Wednesday, 16 December 2009

What have I learnt?

The time of year made me think about the changes that have been made this past year – there have been many trials and tribulations and I have learnt RIDICULOUS amount of lessons.

Friends have gone....

Boyfriend has changed...

Other relationships have blossomed up from the most unexpected places...

New areas of my life have opened up...

Old friends have reappeared...

And other things have remained constant(ish)...

It’s always important to look back at how things have moved as the world seems to move so blazingly fast you don’t notice the little changes. I have learnt who my real friends are, realised who I can and can’t tell my secrets to and know who I can rely on. Right at the beginning of coming back to university needless to say there was drama....

‘He said “don’t listen to your head if it’s saying things can’t work”....the scary thing is that my head was saying he a mind reader... but the even scarier thing was that my head is usually right.’

I trusted my instinct and look at me now...I was right – to say I was right is an understatement:


My thought however for writing this blog wasn’t to tell you all my private business but to draw a correlation between companies and personal lives.

Companies benefit from reassessing things too...whether it is at the end of the financial year...end of the academic year or just when they see suitable. Customers who just like friends will have swapped to another brand, suppliers just like partners might have left and set up business with someone else and new avenues for custom have opened up without them realising.
Just take a step back and see how things have altered.

Bring out the positives and do some damage limitation to stop the negative things happening again! Don't miss opportunities and keep your eyes open...

Most of all head into 2010 with a fresh head and a no nonsense attitude :-)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Only The Tip of The Iceberg....

You look at the person stood next to you at the bar or that holds the door open for you. You have no idea what their past is know that girl who borrowed your pen in the lecture because she had forgotten hers? Well she is having an affair with a married man twice her age. Looking at wouldn't have guessed it. The boy that walks in late? His dad is a film star and multi-millionaire. Oh and the little quiet girl in the glasses who you haven't noticed before.....well....I don't think I can say ;-)

Brands could be said to be like people - it takes a lot for them to get where they are - some succeed and some fail. When you look at that fizzy drink on the shelf you don't think about the hours of market research it took, the battles between advertising executives and managers to gain funding, the prototypes and taste tests, briefs from the client, pitches from agencies, the discussions with manufacturers, the production - all the elements that have to come together to create this one product. All this effort for a consumer to pick it up off the shelf and say:

'Ewwww.....I don't like it....'

If people put effort into a brand then they can make it succeed - if it's equipped with everything it needs to enter the market place: a good advertising campaign, catchy music, the knowledge that people will buy it and good packaging then its onto a winner :-) Almost like a person, sure they might have done something wrong in the past but just like 'zombie brands' they need picking up, dusting off and giving a second chance.

You could say I am going soft....I would then deny it and blame it on my age....don't think that works at 19 though :-)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Are you sure?!

Walking down the street, back from usual the level crossing is down. I hear Leona Lewis blasting out of someones headphones - I turn around to give a disapproving look and think to myself:

'Gosh they are going to ruin their ear drums...'

I expect to see a 5ft something, blonde haired girl wearing clothes from New Look, with at least 1 pink accessory.......Instead a 6ft hefty boy with a long black coat on, long brown hair swept back into a pony tail and a bag with studs on the strap.

This made me wonder - do you think if he knew people could hear it he would still be listening to it ?! Or am I missing something and Leona's fan base has drastically changed....I sort of hoped that if I followed him (but I wouldn't...I think that's classed as stalking....haha) that S Club 7 would come on next.

Market research is very important in the decision making process about which strategies marketers need to take in their campaigns. It forms the basis decisions about how to target the consumer and if you get that wrong then the success of the product/service is jeopardised. But what if people lie?

Social desirability can affect peoples responses - if this gentleman was asked what his favourite music was my money is on the fact he wouldn't say Leona it doesn't fit in with his appearance and they way he wants to portray himself - he is more likely to say Metalicca.

Interviewer bias can also be an issue - if it was an interviewer from NME asking him what type of music he listened to then he wouldn't admit the Lewis Saga....he would emphasise on the bands he thought would be acceptable.

It is therefore important to understand the importance of different techniques of market research but also recognise the weaknesses associated with each and use a variety of techniques in order to counteract them.

***Just as a final point....I do NOT think there is anything wrong with Leona Lewis or wearing long black coats and having long hair..... :-) Or indeed doing both !!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Who would have thought?!

Now I can't just walk into a shop and buy a dress.....I ask myself why I am buying it - is it my friends influence? Because the ambiance in the shop is right? Has that print advert tipped me over the edge? What are my affective and cognitive thoughts and feelings about this purchase? Sometimes I wish my mind wandering off to heuristics would just stop. Then I had a brain wave.......

If studying buyer behaviour makes me think this much and sometimes put me off buying products surely this would be the best type of rehab for shopaholics ?!?!?!

Clothes are very important to me and before I learnt about the thought processes involved with buying things I just used to amble into the shop and pick it up if I thought it looked pretty. But now all I can seem to do is link my purchase to the wheel of consumer analysis (and you thought that dazed look was because I couldn't decide if I thought velvet was in this season :-) It is by the way.....)

My consumer environment is swamped with influences of the products - my friends wearing the brand, complimenting me on certain outfits, celebrities wearing the clothes and getting into the best dressed lists - surely it makes it fashionable?! *ahem* I want social approval.....(means-end just doesn't stop!!!!)

My affect and cognition decide to build emotions and thoughts up about the brand, heuristics form 'If I wear this brand then I get compliments....' I have a positive relationship with the brand and they never seem to let me down....

All this (as you may be wondering where this is going...) affects my consumer behaviour - off I tootle into the shop in question and purchase these items.

So in conclusion - if someone is spending too much money remind them of the real reasons they are purchasing and they may just pop that item back on the's made me think more !! bank balance thinks its a good idea but I am starting to forget what my credit card looks like !!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Is The World's Population Infact The Biggest Public Relations Department?

Wake up. Switch on your blackberry. Check peoples status updates on Facebook. 'Like it'. Update mine 'Carli-ann is going on holiday in 3 days!!'. Shower. Dress. What shall I wear? Pick up my designer handbag. Leave my house. Get into my branded car. Go and buy a magazine. Go to work.

How many of these decisions have been made to portray a certain image to others? How many people in my 628 friends actually care about my holiday? Why did I wear certain clothes? Why did I purchase that designer bag? Why did I choose to buy that certain brand of car? To project an image to others - that's why - consciously or unconsciously? -I have made it...yes everyone look at me I am interesting, I am going on holiday, I can afford designers......

People don't buy the products., they buy the benefits that they bring - a bicycle would get you from A-B, in fact your feet would too....but people still pay £70'000 for a Jaguar because it presents an image that is successful and sophisticated.

Facebook is a prime example of how people advertise themselves, it's not just businesses whose pages tell people what they do and how they do it. There are even websites where people can choose 'funny' status updates....just so people will think they are funny. Looking at a couple of the 30 million status's updated everyday you see themes running through:

******** feels rough << this insinuates that they want attention - they want people to say 'oh why??' and feel sorry for them....

****** is sick of it all... << this is also a cry for help - they want people to ask what is wrong with them and offer their support - what makes this more irritating is that they won't tell people what is wrong with them (or if they do it’s by private message..)

******* can't wait for tonight with ****** and ***** << this is effectively to make anyone who isn't invited jealous - especially by specifying - this type of status also projects a fun image - as they are going out...

****** is so happy << this is the one of the most pathetic types almost as irritating as:

****** is so annoyed / or something just as personal.

It's the easiest way of changing your self concept - how you see yourself and sometimes more importantly how you want others to see you.

Increasingly Facebook is being used by potential employers to check up on you after the interview - have you got any incriminating, drunken pictures....check....examples of bad behaviour....check....well make sure you de-tag yourself !! It has been known for someone to be sacked because of the content of their social networking profile....whatever happened to freedom of speech ??!!

What you purchase, what you put on your Facebook, what make up you wear - everything you do gives out an image to others.....So next time you buy that new car, bag or jumper think about your motives behind it....might just be surprised!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Smile More.....

Sat in my seminar (which I did arrive slightly late for due to the weather.....yes I admit it was only rain........) the discussion was about 'Personal Introspection' - Impressive sounding isn't it ?! That's what I thought - it wasn't a term I was comfortable with until I gave it an extra bit of thought.....

Stood in Primark, surrounded by screaming children (and mothers), looking at the unhappy and unmotivated staff it made me look at the item in my hands (an umbrella for £3 - because of the rain...obviously) and ponder : did I really need this ?! The feeling I got whilst in the store looking at the haphazard shelves and untidy jewellery stands made me question my purchase but at £3 you can't go wrong.... The boy on the checkout did little to put this uneasiness to rest by sending a woman to go and get another one because that one didn't have a tag.....he then turned to his colleague next to him and said:

'I hate it when they bring ones that don't have tags....'

I simply couldn't believe it - surely if they had been doing their job properly ALL of the items would have tags on.......but I couldn't be bothered to say I just wanted to get my umbrella and get out......

I have wanted to leave a shop before - however this wasn't a £3 umbrella I was buying - it was my Louis Vuitton handbag - I made a special trip to Leeds after saving up the money I needed (I won't discuss I believe in 'price per wear....the more you wear/use it = the cheaper it was haha) despite having the money for the bag I wanted, the snooty shop assistant made me feel like I shouldn't have been there - shimming over to me on the ridiculously shiny floor, with her perfectly manicured hands and highlighted hair and asking me in their posh accent: 'May I help you?' - I would be surprised if that woman could see me over her nose....she was looking down it so far. I felt embarrassed and that I didn't belong - I wasn't their stereotypical customer - the great feeling came however when I plonked down the money for the bag in £20 notes - should have seen her face then !!!!

So......these were my experiences in a high end shop - and a cheap shop - they were both bad in some way....

I feel slightly biased with this next paragraph - as those who know me know how much I love Topshop anyway....but it's the one shop that I believe have got the perfect mix for me - they play trendy, up to-date, edgy music, there is a nice layout with the clothes and accessories merchandised nicely with the mannequins wearing new outfits every time I go in (and that's regularly.....) my favourite section has to be the 'Buy it now or regret it later' its organised as a little treasure trove like in a vintage shop - you have to hunt for the item that's been waiting for you. The staff are always really friendly and make genuine conversation about what you are buying, wearing or your hair - this makes me want to go back.....sadly enough they are almost my friends.... :-)

These are all examples of personal introspection - what MY opinions are, MY experiences, MY thoughts and MY feelings - yes there are influences on them e.g. marketing strategy (how people are attempting to get me to buy their product) such as Topshops' buy it now section - they are telling me that I will regret it if I don't buy it - a feeling that I don't want to have- yes I know that the girls in there aren't always interested in what I am buying....they probably think its hideous...but at least they pretend to be (and are good at it...)

Shopping is done in peoples leisure time - so should be enjoyable - so for all you shop assistants remember:

A smile costs nothing.

And it will make all the difference.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

'Lets all jump on the solar powered bandwagon....'

With events such as the UN Climate change conference in December and the Carbon reduction commitment coming up it's no surprise that savvy companies (and even the followers) have decided to tell consumers that they are 'green'.

'Green Marketing' has been going on for a while - but now more than ever - companies are reaching out to consumers and telling them of their green policies - whether it's a leading brand of washing powder encouraging people to was at 30c instead of 40c or a toilet roll brand planting god knows how many trees for every pack of toilet roll sold or shops charging you for a carrier bag......but how much of this is done for show?

Nowadays consumers expect companies to be related with a good cause - it's part of the augmented many people would prefer to buy a product that could benefit someone else in the long run.

Businesses HAVE to reduce their carbon emissions - whether that's through reduced packaging or paperless billing - there is a difference in caring like you care and having to care.

A industry sector which will have a hard time are car producers (as if they haven't been hit hard already) - are they meant to tell people to tell people to use their product less ? Or buy a smaller version....I don't think so !! Some have already thought a head and innovated new products - e.g. BMW's Auto Start/Stop function is fitted, which cuts down on fuel and emissions by automatically switching off the engine whenever the car is at a standstill.

It made me think - if a company was related to a worth while cause (which I am not disputing is a good idea) what would happen if they weren't allowed to plaster it all over their packaging - so the consumer was unaware of what they were doing ?.............

.........It's like: A tree still makes a noise when it falls even if no one is there to hear it...........I doubt this would be case with a lot of these businesses.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Branding and Relationships

I have just been out with a friend - discussing the pitfalls of my last relationship and hearing all about the adventures of her life since we last spoke....

Consumers relationships with brands are the same as relationships between people....

Of course you get the high end designers such as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, who showcase their items on the catwalk (in clubs) everyone wants them but limited amounts of people get them.....we all know who they are girls....however if you see someone who you decide shouldn't be with the brand you almost feel as if they have been cheating on you...and suddenly all your feelings change and you move onto a different one...

Then there is the Netto's with the same product but not merchandised in the same way - they come from the same factory....started life out in exactly the same place but it's all about the packaging and the buzz around the product........

However we can't forget the fakes can we !!!??? The 'Gussi' and the 'Diior' - We know they aren't the real thing but some people still buy them just to give the impression that they can afford them...or sometimes you buy them unintentionally without knowing there is an extra letter in their name - that's the worse - you think they are the real thing and pay the price....then you find out the truth and the whole feelings you had for them are gone....never again will you look at that bag with such admiration...

To be able to brand a product successfully you need to know your target market - don't go for the football players if you are more likely to get someone on the chess know how to market yourself to certain groups - so do the same with the product...if you want the mass markets to buy it create a diffusion range or market on different websites rather than sticking to specialised shops where only limited amounts of people will see you...

What I am trying to say is don't try and market your product/service as something it isn't - know what your product and service can provide and understand the feelings you can it to evoke - it's a sensitive relationship between a consumer and the brand....even more than in a relationship as profits are involved.....

Starting up.....

Who would have thought that my first 'post' would be so nerve racking???!!! Certainly not me...


It got me thinking....if I am so apprehensive about starting my blog, something I can go back and delete at the touch of a button how hard must it be to make a decision that could potentially make you bankrupt?.....i.e starting your own business.

I think it takes a strong and ambitious person to risk it and start up their own business - and full credit to them - hopefully it can be something I do in the future....but for now I will watch and learn and let others make the mistakes....and I will just learn from them.

Keep your eyes open all the time and you never know what you will see - a new opportunity...or somebodies mistake ??

.....Thankfully I still have the delete button..... :-)