Being Trendy Means Going Back to Basics

MANUELA URRUTIA
Client Service Senior Consultant
Kantar Millward Brown Argentina
Manuela.Urrutia@millwardbrown.com


Main trends in global marketing are widely known: sustainability, digital and social networks, authenticity, meaningful brands, growth search and so forth…

Probably all found in an Argentine Brand Marketing Director´s calendar as well as in the Coca-Cola Global Marketing Director’s. Globalization and our daily life digitalization are likely to be the reason. Argentina is part of this world, though with its own singular features. Being fully aware of these gaps and acting accordingly provided the best outcome.

Whereas Argentina is truly globalized in some sense, it is ostensibly Latin American in some other. Therefore when thinking of marketing strategies to apply in Argentina we should not leave foreign trends aside but adjust or enhance them to meet current Argentine consumer needs.

Argentina has the highest literacy rate (98%) and Internet penetration (79%) in Latin America, beating both Mexico and Brazil. However, its GDP is half the Mexican and three times smaller than Brazil’s. Only during 2015-2016 inflation rose to 65-70% in basic need products and services and poverty reached 32% of the population. As a result, KWP foresees 2016 as the fifth running year with stagnant consumption in the country. Is it possible to envisage brand marketing in a recessive scenario?

How can an Argentine consumer be persuaded to “spend” on a soda, washing powder or certain seasoning when he is only concerned with making ends meet? Why would he do it?

CONSUMER HABITS

It is true that in recent years Argentine consumers have acquired hyper-rational, conservative consumption habits. Regardless of their economic status, the need to watch their spending (whether to afford their supermarket shopping, their holiday trip or their restaurant outing) has made them fully alert and aware of price promotions, special offers, rebates, product pluses and so forth. Companies did understand the situation and developed a market of “rational” opportunities which is totally new in Argentina.

However, if you have ever visited Argentina you surely know we are not just rational. We are utterly and definitely emotional. We are either River or Boca fans. We are both optimist and pessimist; realistic and utopian. And in Kantar Millward Brown Argentina we believe that when these two worlds meet, magic appears.

Some global brands – and some domestic as well – have truly grasped this ambiguity between local and global, rational and emotional which so well depicts Argentine nature, and are the ones which showed resilience in the complex Argentine economy of the last two years, or at least are moving forward to this…

THEIR SECRET

The first, and perhaps the most obvious aspect, is that they did not abandon consumers when they most needed them. It was an unspoken deal between friends or gentlemen, you name it. And this deal was accomplished through two ways: including of course price flexibility in their marketing strategies and spreading a more honest, genuine and real brand message. Some brands even went beyond story-telling to become story-doing getting involved in social action. After years of top-down marketing, metaphors and demanding consumers to make an effort to understand the message, some brands are simplifying and coming back to basics.

  • Coca-Cola’s new “Taste the Feeling” campaign reminds consumers of the feeling when drinking Coke. It relies on what differentiates it from any other drink – its taste – which, together with other more emotional experiences, reminds us of how happy we feel when drinking Coke.
  • Hellmann’s, an Argentine iconic mayonnaise brand, simply asked “Why always Hellmann’s?” an invitation to show the product’s differentiating features (it tastes better) and the many occasions to try it in all age groups.
  • Tarjeta Naranja, a credit card born in the Argentine Province of Córdoba, was coherent and consistent with its roots (as opposed to the multinational banks) and relied on football to build brand image and encourage customer choice. For every goal the Argentine Squad scored, Tarjeta Naranja donated a football field to a community. In the country Maradona and Messi were born football is like a religion.
  • Quilmes, the traditional Argentine beer brand, decided to go back to its roots and return to the “national identity” that had given them so much satisfaction and success in the past, now with a modern, sensitive, authentic, and cool perspective.

All these brands (and many other) are mainstream brands in Argentina. Some have to respect global or regional requirements. However they all managed in different ways to reinvent and rethink themselves, including the Argentine consumer in that innovation. All of them, in different ways, showed positive indicators in brand health or sales in an Argentine scenario of zero growth.

As simple and complex as yin and yang. At least in Argentina, when well applied, this universal truth works. Brands which unveiled themselves and revealed what they really are were the ones which profited.

The evidence invites us to think of the future marketing now at present. The time is now and opportunities do exist. Let nobody say otherwise.

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