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Third wave marketing

The brand is no longer just about the products relation to the consumers, it’s about the whole enterprise’s relation to all the stakeholders surrounding it. Today the stakeholders are invited to co-create the brand value. Mary Jo Hatch talked about the past, present and future of branding at the second Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference.

No less than three international keynote-speakers visited the Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference to present current research. Professor Mary Jo Hatch talked about branding, Professor John Dawson presented research on international retailing and Professor Franck Cochoy talked about the opportunities for self-marketing with new technical devices.

Broadening branding

– An example of a company that succeeded in getting known for what they do is Intel, said Mary Jo Hatch. They listened to the surrounding world and realized that they were hardly known at all, and thought “we deserve recognition for our work”. A group of PR-professionals worked out the well know campaign “Intel inside” that they persuaded the computer companies to stick on their computers. In that way they expressed who they were and made an impression on the rest of the world.

 

The identity of an organization is threefold; it incorporates the images that the surrounding world (them) has of the company, the internal culture of the company (we) and the vision of who the organization wants to be.

In order to understand and to be able to communicate the wanted image, the company needs to grasp its own culture as well as its stakeholder’s culture(s). It’s vital to both listen and respond to make the internal and external images correspond.

– What you have to realize is that it’s an ongoing process that is never finished; it’s all about listening, responding, communicating, listening, responding, communicating, again and again, explained Mary Jo Hatch.

In the start this was mainly projected at the consumers (the first wave – marketing mindset), in the next step organizations incorporated the other stakeholders but kept them as separate functions (the second wave – corporate mindset) and recently companies have integrated the different processes (the third wave – enterprise mindset).

In the enterprise mindset the marketing is not focused on selling the product to consumers, but rather on creating a brand that is well-known and associated with positive values and this will probably grow stronger in the future (the fourth wave?). Mary Jo Hatch mentioned Johnson and Johnson as an example:
– Johnson and Johnson created a campaign where they promoted the profession of nursing since it was declining in the US. They succeeded in their mission and as well as recruiting new nurses they got nurses who are loyal to their brand.

Growing internationalization

In the past 20 years or so the number of retailing companies that operate on more than one continent has multiplied by six, from 7 to 42 companies. The history of international trading is long, but early on it was only a few firms that were involved. In the 1970’s it started to take off, but international retailing was still limited and a bit experimental. In the 1980’s the companies started to become more serious and since then it has grown rapidly.

– Some of the reasons for this surge were changes that happened in the 1990’s; the European Single Market (1992), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement, 1994), new under-shopped markets opening up in Central Europe after 1989 and the success of the Walmart international division (1993), said John Dawson.

There are four features of retailing companies that fuels internationalization; a strategic plan on how to enter the new market (and how to leave if it doesn’t work), widespread networks, increased global presence and the ability to adapt to local markets with different concepts in different countries.

According to John Dawson the academic studying of the internationalization of retailing has evolved alongside the pattern of retailers:
– Prior to the mid 1980’s there were only a few isolated studies in what was a rather esoteric and fragmented research area. Parallel to the retailers becoming more and more international the researchers has then described the patterns using existing foundations of knowledge, searched for explanations through mechanisms and typologies and understood the specific processes and operations in foreign markets more and more.

Currently the intellectual analyses are broadening into wider contexts and dipping into research areas such as why some retailers fail in some markets and the relationship of the retailer internationalization to the wider discourse on globalisation.

 

Since globalisation is not going away the retailers will most likely become more and more international.
– In the future the rapid growth of the developing countries will begin to generate their own international retail activity, said John Dawson. As an example the Chinese retail company AS Watson which has 8 600 stores in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Engaging customers

In the last few years, the development of mobile Internet has led to the development of a series of new market devices. With smartphones, consumers may now use tools which help them find a shop near them, identify the title of the song that they are listening to, get additional information on the product they are considering, and so on.

The question is if today’s self-service is evolving into involving self-marketing as well, i.e: Are we moving toward a situation where consumers decide not only about which product to take, but what amount of information they want to receive about it? Franck Cochoy proposes to focus on the datamatrix:

–The introduction of the datamatrix on the wine market is one example. The datamatrix is a two dimensional barcode that a consumer may read with his or her smartphone in order to access an Internet website where he or she may find new information.

This small device introduces a big change in the market experience. Instead of imposing the consumer with passive reception of inconvenient, noisy and talkative information, like previous advertising and labeling logics did, this code appears as a discreet and dumb rebus, which gets a meaning only when the consumer makes herself or himself the effort to pay attention to it and to decode it.

– The datamatrix thus conveys a possible “self-marketing”, in which the consumer, for the first time, is tempted to coproduce the commercial information to which it is exposed, said Franck Cochoy.

This “self-marketing”, although it could be thought of a way as “demarketing”, entails the means to boost the quest for information by the logic of curiosity. But it builds upon that the consumers are eager to engage in the experience, that they have the appropriate equipment, that the surrounding conditions in terms of lighting and network services are good enough, and so on. These latter drawbacks should be taken into consideration, although the move toward self-marketing – be it with the datamatrix or other devices – seems already to be well engaged.

So, what can we expect from the future? Maybe the travelling consumer walks into a store of the same brand as at home, but the store looks slightly different, comes across a product from a well-known company, takes out their smartphone and finds out that company engages in making the world a better place.

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