Getting the know-how to take the right risks

It’s that time of year again. I’m not talking about the World Cup or Wimbledon. No, this particular activity involves a guaranteed win for UK marketers it’s our event Marketing Week Live!

The exhibition stands have been built, the stages have been assembled and if you manage to get down to London’s Olympia for the last day on Wednesday 30 June, you can still catch Wired editor David Rowan and Paul Nevett, vice-president of marketing for foods at Unilever UK & Ireland, discussing vital business trends on the Centre Stage.

Before the event, Cathryn Sleight, marketing director of Coca-Cola UK & Ireland, who spoke on the Centre Stage on Tuesday 29 June, told me why events like Marketing Week Live! are important to her: “I want to provoke debate and talk about the issues that matter to our industry.”
On taking the stage at Marketing Week Live!, Sleight warned that marketers need to take more risks, using digital media to “amplify” brand messages. She called for marketers to move outside official company-controlled platforms to reach consumers where they choose to congregate. “Fans expect you to work with them,” she told the audience.

“Coke’s Cathryn Sleight warned that marketers need to take more risks, using digital media to ’amplify’ brand messages. ’Fans expect you to work with them’, she said.”

Sleight’s words come at an interesting time for Coca-Cola. The international brand pops up in this week’s cover story on the new wave of globalisation (page 12). A few years ago, the term “global brand” was sullied by images of identikit high streets. But with a recession leaving consumers nervous about spending, global brands are now seen by shoppers to have the strength and solidity necessary for success. We set out five strategies for businesses to become part of a new, positive wave of globalisation.

Reinvention is also the theme for our feature about electronics brand TDK (page 18). For consumers of my generation, TDK is synonymous with mixtapes full of songs recorded from the radio. These days, we all download our tracks digitally from Apple’s iTunes, and TDK has been forced to reinvent itself as a hardware brand.

One brand that TDK could look to for transformation inspiration is Apple. Not content with moving from computers to music to phones, columnist Mark Ritson says the company also offers businesses a “masterclass” in marketing (page 46). He points to the launch of the iPhone 4 as an impressive display of how to increase demand through limiting supply.

Restricting sales can be a valuable tool for marketers. There are indeed “wrong” and “right” sales. The wrong sale is one that damages a brand for the future; the right sale, one that upholds the brand’s reputation and experience for consumers. I hope those of you attending this year’s Marketing Week Live! will leave with some lessons about how to make more sales in the next 12 months. And even more important than that, you are inspired to make those “right” sales that will build your brand for the future.

Ruth Mortimer, associate editor

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