Will China Embrace Starbucks' Growth?
Nov. 25, 2009- Stephanie Startz
The sun never sets on the Starbucks Empire.Starbucks has its sights set
on China. The ambitious roaster has plans to make the Communist republic
its second home, with the potential for a thousand stores.
Starbucks' current presence is more limited, with only 306 stores in mainland
China. But hopes for growth are allayed by strong 2009 sales, reportedly
double their 2008 earnings.
Starbucks joins a swarm of brands expanding into mainland China as the
economic downturn hampers their business in the US, which has been especially
hard on the coffee retailer. After suffering staggering losses during
the second quarter of 2008, Starbucks was forced to shutter approximately
800 stores, cut other costs and experimented with debranding and brand
extensions, including two instant coffee options: Via and the T-Disc.
Starbucks' US growth prospects remain limited, as lingering recession
continues to thwart consumer spending, leaving international markets as
the only option for dynamic growth.
But the brand faces several challenges in moving into a predominantly
tea-drinking culture. Do Chinese consumers have the desire, and the palate,
for 27-renminbi lattes? Wang Jinlong, chairman of Greater China for Starbucks,
believes Chinese consumers are trending towards coffee consumption, primarily
young people. "Coffee represents change, it represents a new lifestyle
for the young people, our core customers are all very young," Wang
Starbucks has provided no timetable for its China expansion, but promises
a big impact. "It's only a matter of time as China continues to grow
and develops in coffee consumption. It's just going to be a huge, huge
opportunity," Wang said.
Men Boost Motorola Over Apple In Brand
Nov. 25, 2009- Stephanie Startz
根據YouGov BrandIndex(英國、美國一家市場調查公司)所做的調查指出，由於Motorola推出了Droid 智慧型手機，介於18~34歲的男性對Motorola在忠誠度上的表現已超越蘋果(Apple)。
Motorola knows what boys like, Motorola knows what guys want. Motorola's
milkshake brings all the boys to the yard. And they're like, "You're
better than Apple. Yeah, you're better than Apple."
Thanks to the release of the Droid smartphone, Motorola has surged past
Apple in brand loyalty polling among men ages 18-34.
Recently released tracking data from YouGov's BrandIndex shows Apple dropping
from a high of 48.1 to 22 in the month of November. Motorola, during the
same timeframe, has remained relatively stable with a BrandIndex score
fluctuating between 32.3 and 29.3. Blackberry continues to sink with a
score below 10.
YouGov's BrandIndex scale ranges from negative -100 to positive 100, and
are drawn from interviews conducted daily with 5,000 people in the US,
with a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.
The Droid has also been a boon to Verizon's brand perception, skyrocketing
past AT&T earlier this month in a similar YouGov BrandIndex.
Verizon's hyper-masculine ads in support of the Droid have obviously engendered
support amongst men to the brands. The ads robots, boxers and Mad Max-style
industrial wasteland contribute to Motorola's and Verizon's triumph in
the branding thunderdome.
Microsoft Redesigns MSN Porta
Nov 4, 2009- Mike Shields
Microsoft's Web portal MSN today unveils its most significant redesign
in a decade, as the company looks to increase engagement on the property
while spurring usage of its fledgling Bing search product.
"We think we've designed the best home page on the Web," said
Scott Moore, U.S. executive producer, MSN. According to Moore, the new
home page is designed to focus on four key areas of overarching consumer
interest: video, social networking, search and local news/information.
The revise also considerably pares down the amount of text links on the
front page; instead of links to over 30 channels, there are now five key
sections: News, Entertainment, Sports, Money and Lifestyle. The result
is a strikingly cleaner, more sparse look. "This was a complete overhaul,"
That overhaul is not necessarily aimed at luring new users, but will keep
MSN regulars around. "We already have 100 million users in the U.S.,
which is a fairly mature Web market. Our biggest goal is to drive engagement,"
To that end, like its portal brethren Yahoo and AOL, the new MSN allows
users to interact with their e-mail, Facebook and Twitter accounts without
leaving the home page. Plus, users will be able to access more local information
via a new product that incorporates real time local information -- much
of which is culled from Bing.
Moore said that when he left Yahoo to rejoin MSN last year, he had planned
on launching his own local Web startup. Instead, many of the concepts
he explored at that time have made their way onto the new local component
of MSN. For example, users can sift through automated listings of regional
events without visiting another site. "No one else has this,"
said Moore, who added that the product represents the "intersection
of search and browse."
Microsoft hopes this intersection will encourage more users to try Bing,
which has been well received but still trails Google by a huge margin.
"Bing has great awareness," said Moore. "But getting someone
to use it regularly is another thing entirely."
Advertising-wise, not much has changed in terms of the types of units
MSN will offer. What should appeal to brands, said Moore, is how their
creative looks on this much cleaner page. "We deliberately left a
fair amount of white space around ads," he said. "We think this
makes them really pop."
Colgate Palmolive Looks To BRIC Nations
Nov 23, 2009- Sara Zucker
Colgate Palmolive forecasts its global volume sales to increase between
4% and 7% in 2010. The household megabrand hopes to gain the loyalty of
consumers in a number of rapidly developing nations such as Brazil, Russia,
India, and China, this grouping of rising, populous contries known by
the acronym BRIC.
"We're looking to grow faster in the emerging markets than we do
in the developed markets ... the BRIC countries would be obvious areas
of growth," said Ian Cook, the company's CEO.
Cook feels that China, India, and Brazil exhibit promising economic vibrancy,
perhaps from using the brand's teeth whitening gel? Just a guess. Either
way, China stands out as "stronger than other markets," with
a positive performance despite today's tough financial climate.
Though hit harder by the recession, Russia's economy is also picking up
and is expected to become an important customer base. Colgate is crossing
its clean fingers that these areas will deliver annual gains of more than
10%, an estimate based on recent years' growth.
"If you take the product penetration and you take market share, it's
not an enormous stretch to see a business going double-digit," Cook
Though the megabrand's staple products have traditionally been unaffected
by broader changes in the economic landscape, Colgate is taking every
precaution to ensure continued stability -- including a potential merger
in the near future. Rumors are swirling that the household goods specialist
may merge with UK-based Reckitt Benckiser.