Weekend rollade

Okay, for this week, I’ve talked about experimental and hypocrisy marketing. Experimental marketing is actually something to be expected these days, especially because of a rapid change in our social culture condition. Yamaha reposition Mio from a scooter for woman to a scooter for man is not something new in the world of marketing. Marlboro for example, it was first designated as a cigarette for woman, but what do we see now about Marlboro advertisement? Well, I guess you cannot associate cowboys and the plains with the elegance and beauty of the woman kind.

Will Honda follow Yamaha footstep and change Vario’s positioning like Mio? It is very likely, Honda and Yamaha are both the number one and two motorcycle player in Indonesia, and they fiercely fight for the number one spot. Although the current market is held by Honda, in February, they lost the number one title to Yamaha. At least it should be a wake up slap for Honda to not just sit idly and expect their brand to help along.

Hypocrisy marketing is actually not called that way; it is just good old plain maintaining good media relationship. When you maintain a good media relationship, most often than not, when you have a bad product that is reviewed by the media, the media would soften the blow in their respective review. A disreputable media might say only good things about your product, even if you are selling a stale dog poo, when you have good standings with them. But not all media are bastards, some have integrities, but some you can buy it straight out of the box.

Be warned though, when you meet a bastard media, which is trying to sweet talk their way to write good things about your products… Stop. When people knows what kind of a media that was, your product and brand image might falls down with them. It’s a bit of a gamble, but if a media looses its credibility, so does the product reviewed in it. This kind of media sometimes just wanted to get you to put advertisement on their media as sign of thanks for writing a good product review.

So, have a nice weekend, and next week… Arsenal approach and COMEBACK MARKETING… When will I stop using this corny term…

BTW, perhaps I’m gonna change the visual theme of this blog next week, I’ve received emails that my blog was heavy to load with all of those Fit pictures. Perhaps I’m going to make a short article with a link somewhat…

Hypocrisy marketing, the worst kind…

Well, it’s not enough that I coin up the experimental marketing term, I came up with another silly one. Hypocrisy marketing… What is that? Well in this world of mass media, sometimes it is good to have a good standing with the media. So what does having a good media relationship got to do with marketing at all? Well first of all, the media is a third party, meaning that people often believe third, fourth, fifth, and so on party better than the first party… Confused? Well, so do I.

First party off course is the brand principle itself, by doing marketing effort, it is trying to portray a good image of itself and are trying to sell something to the audience. The second party is a brand ambassador, a person which the principle uses as a medium to sell more products because usually people are suckers for believing other people than the principle itself. However, even though people are suckers for this kind of things, they are not stupid either. Off course, people recognized the brand ambassador has connection with the principle and thus his/her arguments are not valid enough to push sales more. However, a third party, or usually the media, are portrayed as independent, therefore more believable than first or second party.

Case in point, which would you believe, your friend or a stranger talking on the television? Well, I’ll be damn if you believe straightaway some stranger talking on the media; just like that college professor who got swindled by a scam, and he lost US$140K because of it. People lies, and marketers are the worst kind of liars, but off course out of self defense they will say not saying the truth is not lying… But still, for me, not telling the truth = lying. So psychologically, people will resort to whomever the closest person for telling the truth, for a second opinion. But in the professional world, can we rely on just friends? Because the more source of information we use, the valid the data is (according to statistic).

The media is the best third party medium around that displays non sided news, or is it? Well, this is where hypocrisy marketing came in and blows some dirt on to the media itself. Good media relationship, is just that, to garner favorable write up from the journalist/editor which the principle chooses to befriend with. When your product is a bad, without good media relationship, your product is bad, period. But if you have a good relationship with the media, your bad product suddenly became something like… A jewel in the rough, or unpolished gem stone, or it could be better in the future, any phrase that softens the blow to the product itself.

Just like a news, when a principle does not have a good media relationship and there’s a horrible accident, most often the principle will be at blamed. For example, when Suzuki launches SX-4 in Indonesia, there are 2(two) units that tumbles upside down because of a driver error. How the hell it did not get into the news is beyond me, really… There are multiple cameras and I believe the event was filmed by a local news channel.

Does the above example indicates good media relationship? I do not know personally. But good media relationship can be seen most often on an IT/end-user products magazine. The reviewers/editors are often invited to lavish lunch/dinner/any occasion to win the favor for their particular brand. Some marketing staffs are even assigned specifically to the media to maintain good relationship, with unlimited budget to “entertain” the media staff to garner favorable reviews.

This kind of act really disgust me… If you have a good product, why would you need to even go far to have a good media relation? A good media relation is important, but in my lifetime I had saw disgusting practices done by the principles to “entertain” the media so lavishly, the media staffs always says nice words for the brand principle and say otherwise to their competitors.

I am no saint, I am a sinner, but assigning marketing effort to buy a review is just beyond me.

 Whew… Wow, I really did blow some steam away… It seems that I’m a bit upset about everything… Well, I try to make the entry more make sense sometimes this weekend if I’m cool enough.

Performance appraisal… Part deux

Looking at my blog stats, it seems that performance appraisal is the most searched term on the internet. In that sense, I’m going to explain more in a simpler term on how to appraise people without causing jealousy to other employees.

As I have stated in my previous post down there, replying to Adi on how to appraise people without causing jealousy to others, it is quite difficult to do so. To acknwledge different culture in different individuals will cause massive human resource headache, as they cannot follow each and every individuals working in the company. Therefore, we only have to follow suit management by objective as has been stated by Peter Drucker. Using MBO, the employer and employee, or to the operational level, each managerial and employee personnel understands what are the cause and effect of increased or decreased productivity.

MBO in a simpler term defines that each personnel understands and signed a contractual agreements that underlines performance appraisal. By doing that, one could not be jealous to their comrades if promoted because they mutually understand and agreed what defines a good performance appraisal. With this in mind, you won’t have to fuss about the workers are easterners or westerners when doing a performance appraisal… You only need to show them the rules that they agreed upon.

If one still jealous to whomever being promoted/rewarded for good performance, then that individual is not a team player and did not have the capability to understands a contractual agreement… Will you still keep him? I won’t.

Experimental marketing (image repositioning)… Get used to it

Let’s start this week with something to think about untill the weekend… I think I’m going to make this as a feature, start an interesting topic which I will think about and answer at the end of the week… Not bad…

Okay, let’s talk about experimental marketing, what the hell that is all about? Everybody knows about experiential marketing, but what about experimental marketing or EM to make things simpler. Well, EM is everything that revolves around continual changes of marketing concept, a sign of rushed or reckless planning, something we got used to in developing countries, or in this case, Indonesia. Usually, when a marketer set tone and manner and the image positioning, it usually already set and written in stone (unchanged). But sometimes due to poor marketing research, a change of mindset in the society, a change in company’s goal and everything in between, an initial positioning of a product or brand may change down the line.

Want proof? “Yamaha Mio Soul, the soul of man”

When Yamaha launch Mio, an automatic scooter in Indonesia, it positions the product as a vehicle for woman. Yamaha did their homework very fine, applying what they got from market research that Indonesians, especially the male gender prefers manual gearbox for their motorcycle. Boys will be boys some say, and boys love to drives fast, and you can not do it on an automatic scooter, for obvious technical reasons. Yamaha captures that essence and apply it to the first generation of Yamaha Mio, positioning it as a “civilized” motorcycle that woman could appreciate.

But what do you know? Those who buys Mio are males… The same male gender that prefers fast bikes rather than the slow automatic scooters. How could this be? Well, Yamaha did a very heavy marketing campaign for the bike, buying a 30 minute slot on one of Indonesia’s leading news channel, and make a show based on that scooter alone. The show was crazy to say the least, and I give my two thumbs up to whoever proposed it. On the show, the scooter was used in a variety of interesting conditions, acrobats, drag racing against a turbocharged car, fan club interview, design contests and everything.

The result? Well, you can say Honda and Suzuki are hoping that at least half of Yamaha Mio buyers are theirs. Honda and Suzuki sucks at marketing (the bikes)… Compared to Yamaha, they are like sitting still, well you can gives a hat’s up to Honda because they can cling to their brand image, but what about Suzuki? Suzuki needs to follow Yamaha if they want to improve the market share.

Coming back to experimental marketing, we now see that Yamaha is indeed positions the new Mio as a vehicle for man, no longer a woman motorcycle. One TV spot I saw about the new Mio is that it is depicted as an aggressive vehicle, driven in a sandy desert situation, avoiding obstacles with ease. On the background you can notice a woman singing in a sensual voice saying “My Soul, My Man” Or something like that, if not my soul, she may also says mio soul (mio and my sounds similar). The change of positioning here is as clear as day and night, and it shows that Yamaha reacts to a change of people’s perception against automatic scooter.

Although the term that I used, experimental marketing might not be proper to be used in the situation of Yamaha Mio, I define that a change of image positioning in just a short time as a sign that the marketing plan for it is not set in stones, that means it is experimental. For example, Honda Life (www.honda.co.jp/LIFE) positioning has always been as a car for woman from the get go, even the highest trim of the car is called Honda Life Diva…D’oh.

So experimental marketing, or with the example I’ve written above, changing image positioning is quite normal nowadays, especially with the constant change of people. Like a classic sociology definition of humans, “we are finite and creative” therefore, what works for us today, might not work for us tomorrow.

Here comes the new Fit… For sure :)

Heh… It looks my previous post speaks volume, it is the new Fit/Jazz, so here goes another set of PR photos from Honda, leaked from a Japanese website.

Here’s the front side and back side profile of the new Fit RS, the cheaper version make do without side skirts, aggressive bumpers and side mirror mounted turning signal.

Click on to read more…

Continue reading

Let’s talk about Honda’s new Fit

Well, according to Temple Of VTEC, these are what the next Fit/Jazz looks like
New Fit RS

New Fit G & L

power figure

And this one that I particularly like… VERY MUCH!

Fit RS skyroof
Well, these pictures are “supposed” to be taken straight from Honda’s very own brand new catalogue because the car will be unveiled sometimes next month… Or at the very least, early 4Q. There doesn’t seem any credibility, but who in this crazy world would somebody go out on a limb to create a fake physical catalogue and post it around the net? Well… In this day of age, everybody would.

But I believe that this is the new Fit, if I’m mistaken, what can you do anyway 🙂

Okay, let’s get dirty on this baby. First of all, there will be three classes, G, L and RS with differing trim levels especially for G and L, and a peppy engine for the RS. The G and L will be powered by an interesting 1.3L engine that produces 100ps, and I’ll divulge later on what makes it interesting. The RS will be Honda most powerfull city car with an astounding 120ps engine, the most powerful engine on its class available today in Japan. What makes the 1.3L engine interesting is that, from the torque graph, it is very apparent that this is in fact an i-DSI engine, the same engine that powers the last generation Fit. The i-DSI engine is quite unique because it uses two sparkplugs in one chamber, making the air fuel mixture inside the engine chamber exploded twice in short order. This have the effect of spontaneously ignites the mixture and any left over gasses into a complete burn, giving up almost complete combustion and thus, instant power. The result? Maximum torque achieved as early as 2800 RPM, very diesel like. However, like any early torque engines, usually peak power (torque x engine rotation) came up short… Well, just like diesel engines, therefore the old Fit/Jazz 1.3L engine only produces about 86-88ps of power. So how can the new engine which is based off the old engine gets an extra 12ps of boost? Simple, Honda pull out a VTEC. VTEC is the magic of automotive industry, Honda unveils it as one of automotive wonder in the world back in 1989 (Integra anybody?) as a way to introduce an engine that revs hard giving high power, but when driven at steady pace, it returns a low consumption of fuel… Err, I think you can find more about VTEC on the net, I’m not good at writing long and indepth technical stuff.

The new engine is endowed with VTEC head, so the dual spark produce high torque at low RPM, but when you hit the gas, the variable cam kicks into high gear and revs the engine more, producing more power that way. To tell you the truth, I think Honda is pulling our leg here… I mean, they are the variable cam master, they invented VTEC, why can’t Honda introduce this engine back on the last gen Fit? This is crazy I tell you, fuel consumption is unchanged from last generation but power gone up exponentially.

The 120ps engine is… Well, not surprised here. From the overlapping graph of the going engine, it seems that Honda re-chip the current generation 1.5L VTEC and put up an “i” acronym in front of the VTEC… LAME… I may be wrong though. People speculates that i-VTEC on the Fit RS is in fact a 1.5L version of the R-series engine that can be found on the Civic, Stream and CR-V. If that’s the case, Honda is very much sandbagging here, as one can roughly estimates a 1.5L version of the R-series could go 125ps easy, considering that 1.8L Civic produces 140ps.

Ow, almost forgot, the yellow Fit that I like, it has a skyroof option installed, just like Airwave or Civic Euro… Damn, if not for the tropical weather I have here in my country, that yellow Fit will be my dream car.

I may be wrong, I may be right, drop a line or two and I’ll update as necessary.

Please help me decipher this code

For me, the difference of good ad and bad ad is the message contained in that ad. A clear ad conveys its message elegantly with a good flow of information. On the other hand, bad ad confuses you with garbage and illogical information. I may be harsh towards this particular print ad, but please, please, please, please, if somebody can explain to me what the meaning of this print ad then by all means, tell me, and I will change my negative tone towards this ad.

Bad ad

Loosely translated, the headline says “Experience richer internet browsing with Nokia N71”

  • Revolutionary web browsing experience on 3G network
  • Hear music on the go with Nokia XpressMusic
  • 2 Megapixel camera with 20x digital zoom and flash
  • Print and share every photo detail
  • Clear and magnificient 2.4″ screen

What’s 2 Megapixel camera, hearing music, printing photos, and the girl picture on the left got to do with richer internet browsing??!!! This ad is just wrong, the messages are convulated and the visual/copy integration is waaaaaaaaayyyy off. Unless, the girl is actually the internet itself, you know, like Matrix. Or probably, her name is Internet. It is quite strange because other Nokia print ad on my local newspaper is quite good except this one.

I don’t like spewing bull crap out of my mouth these days… So instead just criticizing an ad from my experience, I too will criticize ad with a theory back crap.For this entry I will base my comments on just one book, “the bible” of advertising theory, Advertising: Principles and Practice, written by William Wells, John Burnett, and Sandra Moriarty which is published by Prentice Hall.

It is written on page 408 that a good visual in essence are to capture the attention the intended reader AND to illustrate the benefit of the product or service. So the Nokia ad definitely caught my attention outright the first time I opened the newspaper, and that means it’s a good print ad, technically. But visually, does it convey or illustrate the benefit of the product? Or even in broader scale, the brand? Definitely not. What benefit does the girl head illustrate? Pretty? Umm… Ummm… Ummm… No comment about that.