Lightning & Thunder

Blink:

During last night’s storm (a.k.a. electrical display) here on the Mediterranean, I questioned why there is a time differential between a bolt of lightning and the sound of thunder? Google time.

Read On:

Google explains a bolt of lightning and the sound of thunder actually happen at the same time. A bolt of lightning heats the air along its path causing the air to expand rapidly. The sound of thunder is the byproduct of the atmosphere expanding, but the lightning flash travels faster than the sound of thunder.

More importantly, I thought about what I did pre-Google search regarding trivia questions (e.g., film, sports), scientific or historical inquiries, etc. Google since its inception in 1998, has successfully organized the world’s information, making it universally accessible. How was it possible to live life without Google!

What is the most popular team name in sports? Thunder. Thank you, Google.

A Toy Story – A New Chapter

Blink:

Over three years ago I expressed disappointment that F.A.O. Schwartz was closing its doors at its iconic Fifth Avenue location. Good news! F.A.O. Schwartz made its Big Apple comeback in late November.

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F.A.O. Schwartz is another example of Brick & Mortar 2.0: providing a great overall retail experience. The toy retailer recently opened a new flagship store in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Plaza, complete with its famous giant walk-on piano. In addition to featuring old classics (e.g., toy soldiers sporting new, updated uniforms), F.A.O Schwartz designed some new experiences to make their store, once again, a global iconic destination for visitors to New York City. New attractions include a remote-control car raceway, a grocery store where kids can fill their carts with play groceries before heading into FAO home to shop for kitchen equipment and housewares, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, etc. to name a few.

“Retail is theater!” – David Niggli, FAO’s Chief Merchandising Officer.

 

Searching for Consumers

Blink:

Brands/retailers are geared up for holiday sales surpassing $1 trillion for the first time and the strongest growth rate (5.8%) since 2011. Note: Spending further enhanced by a 32-day holiday calendar. Consequently, influence marketers are working overtime to identify nanoinfluencers (a.k.a. “nanos”) to fuel their marketing movements.

Read On:

This past year, thanks to my affiliation with the Social Media Research Association, I have been reviewing the current viral wave of influence marketers. Via the different social media platforms, influence marketers are now digitally mining deeper to find their target audience. Their objective is to identify select social individuals who have influence over potential buyers. However, marketers’ question whether is it better to use macro or micro influencers.  Macro influencers are categorized as celebrities with massive, millions of followers, while micro influencers are everyday consumers who have significant social media followings (1,000 to 100,000) they engage deeply with on a regular basis.

Welcome nanoinfluencers (a.k.a. “nanos”), people with small followings (1,000 to 5,000), high engagement, their primary social platform being Instagram. In return for monetary compensation or free goods, “nanos” post Instagrammable, shareable photographs of products, services or travel destinations they like. Their online followers (including close friends) value their advice leading to purchase decisions. An inexpensive form of consumer marketing. For the holidays, Macy’s, H&M and J.C. Penny have implemented Instagram influencer movements.

#consumers

Garbage Diversion Update – Part Two

Blink:

In my last post, I disclosed a unique garbage diversion futuristic concept, an innovative model for sustainable aquaculture. Today I am going to review a Tyson Innovation Lab consumer snack product that was developed in only six months.

Read On:

İYappah!, a snack launched via crowdfunding in select markets signals a new approach by Tyson. For starters, the protein crisps were designed by a select/lean innovative team in a five-day process comparable to how technology companies develop software. A first in new product development for a CPG company. In addition, the product represents Tyson’s goal to launch more sustainable products. The snack is made from upcycled white chicken breasts, rescued vegetables and spent malt barley, a byproduct of beer brewing. It is packaged in fully recyclable tin cans. Bottomline, Yappah! embodies a food waste solution better known as garbage diversion.

The global food loss and waste challenge from production through retail and consumption is far reaching. Garbage diversion is an innovative baby step in the right direction.

Garbage Diversion Update – Part One

Blink:

Food loss/waste has significant economic and environmental implications, as well as social repercussions (fighting hunger) when so much food supply is wasted between farm and table.  Consequently, I always enjoy learning about new, innovative food-waste (a.k.a. garbage) diversion concepts.  Time for an update.

Read On:

Food waste (a.k.a. garbage) diversion is a novel sustainable approach converting what is normally considered waste in either the beginning (production) or end (consumption) of the food value chain into palatable food products.  Recently, I learned about an innovative waste solution, a potential game changer for sustainable aquaculture.  Fact: Due to fish consumption being at an all time high, a third of the world’s oceans is over fished (source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), thus raising a red flag for the future sustainability of a key protein for millions of people worldwide.  One viable solution is aquaculture (a.k.a. fish farming), the fastest agricultural sector for the past forty years.  However, critics of aquaculture are concern about farm fish feces contaminating oceans, lakes and drinking water, plus the drain on environmental resources (e.g., corn, soy, ground fish, etc.) needed to feed farm raised fish.

Enter TimberFish Technologies originally launched in 2008.  They feed their fish with a combination of nutrient-rich wastewater from food processors (breweries, distilleries and wineries) and wood chips.  Wood chips contain microbes, a source of food for small invertebrates like worms and snails.  The fish eat the invertebrates. Two additional sustainable benefits of their innovative technology: 1.) The fish excrement provides a source of nutrients for the microbes completing a cycle; and 2.) TimberFish Technologies system’s only output is clean water plus spent wood chips further utilized as a biofuel or soil supplement.

My next post reviews İYappah! a new consumer snack food made from upcycled proteins, rescued vegetables and spent brewer grains.

Damaged Brand?

Blink:

Last Thursday while I was walking through the terminal shopping mall in Heathrow airport changing flights, I was reminded how Burberry, Britain’s largest luxury label in sales, lost their cue.  They are now on damage control thanks to foolishly sending out the wrong signals.

Read On:

Back in September I posted Forever Relevant – Brand Stamps 4/27/10 detailing how the core essence (a.k.a. DNA) of a brand is all about its code (what the brand stands for) and cue (the sensory signals communicated over time to consumers).  As it relates to cue, what was Burberry thinking when it announced over the summer they burned tens of millions of dollars’ worth of unsold goods?  Burberry’s rationale: They wanted to maintain their “brand value” to safeguard unwanted items from being stolen or sold at a significant discount, thus negatively impacting the high-end price tags they command at retail.  No surprise, politicians and environmental activists stepped forward to criticize the brand, as well as its younger consumers for being irresponsible.  Immediately the company announced plans to overhaul their practices of destroying unsold merchandise, as well as rebrand its image including its policy regarding sustainable supply chain. 

Burberry, damaged brand?  Will they be able to recover their cue?

Forever Relevant – Brand Stamps (4/27/10)

Blink:

“No one builds a legacy by standing still.”  Tagline to Rimowa’s new marketing movement featuring Roger Federer.  Comes on the heels of Roger trading his Nike deal for a ten-year contract with Uniqlo.  Made me realized Roger Federer, tennis legend and his team have strategically evolved into brand Federer.

Read On:

I would like to share some words of wisdom with all the tech savvy, non-classically trained social media marketing experts out there, specifically as it relates to branding. The message: “Be like a postage stamp – stick to one thing until you get there”   – Margaret Carty

Marketers are utilizing social media tools to reach their customers enabling them to sustain and build their brand’s reputation. Thanks to the Internet, their ability to reach more consumers globally has increased radically. However, with everyone competing against direct or indirect competitors for consumers’ attention, it is now more important than ever to carefully fine tune your social media strategy. For starters, remember you cannot be all things to all people. Revisit the core essence of your brand, better known as your brand’s DNA, a topic I first addressed in my blog Luxury Brands Rock Asia.

The DNA of a strong brand is all about two significant components. A perfect example is Cirque du Soleil:

Code – What does the brand stand for? What is its core promise? Cirque du Soleil is a theatrical circus, absence of animals, but continuous live music and performers, rather than stage hands changing props.

Cue – The sensory signals that capture the attention of consumers. Consequently, credibility is developed over time, thanks to authentic, consistent performance – 19 shows in 40 plus countries on every continent except Antarctica, spanning 26 years.

Somewhere in the branding process, marketers lose their patience/focus. Brand Ego sets in, brand refreshment ensues. Marketers begin deviating from their brand’s core promise. Remember New Coke? I provided a classic case study back in 2009 with Airwalk.

Social media now provides new platforms to refresh brands. A marketer’s dream! I just would caution all the tech savvy social media experts to remain consistent with their brand’s DNA. Cirque du Soleil has taken that approach by developing a YouTube video of their upcoming 2011 Michael Jackson show which they post on Facebook and Twitter. They also use these tools to talk to their tribe, better known as Cirque Club. Over twenty five years they have stuck with their core promise of reinventing the circus – theatrical street performance without the animals.

Brand stamps! Stick to one thing until you get there.