Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Juking the Brand

In 2010 I wrote Juking the Stats.  The term was coined on the popular HBO series, The Wire where people manipulate the system to make whatever they are doing appear right to achieve their goals.  Volkswagen is a classic example.  They just validated my original term, Juking the Brand

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One of the big news items while I was on holiday this past month was Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal.  In their quest to become the leading global automobile company, they installed faulty software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide that lowered emissions to legal standards during testing, but discharged pollutants into our environment the rest of the time.  Juking the stats to deceive regulators?  How about deceiving their consumers about the benefits of diesel cars?  They claimed diesel cars were as clean and powerful as gasoline cars while delivering better mileage. 

One transparent aspect of branding is all about the creditability of a company consistently delivering its products or services over a passage of time.  The emissions scandal will result in Volkswagen Juking the Brand.  They sabotaged their integrity!   

Volkswagen, what were you scheming?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Customization has become a driving guest feature among restaurateurs in the foodservice business.  Chipotle was an innovative pioneer with their menu followed by gourmet burger chains and now McDonald’s (Create Your Taste® kiosks).  More industries are adapting to customization.  Now fashion has jumped on the bandwagon.   
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One fashion brand I follow and write about is Burberry.  Once again they are demonstrating they are smart marketers by offering their consumers its new scarf bar.  Accessed/ordered online for delivery or in-store pickup, consumers are offered a wide selection of scarves (100 plus colors; classic or lightweight cashmere).  For an additional $75 they will monogram your scarf for that personalized (a.k.a. customization) experience. 

Are you ready to customize your brand?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dressing Rooms 2.0

Data released by the Commerce Department reveals that there is a major shift happening in consumer mind-sets – experiences (e.g., eating out, travel, gym memberships, etc.) vs. objects (items bought at brick-and-mortar stores).  Rather than offer pricing discounts, some retailers are striking back with unique shopping experiences – dressing rooms 2.0.  

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One leading department store chain, Macy’s pared back its annual sales projection to zero after experiencing a sales decline (2.1 percent) at stores open for at least a year.  In recognition that their old merchandising strategy “pile it high and watch it fly” is no longer working.  They are experimenting with enhancing their in-store mobile experiences.  One strategy they are testing is an app where shoppers can select (by size, color) items stocked by the store and have them delivered to a fitting room.  The smart fitting room is also equipped with a tablet in case the shopper needs to request additional items.

Sales at high-end retailers have been more robust, since our economic recovery has benefited our nations’ wealthiest.  One good example is Nordstrom’s.  Their sales have increased nearly 5 percent while profits exceeded their forecasts, sending the company’s share price soaring.  However, Neiman Marcus, one of their major competitors is experimenting with dressing room technology to further enhance their in-store shopping experience.  They are testing the MemoryMirror in three locations, a dressing room equipped with a six-foot mirror and sensory camera that enables shoppers to view a realistic digital fitting (different images/viewpoints).  They can dress themselves in a variety of styles and colors.  The mirror also records a video the shopper can later view at home. 

Mobile goes fashionable – dressing rooms 2.0.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Millennial BetaBlazers

Marketing to Millennials continues to be the “Buzz du Jour.”  I have posted numerous articles about Millennials; marketers are categorizing this demographic group into buckets so they can better understand what motivates their buying behavior.  The latest bucket that piques my interest: Millennial BetaBlazers

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The Boston Consulting Group, back in 2012, released a study that revealed not all Millennials are the same – “slackers and entitled.”  They defined six buckets.  Recently, global media agency Carat released their survey findings based on 14 thousand Millennials age 15-to-34.  Their conclusion: Once you dig below the available digital cookie level data, the “hyper-connected, digital extroverts” bucket known as “Trend-Netters” only applies to 42 percent (36 million) of Millennials.  When they drilled down further and examined attitudinal/behavior data, they discovered some new buckets.

So who are the true Millennial trendsetters?  Meet the BetaBlazers!  They (16% of all Millennials) operate outside the box.  Very worldly thanks to travel and aggregating information from numerous resources.  Consequently they are more adventurous, risk takers compared to their peers.  They do not always subscribe to popular brands, but connect with those that tell a story and meet their needs.  Quality and exclusivity are important purchasing triggers.

Do you know any Millennial BetaBlazers?  Better yet, do you have to be a Millennial to be a BetaBlazer!   

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Great word!  pau·ci·ty noun  The presence of something only in small or insufficient quantities or amounts; scarcity.

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My paucity list:

  • Family dinners, family vacations.
  • Enough overhead space, leg room and bags of peanuts on airlines. 
  • Customer service (now known as customer care).
  • Good drivers.
  • Sixty minute lunches.
  • Green urban public spaces.
  • Grammar.
  • Originality.
  • Leadership.
  • Common Sense!

Additional suggestions welcomed.