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Denis Budniewski, SVP, Management Director, Saatchi & Saatchi
December 6, 2000, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. EST

<tedp> Hello, everyone! I wanted to know what Denis is working on currently?
<dbudniewski> I currently run Saatchi & Saatchi's haircare businesses from our NY office.
<dbudniewski> This includes global responsibilities for Physique and North American responsibilities for Head & Shoulders.
<tedp> I attended your presentation at Thunderbird. Is advertising for haircare products becoming more complicated taking into account the increasing number of products on the market, are these products differentiating themselves purely on image?
<dbudniewski> Yes, the haircare market is becoming increasingly more competitive.
<dbudniewski> If you look at the activity in the US over the past 6 months, we've probably seen more launches and relaunches than ever.
<dbudniewski> Major brands such as Pantene, Vidal Sassoon, and Salon Selectives have relaunched.
<dbudniewski> Other new brands such as Physique and John Frieda have made the competitive landscape even more cluttered.
<dbudniewski> In terms of how we differentiate, yes... image is a key component, but my experience says that image alone isn't enough.
<dbudniewski> To sustain a difference, you need to give consumers a compelling reason to stay with you... more than "I can relate to your image".
<tedp> I am currently working on a marketing communications campaign for a wine importer, there the big differentiator is taste, and also price. However, with haircare depending on the category, price I mean, it seems like most products accentuate the same qualities or attributes, how do you deal with this?
<dbudniewski> While the attributes may be the same... you can always find a new twist or spin to put on them.
<dbudniewski> For example, on Physique we have tried to own the territory of 'science.'
<tedp> Is the focus again on having strong brand equity through a consistent campaign and a focus on brand awareness and recall? Make the consumer believe in an "added value" proposition?
<dbudniewski> As the Brits would say, "Spot On". Yes, the focus should be on driving a strong brand equity through consistency in not just the campaign, but the communications program.
<dbudniewski> If you can get consumers to believe in your 'added value' proposition and be more willing to pay a premium price, then you're on to something.
<tedp> It seems like the category of products that you are working on can be comprised both of a lot of brand loyals, as well as brand switchers. Do you have a specific focus with Physique, are you trying to attract these favorable brand switchers or to maintain the loyals?
<dbudniewski> Haircare is a category that has very very few loyal users. Other than Head & Shoulders users (which are very loyal), most haircare consumers have the belief that their products 'wear out' over time.
<dbudniewski> Our initial focus on Physique (as with any new product launch) is to generate as much trial as possible.
<tedp> And then hope that the product lives up to its promise and delivers?:-)
<dbudniewski> Yes... if the product doesn't meet the expectations or promises you give consumers, then you're in big trouble.
<dbudniewski> To avoid this problem, we really did our homework on product performance before we launched.
<tedp> I agree, this is really a tough category to advertise but the challenge can turn into a very rewarding experience? What are you monitoring, or I guess are the brand managers monitoring sales to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign?
<dbudniewski> We actually have several different measures in place to gauge our performance.
<dbudniewski> The first is sales, then we use Neilsen share (both dollar and volume), awareness tracking studies, internet usage, club membership, Neilsen household panel data, etc.
<dbudniewski> Does this answer your question or were you more specifically referring to advertising testing?
<tedp> How useful are the Nielsen household panels? The answer is great, it's exactly what I was asking for.
<dbudniewski> Nielsen HHP's are very useful to determine who's actually buying your product (who are they). It's also useful to really dig into behavior - how much are consumers buying, are they loyal, are they switching, who are they switching to, etc.
<tedp> I am still very interested in pursuing a career in advertising but it seems that even with my 3 year experience it is hard to get a position that is not entry level?
<dbudniewski> It depends on the relevance of your past experience.
<tedp> How do you reward the panelists for their input?
<dbudniewski> I'm not sure how Nielsen rewards their panelists. Sorry.
<tedp> It's OK, Ithe reason I asked this question was because I was curious to find out if their input and feedback can be trusted 100%, and usually a good reward system helps in this respect.
<janelle> How many languages do you feel is necessary for Global Advertising?
<dbudniewski> As someone who runs a global business and has worked in a foreign office, I speak only English. However, it would be infinitely helpful if you knew more than one.
<dbudniewski> For most major corporations, business is usually conducted in that company's headquartered country. Since I've worked with Procter & Gamble, the written and spoken langauge is always English.
<janelle> What is your day like?
<dbudniewski> A former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, Joe Mack, summed it up nicely. You start your day with a to-do list and you'll be lucky if you get to a third of the items that day.
<dbudniewski> What I love about advertising is that your days will be completely different.
<janelle> Good answer!
<janelle> It is difficult to break into advertising. How difficult is it to get an entry level account executive position working with global clients?
<dbudniewski> While difficult, it's not impossible. I suggest using resources such as AEF or your campus recruiting office. The entry level market is very competitive, but Agency's are always looking for great people.
<tedp> Denis, I have one last question. Who is your advertising role model or guru, and why?
<dbudniewski> Not to sound like a corporate recording.... but, I would say my advertising guru is Saatchi & Saatchi's current CEO, Kevin Roberts.
<dbudniewski> While his background comes from the client side, he's probably done more to shake up the advertising world in recent times than anyone else I know.
<dbudniewski> I would suggest you log on to his website if you get a chance.
<tedp> I really admire David Ogilvy and his style and what he did for advertising as a whole. Thank you for your great answers.
<tedp> Does Kevin Roberts have any books out?
<dbudniewski> Yes, in fact he just launched a book titled "Peak Perfomance" yesterday.
<dbudniewski> He teamed up with several other marketing 'experts' and analysed the factors that led to 'peak performance' amongst great sports teams such as the Williams Formula racing team to the Atlanta Braves.
<tedp> I'll be sure to buy it and find out more about him. Thank you for your time, I am going back to class. I met Peter Moore recently who has worked with Michael Jordan and is currently working with Kobe Bryant for Adidas, It is a fascinating advertising field!
<janelle> This is better than class! There are alot of cultural differences to be aware of in advertising. How do you deal with them?
<dbudniewski> Fundamentally, you need to constantly check with consumers. Everything from strategy to copy language are potential mine fields. Electrolux is a perfect example... they took a great European brand and literally translated their selling line when they launched in the US.
<dbudniewski> The selling line translated to "Electrolux sucks." Obviously, not a wise move.
<janelle> Thanks for sharing that! I heard that job security is a problem for entry level people in advertising? Is high-turnover rate a rumor?
<dbudniewski> High turnover isn't a problem of people leaving because they're asked to leave. But, rather the job market is so good, entry level folks have a ton of opportunities to choose from.
<janelle> Good news!
<janelle> How much traveling do you do?
<dbudniewski> I'm usually out of the country once a month. Then, once a week a travel to see my local clients in Cincinnati.
<janelle> How does Saatchi and Saatchi do global research? In-house?
<dbudniewski> We use a combination of outside suppliers, client tools and in-house programs. Anything specific you're looking for?
<janelle> No, just curious. I am taking a global research methods class. We discuss the importance and potential problems of obtaining research in other countries. Have you ran into any obstacles?
<dbudniewski> Of course... cost is a big obstacle. If you're running a global business efficiently, you can't test everything everywhere. You need to be choiceful and representative. For example, you may decide to only test in two European countries versus all fifteen.
<janelle> Thank you for taking the time to talk to students! Thanks!
<dbudniewski> Thanks everyone... I really enjoyed the questions and discussion.

 

 

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