April 15, 2019
Welcome back to your weekly update on the changes, trends, and movers-and-shakers making headlines across marketing, brand, consumers and more!
From Deepak’s neuroscience desk, Nielsen is introducing a new suite of behavioral science offerings to help clients apply behavioral science to branding and other goals, bolstering its already leading-edge neuroscience capabilities.
Below are a few thought-provoking articles to kick-start your week. Thanks as always for reading, sharing and sending your feedback / community contributions!
BRAND & MARKETING
- The CMO of phone service disruptor Visible reminds us that one thing that we don’t talk about enough is that you need to feel safe to fail fast, and emphasizes the importance of culture for creating that conducive environment.
- Cola-Cola just launched Aquarius, a mineral water brand, in the UK, expanding its functional drinks portfolio and underpinning Coca-Cola’s evolution into a “total beverage company.” Related why Coca-Cola is freeing itself from its old brand rules and taking unprecedented risks on innovation, acquisition and experimentation.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev defends creativity as a central player in driving growth and differentiation during a time of rapid disruption.
- HBR provides a helpful reminder that while most businesses have some sort of customer target, the most successful businesses know exactly who their target customers are – and aren’t afraid to refresh this definition every so often.
- Mindshare’s Global CEO shares 22 lessons for running a successful global business. Related, here are Amazon’s 38 enduring rules for success.
- A look at the benefits of tech- and data-driven efficiency … and the risks they pose to value-driving creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.
- Disney+, launching in the US this November, creates an exclusive home for some of the world’s most popular movies, shows and characters, and does so at a category-challengingly low price. CNN digs into the new platform’s approach to “buying subscribers and get them hooked.”
- Cannes Lions partnered with digital learning provider 42 Courses and a number of WPP leaders to introduce a suite of online learning masterclasses on the fundamentals of creative marketing.
- McKinsey discusses how closely integrating data and design supercharges innovation in both external products and even internal processes.
- Following its recent performance, Kraft Heinz is optimistic about its future. Approaching its 150th anniversary, it’ll be celebrating its values and the role it plays “in making food tastier and cleaning those plates.” Still, a reminder that short-term targets create perverse incentives that hurt businesses in the long run.
RETAIL, SALES & SHOPPER
- New research finds that US retailers have announced more store closures YTD than they did in the entirety of 2018. In the UK, store openings YTD are roughly on par with closings.
- Perhaps a trend behind these numbers, Walmart is shifting focus from opening new stores to remodeling existing brick and mortar locations. TechCrunch elaborates on some of the in-store tech (e.g. Pickup Towers and floor-scrubbing robots) now being invested in.
- Macy’s Story boutique concept store makes its stores more experiential, but also serves as a learning tool for the retailer as it strives to overhaul its metabolism.
- Hermes has “crossed the line” and intentionally defied traditional luxury retail practices by opening a younger, hipper store in an effort to attract its next generation of customers.
- Specialty outdoor gear retailer REI is significantly expanding its rental and used gear sales programs and trade-in options, capitalizing on the demand among millennials for brands to promote sustainability.
- Kohls’ partnership with Amazon to accept its returns is boosting customer acquisition and revenue for the retailer.
- Due in part to low consumer adoption, VR hype has been replaced by AR hype, as augmented reality and voice have become buzzwords of choice for media futurists and publishers.
- Jeff Bezos’ latest letter to shareholders emphasized that Amazon “remains a small player in global retail,” advised that “if the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle,” and noted that “third-party sellers are kicking our first-party butt, badly.” Still, it’s worth taking a step back and revisiting how Amazon avoids complacency and stagnation by running on incremental platforms it develops itself, which it then opens up to others. Thanks to Matt Walker for the find!
ON THE HORIZON
- Digital marketers expect that government regulation is the top obstacle threatening their data projects this year, though their interest in cross-channel measurement, attribution, audience matching, and predictive segmentation remains strong. Still, Marketo expects that $5.8 trillion will be spent in digital commerce in the next two years – making customer experience and effective engagement all the more critical.
- Due to client demand for Amazon solutions and less separation between branding and retail activity planning, Denstu Aegis has launched Sellwin Consulting, an Amazon-focused strategic consultancy.
- And, BCG details the new logic of competition, where the traditional playbook for strategy is no longer sufficient
- Publicis acquired Alliance Data’s Epsilon to extend its digital reach, data capabilities, and North America footprint – and help Publicis become a leader in data-driven personalized experiences at scale.
- Sonos and Ikea have been collaborating on the new Symfonisk line for three years … in secret.
- Chevron purchased Anadarko Petroleum in one of the biggest energy sector mergers in years – and a transformative moment for one of the industry’s dominant players.
- An overview of brand activations at this year’s Coachella in California.
- Digiday explores how Amazon Pay’s Worldpay partnership will grow its retailer footprint.
- A look into the recent history of Burger King, where 3G’s model apparently worked.
- Nestle’s R&D Accelerator will bring together scientists, students and start-ups to advance science and technology, and ultimately increase and speed up development of innovative products / systems.
- J. Crew is exploring IPOing Madewell to pay down its substantial debt and fund a turnaround.
- Thought leadership can deliver real sales impact and ROI, and is an especially important driver of choice for B2B decision-makers, new research from Edelman and LinkedIn finds.
- Lush cosmetics is ditching social, increasingly tired of fighting with algorithms, disinterested in paying to appear in news feeds, and disillusioned by social media making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. It’s closing its accounts and asking followers to stay in touch via the website, live chat, email, and even the telephone.
- Danone is selling its organic salads business, Earthbound Farm, as part of its portfolio management and capital allocation optimization strategy.
- Google’s drone arm has launched commercial service and received regulatory approval to start making last-mile commercial drone deliveries (of primarily coffee, medicine, small groceries, and other items) in Australia.
- As marijuana moves from counterculture to mainstream and becomes a massive business opportunity, part of the industry challenge relates to repositioning weed as a bona fide substance for wellness consumers.