This is an interesting piece of video from the BBC. Back in the 80s who would have thought that Skoda would rock in at no3 (tied with Jaguar) in a survey of cars, just behind Lexus and Honda.
In fairness this is as much a manufacturing turnaround as a marketing one, but it is the marketing that interests me at the moment.
The re-branding of Skoda provides a useful case study of the challenges faced by brands wishing to reposition themselves. Remember the Skoda jokes?
- What do you call a Skoda with a sun-roof? Answer: A skip.
- Why does a Skoda have a heated rear windscreen? Answer: To keep your hands warm when you push it
- What do you call a Skoda with twin exhaust pipes? Answer: A wheelbarrow
Critics of the Skoda would be surprised to hear the Skoda is now one of the fastest-growing car brands in the UK motor industry. The Czech car company boosted its sales in the UK in 2001 by 24% as opposed to the average market growth of 10.7%. This built on growth of 34% in 2000. How has this been achieved?
One cannot help thinking that we may have already seen the peak of the credit card market. Prepaid cards, debit cards and the likes of PayPal are steadily gaining market share and if the faithful credit card loses some more of their allure the trend may continue.
Has the recession affected the sale of live music? Are ticket sales down? There are mixed messages in this good BBC article and with comments from Phil Collins, Paloma Faith, Mick Jones, Mark King, Rick Parfitt and Midge Ure there are some interesting quotes.
The article lacks any real conclusion and there is no real data. The thing of note to me is how similar the marketing of live music is to the marketing of other consumer products.
Is Lord Digby Jones right when he says, “The last thing in the world we need is the younger generation thinking they don’t have to work.”
Well, of course I agree with the above raw statement. But in context, on the BBC website, he seems to make the link from Glaceau Vitamin Water consumers to young people to days off sick. Now that seems a bit unfair to me.
Anyway, my experience is that questionable employee sickness is not the preserve of any particular age group.
Of course a major part of the BBC news item was Digby Jones moaning about Coke’s use of humour in advertising. Personally I think we need more Coke humour and less Digby Jones concern.
But the great thing about it all is we are allowed our opinion. In fact I’ve been out to vote today as part of my democratic rights. Marvellous.
Waldfogel’s surveys have asked people how much they would have paid for gifts had they not received the items. The average the recipient would have paid comes out at nearly 20% less than was actually paid. This results in a global loss of value of some £15bn, yes billion, pounds.
According to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the “median” gross annual earnings in the UK are £20,801. If you are earning that sum a year it means that half the surveyed working population earns less than you and half more.
The BBC analysis of the ASHE survey shows that the top 25% of people have a gross annual salary of £31,759. The top 10% is from £44,881 and a gross annual salary of £58,917 gets you into the top 5%.
I was listening to Radio 4 this morning and there was an interesting item about how our children are brought up.
The aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults is now the greatest threat to British children, a major independent report on childhood says.
The report, called The Good Childhood Inquiry and commissioned by the Children’s Society, concludes that children’s lives in Britain have become “more difficult than in the past”, adding that “more young people are anxious and troubled”.
According to the panel, “excessive individualism” is to blame for many of the problems children face and needs to be replaced by a value system where people seek satisfaction more from helping others rather than pursuing private advantage.
My point of raising it here is the effect that a good interviewee can have with well chosen words. It is rare that I remember exact phrases hours after the event. But this morning a man used these three phrses in his responses:
1. The third parent, the television.
2. Day orphanages (meaning nurseries).
3. Confusing pleasure with happiness.
All of them are short and snappy but carry a bit of an emotional message. A very effective technique if you want to get people to understand your message.
On a personal note, it got me thinking: our television is not a replacemenent parent; the nursery we used to use was an introduction to all manner of great things; aren’t pleasure and happiness often the same thing?