MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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WPP announces that it has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Essence Digital Limited (“Essence”), the global digital agency and the world's largest independent buyer of digital media.

Essence blends data science, objective media and captivating experiences to build valuable connections between brands and consumers. Clients include Financial Times, Google, HP, Viber and Tesco Mobile. Essence will continue to operate as an independent brand within WPP and GroupM, WPP’s global media investment management division.

Founded in 2005 in London, with offices in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore and Tokyo, Essence employs 500 people and deploys campaigns in more than 70 markets, managing media spend of over US$700 million.

This acquisition continues WPP's strategy of investing in fast growth markets, new media and digital, including data and the application of technology. WPP's digital revenues were US$6.9 billion in 2014, representing 36% of the Group's total revenues. WPP has set a target of 40- 45% of revenue to be derived from digital in the next five years. Collectively, WPP generates worldwide billings of US$76 billion, revenues of US$19 billion and employs over 190,000 people (including associates and investments) in 112 countries.

Wednesday, 04 November 2015 00:00

Digital Insights From 1975

One of the great strokes of luck in my life was working with Stephen King. He had an astonishing ability to cut through the chunter and see things with a simplicity and clarity that made it possible to understand not only what the issue really was but how to do something practical about it.

For the last ten years or so, I’ve been puzzling about this unsatisfactory word digital – and since his death in 2006, feeling deprived of Stephen’s incisive guidance. I’ve now belatedly come to realise that a Stephen King analysis of digital advertising’s strengths and weaknesses posthumously exists. He first revealed it at a Market Research Society Conference more than 38 years ago.

In the last issue of Market Leader there was an exceptionally important piece by Les Binet and Peter Field. It was called Brand Success in the Digital Age.

Building on their equally important IPA Report, The Long and the Short of it, itself based on an analysis of a thousand effectiveness case studies from the IPA databank, Binet and Field convincingly demonstrate two overlapping truths: the fundamental difference between achieving short term and long term brand objectives; and the very different roles that online and offline media play in achieving them. To quote one early paragraph: ‘What the digital apostles may be unaware of is that the kinds of strategies and channel choices most likely to drive short-term business results are very different from those that are most likely to lead to long-term business success and, in particular, profitability.’

There is a bewitching immediacy about online advertising. A punter clicks on Confirm; and at once a sale is made and is known to have been made. Lord Leverhulme would have been a happy man. No waste and no waiting. Clients no longer have to endure their agency burbling on about the slow accumulation of brand equity and why no measurable sales movement should be expected for at least two years: they get exactly what they paid for – and they get it now.

And it was that emphasis on immediacy that prompted me to return to the Stephen King 1975 MRS paper called Practical Progress from a Theory of Advertisements.

It’s included in A Master Class in Brand Planning, The Timeless Works of Stephen King; and an excellent 2007 introduction by Simon Clemmow starts like this: ‘The scope of this article is astonishing. In just six pages, it made an important distinction between advertisements and advertising; it dealt with response rather than stimulus in considering how advertising worked; it created a simple and practical framework for identifying and defining the role for advertising; and it showed how advertising research could be better used.’

The ‘simple and practical framework’ that Stephen proposed was what he called A Scale of Immediacy. He takes us from the most immediate role - Direct response – through five other stages, each less direct, less immediate, than its predecessor. He labels them; Seek information; Relate to own needs, wants, desires; Recall satisfactions; Modify attitudes; Reinforce attitudes.

And it seemed to me, when reading Binet and Field, that there was an uncanny fit between their discoveries from the IPA data bank of the relative merits of today’s available media and King’s Scale of Immediacy. Again I oversimplify; but the higher up the scale, the more likely are digital channels to be effective; and as we descend the scale, so offline media increasingly come into their own.

The most mysterious role for advertising, of course, remains the least immediate, the least direct: reinforcing attitudes. As a phrase, this is neither evocative nor inspiring and King later expands it: ‘If advertising is to help a brand become big, then maybe it will do its best by promoting loyalism – a greater intensity of affection.’

I think we’re all still struggling to find exactly the right words to define this all-important role for advertising. James Webb Young favoured the creation of familiarity. The meticulous Andrew Ehrenberg called it saliency; which, though accurate, lacks emotional fire-power. I’ve long encouraged the thought of brand fame; which I think gets a little closer but is still imperfect. For instance, Binet and Field say, ‘The greatest benefit of brand fame is price elasticity; consumers are particularly prepared to pay more for brands that everyone is talking about.’ But the curious truth about enduringly famous brands is that they may rarely be talked about. True brand fame is not Andy Warhol fame; it’s a kind of permanent, taken-for-granted, ‘of course everybody knows about Coca-Cola’ fame.

Though we may still not be sure what to call it, we continue to know its value. And thanks to Les Binet and Peter Field, we can be a lot more certain, in this digital age, which are the channels most able to create it; and just as importantly, which are not.

Authored by Jeremy Bullmore,former chairman of ad agency J Walter Thompson London and author of Another Bad Day at the Office?, More Bull More and Apples, Insights and Mad Inventors


Wednesday, 04 November 2015 00:00

Global consumer confidence increases in Q3

Global consumer confidence increased three index points in the third quarter to 99, the highest level since 2006. Optimistic sentiment for job prospects, personal finances and spending intentions increased in nearly half (48%) of all measured markets, but uneven growth continues around the world as confidence stabilizes or grows in many advanced economies and declines in many emerging markets.

Regionally, confidence increased significantly in North America (U.S. and Canada) with a 16-point index surge, reaching a score of 117—the region’s highest level in Nielsen’s 10-year consumer confidence history. Confidence in Europe continued on an upward trajectory for the third consecutive quarter, as 21 of 32 countries posted index increases, resulting in a regional score of 81—the highest level since 2008. Conversely, confidence in the Asia-Pacific region declined one index point to 106, and fell two points in Latin America (81), the lowest score on record for the region. Consumer confidence held steady in the Middle East/Africa region1 with a score of 94.

Among the world’s largest economies, confidence increased 18 points in the U.S. (119)—the highest score for the country in Nielsen’s 10-year consumer confidence history. Confidence also increased four points in the U.K. (103) and three points in Germany (100) from the second quarter. Conversely, confidence declined one point in China (106) and three points in Japan (80).


In the latest online survey, conducted May 11-29, 2015, consumer confidence increased in 27 of 60 markets measured by Nielsen (45%). India’s score of 131 was the highest level among 60 markets, followed by the Philippines (122), Indonesia (120) and Denmark (112). The Philippines showed the biggest quarterly improvement, as confidence there rose seven points, and Greece showed the biggest quarterly decline of 12 points from the first quarter. South Korea reported the lowest score of 45.

• Clothes, Sweets & Dry Fruits, Chocolates, Footwear and Mobiles are the Top Five Planned Purchases Items this Diwali

• Flipkart, Amazon and SnapDeal stands out as preferred online shopping market place

• Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota, Hyundai are most preferred 4 wheelers

More than third (77%) Indians have withheld purchase decision till Diwali / Festival Season in anticipation of heavy discounts, according to the Festival Shopping Trends survey conducted by global research firm Ipsos.

“This festive season bargain-hunting may become the preferred choice for majority of Indians with the current increase in prices of vegetables and staples impacting the festival shopping budget. Higher discounts will help people save money and is an added incentive for spending on long desired items,” said Biswarup Banerjee, Head of Marketing Communication, Ipsos India.

Majority (56%) of people in India plan to shop this Diwali and remaining 44% said they won’t go shopping this Diwali.

The top 10 planned purchases items are Clothes (68%), Sweets & Dry Fruits (35%), Chocolates (24%), Footwear (24%), Mobiles (20%), Watch (17%), Bags, Belts & Wallet (14%), Perfumes/ Deodorants (12%), Sunglasses (10%) and Jewelry / Gold (8%).

Rs. 7232 is the estimated average planned shopping budget this Diwali according to the Ipsos survey. However, a large majority (70%) said that there planned shopping expenditure during this Diwali is less than Rs. 5000.

Just 6 percent Indian citizen said that their shopping budget during this Diwali is between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 50,000. In this group, rich and higher middle class income families were significantly higher than middle and lower middle income families. Only 1 percent of rich Indians claimed that their planned expenditure during this Diwali is between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 100,000.

Eight in Ten (81%) people plan to shop at a Retail Store in their city, and remaining 19 percent plan to shop through online marketplace.

Flipkart (70%) has emerged as the preferred online shopping destination of those people who plan to shop online, followed by Amazon (47%), SnapDeal (36%), Home Shop 18 (11%), Jabong (9%), eBay (7%), Myntra (6%), Shopclues (4%) and Naaptol (4%).

Shubhranshu Das, Executive Director – Ipsos Marketing, India said, “with 19% intending to make their purchases online, retail platforms such as Flipkart, Amazon and SnapDeal stand out as their preferred brands. The growth in online shopping is likely to continue and the focus on mobile shopping apps, an increase in mobile advertising, geo triggering options and special promotions will possibly add further impetus.”

Out of the people who said they will purchase from brick & motor retail stores, one in two (55%) people still prefer to shop from Local Retail Stores. BigBazaar (41%) stands out as a preferred destination for festival shopping in comparison to other organized retail chains.

Shoppers Stop (9%), Reliance Trends (8%), Life Style (6%), Pantaloons (6%), D Mart (6%), Croma (4%), and Star Bazaar (3%) are the other preferred big players in organized retail business.

“There is a dominating perception among consumer that purchase from local outlets can deliver better discounts through bargaining. This is likely to remain consistent as far as festival shopping is concerned,” added Shubhranshu.

Only 12 percent people intend to buy a vehicle, out of which one in ten (10%) plan to buy 2 wheelers and 2 percent plan to buy cars.

Out of the people who said they intend to purchase 2 wheelers, a whopping 51 percent plan to buy Honda 2 wheelers, followed by Bajaj (11%), Hero MotoCorp Ltd (9%), Yamaha (8%), TVS (6%), Suzuki (6%), Royal Enfield (4%) and Mahindra (3%).

Maruti Suzuki (36%) is the leading choice of people who plan to buy 4 wheelers, followed by Tata Motors (18%), Mahindra & Mahindra (14%), Toyota (14%), Hyundai (9%), Audi (5%), and Volkswagen (5%).

Ipsos Festival Shopping Trends survey was conducted through Ipsos Omnibus service (IpsosBus) in October among 1035 men and women in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

Many elite buyers are drawn to products commonly associated with the hoi polloi.

A famous paper on culture and status argues that people with high social or economic status have broader cultural tastes than those with low status (See DiMaggio 1987). In other words, the respected and rich do not actually hide in the opera house and modern art gallery; they also listen to popular music and look at art that the rest of society finds understandable. The cultural lines are actually drawn in the opposite direction: it is the poor who stay away from many forms of culture, staying instead with a limited range of mass offerings.

But what if we look outside the cultural sphere? Surely we would be right to assume that elites deliberately set themselves apart when it comes to the most status-indicative commodities, such as cars? Not so fast! Suppose we define a luxury vehicle as one that costs US$50,000 in the USA and is mainly intended for moving people around (so we exclude commercial vehicles). What is the best-selling luxury vehicle in the United States? According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Ford F150 pickup truck. To be specific, the F150 comes in a wide range of prices, but is projected to sell about 190,000 vehicles in the luxury range this year. That’s more than twice the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which is projected to sell 67,000. And by the way, the E-Class holds third place in the ranking, behind the Ram pickup which will sell about 76,000.

Trucks sell better than cars even in the luxury range. In fact, they sell much better than sports utility vehicles, which you might have thought of as the elite version of large luxury vehicles. Seventh through ninth place in the ranking are SUVs, behind yet more trucks and the BMW 5 series. So what is going on? Many wealthy individuals are not escaping into vehicles that no poor people can afford; they are driving upgraded versions of the same vehicles. And in fact, these vehicles are actually passenger versions of trucks that one can see gardeners and construction workers drive for commercial use.

This will be interesting to some readers simply because it is unexpected. It should be even more interesting because it is not well-known even in the auto industry, where much strategic and marketing effort goes into trying to win the U.S. market back from the foreign brands. But U.S. brands, and Ford especially, are already dominating the luxury vehicle segment. They just don’t know it because the winning vehicle is classified as a truck, not a car, and because elite buyers are classified as narrow in their taste rather than broad. The first classification is a misreading of the market. The second completely contradicts how status and tastes are linked in reality.


Written by Henrich Greve, INSEAD Professor of Entrepreneurship



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