For brands, it is vital to be everywhere that your potential target market is. It doesn’t matter how big the brand is, nor do past brand achievements. Not resting on laurels is a key component of an iconic global brand. Take for instance the Barbie brand, owned by Mattel. Barbie can claim the following achievements.
- 99% global brand awareness
- The typical American girl owns 10 Barbie dolls
- Annual sales are around $1.6 Billion
- The Barbie brand is valued at $2 Billion, making it the world’s most valuable toy brand
Just from those two very simple marketing statistics, one might easily think that the Barbie brand is set for a very long time. That’s not necessarily true. While most brand management observers would be impressed with the brand’s achievements, there are challenges for the brand, just like there are challenges for other iconic brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Apple and others. When challenges arise, so do opportunities. Opportunity presents options for innovation.
Brandchannel recently reported that the brand is going through some revitalization efforts, which is something to be expected for a brand that has been around as long as Barbie has. A brand must find a way to either revitalize in order to extend the lifespan of the brand or face an inevitable decline and eventual withdrawal from the market. Brands often draw from multiple elements of the marketing mix to extend their period of maturity. In this case, it looks like product features and communication tactics will be the most obvious elements at play. Brandchannel reported that there will be a new playset and a new image for the doll in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season. In the meantime, the Barbie brand is utilizing a variety of marketing communication elements across channels to spearhead their 2013 efforts. There will be a co-branding through real estate website Trulia.com and Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles”. This “real estate listing” on Trulia where you can buy Barbie’s Dream House via a reality show real estate agent is a novel concept. This will be part of a digital advertising push on Barbie.com, the Facebook and Twitter sites for the brand, and ads in traditional media, such as US Weekly.
The one thing that I’ve observed about some of Barbie’s multi-channel marketing communication efforts is the consistent feel of the brand. Consistency is a desired attribute for the vast majority of marketers, and this is often an attribute of strong centralized marketing control, which is a key tenet of distributed marketing management. When a target market can identify the essence of the brand, it makes it so much easier for them to develop positive brand beliefs, which is a key element for any brand in creating and increasing revenue. One way to achieve a consistent feeling across a multitude of marketing communications is through the use of distributed marketing software. When a brand maintains a presence in multiple channels, there are multiple nuances in each channels, increased complexity via greater numbers of marketing processes. These marketing processes often have a way of bogging down a brand and creating marketing inefficiencies that stifle brand marketing productivity. Stifled brand marketing productivity often leads to the undesirable combination of increased marketing costs and reduced revenue and market share.