When you sign up for one of the world’s most accredited MBA’s in the most beautiful university of UK (huge shout-out to RHUL for bagging the award this year), you know you’re headed for something new every day.
From looking up a new class in the campus (we call it treasure hunt), to having renowned guest speakers speak eloquently for students to figure out their opportunities, to having a surprise off-campus class; this blog is for the latter.
After 6 weeks of extensive knowledge in marketing, we were given an opportunity to see marketing come out of our books and see how it grew in the British era. The announcement was made by our charismatic lecturer – Giana Eckhardt that Tuesday the 31st October we had an off-campus class and were headed to the Museum of Brands in the city of London.
As enthusiastic children amazed to find their way in Disneyland, we the young millennial marketers entered awestruck in the museum to find our favorite brands take birth in the 1800’s during the Victorian era. It was interesting to know how the Industrial revolution resulted in the birth of brands. Trade developed and people felt the need to have distinct products and brands.
The first segment on display was the Victorian and Edwardian phase which was pompously marked with exquisite crockery of the Royal household, complimenting the newly-born brands showcased in the display. The development of railways was widely advertised in the Sunday Times newspaper (interesting to know that Sunday times is that old a newspaper brand). There were bright-colored boxes with brand names in huge fonts which caught our eye and depicted the newness of advertising in the market (baby steps as they say). It was amusing to find big brands like Nestle originate in 1837 and most people’s favorite comfort food product – Cadbury chocolate came into existence in this very phase. Printed postcards started circulating by 1894 during the Edwardian phase and to get active the game – Ping pong was invented.
The 1910’s were uniquely marked with introduction of Jig-saw puzzles as this was the learning phase of marketing and the great minds were still developing their ideas so why not make it an interesting game! People developed a sense of sophistication which led to shoe-related brands origination; the famous shoe polish brand – Kiwi and Dr. Scholl’s sole were neatly presented in big colorful printed media posters. Heinz came up with easy-to-use tin containers of soup, spaghetti and soups while the sweet-toothed experimented with their taste buds and produced cocoa and Bournville- Dark chocolate.
The next few years from 1920-30’s weren’t the best in terms of trade or marketing due to the war crisis. However, Radio was the highly-used media for marketing and also the London Underground system was developed. Food products like Kellogg’s initiated cornflakes and chocolates producers – Nestle and Macintosh diversified their products by producing variety of toffee and chocolates.
In the 1940’s, which was a post-war time; it was turning point in the marketing history. Various FMCG products like Vim dish washers, Kleenex tissues, HP sauces, Nescafe coffee and Brook bond tea saw an evolution. It was evident that people developed newer products and tried various print media marketing from catchy one-liners to brightly colored posters of their products.
The period of 1950’s, people were heavily investing in leisure and travel. Based on the need the huge the photography revolutionary company – Kodak was born. While food products expanded their product lines, we also observed beverages like Pepsi and fruits juices in the household items.
In 1960’s, brand started using mascots in their branding. Mascots were cartoon figures to famous celebrities marketing product campaigns and advertisements. This was a period of revolutionary breakthroughs wherein the first personal computer – Apple’s Macintosh was born. Daily consumption products developed diversified product categories like Kellogg’s adding different flavors of cornflakes in their product category to Fairy’s liquid dish washers being replaced by soap bars. Entertainment sector was more music-oriented in this era and famous bands like Beatles and Bench boys gave birth to the pop culture.
The 1980-1990’s was the booming period of entertainment; pop music culture was in huge demand. Music bands like Spice girl, Blue, West life were hugely popular and to listen their songs Sony developed Walkman’s to play their songs on the go and shifted the public from old-age tape recorders to Walkman cassette players. Major supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s were the go-to place for buying FMCG products. Cadbury chocolates to Kellogg’s to Macintosh chocolates, all these brands were developing different flavors to attract sales and ascertain public response.
Now many of you must be wondering why have I been referring brands which already exist? Were these the only brands I observed? Apparently no! They were plenty of brands, so many out of which I handpicked the ones I could relate with. What happened to the rest of majority that didn’t ring a bell with the students? These brands didn’t survive or didn’t make enough stakes to pass the rest of time (survival of the fittest as they say!). The unique attributes of brands listed above to have survived while other brands have disappeared were consistency and their ability to modernize with changing trends of the market.
Interesting observations of my fellow marketing students
Vijay – He observed how older brands marketed their brands by having images of activities depicting the usage of the brand (like a woman washing clothes with a detergent).
Sherry – She observed that in 1950’s, both men and women were used in illustrations of brand marketing images.
Nicole – She identified brands adopted innovative packaging to update their positioning in the market. There was more artistic display of grains in food products and transfer to pictures in packaging.
Anjali – She observed how brands survived throughout the various periods by adopting the right pricing strategies.
Youngeun – She observed how marketing was more about stories earlier and now it’s has been simplified and is competitive. Also, the colors used in packaging are getting stronger with time.
I observed how the font size on the packaging has decreased with time.
In the last class exercise to pick a brand, to discuss its various brand elements the famous liquor brand – Johnny walkers was picked by Kim for discussion.
- Packaging – The brand used exquisite packaging in a square bottle.
- Slogan of the brand – Keep walking
- Logos/symbols – Name of the brand was embossed in golden and written in indented font.
- Characters/ Celebrities – The brand developed their mascot of a suited man, wearing a royal shield walking in the outdoors.
- Audience – It was interesting how Johnny walkers sponsored a race car event and golf tournaments to market themselves in the premium high-class society.
- Colors -They used bright colors like red and blue in their packaging for indicating the level of premium.
I would like to conclude this blog with a big thank you to our program director – Olga Kravets for giving us this amazing opportunity to connect with the marketing history with this museum trip and treating us to Honest burgers after the museum trip.
-Sakeynay (Sammy), Batch of 2017-2018