JJ’s Moscow Yule cocktail

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See in Christmas with JJ’s fabulous Moscow Yule cocktail!

2oz apple vodka
2oz lime juice
6-8oz good quality cloudy ginger beer
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch brown sugar

Mix ingredients in a highball with ice.

Enjoy!

Brand extension vs. product extension

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Ferrari store, Rio

 

By extending branding to new spin-off products, companies such as Ferrari have managed to almost double their annual revenue. The concept makes sense; building a brand is a costly affair, so once that brand is established, why not use its influence to exploit other markets? You need only look at the likes of Richard Branson and Virgin Airlines / Wines / Media / Mobile / Holiday / Galactic etc to see how successful brand extension can really be.

Product extension, like brand extension, aims to leverage brand equity, although in this case it’s to gain a bigger chunk of the market you’re already in rather than to branch out into new markets altogether. In many cases this could be a safer bet – MINI played a masterstroke when it introduced its bigger models, the Clubman and the Countryman. Although MINI-purists may have baulked at the not-so-mini MINIs, it opened up the brand as a practical possibility to families; and how the mums of Surrey did flock to their local dealerships, now able to tote little Oscar to school in style. 

All this paints a rosy picture, yet brand extension and product extension can have their pitfalls. The Aston Martin Cygnet was without doubt the most contradictory product launch of 2011, and it remains a contentious example of product extension. This souped-up Toyota iQ cost £31,000 new and when it was released in 2011 sales were slow. 

The Cygnet wasn’t a terrible car in itself. In fact, despite its hefty price tag it received glowing reviews from some sides, but regardless of how successfully it was pulled off, it was fundamentally incompatible with the Aston Martin brand. The runt of the Aston litter, it’s a little bit cramped, a little bit slow and seems to go against most of what Aston Martin stands for. But the most telling fact of all is that despite many recent 13-plate Fiesta spots which could be mistaken for a Cygnet at first glance, I’ve only ever seen two of the real things on the road.

Brand extension and product extension both hold opportunities for leverage of brand equity, but your brand may be one of the most powerful assets you have, so be sure you’re not damaging it in the process.

Fresh off the Vine

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For those of you unaware, Vine is Twitter’s new micro-video sharing service. Released in January this year, the mobile app enables users to create and post short video clips, using the camera on their mobile phone. Clips, which have a maximum length of six seconds and are automatically looped, can then be shared with other Vine users and embedded within tweets. 

Currently available on the iPhone and iPod Touch, the free app is essentially a video version of photo sharing and social networking service Instagram, which allows users to apply digital filters to their photos, before sharing them on a range of social platforms.  

Once logged in to the Vine app, users are able to create stop motion style videos by simply holding their finger against the screen to record, and removing it to pause. This can be repeated as many times as desired, until the six second allowance of footage is reached. While six seconds doesn’t sound particularly extensive, it’s surprising just how effective some videos can be. 

A number of big brands have been quick to embrace Vine, taking advantage of the service as an exciting new way of engaging with their followers. Notable contributions to date include those from General Electric, GAP, Cadbury and Schuh. Whether showcasing new products, raising a brand’s profile or driving engagement, Vine is already being used to great effect; across a diverse range of sectors. 

Interesting examples include the ASOS’ ‘Unbox’ hashtag (#ASOSUnbox), in which followers are encouraged to submit their own Vine clips, showing them opening an ASOS order for a chance to win a prize. Similarly, a recent American Airlines competition gave people the chance to win a return flight from London to Dallas-Fort Worth, by submitting a Vine video telling them why they deserved to win. 

Despite still being in its infancy, and not without its limitations, Vine has already proven it has the potential to become an integral part of a brand’s social media strategy.

One site fits all

There are many factors to consider when creating a website. Not only should it be well-designed and easy to use, it is also important to anticipate how the site will look when opened on the multitude of devices and platforms currently in use. 

Statistics have highlighted a dramatic shift in the way audiences access content. It is predicted that by 2014, more people will access websites from their phone than from their desktop*. Statistics have also shown that sales of tablets are significantly increasing; growing 378% year on year**. With this in mind, there has never been a more important time to consider multi-platform functionality.

With a greater number of platforms and devices available than ever before, how can you make sure that your website won’t look like a dog’s dinner when it’s opened on something other than a desktop browser? The answer is responsive website design. 

Responsive website design uses ‘media queries’ to adapt a webpage to the resolution of the device that it’s being viewed on. This is achieved by utilising ‘fluid proportion-based grids’ and flexible images that move and reconfigure to optimise a site’s appearance and its functionality. 

The adaptable nature of a responsive design negates the need for multiple versions of a website and ensures the best possible user experience. Whereas typically, you would have two versions of website, a desktop site and a mobile site: responsive web designs only require the creation of one website, which simply reformats itself to appear on whatever device or platform that it’s opened on.

Responsive website designs provide a solution to a market that is constantly evolving. Failure to address how a website will adapt to different devices often results in users having to adapt themselves, leaving them frustrated and less receptive to a site’s content. 

* Mobile internet report – Morgan Stanley (Mary Meeker)

** GPMD

Christmas through the ages…

Following a conversation in the JJ office about what Christmas means to us, we thought it would be interesting to find out how perceptions of Christmas vary between different generations. With an age gap of over 40 years, we asked fresh faced Kate Fallon and slightly less fresh faced (!) Andrew Andersz to share with us what Christmas means to them. 

Andrew: 

I remember when Christmas was black and white, you had to buy presents in real shops, everyone ate a turkey and the real pleasure was in receiving presents. Now the pleasure comes from giving presents. Strange how the presents I buy are so varied but I only get socks, slippers and shirts. We stay at home and the focus is on immediate family and especially our four year old granddaughter who thinks I am a horse, or sometimes a dog! 

Kate:

For me Christmas isn’t about getting presents (although I wouldn’t say no to a Mulberry bag). It’s about watching repeats on TV and seeing just how early I can get away with eating pigs in blankets, which if I had my way would be eaten year-round. It’s about wearing stupid jumpers and doing all my Dad’s Christmas shopping for my Mum in secret on Christmas Eve, as if she doesn’t know he had nothing to do with it. It’s about drinks with friends and grandparents asking me if I’ve ‘found a nice boy yet?’ But most of all it’s about family and making the time to see them.

JJ’s favourite Christmas ads

The battle of the Christmas advert is big business, with most major retailers having a crack at creating something special that will capture the nation’s imagination. Whether you love or hate them (or couldn’t care less!), Christmas adverts are eagerly awaited by many in the run-up to Christmas. For some, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without seeing an endless chain of Coca-Cola HGVs descending on a poor, unsuspecting village in the middle of the night… 

The power of an effective Christmas ad mustn’t be overlooked. A recent survey carried out by Netmums found that 83% of families look forward to the influx of festive ads during the Christmas period. The study also found that almost a quarter of families get gift ideas from adverts and one in five change where they shop as a result.

With less than seven windows left to open on the advent calendar, we thought it would be a fitting time to ask the JJ team about some of their all-time favourites… In no particular order:

John Lewis - ‘Gifts you can’t wait to give’ (2011)

JJ’s Kate Fallon bawling like a newborn each time she watches the advert is surely testament to its effectiveness!

Coca-Cola - ‘Christmas trucks’ (1995)

A perhaps slightly clichéd addition to the list, but the longevity and popularity of the ad sets the bar for any Christmas campaign.

John Lewis - ‘The Journey’ (2012) 

A second entry for John Lewis, the ‘Snowman Journey’ ad is already an all-time classic for many.

Irn Bru - ‘Snowman’ (2006)

Staying with the Snowman theme, Irn Bru’s humorous take on the phenomenally popular animated classic made its way on to most people’s favourites list.

Food Standards Agency - ‘Turkey Tussle’ (2009)

A highly amusing visual metaphor for a highly unamusing Christmas problem! 

Sorry is the hardest word

Sorry seems to be the hardest word when faced with a crisis, yet saying sorry early on can diffuse the crisis and allow the company to regain control of the situation. However, it seems many corporate cultures do not even wish to acknowledge the existence of the word. 

Crisis management communications training recommends the use of the three Rs – Regret, Reason and Remedy – early in a crisis to contain that crisis. If senior executives of Starbucks had apologised and outlined what had happened, then the fallout from corporation tax avoidance could have been minimised. 

Starbucks subsequent decision to commit to paying £10 million each year for the next two years was driven more by the threat of lost customers and an increasingly tarnished image than any rediscovery of its corporate social responsibility.

But saying sorry is easier said than done. The risk of admitting to corporate culpability and the threat of law suits are effective deterrents with often very severe financial implications. It is a brave CEO who stands up and admits responsibility for corporate errors or misconduct. 

The three Rs can apply to any crisis, corporate or personal, and while it may take courage and confidence to do so, the benefits to image and reputation usually outweigh the risks.

Push and pull automotive marketing

Push and pull is a term often used in the world of marketing, but how many people outside of the industry actually know what it means?

•    Push marketing is when you use various communications to get your message in front of your target audience; controlling what the message is, and how, where and when it is seen.

•    Pull marketing is about becoming part of your customers’ community, giving them reasons to voluntarily engage and draw you into their personal media experiences. You’re not interrupting them – they are voluntarily opting in.

Put simply, push marketing is a bazooka; blasting out the sort of content we may choose to fast-forward on Sky+. Pull marketing is the well-baited hook; the stuff that we share on Facebook and email to our friends. Marketing has always involved both, and always should, but the emphasis is now increasingly on pull.

To put this in an automotive marketing context, push is the loud-mouthed car salesman who talks at you and tells you to ‘buy this car now!’ Pull is the subtle advert that inspires and, in turn, creates demand.

Pull marketing empowers consumers, widens desires and reduces brand snobbery. To be fully effective, it is essential that consumers receive information that is relevant, informative and accessible. In today’s competitive market, consumers have more choice than ever before. Sometimes the overwhelming choice is so powerful we would prefer to make no decision at all. But choice is good, so long as it’s edited, navigable and categorised. Consumers need assistance to navigate the ever blurring sectors and sub sectors of the market. Whether through social media, online or more traditional methods, automotive marketers need to engage with consumers and join their communities – helping them to make effective and informed choices.

PR measurement - size DOESN’T matter!

It’s natural to quantify things only in terms of amplitude. How big is it? How long is it? How wide? How heavy? Human nature is biased towards size but this is very one-dimensional. A Hummer is bigger than a MINI but does it make it better?

PR has long been guilty of this same bias with Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) prominence as the industry standard in quantitative metrics. But the key issue lies in the misplaced assumption that the job of PR is to get media coverage when its real role is to influence and change the behaviour of consumers and stakeholders. In this context volume metrics alone don’t tell you all that much. They don’t tell you whether your program is delivering the right message, or if it’s attracting the right kind of audience, or if it’s compelling anyone to action.

It’s now possible to measure not only if people saw your content – but also whether they shared it socially. Tools make it possible to track every click a communications program inspires. Monitoring services can automatically rate the sentiment of reactions to your communications and analytics platforms even enable you to count conversions– so you can tell whether your campaign is inspiring the actions that represent the outcome goals of a program.

In today’s world where conversation is king, it’s critical that evaluation is personalised and tailored to individual campaigns and clients. This is why JJ takes a more comprehensive approach to measurement, focusing on output, outcome and out-take.

JJ’s favourite mobile apps

Following the launch of the iPhone 5 on Wednesday, we thought it would be a fitting time to ask the JJ team about some of their favourite mobile apps.

In no particular order:

•    Shazam (Free)

Enables users to identify pieces of music using their phone’s inbuilt microphone. Creates a ten-second sample of the music being played and cross references it with a database to find a match. Excellent for discovering new music.

•    MapMyRun (Free)

Allows users to search, record and store routes. Share your achievements with friends via social media platforms (inadvisable if you don’t make it past the end of the street).

•    Smart Sync (Free)

Syncs with Facebook to import pictures and information from friends’ accounts to your phone.

•    0800 Wizard (Free)

Sidesteps the costs incurred by calling 0800 numbers from your mobile by diverting calls across to dedicated 01/02 numbers that are included in your phones inclusive minutes.

•    Snapseed (£2.99)

Enhance, transform and share photos. An excellent range of features and professional looking results.  

•    Auto Trader Mobile (Free)

Allows users to search the full Auto Trader listings to find used, nearly new and used cars and used bikes. Perfect for searching on the move and a favourite amongst the car geeks at JJ.

•    Instagram (Free)

Capture, edit and share photos across the Instagram social network. Option to link in with a range of additional networks.

•    AroundMe (Free)

Instantly find out the locations of the nearest points of interest. Select a category and using your phones GPS, AroundMe will help you to find anything from coffee shops to cash points.

•    GarageBand (£2.99)

Access a comprehensive range of touch instruments and turn your phone in to a mobile recording studio.

•    Quickoffice Pro HD (£13.99)

View, create and edit text files, presentations and spreadsheets. Ideal for making alterations to documents whilst out of the office.