Friday, January 30, 2009

Jon Jones videographer extradonaire!

So if this brand management thing doesn't work out, Jon has a job as a videographer. He has put together a great video on YouTube from our trip to Turkey.

I know that most of my blogs on the trip were company visit related so you didn't get my straight opinion on the trip. Here it is...I loved it! Never thought I would go to Turkey in my life and it probably wasn't on my top 20 list of places to visit before I die, but the trip was incredible. Turkey truly is a cradle of history from the early Christian settlements in the middle of the country to the city of Ephesus, which was one of the largest trade ports in the Greek empire. We saw the house where Mary ascended to heaven or died depending on your faith and place wishes on the wishing wall. We ate kebabs and we ate kebabs and we ate a whole fish and we ate kebabs.

We dorked it out and went to hypermarket. Only a group of brand management students would be excited to run around a supermarket for two hours. Al came away with numerous bottles of mustard and Laura bought out the Nestle candy section. I bought a loaf of bread.

I don't know where we are going next year (China/Japan is my choice), but count me in. This is why I am here. I don't do a trip like this if I am in still at my last job. I don't run around a foreign country with 24 of my friends for 10 days if I am still trying to find people work. I would approach my internship and future position in brand management different and probably worse off, if I didn't make this trip. Whatever the cost, it is merely a down payment.

Have a great weekend and enjoy Jon's video. Just think, a year from now you too can have your life put to the music of Celine Dion.

Tea Sugar and Dreams!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First day of class or Obama?

So you would think that the first day of classes would be the topic of conversation amongst the students, but alas, it is not. I am sitting in the Plenary Room with 100 students, faculty members, and administrators watching President Obama give his speech. Have to say that I will remember this afternoon for the rest of my life and could not imagine being in another place than right here with my fellow students sharing in this historical event.

Professor Housch even ended our Economics class a little early so that we could see the Inaugural Address. It is nice to know that our professors realize the impact of this event and gave us the opportunity to see it.

I hope wherever you are you realize what is transpiring. Have a great day. Now I will get Ms. Maier a tissue.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Day Four: Company Visit Five (Kraft)

Some of us were recovering from our first night out on the town in Istanbul, but everybody made the 8:00 A.M. shuttle to Kraft. Ironically, it is the only company that actually put its name on the outside of the building. Not sure if it is a security risk or what, but I haven't seen an American company put its name on any buildings.

Here is Jessie, Brian, Andi, Joe, and Jon in front of some Kraft advertising. I was disappointed they didn't have Kraft Mac and Cheese for us, but Tang, Patos Critos, and Milka hit the spot.

While we liked the chocolate at Nestle, I think Kraft won us over in the food category, but not in a category you would expect. Kraft doesn't really compete in the U.S. in the salty snack category, but that is the primary driver of Kraft Turkey. They have two products--Patos (essentially Doritos, but Doritos actually competes in Turkey) and Patos Critos (Buggles, which should be much more popular in the U.S.). I think we went through about 10 bags during the morning.

When you think of potato chips in the U.S., you think of eating them for lunch or grabbing them from a gas station on a long drive (Cheetos Corrine?). However, in Turkey, potato chips are typically consumed when watching television in the evenings. Chips are meant to be shared with friends and family. Turks snack, but on fruits and nuts, not chips. So introducing salty snacks is a bit of a challenge. First thing they did was combine both products under the Patos brand name. Seems pretty simple, but when you think of how much you have to change--packaging, advertising, displays, sales material--it is pretty difficult. The other thought was that they could work together as opposed to being competing products. The question though is who will consume the product.

So where did Kraft go? College kids. They created an entire campaign for Patos Critos based on the fun of consuming the 3D chips. They rolled out a significant sampling program at 20 universities across the country. They sponsored concerts and sporting events. The results were phenomenal. They grew market share from 2% to 8% in six months and even grew the Patos brand by 3%.

Kraft also did a good of explaining Turkish advertising to us. While the country is 97% Muslim and more conservative than the U.S., TV advertising is more risque and requires comedy to make an impact. Literally every commercial on TV has some comedic aspect. Here is the current Patos Critos ad running in Turkey. Yes, they did that.

Funny thing is that Kraft corporate initally said no. They thought it would not play well because it was too controversial. However, the ad agency and the Turkey management team petitioned headquarters and were able to run this ad, which was moderately scaled down from its initial cut. This ad even won an award for innovation within Kraft Europe. Here is another new ad for a Patos Critos line extension.

Patos Critos saved Sennai as I don't think he had eaten for three days. Turkish food was not up his alley. Seriously, who doesn't like fish served with its head and tail still on? Jessie?

Day Three: Two for one (Part 2)

After lunch with J&J, we headed to Nestle's office. Out of all of the companies, we visited, I would say that Nestle had the most American style layout with open concept offices. Nestle took us through two case studies of product launches within Turkey. The first focused on NesCafe. Let me step back for a second. NesCafe is a huge product internationally, but is relatively small in the U.S. as Americans still like roast/ground coffee over instant.

Laura Hufschmidt and the Nestle team

Turkey is a tea drinking culutre. The numbers are pretty stupid. An average Turk will drink between 2000 and 3000 cups oif tea a year. They will drink only 55 cups of coffee a year. Coffee is primarily consumed after meals for celebratory purposes or with a group. Individual consumption is small. With that said, Turks know how to make a cup of tea (how much sugar and cream to add), but were unsure about coffee, which prevented many from even trying it.

To overcome this, NesCafe came up with the 3 in 1 concept, which combined coffee, sugar, and cream in powder form into individual size servings. Essentially, take hot water, add 3 in 1, and boom, you got yourself coffee. This product doesn't exist in the U.S. Closest thing we got to this is hot chocolate. Nestle rolled out three different types--Regular, Mild, and Strong. It took the market by storm and created a whole new category. As with everything in Turkey, the competition immediately copied it and rolled out an almost identical product. The competition took it one step further and started to offer flavored coffees. In the U.S., this would have made complete sense, but Nestle didn't think it would catch on. However, it did and Nestle was suddenly the second mover.

Here is Terry, Katie, and Mark showing the three NesCafe products. Looks like Mark has had about four already and Katie wishes they had given us the coffee an hour ago.
The lesson here is that you can't rest on your laurels. You must continue to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. Creating a category is not enough. Nestle is in the process of introducing a whole new marketing campaign for the 3 in 1 products and their new product--2 in 1 (no sugar). Wish I could find the new ads as there is a crazy moustache on it, but I can't seem to find it.

Something that we didn't talk about at Nestle, but wish we would have is their Maggi Mashed Potato Machine. Here is a picture.

Yep, sitting right next to the coffee machine is this device that dispenses instant mashed potatoes because there is apparently a need for mashed potatoes on the go. Did we try it? You know we did. Verdict--suprisingly good and could easily be tempted to consume mashed potatoes on the go. Now, we never saw this machine in any store, but it is only a matter of time when you are sitting on technology like this.

Yes, I will take a NesCafe 3 in 1 and a cup of mashed potatoes....tea sugar and dreams (inside joke, sorry).

Day Three: Two for one (Part 1)

If we didn't think we were tired going into day three, we surely knew by the end of the day we were in a foreign country. We were scheduled to meet with not one, but two companies--Johnson & Johnson and Nestle. J&J made a fantastic presentation as half of the presentation was dedicated to the Turkish culture and business philosophy and the other half focussed on their roll out of Johnson Baby's Bedtime product.

Most shocking revelations about the Turkish culture:
  • Over 70% of the country is under the age of 40

  • Average Turk brushes their teeth and showers 1.5 times per week

  • 17th largest country by pop., but 67th in GDP per capita

  • 75% of the retail channels are comprised of stores with less than 50 sq. ft.

  • 42% of an average grocery bill is spent on tobacco products--primarily cigarettes

"Dude are like totally on it."--KMC

This provides you with some insight into the challenges that companies face when marketing products to the Turkish population. J&J had a similar story to P&G in that brand building was not the primary concern--educating the customer is the primary concern. In the U.S. we take for granted the process of giving a baby a bath. However, Turkish mothers have a process all their own and the use of product is not typically considered--most use a very standard baby shampoo for all cleaning purposes. However, J&J is trying to roll out the Johnson's Bedtime product, which is to be applied after a bath to help the baby have a peaceful night sleep.

The problem was that mothers did not see a use for the product and could not figure out when they were suppose to use it. So instead of focusing its communication on the emotional benefits of the product, they designed a campaign around how and when to use the product. J&J scientists came up with the Bedtime sleep method for helping a baby get a good night's sleep.

1. Give baby a warm bath.

2. Gently massage the baby.

3. Apply Johnson's Bedtime before putting to bed.

Side note...I think some people on the trip tried this method to overcome jet lag. Can't confirm, but the next day everybody seemed to be in a much better mood. Question is who performed step 2? Jury is still out.

I found this interesting as it seems elementary. However, the same process has been used to educate the consumers on dental hygeine--how to brush you teeth is on the packaging of both toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Lesson is that you can't take for granted that your consumer will know how and when to use the product. J&J also designed a huge promotional campaign using the Turkish Oprah (not what you would imagine, think Mexican telenovela style actress). They were also bundling their products together to give mothers an entire bath/bedtime solution.

To top it off, they took us to lunch, which is always appreciated. It seemed like eight courses, but it was great and I would say that most thought it was one of the best meals of the trip. Best part was the brown sugar cake filled with ice cream--unbelievable.

One quick point--J&J in the U.S. talks about their Credo all of the time, but it didn't really sink in until you walk into their office in Turkey and the first thing you see on the wall is the Credo in both English and Turkish.

Day Two: Procter and Gamble Visit

Day two in Istanbul was a jam-packed day. We did have our first jetlag related casualty—me. The alarm I set on my TV didn’t go off and the wake-up call never came so when we were suppose to meet in the lobby at 8:30 A.M. for departure, I was sound asleep in bed. Thankfully, Carrie had a heart and Jon gave me a call as I was only 10 minutes late. Not my best day.
We hit up the Spice Bizarre in the morning for an hour and a half of negotiating with local vendors for trinkets and such. The 2nd years were able to put their negotiations class skills to good use and Ben Lawnicki came away with a haul in the spice department. The Bizarre (yes, they actually call it a bizarre) was followed by a boat cruise on the Bosphorous River, which runs through Istanbul. If you don’t know, Istanbul is the only city in the world that straddles two continents—Europe and Asia. The Bosphorous is the dividing line so we were literally sailing between two continents. The weather was not the best—cold and rainy—but it was fun nevertheless. The P&G Turkey management team
Visiting P&G took us to Asia for the first time and what looks to be the commercial and financial capital of Istanbul. P&G rolled out the red carpet and we were given access to the General Manager over CEEMEA (Central Eastern Europe Middle East Africa), which runs from Russia to South Africa if you can grasp how big that is and the Director of Marketing, the Director of Finance, and the Director of Customer Business Development for the region. They were able to discuss not only Turkey, but the entire region, which was very interesting. In the U.S., P&G manages a ton (that is for you Amy) of brands, while Turkey has only 10. The majority of the brands are marketed under local names (for example, Crest is Ipana) because they bought local companies.

However, P&G rolled out two new brands to Turkey in the last year under their American names—Head and Shoulders and Olay. In the U.S., shampoo products typically focus on both the emotional and functional benefits of products and primarily for women, it is the color, appearance, feel, texture of the hair. However, in Turkey that is not the main concern, which is why Head and Shoulders, which specializes in dandruff prevention was chosen. Since so many women where head scarves, appearance is not a major concern for consumers, but function is.
I guess the major takeaway for me was that you really must identify your consumers’ needs. It seems like a lot of American companies in Turkey try to use the same messages that are used in Europe, but the consumers are very different.

I know this is long so I will finish up. Dinner that was night an interesting experience. After two consecutive meals of kebobs or kebaps (didn’t realize you spelled it was a p until I got here), we went for seafood, which would be fairly harmless. Except, the fish was served whole—head and tail on, bones in. For the 26 of us, I think this was a new experience for at least 20 including yours truly. But it gets better, a belly dancer (which is questionable, but that is another story) worked, I mean worked, the table. Every male had the pleasure or horror of receiving her undivided attention for 30 seconds. She would not leave until everybody paid her, well except one. She would not except coins so Joe Worley was out of look. She was a cash business. I guess that is a little piece of knowledge you can drop the next time you are in Turkey.

At least Brian didn't ask for change.

Here’s to trashy belly dancers and random ship salesmen….cheers!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kimberly Clark Visit to Turkey

The very first thing we did upon arriving in Istanbul was meet with Peter Melville, Marketing Director for Kimberly Clark Turkey. He did a fantastic job of giving us KC’s current situation on the ground in Turkey before taking us through two case studies—1) Huggies and 2) Kotex.
Granted, diapers and feminine hygiene are not the most exciting topics, Peter did a great job of relating the marketing issues each brand focused and how they were able to overcome each. In Huggies case, they faced tremendous competition from U.S. heavyweight P&G (using Prima, which is actually Pampers) and Turkish manufacturer Hyaht. What was most interesting was that KC Turkey is implementing a similar branding strategy as the U.S. focusing on fit and the emotional connection between mother and child. Seems pretty simple, but all of the Turkish diapers adds focus on happy babies doing silly things. It is also very popular for the babies to sing a song in ads. KC is the newest competitor in the market, but has managed to gain a 7% share in two years and is quickly moving towards 10%.

Kotex had a whole different set of problems. First, tampon use in Turkey is extremely small, primarily driven by the strong influence of Islam (97% of the country is Muslim). Apparently, tampon use leads to girls losing their virginity—if only that was the case. Without tampons, Kotex must focus on the maxi pad and liner markets. They are focusing their communications towards comfort and hygiene, which is currently not considered in feminine hygiene purchases. Similar to Huggies, Kotex is incorporating a lot of the U.S. communication strategy focusing on PR, online promotions, and sampling.

Mariah Kottke (2nd year), Peter Melville (KC Turkey Dir. of Marketing) and Ben Lawnicki (2nd year) Both Mariah and Ben interned at KC last summer and will start full-time in July

Now I mentioned in an earlier post about cartoon pop star Kita. I can’t go into too much detail, but what I can say is that we got see her video release with Turkish pop star Keremcem (that is a male if the name didn’t give it away) during our visit with KC. The question I pose is what if a consumer goods company could create its own celebrity? Think about the ramifications of being able to control, Miley Cyrus per se. The results could be amazing. What would the downside be? Fan pushback maybe, or it could fail. Just ponder it because come June we might have an answer.

Here is Kita’s video for your viewing pleasure…(scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the video, it is in Turkish so be prepared).

Here is Kotex's website in Turkey. Let me know if you see something familiar...

Only marketers would notice this stuff.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I know that I said I would get something up about our first visit with Kimberly Clark, but when I say we have been busy, that would be the understatement of the century.

Quick thoughts on today and I will try to backfill later:

We are in the Cappadocia region of Turkey...haven't you heard of it. Would not say it is the garden spot of Turkey, but it is very significant historically. The weather is chilly and the buildings are not much warmer. We have been flying through cash at all of the stops we have made. I think Kari Caesar has about 18 pashminas and has managed to come away with something at every stop. Michael Kirtman is already decorating the new house he hasn't bought yet.

I do have to give props to the group for not buying any rugs, but they were tempting. This evening we attended the Turkish Medieval Times--called Turkish Nights. Only thing we didn't have was paper crowns and a raven. Four of our group members--Matt Odigie, Michelle Prager, Kari Caesar, and Jamel Tingman--were invited to learn to belly dance. All did an admirable job, but one person took the cake--Jamel. I would show pictures, but I am not sure they are school appropriate. I will say this, I don't think any of us knew how ripped Jamel really was.

Other observations about the evening:
  • Greg Rose completely surprised the group with his dancing ability.
  • Turkish Nights has only one pop song it is allowed to play. Ask Amy Maier for a playback.
  • The Turks really like their bread.
  • Our hotel--where the rooms are caves, seriously--is in the middle of nowhere. I am not sure this place is on the map.
Hopefully Sedat (our tour guide) gets some sleep tonight as I think he has a little too much fun at Turkish Nights. I will try to get to the important marketing related stuff as we gathered some fantastic insight and had incredible company visits. The inside jokes and random occurences are just too funny to not write down.

Cheers....very nice!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Turkey Blog Post #1

So after a three hour bus ride to Chicago, six hours at the Hyatt Rosement near O'Hare, a two hour flight to JFK in New York, a nine hour layover in Terminal 2 at JFK, a 10-hour flight to Turkey, we are finally here. Everybody made the flight, which probably wouldn't have happened if not for a three hour maintenance delay.

We just finished our first company visit with Kimberly Clark (they actually came to us). I will write more about it later, but it was fun. To whet the appetite, it had to do with cartoon pop star Kita and the Turkish version of Justin Timberlake. We are heading out to a kabob restaurant tonight--side note, didn't realize there were restaurants that specialized in kabobs, but as they say, when in Istanbul---and then to bed.

Jet lag is taking its affect on everybody. The 25 of us went through 60 cups of tea during the applied learning. Remember when you were a little kid and you went to the waterpark all day. When you got home that night and laid down, you felt like you were still on the rides. As I type, I can still feel the turbulence, it could be the tea or possibly the chocolate chip macaroons I ate, but I think it is the turbulence.

Tomorrow brings a boat tour of the Bosphorus River and sightseeing, which should mean pictures and crazy Turkish stories for you. Have a great evening, morning, afternoon, whatever time it is where you are.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Completely random thoughts about the craziness that is Madison, WI.

So I am driving home from Wal-Mart and saw three things that made me laugh out loud.

1. Madison is surrounded by lakes, but I can only remember seeing a couple of people fishing throughout most of first semester. However, there were probably 50-60 people fishing on (literally on) Monona this afternoon. Temperature--18 F. What were they doing--ice fishing. Seriously, the lake was littered with little tents. Unbelievable. I am sure fishing is fun, but it is below freezing, the lake is a solid piece of ice, and do these people have jobs? It is 1:00 P.M. on a Friday.

2. The city of Monona is only about a mile and a half across Lake Monona from Madison, but you typically have to take John Nolen to the Beltline to get there, which is probably 10-15 miles. However, one ambitious sole had another idea--have bike, will travel. Some guy was trying to ride his bike across the lake. I have seen some crazy things, but this was one of the stupidest things I have seen. He probably fell down three times in the 30 seconds I watched him. Stopping is not an option and either is turning for that matter. I was just hoping he would hit one of the ice fishing holes.

3. And finally, Madisonites like to be outside. During the early Fall, you would tons of people running around the city, getting their work out on. Now I just assumed that once the weather turned dicey, the running would stop. However, this afternoon I saw a couple running by the lake. Did I mention it was 18 degrees outside? My lungs started to hurt just watching them. For me to do that, I would have to be bundled up like a 6-year-old playing in the snow for the first time.

These people are crazy. I will be just fine sitting in the house, watching the Cotton Bowl, imagining what ice fishing, ice biking, and running would feel like.

Happy New Year!