have ensured that big names such as supermodel Claudia Schiffer, actress Cameron Diaz, superstar Jennifer Lopez and Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney have all been seen on a Vespa. Thanks to marketing and branding, the Vespa has become, in many markets, a fashion accessory and a personal and lifestyle statement. The Vespa World Club, founded in 2006 as an umbrella body for the various national Vespa clubs, caters to more than 67 000 devoted fans globally. In South Africa, Vespa SA CEO Andy Reid – the sole local importer for some 13 years – believes the brand became iconic through its film roles. “Through the different generations Vespa became hip and cultish and cooler and cooler,” he said in a recent interview with the ‘IMM Journal of Strategic Marketing’, the magazine of the Institute of Marketing Management.
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Quick-service restaurant chain Roman’s Pizza has been named as the Brand Builder of the Year at the Franchise Association of South Africa’s 2016 awards. The brand was recognised for its popularity with the public through effective marketing and advertising. “The accolade is testament to the brand’s consistent focus on delivering a top-quality experience at every touch point of our business. Having FASA acknowledge us with this extraordinary award is humbling, but well deserved by all the franchisees that make this business a winner at every turn,” says Bonnie Cooper, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. Roman’s operates around 190 franchised outlets in South Africa, as well as a limited number in Botswana and Lesotho. The brand’s core point of difference from competitors is offering two pizzas for the price of one. It also claims that, on average, its stores record the highest sales per square metre in the industry, with some outlets selling more than 2 000 pizzas a night. The brand was founded by restaurateur Arthur Nicolakakis in 1993, when he purchased a struggling pizza store. He soon realised the product was over-priced, but instead of adjusting the price he kept it unchanged and offered two pizzas for the same price. The chain initially traded as Little Caesar’s, but switched to the Roman’s Pizza brand name in 2002. Last year’s FASA Brand Builder of the Year was pie brand King Pie.
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Monday, 01 February 2016 07:26

The iconic Barbie doll gets a brand makeover

Amidst declining global sales, the iconic Barbie doll is receiving the biggest product makeover in its history as it seeks to compete more effectively with Disney’s doll range from the film ‘Frozen’, as well as to counter criticism that Barbie lacks diversity and fails to reflect the way women really look. Mattel, the California-based toy-maker and parent company to the Barbie brand, says it is introducing three new body shapes – petite, tall and curvy – two shoe sizes, seven different skin tones and 24 hair styles. “We’re exploding a system that’s been in place for 56 years and a heritage that’s been passed down from generation to generation,” Kim Culmone, Vice-President for Barbie Design, told the media during a string of interviews to launch the new range. Added Tania Missad, Mattel’s Director of Global Brand Insights, during an interview with Britain’s ‘Daily Telegraph’ newspaper: “We were seeing that Millennials are driven by social justice and attracted to brands with purpose and values, and they didn’t see Barbie in this category.” So dramatic is the change to a product that has barely moved from its core body shape and skin tone since it was created, that ‘Time’ magazine – a global publication more used to featuring presidents, prime ministers, kings and despots on its cover – has given its latest cover to the changing world of Barbie. Reporting on a behind-the scenes look at the development of the new range, ‘Time’ says that among the challenges are the logistics of getting the much-expanded range into retailers. “The additional bodies are a logistical nightmare. Mattel will sell the dolls exclusively on ‘Barbie.com’ at first while it negotiates with retailers for extra shelf space to make room for the new bodies and their clothes alongside the original. There are a seemingly infinite number of combinations of hair texture, haircut and colour, body type and skin tone,” the magazine said. Noted ‘Marketing Week’, an industry publication: “The moves fit in with Barbie’s wider marketing shift. It recently introduced a new positioning – ‘Imagine the Possibilities’ – which aims to show girls that their career ambitions should not be hindered by their gender.”
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Motorola, the brand that gave the world the first ‘brick-sized’ mobile phone back in the 1980s and the first cellular flip-phone in 1996, is to be discontinued as a consumer cellphone brand by its Chinese-owned parent company, Lenovo. The company announced on Friday (January 8) that it would instead be using the name Moto for its smartphone products. It said the Moto brand was more contemporary, but would still be connected with the historic Motorola name. Motorola Mobility will continue to exist as a business within the Lenovo group, but is to focus on engineering and design and will not be a consumer brand. The decision marks the end of an era for Motorola as a pioneer of mass-market cellular technology products. Motorola’s name dates back to 1928 and the phone division was purchased by Google in 2012 and in 2014 sold to Lenovo. After falling on hard times and being purchased by Lenovo, the new Motorola Moto G product appeared to offer the brand a new lease on life and by late 2014 its sales were up 118% on the previous year. In its statement on Friday, Lenovo noted: “Brands do have to evolve and ours has been evolving for some time. Over the years, we have made font and colour changes and more recently we made the strategic decision to focus on Moto as our primary product brand. Moto is synonymous with Motorola and it conveys the Motorola brand to consumers in a contemporary and engaging way. That wasn't the only thing that evolved – the iconic batwing [logo] was static blue or red for many years, and we made it fun and colourful. That symbol, which has come to represent the Moto brand, continues to play a prominent role and will remain on our products and in our marketing.”
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While price-cutting promotions have devalued many FMCG brands, those that have purpose and ‘stand for something’ can inject value into a business. This is according to Jan Zijderveld, President of Unilever Europe, who was speaking at the Big Debate 2015, an annual food and grocery industry event held in London. The publication ‘Marketing’ quotes Zijderveld as saying that brands that have ‘purpose’ at the heart of their message were growing at twice the rate of other brands across Unilever's European portfolio. Across the continent, he said, macro-economic pressures and resulting price promotions had eaten away at brand value, but business could achieve double-digit growth by marketing around a sense of purpose and driving trust. “Consumers want brands that stand for something,” he told delegates. “Ben & Jerry's [a Unilever ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet brand] and Dove [a Unilever soap brand] are examples. What we find is that when we do this with our brands, they grow twice as fast as those brands which don't have sustainability at the heart... That's where the juice is, the pockets of growth... Consumers want brands to be more responsible.” Zijderveld believed consumers were increasingly discerning and looking for brands sold not just at the right price and quality, but with the right heritage and sustainability messaging. The FMCG market was also becoming ‘bipolar’, with new opportunities for cheaper as well as super-premium products emerging. According to ‘Marketing’, he gave the example of consumers queueing for up to an hour for a Magnum ice cream 'dipping bar' that encouraged people to dip the standard ice cream into a variety of toppings. Brands needed to go back to basics and scale these ideas. “We have to build brands in new ways again. People [were] queuing for an hour to dip a Magnum in hot chocolate and share it on Facebook; millions have seen this – it's a phenomenal way to create value,” Zijderveld said.
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