April 8, 2019
Welcome back to your weekly update on the changes, trends, and movers-and-shakers making headlines across marketing, brand, consumers and more!
Too many great new books out these days not to share another: Harvard Business School professor Thales Teixeira contends in his new book Unlocking the Customer Value Chain that it’s not new tech that drives disruption, but decoupling of the customer value chain and picking one aspect to one-up competition on.
And, from Deepak’s neuroscience desk, a look at how online reviews can foster a deeper connection between brands and consumers.
Below are a few thought-provoking articles to kick-start your week.
BRAND & MARKETING
- McKinsey highlights what every CEO needs to know about ‘superstar’ companies and why strategies matter more than ever in this environment.
- With Di-Ann Eisnor, formerly of Waze at its helm, The We Company is out to build the “future of cities” by deploying data that informs reimagination of urban problems. Thanks to Emmanuel Probst for the find!
- The CMO of TUI, the travel company, announces its new marketing academy to create more rounded marketers, improve its employer branding, and support greater opportunity and career development within marketing and sales.
- HBR details why inclusive leaders are so good for so many elements of organizations, from morale to bottom lines – much more so than by-the-books diversity.
- With Nielsen finding that 80% of consumers around the world think companies should take more ownership of our environment, brands can no longer afford to ignore sustainability issues.
- In a world where today’s consumers demand flexibility and personalization – and expects interactions with brands to be comparable to those with friends and family – there are six new rules of customer engagement. But perhaps brand belonging is really the sole gateway to effective strategy and competitive success in the future.
- Technology makes new things possible that were once not just impossible, but indistinguishable from magic. Amid fake products, news, and lives, that makes truth an ever-more important asset to brands.
- Nike VP / general manager of running Steve Lesnard suggests five steps critical to building lasting brands.
- iProspect’s Global Chief Strategy Officer speculates how to correct for the over-investment in advertising and the simultaneous under-investment in measurement.
- Top university professors debate whether Shaquille O’Neal joining Papa John’s board of directors as its first African-American member will indeed boost its faltering brand and remedy sunk sales as hoped. Meanwhile, Patagonia is reconsidering its close relationship with Wall Street in pursuit of more purposeful organizations.
- Millennials are projected to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest living adult generation. Meanwhile, CB Insights takes a look at 12 industries millennials are allegedly killing…but actually aren’t, and profiles what else we can expect to emerge from pop culture in 2019.
RETAIL, SALES & SHOPPER
- Dollar Shave Club CEO Michael Dubin warns that companies can all too easily get addicted to the idea of a subscription business. Perhaps case in point, Digiday goes on to profile Reebok, who’s launching a new membership program to forge closer customer relationships.
- Kantar Consulting POV – Important to distinguish between what DSC does (a subscription model) and what Reebok is launching (a loyalty club). There’s a lot of confusion from marketers around this topic – but directly connecting to consumers, directly selling to consumers, and forging a subscription relationship with consumers are three completely different things. Dubin’s point is correct – a subscription has to solve a problem for a consumer, and is rarely the best way to do that. Razors have the advantage of being a predictably replenished and often forgotten purchase, where subscription is ideal.
- Molson Coors is getting in on the direct-to consumer delivery service game, in part to gain greater insight on its customers and their browsing habits.
- Kantar Consulting POV – Neat idea, but again: does it solve a consumer problem? In this case, apart from the legal obstacles, the overwhelming percentage of pilsner style beer in America is sold cold, not warm, and this model doesn’t do that. Relationships are two-way streets – marketers want the data from D2C but aren’t always willing to do the work of creating something valuable for consumers in exchange.
- It’s been a big week for healthier, more natural, and/or plant-based offerings! 7-Eleven is testing different store formats and experimenting with more wellness products as it races to shed its image as a “junk food staple” in today’s increasingly “clean eating” world. Burger King will be introducing the Impossible Whopper, a meatless burger, in select locations. This all comes as Kellogg sells Keebler and Famous Amos to get out of the cookie business; Taco Bell tests a more vegetarian menu; and Nestle introduces a line of plant-based burgers in Europe.
- Kantar Consulting POV – Kellogg’s decision had very little to do with healthy living and more to do with abandoning a direct store distribution (DSD) business they thought was too expensive. The meatless meat concept is one that’s rooted in consumer trends that we expect growth from (I should just “leave” the puns here). 7-Eleven is undertaking a number of strategies to get closer to more health-conscious shoppers and lock in the millennials/centennials that are a disproportionate share of their shopper base (for deeper insights on c-stores, this presentation on KRIQ is a good start).
- As it shifts its focus to exclusive brands, Amazon is also trimming prices of produce and seasonal items at Whole Foods, and bolstering the benefits Amazon Prime Members receive from shopping at the fresh grocer.
- Kantar Consulting POV – There was also an enormous amount of coverage this week on Amazon stepping back from private label in a number of categories. It may be time for the media to stop breathlessly covering every A/B test the Amazon algorithm undertakes as though it were etched in a tablet and carried down from Mount Bezos. hey’re learning. At Whole Foods, Amazon has unsurprisingly algorithmically calculated that there’s more potential volume selling competitively priced groceries than selling super expensive ones. This may work for Whole Foods and may not; while they were sleeping, conventional grocers got much better at the differentiating parts of the Whole Foods offer. A quick “Amazon” search on KRIQ will provide ample intelligent coverage of Amazon’s current strategies!
- eBay’s mobile app now features visual search capabilities, enabling an improved shopping experience with more intuitive discovery, search and filtering.
- Kantar Consulting POV – Anything eBay can do to fix its #1 UX problem (the amount of useless stuff a shopper needs to see to find what they want) is a great idea.
- Amid discussion around an imminent IPO, Pinterest faces questions over its ability to become a social eCommerce platform.
- Kantar Consulting POV – If you follow Bryan Gildenberg on Twitter, you know that one of his pet rumors to monger is that Pinterest’s IPO strategy should be to merge with a retailer (Target would be great). Pinterest is a great idea in search of a business model – retail is full of business models in search of a great idea.
- A look at the blurring lines between living and buying, algorithms and humanity, and people and points of purchase – that is, a new era referred to by some as Living Commerce.
- Kantar Consulting POV – J. Walker Smith’s work on the “New E.R.A.” of consumption hits these points in a better organized way…but yes, the lines have blurred between shopping and other human activity – hence the need to integrate different parts of the Kantar offer!
ON THE HORIZON
- Eric Salama shares his perspective on and rationale behind Kantar’s move to a single brand.
- A look into Accenture’s ground-breaking Droga5 deal and what it means for Accenture’s creative / customer experience capabilities and the ad industry more broadly, Accenture also just completed its latest iteration of its 3-month accelerator program, the FinTech Innovation Lab.
- Publicis is assessing purchase of data firm Epsilon to push further into digital marketing; this would be the French holding group’s biggest takeover.
- And, LinkedIn’s annual list of top companies to work for is out.
- SiriusXM and Pandora have joined up to launch Pandora NOW, which streams on both services and is powered by Pandora listener data. This is the first time a music experience — channel, station, playlist or otherwise — has launched on both platforms.
- In the biggest commercial deal in its history, the BBC is selling its natural history programs to a new global streaming service run by Discovery Channel.
- Walmart is partnering with Google on voice-enabled grocery shopping across all Google devices.
- Adidas has signed Beyonce as a creative partner. A look at if – and why – this could be a huge deal for the comeback kid brand.
- Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season comes with enough brand partnerships “to fill an entire kingdom.”
- Fellow WPP company Burson Cohn & Wolfe has opened up a strategic consulting unit which features an “end-to-end” offering that leverages its research, data, and analytics capabilities to help emerging cannabis and hemp companies gain market entry, navigate policy and regulation challenges, and identify and engage the cannabis consumer and communicate product benefits on a global scale.
- Already celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Grammarly is looking beyond just grammar mistakes to make its mark on the world of communication.
- Kellogg is nearing a deal to sell its Keebler, Famous Amos and fruit snacks businesses to Ferrero, which plans is to pour its resources into reinvesting and modernizing those brands in the $1 billion plus deal
- Andreessen Horowitz, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm, is renouncing its domain and bee-lining towards financial advisor status
- Marketing Week explores why Marmite’s bold product extension is more than just a gimmick to be written off
- Testament to the criticality of marketing chops for developing evolving experiences, former Wunderman CMO Jamie Gutfreund is Hasbro’s first ever chief experience officer
- Growth in gaming: Snap has announced a new, real-time, multiplayer gaming platform (Snap Games), which creates monetization opportunities for both Snap and its partners, just as Nintendo brings two of its most beloved game titles into virtual reality.PS. Here’s the corrected link for last week’s piece on Accenture’s new report, Way Beyond Marketing: The Rise of The Hyper-Relevant CMO.