Throughout its history General Electric Co. enjoyed the benefits of a consistent marketing message. From the 1930s to the 1950s the company relied on the slogan ‘‘Live better electrically,’’ which was followed by two decades of variations on the word ‘‘progress,’’ such as ‘‘Progress is our most important product.’’ In 1979 GE unveiled ‘‘We bring good things to life,’’ a cornerstone to one of the most successful corporate branding campaigns in history, backed by about $1 billion in advertising. The company also had consistent leadership in the form of John F. ‘‘Jack’’ Welch, who became chairman and CEO in 1981. The charismatic leader sought to build up GE’s status in all of the technology, service, and manufacturing areas that the company participated in. By the time Welch announced that he would retiring in 2001, GE, fast growing and profitable, had a market capitalization of $505 billion, making it second only to Microsoft. Welch’s tenure at the top, however, ended on a sour note when GE failed in its bid to acquire a major rival, Honeywell International.
Welch was succeeded by Immelt, who set out to put his own imprint on GE by, among other things, revamping the company’s marketing. According to Diane Scarponi, writing in the Seattle Times, ‘‘Immelt said shortly after he was appointed in September 2001 that he wanted to rethink the company’s image.’’ Beth Comstock, head of communications at GE, told Scarponi, ‘‘Immelt has really been pushing a technology focus, a reinvigoration of technology at GE around the world.… Read the rest
When some starry-eyed startup or a small company takes on the big budget corporate in the marketing domain with an underground marketing campaign that costs nothing but causes shock-waves for months, its called guerrilla marketing. Guerrilla marketing is a different kind of marketing which does not involve big budget but it is about out of the box thinking; it is about using anything around to market a product, an idea or a social message virtually anything under the sun. It believes in entertaining and engaging the target customer. It does not involve preaching or educating but it is about exciting the viewer to find out a secret or solve a puzzle. Guerrilla campaigns purely depend on creativity, intensive word of mouth campaigns and its oddness like using unconventional locations. Some guerrilla campaigns are so brilliant that it has made bystanders feel lucky to be there to witness them.
AMA defines Guerrilla Marketing as “Unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources”.
The goals of guerrilla marketing are relatively simple: use unconventional tactics to advertise on a very small budget. It is based on the idea that one does not need radio or TV ads to market something. Make a campaign so shocking, funny, unique, outrageous, clever, or creative (even controversial) that people cant stop talking about it thus create intense word of mouth publicity. Guerilla marketing involves approaches like interception in public, giving free products, PR stunts basically any unconventional marketing approach intended to give maximum result from minimum investment. … Read the rest
Nissan is a famous automobile manufacturing company which was founded in 1933. After the Second World War, Nissan expanded its operations globally. Nissan was very well known for its advanced engineering and technology, plant productivity and quality management. However, during the previous decade, Nissan management has emphasized on short-term market share growth, instead of profitability or long-term strategic success. Nissan’s designs had not reflected customer opinion. In addition, Nissan managers tended to put retained earnings into keiretsu investing (equity of suppliers), rather than reinvesting in new product designs as other competitors did. These inappropriate strategies combining with the Asian crisis influence on a devaluation of the yen led Nissan to the edge of bankruptcy. Nissan was in need of a strategic partner that could lend both financing and new management ideas to foster a turnaround. Furthermore, Nissan sought to expand into other regions where it had less presence. In order to turn around as soon as possible, Nissan found an opportunity and created a strategic alliance with Renault who was also looking for a partner to reduce its dependence on the European market and enhance its global position.
In 1999 Nissan was incurring losses in seven of the prior eight years, which led to the hiring of a new CEO, Carlos Ghosn, being the first non Japanese CEO, had to face a huge culture clash (French-Japanese) so that he could be able to redefine the company’s structure to ultimately enhance its performance in a maximum period of two years. Although he intensively addressed cultural issues, taking under consideration the specifications about Japanese culture norms, he also incurred few risky decisions that could have worked against the process, risking the employee’s engagement process.… Read the rest
American Express had built its reputation as a prestigious charge card. In 1976 the company began its famed ‘‘Do You Know Me?’’ campaign in which celebrities ranging from dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov to puppeteer Jim Henson appeared in ads that pictured them and an AmEx Green Card bearing their names. In 1987 the ‘‘Portraits’’ campaign followed a similar formula. By aligning the brand with stars, AmEx cultivated the notion that carrying one of its cards was more akin to joining an elite country club than making a financial transaction. As later ads sniffed, ‘‘membership has its privileges.’’ In the 1980s, however, AmEx’s careful positioning began to backfire. According to Brandweek, while AmEx ‘‘clung to its old, elite ways,’’ the credit card industry went through monumental changes. With so many cards vying for consumers’ attention, Visa and MasterCard (specifically, the member banks that comprised the Visa and MasterCard consortia) began to cross-market with various businesses so they could offer incentives to consumers. For instance, by teaming up with airlines, Visa and MasterCard could entice consumers to charge purchases with the promise of frequent-flier miles. Moreover, companies such as AT&T and GM allied themselves with the Visa and MasterCard brands and began to peddle cards that tied in to phone service or car purchases. But while the entire industry became hyper-segmented, AmEx continued to sell itself on its reputation alone and lost market share as a result. Also damaging was Visa’s 1987 launch of an attack campaign that stressed Visa’s global acceptance by featuring countless businesses that declined to take American Express.… Read the rest
In 1987 Eli Lilly and Company won U.S. approval to sell Prozac, the first among a class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) that treated clinical depression by elevating levels of serotonin—a chemical believed crucial to regulating mood—in the brain. Prozac’s effectiveness and lack of side effects compared to existing medications for depression revolutionized not only the way mental illness was treated by psychiatrists but also the way it was perceived by the public. By 1992, when Pfizer and SmithKline Beecham introduced their own SSRIs, Zoloft and Paxil, respectively, depression had lost much of its stigma in the United States. In the following years SSRIs became one of the best-selling prescription drug categories.
For its first several years on the market, Paxil remained in third place among SSRIs, and SmithKline Beecham set its sights on new markets for the drug. In the mid-1990s Paxil won FDA approval for the treatment of anxiety-related conditions like panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Though these markets led to substantial growth for the brand, it was the FDA’s approval of Paxil in 1999 as a treatment for a little-known condition called social anxiety disorder that gave the drug its first significant advantage over competitors. Social anxiety disorder, or debilitating shyness, was a condition that, according to SmithKline Beecham, affected as many as 10 million Americans, and Paxil was the only FDA-approved treatment. SmithKline Beecham was aided in its attempt to reach this untapped market by an easing of FDA regulations in 1997 that governed the advertising of prescription drugs.… Read the rest
Founded in 1812 as the City Bank of New York, this urban merchant’s bank continued to expand and diversify its services over the next century. The bank changed its name to Citibank, N.A. (National Association), in 1976, following its parent holding company’s change to Citicorp. In 1998 Citicorp and the Travelers Group completed a $76 billion merger to form Citigroup, Inc. Citicorp was at the time the second-largest commercial bank, and Travelers Group was a leading international insurance/investment banking firm. The Citicorp-Travelers merger thus represented a new era of horizontal expansion. Citigroup then began an acquisition spree that included acquiring in 2002 Golden State Bancorp (the parent company of First Nationwide Mortgage and California Federal Bank), a move that added 352 branches and approximately 1.5 million new customers to Citigroup. By then the company was well on its way to having 3,000 bank branches and consumer-finance offices in the United States and Canada, plus an additional 1,500 locations worldwide.
The terrorist strikes of September 11, 2001, initiated changes in American opinions regarding finances. While Americans were left reordering their priorities to allow more time at home with family, Citibank was creating a ‘‘new standard’’ in consumer retail banking. ‘‘In a down economy people want to hear that money isn’t important,’’ said Al Ries, chairman of Ries & Ries, a marketing consultancy in Atlanta, Georgia. Though the market research for the ‘‘Live Richly’’ campaign had been completed prior to 9/11, Citibank, with its simple and reassuring ads, benefited from consumers fears of corporate layoffs and the stock-market instabilities of a down economy.… Read the rest