Sunday, August 30, 2009

╠ My Greatest Success to Date ╣

What I believe to be my greatest achievement in retrospect is progression of Melbourne Anime Festival's mascot 'Peppa-chan' throughout the year. Peppa-chan has been around since 2004 and to be honest the character development has been slim. However I believe it's really grown a lot this year. Peppa-chan has grown, she now has facebook, twitter and various other accounts on sites linked within the community. She finally has a presence and has been able to connect for once.

The best part of it though was that I was able to run an event titles 'Operation Peppa-chan' that encouraged attendees to dress up as our mascot. This event was a huge success and most who attended seemed to really enjoy it. On top of this whilst the event was running we were also collecting money for charity.

So basically an event that is purely Manifest and that only Manifest can do and therefore is representative of everything Manifest, albeit a late start due to other events, ran really well. The brand was reinforced, the mascot was reinforced. The lovely medal you see above was actually donated by Emil Braun making it a low cost event. Charity wise we managed to raise over $600. So basically it was a brand building, low cost, high enjoyment and CSR positive endeavour. Frankly I'm just glad to see it all pay off.

Also I'd really like to thank those who helped along the way, Candice for dressing as Peppa, the entrants, and just anyone who helped along the way.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

╠ Kids These Days - No Respect! ╣

Sorry to everyone who was waiting eagerly for my next post to arrive only to find a week went by with nothing but I was frantically trying to organize the Melbourne Anime Festival. I was the branding manager so it's been a long year trying to revitalize what to many has seemed like a bit of a dying brand.

As volunteer work obviously the aim is to learn a lot and develop my skills in order to show off to potential employers. I'll be detailing my activities later on as I prepare my post mortem.

However the one thing that I must mention first which I am quite proud of is that I actually organized for our mascot to be kidnapped. Peppa-chan as she is called used to be basically a faceless entity. Through the year I've slowly added life to her through facebook and twitter and to cap it all off I had her kidnapped. So yes if you employ me I will find a way to have your favourite element captured!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

╠ Unsustainable Advantage ╣

One thing that I've been thinking about a bit lately is refund policies. A lot of companies have them and it's usually along the lines of 7-14 days after purchase you can still get your money back. Some businesses offers are clearly better than others. My question about this though is how much should you advertise this? As refund policies are generally a cost and if everyone took it up you'd be out of business.

The example I would like to use is EB Games. What they do is offer a 7 Day money back if you finish the game that quick you can bring it back. can rent the game for a week for free. Dodgy? Perhaps. But these are the holes that exist in refund policies.

Normally with loss leaders they are stock items that you can simply run out of. But policies are forever. I've wondered why EB Games haven't taken their policy and tried to make something of it. 'The 7 Day Game Challenge!' Finish a game in seven days and return it to receive a full refund.

The reason I believe it hasn't happened is the loopholes that have to exist in these policies...if you start encouraging people based on this reasoning then all of a sudden EBGames becomes a free rental store.

Refund policies are definitely a confusing one. Just what is the right amount to advertise them? I think it's a flaw with the policy rather than the marketing, but at the moment I just believe there are too many getaway free refund policies. Yes it adds security, but when you can't advertise it right for fear of having it turn on you is that really worth it?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

╠ It's the small things that matter ╣

The market of portable gaming faces one huge issue, software piracy. This is especially prominent in Australia because release dates between our games and America's can be quite broad. The ability of consumers to download your game and not pay for it is a huge issue that the players in the market have to deal with. This is even more of a problem for the PSP as it doesn't have the casual gamer market to keep it afloat.

The thing that annoys me is the lack of innovation in attracting gamers to actually purchase a game. One example of someone doing it right is my favourite game company Square Enix, who with their new big game Dissidia are offering a bunch of free stuff in a collectors edition. Most of it is probably useless junk, but at the POS it looked pretty so I put down my preorder, and it seemed other people had chosen the same option as there were 60 pre-reg's just at the store I went to.

Gaming companies seem to be too happy to sit back and wait for Sony or Nintendo to fix the problem, but as a competitor in the market they too have power and should be aiming to follow this culture and try to add incentive that can't simply just be downloaded.

If there is a problem in your market you should always be trying to innovate your way around it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

╠ Wicked Sick Branding ╣

Most of you have probably already seen this ad over on Pigs Don't Fly but I liked it so much that I thought I'd cross post it. I like it because it's so effective at proving two things: The value of branding, and also that incredible value can be created even with a completely new brand.

The original sale captures the items raw cost, no branding, no anything. Buying a BMX on ebay will set you back 27.50. However stick a name on it and the value grows, further more create hype around it, knowledge increases and as knowledge increases the value of the brand rises.

The thing that also stands out is that thanks to the increased knowledge for the product via the video the buyer of the product could possibly even sell the Wicked Sick BMX for more than what he paid because the value of the brand has increased. On top of this those guys could also technically get away with reselling other ebay items witht the Wicked Sick brand name because to those who know it, there is added value.

Personally I'm waiting for the appearance of the wicked sick toaster!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

╠ The My Chem iPod Dock ╣

Whilst perusing the officeworks in QV yesterday I came upon a curious iPod dock(pictured left). To the normal eye nothing would appear odd at all. However if you look in the bottom left corner you notice the model number iH8...which roughly translates in computer nerd language to iHate.

Now I've seen a lot of iPod docks that have i[letter][number] so I don't believe this one is on purpose, or at least the rest of the packaging showed no link to encouraging hatred. In fact I'd go so far to say that if on purpose it directly conflicted with the offer messages of the packaging.

When it comes to technology a lot of users will understand the concept of using numbers instead of actual letters, and the prospect of hate is something that would probably be turned away from by mid to older aged users, aka those with the most disposable income usually. When there are so many ways for a product to go wrong you think you would at least try to make the product code a non-deterant.

Then again I could be completely wrong and it could be on purpose in order to trick people like me into promoting it...oh the beauty of marketing. Thoughts?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

╠ Success in Failure ╣

Often we can find ourselves turning our noses up at ads or simply deeming them ineffective and a waste however even in these cases there is still value to be attributed.

For us to choose to purchase something first there has to be a need, second a product that satisfies that need must be able to quash all risks involved in the purchase of the product. Now, when I say risk I'm not saying someones going to come and shoot you for buying the wrong pair of glasses, the risks I refer to are more various. For example a main one is financial risk, aka can you afford it, another important risk is breakage or lemon risk which refers to the durability of the product.

When it comes to an individual product individuals can have varying risks, some may have the financial risk as top priority, in this case they'll usually opt for the cheapest product. Other people however, especially in the case of technology are more afraid of faulty products, and will pay that bit extra for a brand that they know.

The way this links back is that whilst you may hate an ad, the brand will usually stick in your mind. Take the case where the faulty risk is of the highest importance to you, where choice is limited. Would you choose the brand you know, a brand that is successful enough to advertise, albeit poorly, but advertise none the less, or a complete no name brand?

In the end what matters to a consumer is justify the product, to satisfy the level of risk they are happy with. So I would assume in a case where quality is of priority you would choose the brand you know. This is simply because there is one thing that every television ad shouts loud and clear. 'Look at us, we can afford to be on TV!' If your original message doesn't get through, this one always will.