February 17, 2020
Editor’s note: After nearly five years, various names, hundreds of editions, and thousands of kind notes and sharp contributions from our 10k+ readerbase, yours truly is moving on from Kantar. With that, today is the last edition of the Monday Edge.
This weekly download on all things marketing, brand, consumers and more has been an interesting, challenging and immensely fulfilling adventure both personally and professionally; my days (especially my Sundays!) will indeed be lonelier without this dossier of thought-provoking changes, trends, and movers-and-shakers pushing me to bring the best and boldest headlines to our team and our clients each week. A big thanks to Bryan Gildenberg (out this week) for his provocative POVs and enduring partnership.
Thanks as always for reading (we’ve included some extra pieces to last you the winter!), and don’t forget that you can always access this week’s and prior editions on the Growth Hub. \
From Deepak’s neuroscience desk, a reminder that sensory perception is not superficial brain work – it’s actually quite complex and taxing. And, some tips if you’re looking to make your brand more (realistically) human.
Brand & Marketing
- HBR reiterates the power of defining what your company isn’t – an anti-strategy or anti-identity to maintain focus and effectiveness in evolving times.
- As CBD gains steam (smoke?) as a global force, Pamela Webber outlines what marketers need to know to win in the space and with these products.
- New research finds that executives and investors agree that environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs create short- and long-term value, though perceptions of how have changed over the past decade. Related, why brands have no choice but to care about climate change. One industry voice sees this as a call for CMOs to take responsibility over this conversation.
- Though there are various approaches to valuing a brand and many stated challenges in doing so, the day is undoubtedly coming when quantified brand equity is going to be significantly important. Gain Theory Partner Matthew Chappell recommends getting back to the basics of measurement, and proposes nine golden rules for successfully doing so.
- Related, Under Armour, admittedly facing challenging times, is shifting its approach to invest increasingly in brand and the top of the funnel.
- Coca-Cola is embracing a new brand platform – “better when we’re open” – as it looks to have a point of view and take a stronger stand on social issues. Clorox has rebranded with an eye toward a more sustainable future as well. In another purpose- and social-related act, Unilever is no longer marketing to kids, instead highlighting healthier options for them.
- Hulu’s Head of Research & Insights recently spoke with JWT about the future of streaming and entertainment more broadly.
- AdWeek sheds light on how today’s fashion brands are changing culture, and what it means for legacy brands’ ability to keep up.
Retail, Sales and Shopper
- Kantar’s Digital Commerce team details five disruptors for growth in digital commerce.
- Walmart’s Super Bowl commercial, which featured its order pickup service, is telling for the retail industry overall – and also highlights just how late to the game the massive grocer was in some respects. Still, the company has made efforts to experiment, though with mixed results; Walmart shut down Jet Black, its personal shopping service, last week.
- Brandless, an eCommerce DTC founded on the premise of removing the premium “brands” charge consumers, has shut down amid a fiercely competitive retail market. This has implications for both brand-building in a digital era and eCommerce more broadly (especially in the context of Harry’s failed merger with Edgewell). In other DTC news, Wharton professor David Erickson explains why Casper’s IPO should spook the unicorn market.
- CB Insights deep-dives on the state of retail tech, key trends, and what we can expect this year and beyond.
- Tapjoy explores the intersection of the modern mobile gamer with DTC retail, finding that this cohort is a high-return growth opportunity for DTC brands and subscription services.
- A recent study confirms that though younger generations are more likely to buy products recommended by influencers, that this audience nonetheless considers this source less trustworthy than others.
- Once-giants in retail saw massive downsizing last week, with Barneys, Kohl’s and Wayfair each struggling in their own way to adapt to an ever-changing landscape.
On the Horizon
- eatbigfish’s annual list of challenger brands to watch in 2020 is out. Thanks to Emmanuel Probst for the share!
- Forbes Council suggests how marketers might future-proof the CMO role.
- Finally, as we think about talent in the future, the tension business schools are facing as they “see the future – but don’t quite get it.”
- The IAB has unveiled “Project Rearc” (for re-architecture) to build a replacement for the third-party cookies, though with privacy at the forefront, in order to regain access to the consumer data critical for fueling today’s businesses. Digiday digs into the crumbling of the third-party cookie, and what it means for the industry.
- Kroger is teaming up with Microsoft to help CPGs partnering with the retailer better analyze data, marketing and otherwise, garnered as part of the partnership.
- Walmart is partnering with Dirty Lemon, a conversational commerce brand with beauty, wellness, and beverage offerings otherwise known for its presence in non-traditional retailers.
- Whether you call it partnership or domination through aggregation, YouTube is considering offering users of its platform access to outside subscription streaming services, i.e. an SVOD aggregator. This comes as ViacomCBS announces yet another streaming service about to enter the fray.
- Design agency Frog is partnering with VC Tuesday Capital to launch a radical new business model to fuel the industry and its impact.
- Neobank Varo has won approval from the FDIC. While seemingly niche in its relevance, this development has vast implications for the power and potential of fintechs.
- Omnicom’s Hearts & Science is expanding its marketing tech consulting group, expecting it to account for nearly a third of total revenue within three years.
- HBR explains how to create and leverage community as a competitive advantage.
- Large enterprises and startups working collaboratively can unlock innovative business opportunities across a global ecosystem, Deloitte argues for WSJ.
- Mars’ Jane Wakely contends that innovation needs to either move, entertain, drive utility – or not be pursued. Meanwhile, two MIT courses are changing how innovation is taught and managed.
- Speaking of the Mars family, joint venture partner Kind is moving into refrigerators near you with its launch of frozen and refrigerated bars, chocolate bark and snack mix.
- Pinterest’s CMO recently spoke about the company’s “aggressive growth” plans, and how they balance priorities for building the brand’s image.
- And speaking of Pinterest, Facebook has launched a Pinterest-like app called Hobbi.
- Valentine’s Day isn’t just for people – brand love is powerful too, and key considerations can help all brands to achieve this level of emotional connection with their customers.
- And, for a long read, Ben Evans has released his latest report, digging into macro and strategic trends in the tech industry.