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Driving Brand Performance with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What are the right key performance indicators (KPIs) for the production of brand materials? And how do you implement and leverage them? The benefits can be tremendous.

In this white paper, SGK explains KPIs for graphics production. We explain the criteria for the most effective KPIs and the benefits of KPIs that help you eliminate costly inefficiencies in graphics processes. We also discuss how to get your company to embrace KPIs and how SGK runs its own KPIs on behalf of clients to analyze the work we do.

This paper is an insightful look at a business performance tool that is often ignored or misunderstood. Download Driving Brand Performance With Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Branded Graphics now.

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What is the Brand Today? Lor Gold Answers

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SGK Patterns Issue 1, 2013 - Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities

Today, new markets don’t simply emerge: they converge with marketers’ experiences in established regions, with personal technologies that enable mind-boggling communication, and with business technologies that enable tremendous process clarity. This issue of SGK Patterns examines these converging opportunities in several emerging markets and across several key product categories. SGK experts weigh in on:

 Brand management technology for faster starts in new markets
 E-commerce in China: people have the power
 The huge opportunities for pharmaceuticals in India
 The impending personal care product boom in Brazil
 Russia's intriguing private label marketplace
 The youth market is the future of every market

Download Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities – the newest issue of the award-winning SGK Patterns.

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ANTHEM Sightings Issue 2, 2013 - Collective Mood

The Slow Movement is moving into the mainstream today, no longer practiced by a niche group. In this issue of Sightings, we analyze it from the perspective of culture and marketing, with such examples as:

Chill: Brands embracing the laid-back lifestyle

Mindfulness: Products and experiences that encourage us to stay in the moment

Intimacy: Changes in social conventions, and products to match, to help us stay close

Appreciation: A new honoring of craft and time-intensive quality

Humility: Consuming responsibly

Chart this change in the collective mood with us. Download Sightings now.

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Important Indian Pharma News Meshes With Recent SGK Patterns Article

Posted By: SGK April 10, 2013
Pharma In India

In the current issue of SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities, SGK explains the unique role of India in the world pharmaceutical market – how several decades of freedom from patent law gave it an edge in R&D and in global market share, as the leader in low-cost imitation drugs. A recent important news story from India suggests that the title of the Patterns story – “Every Challenge is an Opportunity: Manufacturing and Marketing Pharmaceuticals in India” – was on the mark:

The news of April 1 was that the Indian high court had struck down a petition by a major pharmaceutical company for patent protection of its very successful cancer drug. The pharmaceutical company said the drug was covered under Indian law that says drugs patented before 1995 are patent-protected; the court ruled that the version now being copied is different from the version the company had patented in 1993.

The ruling related to just one drug, but press coverage showed that it could have huge impact. Pharma representatives felt that the ruling was a step backward in progress toward Western-style patent protection that India began in 2005 with updated laws. And that it would prompt other developing countries to swing against patent protections going forward.

Public health officials were glad for the ruling, because the drug in question costs considerably less in generic, making it much more available to sick people worldwide.

The news is a perfect example of the complicated nature of world pharma. How do courts and governments balance the need for intellectual property protection, product research and the availability of affordable medicines? Here is The New York Times’ account of the Indian court’s judgment; read it along with Every Challenge Is an Opportunity: Manufacturing and Marketing Pharmaceuticals in India. You’ll see that the article could also have been entitled “Every Opportunity Is a Challenge.”

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Two Interesting Looks at Business in Brazil, from SGK and Popsop

Posted By: SGK April 08, 2013

A recent Popsop column on consumer product marketing in Brazil meshes nicely with an article in the most recent SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities. In Popsop, “The Opportunity, Creativity and Diversity of Brazil” discusses how that country is both intriguing to global brands and a “tough nut to crack” because of distinctly Brazilian factors.

Author Stephen Maher notes that while Brazil is second only to the U.S. in Facebook use and that pay TV has 45 million subscribers there, there are strategic challenges to consumer brands entering the market. For one, there are no dedicated media-buying agencies there – it’s handled by full-service ad agencies – a legacy of the state’s previous control of the media.

Another is that although the internet is the third-largest media channel in Brazil, brands still prefer mass-market TV advertising and its excellent penetration. And there are even more unique challenges, like the ban on outdoor advertising in São Paolo.

In SGK’s recent Patterns article, “Brazil’s Personal Care Boom: Room for More” we note factors like high import costs and high taxes on businesses compared to other countries, which make it hard to do business in Brazil from afar and hard – at the same time – to put down roots there. But major foreign brands are doing it.

And both articles note the astounding transformation that Brazil has undergone in the past decade, thanks in part to active government involvement in jobs and infrastructure. This activism is a key reason Brazil will host the 2016 Olympics, and the Olympics in turn are additional motivation for the government and for brands that want to leverage Brazil’s new awareness of its own consumer power.

Read "Brazil's Personal Care Boom: Room for More" and “The Opportunity, Creativity and Diversity of Brazil” back-to-back for an excellent overview of business, marketing and creativity in that country.

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Emotional Engagement with Brands: Why Now – and How? SGK Strategists Explain

Posted By: SGK March 27, 2013

One of the analysts behind the Brand Keys 17th annual 2013 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) recently penned a Forbes column that serves notice that shoppers and consumers don’t view “brands” the way they used to.

Your target audience has so much information at hand and basic product categories are in such flux that your brand equity could be eroding under your feet. “When all a consumer can say is ‘shampoo’ when asked about the product name, you really aren’t a brand anymore. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll never be able to differentiate yourself on an emotional basis,” the author, Robert Passikoff, writes.

We passed the Forbes piece to Bruce Levinson, Vice President, Brand Strategy at the New York office of Anthem Worldwide, and asked for his thoughts. They were succinct:

  1. Functional superiority can be gold. (Tide)
  2. Where functional parity exists, emotional engagement is critical. (Special K)
  3. Functional superiority + emotional engagement trumps all. (Dove)

True enough, and Levinson’s formulation is an excellent way to strip away tangential marketing concerns and get at the shopper’s core thinking: “Does the product work and am I engaged with what the brand represents?”

Now how do you achieve that engagement? Two recent pieces of SGK thought leadership speak directly to this.

In “Compare To or Not To Compare To: That Is the Question,” Anthem’s Carol Best gets at the challenge of establishing a brand as unique in the market. Best is a Vice President of Brand Strategy and also part of the Schawk Retail Practice, and she explains that brands must be more courageous in identifying themselves as unique in practical and emotional terms. She applies this directly to private label and store brands, whose success in the past decade in the U.S. and other countries is now forcing them to represent more than simply a cheaper alternative. But the lesson applies to national brands, as well.

In “Orbiting the Black Hole of Category Code Convergence,” Rob Swan, Vice President, Executive Creative Director and Michael Colton, Director of Design Strategy at Brandimage, detail how brands risk “converging” with each other creatively and strategically through lack of awareness or, ironically, through fear of poor performance. Like Passikoff in Forbes, they single out shampoo as a category that’s marked by a dangerous “sameness.”

The Forbes piece is titled “Emotional Engagement: Where Brands Strike Gold. And Make Money,” and the two pieces of SGK thought leadership mentioned above nicely illuminate what Forbes and Anthem’s Levinson are saying. Emotional engagement takes courage – not just on the part of the shopper or consumer but on the part of brands, who have to move outside their comfort zones to offer people a reason to engage.

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China Will Soon Be the World’s Largest Online Marketplace: Here’s Why

Posted By: SGK March 20, 2013

The current issue of SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities includes an in-depth article on China’s fast-growing e-commerce space. Here are some of the highlights from “E-Commerce in China: Social Media Is the Fuel,” provided by Anh-Huan Tan, Director of Brand Strategy/Asia Pacific for Brandimage, part of the Schawk, Inc. brand development practice.

From Cluster-Oriented Consumption to Me-Consumption

The Chinese used to shun "individualism." Not so today: the rise of personal media is proof. Each individual, and thus each consumer, is now a source of information and is becoming the hub of his/her sphere of influence. The power is moving from brands to consumers, and consumers online are embracing unique kinds of self-expression.

The Virtual World Lighting Up the Real World

Here are some Chinese examples.

  • lets consumers to try out clothing and shoes virtually. Each selection is displayed on the bottom of the page with a link back to Taobao for final purchase.
  • Taobao Mall in Beijing offers an “experience center” for home decoration, bringing together e-shopping and offline sampling to help the consumer make better choices when shopping online.
  • Yihaodian, the famous online supermarket, offers QR-code shopping in every big Shanghai metro station, facilitated by giant LEDs and the shopper’s mobile phone
  • The Yishion clothing brand has launched an online fitting activity. After purchase, consumers are invited to use augmented reality online to try out new outfits. Their sessions are recorded and advertised live in-store.

Consumption Guide Planners

  • The aggregation site allows shoppers to compile information on products and services from multiple sources.
  • Taobao experts will respond to user-published photos of products they’re looking for, providing information on other relevant products.

Grass-Roots Decision-Making

In Volkswagen’s People’s Car project, consumers can vote on potential design features and strongly influencing the final design of a new model.

For the full article and five more on emerging markets, categories and brand management technologies worldwide, download SGK Patterns: Emerging Markets, Converging Opportunities now. It’s free.

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Where Is Russia on the Timeline to a Thriving Private Label Industry?

Posted By: SGK March 18, 2013

A few key things have to happen for private label or store-brand packaged goods to become viable in a country or region.

  • The private brand – or the retailer itself – has to develop enough cachet to get over the “trust barrier.” In the U.S., Target is a great example of a retailer whose brand has been curated into something greater – trusted and aspirational. This took many years and a sophisticated marketing effort, because Americans traditionally have bonded with national brands that unite the huge geographical sweep of that country; the retailer’s job was to offer a wide variety of these brands. In the smaller, more traditional U.K., by contrast, shoppers have always bonded with the local retailer itself – on the basis of its smart selection; this made “own brands” an easier extension.
  • The retailer has to become adept at brand development for actual products, and at brand deployment, such as sourcing merchandise, coordinating supply chain logistics and managing artwork and packaging. These aren’t easy.

Against this backdrop, an article in by Hans Muysson, a Schawk, Inc. Vice President of Product Development, is intriguing. In “Is Russia Ripe For Private Label Revolution?” he explains exactly where Russia stands on the timeline toward widespread private label. It’s an excellent “case study” for any marketer who's interested Russia, private label and brand development.

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How Category Code Convergence Threatens Your Packaging: On Slideshare Now

Posted By: SGK February 12, 2013

Does your packaging mimic the design cues of your competitors? Does it use common signifiers that make you feel comfortable as a marketer but fail to distinguish your products? Are you visually risk-averse? Have you lost sight of the fact that shoppers want to be intrigued and inspired, not just reassured?

If so, spend a few minutes with Brandimage package design experts Rob Swan and Michael Colton. The presentation from their lively and clear Live Session webinar, How Category Code Convergence Threatens Your Packaging, is now on SlideShare. Through concrete packaging examples and intuitive diagrams, they show the powerful negative pull of “category code convergence.” How did Coca-Cola break out of this vicious cycle? Why does the women’s aerosol deodorant category still suffer from it?

Grab your lunch and spend some productive time with How Category Code Convergence Threatens Your Packaging, then share it with your brand team. It’s an eye-opener. Then sign up at BrandSquare for alerts for every BrandSquare Live Session, in which experts from Schawk, Inc. and others – like Guy Kawasaki and David Aaker – discuss key issues and trends in brand development and brand deployment today.