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Straight Talk with Nigel Hollis

Nigel Hollis Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst, Millward Brown

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The local touch helps the Transformers’ brand succeed in China

So according to AdAge "Transformers: Age of Extinction" beat out Avatar to become the highest-ever grossing film at the Chinese box office, earning more than in the USA. Personally, I suspect there is no comparison between the two – I might watch Transformers on a plane one day – but I do feel vindicated by the movie’s success.

Why? Well, a few weeks ago I wrote about how Peroni had leveraged images of Italy’s ‘Golden Age’ to become successful in the UK...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Millward Brown goes clubbing at Cannes?

Apparently, Ogilvy South Africa had commented that allowing Millward Brown to talk at Cannes was like letting a seal hunter into a PETA conference. However, no baby seals or creative were harmed during the presentation given by Daren Poole and Duncan Southgate.

In fact, the presentation titled "From 60 Seconds to 6 seconds & 6 minutes" prompted BBDO Guerrero Chief Executive Tony Harris to write that...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fragmented media must not lead to fragmented brands

Following Millward Brown Digital's DCMO Summit, I wrote about Rob Norman's presentation in which he likened the media world to Humpty Dumpty: the old media model is broken into pieces and it cannot be put back together again. In my post, I proposed that brands needed to leverage a coherent brand idea and use consistent brand cues to ensure that their story was not fragmented as a result.

This is a theme that I returned to in an interview following the Summit, and I would like to expand on...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Growing sales and commanding a price premium

A couple of weeks ago Millward Brown held a webinar titled 'The Secrets of Brand Growth'. We concluded that the key to unlocking your brand's growth potential is to truly understand how people see your brand today, and what might make it meaningfully different in future. If you missed the webinar, and are interested in hearing it, you can find a recording here.

During the course of the webinar...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Helping to unleash brand-led growth

You may have heard that Millward Brown Optimor and EffectiveBrands recently combined to form Millward Brown Vermeer (if not you can find out more here). If you are wondering why, then look no further than the recent Harvard Business Review article titled, "The Ultimate Marketing Machine" written by Marc de Swaan Arons, Frank van den Driest (founders of EffectiveBrands) and Keith Weed, chief marketing and communication officer at Unilever.

The article summarizes the findings from Marketing2020, a study of marketing leadership comprising in-depth interviews with...

Monday, July 7, 2014

How Peroni uses images of Italy’s “Golden Age” to justify a price premium

I am always intrigued by examples of brands that mean one thing at home and another abroad. When I wrote my book, The Global Brand, one of my basic themes was that brands do not need to be exactly the same in every country. In fact, going abroad may offer the opportunity to reposition your brand in a way that it could never achieve at home.

One such example is Peroni Nastro Azzuro. In its homeland of Italy, Peroni is a mass-market brand, perceived to be cheaper than the average. Nastro Azzuro is Peroni's upmarket brand...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How smart brands can rebuild premium perceptions

Last week, I spent a few days in Spain sharing some ideas about how smart brands can justify a premium price. The topic is particularly relevant to Spanish marketers right now. The country’s long recession seems to be ending, but brands face a new world; one in which consumers have apparently foresworn their brand loyalties and learned to shop on price.

I question, however, whether Spanish consumers have really given up on brands. Sure, when times are tough they want to make their money go as far as possible, but data from BrandZ suggests that...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What do Chobani, Burberry and Southwest Airlines have in common?

What have Chobani yogurt, the fashion brand Burberry and Southwest Airlines have in common? The answer is that they all democratized their product category. Each one broke the rules of their category to extend their reach and sales well-beyond what they traditionally had been. 

I wrote about Chobani’s origins and phenomenal success in this post last year. Many people ascribe the brand’s success to its good taste and high protein, low fat content, but I think that misses the point. After all, Greek yogurt had been around for many years prior to the launch of Chobani. Chobani spokeswoman, Lindsay Kos, quoted ...