Y&R Think French


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Y&R Think French

  2. 2. THINK FRENCH The United States is the home of marketing - that’s what all the textbooks say. The US is where Coca-Cola was invented, where TV commercials were first seen, and where modern detergents first promised whiter whites. France, on the other hand, is the country of medieval farmhouses, of foie gras and of four hundred cheeses. Few would think of France as the home of cutting-edge marketing. But perhaps the world’s marketers ought to look more closely at France. The emailable version of this document is at pubs.yr.com/thinkfrench.pdf
  3. 3. And wonder why so many New Yorkers insist on drinking French mineral water. Or why the kind of Tokyo woman who would never buy a foreign food or electrical item always seems to carry a $2000 French handbag. Or why hard-nosed Chinese businessmen celebrate deals with fine French wines and cognac. French marketing is very different to American marketing – but it is often more effective. In the cut-throat world of the 21st Century, every marketer needs to understand it. The French know how to build icons: Lady Liberty was designed and built in France.
  4. 4. They realized that there was an unmet need opening up. And so they created a much more expensive drink: vintage champagne. i. THE FRENCH HAVE ALWAYS BEEN Manchester’s mill owners flocked to it. Within a few MARKETERS years, the world was buying many more bottles at much higher prices. Back in the 1840s, the world’s richest city was its first Not the first time industrial city - Manchester, England. This wasn’t the first time that a French producer And at the top of the Manchester social ladder were made a smart, conceptual marketing move. its cotton mill owners. The French were working in this way back in the At their dinner parties, the mill owners liked to show 1750s. off their wealth. The French weren’t just marketing before America So they served wine instead of beer. invented the term ‘marketing’ in 1960. And the wealthier mill owners served champagne. The French were marketing before But for the richest mill owners, there was still a America. problem. In a world where all their peers could afford champagne, how could they show off? Blue denim: Invented in the 1800s in Nîmes, The solution France. In 1842, French marketers solved their problem.
  5. 5. ii. FRENCH MARKETING IS PURE MARKETING When an American or British marketer (The English- speaking nations are known in the rest of the world as ‘Anglo-Saxons’) sets out to differentiate a brand, they usually start with what makes their product different. Anglo-Saxon brands are thus based on ‘10% more fibre’, or an active ingredient. If they can’t identify a strong, sustainable advantage, quite often an Anglo-Saxon marketer will not enter a market. Not so in France French marketing is much purer. The French can Where there is a strong need, argue French create global brands out of marketers, there can be a strong brand. water.
  6. 6. Thus French marketers can create strong, global, premium brands out of materials as simple as water. Or apples. Or leather. And because they are more focussed on consumer needs, they can then make inspired leaps. iii. FRENCH BRANDS DON’T LOOK Like range-extending a water brand into skincare. LIKE BRANDS Or extending skincare to appeal to women in their sixties. ‘This isn’t a brand’ say Anglo-Saxon marketers studying Or promoting a wellness resort by branding the purity the label of a bottle of St. Emilion. of its air. ‘It’s a vineyard.’ In most countries, marketing is just about spending They just don’t get it. a budget. The best French brands are so authentic, they don’t In France, it is a conceptual art. look like brands. And because they don’t look like brands, people prefer them and pay a premium for them. • Would people like Roquefort if it was called Smell-E-Cheez? • Would people value Champagne if it Just because it looks was called Fizzo? home-made doesn’t stop it being a brand.
  7. 7. People like to know things are authentic. They like them to have a history and an origin. And if they do, they value them above brands that have neither. So? Marketers in other countries need to learn to cherish authenticity in their brands. Too many of their brand names come from brand consultancies, and thereby somehow signal to the consumer that they have been created by marketing and aren’t really real. Food tastes better when it feels home- made.
  8. 8. iv. THE FRENCH THINK FEMALE When it comes to tech gadgets and cars, the key purchasers are men. But with 80% of markets, the key purchasers are women. It’s therefore puzzling that English-language marketing always talks in male jargon about ‘campaigns’, ‘targets’ and ‘assaults’. Not so in France The French spend much more time understanding women, and developing insights into female behavior. ‘Some women eat chocolate when they are Women can’t sad,’ observes one famous French designer. get enough ‘And others buy clothes’. of French perfumes and ‘In the hunter-gatherer era, men hunted and other luxury goods.
  9. 9. women gathered,’ observes another. ‘And that mentality is hardwired into our brains. That’s why today men draw satisfaction from sport and videogames, and women draw theirs more from shopping.’ Understanding the female soul is central to French marketing. ‘A woman is v. THE FRENCH DON’T LIE But marketers in other countries can’t follow on: not born, but Anglo-Saxon countries industrialized rapidly. ‘You can’t talk about seduction Cities like London grew so fast that fresh food supplies and l’amour fou in an Anglo- made.’ into them were inadequate for decades. Saxon company’, says a French And so their inhabitants started to eat preserved marketing manager. ‘They are SIMONE foods – like pies, sausages and tinned stews. too politically correct.’ DE BEAUVOIR These junk foods then became the traditional foods Meanwhile, French companies of Anglo-Saxon countries. have worked out how to get Manufacturers suffered too inside a woman’s head and charge her $300 for a Rapid industrialization had an appalling effect on scent. Anglo-Saxon food manufacturing too. And $400 for a skin cream. In the 1840s, British food manufacturers thought Marketers in other countries need to get in touch nothing of dropping copper salts into tinned with their feminine side. vegetables to make them look a little greener. Or grinding up a vat of food by rolling a giant lead ball around it.
  10. 10. Regulation has changed things And they end up with much higher returns on capital Today, regulation has changed Anglo-Saxon food. than any processed food manufacturer. But the attitude is still there amongst some Anglo- That’s the thing about consumers today. Saxon marketers. They are looking for healthier food. ‘As far as ‘Research shows that consumers like ready meals Not unhealthy food with nicer better if we pour a little more palm oil into them’ healthy eating packaging. say Anglo-Saxon food researchers. Or unhealthy food with rustic is concerned, ‘And let’s up the sugar content.’ advertising. America is an Not so in France In Britain, people But the genuine, real thing. emerging market.’ France industrialized much more slowly, and French actually FRENCH MARKETING So? food culture remains as strong as it was before the eat these. DIRECTOR French marketers’ instinct is to be industrial revolution. honest with their customers. And as the world worries more and more about And their customers are loyal to them because of it. its health, the French attitude towards food is the future. Marketers in other countries could learn from this. So whilst Anglo-Saxon food companies spend their time shaving the calorie count of processed foods, French food producers have a very different approach. They simply produce healthy products in the first place. Water. Yoghurt. Fresh fruit.
  11. 11. The French may eat a lot of cheese, but they never surrender their marketing principles. vi. THE FRENCH KNOW EQUALITY ONLY GOES SO FAR In America, a premium brand is one that costs ten percent more than an average brand. Luxury means a little gold on the label. No one likes to produce something that is way out of the reach of the ordinary American. There is something very ‘of the people and for the people’ about American marketing. And indeed the biggest successes of American marketing have been mass marketing: • The Model T Ford: the car for the ordinary American. • KFC: the restaurant everyone can afford.
  12. 12. Not so in France A sense of populism has never hindered French marketers. Puritan roots and guilt don’t prevent them from behaving in unashamedly elitist ways and producing items that no ordinary person will ever be able to afford. A perfume for $1,000? Voilà Madame! A Hermès Birkin bag for $15,000? No problem. It doesn’t mix well with egalité and fraternité. But it does lead to high margin, sustainable brands. And rich, rich brand values. And hugely committed consumers. So Marketers in other countries could do more for their richer users: • In some countries, consumer incomes have risen 50% over the past ten years. Few brands have raised their promises Ho Chi Minh City may be and prices in line. Does your Communist, but it has a huge Louis Vuitton store.
  13. 13. marketing plan leave your customers’ money The leading retailer in on the table? emerging • Does your company keep its superpremium markets is not American but brands for the developed world? In emerging French. markets, supermarkets are creating their own superpremium private-label brands, because Western fmcg companies aren’t meeting local demand for luxury food. • Indeed is your company cutting the quality of its products as it expands into emerging markets? The French don’t think this way. For decades, French cognac houses have been producing superpremium, ultra-expensive grades of cognac and putting them on sale only in Asia. French wines are very successful in China - because of marketing rather than their quality. Many Mainland Chinese mix their $50 claret with Sprite before they drink it.
  14. 14. France’s advantage is that it knows exactly what it stands for. So Marketers in other countries need to think more vii. THE FRENCH KNOW FRANCE IS AN about the place they come from: AD • Romania needs to market itself harder as a provider of natural goods and as a tourist destination. It 40 million people visit the United States each year. has a language that much of the richer half of Over 75 million visit France. Europe can read without problem, and unspoilt countryside to die for. France is the biggest lifestyle showroom in the world. • If you want your country to take off, look for a snowball effect: The atmosphere of Mexican And the image of France sells wine, cheese and restaurants sells the idea of holidays in Mexico, luxury goods across the world. which leave visitors with a taste for tequila, which Most countries struggle with their national image: sells more Mexican food, and which in turn makes • Britain isn’t sure whether it is a museum, or Tony them want to go back to Mexico. Blair’s ‘cool Britannia’. • Want your country to project sophistication • Poland isn’t sure whether it’s a rural idyll, or an as well as good old craftsmen and peasants? You industrial powerhouse. need two brands. When French marketers want • Over sixty years after world war two, German to project urban sophistication, they don’t use companies still struggle when someone France. They use a separate subbrand How many suggests they market themselves using called ‘Paris’. countries have German values. a first lady who can sing?
  15. 15. INTERNATIONAL PERCEPTIONS THE BRANDED WEALTH OF NATIONS OF BRAND FRANCE Foreign perceptions of a nation A brand, like Coke and Nike, that 100 German ‘05 Canadian '06 French '07 can build its export and its has reached the top right hand Argentine '05 Australian '06 Czech '05 Russian '05 tourism industries. corner is a leading, iconic brand. Austrian '06 Or they can kill them. A brand that has fallen into American '07 Uruguayan '05 Spanish '07 the bottom right quadrant has DIFFERENTIATION AND RELEVANCE That’s why Y&R has been Portuguese '00 eroded. Swiss '07 studying the international Polish '07 Mexican '08 Thai '07 images of nations in its global Around the world, brands Japanese '07 BrandAsset Valuator study. typically fall in these positions: Italian '07 Dutch '08 BrandAsset Valuator is the British '06 Nike • • Coke Greek '05 world’s largest brand database. • iPod Guatemalan '05 Malaysian '01 Since 1993, it has interviewed • Zara Puerto Rican '01 Visa • Hungarian '06 over 500,000 consumers 50 about over 38,000 brands in 48 Indian '06 Chinese '07 airlines countries, studying the health of Chilean '07 brands as diverse as Nike, HSBC banks and Kelloggs. BrandAsset Valuator plots all Brand France occupies a very Emirati '06 brands on the same space, the Peruvian ‘04 strong position around the Turkish '07 PowerGrid. world, indeed stronger than A brand in the bottom left most other nation brands, which corner of the PowerGrid is in its tend to lie lower down the Saudi '06 undefined, launch phase. PowerGrid. Brazilian '07 One in the top left quadrant is in 0 POWERGRID 93 its up and coming growth phase. 0 50 100 ESTEEM AND KNOWLEDGE
  16. 16. It follows a theory called Value Innovation from Professors Renée Maubourgne and Chan Kim of the Insead business school in Fontainebleau. It allows you to differentiate your brand, whilst at the viii. THE FRENCH KNOW LESS CAN BE same time cutting costs. MORE So: Marketers in other countries could do more by doing less: When Anglo-Saxons develop brands, they invariably • Take one thing out of the mix, and it often frees go for additional features at an additional cost. up another. Low cost airlines have discovered But a brand doesn’t have to do more to be strong. It that if they don’t serve their passengers food, can also do less. the passengers don’t need the toilet as often. So Go to the French hotel chain Formula 1 and you will they’ve taken out some of the toilets, and have find no restaurant, no pool, no fax machine and no replaced them with extra seats. minibar. • The less-is-more strategy works in the US too. Back You make your booking on a computer at home. The in the 1950s, Ray Kroc took the waiters, cutlery and code that you print out opens the front gate to the tablecloths out of restaurants. The result was hotel and your hotel room door. McDonalds. The rooms contain just a bed. The TV is screwed to the wall, and the remote is screwed to the bed. But you can stay in Formula 1 for just 30 Euros a night. Survey after survey shows that most international executives would prefer to And Formula 1 is very successful. live in France.
  17. 17. And when they consume, people put their money not where their head is, but where their heart is. So marketers in most countries may sell a woman $2 of shampoo a month to fix her dandruff. ix. THE FRENCH AREN’T AFRAID TO But they will miss out on the other $100 With computers, the DREAM she spends on her hair in a salon. secret ingredient is ‘Intel Inside’. Meanwhile in France In some French Marketers in most countries express their marketing French marketers are not so focussed on companies, the in unambiguous, clear, rational words. secret ingredient is rational promises. They are more interested ‘Other nationalities They can thus fix the consumer’s rational needs. in the higher margins available by selling inside’. The problem though is that the consumer is not dreams. rational. They are thus focussed on much bigger consumer The consumer spends her days dreaming: concerns than marketers in other countries. • No one buys a lottery ticket accepting that they Like ‘I don’t want to look old.’ have a greater chance of being killed by a car on And ‘I don’t want my partner to leave me.’ their way to the shop than they have of winning The result is marketing that touches the consumer the jackpot. at a much deeper level than Anglo-Saxon problem- • No entrepreneur sits in their office accepting the solution marketing. rational fact that eighty percent of businesses fail So: within their first two years. Marketers in other countries need to appeal to their • Most younger consumers cannot even plan for consumers’ dreams rather than just their needs: the possibility that someday they may get old.
  18. 18. • In the end, marketing has to ask itself what’s the real need? – reducing wrinkles or looking thirty when you’re forty? French marketing gets to the fundamentals of consumer need. • Marketers in many countries struggle to sell pensions because getting old is a depressing rational proposition. So why not present pensions as the enabler of dreams - like the hundred things you should do before you die? Is it rational to spend $600 on a pair of shoes?
  19. 19. x. THE FRENCH PROTECT THEIR OWN Travel through Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport with fake designer luggage in tow, and the first time you do it, you get a police warning. The third time you do it, you go to jail. French marketers protect their intellectual property well. • If it doesn’t come from Roquefort, you can’t call it Roquefort in most of the world. • If it doesn’t come from Champagne, you can’t call it Champagne. Sure, in China, French goods are ripped off mercilessly. But the French hold out, knowing that it is not in the nature of young Chinese women No young East Asian woman wants to choose fake accessories. to carry a fake French handbag.
  20. 20. And that as soon as they can afford to do so, they will By: buy the real thing. Simon Silvester simon.silvester@yr.com So: Marketers in other countries need to learn to protect For new business enquiries, please contact: Yossi Schwartz what’s theirs. yossi_schwartz@za.yr.com tel: +27 11 797 6314 But in today’s digital world, working out what matters isn’t easy. Marcella Donovan marcella.donovan@yr.com In 1982, IBM thought the software rights to their new tel: +44 20 7611 6565 Personal Computer were worthless. For press enquiries, please contact: So they left them to a small company called Bernard Barnett Microsoft. bernard.barnett@yr.com tel: +44 20 7611 6425 The emailable version of this document is at pubs.yr.com/thinkfrench.pdf Permission to store and display the PDF of this publication on corporate intranets is freely given, provided it is not modified in any way. Permission to quote extracts from this publication is also freely given, as long as such extracts are clearly attributed to Y&R Advertising. BrandAsset Valuator is a registered trademark of Young and Rubicam Brands inc. Published by Y&R EMEA, Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London NW1 7QP