THE RECESSION has affected different businesses in a variety of ways beyond the headlines of staff and pay cuts. For marketing and advertising firms, the problem has been clear -- namely, how do you convince consumers to spend money on your products when they are intent on saving every cent they have?
To this end, MCCP held a marketing morning focused on answering that question. The event, titled 'Instability is the new norm -- Is your brand still relevant' saw speakers address the changing face of Irish society, and the changing needs of the Irish consumer. An audience of marketing professionals heard they must decide if their brand still has a place in today's Ireland.
Attendees were told in 2007 Ireland had more Mercedes cars per capita than any other country in Europe. People defined themselves by profession and possession.
Today people are more practical and are using different measures of status. The Ford Fiesta is now the biggest selling car in Ireland and having 'warm and close relationships' is now much more important than 'accomplishment'.
Journalist and marketing expert Martin Raymond, who has also founded LSN Global, said the changing nature of the consumer was even more important today than ever before.
"The key demographic now is the 'Generation Jones'. These people are between 45 and 55, are at or near the peak of their earning power and are time poor. They demand designed, rather than designer goods. IKEA, Next, those type of companies thrive on Generation Jones," he said.
"People today are looking for an experience to go with the product they are buying. The product by itself is not enough. There is a distinction now between an 'adjective' brand and a 'fact' brand. The iPhone is an adjective brand, Blackberry is a fact brand."
For MCCP's Susan Kelly, the idea of a digital campaign working as a standalone entity is not tenable.
"Digital is not the main event," she said. "If online content or brands are not enhancing the consumers experience in the real world then they will simply log off. Just because you have a thousand 'fans' on Facebook does not mean your campaign has been a success."
MCCP was set up by Kay McCarthy, who has held global board positions at Agency level. She believes she has positioned her agency to include new ways of working for clients.
Ringing up the right numbers
THE MOBILE phone business is one of the most competitive in the country -- it seems that every second television ad is for a mobile company -- but it is also one of the most profitable businesses to be in. Last year Vodafone Ireland posted an operating profit of €205m, while O2 returned a pre-tax profit of €203m.
Given those figures, it's hardly surprising that there are more and more companies looking to get a finger into that pie. One such company is 'Just Mobile', a new venture from Donal Lawless and Stuart Kelly.
Just Mobile is a pre-paid only network that will 'piggy back' on the established infrastructure used by Vodafone and O2.
Donal Lawless believes his company can make a viable business and at the same time pursue a business plan that could be described as a little "softer" than his bigger rivals.
Sim cards and phones are available in 650 Spar and Mace shops nationwide, and Mr Lawless claims that this distribution strategy means the company has its handsets available in towns and villages around the country unlike larger rivals.