Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Thinking of a Product:
Once we had gathered and analyzed our research, it was time to start brainstorming ideas on how to create a product based on these insights. We had a decent amount of findings and results, but we just had a difficult time using these insights to come up with a product. We had to take into consideration how likely our segment will actually use the product, if our segment’s parents will actually purchase this, and how well our product will serve a need for our segment. We came up with ideas ranging from mobile forts to pooper scoopers to lightweight bricks. We eventually decided on goggles that generated an image out in the backyard so our segment could essentially play video games outside. Then we gradually modified ideas and with each idea, we determined how feasible each one would be and how our segment would use our product. Our brainstorming session included goggles that went under water, goggles that give the perception that the backyard is 10x’s a big, and even goggles that allow you to play with your own pets in a virtual state. We finally decided that 1) our segment loves playing war/strategy/shooting video games from their consoles (Wii, Xbox, Playstation) and 2) our segment, for the most part, had an interest in playing in teams and competitions.
We finally came up with a product that generates holographic images in the goggles and allows users to shoot at these images with a Wii remote. We also wanted to partner with Wii because they already have a segment that interactive, motion sensitive games. We felt it was logical to have a motion sensitive console, pair with an interactive such as our product. We really had to connect our segment’s attitudes and behaviors into the creation of our product, and we used our own research findings and conclusions to tailor our product to their needs. By delving into our findings and research, we were able to create a product that fit our target segment’s desires and wants.
Creating a Prototype:
Coming up with a product was difficult enough, but actually making the product was a totally different story. We had the idea of creating goggles that allows the user to see holographic images out in the areas surrounding them. We immediately thought of using actual swim goggles or large sunglasses as our base. However, we felt we needed to add some sort of creative aspect to distinguish our product from just being ordinary-looking goggles. We then drew insight from our target segment such as color schemes and even comfort. We learned that colors play a crucial role in what toys and games they played with so we decided we needed a ‘boyish’ color. We ended up choosing a platinum silver because that was the color of many of their iPods and controllers. We then decided to cut out the nose holes from the swim goggles we were using. We did this because we learned, from our observations, that our segment likes to run around rambunctiously which causes them to breathe deeply and heavily. Since we were using holographic images, we might as well make the outside of our product look holographic as well, so we attached a holographic sheet of paper on top. As far as the inside of the goggles, we decided to depict what they would see if they had the goggles on and were playing one of their games. We decided to insert a picture of a backyard with Star Wars Storm Troopers in the background.
From this part of the project, we were initially lost on how to create such a prototype, but by looking at our segment and evaluating our findings, we were able to gradually construct our prototype. I learned that when you are stuck, looking back at your research always helps build ideas and gets the thought process going. Utilizing the insights gained and thinking broadly was a major component in producing a product.
As far as the group aspect of the product, there were a mix of positive and negative feelings throughout. The negatives were that there were so many minds with potentially thoughtful ideas, it was hard to decide on which one was best for our project. We were essentially left with the Paradox of Choice on many occasions. We also conducted different sections of the research methodology so at times it was difficult to combine thoughts and ideas on one steady and flowing perspective. We are all different and all had various ideas on how to approach our segment so it was challenging and even frustrating to find common ground sometimes. However, we had a larger array of options available on what ideas we could choose from. Also, everyone had different perspectives of what were important in our product, so we were able to pull certain ideas from one another and use them to add to our own ideas. I felt that our team had fairly strong chemistry so it was challenging (in a positive manner) to top one another’s ideas. Group members brought up great points that were integrated into other potential ideas. I felt by working with a group on this, it opened up new perspectives and allowed me to build on others’ great ideas. Like I mentioned earlier, although it was frustrating, I overall enjoyed coming up with a new and innovative product with my group.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
As an avid Nike advocate myself, I must agree with many of Julian’s comments about Nike’s versatility and presence in the sportswear market. They combine more than just one emotion and touch on many sensory aspects in their advertising. Nike uses several different perspectives to reach out to its consumers and attempts to connect with them using a deeper meaning of their respective sport. Nike utilizes a wide range of emotions such as inspiration, excitement, humor, and drama to tap into the ethos of their customers. As Julian noted, Nike does its best to reach their customers on a ‘mental, physical and spiritual level’ with their advertisements and slogans. Nike’s legendary campaign slogan ‘Just Do It’ ranks as one of the top 5 slogans of the 20th century by Advertising Age, and these 3 simple words have spoken loudly to Nike’s target market and provides its’ consumers with a sense of pride in the brand itself.
To add to Julian’s argument, I feel that another reason why Nike dominates the sports market is because of the athletes Nike promotes. Ever since the introduction of the Air Jordan’s by of course than none other than Michael Jordan himself, Nike has revolutionized the athletic shoe and has turned the brand’s image into, what Julian would say is, a ‘baller’s haven.’ Michael Jordan was the first to wear baggy shorts and redefine cool in the NBA, and ever since then has propelled the Nike logo into one of the most known symbols in the world.
Now, 20 years since the arrival of Michael Jordan, the two arguably best athletes in the NBA, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James now don the almighty ‘swoosh’ logo. These 3 athletes are probably the most recognizable figures in basketball history for the past 20 years which has inserted a more than positive image within in consumers’ minds. With these players sporting the Nike symbol, more and more customers wish to become just like their favorite athletes by purchasing the same brand as their famous figures, imitation is of course the highest form of flattery. Everyone wants to be like Mike.
To counter one of Julian’s arguments however, is that one of its competitors, Adidas mainly targets a completely different segment in a totally location. Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe which is largely due to the country’s popularity in football (American soccer). What basketball and football are to the United States, football (soccer) is to Europe. Adidas tailors many of its products to its European crowd and sponsors a great deal of soccer clubs and organizations in Europe. Adidas anchors many of the top soccer athletes in Europe and is a highly recognized brand that emulates its most popular sport. Not to discredit Nike however, in the recent years Nike has been an emerging element in European sports snagging international stars such as Christiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. They have also utilized some of their raw sports advertising tactics to appeal to the European crowd. This commercial that features Guy Ritchie as the director and many famous European sports stars represents the true embodiment of Nike. This definitely appeals to a younger sports fan generation and Europe and creates excitement about the brand itself. Nike continues to impact any and every sports market from the United States, to the rest of the world.
Nike definitely pulls away as the leader of the majority of sports here in the U.S. and a wide range of sports in other countries (Nike currently has a 5 year contract with India’s Cricket league). With their never-ending innovation and insight into the mind of an athlete and their admirers, Nike will remain as a prominent sports figure on its own. Overall, Julian touches on crucial points within his blog and expresses his point of view on Nike not only as a marketer, but as an athlete.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Fantasy Football Outline
a. Thesis- Fantasy Football has become an addictive game that blends the love for football, the common connection of friends, and tactical strategy into a significant and elevated sports experience.
i. The Background/Basic Idea
ii. The Evolution of Advertising for Fantasy Football
iii. Research, Resources, and Reading
iv. Why People Play
v. My Own Insights
A. The basic premise of Fantasy Football is that participants are organized into different leagues (with their friends or with strangers), draft a team of real life NFL players, and earn points based on their fantasy team’s production in real life.
i. Participants now have the opportunity to play an interactive role in the NFL games they watch.
1. It is no longer just a spectator sport, but something where fans can act like managers and control their own team of actual NFL players.
B. Over the recent years, Fantasy Football has garnered a wide range of popularity which has opened doors for a new target segment (17-39) to advertise to.
i. Companies now fight for rights to boast what Fantasy Football site is the best and most popular.
1. Popular Fantasy Football sites include Yahoo, NFL.com, ESPN.com, and SportingNews.com
2. These sites are either free or for those hardcore Fantasy Football players there are leagues with a fixed payment at the beginning of the season for enhanced league options.
ii. Companies also have taken advantage of the fact that die-hard Fantasy Football participants constantly want to check their players’ statistics.
1. Sprint has recently signed a $600 million deal with the NFL to directly advertise their phones’ features with Fantasy Football.
iii. Companies such as Frito-Lay and Pepsi have in turn also received success from Fantasy Football in terms of increased revenue from more football related gatherings and parties.
C. There has been no shortage on the amount of information on Fantasy Football strategy, which comes in the form of blogs, magazine articles, and online articles.
i. From what prospects to draft, to how to manage your team, the media has taken advantage of the fact that saavy participants want an advantage in their respective Fantasy Football leagues.
D. People play Fantasy Football for a variety of reasons that can range from competition among friends, to a deeper interactive role because of their love for the NFL.
i. Participants play to beat their friends and earn the right for bragging rights for the rest of the year.
ii. Participants play for a sense of self accomplishment, pride, and competitive drive.
iii. Participants play for fun and enjoy keeping track of statistics on their players.
E. From my own Fantasy Football experiences, there is a sense of bonding and community from playing throughout the season.
i. People in Fantasy leagues are able to build deeper relationships and develop topics of conversation.
ii. From being a part of the same league, we are thus more inclined to go out and watch games with one another which creates a sense of bonding.
1. I have been playing Fantasy Football since 7th grade in the same league with, for the most part, the same people.
2. Now that we are far a part, our Fantasy Football league is our common connection with one another and that keeps us willing to pay and play every year.
a. Fantasy Football is an experience that is shared among co-workers, family, and friends that increases competitive drive, purchases of major resources, and participation in more leagues.
b. What I’ve learned from this study
c. Application to Customer Insights- By understanding the emotional and logical perspectives from Fantasy Football participants, Fantasy Football leagues, sponsoring companies and the NFL will better tailor their marketing for a more in-depth customer experience.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I’ve had an iPod for a few years now and I can say I’m still not a big user of iTunes to get my music. I’ve gone through several different music sharing sites since I was in middle school (pre iPod era) to download music. I used to be an avid user of Napster, Kazaa, Imesh, among other sites to download songs and burn cd’s. In recent times (before my computer was infected with a virus) I resorted to using Limewire to download my free music. So there is tradeoff when we download off these sites by running the risk of downloading a nasty virus for the free music. Although I ran into my first virus, I still will take the chance to download free music than to pay for what I listen to. We (as college students) just would rather resort to other means than paying for music.
With iTunes, you can purchase entire cd’s or songs at fairly reduced prices, but when you can get music for free, $1 seems like a lot of money. From years of free downloading students now have collections of music that ranged into the thousands of songs. I know if they would’ve paid $1 for everyone song they dowloaded, many would be able to pay a year of college tuition. Yes, I know $1 is not overly excessive, but it does eventually add up in the long term. Apple must understand the mentality of a large portion of their target segment will look to free music first. We are, for the most part, broke college kids who will try to find loopholes in everything we purchase. We’re the ones that look on the internet for 15 minutes searching for buy-1-get-1-free coupons, paying with quarters and $1 bills at restaurants, and drinking one week and a half expired milk because we still think it’s ‘good.’ Especially since many of us grew up on downloading free songs off music sharing sites, paying for music is sometimes difficult to bear. Why pay for songs when we can get them for free?
As a consumer in this market segment, I feel that iTunes should implement discounts or promotions to better advertise their songs and increase market share. I would be more enticed to purchase music if there were more buy-1-get-1 free song offers on iTunes. I feel that music is fairly accessible, so if iTunes wants me to purchase songs from their company, I would want something more in return. I do like the fact that you do get the digital cover on the songs you do purchase and I feel they can emphasize the digital art more than they do now.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The 3-stage technique utilized by Dr. Rapaille at first seemed that it would like something that would be used on 2nd graders in elementary school. Tapping into the subconscious wants and needs of customers also sounded ambiguous and a waste of time. Delving deeper into the human psyche by laying down in the dark seems a bit sketchy from my point of view. I also personally found it hard to believe that you can detect the code behind what people feel about products, ideas, and brands…but then again he’s the one with millions of dollars and Bentleys in his garage.
The 3-stage technique evaluates logical, emotional, and subconscious responses from the participants in order to develop the specific code for the topic. It seems like a mind game of sorts throughout the experiment. He allows the participants to logically voice their opinions through past reasoning, then he brings out their emotional perspectives by telling a story, then finally placing them in a state where he could explore their unconscious feelings aka their Reptilian Code. His study reminds me of an experiment they would perform in a typical psychology study, but after all marketing is essentially understanding the psychology of the consumer.
Initially, I thought this code he was after was merely another term for a subliminal message. By tapping into consumer’s minds and producing a resultant idea, companies could send subliminal messages to their target audience to unleash some sort of internal, subconscious feeling to actually go out and buy the product. There have been rumors and controversies that companies in the past have attempted to utilize subliminal messages in their advertisements to deceive consumers into purchasing products, but focus on ethics have halted many of these past schemes. There is also no clear cut evidence that these subliminal messages do effectively work. This code might actually not be a subliminal message whatsoever, i.e. the code for SUV = dominance, but from the deep analysis there might be some notice of messages that are more indirect.
A famous example of subconscious purchases arise when customers buy laundry detergent that their mothers would use. Some people might say they do this because they already have a sense of familiarity with the product/brand, but digging deeper one might argue that they make this purchase because it subconsciously reminds them of their mother/father and their childhood. You could say the code for laundry detergent could be familiarity, nostalgia, or family-ties.
A questionable concern I see in these studies is that people are inherently different and individualistic. Not everyone thinks alike, shares similar living conditions, and experiences the same situations growing up. I understand by using this code marketers are better able to lure a significant portion of their target market, but I still question how effective this code can be. Sure you can use this code to take advantage and tailor your product to their subconscious wants, but if a shopper is more logical/emotional when making purchases in general. Will they realize their wants and needs are being targeted subconsciously? Let time be the judge.
Monday, March 9, 2009
The Pepsi Challenge was an interesting way to challenge their primary competitor Coca-Cola in a battle of what tastes better. Pepsi seemingly had the advantage in taste (obviously with the title “The Pepsi Challenge”), but as a consumer I never thought about a sip tasting any different from drinking an entire can. Pepsi’s sip of cola in this Central Location test was victorious and seemed to convert Coke drinkers, but in Coke’s defense their cola seemed to fare better when the entire can was consumed. Pepsi might’ve realized this and utilized the Pepsi ‘Sip’ Challenge to alter customer perspectives.
This test immediately reminded me of the movie trailer experience. It is perceived that you can judge an entire movie based on simply the ‘sip’ of the actual movie, and by exciting customers with the trailer, they are more likely to go see it. Personally, one of my favorite parts about going to watch a film at a theatre is actually the preview section. Great movie trailers that are innovative and captivating can leave you in itching in anticipation to go learn more and watch the film. Films like The Dark Knight, Knocked Up, and the Star Wars trilogies have all delivered to live up to their intriguing trailers. At the same time however, a bad movie trailer can make you care less about the film and make you wish you had gone to get popcorn instead. Movies such as Lions for Lambs, Gigli, and “From Justin to Kelly (The post-American Idol movie) leave the audience confused, bored, and may not deliver the necessary point to draw customers to watch the film. Although these ended up being horrible movies anyway, the buzz around the films did not help their numbers in the box office.
Conversely just because a ‘sip’ of a movie is good/bad doesn’t mean that the movie will follow the trailer of course. The latest example that comes to mind is probably Slumdog Millionaire. If I were to see THIS trailer prior to all the buzz and awards, I would probably brush it off and continue enjoying my popcorn. I would’ve never guessed this trailer would be the Oscar winning film of 2008. On the contrary good trailers with renowned directors and actors can cause quite an opening buzz, but leaves audiences with a sense of disappointment. Examples would be Will Smith movies (I still have love for Big Willie Style) such as Wild, Wild West, Hancock, and Seven Pounds as well as a couple of M. Night Shyamalans more recent films The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening. A ‘sip’ of a movie may not reveal the overall outcome of the movie, but good trailers can cause buzz and at least give movies momentum in box office sales. Movie companies should continue to deliver quality and unique movie trailers to lure audiences, and by doing this they can hopefully persuade them psychologically enough to have a positive pre-conceived notion of the film when they actually go watch it. Causing this initial buzz (as in Kenna’s case) helps draws audiences, but if many people criticize the actual movie, they still have the chance to resonate as a future cult classic following.
Another major issue that was brought up in the article was based on the importance of packaging. Whenever I look at products, the color scheme, font, and even the pictures it plays a major role in my purchase decision. For instance, when I search for toilet paper, I always have trusted the name brands because of their colorful designs and ‘soft’ aesthetics. The generic brands claim to have the same features such as softness and durability, but the look appearance of the packaging gives me the impression that the paper is rough and weak. Toilet paper might essentially have similar feels and consistency, but I need to feel assured mentally that I’m making the right choice. When it comes to the restroom, toilet paper for me needs to be the highest quality in my mind; I will not buy secondary brands.
Another issue with packaging arises when companies decide to alter the look of product to shape a new image in consumers’ minds. I’m a fairly avid fan to Mountain Dew, so when they decided to alter the style and change ‘Mountain Dew’ to ‘Mtn Dew’ I was somewhat confused. When I first was handed a Mountain Dew from my friend, I wasn’t sure if I was drinking a generic brand that was attempting to replicate the product so at first I took it as a secondary brand. When I first took a sip I thought it tasted strange and perceived it for a generic brand, but my friend reassured me that it was in fact Mountain Dew with a new design. So when companies decide to change an image of a product, it might also alter the customer’s image of the actual product (as shown in the E&J/Christian Brothers and Mountain Dew example). The slight change in name and look altered my perception of the product which then made me taste the drink differently. I’m not sure if this was just a coincidental example or if it has happened often, but I’m just saying that companies need to be strategic on how much they actually change their product packaging. Sometimes the alteration of a package can catch consumers off and guard and actually alter tastes and how we perceive the product.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Every fall since I was in the 7th grade, I’ve been a complete addict. This addiction has taken my mind away from school, shifts my focus to other aspects of life, and worst of all keeps me coming back for more every time. I can’t help but to submit to this dependence and I wholeheartedly believe that this habit will never come to an end. But by simply reading the title of my blog, this addiction does not involve the use of drugs or alcohol, but something much more addicting…Fantasy Football.
To give you a basic idea of what fantasy football is, it comprises of a group of ‘managers’ (everyday people) who draft real life NFL football players into their fictional online team. Based on their players’ real life statistical performance, they score points and whoever has the most points or wins at the end of the season is crowned that league’s fantasy football champion. Fans from all over the world have the opportunity to connect with friends near and far to compete in building their own fantasy football dynasty and more importantly, in many cases, claim bragging rights for the rest of the year.Fantasy football has become a constantly growing industry with increased users year after year. Now with the emergence of the internet and updates in technology i.e. cell phones with internet access, fantasy football has become a more accessible and mainstream industry. I now ask why fantasy football has become this active mainstream entity in recent years. Long before there was nearly no mention of anything fantasy football related, but now there are full length advertisements and commercials that feature fantasy football. Commercials like THIS combine the collective marketing of ESPN, a cell phone, and fantasy football at the same time, essentially ‘killing three birds with one stone.’
But why just fantasy football and not other fantasy sports? For some reason there's just more buzz and mainstream focus on fantasy football than other sports. Commercials and media are typically centered around football more than other sports. I would like to delve deeper and investigate why fantasy football has taken over as the benchmark of all other fantasy games.
I also would like to inquire why fantasy football is such an addicting past time (as noted in the opening paragraph). The article It’s First and Ten for Fantasy Football on Facebook published last August by the Washington Post delivers an interesting argument on the comparison between fantasy football and Facebook. We all know what kind of success Facebook has generated over the past few years and the article points out that people connect with each other in a common, online medium in both fantasy football and Facebook world. With the ever expanding creation of Facebook applications, it’s no surprise why companies have decided to blend the two ‘social networking’ devices together for added accessibility. In one aspect I hope to discover what similarities fantasy football holds with Facebook and what drives users to become infatuated with both devices. I would also like to research how fantasy football can connect with other social networking devices such as Facebook to provide a more worthwhile consumer experience.
To those who have never played fantasy football or do not care for football, this might seem overly ‘macho’ and merely a waste of time. However, to those who have played fantasy football and do care for football, they might understand that it is not only a game, but more over an experience. Many users are so engaged in their teams that they research their players’ historical data, analyze key match-ups, and constantly check game day statistics of their teams. By doing all these preparations and actions, games are more closely examined and passionate emotions tend to get involved. Emotions such as anticipation, victory, and sorrow are all common feelings that arise over the course of a fantasy football season, and the users tend to build a personal attachment to their teams you could say. HERE is a perfect example of how emotions and fantasy football can easily relate to one another. Finally, as an active and veteran participant myself, I want to discover why such a simple game could stimulate such intense emotions and attachment from users. When there’s feelings involved, it’s plain to see that it's not just a game anymore.