August 29, 2012

Compare and contrast: innocent vs method

Filed under: Business,Innovation,Marketing,Sustainability — by xrematon @ 4:00 pm
Tags: , ,

I have been doing some work looking at big businesses and thinking about which don’t really fit the corporate mould. It didn’t take long for innocent drinks and method cleaning products to come to mind. It’s interesting to compare the two organisations as they are, in some senses, similar, but in some fundamental aspects, very different.

Let’s start with what brings them together:

  • They were both started around the same time (approximately turn of the millennium).
  • Their founders were close friends; and middle class young men who weren’t that into their ‘proper jobs’ and had a passion to do something else.
  • Both companies had a clear vision that they wanted to do it their way and to challenge the status quo in their respective areas.
  • They started small but quickly grew, not only in terms of sales numbers, but also markets, staff and product range.
  • Both are now well established and well loved by their customers and the business world. They have developed consciously fun and quirky brands. They are more than simply a company that makes juices or cleaning products. Innocent has run fruitstock and method promotes happy cleaning and the people against dirty campaign.
  • They are shining examples to emulate – both have published business books on their principles and philosophies.
  • And obviously, they themselves are aware of the parallels and have connected on a number of occasions.

But what about the differences?

  • In a way, innocent has been a victim of its own success. It was so good that others in the sector have cottoned on and also had a go at producing lovely little drinks that are delightful and fresh.
  • Method products, however, still look very different to most of the offerings you would also find on the shelves at a general supermarket. And the only bit of language these products seem have picked up from method is the importance of smelling nice; but they don’t do non-toxic.
  • When you look into it, innocent’s business model and operations seem very challenging. Making fruit juices involves farming – which is a contested area with increasing concerns about land use, chemicals, and water scarcity – without forgetting transportation. The latter is a particular issue given that innocent products need to be chilled. These factors affect the bottom line: innocent recently described itself as a fruit transportation charity as it has been losing money for the past four years. It is no longer a private company – Coca Cola now has a majority stake in the business.
  • Method does not face these issues. It is still a private company with private investors.
  • And finally, you will find that we stay stocked up on method products in this household, but not innocent smoothies. Sorry, Fruit Towers doesn’t do it for me.

August 7, 2012

Which one is the real me?

Filed under: Business,Consumer Trends,Marketing — by xrematon @ 7:26 am
Tags: , ,

Thanks to my work, I spend inordinate amounts of time online, googling many different search terms. I have just checked what comes up on my web history and it appears that I carry out between 600 and 1350 searches a month…

Why do I bring this up? Well, I have been interested by a couple of recent articles which have highlighted there is more going than I might be aware of when  I am busy clicking away. It seems that I am being watched – and that this can for better, and perhaps for worse.

Let’s start with the good news. It turns out that analysing people’s pattern of internet usage can reveal their mental state – it is possible to spot who may be depressed as they behave differently to those with better mental wellbeing. An important point to note, however, is that the study is unable to determine whether depression causes this differing pattern of use, or vice versa — or more importantly, whether this internet behaviour worsens, alleviates or has no effect on mood problems.

A depressed person might use gaming and video watching to avoid coping with emotional pain, or gaming could actually be a healthy escape that helps lift one’s mood. Similarly, excess chatting and emailing might be a sign that someone is reaching out for helpful support, or it could signal desperation and anxiety related to socialising.

The not so good news is more devious than creepy. It’s a piece from The Economist which describes how some businesses are now  using information from cookies stored in people’s browsers to influence the price they offer to these potential customers. Those that who don’t come across as short of cash – they look at expensive items, use an Apple Mac or seem to be a hurry to make the purchase – risk being charged a higher price than someone who came from a price comparison site and was clearly willing to invest time in finding a good deal. The latter group are more likely to benefit from getting a discount in order to tempt them on.

So far, in terms of my own web browsing history, I should be alright. Given that I have looked at celebrity golfers and golf course designs one week, and then followed it up with an intense delve into PepsiCo and Coca Cola, I am pretty sure I remain an enigma to those cookies-watchers.

Blog at WordPress.com.