Posts tagged #product

Educating your consumer must be your key differentiator

Now more than ever, we're surrounded by media, OTT insertions, marketing bots and AI algorithms trying to find the shortest route to your spending triggers. But the truth is that more and more consumers see your messaging as nothing more than a sales pitch. Consumer want more than simply beautiful photos and lush copywriting – they want an education.

"Content is king" – if I read this from one more guru in their "new year's marketing trends that will shock you!" post, I'm going to eat a fucking bullet. Much like responsive design, if you don't know (and are implementing) it already, then you need to be reading someone else. I can't throw you a rope. That said, we need to make content into something that:

  • Creates a thorough understanding not only of your services, but what the consumer should be looking for.

  • “Opens the kimono” to offer education in a transparent way, even advocating they seek out your competitors for comparison. If what you offer is that good – they'll return; and with a built-in sense of loyalty.

  • Creates a sense that you WANT user feedback, and shows your ongoing willingness (within your contextual marketing) that you're seeking to further refine your education.

  • Crafts the perception that problems can be uniquely solved with your service.

  • Shows both the pros and cons of your products.

  • Spotlights the future growth or roadmap of said products/services. Many people (both B2C, B2B, B2E, and others) often hold great confidence in brands that show they intend to evolve their products regardless of the point at which you purchase. This, done well, will also create a sense of urgency that NOW is the time to be part of "X."

  • Holds the consumer's hand — and not in a condescending way. The more you guide them, the more apt they will be to default to you.

A few brands doing it right:

  • IKEA

  • SquareSpace

  • General Electric

Who else are you seeing online that seems to be educating, rather than selling? I look forward to your feedback.

Posted on February 27, 2019 and filed under Blogging, Brand, Process.

Disposable Bulldozer Brands

It reads: "Nordstrom is cutting hundreds of jobs, confirming a terrifying new trend among wealthy shoppers"

So the exodus from luxury products and brands is coming like a bullet train. Premiere/affluent brands are faced with 'riding our a generation' or bending to demand for lower-prices.

The larger issue is that newer consumers are failing to see a need for longevity. That would require an understanding from both the brand and consumer. Those days, I'm afraid, are gone. Luxury brands are still too sycophantic to understand that celebrity does not = quality. 

Moreover, fragile (or challenger) brands are too willing to change to a consumer base that sees replaceable newness as backbone of their current, albeit temporary need. There's no longer a commitment to buy something worth owning indefinitely. IKEA "furniture to be passed on" – yeah no. Target, "handmade products for a lifetime" – nope!

Cycles of disposability, due to demand for value will be forefront, UNTIL the "X" factor — something that shifts that reasoning out of pure survival and necessity, sadly it will most likely be something catastrophic. I know that sounds crazy but watch the average consumer retreat to a safe place during war, economic distress and terrorism. These moments, while jarring, are the only moments that create real instances that a buyer seek a product they know to be made to last.

What do I see as winning scenarios for the future? A hybridization of "lasting quality" marketing on appropriate products; or those products that still have vintage nostalgia. Otherwise, keep the message lean and undercut the competition with simplicity. It's sad to say this but the younger consumer is seeking quick facts at a low price and puts little to no value on heritage. 

Posted on July 11, 2016 and filed under Brand, Business, Trends.

What is Your Wawa?

I talk about branding constantly. Just ask the poor guy who sat next to me on a flight to NYC last week.

One of the many things I always hit on is the “essence” of a brand. But in many cases, a brand also has a physical manifestation.

That point hit home for me in a personal way when I was driving to the taco joint ... um, I mean Whole Foods ... a few days ago and eyeballed a Wawa convenience store/gas station under construction in my neighborhood. For those of you who don’t know Wawa, there is nothing more fabulous when it comes to a convenience store.

The brand has roots in the Northeast, but has progressively found a home in the South. The first Orlando location opened with the amount of fanfare we normally reserve for visiting celebrities and high-profile court cases. My wife and I eagerly stood in line the first week awaiting the opportunity to use Wawa’s DIY touchscreen sandwich maker and get a whiff of their multiple coffee flavors.

Now I am getting a Wawa less than a mile from my home. From a brand standpoint, something hit me like a ton of swizzle sticks while I sat at a red light and surveyed the construction site. At least in our region, all the new Wawa stores have a consistent architectural style defined by a sloping roofline that covers the gas pump area. 

And guess when they build that pavilion?

They construct it before the first yard of concrete is poured, and before they erect the walls for the building that will dispense those heavenly sandwiches.

Sitting at that red light, it suddenly occurred to me that Wawa takes advantage of a brand-centric pre-marketing device like no other. For months before the new store opens, that roof structure spreads the gospel like a street-corner preacher promising to deliver us from mediocre gas-station food and bland coffee.

CAN I GET A WITNESS?!

What other brands have this effect? 

Back in the day, Taco Bell used to have a little “bell” niche on the building’s facade that might have given you an indication. For those who remember the freestanding restaurants, Pizza Hut had a distinctive roofline. You can probably think of others.

So what is the Wawa for your business? More specifically, when you deploy a product or service in a new marketplace, what signals your arrival? This question has actually haunted me for a couple of weeks. I’m tuned into it every time I see a building under construction. And that’s easy here in Central Florida, where new shopping centers, restaurants and banks pop up like zits the week before prom.

Pre-marketing takes on a lot of forms:

  • Actors, musicians, and miscellaneous celebrities always spin a good tale about the next big thing they are involved in
  • The traditional “coming soon” sign
  • Certainly doing a press release creates some momentum, but only with specific customers and businesses through the right media channels
  • Capitalizing on social media and asking the audience to share expansion updates with friends in new markets
  • Blogger buzz, immersive marketing, and outdoor advertising may also get the needle to twitch 

However, I’m fascinated that Wawa can announce its arrival without any typical media spend. The physical structure already does the job.

Now I would like to challenge you to see if you can identify any other brands or products that employ this tactic whether or not they know that they’re doing it. The challenge is great but I think you’re up to the task.

Posted on April 13, 2015 and filed under Brand, Process, Strategy.

Can Media's Evolution Destroy Your Current Business Model?

What do you do when your social media audience as effectively changed the consumerization of your previous business model?

So I started my day by reading an article regarding generation Y and its single-handed responsibility for the destruction of the music industry. Now I do not intend to give you a summation of the article as I will not steal its thunder. You should read it.