Saudi clerics call for ban on women appearing in media

Saudi clerics call for ban on women appearing in media
by AFP
Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Hardline clerics in Saudi say images of women in popular newspapers and magazine are 'obscene' and should be banned.
Hardline Saudi clerics have called on the government to ban women from appearing on television and to prohibit their images in print media, which they called a sign of growing "deviant thought."
In a letter to new Information Minister Abdul Aziz Al Khoja that appeared on websites this week, the 35 Islamic clerics also condemned the increase of music and dancing on television, as well as images of women in popular newspapers and magazines that they labelled "obscene."
"Our faith in you is great to carry out media reform, for we have seen how perversity is rooted in the ministry of information and culture, on television, radio, in the press, literary clubs, and book fairs," the letter said.It cited an alleged plan to "westernise" Saudi women by "reducing their rights to a question of removing veils, wearing makeup and mixing with men."
It added that the ministry had permitted the import of "obscene newspapers and magazines that are filled with deviant thought and pictures of beautiful women on its covers and inside.""There should be no Saudi woman on television, in any case," they said."There is no doubt that this is religiously impermissible."
The clerics, including justice officials and academics from a conservative Islamic university, cited several cabinet-endorsed orders and policies from years past which they said supported their argument.
They appeared to be challenging a growing push for liberalisation of tough restrictions on women, including near-mandatory use of black, full-face veils, which are rooted in its ultra-conservative Wahhabi version of Islam.Both Saudi television and print media increasingly feature women, while Arabic-language magazines showing women in Western garb and makeup are also widely sold in the country.
The letter came in the wake of an information ministry-sponsored book fair in Riyadh in early March at which religious conservatives complained that men and women were allowed to mix freely, and that some books on sale violated Islamic principles.
The book fair was marred by the muttawam, or Islamic morality police, harassing a woman author promoting her book and trying to prevent men from obtaining her autograph.

Hyundai ::: Behavioral Segmentation

How Hyundai Uses Behavioral Segmentation to Take the Bull by the Horns and Send the Bear Packing
"The Faith We Have In You"
Published on March 10, 2009

Hyundai took the bull by the horns in this bear market and scored big. It used behavioral segmentation to identify what was keeping prospects from buying and then developed a strategy that made it easier for customers to part with their hard-earned dollars.

What can you learn from its example? In every market change, even a downturn, there is an opportunity to use the power of behavioral segmentation to make your product or service stand out.

Talk to Your Target Prospects

Each news cycle brings a tsunami of information that influences your customers' purchasing decisions. The smart marketer understands that every change in the marketplace is an opportunity to capture new customers.

How do you seize that opportunity and grow your business? Relying on secondary data or past segmentations isn't a realistic option. Even in these tough times, resist the urge to repeat a smaller version of last year's marketing strategy and tactics.
Instead, use voice-of-the customer research to talk to prospects you are currently winning over as well as those whose business you would like to win. You can't overestimate the value of talking to your customers. Ask new, open-ended questions. Focus on learning:

  • What their reason is for buying—how is it changing?
  • What their needs are—how have they been affected by recent events?
  • What's keeping them from buying?
  • What do they think of your product versus the competition's product?
  • What would change their perception of your product versus the competition's?
  • How do they rate your product against alternative solutions?
Sort Findings
Take a hard look at your data and sort groups with similar characteristics to determine which segments to target.
Hyundai discovered that as the market changed so did their segmentation. Significant numbers of prospects were no longer focusing on gas mileage performance, and they weren't necessarily looking for more discounts.

Armed with such customer insight, Hyundai identified a business opportunity.

Define Segment
Hyundai determined that the fear of losing one's job was a high barrier preventing prospective buyers from purchasing a car.

After defining the segment, the company developed and aligned sales and marketing strategies to reach this new segment. By targeting prospects concerned about job security, Hyundai broadened its audience and increased the number of customers who considered its cars.

David Zuchowski, vice-president of national sales for Hyundai noted in a New York Times article, "It doesn't matter how many zillion dollars you put in rebates, or what APR you give them. If people are worried about their job, they don't really care and they're just not going to get off the fence."

So how did Hyundai motivate customers to move off the fence?

Develop Strategy to Target Segment

Next, Hyundai developed a strategy to ease the fears of this segment: The company's Assurance Program releases customers from car payments without harming their credit score.

As Advertising Age editor Jonah Bloom wrote, "right there, is an honest-to-goodness big marketing idea.... Hyundai confronts the recession head-on and does something tangible to tackle its effects."

With consumers demanding more for their money, more companies are cutting prices to offer the “best deal,” which can come at the expense of the bottom line and brand perception. And now, more than ever, it’s important to stand out. Maybe marketers would be better off fighting the recession with incentives that add value and provide distinct business advantages instead. Creating tangible and rational value allows consumers to spend more wisely especially in this climate of frugality.

Create Messages
Craft messages to address the specific concerns of your customers.

Hyundai advertising used straight talk that resonated with customers: "We're introducing Hyundai Assurance to show you the faith we have in you. Right now, finance or lease any new Hyundai, and if in the next year you lose your income we'll let you return it. That's the Hyundai Assurance."

Hyundai’s Assurance program — which promises to let you return a newly bought car if you get laid off.
As of early March, no Hyundai buyer had yet returned a vehicle bought under the Assurance umbrella. This raises the intriguing point about what sort of consumer is being reassured. Probably anybody who is really afraid of losing a job simply isn’t going to buy a car right now. But somebody whose insecurity is more abstract, who perhaps simply needs a rationale for a big-ticket purchase at a moment when the headlines are full of doom — that’s different

* * *

Hyundai's Assurance Program had hit a home run. The company was one of only a few automakers to post an increase in sales.
So here's the question of the hour: Are you using behavioral segmentation to differentiate your product, reach new customers, and drive additional sales?

Instead of simply discounting its already economical line of vehicles, Hyundai is addressing consumer fears with an innovative return policy: Hyundai Assurance. Those who finance or lease a new Hyundai can return the car for no additional charge if they lose their job within a year of purchase. The incentive has helped Hyundai distance itself from America’s Big Three automakers and increase sales 14%, nearly doubling its Instead of simply discounting its already economical line of vehicles, Hyundai is addressing consumer fearswith an innovative return policy: Hyundai Assurance. Those who finance or lease a new Hyundai can return the car for no additional charge if they lose their job within a year of purchase. The incentive has helped Hyundai distance itself from America’s Big Three automakers and increase sales 14%, nearly doubling its market share as industry-wide, new-vehicle sales fell 37% last month.
The US recession.::: marketers Vs. consumers
"a great mismatch exists between the way consumers experience and think about their world and the methods marketers use to collect this information."
During these 'bad' days marketers have to be "attentive to the emotional dynamics of peoples' lives in these times… The goal of advertising should be to engage people with a message that has an emotional impact. And that requires actually grappling with the means by which they have experiences and react with emotion, sentiment, and feeling….
By tapping into an "emot-econ" marketing mindset, Hyundai's Assurance "provides a little heart in a world that has gotten so cruel."
The Transformation (basic changes that alter life's circumstances) frame is a powerful driver: People who are worried about losing their jobs may be reluctant to buy a car. "Hynudai has taken a relevant point of communications that may not have been true a year ago, but is true today,"
And, similarly, ReMax's "Best Time to Buy/Sell" invokes a) a Journey ("The meeting of the past, present, and future") and b) Transformation: Basic changes - some desired, some involuntary - that alter life's circumstances and c) Force (events that have a powerful impact on the lives of consumers) frames by suggesting that "people will be administering strong, self-inflicted kicks down the road if they fail to take advantage of home-buying or selling opportunities now."

In the current economic conditions, "People want to know they're being respected. Their feelings have to be acknowledged."
As a point of caution, however, that brands that are insensitive to the feelings and emotions disclosed by the visual metaphors may "suffer a backlash".
The possible downside of the ReMax advertising ("it may remind people of poor decisions they made in the past coming back to kick them") as an instance where some consumers "may perceive the company to be insensitive and out of touch…. Well meaning attempts to tap into these emotions could be seen as opportunistic or patronizing that could backfire."

Swedish Magazine is Published as a Tattoo

Taking the notion of limited edition to the extreme, Swedish magazine Tare Lugnt have released their third issue as a tattoo. You can see the magazine being “published” below.

Starbucks :::Super-Premium Ice Cream Line

Starbucks Coffee Company and Unilever unveiled a new super-premium ice cream line inspired by some of consumers’ favorite Starbucks® beverages. Created by culinary experts and food developers from both companies, Starbucks® ice cream is made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients, including milk and cream supplied by farmers who pledge not to treat their cows with rBGH.*

The line is now rolling into grocers across the U.S., and will be widely available by early spring. Imaginative ingredient combinations are sure to satisfy every palate.
“Our new ice cream line is an artful adaptation of some of our most popular hand-crafted beverages,” said Mary Theisen, director, business development, Starbucks Global Consumer Products. “We’re pleased to offer consumers a delicious and indulgent ice cream experience that is unmistakably Starbucks.”

Consumers can easily recognize Starbucks® ice cream in the freezer aisle, thanks to a clean packaging design that mirrors the iconic white Starbucks® cup.

“Starbucks complex coffeehouse flavors are the perfect complement to the rich, high-quality ingredients we use in our super-premium ice cream,” said Andy Sztehlo, research & development director, Unilever Ice Cream North America. “We’re thrilled to introduce a fresh interpretation of a classic product.”

Trojan::: LifeStyles Unfurls 'Skyn Revolution'

LifeStyles Unfurls 'Skyn Revolution'
New spots tout non-latex Skyn condoms
March 24, 2009

LifeStyles touts its Skyn condoms.NEW YORK While some men may act like they are allergic to condoms, the reality is that a number of them actually are.

For those who are allergic to latex, LifeStyles is rolling out its new non-latex Skyn condom. Unlike its top competitor Trojan, LifeStyles is taking the direct approach in marketing this new product.

Its new campaign features a number of couples getting into the act and the requisite sexy voiceover."The Skyn revolution" ads will appear on national TV, radio and online -- although the TV buys will be limited. Trojan proved just how difficult it was to land ads on network TV when it launched its humorous "Evolve" campaign in 2007.

CBS and Fox banned the ads portraying men who didn't use condoms as pigs. The LifeStyles ads will face less trouble online, where they will appear on MTV.com and ESPN.com.

The campaign, which targets men 18-24, was created by the Amp Agency, a division of Alloy Media + Marketing. "The 'Skyn revolution' campaign showcases our dedication to innovating both protection and pleasure," said Carol Carrozza, vp, marketing at LifeStyles parent Ansell Healthcare Products, in a statement. "That's why we used sensuality as a platform for conveying a safe sex message.

While some men may act like they are allergic to condoms, the reality is a number of them actually are. For those who are allergic to latex, LifeStyles is rolling out its new nonlatex Skyn condom. Unlike its top competitor Trojan, LifeStyles is taking the direct approach in marketing this new product. Its new campaign features a number of couples getting into the act. A sultry voiceover says: "Safe sex will never feel the same again . . . like nothing at all just Skyn from LifeStyle."

"LifeStyles hasn't been a big spender of late. Last year it spent $400,000 on media, excluding online.

Improve Your Email Marketing Through Segmentation

Published on March 24, 2009

Not all customers are alike, and what appeals to one may not interest another. Therefore, it is important that you connect the message you are sending to your customers' differing interests.
Email messages that are segmented, targeted, and relevant to the recipient are much more likely to be opened and acted upon.

Every small business can segment its customer base at some basic level. The following are some examples:

A sporting goods store emails information to its customers who have purchased bikes to inform them of new arrivals, while sending an "end of the ski season" blowout special to customers who have purchased ski equipment.

A garden center sends out a "Planting for Spring" promotion to gardening customers and a "Flowers for all Occasions" promotion to cut-flower and bouquet buyers.

A landscaping company sends out a promotion to past customers about keeping up their landscaping activities as well as its new services, while sending out a different appeal to prospects and builders.

A pub/restaurant sends out an email about an upcoming food pairing/tasting event to wine enthusiasts and an email about seasonal brews and pitcher specials for beer lovers.

Otherwise, the wine lover might get turned off by the beer promotion, and vice versa... but tap the right customer's passion and need at the right time—with a targeted subject line and content—and you're much more likely to create a sale.

Segmentation—Getting Started
Creating different email messages for different groups is a bit more work, but it's worth the extra effort when an email message hits your customer's sweet spot.

Your general e-newsletter may appeal to most customers, but mailings that reach out to your audience segments can build even deeper relationships, and drive more sales.
Consider these simple tips to be more successful with your segmentation:

1. Start with the first touch point
The best time to collect information for segmenting purposes is right when your prospect or customer joins your email list. You can easily create segmented lists by offering options with checkboxes on your sign-up form.

2. Ask for personal information
Ask for information such as location and personal preference to determine what's relevant to the person signing up. For example, a retailer might ask whether someone prefers to shop online or in the store. That way, the retailer can create two separate lists and send email coupons that contain an online promotion to one list and an in-store promotion to the other list.
3. Use online surveys
In your email newsletters, include a link to a short survey and ask for noncritical information that helps you add your people to the appropriate segmented lists. Once you have the survey results, you can create new lists or add to existing ones based on how respondents answered questions.
4. Use tracking reports
If you are using a professional email service that provides campaign-tracking reports, let the links that people click on help you understand them better. Your tracking reports make it easy for you to add anyone who clicks on a link to an existing list or a new list.
* * *
Remember that there is a real person on the other end of each email address. Every time you create an email, ask yourself whether your email content is addressing the specific needs of your audience, or whether you're only addressing the needs of your business. Segmenting your list will set you up to do both effectively.

Four Best-Practices for Renovating Your Brand—Before It's Too Late

Published on March 24, 2009

Stories of marketing heroes who transform poorly performing brands never fail to enthrall us: the transformation of Dove into an empowering brand; the shift to healthier eating for McDonald's; the rebound of Hewlett Packard in the PC market.

Those are among some recent successes. But they elicit the question: Why do brand leaders wait until their brands are at the breaking point, and at risk of joining such brands as Radio Shack, 7Up, or the GAP... for which renovation may be too late?

Unheralded marketing heroes renovate their brands while they are strong and growing. They spot changing market dynamics and address them as opportunities before they have time to develop into threats. Their reward is faster profitable growth without the negative headlines.
Here are four best-practices in brand renovation identified in our work with businesses across a range of markets.

1. Develop a holistic understanding of the brand
A holistic, customer-driven understanding of the current brand and a vision of the brand's future are crucial to proactive renovators. Typically, a holistic view includes an understanding of the brand's heritage, personality, iconography, functional benefits, emotional benefits, and perceived value in the minds of customers, influencers, and intermediaries.

The key is to understand how each of these groups views the brand in the context of their daily lives and compared with the other things that are on their minds. This view enables proactive renovators to see opportunities to credibly extend the brand and avoid the trap of defining the brand by what the company knows how to make or offer, instead of what customers want to buy.

Crayola has managed to stay relevant despite the digital and graphics technologies that might have threatened its brand's very essence. Its understanding of the brand goes beyond the functional benefits of washable markers or erasable pencils. Crayola's brand leaders understood that colorful fun and creativity best defined its role in the lives of teachers, parents, and children; accordingly, it evolved from an art-products company to a visual-expression company. It moved from being a partner with retailers to a partner with educators, parents, and children.

Crayola recognized the danger of being perceived as traditional and has continuously updated the look and the feel of the brand in a way that stays true to its roots but is fun and creative.
Finally, its leaders have used their understanding to guide them in developing programs for the Internet, a children's magazine, interactive toys, and advanced color technologies, breaking the constraints of selling only what can be made in a crayon and marker factory.
2. Look for segment swings
By the time most brand managers spot important trends, they are already threats. That's not surprising, since it's difficult to identify the early impact of trends among the general population of brand users.

Proactive renovators spot trends early by tracking segments of the population where the impact of change is more apparent, segmenting customers in different ways to fit their businesses.
Among the common segmentation principles:

  • First, they ask questions about lifestyles and general attitudes in order to gain a broader context for the role of their products and categories.
  • Second, they are particularly sensitive to trends with the potential to cross segments—from urban to suburban shoppers, or from youth into mainstream culture, for example.
  • Third, they proactively test alternative ways to connect their brands to important trends in order to identify opportunities to play a greater role in the lives of their customers
Kohler is one company that is famously attuned to emerging changes in segments of the population, turning them into big business opportunities. In the process, it has been transformed into the US leader in bath and kitchen design solutions.

More than 30 years ago, Kohler spotted an emerging willingness of urban customers to spend more for high-end home designs. Herb Kohler began to advertise the Bold Look of Kohler with a differentiating focus on design that rode the wave of home investment and kitchen renovations throughout the '80s and '90s. In the early '90s, it spotted another emerging trend: the bathroom as a refuge and oasis in large suburban households. It took advantage with a line of whirlpools, Jacuzzis, and tubs, extending its reach into showers and bathroom accessories.

Most recently, Kohler has increased its emphasis on green technologies with toilets, showers, and control systems aimed at a broad audience.
3. Distinguish the underlying issues
Not every brand issue is a competitive one, but we frequently encounter brand leaders so focused on gaining advantage against a narrow set of competitors that they fail to address indirect competition or tackle customers who are questioning whether it's worthwhile to buy the category at all.

Proactive renovators are much more likely to distinguish among different types of threats and respond accordingly. Brand guru (and Prophet vice-chairman) David Aaker groups these threats as commoditization, brand lethargy, and changing customer dynamics:

  • Declining brand differentiation underlies commoditization, which is characterized by increasing price competition, entry of low-cost competitors, and narrower margins.
  • Brand lethargy is often a problem for category leaders who fall into the trap of repeating past success factors rather than updating the brand and keeping it fresh and alive.
  • Brand relevance underlies customer dynamics issues. Changing technologies, lifestyle patterns, or attitudes typically cause a brand or a category to become less relevant to peoples' lives.
For decades, Coach focused on differentiating itself by handcrafting extremely durable and practical items with classic American designs in American factories. Between 2000 and 2007, it was able to accelerate brand growth from $500 million to $2.5 billion by creatively tackling leather goods' loss of relevance and lack of energy.
The company shed its handcrafted, American-made points of differentiation to leverage its core essence of classic, premium American design within the world of women's fashion accessories. It became more relevant and energetic by introducing color and fresh materials to its designs, transforming its assortment to provide a wide range of accessories and reinventing the Coach shopping experience.
Coach is the ultimate example of a proactive renovator that transformed itself into a category leader.

4. Apply the right strategies
Too many marketers think every brand issue can be solved with a new advertising and promotion campaign.

Of course, brand communication is an important component to building differentiation, energizing a brand, or building relevance. But, proactive renovators ensure that brand communications reflect fundamentally different strategies to cope with differentiation, brand energy, or relevance. One size will not fit all:
  • Successful differentiation in commoditized categories almost always requires finding ways to provide more emotional reasons to prefer the brand. Emotional leverage enhances consumer credibility and trust in innovations that drive big margin gains and allows the brand to eke out small, but often crucial, margin advantages in older products. Emotional bonds provide a platform to charge more despite the competition. Staples's focus on ease (think "Easy Button") and expertise in small-business and home-office efficiency differentiates it from other superstores and lends permission to provide such value-added services as office delivery and computer repair to enhance loyalty and margins.
  • Reinvigorating brand energy typically requires revamping the brand's imagery. A brand image in keeping with its promise makes it more noticeable, easier to understand, and more desirable. Marketers often think that refreshing the logo and trademark imagery is sufficient; that's rarely the case. User, usage, product, and associative imagery all must be explored to truly reinvigorate a brand. Sprite is one brand that regained energy by changing its user imagery to focus on young iconoclasts and its associative imagery to focus on the NBA.
  • Relevance issues demand a re-examination of the customer experience. When consumers change the ways they shop, live, or use technology, the experience must adapt. Sometimes the adaptations include new offerings such as the salads and wraps that McDonald's has added to its menu to appeal to health-conscious women. Some adaptations encompass a comprehensive redesign of the entire experience, like Coach's store and product redesign to meet women's fashion accessory buying expectations.
* * *
These four best-practices expose one central truth: Customers must drive brand decisions.
To succeed, brand leaders must understand the brand through customers' eyes, track how different customer segments are changing, identify the different issues customers have in their lives, and link the brand to customer needs.

7 Skills for a Post-Pandemic Marketer

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