Giants show Malaysia the beanstalk
Malaysia – If marketers and companies want to maximise products and brands they should take into account and consistently look into the consumer’s emotional connection to a product and monitor their needs and wants to cater to the consumer shift.
One of the workshop sessions at the second day of the Global Brand Forum heard Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble and Sullivan O’ Carroll, CEO, Nestle.
Nestle took on this approach to tackle Ovaltine’s leading market share in the Malaysian market, O’ Carroll shared.
“Malaysians consume 10 times more Milo than most soft drinks and even believe that the product is local when it actually originated from Australia.
“People in their 50s and 60s, when I talk to them, go back to their school days and remember the Milo van appearing at sporting events, even being able to remember what it tasted like,” O’ Carroll said.
Over the years, the brand has evolved to suit all levels of the consumer market encompassing the teenagers who did not like being spotted with the Milo packaging that their younger sibling was holding.
“So we designed the can ultimately understanding consumer’s needs and tailor-making the product and its packaging to the consumer change,” he adds.
Stengel again reemphasised the importance of connecting with the consumers and making it part of the brand value of its products and how a close team of marketers can help make the difference.
“I think the marketing people should be close and be able to pick up certain leading indicators in the consumer changing environment but in tune with the local culture.
“It’s about knowing specifically of the position of the equity and what drives it. We have to read the volume, the sales and the market share of the brands and the trends of the equity, not just once a year,” Stengel said, adding that the most powerful drive of brand equity is the emotional factor.
Not discounting the importance of the digital medium in today’s marketing world, Stengel said companies like Google and YouTube play their role in brand marketing.
Labelling Google as a consumer understanding machine, which understands the trends, he said the exchange programme between Google and Procter & Gamble had resulted in a learning process between the two giants.
“It turned out to be more than just an academic exercise and the employees came back with work plans from what they had learnt from the exchange while Google understood the FMCG industry better and the strength of consumer’s discerning process,” Stengel added.
O’Carroll concurred with the idea of companies learning from each other saying: “It is a good idea as we can have a tremendous amount of learning and it is an enormous thinking process.”
Citing the learning experience between Nestle (a 100-year old company with a growth rate of 2% - 3% a year) and Maxis (a 10-year-old company with 10%-15% growth rate) he said it helped Nestle find ways of loosening up its bureaucracy in the company, which it had developed over the years.
Both speakers also agreed that in efforts of rebranding, companies would need to be wary of the effects it might hold.
For Nestle, the change for Nestum to Nesvita was a little too fast for the Malaysians’ comfort, admitted O’ Carroll.
“It’s about history and heritage in the product and we went about with it too fast,” he said.
Stengel said P&G did not escape disastrous impacts that it also suffered from hasty agreement to re-branding.
“In the past 10-years – in wanting to be more global – we did a few changes but paid for it with disastrous impact as well so you have to be very careful when there’s a push to change a brand,” he added.
- Procter and Gamble
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