July 22, 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, a look at how Amazon Prime Day uses your psychology to get you to spend. More on Amazon Prime Day below!
Below are a few thought-provoking articles to kick-start your week. Thanks as always for reading, sharing and sending your contributions.
BRAND & MARKETING
- Continuing the theme of emotions at work, happiness researcher Lord Richard Layard explains that the three things that make us happy in our personal lives also make us happier at work.
- For all the opining around the marketing funnel’s value – or lack thereof – Thomas Barta emphasizes its hidden power.
- The Verge investigates the future of wellness as a societal obsession, diagnosing it as “together but alone.
- If strategy is as much about knowing what not to do, success is as much about distinguishing “the weeds from the seeds.” McKinsey offers guidance on when to kill a project.
- A Kellogg professor digs into how new versions of products spread differently than entirely new products.
- Related, how leaders from the NBA to Call of Duty are thinking beyond filling seats and focusing on growing the entire sport franchise.
- Fast Company gives three reasons why Netflix’s second-quarter earnings report is more problematic for its rivals than for itself.
- A long but worth-it read from Ray Dalio outlines his investment philosophy as relates to paradigm shifts – recurring and unavoidable changes in markets, market relationships, and society’s adaptation to them in such a way that a new round of change is forced.
- Farm-to-table restaurant Dig Inn’s rebrand is betting that guests consider it more a “shared belief” than a restaurant. Though this move may be questionable, the growth in demand for plant-based food is undeniable, as demonstrated by the continued rise in dairy-free desserts.
- Wharton professors explain the psychology and strategy behind setting an effective vision, why some vision statements are more powerful than others, and how leaders can craft them effectively.
- P&G’s Marc Pritchard speaks to how the brand is leaning into its purpose to become a force for both growth, and for good.
RETAIL, SALES & SHOPPER
- In case you missed it, last week was Amazon Prime Day(s) – or, as Fast Company calls it, “a cheap knockoff of Alibaba’s Singles Day.” Adobe data suggests that despite the record sales numbers Amazon may have enjoyed, other retailers may actually be beating Amazon at its own game, with competitors seeing sales boosts in many cases, and it appears that the effort backfired in another way, as many canceled their Amazon Prime membership after browsing Prime Day deals. One final must-know about the bonanza:Amazon began offering its customers a $10 coupon in exchange for tracking them all over the web – a promotion that will give it “unprecedented view into individual web browsing habits.”
- Consulting POV – There are many things to know about Prime Day, much of which we captured in our own Prime Day coverage! Not a lot of what’s written about Amazon in the public domain is thoughtful, and Prime Day tends to intensify that. Alibaba and Amazon are different business models, and the role Alibaba plays in Chinese life is completely different than Amazon’s – comparing the two is easy to do but not always helpful. Prime Day has clearly turned into a US shopping holiday, and other retailers are capitalizing. The $10 for data deal by Amazon will probably go down in history as one of many things Amazon has done that doesn’t really make a ton of sense. Making consumers aware of the monetary value of their data with a trivial amount of money seems like a terrible idea.
- While many were skeptical about the future of physical retail, the founder of Story believed – and proved – that a carefully-curated retail experience could be successful.
- Consulting POV – Carefully curated, economically sensible, well-executed retail experiences have been successful since cavemen were selling obsidian to kill mammoths 11,000 years ago. This is more likely to be true than not 11,000 years from now.
- As a commemoration of its 30th birthday, dunnhumby predicts what the next 30 years will bring for retailers, shopping, and customers.
- Consulting POV – This feels more like retail 2029 than 2049. A deck Bryan Gildenberg and others put together a few years ago looked at retail 2025 and established attributes of how future retailers will work; contact him to grab a copy and learn more!
- Tru Kids Brands is bringing Toys“R”Us Stores Back to the US – with a more immersive, playful, and Instagrammable in-store experience this time.
- Consulting POV – The best thing about this store is probably its size. TRU stores were simply too big to make sense in a world where toys play a smaller role in the lives of children than they used to. Making toy shopping interactive and fun is both a good idea and kind of obvious, but impossible to do in a world where the basic economics of a TRU store were almost unfixable.
- A VC investor in the likes of The RealReal, Thrive Market, Shipt and Boxed shares histhoughts on and playbook for investing in the grocery industry.
- Consulting POV – A good piece from a smart company. Thrive, Shipt and Boxed are all unusual, well thought-out business models in what can be a very me-too world.
- Lululemon’s new Chicago location, complete with classes, a café, and trial clothing, evidences the brand’s shift into experiential.
- Consulting POV – Lululemon might be better positioned than almost any focused product brand for brand extension – it’s always occupied share of mind and real love amongst its consumer base. Their ex-Sephora CEO has done a really great job reviving this business.
- Following in rival Abercrombie & Fitch’s footsteps, teen apparel retailer American Eagle is getting into CBD.
- Consulting POV – CBD is the pesto of the late 2010s. Brian Owens takes a good look at CBD’s growing role in retail here, and stay tuned…there will be much more to come from us on CBD and THC/legalized marijuana sales in the back half of 2019.
- Marriott’s global CMO Karin Timpone recently spoke about the hospitality brand’s vision for leveraging Bonvoy to grow customer relationships and “reinvent” loyalty. In other travel news, how Lonely Planet revamped its online travel platform to supercharge customization.
- Consulting POV – Our own Bryan Gildenberg was on a panel with Karin’s boss, Arne Simpson (Marriott CEO), a couple of years ago to discuss the future of loyalty. His focus was on maximizing passionate loyalists while deciphering how to manage loyalty in a super-polarized world; Bonvoy is the manifestation of the first part of that. Lonely Planet’s brand footprint makes more sense for their highly personalized approach.
- Chipotle’s CMO has a unique perspective on the role of innovation in the restaurant industry, speaks to what he’s learned from customers around the boundaries of innovation, and explains how this translates to the chain’s offerings.
- Consulting POV – Brandt articulates the “economics, brand, operations” framework at the heart of our retail analysis brilliantly in here when discussing his criteria for new menu items!
ON THE HORIZON
- Mark Read envisions WPP as the LVMH of advertising, or the Disney of entertainment.
- As the CMO title increasingly disappears, the role of marketers isn’t going away. A nice deep-dive into why companies are discarding the long-respected chief marketing role as boundaries blur and would-be CMOs have to think more broadly.
- And, a very important change coming for business and pleasure travelers everywhere: that horrid middle seat on airplanes may soon be a thing of the past. An undisclosed airline will be incorporating a new seating layout by the end of 2020.
- Interbrand and C Space have teamed up on Interbrand X, a new integrated CX offering.
- CIO and CMO collaboration has never been more essential than when mapping customer journeys.
- Colgate-Palmolive is acquiring the skincare business of France’s Laboratoires Filorga Cosmétiques as it seeks to to expand its presence in the personal care category.
- Blue Apron is adding Beyond Meat to meal kits in an effort to rejuvenate adoption and growth.
- Visa has invested in Go-Jek to provide more cashless payment options for the 20+ on-demand services, which range from food delivery to digital payments, on the motorbike-ride-hailing service’s platform.
- AT&T and IBM have formed a strategic alliance to leverage cloud, communications, and networking technologies to enhance their respective businesses.
- McDonald’s is now partnering with DoorDash as its go-to delivery provider, leaving Uber Eats behind. This comes with news that Postmates is reportedly exploring a sale to one of these formidable competitors instead of IPOing. Plus, a quick look into how DoorDash and others manage to achieve high levels of personalization without the “creepy” factor.
- Instagram has begun hiding likes on users’ news feeds in an effort to address mental health issues…and also place greater importance on stories for influencers.
- Curaleaf, the most valuable US cannabis company, continues on its tear to dominategeographically as key players in the industry continue to consolidate.
- Faris Yakob imagines a world where advertising was so interesting, relevant, and effective that people (not advertisers, people!) are willing to pay for it.
- One organization sees success from letting employees set their own salaries, encouraging canceling meetings (!!), and other unconventional approaches.
- Chobani will start adding nut butters to some of its yogurts, seeing the success of this in its cafes and having observed consumers’ tendency to do so anyway. They’re also introducing stand-up pouch variations in a push toward increasing sustainability and reducing the footprint of packaging.
- Forbes announces its list of the next billion-dollar startups (i.e. unicorns) we can expect to see in 2019.
- A look at how and why some of the biggest and most global companies eventually collapsed, and what we can learn.