High-profile sectors see brands constantly battling for supremacy. We asked some keen observers to highlight key struggles and lessons.
In the football-mad Asian market over the last 12 months, Nike and Adidas have played out an entertaining, end-to-end 3-3 draw. Looking back to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Nike owned the build-up, but Adidas won the in-tournament marketing battles with a clever social-media campaign.
Nike’s ‘Winner stays’ video demonstrated a brand fully in tune with its target demographic.
Adidas’ ‘Haters’ bravely gave prominent inclusion to Luis Suarez—a player many assumed Adidas would drop after his third high-profile ban for biting an opponent.
As 2015 goes on, watch out for:
- New New Balance: Players are on board to lead the brand’s football re-entry following an extended hiatus.
- New kit: Asia’s best-supported Premier League teams will change kit providers. Liverpool will move to New Balance, and Manchester United, following a US$750 million investment, will return to Adidas after several years with Nike.
In automotive, Rolls-Royce slipped considerably in this year’s ranking to 325 while Hyundai revved up to 326. That plotline repeats across the industry, with luxury names taking a tumble as more modest-priced brands rise.
- Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche and Ferrari all took steps down while Ford, Mazda and Nissan all ascended.
- In watches, Rolex, Tissot, Longines, Tag Heuer and similar brands dropped, while the modest Casio, Timex and Citizen made their way up.
- In clothing Uniqlo, H&M and Zara, with their value messaging, all saw a bounce, while big-name lux brands almost uniformly lost traction.
- Chanel managed to maintain its number nine spot again this year, but it was an exception in a field losing lustre.
It’s hard to determine if millennials are behind this, but for 2015, all of Asia has eased off on the opulence. It looks like brands need to focus less on gilding and more on giving value.
- Buying fresh and healthy items is increasingly a trait across Asia — close to six in 10 shoppers fall into this segment. Tuned-in brands are using in-store promotions that focus on freshness and value.
- Shoppers are becoming more discerning and price aware. So low prices and promotions no longer yield the switching behaviour they were originally designed to encourage.
- The future of FMCG lies in adapting store formats to appeal to shoppers’ desire for faster, more convenient trips to fit into their busy lives.
- Lifestyle is driving changes in product packaging, with an increase in meal kits and focus on simplifying the shopping mission.
- Indonesia alone boasts the world’s fourth-largest Facebook population at 71 million monthly active users—almost double the penetration of other popular online channels.
- Consumer and brand behaviour on Facebook is evolving, with the number of video views on the platform continuing to grow. McDonald’s, Chupa Chups, OCBC Bank, Starbucks, Channel News Asia and Tiger Airways are just a few brands that have begun posting videos directly on Facebook, taking the fight with YouTube for digital video dollars to the next level.
- The biggest social media climbers are Facebook-owned. A new entry in 2014, debuting at 487th position, Instagram leapt 223 places to 264.
- By contrast, Twitter fell 25 places, placing a disappointing 142nd.
Hardware is not enough: It’s no coincidence that Samsung is the top tech company for the fifth year running. On the surface, we could attribute it to smartphones.
- Owning the latest technological marvel isn’t enough; consumers are looking for gadgets that integrate with their daily life.
- They want a product that learns their habits, tracks their health and creates in-depth interaction with the world around them.
- Brands know their success hinges on listening to customers. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a clear example. Hearing the lukewarm response to the plastic design of the Samsung Galaxy S5, the company ditched the abysmal polycarbonate body for premium materials. Put this in a consumer’s hand and the result is evident: brand loyalty.