Monday, 11 April 2011

Brand Positioning: Hi-Tec - You've Got to Believe!

One of the most important things in managing a brand is positioning it positively relative to competitors in the minds of consumers in target markets. The brand needs to communicate the key values of the products and the business.

HI-Tec Sports is a privately owned British company which produces quality light-wheight shoes for the mid-price market segment. (
Previously known only as sport brand, today its shoes are associated with a leisure lifestyle.Hi-Tec's four key brand elements are 
  • Pride: delivers more tha competitors
  • Honesty: keeps its promises
  • Fun: creativity, new solutions
  • Hunger: constant product development
Hi-Tec developed those elements to be closely associated with the product with the aim to emphasise these factors within its unique selling proposition.

Hi-Tec succedeed in bulding a unique brand image and reaching a worldwide audience thanks to a successful viral marketing campaign which is a self-generating activity in which people pass on information to other consumers through the internet.

It can spread a marketing campaign more widely and more quickly than traditional advertising thanks to consumers becoming advocates.

(Lounched on YouTube on 28/4/2010)

(See also the fundamentals of STP applied on ice cream industry
Hi-Tec's marketing objective was to reposition its brand opening new markets. Their marketing strategy was aimed to:
  • introduce a new brand category to the market
  • make people excited about the technology in its footwear
  • gain maximum exposure for Hi-Tec with measurable numbers
  • create a sense of 'cool' about the brand. 
At the heart of the marketing process is the marketing mix: the 4 P's

Target: Outdoor sportpeople such as trail runners and trekkers. 
  • Product:  innovative waterproof footwear that provides high performance
  • Price: sold at value for money prices
  • Place: sold online or through premium retailers
  • Promotion: achieve new markets penetration through the Internet. 

Hi-Tec used an approach that prompt customers to take action and consider the product as part of an exciting experience: an excitement thet needs to be shared. As a result many customers then become advocates sharing the video and reccomending the brand to others.

If a business can get its customers to promote products, it will have achieved one of the ultimate goals of marketing.

The Impact

The Liquid Mountaineering video caught the imagination of millions of people reaching an impressive 9.120.000 views in april 2011 and being shared thausands of times on Facebook and Twitter.

- There have been featured in the press including The Sun, The Guardian and the Sunday Times.

- TV coverage from U.S.A. to Russia.

- Some people (like me) wrote blogs about the video.

- Some others set up groups to try the 'running on water' sport for themselves.

Reasons of success

The Liquid Mountaineering campaign doesn't follow the usual forms of advertising.
Hi-Tec wanted to emphasise the spirit of 'fun' in its brand through a piece of pure entertainment:
  • The brand is never mentioned directly.
  • The documentary style and semi-scientific approach to 'running on water' gives the video a strong realism. This aims to get consumers thinking about the video raising controversy about the truthfulness of the video .
  • To add realism, one of the video participants set up a blog the previous year . This  created excitement in the build-up to the event.

Oh, I nearly forgot. If you can't get the question "IS IT TRUE OR FAKE?" out of your mind... is the answer

See you soon my dear Hitchhikers!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Cancer Heroes and Charity in the UK

On 17th of February a group formed of me (as Captain America) and 4 other first year students organized a charity theme night. The event has been held at Yates in High Wycombe to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.


Before running the event a research on the Charity market in the UK has been carried out in order to find out which kind of event could have been the most profitable and what demographic group would have been the most profitable to target.
The research has been firstly qualitative, conducting two focus groups based on the age and gender of participants. Secondly a quantitative research was carried out looking at official reports based on national statistics about charities and charity giving.

Two focus groups have been conducted for this research.
The first one, composed by six over 30s, included three women and three men while the second one consisted of six females and four males for a total of ten under 30s.
Both of them were conducted by a single moderator which introduced four main topics in about one hour.
The first topic concerned the participants’ attitude towards charity in general and their opinions on the moral value of giving.
Secondly the participants were asked to discuss about their favourite causes and types of charity: moderators stressed the points of trust, transparency and money management.
Finally the subjects of the charity promotion and of the methods of giving were introduced: participants discussed about their favourite ways to donate and which types of marketing communications are the most suitable for charity organizations.

The Charity Commission had 180,909 charities on its register in December 2010.
In 2009/10 charities received £52 billion but a small group of 833 organizations share the 54% of the sector income(Philantropy UK, 2010).
Top 10 Charities for income 2009 (Charities Direct, 2011)
Just 20% (£10.6 million) of the total income comes from individual donations by adults aged 16+ (CAF, 2010).
Income £M
Income £M
The British Council
Charities Aid Foundation
Nuffield Health
Cancer Research UK
CITB  Construction Skills
The Arts council England
Anchor Trust
The National Trust


It has been a difficult and challenging time for charities over 2008/09 with 41% needing to make cost savings and 28% drawing on reserves (PKF, 2010). Furthermore, the government’s Autumn Spending Review brought in a number of cutbacks which will impact the public’s ability to donate (Mintel, 2010).
Figure 1 - Proportion of adults in the UK giving to charity, UK, 2004/05 – 2009/10 (%) 

Despite of recession the proportion of people giving increased slightly, after decreasing between 2007-09.

Figure 2 - Proportion of donors by size of gift, and median amount given per band, UK,    2007/08 - 2009/10 (% and £)  (CAF, 2010)

The typical amount given also increased, from £10 in 2008/09 to £12 in 2009/10.
The overall amount of £10.6bn given to charity increased in real terms of £400m compared to £10.2bn in 2008/09 however, the total amount given has not recovered to 2007/8 levels (Mintel, 2010).

Trust and transparency are a key concern for consumers as 43% of adults giving to charity question how much money donated is received by the actual recipient (Mintel, 2010). Big organizations are perceived as trustworthy but wasteful however large charities as Cancer Research, remain the favourite ones.
“If you can afford it then I think you should give to charity”. This statement summarizes the opinions of over 30 focus groups members. The under 30’s generally agreed with it even if males would give only to charities that “relate to them” while females stated that charity giving “doesn’t have to be personal”. 
Empathy is more prevalent in females who are more likely to experience guilt and have more highly developed tendency for pro-social behavior (Hoffman, 1977) as a result females are more likely to give to an out-group.
Men are more motivated by a desire to enhance the community and to provide services where government can’t or won’t   (Winterich et al., 2009).
The "Pound-a-Pie" event at Bucks Gateway
Women aged 45 – 64, especially in managerial and professional occupations, continue to be the most likely group to give (68%) and young men aged 16 – 24 the least likely (31%) (Philantropy UK, 2010).
Younger consumers are least likely to donate however, the 16-25 years old customers surveyed  by Mintel are planning to donate over the coming year highlighting the potential for charities to engage this group.
Giving by cash remains the most common method of donation, used by half of all donors (50%) in 2009/10. After increasing between 2005/06 and 2008/09, the proportion of donors using direct debit now remains quite steady at 29%. Those giving larger amounts tend to use cheque/card and direct debit so these methods continued to account for the largest shares of charitable giving (CAF, 2010).

On the basis of research findings we decided that the most profitable found raising event in High Wycombe could have been a theme night be targeting 18-35 years old people and related to a well known and trustworthy organization as Cancer Research UK.
Despite of statistics, which depict them as the less likely to donate, the heavy presence of students in High Wycombe and the positive trend of youth towards giving justified this choice.


>CAF (2010) UK giving 2010 [online]. CAF online. Available from:
>Charities Direct (2011) Top 500 Rank [online]. Charities Direct. Available from:

>Hoffman, M.K. (1977) Sex Differences in Empathy and Related Behaviours. Psychological Bulletin.
>Mintel (2010) Charitable Giving, UK, October 2010. London: mintel International Group LTD.
>Philantropy UK (2010) Uk charitable sector snapshot [online]. Philantropy UK. Available from:
>PKF (2010) 77% of charities feeling the impact of recession, but mood of [online]. PKF. Available from:
>Winterich, K., Mittal, V. and Ross, W. (2009) Donation Behavior toward In-Groups and Out-Groups: The Role of Gender and Moral Identity. Journal of Consumer Research. June.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

STP Marketing - Uniliver and the Ice Cream Industry

Unilever is the world's biggest ice cream manufacturer.
Except from Starbucks Ice Cream and Ben & Jerry's, all of its ice cream business is done under the "Heartbrand" brand umbrella which is present in more then 40 countries worldwide.
Although the logo is common worldwide, each country retained the local brand so as to keep the familiarity.
  • Algida - Greece, Italy, Poland, Russia
  • Eskimo - Austria
  • Frigo - Spain
  • Frisko - Denmark
  • GB Glace - Sweden, Finland
  • Good Humor - U.S.A.
  • HB - Ireland
  • Kibon - Brazil
  • Kwality Wall's - India
  • Langnese - Germany
  • Lusso - Switzerland
  • Miko - France
  • Olà - Netherlands, South Africa
  • Streets - Australia, New Zealand
  • Tìo Rico - Venezuela
  • Wall's - UK, Indonesia, Pakistan

This is a good example of Geographical Segmentation which is part of the STP Marketing.


Segmentation, targeting and positioning are the main parts of a marketing plan.


Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market into groups, known as segments, of customers with similar needs or characteristics who are likely to exhibit similar purchase behaviour .
In segmenting the market the business is acknowledging that different 'types' of buyers may require different products or marketing approaches / marketing mixes (Kotler).

Market segmentation enables the business to target different groups of buyers by adapting its product and marketing mix to best suit each targeted segment.
A segment-orientated marketing approach generally offers a range of advantages for both, businesses and customers:
Better serving customers' needs and improved customer realationships,
high profits,
growth opportunities,

Most commonly used criteria for segmentation (Kotler):
  • Geographic  (region, urban/non-urban environment)
  • Demographic  (age, gender, income, occupation, nationality, life cycle phase...)
  • Psychographic (lifestyle, values, personality)
  • Behavioural (degree of use, degree of loyalty, user behaviour)

Validation (Doyle):

In order to be suitable to be targeted a segment has to be:
  • Distiguishable - is it truly different from other segments?
  • Measurable: is it possible to determine the variables used for segmentation?
  • Relevant - is the segment big enough to offer real profits?
  • Accessible - is it accessible and servable for the organization?
  • Feasible - is it possible to approach each segment with a particular marketing plan?

The 6 steps of segmentation (Ries and Trout):


According to Doyle, 5 factors has to be considered in assessing segment attractiveness:

  • Segment Sizeno. of potential customers
  • Segment Growthgrowing or declining market
  • Segment ProfitabilityPorter’s 5 Forces
  • Current & Potential Competitorscompetitive analysis
  • Core Capabilities – strengths & weaknesses, assets  and competencies 

On the base the Doyle's factors, the most profitable segments to target in the ice cream
market are:
Health-consciuos consumers
Ethical- consumers

(see also the clever positioning of the Hi-Tec Sports brand

According to MINTEL there are 4 main ice cream categories in the market.
Ice cream marketers have to position their products in order to fit these categories: price, quality of the product, packaging and marketing efforts  must be shaped on the target segment features and fall into a specific ice cream category.

  • Low-fat has a fat content of 5.5-6%.
  • Standard is made from butter rather than cream and may also include some non-dairy fat. The fat content is usually around 6-12%.
  • Premium has a higher proportion of cream and hence a fat content of 12-16%. It has a much higher price than standard ice cream, reflecting the higher-quality ingredients.
  • Non-dairy does not include butter or cream, but is based on vegetable and soya. However, such products are often presented in a similar way to premium ice cream.

Psicographic STP
ABC1 hedonic consumers
Carte D'Or
Chocolate Inspiration
Caters to the demand for dark chocolate and premium ‘origins’ ingredients.
Häagen-Dazs Caramel Biscuit & Cream
Cornetto Mini
Targeted at consumers who want their portions controlled.
The Skinny Cow Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Bars 
Milk Time
Probiotic lolly; contains 30% of the daily required dose of calcium for children
Starburst  Smoothie Ice lollies 
Ben & Jerry's
Chocolate Macadamia
Fair Trade Ice-Cream
Organic Ice-cream

<><><>Demographic STP
Lemon Age Lolly
Launched in connection with the film Ice Age 3
Smarties Cone
Berry Berry
Made half with fruit and fruit juice.
Del Monte, Superfruits Ice Smoothie


>Doyle (2001) Marketing Management and Strategy. London:Prentice Hall
>Kotler (2007) Principles of Marketing. Harlow: Pearson Education.
>MINTEL report:  Ice cream UK, September 2009
>Ries, Trout (2001) Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. McGraw-Hill Professional