Brands and the cultural exchange

Your ‘Cultural Crossover’ article raised excellent points on brands’ attempts to be part of or influence culture. Perhaps the most successful brands have always done this, albeit through traditional channels – Coca-Cola challenging racial stereotypes in the 1950s and Nike’s sports myth of ‘performing beyond all expectations’ worked cleverly in the 1980s to assuage US fears over job losses in the face of globalisation. However, Jack Fryer of Parlophone made a strong case for music artists working with brands and rightly credited urban and hip hop artists who remain credible in spite of being commercial. 

After listening to Sean (P. Diddy) Combs speaking at Cannes this year, I wonder if this phenomenon has come full circle. His main focus was in promoting his own and others’ brands, and his appeal now lies mainly in his business success. 

Chris Pearce, managing director, Tullo Marshall Warren


At the heart of design

Packaging is the first point of tangible engagement with the consumer because it is the purest expression of a brand idea. At the critical moment when someone has their wallet in one hand and the pack in the other, that’s when the brand idea has to work hardest, so the use of innovative technologies and POS activity must be relevant. 

Pack design must be at the heart of a brand’s communication strategy so that shoppers associate off the shelf marketing activity with the brand when making purchasing decisions. Turning packaging into the strategic lead for products can bring companies the brand profitability that will outlast any marketing add-on.

Mark Ringer, executive creative director, Anthem


Email capability is vital

The mobile web: need for speed feature highlights key factors marketers must consider when implementing responsive design. More than half of UK mobile users have a device capable of downloading and rendering fully-optimised email content. Email is often the first interaction a consumer has with a brand, so marketers must get their mobile email strategies in place. 

Simon Martin, managing director, cross channel marketing at Experian, Experian Marketing Services


Statistical confusion

The research industry is often criticised for lack of rigour, so use of statistics in a trade publication needs to show good practice. Ranking conclusions in the retail article were based on differences of only a few percentage points. I would assume that with a sample of only 1,000, some base sizes per retailer were inevitably small (and should be quoted). Considering the likely poor statistical significance of the differences, the conclusions are probably unsupportable. 

Roger Jackson, global programme director, Advantage Shopper iQ


Caroline Ahmed, commercial director at BDRC Continental, the source of the data, replies: Base sizes were variable reflecting market share and distribution. Iceland was indeed one of the lower sample sizes but nevertheless over 300 respondents reported a recent shopping experience there. For brands such as Tesco, the sub-sample was well over 700. The Customer Effort score used in the graphic is just one of a several metrics used. Others yielded data with a significantly broader range of scores, highlighting where each brand’s relative strengths lie.