Lessons on The Transformative Power of Social Media

There are several articles and studies out there showcasing the power of social media. However, sometimes it takes a practical and inspiring example to really understand how this platform can generate such a big impact. One such example can be witnessed in Stacey Heale’s powerful talk at TEDx. Although the subject of this talk is not directly on social media marketing – the main topic of this series of blog posts -, there are valuable lessons to be learned from Stacey that could be leveraged both by companies engaging in social media marketing and individuals concerned with personal branding and/or personal development.

The transformative power of social media | Stacey Heale | TEDxSouthampton

Stacey Heale, a fashion academic and researcher, decided to get out of social media motivated by the feeling that she was losing a lot of time on useless videos and articles posted by her friends. The days following her decision to shut down all her social media accounts were very productive and she felt great, feeling very present at every moment of her day. However, shortly after she was negatively impacted by the news that her husband, Greg, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. It was already difficult to handle this situation on her own, but it started to get worse when she made the first few phone calls to family members and close friends. The problem was that they were getting very emotional over the phone, crying and even getting angry at the situation, which caused even more trauma for Stacey and Greg. The next form of sending out this bad news was through text messages, which might sound odd but it is a safe way to deliver the news from a certain distance and not feel the impact on the other side. The next day she decided to reactive her Facebook account and let more friends now through social media. Stacey and her husband chose an “appropriate” picture and the right message to post the news on her Facebook page. After making the post, Stacey started receiving several notifications of people sending her messages and these “beepings” did not stop for over a month. She was overwhelmed with the number of messages of love and support.

This was certainly great to help Stacey and her family through this difficult scenario. However, the bad news did not stop at her husband’s diagnosis. She realized that without a private health insurance plan the treatment cost £100,000 and she and her husband had neither the health insurance plan nor the money to pay the treatment. Therefore, she decided to start a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money for her husband’s treatment. Stacey felt very uncomfortable about asking for money through social media but she needed to put herself out there for her husband. She started the campaign, cross her fingers, shared a post on her Facebook, and luckily 24,000 people in 48 hours raised the £100,000. The total amount gathered was over £200,000.

She was so thankful that through social media she saw so much love that she decided to start speaking more about her husband’s disease. With a very positive repercussion, she started opening more about how she felt and even shared some stories such as when she caught herself sitting at her dog’s basket while having a panic attack when hearing her children screaming, or how she would always come to her parent’s house after leaving the hospital – when Greg was first diagnosed – and would take slipping pills with a bottle of wine to sleep in a fetal position. These are all very personal and delicate moments of her life, but she found out that by talking vulnerably she was not receiving pity from others but rather empathy and connection. So, she decided to carry on.

Stacey realized that “it’s really easy to want to crave someone else’s life when yours is just being smashed to pieces” but being honest and transparent with what you are sharing could potentially attract like-minded people how’s only concern is to help and send love. She mentioned that there is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child and she thinks it takes a city to live through cancer, and she constructed her city through social media.

Stacey and Greg’s story illustrates how social media is powerful in attracting people with similar interests, believes, and even values. Companies should leverage this learning to understand that even the company’s values should be stated or transmitting somehow in their posts, so it can resonate with others and potentially attract a bigger audience. The couple’s story also demonstrated how being transparent and sharing what might seem as vulnerabilities could have the opposite effect of what one could first imagine. Companies should also leverage this learning to understand that problems or negative press are always good opportunities to be transparent and take responsibility, let your customers/followers understand what happened, and learn from it. Bottom line, social media is a transformative tool that should be leveraged with transparency so you can attract other users that really resonate with your beliefs.

Hiring Global Branding Experts

Bubble speech with cut out phrase “branding” in the paper.

Still confused about how to best utilize global branding strategies? Don’t freak out just yet. There are professionals out there who are willing to do it for you.

Whether it is one particular expert, or a global branding agency, the important thing to consider here is hiring the right person/agency. Simply having experience in your particular global branding field is not enough to be considered an expert. Owning offices all over the world doesn’t create a global branding expert. When searching for the best global branding expert(s), you need to think of it as a scarce and valuable job as a business professional. This means you need to conduct extensive research on that particular person or agency that consider themselves “experts,” and ensure that they have a diversified portfolio of numerous global branding projects in various industries.

The world is constantly changing at rapid speed. This is of particular importance when wanting to take your brand global in order to stay relevant in different markets. It is important to keep this in mind when searching for outside help.

Agencies such as Stealing Share, or personal experts like Rey Perez, are two outside examples of professional global branding experts. They both focus on the consumer market in which their companies are expanding into, and take the time and energy to conduct a method of how they believe it is best to introduce a brand into the new market.

In the end, do not feel discouraged if you believe you need outside help. We all need help every now and then, but it is important for you and your company that you absolutely have full faith in who you as help from; especially when it comes to a delicate subject such as global branding.

Lessons From Nike’s Global Success

Nike is a multi-billion dollar company dealing in the design, marketing and distribution of sports apparel. Nike was humbly established in 1972 and has grown to be a dominating athletic brand in the sports industry. From shoes to eyewear, Nike has established itself as an innovative and diverse sportswear company. With over 700 stores globally and a twenty billion dollar increase in revenue, all in twenty years, Nike continues to dominate the international sportswear market. Nike’s success can be attributed to its extensive marketing strategies that will be discussed in this paper.

“Sustainability and business growth are complementary,” (Keller, 2016). Sustainability as a marketing strategy aims at achieving production and sales with minimal impact on the environment, in terms of pollution. Nike tries to achieve maximum sustainability by reducing its total carbon dioxide emissions and prioritizing sustainability on consumer brands.

Nike always tries to outdo the competition and innovation is a way to do it. The sportswear market has a lot of big companies such as Puma and Adidas. These brands are quite famous but, “The differentiation strategy of Nike is quite competitive…”. This differentiation and innovation have led to Nike having products in all manner of sports, effectively pushing the company past the competition.

Ensuring the production of quality products, aimed at the consumer’s satisfaction is a great marketing strategy. Nike values its consumers, and its products are geared towards helping the athletes. In the Rio Olympics 2016, seventy-nine medals were won by athletes who wore the Nike sneaker brand. This was almost five times more than the brand in second place.

Nike embraces technology. Taking social media as an example, as of April 2016, Nike had the most massive following on all major platforms combined. Through social media and its website, Nike has access to the e-commerce platform, which increases its reach to countries that lack Nike stores. In fact, Nike had launched their website seven years ahead of Adidas. Still, on technology, Nike is miles ahead with the HyperAdapt 1.0 that ties the shoelaces automatically. 

Nike has been seen to react to other competitive sportswear brands by buying them. Several examples are, Canstar, which was acquired in 1994 for four hundred million dollars. Nike also acquired Converse in 2003 for three hundred and five million dollars. This is a sound marketing strategy since by buying a rival company, Nike has essentially eliminated part of the competition.

Nike’s advertising is a crucial factor in marketing. Nike offers endorsement deals to celebrities and athletes who have a vast social media influence. The celebrities and athletes, in turn, wear the Nike apparels and market Nike’s products. Nike also has a lot of commercials involving celebrities and athletes. By spending over three billion dollars in advertising per year, Nike’s international marketing strategy reaches all corners of the world.

International marketing can be tricky due to socio-cultural differences across different borders. Some countries may be against Nike’s methods, but Nike has to find a way to reach out. The use of campaigns, celebrity endorsements, advertisements, and sustainable manufacturing are international marketing strategies most people can agree on. The use of Social media allows Nike to capitalize on e-commerce. Nike fully utilizes these marketing strategies, making it the largest sportswear company in the market.

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Aldi Caters to Health Trend

A consumer trend that has taken the food industry by storm is a more health-conscious customer, no longer consuming for taste, but for holistic nutrition. According to research, the global market for organic foods will be worth $323 billion by 2024, with more than 60 percent of consumers attributing “healthfulness” as an influencing deciding purchasing factor (Afable). It is important to note, the yearning for holistic health, meaning the attention to the mental, physical, and emotional health, are important sociocultural changes that influence existing company decisions and give opportunities for new companies to enter the market. More and more consumers are making purchasing decisions based on what they believe would make them feel better (Bold Business). As the Executive Vice President and Practice Leader for Client Insights at Information Resources Inc., Ms. Wyatt says, “Brands and retailers can stay one step ahead of the competition by providing consumers with a seamless shopping experience that supports their holistic health goals.”

Aldi U.S. is part of a privately owned German company, Aldi Sud, which opened its first U.S. stores in 1976, known for low prices and award-winning private label foods and beverages with a “keep it simple” motto. Aldi Sud has been widely successful in its home country and has decided to expand and update its stores in the United States, spending $5.3 billion to remodel its existing 1,800-plus stores and open 800 new ones as part of their 5 year plan. The company is focused on offering foods that are more convenient for the shopper and hope to become the third largest grocer in the United States by the end of their plan, which will put them behind Walmart and Kroger (Lempert). As part of their growth strategy, Aldi has expanded their fresh food offerings by 40% in hopes to capture the growing health-conscious consumer. 

The United States organic food market has grown with more and more people pursuing organic food options with simple ingredient lists, no artificial add-ons, and gluten-free options. A trend that has arisen from the health-conscious consumer has been the Free From offering, which consists of food options that are free from dairy, lactose, allergens, and gluten. In addition, the global consumer is wanting not only organic, but also health functionality in their food options like probiotics, omegas, and vitamins. As of 2017, the food functionality offerings is valued at $247 billion dollars (Mascaraque). 

Study shows that 41% of Generation Z and 32% of Millennials would pay a premium for sustainably sourced ingredients, which has led to the rise of health-centered companies, concentrating on organic locally sourced food options to capture the growing market (Ganev). There is also a commitment from the consumer to at least one health, wellness, ethical or environmental attribute among the foods they eat and are willing to pay for food that delivers on their claims (Steingoltz).

In reaction, Aldi has offered and plans to enhance their exclusive brands: SimplyNature, Earth Grown, Specially Selected, Never Any!, LiveGFree (live gluten free). Offerings include their “fresh never frozen” seafood, organic meats, a Never Any! brand of chicken, which does not have any antibiotics, hormones, animal by-products, steroids or salt and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet. They also offer Earth Grown kale veggie burgers (Lempert). Aware of the changing consumer buying behavior, Aldi’s innovations in fresh, organic, and trendy offerings has been capturing the health-conscious consumer. Aldi’s organic produce sales have increased by over 200 percent in the last three years and they continue to add to its private label gluten-free products (Reagan). 

Aldi also reformulated and removed more than 125 ingredients in its SimplyNature products back in 2015 to meet the needs of shoppers who want simple and few ingredients while still providing a healthy and natural food offering (Lempert). With Aldi really pushing towards a simple yet healthy plan, it will be interesting to see how Walmart and Kroger will measure up in 2022, especially as holistic health trends does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. 





Pricing of an Artwork

One of the most important challenges for artists to sell their artwork is pricing their artworks. Any artist for pricing should be able to answer these two questions: 

How to value the artwork? 

Why does she chose this pricing method? 

Therefore, it is essential to follow the principles and procedures of the pricing process.

If you are among those who are new to the art sales market, then some basic pricing methods for artwork are outlined below.

1. Compare the price of your work with the price of works by other artists.

Find out in the art market or online sales sites for artworks at the same price and compare your works as they are. Note: When comparing works, pay attention to factors such as the size, shape, materials and achievements of artists such as awards, venues, press, media, etc., as these affect the pricing. Do not forget to search for the sold art only and compare with your works and avoid comparing the artwork still not sold.

2- Look at factors like time, energy spent on materials and cost.

Consider various factors such as time, energy, and the cost of materials used when pricing. Calculate the time taken to create the effect, consider a reasonable price for each hour and add it to the price of the materials used. If you want to sell your work on several channels or in different ways, note that the price of the work should be the same across all channels. Also, proportionality in pricing must be respected, for example, the larger effects should have a higher price than smaller ones. Try to have diverse works with a wide range of prices, as if one could not buy a great work, it could produce a lower-cost product. You can always increase your prices for solid reasons when you sell a few works. It is better to record the total sales and the price of each sale. Selling the effect at a lower price is better than not selling because of the high price. In addition, selling at a lower price at the start of your work will make your works visible and earn a reputation. At the time of sale, the artist is responsible for packing artwork for delivery and shipping. So the cost of packaging material should also be included in the price.

3. Consider the cost of packaging very large.

It may be necessary to use a wooden box for larger artworks. So if for professional Artwork, boxing was needed, it might cost up to $ 50. In such cases, it is better to first estimate the total cost of packaging, and then add it to your total cost when pricing your work.

How to Price Technology?

Companies that have succeeded in marketing believe that the final stage of the transformation in the marketing mix, which can change the conditions for you, is product pricing. The reason for this is very clear. The supply price is equivalent to all costs, including production and product development, management, distribution, and advertising. Of course, the strategy of a company requires that a particular product be offered in a particular market for a certain amount of time at a price below the price that it would certainly not end up with. The price plays a key role not only in profitability but also in sales volumes and market share.

Sometimes one percent of the price increase can be up to 50 percent for a company to profitably. Especially for companies with a low profit margin, such as computer companies, smart pricing is a secret of survival and success. At the same time, price changes after the pricing are difficult, dangerous, and almost all customers have no realistic understanding of price fluctuations. After pricing, customers consider the price increase to be unaffordable and, on the other hand, the price drop has a negative impact on the value of the product and may reduce the share, market share, and profitability.

Therefore, it can be said that price is an important part of the marketing strategy. In addition, the price is an essential element of the transaction between the company and the customers, and sometimes it is the only factor for decision making to buy a product. Correct pricing in technology products is usually not easy. The physical part of products has high prices. For example, the average cost per kilogram of materials in making the satellites is 20,000 times the value of one kilogram of material in the construction of the building and 2000 times the value of one kilogram of material in the making the car, which is why the prices are barely set by market agents. The statistics show that in pricing these products typically in each case 50% of executives, 40% of sales executives, 30% of pricing committees and 20% of marketing directors are involved. In a world where products and the competitive position of companies are changing rapidly, managers need to know how to adapt themselves to different circumstances. They first determine the price based on commonly used pricing models based on all the necessary parameters and then improving it by using policy frameworks, company and market constraints. After choosing and fixing the right price, all behaviors of competitors, customers, and market agents are anticipated.

This policy can vary depending on the source of income. For example, a hardware device, a computer or a satellite can be sold directly, on the other hand, it can be rented. But in the case of software or some technologies, the story is a bit different. For a group of these products, licenses are issued and sold. This subscription is a password that has an expiration date and usage that is subject to that as well as the amount of access priced. In these cases, all sources of money will be affected and priced. Supply and demand are one of the major drivers of dynamic prices, and companies are careful to keep things in check. The price of a product always fluctuates between the two upper and lower points. Price ceiling and floor price. The price ceiling is the price that your customers will not be willing to pay more for your product. You may produce a product that the market does not stretch, and it is precisely for this reason that many ideas will never be commercialized. The price of the ceiling is determined by the market and determined by the price elasticity of the demand in the target market. However, this number may also affect production processes and create changes in production. The floor price is primarily determined by the manufacturer and is specifically calculated on the basis of costs.

Finally, only after the product is sold, we can have the right comment about its pricing. Companies often change prices after sales. As prices go up, customers are forced and in spite of their intrinsic desires, and as the price rises, the number of customers drops rapidly. Price reduction also has its own consequences. Reducing the price avoids the company from its slogans. But often the price reduction with the policy of increasing the volume of sales is synchronized, and companies, prefer greater volumes to unit profits for different reasons. Do not forget, it’s not always a low price or discounts policies that the manufacturer has as his main weapon. Instead, sometimes by raising the price, you show the higher level of quality and performance than your rivals. It’s just the example of Apple’s approach, and because of that, it displays the quality and innovation of its products against its The physical. This method was proposed by Steve Jobs, who extracted it from a successful model of B.M.W products. 

A Look Back

Gone With the Wind (1939), considered one of the greatest movies of all time. It is the highest grossing film of all time. Why am I saying that when headlines are splashed with Avengers Endgame pushing to supposedly get there against Avatar (2009)? And what does this have anything to do with International Marketing?

First, the reason why Gone with the Wind is still number one, and Avatar and Endgame are far from it is inflation. This is due to inflation. When looking at how much the dollar was worth in 1939, what it could buy you, and if invested what it could become the amount of money the Gone with the Wind made in 1939 far exceeds Endgame’s dollar buying power amount now. In fact, Endgame is currently at about $2.2 billion worldwide: it would still have to earn over $1.4 billion more to try and catch up with Gone. Most people don’t know this. This is because when they are referring to these records, they are not adjusting for inflation.

Which brings us to the first reason this has to do with international marketing. To get publicity, show its success, and get more people to want to go see it records help do that. Now you have tons of ways to try and show “records” such as opening weekend, first day, presales, domestic, international, global, whatever week of the year it is released, holiday, first 10, 21, 30 days, etc. The list goes on and on. Therefore, they usually don’t mention inflation.

Next, Gone with the Wind also came out in a different era. Movies back then were not “blockbusters” like they are today, where they are released around the country simultaneously and internationally within a matter of weeks (typically). Before the 1970’s and movies like The Godfather (1972) movies were released slowly and worked their way across the country and world going from town to town and spreading more by word of mouth. A movie could be in the theaters for a lot longer but moved through town and then on to the next.

Gone is also unique to movies today because it is split down the middle 50/50 domestic and foreign box office sales. Endgame is closer to 30/70, and this isn’t unusual. So, to say that Gone did better internationally than Endgame is not a lie either.

So, with the everchanging release of movies, the amount people go to the theater, and what movies are made the numbers will change as well. Will anyone ever beat the box office of Gone? I don’t know. Maybe. I am curious to see it. It will take a feat of worldwide marketing power and sustained box office draw to do it. Marvel looks like it will come closer than anyone else with Endgame. If this one doesn’t do it, Marvel says that bigger movies are being planned to come out down the road. Maybe it will be one of them.

Why Starbucks​ retreated from Australi​a

When Starbucks was setting up shops in Australia, it had a long list of massive expectations. Any random person can tell why Starbucks’ massive aspiration endured a turn in tables. When ordering for coffee, Australians expect a delicious creamy latte or long black coffee, not a significantly flavored swill. 

While Starbucks café resides in almost every part of the world, the numbers are quite small in its home country, Australia. The reason is that the company endured a closure of over 70 percent stores within the underperforming regions, remaining with only 23 stores in entire Australia. The company began its official operation in 2000 and created up to 90 locations as of 2008. Its fast growth was directly un-proportional to its popularity growth- an element which serves as a sole determinant of business survival in the market.

Even though the fact is that Aussies palate produces a more refined coffee compared to the genre that States offer, a series of strictly business kerfuffles existed on the part of Starbucks. According to the Bookers article of “Why Starbucks failed in Australia,” a Gartner research analyst asserted that Starbucks launched its brand too rapidly before granting Australian consumers, the opportunity to build an appetite or the brand in Starbucks. 

The company also expanded to regional areas, which were majorly outer suburbs within the major cities, making the brand to be too available. The YouTube video on “Why Starbucks failed…” asserted that Starbucks possessed 87 stores in Australia, which did not last for long. The first years of Starbucks swam in a pool of massive loans that totaled up to $54 Million. In 2008, the firm faced challenging times in the economic age of 2008. This led to the closure of 600 U.S stores within the same year. 

The fact that Starbucks did not satisfy the Australian taste was also a major setback for the growth of the café company. Starbuck was a sweeter coffee option compared to the native coffee taste which had won the preference margin of Australians in a long time. Within the first seven years of thriving in the Australian land, Starbucks had accumulated a loss of $105million.  Moreover, the company charged more compared to local coffee in Australia. 

The already thriving culture of coffee in Australia also served as a challenge to the brand in America. According to Turner (2018), the café industry of Australia was projected to expand its revenue base to over $6 billion in revenue as of 2018. The phenomenon does not come as a surprise, as Australia has a strong support of café consumption in the mills since the 1900s. When the Greek and Italian immigrants came to the continent, Australian’s were immediately introduced to the flat white- an essential ingredient of Aussie favorite which was termed the espresso.

Despite accruing such a massive challenge, Starbuck has never given up anytime soon. The company has begun to reopen its locations, though moderately. The company’s stores are still available in most capital cities, as they appear to be successful in their endeavors. Starbuck still boasts of possessing 39 locations in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, and Brisbane areas, which caters for the interest of tourists who visit the regions. However, their giant dream of possessing at least one store within the streets of U.S beverage appears to be long gone.