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Posted by Ben Voyer at 9:48 - 0 Comments

China is seen as an "Eldorado" by many luxury brands, and is expected to become the world's largest luxury market in a very near future. As a consequence, many luxury brands have been heavily relying, over the last decade, on Asia and China to grow. But recently, Burberry has announced its growth in Asia, for the coming years, would come from Japan. The growth rate on the Chinese luxury market is still expected to be around 2%, but figures are down from 7-15% in the previous years.

Posted by Ben Voyer at 14:29 - 0 Comments

Being creative in research sometimes is about challenging taken for granted ideas, and investigating the opposite of what other researchers are doing, as recently demonstrated in a research seminar at ESCP Europe Business School. Take a widely accepted fact in the pop culture: envisioning a positive future increases motivation and results in real success. But is this actually always the case? No, according to a series of research papers presented by Dr Heather Kappes from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), during the Creativity Marketing Centre research seminar series. 

Posted by Ben Voyer at 10:23 - 0 Comments

Creative marketing techniques do not have to be revolutionary! Some of them have been used even before marketing became a discipline, and still do wonders. Secrecy and mystery surround a product is one of them. I was recently interviewed by CNN International on what makes Coca Cola's secret recipe such a clever marketing technique. Companies have often used secrecy as a marketing tool. The very idea of mystery is one that attracts attention, and is often seen as an element of quality - 'if they are doing all these things to protect the recipe, it must be a valuable product', would a typical consumer think. In sum, in the mind of the consumer, secrecy signifies that the recipe must be 'so good' that it needs to be kept secret - which then reinforces the idea of quality.

Posted by Ben Voyer at 12:27 - 0 Comments

A first important point to discuss in addressing the question is to understand the difference between a) creating needs and b) understanding  / addressing needs. An electricity provider, for instance, addresses a need that most consumers have: that is, being able to power their house. If it understands its consumers well, it might also use sustainable energy sources, to address consumers concerns for a greener environment. The value for consumers is then strong and apparent, and is so in the case of all the needs that are understood and served by companies in a genuine and honest way. Often, needs that are understood and addressed by companies in such a way are basic or core needs, using terms from Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Creating needs, on the other hand, refers to practices where marketers try to convince customers that the product or service they sell addresses something they need (push strategy). This could be said to be the case, for instance, of many kitchen appliances, which we buy and use only once a year. Remember that yoghourt maker from the 1980s? Or all these products you sold on EBay just after you bought / received them? Creating needs is generating value on the company side, as consumers are attracted to novelty. But it does not necessarily generate value on the consumer side. It can actually create distrust, as consumers are less likely to be convinced by a product or service from the same company, the next time they see one!

Posted by Ben Voyer at 11:28 - 0 Comments
At the CMC, we think that consumer creativity accounts for a lot of the (perceived) value that consumers experience in the act of consumption. We believe that much of the act of consumption occurs through creative processes. But one of the questions that many find challenging is: ‘what exactly is consumer creativity’? Is consumer creativity simply about the many ways in which individuals consume goods? Oreo cookies, for instance, can certainly be consumed in many different and creative ways. Or is consumer creativity something even broader, that includes the integration of the many associations we have with the brand (e.g. childhood memories of eating Oreo cookies…), or multiple encounters with brands (through advertising, product placement, etc) with our own life experience. I would argue here in favour of a broad understanding of consumer creativity, as a process of integrating our current experience of consumption with a set of associated and related memories, perceptions and emotions involving brand-related and product-related experiences. In other words, consumers re-interpret the value proposition while consuming the goods they purchase, and integrate it with the brand eco-system and their previous experience.
Posted by Ben Voyer at 12:59 - 0 Comments
Has the good old questionnaire had its days? Research is increasingly relying on new technologies to improve our understanding of the marketplace. In quantitative research, one of the most interesting fields of research of the last twenty years is undoubtedly the Implicit Attitude Test (IAT). The implicit attitude test addresses one of the main weaknesses of traditional self-reported attitudes (e.g. ‘how do you feel about Brand X?’): the fact that these attitudes can be ‘tainted’ by social desirability (i.e. the propensity that we all have to a certain extent to conform to normative opinions). Say for instance that you want to study the implicit attitudes (i.e. hidden preferences) that affect two car brands: Mercedes and Opel. What the implicit attitude test allows you to do is to see how fast consumers can categorise words or images that relate to Mercedes (vs Opel) with a list of good (vs bad) words or images. In other words, the implicit attitude test relies on response time to uncover the hidden biases that affect consumer preferences. If an association makes sense to a consumer (e.g. Mercedes & good) it will take him / her less time to categorise words or images referring to Mercedes (e.g. Class C, Mercedes logo…) in the same category as positive words (good, pleasant, joy…), compared with negative ones (e.g. bad, unpleasant, sad…). The technique can be used to compare two categories / brands (e.g. Mercedes vs Opel) or simply to measure implicit attitudes towards one product (see the ‘personlised IAT’), and is easily administered on a computer or over the Internet.
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