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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Brand management

How is your personal brand, are you managing it well ? where do you rate on a google search, how close to the top off the listing do you fall. In this economy you need to be found, applying for new projects takes time, referals or head hunting is a lot faster. Do you have a linked in profile http://www.linkedin.com/ or a http://www.zoominfo.com/ profile there are many different social media platforms that you can use and manage your brand, you are the only person who will. There is the real world network and there is your virtual network, both a neccesary , but I find in business my real world network is more important, where as my virtual network is the definative way to find new projects. Take some time and see what you can find out about yourself on the net, how easy was it to find yourself, and then ask how easy is it for someone else to find you. I hear you ask so whats this to do about buisness ?everything, if you can't market and brand yourself then how will you manage to do it for your own company. It is important to understadn what your market culture is like, this is a multi cultural market and you need to match your branding to suit the culture. I have included an nice article on branding from Magners to wet your appetite, also if you have time have a read at Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters: 400 Unconventional Tips, Tricks and Tactics for Landing Your Dream Job by Jay Conrad Levinson.

‘Magners has redefined a sector,’ says Rune Gustafson, UK chief executive of branding consultancy Interbrand, on the cider that in just a few years has taken the British drinks market by storm.

Magners has redefined a sector,’ says Rune Gustafson, UK chief executive of branding consultancy Interbrand, on the cider that in just a few years has taken the British drinks market by storm. ‘We’re basically giving people permission to drink cider again – or to drink it for the first time,’ adds Maurice Breen, marketing director for Magners. ‘You are no longer the mad person at the bar not drinking beer.’
Magners has been on the market for decades in its native Ireland under its original name, Bulmers – William Magner of Clonmel having entered into a cider-making joint venture with HP Bulmer of Hereford back in 1937. ‘Up until the early 1990s we were a pretty small operation,’ says Breen. ‘So the company decided to invest heavily in getting its story across to Irish consumers.’
This marketing push led to increased sales in Ireland, so in 2003 the drink was launched overseas, initially in Glasgow. The name was changed to Magners for the British market to avoid a clash with the HP Bulmer brand, by now part of the Scottish & Newcastle stable.
Glaswegian drinkers came flocking, so Magners went Scotland-wide in 2004. Advertising and sponsorship campaigns began, and Magners drinking glasses appeared in pubs. By the end of 2004, Magners had become the leading cider in Scotland. Magners then went UK-wide, with sales growing 264 per cent in 2006. The drink is now also on sale in the US, Australia and across Europe.
Drinking cider is suddenly cool. Why? Much of Magners’ success is rooted in two factors that were new to the UK cider market. First, Magners is sold in pint bottles in pubs and bars, rather than on tap. Second, bar staff and drinkers are urged by the marketing blurb on Magners bottles to pour it ‘over ice’. ‘Putting it in bottles was genius,’ says Robyn Lewis, drinks editor of the Grocer. ‘Not only because they could charge loads for it, but also because consumers had the Magners brand in their hands. You’d walk into pubs and Magners bottles were everywhere. It’s much harder to build a brand with a draught product.’ Another advantage of serving Magners in a bottle, says Breen, is that cider doesn’t look particularly appetising when served on tap. ‘Beer presents nicely on draught, with a nice head on it. Cider doesn’t necessarily have that.’
Cider poured out of a bottle and into a glass full of ice looks great, he adds. ‘It wasn’t rocket science. But it was a simple, powerful representation of our brand to consumers.’
The idea of serving Magners over ice originated in Ireland. ‘It was based on the fact that there wasn’t great refrigeration in a number of pubs in Ireland, so consumers poured it over ice naturally,’ says Breen. ‘I laughed when I first saw the concept,’ remembers Lewis. ‘I thought: “Who’s going to drink cider over ice?” How foolish I was.’
Although cider has traditionally been seen as a summer drink, Magners now sells quite consistently year round, thanks to a series of season-specific advertising campaigns that have persuaded consumers every month is a cider-drinking month.
Magners’ success is also partly due to being in the ‘right place at the right time,’ says Lewis. ‘There had been a massive decline in alco-pops. They had a terrible image. People were looking for another long, sweet alcoholic drink in a bottle.’
The success of Magners has led to a ‘huge boom in me-too brands,’ Lewis adds. Scottish & Newcastle re-launched Bulmers. ‘They literally flooded the market. Bulmers had a huge marketing campaign and almost identical packaging to Magners.’
The fact that Magners itself is sold as Bulmers in Ireland makes matters even more confusing for consumers. S&N’s English Bulmers is doing very well across the UK but is not sold in the Irish Republic.
With competitors snapping at Magners’ heels, the challenge for the brand today is maintaining its strong market position. ‘Magners’ competitors are riding on its success,’ says Gustafson at Interbrand. ‘What it needs to do now is show leadership again.’

By Scott Payton



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