Winning by Association — April 29, 2016

Winning by Association

With the hype over the new Beyoncé album, Lemonade, I just had to write an article. No it’s not about if I think Jay-Z cheated or not (No, I don’t) and with whom. It’s about a very simple idea: Association.

By releasing that album, Beyoncé single-handedly saved Tidal from being washed away (I know, excuse the pun). But how? In two steps:

1. Entice people by using Beyoncé’s highly anticipated album that you can’t get anywhere else but at Tidal (Initially before release on iTunes over 24 hours later at a higher price).

2. Create the drama that keeps you coming back.

That’s exactly what brand association is about. Brand association is defined as “the attributes of a brand which come into consumers mind when the brand is talked about” (Management Study Guide, 2013). You say Beyonce, you think Tidal (and vice versa). The drama is just icing on the cake.

You can see that it really works. You automatically trust a company due to your trust in another company. Remember, with HelloFresh, I started using Graze because it was recommended by HelloFresh and I got a free coupon. The free coupon was again, more icing. It makes an offer completely irresistible to customers because of that trust, that we aren’t even aware that we have, in products. Think about it. When you first tried a brand, maybe something as simple as a new spaghetti sauce, or even toilet paper, you repeated your purchase if you liked it. Two years later, and you still purchase the same brand or at least have a high opinion of it (assuming you continued to like it). If someone asks you if they should buy it, you’d hands down recommend it. If the brand brought out a new product line, you wouldn’t hesitate  for a second because of the brand. That’s all brand association and how companies build up their brand.

But this isn’t anything new. Companies have been using this method for years. For instance, Coca-cola was on to it in the 1990’s.

michael jordan
Coca Cola Advert with Michael Jordan in 1991. Who wouldn’t want to be awesome like him? Drink Coca Cola. Source: Google Images

If Basketball Legend Michael Jordan drinks Coca Cola, then of course, you know people are going to want to drink it too.

It’s a basic concept that was founded in theory and you know that it works. As the Facebook posts and speculation about Beyoncé flood the internet and the album Lemonade rakes in $3 million USD a day via Tidal, yea, it definitely works (Ingham, 2016).


Hi guys, don’t forget to like, share and comment. I really look forward to reading what you have to say and to hear your feedback. Also, for free snacks via Graze use the code: R9DMW5GPB on and for For HelloFresh discounts, click here.

If you like this post, feel free to give my other posts a read or for a bit more fun, you can have a look at my Chocolate Chronicles.

See you soon x

As always, these pictures are not my own. Sourced via Google Images.


Management Study Guide, 2013. Brand Association. <>

Ingham, 2016. How Beyoncé’s Lemonade is making $3m a day – while saving Jay Z’s Business. <>



For Richer, not for poorer. — April 16, 2016

For Richer, not for poorer.

I’ve probably never posted so quickly in my life but I had an experience this week that was amazing. Amazingly bad.

I was shopping in Iceland, just to get some mince meat for Chilli con Carne (HelloFresh recipe). I decided to get some juice and of course, it was on a high shelf, in the back. Far in the back. Being vertically challenged, I politely asked a nearby staff member to assist me.  The response was:

“There’s a stool over there”

I was stunned. What ? He repeats, “There’s a stool over there”. (I look over and see a stool covered by boxes)

A stool like the one in store. Source: Google Images

He then said, “Do you want the stool ?”

I was flabbergasted. I immediately declined. I was not about to go climb on a stool for juice.

After politely declining (Yes, I had to bite my tongue), I walked away and I suppose he then realised that it was out of place and he came to get the juice for me. (Please note that he stuffed them into my hands, which resulted in them dropping onto the floor).

If this was Co-operative Food (next door), this couldn’t happen. Why ? Because both companies target different types of people.

Iceland. Source: Google Images

Iceland is all about price sensitive customers. It isn’t about customer service. Just low prices. It’s all that matters. And while not necessarily fresh, they do have really cheap food.

On the other hand, Co-operative Food is all about high quality food and that is reflected, in their customers and customer service.

This is a direct reflection of marketing theory. They understand how customers choose the places where they shop (consumer buying criteria) and as a result, they both meet the criteria as necessary (Jobber, 2010).

cooperative food
Co operative Food. Source: Google Images

Iceland’s basic layout with spaces crammed with goods and discount banners, speaks to customers focused on getting a lot for a little cost. Whereas, Co-operative Food is spacious and you can feel the quality in the air. Customer service is indicative of it. You can be sure that I won’t find a stool in the corner.

It was so clear to me how big the difference was. However, while it might be good to know your target customers and what it takes to meet their needs, it’s clear that Iceland forgot one thing. Thresholds. While I do shop at Iceland for low prices , I expect a certain level of customer service. That’s a threshold. At all other supermarkets, I am assured that a member of staff will willingly help me to reach things on a high shelf. So why not Iceland ? (Jobber, 2010).

Failure to do so could see a customer choosing the store for low prices but choosing not to repeat their shopping experience because of poor service.

Which is exactly why I’m contemplating not going back. This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with that shopping assistant and he definitely deters me from wanting to shop there. For a £1 difference in the price of mince meat, I could shop at Co-operative Food. Why shouldn’t I ??

Thanks for reading this week’s post. I really look forward to sharing my experiences with you.

If you like this post, feel free to give my other posts a read. Or if you want something different, you can check out my other blog here. Don’t forget to like and share!

Until next time x


Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

No need to step outside? — April 13, 2016

No need to step outside?

It’s been so long since I last posted here. I know! Finding something note worthy to share is harder than I imagined. So with this much time in between posts, it better be good. No pressure!

In the last few months, I’ve seen a lot of aggressive marketing on buses, or trains, or even on Skype (those targeted ads that are almost on the verge of stalking).

However, I’ve found that convenience is the best at attracting customers. Okay, well at least me. Why? Well, because of convenience, I started using two new services, HelloFresh and Graze.

These two companies are very popular here in the UK, for their natural food and healthy eating vibes.

hello fresh
HelloFresh. Source: Google Images.

HelloFresh focuses on farm to table, and literally brings the food to my table.. well door but you get the point.

Awesomely healthy brownie from Graze (Source:

Similarly, Graze gives customers the option to have healthy snacks, all natural and preservative free. Again, straight to my door. Accessibility and convenience.


But how exactly did convenience get me to give these companies a shot?

Well, both HelloFresh and Graze understood the theory behind consumer buying criterion (Jobber, 2010). I know. This theory constantly appears (See Debonair). Clearly it’s a basis for success.

In this case, both companies knew that customers are attracted to convenient food and not just convenient food, but healthy convenient food. HelloFresh offers customers the opportunity to make healthy food by giving them clear recipes and exact portions. There are no issues with messy measuring or sourcing the ingredients, which is what differentiates HelloFresh from traditional supermarkets and recipe books. There’s nothing to do but follow the recipe. Easy meals in a just a few simple steps. You can be your own Master Chef.

Not only did these two companies use convenience, they also used the concept of “free”. Major coupons and discounts, left right and center. During my trial of HelloFresh, I received 2 coupons for friends to have an entire delivery for free. Same for Graze. I can’t count the number of coupons that I have.

Just a few of the coupons that I’ve “collected” from Graze.

Your first thought would be but how can they keep going by giving people free products ?

Well that’s the catch, just like  in my previous post, free isn’t really free. By signing up to get a free delivery, you automatically join a recurring payment every week, for future deliveries. Which again, is great for convenience. My little Graze box is a fun surprise every Friday and it is super cheap.You can cancel at any time before the cut off for the next order (that cut off period is a whole different article in itself).

And that’s exactly how it works, just like theory says. You pay attention to what makes your customers purchase the things they do, and use that to ensure that they purchase your products.

Clearly, these companies know how customers think. They wouldn’t be the major successes they are, without it.

Who says theory wasn’t useful?

For free graze boxes, use the reference: R9DMW5GPB on

Give graze a try. Free right?

For HelloFresh discounts, click here.

I know, the irony. After all, the best promotion is word of mouth.

See you next time x.



Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education



Debonair — August 28, 2015


CK Bag

Hi guys! I know it’s been a while since my last blog. I’m so sorry! School has held me prisoner. However, I do promise to make it up to you. How do you ask? Well, what better way than to share my personal experiences?! (Of course!) I recently graduated from Oxford Brookes University, and to prepare for my graduation, my aunts bought my suit – a beautiful Calvin Klein outfit. But of course, that didn’t go without a hitch. The suit was too big. So where else would I get this expensive suit altered but Calvin Klein itself?

Source: Google Images
Calvin Klein Branch at Oxford Circus/ Regents Street. Source: Google Images

So picture me, walking into Calvin Klein with my less than fashionable, old T-shirt and jeans, holding my suit in a Lidl supermarket bag.  Not to mention, Oxford Street was hot and sticky and I am quite certain that I reflected exactly that. I was definitely out of my element. In contrast, “debonair” would be the best word to describe the atmosphere as I walked in. It was lovely, with friendly staff positioned to cater to any request on entry. I do have to give it to them. They did not batt an eyelash at my attire and served me with the same fervour as any other customer.  I was quickly fitted by a lovely consultant, who made sure that not only I could fit into the suit but that I loved the look he was going for. It was somewhat magical. I was definitely happy with the process and looked forward to the outcome in a few days. Needless to say that when I received my newly fitted suit, it was every bit as wonderful as the experience and made my graduation day even more special.

Inside a Barclays Branch. Just wow. Sophistication at its best. Source: Google Images.
Inside a Barclays Branch. Just wow. Sophistication at its best. Source: Google Images.

Looking back on that experience, it reminds me of another shopping experience – a visit to Barclays Bank. Okay, okay. It wasn’t essentially shopping, as technically, you don’t “shop” in a bank. But the experience was the same. I’m not a Barclays’ customer and I had never stepped into Barclays before. So it was such a dramatic shock to me. The branch was classy, spacious… just wow. In short, like a Calvin Klein of Banks.

But what makes them so special? So debonair? Certainly, all stores don’t feel this way. That’s because these two companies directly exhibit marketing theory in action.

Target audience

These experiences were direct examples of how companies go about targeting a certain audience or consumer in every aspect of their offering.  It wasn’t just in the products, like a classy suit, but the store design, layout and entire experience from the time a consumer walks in. Of course, this goes straight back to marketing theory.

Inside Calvin Klein. Source: Google Images
Inside Calvin Klein. Source: Google Images

The company understood the consumer buying criteria. This always seems to pop up – it’s been in a number of articles so far from Starbucks, to Supermarket Derby. Knowing how your customers go about purchasing products, whether based on economic, technical, social, personal criteria, is key (Jobber, 2010). Calvin Klein realised target customers purchased their products due to the status, prestige and quality. This is in effect why their store design and experience is beyond run-of-the-mill.

Inside Primark. Source: Google Images
Inside Primark. Source: Google Images

Compare Calvin Klein to say Primark, which sells low cost clothing items and apparel.  The image is different, the feeling is different. That’s essential because the target audience is different. Calvin Klein aims for (that’s right, you guessed it!) the richer consumer, one with more disposal income whereas, Primark aims at the everyday price-sensitive consumer, where purchases are based on low costs and savings on everyday clothing needs.
Brand image

This store experience not only works to attract or appeal to a certain kind of customer, but also differentiates the company as a premium brand.  The company is known for its designer labels in clothing and more (Calvin Klein, n.d). Therefore, the store experience must support this “designer” reputation.  This is linked to brand theory. According to David Jobber (2010), this is brand reflection, in which customers relate the person they are or want to become, to the brand itself. Thinking back about walking into Calvin Klein, that feeling of sophistication, class, and elegance, made me feel like I could be those very things in my new suit. Customers don’t just buy products or a name but a brand. This is called the augmented product.

That’s how incredibly linked the entire experience is, from “store to door”. Calvin Klein clearly thought this entire thing through. Afterall, it’s been around for 47 years. It definitely has marketing theory to thank in part.

Barclays' Headquaters. Image by Guardian. Source: Google Images
Barclays’ Headquaters. Image by Guardian. Source: Google Images

But what about Barclays? Does a bank really attract customers with its store design or “shopping experience”? Yes it does. The company operates in a complex business environment on an international scale. Therefore, there is a need for the company to exhibit strength and confidence. Barclays ensured it took this to heart, even in the construction of its head office (Barclays, 2015). There is a need to assure customers of its ability to handle more than money, but lives, funding for the future, for the person they want to become. Furthermore, as the company has to handle expensive, international accounts, its brand name must also convey that sophisticated, business etiquette. It’s exactly the same as Calvin Klein. It just goes to show the severe importance of theory in thriving companies today. Understanding simple concepts can clearly lead to market dominance on a worldwide scale, even if to us, it’s just one shopping experience.

Any experiences to match? Or maybe the complete opposite? Let me know, post your comments, likes and thoughts below. Thanks for listening to me, and including me in your week. Have a good one.

Bye for now xoxo.


Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

Calvin Klein. n.d. About Calvin Klein. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 19 August 2015].

Barclays. 2015. Barclays Head Office. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 August 2015].

Disclaimer: All images used are sourced from Google and are in no part mine.

But it’s free! — June 14, 2015

But it’s free!

As I was on the train this week, I saw an advertisement for free internet for a year from TalkTalk, an internet service provider in the UK. Free was in big bold letters.

The online version of the TalkTalk advertisement on the train. Source: Google Images
The online version of the TalkTalk advertisement on the train. Source: Google Images

However, on reading the fine print, I saw the terms and conditions: the offer applied only with a landline charge of £16.70 per month and involved a £5 charge per month after the ‘free’ year, with a minimum contract of 18 months.

Free. Right. This made me think of how companies get us to buy things that we didn’t plan on. Clearly this internet service wasn’t free but was appealing because the company utilised the concept of customer value. Customers only derive value when they perceive the benefits of a product to outweigh the costs (Jobber, 2010). Consumers, regardless of economic background, will consider free a valid, viable option because of the value associated- there is a clear benefit for basically no cost. Come on people! Free internet! Who cares about that £16.70 per month?

Microsoft offers Windows 10 as a free upgrade. Source: Google Images
Microsoft offers Windows 10 as a free upgrade. Source: Google Images

This is the same for Microsoft’s newest offer: Windows 10. The company has offered it as a free upgrade for any Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system (Tassi, 2015).

This made me wonder: What are these two companies getting in return? After all, as the saying goes, things don’t come free… or is it easy?? I wonder which one it could be.

It is clear to see that both companies are essentially attracting a wide customer base. That is, a whole lot of people. Furthermore, TalkTalk clearly aimed to get new customers as its ad was only valid for new contracts. However, Microsoft’s case is a bit different. Windows 10 is only offered to current windows customers, which means, no new customers. So what’s the point?

According to Paul Tassi (2015), the new system will be available to both legitimate and illegitimate consumers alike. Piracy is no small issue for software developers like Microsoft. In offering this, Microsoft will essential gain the unattainable illegal market, that many of its competitors and other companies try so hard to keep out. ‘So what?’ you might say. These are all still existing customers, well, more or less. Pirated or not, these are still the same consumers and reaching existing customers does not actually result in new sales. That is completely true. In fact, I debated the same thing with a friend of mine. He blatantly stated that, “They won’t get people, who never bought the system before, to buy anything new.” He is probably right.

But then it hit me! It was never about buying it but BUYING IN!!

Reaching a large audience means exposure for their brand. This is Windows’ new operating system. It is also their final windows. Therefore, attracting people, getting people to use their system and try their new features such as Cortana and the new browser, creates brand awareness.

Say hello to Cortana. Source: Google Images
Say hello to Cortana. Source: Google Images

According to Paul Tassi (2015), Microsoft was unable to get everyone on the wagon for Windows 8, and so by doing this, they essentially ensured that everyone got on this time.

But how did it really work? Microsoft again utilised another theory. They understood how consumers make buying decisions through the consumer buying criteria. If you can remember previous posts, we buy based on economic, social, personal and technical factors (Jobber, 2010). In a widely integrated market, where we can get what we what, when we want it. Paid or not. Technical factors, like availability and accessibility, are key. We want it right at our finger tips and Microsoft understood this. They brought it right to us. This is what marketers call intensive distribution whereby companies push the product through every available outlet (Jobber, 2010).

The company also knew that selling a product to current customers is easier than attracting new ones (Marketing Donut, 2011). Therefore by offering it free, it was a way of retaining customers.

So really free isn’t free. Nothing in life is actually free. There is essentially a give and take situation and we are simply taking more than they are getting… Or are we?

Let me know what you think! Feel free to comment, like and share!

Bye for now.


Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

Tassi, P. 2015. Why Microsoft Is Giving Away Windows 10 To Pirates [Update]. Forbes, [online] 14 June, Available at: <; [Accessed on 14 June 2015].

Marketing Donut. 2011. Selling more to existing customers. Marketing Donut, [online] 14 June, Available at: <; [Accessed on 14 June 2015].

Animated Marketing — June 1, 2015

Animated Marketing

Source: Google Images.
Source: Google Images.

As I was watching the new animated movie, Home, I was taken away with happy, childish delight. I absolutely loved the characters! It was fun with its emotional highs and lows and kept me smiling long after the final credits. During the movie, I noticed that Oh, one of the main characters, sounded just like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory and quickly googled it (of course). I was right! It was then that I also noticed Rihanna was the voice of the lead female character, Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci. Before I could even finish my search, there was a scene where two of her songs were playing as the characters on screen debated the choice of songs. Marketing in the middle of a children’s movie?!! Yes! And it worked too. Home launched at a high for DreamWorks, matching hit movies like Madagascar 3 and Kung Fu Panda (King, 2015). But how did DreamWorks pull it off?

Well, if you can remember from the last post, companies must understand the audience that they are addressing. This helped Boohoo to go from loss to profit in a year. It’s the same here; DreamWorks, the producer of Home and maker of children’s animated movies, understood their audience. In this case, the target audience was children, specifically pre-teen girls (Yes, I know that I have no excuse as I’m 24). Throughout the movie you could see Tip, the leading female star, change her clothes (even in the middle of an alien invasion) and her hairstyle.

Gratuity 'Tip' Tucci and her selection of clothing and hairstyles. Source: Google Images
Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci and her selection of clothing and hairstyles. Source: Google Images

This is exactly as prescribed by theory. According to Jobber (2010), the key to marketing your product is to identify your target audience and then tailor the product to suit them.  This is exactly what DreamWorks did. Girls in the audience would be keen to relate to Tip’s fashion sense and attitude, creating an attachment from the movie to the audience.

Furthermore, according to Styles (2013), preteens now strive to be fashionable and emulate their celebrities. Following this DreamWorks was able to attract these children through the use stars like Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez.

Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez at the Home Movie Premiere. Source: Google Images.
Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez at the Home Movie Premiere. Source: Google Images.

The company didn’t just stop there. Remember that debate over songs that I referred to at the beginning? It wasn’t just part of the movie but marketing. The movie aimed to highlight the songs of the celebrities who voiced characters in the movie and in doing so, promote them. But there’s always a bunch of songs in a children’s movie. It doesn’t appear to achieve anything. However, it does. DreamWorks follows a theoretical model, called the decision making unit, which is built on the fact that in an organisation or a family unit, there are several people behind purchasing decisions (Jobber, 2010). In this case, whilst children have little to no real buying power, the company understands that they can and do influence decisions to purchase. By utilising their love of celebrities and highlighting how fashionable it is to listen to certain music in the movie, it ensures that the audience leaves with the idea to listen to more of the same music and ultimately purchase the songs.

DreamWorks even went further to meet a need that the market has demanded. There has been a “gender imbalance across children’s television programmes” according to Kimberley Bassford (2015). Home through its inclusion of a black, female character in a world which is demanding more and more diversity in leading positions in business and media, ensured that that it was differentiated from its competitors and attracted a wider audience. Home’s launch attracted large percentages of Caucasian, Asian, African American and Hispanic audiences (King, 2015).  This again goes straight back to theory. DreamWorks utilised a marketing oriented approach, whereby the company met the needs of the market through their product offering and in doing so, allowed them to be competitive (Jobber, 2010).

Ingenious isn’t it? All of this from a children’s movie! It just shows how much background work goes into everyday things that we consider normal and how getting it right using theories results in their success.

Have you noticed any hidden marketing techniques this week?? Let me know! Feel free to comment and share.

Bye for now xx


Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

King, D. 2015. DreamWorks Animation Hits A ‘Home’ Run. CartoonBrew, [online] 29 March, Available at: <> [Accessed on 1 June 2015].

Styles, R. 2013. Rise of the Stepford Teen: Experts warn pressure to conform will lead to a generation of clones obsessed with looks. DailyMail, [online] 28 July. Available at: <> [Accessed on 1 June 2015].

Bassford, K. 2015. Guest Post: Why We Desperately Need More Girls On Screen for Both Our Sons and Daughters. Women and Hollywood. [blog] 12 May, Available at:> [Accessed on 1 June 2015].

Faux pas — May 20, 2015

Faux pas

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

After all of these articles, you may be wondering what’s the point of all of this – yes, we can analyse transactions and companies using theories but does it really matter? This is the question that I often ask myself too. The answer came this week when I saw an advertisement by a bus company in Cardiff.

Souce: Google Images
New Adventure Travel Group advertisement. Source: Google Images

The New Adventure Travel Group started its new ad campaign with a bang. Whilst slightly inappropriate in its innuendo, I thought it was ingenious. I mean this was the U.K, with its witty, outspoken public. It should have gone over incredibly well, right?  Wrong.

From the first tweet of this ad, the company saw its reputation under fire, and was forced to withdraw the ad as soon as they had got it up and running. To make matters worse, the buses were already covered in the ad, making their faux pas more excruciatingly painful than it already was (Eleftheriou-Smith, 2015).

So why did this ad fail to attract the one society that should in essence appreciate the cheeky audacity of it all?

Source: Google Images
Advertisement by Protein World. Source: Google Images

The answer lies in the wake of another recent advertisement campaign by Protein Word (left). This ad seems traditional in its approach but again, the British public was disturbed. These two ads were based on very sensitive topic areas -sexism, human rights and feminism -and these companies failed to grasp that.

These failed advertisements illustrated the need for companies to understand their target audience when advertising. That is, the group of people which the advertisement is aimed at. This goes straight back to theory. According to Jobber (2010), a company must consider four aspects: product, price, promotion and place (of distribution) when marketing a product. In this case, the “promotion” area is where these companies struggled. Their message was clearly unsuitable for their intended audiences.

This failure to apply theory cost the companies significantly, not just monetarily but it negatively impacted their brand images too.

On the other hand, considering theoretical principles can very well mean going from loss to profit. Last year January, Boohoo, global online clothing retailer, was struggling. It was going nowhere fast. However, the company realised that the market was changing. It was no longer about a model in an outfit (as with the beach body ad) but real people with real bodies.

Nadia Aboulhosn. Source: Google Images
Fashionista Nadia Aboulhosn. Source: Google Images

To address this need, they sought the help of homemade fashionista, Nadia Aboulhosn with her own personal style, candid personality, and mass of followers. As a direct result of this, Boohoo was able to become profitable (Williams-Grut, 2015). This was no small feat. Boohoo understood their target audience and was able to promote the brand in the right way – with the right message and through the right channels, through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

So you can clearly see that theories aren’t so theoretical. The concept of understanding your audience has practical implications with regard to the success of a company. Therefore, it really does matter.

So let me know – Do you see a company struggling? Are there theories which they should have applied?

Feel free to share and comment.

That’s it for now. See you next time!

Note: You can also check out Nadia’s fashion at: or follow her on instagram at


Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

Williams-Grut, O. 2015. Nadia Aboulhosn is the plus-sized fashion blogger who rescued Boohoo and helped grow its revenues 27%. Business Insider, [online] Available at: <>

Eleftheriou-Smith, L.2015. Cardiff company NAT Group shamed for sexist ad on back of bus showing topless woman holding ‘Ride me all day for £3’sign.The Independent, [online] Available at: <>

Nail Polish Frenzy — May 10, 2015

Nail Polish Frenzy

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

I wanted to purchase a new nail polish as a gift for my birthday. I researched all of the possibilities and narrowed it down to three brands- O.P.I Lacquer, Bourjois and the new Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy- and visited Boots and Superdrug websites to see if the brands were available and in what colours. I eventually chose to buy the Revlon nail polish but at which store? Both had a 3 for 2 special on the nail polishes, club points on purchases and were situated right next to each other majority of the time. So how could I decide?

To make my decision, I considered two things:

Support Services

Superdrug offered triple points on all purchases for my birthday. This offer lasted for two weeks. They also offered a free cosmetic bag on the purchase of any 3 cosmetic products. Boots was unable to match this. This made me think “Why should any of these “extras” even matter?” Then I thought about the theory concerning three levels of a product. A product offering is more than the basic product offered; it is the aggregate of three parts:  Core product, product attributes and support services (Hollensen, 2011). The core is the basic package, whereas the product attributes are the benefits of the product and the support services are the “extras”. Clearly, the nail polish was the same regardless of the store I went to. Similarly, the benefits of the nail polish, such as added shine and being chip resistant, had nothing to do with the store I chose. Superdrug utilised support services to differentiate itself. The company “remembered” my birthday (it was probably an automated process) and gave me a unique offer, making me feel special and more inclined to go there for my next purchase. The added cosmetic bag had a similar effect.

Order online, Pick up in store

The nail polish selection in both stores was limited only to eight colours out of a possible thirty (30) colours (Revlon, 2014). I would need to order unavailable colours online and pick them up in store. So I considered the possibilities. Boots offered a free “order online, pick up in store” option. At Superdrug, it was free only on orders of over £25. The clear choice based on this was Boots. I had come to expect this additional service for free. So many stores like Next, Asda and Tesco offered it for free and so it became a threshold. Remember from Starbucks? I expected the drink advertised on their website to be available in store. This is the same for the free “order online, collect in store” service. The basis of the threshold principle is that thresholds are standards that customers expect a business to have and if they are not present they are dissatisfied (Jobber, 2010). I was definitely dissatisfied.

So what now?  What was the deciding factor for me?  I then considered the consumer buying decision discussed last week. There are several factors: economic, social, personal and technical that we as buyers consider (Jobber, 2010). Being a student, economic factors like price and value for money were top priority for me. The price of the nail polish was the same at both stores. So that left value for money. Who offered the best value for money? The answer was Superdrug. I gained triple points which meant I could save money on a later purchase and I got a totally unnecessary cosmetic bag. Would it have been the same for you? Would you have chosen Boots for the convenience of ordering all of the colours that you wanted and picking them up in store the next day? I probably will choose boots next time – need to try that green nail polish.

My DIY manicure.
My DIY manicure.

See you next time for theory in real life. Feel free to share and comment below! Bye for now.


Hollensen, S.2011. Global Marketing: A Decision-Oriented Approach. 2nd edn. Pearson Education.

Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

Revlon, 2014. Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Nail Enamel [online] Available at: <||0>

Tribute to Dave Goldberg — May 3, 2015

Tribute to Dave Goldberg

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

2 October, 1967 – 1 May, 2015

CEO of SurveyMonkey

As soon as I read the news of his death, I simply had to post a small tribute. Dave Goldberg was more than just the CEO of SurveyMonkey. His positive disposition, personality and leadership style were evident from simply reading about him. He was the embodiment of a transformational leader through his advocacy of workplace equality. The easy companionship between his wife and himself was easy to see and they set the bar for working couples through the work-life balance they had established.

I was shocked to learn of his death today and my sympathies are with his wife and family at this difficult time.

To find out more about this inspirational CEO, view the articles below made by people who met him and knew him first hand:

Supermarket Derby —

Supermarket Derby

Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

Earlier this week, I decided to stop off at Sainsbury’s on my way home from school. It had been a while since I last visited there, with my regular shopping now done at Lidl.

I proceeded to the diary aisle, to purchase almond milk. The price was £1.70 but there was an offer of 3 for £3. I was torn. There was no longer any way that I could buy just 1. It was economically unfeasible. I had to buy all 3.

Yes, I did end up spending more that I planned to once again but thinking about it now, Sainsbury’s realised how their customers think. That is, they considered the theory behind customer buying decisions. Customers make decisions using different choice criteria: economic, technical, social or personal (Jobber, 2010).

With the decline in the worldwide economy, greater emphasis is placed on cost. This is evident as the majority of consumers are now choosing low cost supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi. It is therefore apparent that the main choice criterion is economic, with focus on low price and value for money. Therefore, the only way to capture price sensitive customers is through meeting these two criteria. This is exactly what Sainsbury’s did. Both Tesco and Sainsbury’s offer the same brand of Almond milk but the difference was found in the unbeatable value for money.

Furthermore, Sainsbury’s offered more variety of what I actually wanted. This too added value for money. On the other hand, Tesco also offered a large variety but due to falling sales, recently had to amend this; the variety offered left shoppers with a lot to choose but nothing to choose. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Tesco girl but only one brand of chicken sausages in a Tesco superstore? No.

On a serious note, these differences between the two large supermarkets made me wonder about the recent loss in Tesco’s market share (Wood and Butler, 2015). Sainsbury’s was indeed making more of an effort to attract very price sensitive market whereas smaller grocers like Lidl and Aldi had prices that were too low for the giants to match. Tesco was one of the last choices for the price conscientious.

Similarly, the other major players in the UK supermarket industry have considered the market’s needs and hold smaller, more tailored stock whereas Tesco was known to stock over 90, 000 products in its stores (Wood and Butler, 2015). This was in effect over four times as much as other stores. According to Wood and Butler (2015), this made shopping at Tesco a “painful” experience for consumers. This is linked to the marketing oriented approach theory which is based on evaluating what consumers want and utilising it as a key driver for product offering (Jobber, 2010). A clear example of this is the Tesco Express near my student accommodation. This store is housed next to two large student accommodations, holding thousands of students, as well as a large gated community and gym. Therefore, it would be essential to not only to stock a lot of ready done food, but keep general stock high to take advantage of the available demand and meet customers’ needs. However, this is not the case and students, such as myself, have now switched to Lidl for their shopping needs.

By these comparisons, it is easy to see the key factors that drive competitive advantage. It is all about managing customer needs and creating value for money – more value than other competitors (Jobber, 2010).  In essence, competitive advantage for Tesco or any other supermarket is based on the question “Why should customers choose one supermarket over the other? The only way to develop sustainable competitive advantage is to provide consumers with the answer to that question.

It is also clear that by utilising theoretical principles, companies can find their own competitive advantage. All of this was found just by visiting the supermarket. What more can you find? Does your experience differ? Comment below and let me know.


Jobber, D. 2010. Principles and Practice of Marketing.6th ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education

Wood, Z. and Butler, S. 2015. Tesco cuts range by 30% to simplify shopping. The Guardian,[online] Available at: <> [Accessed at 02 May 2015].