Angry Birds to Where’s My Water–A new look for new faces

Becoming almost an overnight success, Angry Birds, was able to transform how we think of mobile gaming and how big of a market you can expand into from that games success.  Today not only does Ravio Entertainment, gaming company responsible for Angry Birds, see revenues from it’s mobile game, but also sells over a million plush toys a month, as well as t-shirt and school lunch boxes.   It has even developed a comic strip online.  The point is no one can tell how far can this go?  Well Disney wants to find out with it’s Where’s My Water mobile game.  Disney is no stranger to character development but does realize that it could take millions of dollars and an extraordinary amount of time on something that is no guarantee, especially if you developing an new movie.  Evident in the Mars Needs Moms, a spring theatrically release that was anything but a success.  However they see opportunities in mobile game which is a relatively low cost way to develop a character and gain a strong following.  The end result hopes to be a movie and a new character to add to Disney’s repertoire.  This concept is not new and has had variations of success in the past with games like Tomb Raider.  There is a lot to gain here, even if Swampy isn’t as successful as Disney visions it will be.  The cost for developing this games as I stated early is pretty cheap and can easily be adapted to international markets making popularity almost endless as well as various revenues streams.

Kia launches new branding campaign

Kia has decided to launch a new global marketing campaign aimed at increasing awareness and core beliefs in their brand.  They are calling it “Inspired by what you like, Kia, the power to surprise”.  Their main area of marketing this new campaign is going to be through TV ads and social media.  Kia plans to release this content in 7 languages and seeks to harness the power of social networks to help communicate and push its slogan as stated above.  One of the key roles in this campaign is going to be their customers.  Social networking sites will allow their customers to post what they like about their Kia’s in a localized place for everyone to see and read.  Kia’s main spokesperson, tennis pro Rafeal Nadal, was chosen as the face of this campaign.  The decision was a good one choosing an international star that can easy be recognized across many countries.  This campaign is quite a contrast to the core competencies Kia used to first enter the market, cheap and affordable.  But constant improvements in their designs and a stronger customer base allowed them to branch away from what they did best in order to obtain a more long term marketing strategy.  They are slowly developing what used to be a commodity auto mobile, into a global brand.

7′ 6″ Yao Ming Hopes to Score BIG on name

Yao Ming defined all odds first by being reaching 7′ 6″ inches tall then by being one of the first Asian players to break into the NBA, and now he is testing his luck with pino, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon.  One might think, how the heck can a former NBA basketball player with no wine making experience, or history with wine for that matter, plan to buy a California winery and make it successful?  Then you read into his marketing plan, and think to yourself, “hey, this might just work.”.

Yao Ming announced that he was going to be buying a California winery and begin his next adventure after basketball establishing the Yao Ming Family Wineries.  Already teaming up with one to the largest French beverage distributors Yao Ming plans to market his wine strictly to the Chinese market.  He is also going to be asking for a price as tall as him 1,775 yen or $289.  This is a rather large asking price for a winery that has no history, but Yao figures his name alone with suffice and who can argue with that theory.  California couldn’t have a better pitchman in China than Yao Ming. He is one of the country’s biggest stars and is credited with boosting China’s interest in the NBA. During his nine seasons with the Houston Rockets, his games were broadcast on national television in China, and he was selected to carry China’s flag during the opening ceremonies at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He has endorsed everything from Apple products to his father’s Chinese restaurant in Houston.  He truely is one of the most recognizable faces in China, and because of all of his success, he has built a reputable brand name, himself.

Investors believe that the Yao Ming name is not the only positive that this winery has going for it, they also see a real chance for California wines to penetrate the Chinese market.  From 2005 to 2009, wine consumption in China  has doubled but France has been the main benefactors of the consumption surge.  Theres seems to be a real opportunity to capitalize on a growing market, and you cannot deny that California has picked the perfect figure to help brand their wine.


John Deere focuses on small tractors

It has long been etched in our minds that when we think of tractors, we think green and yellow.  This has been the staple colors of John Deere since 1910.  It is now doubt that John Deere has captured a majority of the North American market (primarily US and Canada) and have done this with quality products that clearly defines their brand image.  With US sales of tractors becoming stagnat, John Deer is looking to global economies, mainly developing countries, to provide the growth that the company needs and the growth its shareholders expect.  In taking a look at the trends of developing countries and finding out what their needs are, John Deere has realized that they cannot look to grow their business by using the traditional US model in which they have excelled.  The reason being John Deere has market to large growth farmers who have thousands of acres of land that need to be harvested.  When they were looking at their test market, India, they realized the average farm size was about 3 acres.   Also in doing interviews with local Indian farmers, they were happy to see that many of them knew about John Deere, but did not purchase their tractors due to their large size and high cost.  It did not make sense to Pichandi, a local farmer who just purchased his third Mahindras tractor, a smaller more adapt tractor for his small farm, in 4 years. Samuel Allen, CEO of John Deere, is eying India as an opportunity that his company can capitalize on.   Mr. Allen had a couple of ways he could have entered into the India market, and he choose to invest in a $100 million dollar factory dedicated to building small tractors for the local market and export market.

This goes back to what we discussed in class about different ways to enter foreign markets.  He decided instead of building them in the US he would set up a local plant to be able respond quickly to the local market.  John Deere would also save in transportation cost because they are not only planning on selling to India but surrounding East Asian countries like China.  However, there are some drawbacks to his branding in India.  If it doesn’t work out not only will he loose the market, but also the $100 million dollar plant investment.  If he exported the small tractors out of an existing plant Allen would save on set-up costs.  Also investment companies don’t know if his plan will work out due to the low profit margins on small tractors, which is expected limit John Deere profits.

Despite concerns Allen believes this is the best way to grow the company and capitalize on foreign markets.  John Deere has captured the US market and will continue its stronghold for years to come, but with pressures to keep growing the company different action has to be taken.  Will this pay off? Only time will tell.

Hollywood fighting for China

With box office receipts growing expentially in China (up to 1.6 billion annually, a 64% increase from last year) Hollywood production companies are revamping their strategies to make their movies more suitable for a Chinese audience.  With foreign film import regulations strict in China, limited to 20 films per year, Hollywood production companies are re-branding themselves as co-producers with Chinese production companies to by-pass this restriction.  In order to be considered as a co-producer, Chinese companies have say in the Hollywood film’s finances, film site, and must have a percentage of Chinese stars in the cast.  Yes, that’s right, Hollywood is being told what to do.  Due to these restrictions and growing interest in American movies, Hollywood is starting to re-brand itself on some movie productions, to be able to get their movies into the Chinese market.  For example, “Looper” a action movie staring Bruce Willis, wanted to open in China as well, so they re-tooled their production so it would fit into the guidelines set up by China including changing the production site, and recasting roles to include Chinese stars.  Is this a trend that we will see with many other popular movies?  In my opinion, yes.  It would be foolish to not capitalize on this growing market, but Hollywood also has to understand that a majority of their revenues will still be coming from US box office sales and it is important to approach this opportunity with some perspective.  In the meantime, the race is on in China and expect many production companies to take part in this race.