Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blog 9: Blog Comments

I am commenting on Julian Maldonado’s blog, ‘Just Do It.’ He discusses Nike’s dominance in athletic apparel, more specifically the basketball market. His blog also touches on the popularity and respect of Nike over some of its other competitors, namely Adidas and Reebok. He also mentions the competition, or lack thereof, from these sportswear manufacturers and the reasoning why Nike overpowers them. I would like to touch on some of his points and reinforce why I believe Nike surpasses its’ competitors in important target segments.

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

Blog 8: Fantasy Football Outline

Fantasy Football Outline

I. Introduction

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

II. Body

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.

II. Conclusion

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

Blog 7: The Era of the iPod: The iTunes Rant

When I was little I absolutely adored my mini cassette playing boom box. I would record songs off the radio and pretend to be my very own DJ. Flash forward through Walkmans, CD players, and bulky MP3 players to the present where iPods are king. Now I can have the convenience of loading up an endless amount of songs onto my handy dandy iPod. However record labels and artists are being more and more concerned with their music being ‘stolen’ and loaded onto many people’s computers. There are now endless lines of red tape I have to go through now to download music onto my iPod. What happened to the good old days where I was able to record songs off the radio for free, shouldn’t technology make recording songs freely easier now? All I want is my [free] music…

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.

Now with emerging sites such as Pandora and LastFM which only play music and is not downloadable, music listeners are getting new ways of listening to the music they want. Rather than pay for songs or risk downloading a virus, music has been made more and more available. Also with features of tailoring playlists to a particular taste (as Pandora does), it opens the consumer up to new artists that they might like. If iTunes would do something where you could purchase a song of your choosing and they would pair it with a song you ‘might’ like, the consumer might be more enticed to buy more music from that particular artist. Also, getting benefits and discounts more often as an iTunes member would also appeal to the music listener. We are a generation that feeds off free and discounted products, so I feel if iTunes did more to give back to their customers, they would gain more market share. Until then, I will continue looking into getting my music at discounted rates (there is now apparently even a youtube à mp3 converter to translate songs/videos from youtube into accessible mp3’s) and remain optimistic for future music purchases.