news from the intersection of branding & technology

Archive for the ‘brand-building’ Category

New Valassis Survey Reveals Fresh Insights on Millennials’ Shopping Behaviors

In brand-building, mobile & tablets, retail, Shopper Marketing on September 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

by Jeff Sandgren

This week Valassis released the results of its Sixth Annual RedPlum® Purse String Survey, to gain insight from today’s shoppers and learn more about their shopping behaviors – especially where and how they look for deals. The study, based on insights from more than 5,100 respondents, found something surprising about Millenials in particular: although they are more ardent digital devotees (no surprise there), they prefer good old paper coupons.

Lisa Reynolds, Valassis Vice President of Consumer Engagement

Lisa Reynolds, Valassis Vice President of Consumer Engagement

“The RedPlum Purse String Survey results are somewhat counter intuitive from what you might expect based on what we know about Millennials,” said Lisa Reynolds, Valassis Vice President of Consumer Engagement. “While they are heavy digital users, this group also embraces tried and true methods for savings, as much as any other age group … they area a true testament to the use of savings from both print and digital sources.”

Perhaps most surprisingly, 51 percent of Millenials indicated that print is their first choice for savings. Unlike other groups, they rely slightly more on in-store coupons and deals than retail circulars; but like other groups, their top four sources are newspaper, emails/coupon alerts, Internet searches and their mailbox.

We wanted to learn more, so we were fortunate enough to get some Q&A time with Lisa Reynolds. Here’s what she had to say.

BTN: Millennials are seen as being less brand loyal than other demographics.  What strategies do your most recent findings suggest for Retailers and CPGs to at least hold ‘share of wallet’ with this segment?

LR: When asked to self-identify as promotion sensitive, price conscious, brand loyal or time crunched, Millennials like all other respondents indicated they were promotion sensitive (69 percent  versus all respondents 75 percent). Given their desire to seek out savings from a variety of sources and the multitude of influencers along the path to purchase, retailers and CPGs must utilize an omni-channel approach, using not only digital but also print and in-store initiatives to reach this consumer.

BTN: You mention various vehicles for conveying offers – have you observed any correlation between offers types and conveyances?  i.e., what types of offers work best as retail circular deals versus mobile coupons?

LR: While we didn’t specifically ask a question correlating offer type, what we do know is that Millennials use their smartphones to a higher degree for savings and in a variety of ways. For example, 45 percent (compared to 24 percent all respondents) of Millennials accessed a coupon in an email on their smartphone; 38 percent downloaded a savings app (versus 21 percent of all respondents); and 36 percent compared deals on their phone (versus 20 percent overall). The RedPlum Purse String Survey also found that these promotion-sensitive Millennials are getting their savings the same way as all other consumers across age groups and income levels with 51 percent indicating newspaper is their first choice for savings.

BTN: You note several differences between Millennials and all age groups.  What trends are you observing in these gaps – are Millenials pulling away from the herd and becoming more distinctive in their behaviors over time, or are any other age groups (if so, which) becoming more like Millenials, closing those gaps?

LR: The RedPlum Purse String Survey confirmed Millennials’ penchant for all things digital. They are leading the way using more mobile coupons and using their smart phones to access a coupon in an email, a coupon code, compare deals and download a coupon to a loyalty card. These trends will continue. We also found some distinctions between the Haves (those with an income over $60,000) versus the Have-Nots (those with an income under $60,000). Haves spend about 10 percent less time looking for deals to achieve the same savings. Both use their savings for basic necessities; the Have-Nots to a higher degree (65 percent versus 52 percent for Haves). Next, the Haves use their savings on dining out while the Have-Nots put it toward paying down debt. As a result, besides groceries, the Haves are more interested in coupons and deals on dining out and entertainment.

BrandTech News View: Regardless of demographic, consumers embracing digital coupons still rely heavily on paper coupons. Wise retailers and brand marketers need to tightly integrate their omni-channel offers and messages to make sure they engage all consumers at the Zero Moment of Truth.

Advertisements

BrandTech News Q&A with CoreBrand CEO James Gregory

In Apple, brand-building on September 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm

One of our preferred sources for updates on big brands is CoreBrand’s BrandPower reports.  CoreBrand specializes in helping organizations understand, define, express and leverage their brands for measurable results. They offer practical and applicable brand research, valuation, strategy, identity systems and management. Independent since their founding 40 years ago, CoreBrand focuses on using brand as a business asset to improve corporate value.Jim Gregory 01 (Square)

We recently spoke with CoreBrand’s CEO, James Gregory, about their latest Brand Respect report, just published in August. Jim is the founder of CoreBrand, and the creator of the Corporate Branding Index®, an annual research survey designed to capture vital reputation and financial statistics for CoreBrand’s various measurement products. The Brand Respect report factors in ‘familiarity and favorability’ to identify the most-respected and least-respected brands, based on a survey of a large panel of business executives.

BTN: What common characteristics do you see in the Top Ten Most Respected Brands that place them so highly?

JG: If I could put it into a single word I would say “consistency” — Consistency of vision and communication, consistency of business processes, consistency of the culture within the company are all keys to getting the most out of your brand building efforts.

BTN: What do you think is keeping Apple out of the Top Ten, and/or what could they do to move to the head of the class?

JG: Apple is not universally loved except by those us who are brand zealots. Certainly Apple has been moving up over the years and is doing very, very well as a brand but it has not yet achieved the Top Ten status among the business leaders we survey.

BTN: Do you see a relationship between the Favorability decline and the rising influence of Millennials and their notorious lack of brand loyalty?

JG: Certainly something has been putting downward pressure on Favorability. We look at inflection points such as when did all of this start and we can trace it back to 2003-2004 when Sarbanes-Oxley was enacted holding management more accountable for their financial statements. We have not arrived at a conclusion as to the drivers of the decline — certainly Millennials may play a role in the decline of Favorability.

BTN: Your report mentions that Delta and Best Buy, while among the least respected, are on the rise.  Can you offer any insights or examples on what they’ve been doing that may be contributing to that rise?

JG: The “Least Respected” list represented companies with the greatest divergence between Familiarity and Favorability. Best Buy is going through a major reinvention of its brand and we’re watching it closely to see if it has traction. Delta has nearly universal Familiarity but quite low Favorability for a company of that size. Delta’s merger with Northwest and their rebranding efforts are starting to show signs of improving the brand, but they have a long way to grow. Also, this was not a reflection about their customer service but rather about three attributes of Favorability including: Overall Reputation, Perception of Management, and Investment Potential. The airlines industry scores very poorly on Investment Potential and all companies within the airline industry could use more respect.

12 Important Social Media Tools for Brand Marketers

In brand-building, mobile & tablets, social media on August 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Future Trends globe and handby Jeff Sandgren

Today was the wrap for the Social Media Insider Summit, and the sponsors had the good sense to stream the final session to those of us not fortunate enough to be at the event by the shores of Lake Tahoe.  Social Media Insiders – who could resist a bit of Saturday afternoon multitasking bandwidth to hear what these Technorati had to say? After an interesting discussion of the possibility (or near certainty, depending on the pundit) of a Facebook Apocalypse (think MySpace) in the not too distant future, we got down to the really juicy insider stuff: what’s next?

So in case you weren’t with these folks, or sitting like me at home wishing you were at Lake Tahoe, here are 12 social media sites & tools that you might want to keep on your radar. To be clear, the order of these sites is as they came up in conversation, and shouldn’t be interpreted as bestowing any more importance on one than on the others. Except the most important one is last … and no fair peeking.

  1. Waze is an app that enables “fun, community based mapping, traffic & navigation.” The 50 million + “Wazers” outsmart traffic by reporting backups, hazards, police and cheap gas to help you find the best way to your destination. By driving with Waze and GPS active on your smartphone, you passively feed data that helps the system automatically detect slowdowns and faster routes. So big bennies for users; for marketers, it means location-based marketing, geofencing and consumer behavioral insights. Right there on the edge of am-I-sharing-too-much, but if you can save me time and gas, well …
  2. LoudDoor claims to be the leading research and targeting platform on Facebook, offering proprietary audiences for market researches, built on the big kahuna of social media sites. Unless the apocalypse actually happens.
  3. Compendium wants to help you calm the chaos of content marketing. Their platform lets you manage all steps of the content marketing process. It’s used by retailers like Bass Pro Shops and Gymboree, event managers, colleges, online marketers … potentially anybody who want to leverage the power of content marketing (like us) with less pain and effort (yeah, OK, like us.)
  4. Kenshoo is a digital marketing company whose mission is to empower every marketer in the world with technology to build brands and generate demand across all media. Brands, agencies and developers use their solutions to direct more than $25 billion in annual client sales revenue, with campaigns running in more than 190 countries for nearly half the Fortune 50 and all 10 top global ad agency networks.
  5. Offerpop positions itself as “the most widely used social marketing platform” with more than 50,000 global customers (supporting 17 languages), and more than 270,000 campaigns created. They promise to enable you to launch campaigns on Twitter and Facebook in minutes … and offer a free two-week trial.
  6. Tagkast solutions support Brand-sponsored photography at live events by integrating them with social sharing. Based on the idea that social media marketing begins and ends with photos, they leverage the social media advantage that 92 percent of consumers trust friend referrals, but only 33 percent trust digital advertising. Their landing page ticker indicates they are approaching 5 million branded moments shared. There’s still time to sign them up for your participation at next summer’s event of the season: the BrandTechNewsaPallooza. Be there or be square.
  7. LINE is a communication app that enables free voice calls and free messages. It’s been ranked the number one free app in 52 countries. Their ‘Home’ feature lets users share photos, videos and location info, and an ecosystem of LINE apps support stickers, cards and all manner of addictive social doodads. Teens and tweens can’t get enough of it.
  8. Vibrant Media is the world’s leading provider of in-content contextual technology that gets brand content and advertising discovered across platforms. With more than 6,600 premium publishers, reaching more than 300 million unique users per month, they offer brand marketers the opportunity to deliver highly targeted advertisements and branded content within text and images. They say Content is King, but Context is Queen.
  9. Percolate helps brands create content “at social scale.” Their solutions help brand marketers create smart hits of curated content that are relevant and inexpensive, but still convey quality and allow the brand to leave their stamp. Sounds great, but where’s the part where someone brings me coffee?
  10. Jive offers enterprise social software to streamline the workflow by making marketers more productive, aligned and innovative. A recent report finds that more than 90 percent of US, British and Australian employees work during their personal time. Jive aims to lighten that load. Ooh, ooh, me next, me nex
  11. Wildfire is the social marketing platform just purchased in July by Google, which lets brands run contests, sweepstakes, branded games and more … and serve marketing and ad campaigns on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.
  12. BrandTech News is here to help keep you in the know on all the latest at the dynamic intersection of branding and technology. Well, yes, it’s us. Forgive a moment of self-serving sentiment in the midst of our journalistic integrity. But, hey, we’re doing it all for you. Just scroll down a little bit and hit the ‘Sign me up!’ button so you don’t miss a beat of our hard-hitting coverage.

Shopper engagement sounds like ‘war.’ It is.

In Apple, brand-building, retail, Shopper Marketing on August 21, 2013 at 4:29 pm

By Robert Liljenwall

Retail isn’t the same anymore.  Consumers are marching into their favorite retailer with their smartphones at the ready … these handy data companions are helping customers analyze retailer offerings and give focused advice on their shopping list where and when it’s not available from the retail shelf.  Shopper engagement is not managed by the retailer as much anymore as by the shopper, who is now in control.  Armed with new ‘shopping weapons’, today’s shoppers know exactly what they’re looking for. And if they don’t find what they want, they either move on or order online when they get home.  Shoppers are on the hunt, especially in these challenging economic times (and, yes, we know that recession was officially over in June 2009.)??????????????????????

It is not always ‘bad news’ that consumers are now empowered with more information than ever before.  Retailers and brand marketers who truly know their customers’ needs and wants are able to capitalize on the shopper desires.  And as Internet sales continue to rise in all sectors (e-commerce rose 18.4 percent through the first six months of 2013 compared to same period in 2012), we spent more than $64 billion online during the second quarter of this year according to the US Census Bureau, which tracks these things … an increase of 4.8 percent over same period in 2012 of total retail sales of $1.126 trillion for 2013 2Q.

So what does this all mean?  We know several things:  One out of four Americans work in retail services.  Retail sales is increasing … slowly at a rate of 0.09 percent for the second quarter, and, no, retail is not going away.  Also, we know that mobile commerce is not going to take over retail (projected that only 1 percent of total retail sales will be on mobile devices by 2016.) And according to latest consumer research, the average consumer uses 10.7 different sources to make a purchase decision.  It all doesn’t just happen in the store.  But we know that, too, don’t we?

But what is happening is that individual retailers are fighting to keep their customers happy and keep them buying “in-store.”  Best Buy is notable for its struggle against Amazon and was able to make a dent in their California market by forcing Amazon through legislation to pay sales tax, but is that enough?  Target kicked out Amazon Kindle products – each were tired of being “showrooms” for Amazon and its own products.

Enter POPAI – the Global Association for Marketing at Retail – which published their fourth edition this spring of “Marketing at Retail – Understanding, Influencing and Winning Today’s Shopper.”  POPAI itself has experienced a metamorphosis in its 76-year history – starting out as a vendor-driven point of purchase trade group attracting producers, retailers and brand marketers.  But as technology expanded across all fronts, POPAI today reflects the broad array of “interests” that serve the entire retail industry – both in-store and online.

Marketing At Retail

Marketing At Retail

In this 386-page text – the largest ever – you will certainly recognize the change in the retail and technology landscape.  New chapters on mobile commerce, social media, and technology advances and online integration with in-store merchandising.  You will find an expanded offering presented by 23 of the top professionals in marketing at retail.  This publication is also available on an e-Version.  You can order your copy at http://popai.com/book/buythebook. Hard copy sells for $39.95 and the e-Version for $35.95.

Starting in summer 2011, we found that in putting this publication together we wanted to have the most complete resource for everyone serving the retail industry – and subjects not previously covered such as mobile commerce and social media were going to play a major role.  Throughout the editing process, too, we were constantly updating the chapters because technology and new retail initiatives were coming into the industry and we wanted to insure our readers they had the latest.

We do recognize that retailers certainly know that their #1 goal is to gain customer insight.  Consumer behavior, as Dr. Dan Flint (University of Tennessee) points out, is changing as technology changes, because consumers now have more data available to them than ever before.  “They can make choices quicker and more accurately because they have current data at their fingertips.”  And the authors point out that retailers are learning how to provide better customer technology support inside their stores with Wi-Fi and local data points on what’s on sale and to guide them to their own personal shopping needs.

Speaking on behalf of the authors, I want to share with you one grand example of how stupid some major retailers can be.

I have a Macy’s revolving account and pay my monthly bill online.  When I made a ‘confirmed’ payment on my Macy app. via my iPhone, I noticed that the payment had not been subtracted from my account within a week’s time.  I called Macy’s only to learn from the Macy’s customer service rep that…”We’re sorry, but we’re finding that many payments made on the iPhone do not get recorded even though you receive a confirmation!”  “Well, is this new?”  “Oh, no, it’s been going on for some time.  We’re sorry.”

Sorry!!!  I couldn’t believe it. But wait … the nightmare continues … I went to make my payment online with my iMac, and then I can’t seem to get a confirmation, so I called customer service again. The Macy’s rep asks what kind of browser I am using.  “What do you mean?  I am using Safari.”  “Oh, sir, we don’t really support Apple.  Do you have a PC you can use?”  True story, so help me Steve Jobs.  Can you believe that a major retailer would allow this to happen?  My next purchases were with….guess who?  Amazon.  (We awarded Macy’s the Lemon Award for August.)

Retailers who don’t give the same kind of attention to detail and support that an Amazon gives to its customers is going to find defections growing.

Is there a ‘war’ going on?  You bet.  Retailers who understand the stakes are Disney, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Starbucks, In & Out Burger, Nordstrom’s and Apple, of course.  They have their customers in focus – they have gained keen customer insight, which should be the goal of every brand marketer and retailer.  There are many great retailers who are embracing the “new, smarter shopper” and are eager to support them online and in-store with technology that enables them to easily get the ‘stuff’ they want.

Shoppers have more choices than ever … and when retailers make it difficult to do business with them … you lose them, perhaps forever. You have to win the shopper battles to win the war! – RJL

[Note: both editors of BrandTech News are also contributing authors to the POPAI textbook, and Robert Liljenwall is Co-Editor]

A Day in the Life of Canadian Retail

In brand-building, Canada, retail, Shopper Marketing on August 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Challenges and Champions in Canadian Retail

by Jeff Sandgren

Dawn breaks over the eastern Maritimes, and the great economic engine of Canadian consumers revs up for another day.  Breakfasts and school lunchboxes, clothes and cosmetics—millions of consumer goods will all be synthesized into the activities and lives of thirty-five million Canadians.  Virtually every one of these items passed at some point through the vast enterprise of Canadian retail.

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)

As Canadians awaken and prepare for their workday, one out of every eight will be heading to a job in retail; in the US, the retail sector employs about twice that proportion.  Yet while retail’s activity accounts for approximately six percent of Canada’s economy, the ratio in the US is triple that.  This significantly lighter saturation of the Canadian retail market, relative to that of the US, is one of the notable disparities luring the attention of US-based retailers to growth opportunities north of their border.

Powered by the engine of Canadian consumers—and by their annual shopping infusion of over $12,600 per capita (totaling over $450 billion)—Canadian retail was up before the dawn.  In fact, it never sleeps. Complex global supply chain networks source goods around the clock and around the world, as Canadian retailers—both domestic and foreign-based—constantly seek to better serve the changing tastes and escalating demands of the shoppers of Canada. Sophisticated retail technology systems ceaselessly churn through mountains of data. Retail merchants strive for the perfect assortment of goods, offered at the optimal price and promotion; while retail operators execute the merchants’ plans to ensure that all the right items are in the right places, each at the right time, with just the right number of retail store associates to deliver the ideal shopping experience.

One hour later, in the Eastern Time zone that stretches from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the western bank of Lake Superior, dawn wakens the heart of the French Canadian market. The urban centers of Ottawa and Toronto comprise over 60% of the population of Canada, a large majority of whom live within 90 miles of the US border.   Fashionistas make plans for shopping trips in the apparel stores of Quebec and Montreal, where the latest styles from France, Europe, and around the world adorn the storefront windows.  The apparel tastes of the world are brought to these markets by merchants like Larry Rosen, Chairman and CEO of the Harry Rosen chain, founded by his father in 1954. Although his chain already accounts for 40 percent of the Canadian market in high-end menswear, Larry personally visits fashion centers around the world every year, immersing himself in the customers’ shopping experience there at clothiers large and small.  These days, Larry make his visits with his new iPhone in hand, having replaced his business-worthy Blackberry with the device that he finds helps him better identify with his target consumer.  Customer-centricity is a mission that never ends.

Local markets across the culturally diverse greater Toronto area serve up the particular tastes of their local enclaves.  The strategy that ethnic eateries, handbag boutiques and neighborhood booksellers have always known—that of being obsessively tuned to the tastes and experiences of their local clientele—now drives all of retail. Some have had to adapt, like Eleanor LeFave, whose bookstore, Mabel’s Fables, has recently countered the pressures of online and big box booksellers by finding new sales opportunities in wholesaling to school book fairs.  In the ceaselessly competitive world of retail, the courageous merchants who innovate and adapt to changing customers and competitors survive and thrive. Those that have failed to steer by the customers’ compass lose their way, and ultimately fall behind.

Sunrise in the eastern prairies shines each morning on one of the most notable sites of changing retail formats.  Portage Avenue in Winnipeg was once the home of “The Big Store”, Winnipeggers name for the then-giant Eaton’s, where in the 1960s they spent 50 cents of every shopping dollar (excluding groceries).  The store, however, was only a small part of the giant catalogue fulfillment centre which covered 21 acres and employed 8,000 workers.

As times changed and Canada’s population became increasingly urban, more and more consumers had local access to stores; by the mid-1970s over 60% of Canada’s suburban population lived within a thirty-minute drive of an Eaton’s store.  In January of 1976, Eaton’s announced their last catalogue, and a massive layoff.  A string of missteps over the next two decades culminated in filing for bankruptcy in 1997, acquisition of assets by Sears a few years later, and the eventual retirement in 2002 of one of the most iconic Canadian retail brands.  Today Portage and Main in Winnipeg features shopping malls connected by an underground concourse and the Winnipeg Skywalk—both measures taken against the location’s legendary (if unproven) status as the coldest and windiest intersection in Canada.

As morning reaches the western prairies in Alberta, another day’s preparations begin for the 23,000 employees who work at the West Edmonton Mall—with over 350,000 m² of leasable area, the largest mall in North America (the world’s largest until 2004).  In the mid 1990s this mall included two full Bay department stores, the second having been added when the chain took advantage of space vacated by the bankruptcy of Woodward’s.  Other retailers leaving at that time included Canadian Tire and IKEA, part of a trend towards ‘big box’ standalone properties; but the space was subsequently filled by T & T Supermarket.  Since then, new additions have included the first Victoria’s Secret in Canada (2010), and La Maison Simons’ first outlet outside of Quebec (2012).  Today there are over 800 stores and services offering world-class retail experiences to over 28 million visitors per year.

Finally, dawn lights up the Rockies and the westernmost Canadian urban center of Vancouver.   Here, as in many urban areas, fewer young people are getting driver’s licenses—healthier lifestyles, digital socializing, and online shopping are making personal automobiles less relevant as the Millennials move into the mainstream. Smart retailers are reading these winds of change, and finding opportunity there.

Mountain Equipment Co-Op, a pioneer in healthy lifestyle merchandising since its founding in Vancouver in 1971, was also an early innovator in multi-channel retailing.  In 2013 it won the Canada Post E-commerce award for Best Multi-Channel Retailer of the Year.  Lululemon began here in 1998, also with a focus on healthy living.  Its 4,500 “educators” (a.k.a. store associates) mentor customers—traditionally females, but now including male yoga enthusiasts—towards the benefits of healthy lifestyle (with, of course, the proper apparel) in over 200 stores.  In a model to which many retailers aspire, the focus of retailers like these on quality goods and a well-educated customer base are overcoming the traditional “race to the bottom” on price discounting, which has dragged down other low-cost-focused retailers.  It’s working: Lululemon is now expanding into the US, UK, and across the Pacific to Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. MEC has over 3 million members in Canada and internationally.

Meanwhile, in the global time zone of cyberspace, where the sun neither rises nor sets, retail is always open.  Retailers with strong e-commerce programs are continuously retuning or reinventing themselves.  Staples, voted the most trusted brand in Canada in 2008, and a top 10 most trusted brand ever since, just re-launched its already successful loyalty program, and plans to add another 200,000 items to its e-commerce site by the end of 2013.  In the world of consumer-driven retail, continuous improvement is now de rigueur.

The machines and merchandise of Canadian retail, with their planning and problem-solving, never sleep – because they dare not.  Because the retail and consumer goods sectors are as challenging as they are rewarding, and as brutally competitive as any industry.  Because shoppers today have more choices and knowledge of alternative sources, more access to product and price information, and more connection with the influence of their peers than was dreamed of even a decade ago.  The dynamics of Canadian retail are accelerating at an unprecedented pace – and retailers that are slow to keep up are thrown out of orbit. – JTS

Enhanced by Zemanta

In Search of Americana

In brand-building, Uncategorized, Video, Movies & Television on August 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Our curious obsession with branding music
by Jeff Sandgren

Neko Case @ Henry Fonda Theater

Neko Case @ Henry Fonda Theater (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This summer I discovered Americana music. Or rather, this summer I discovered that what I have been listening to with increasing regularity is sometimes called ‘Americana’ … whatever that is. Like the oft-quoted definition of pornography, which one can’t clearly define but knows when one sees it, it’s difficult to describe the genre of Americana music – but I think I know it when I hear it. And the hearing of it, the discovery of it, the branding of this elusive-yet-distinctive style, has been seeded in my ears and nourished in my aural psyche by a heapin’ helpin’ of high technology.

For a descriptive starting point, there’s a music industry trade association dedicated to the genre, the aptly-named Americana Music Association which offers the following:

“Americana is contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B, and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.”

This begs a follow-up question: well then, what is American roots music? And it helps to explain the affinity of a growing number of listeners, since many of the varietal ‘roots’ are styles that resonate with our already-acquired musical tastes. It’s not roots music; it’s contemporary music that, to borrow terminology from the Web, works as a ‘mashup’ of elements of roots music. There’s a same-yet-different, yin-yang part of the listening experience: the analytical side of your brain tells you this music sounds sort of like something you’ve heard before, while the creative side of your brain says yes, but this is different. This repurposing of styles underlies the fun of discovery.

In fact, I didn’t even know there was such a genre as ‘Americana’ until the Three Vowels of Digital Musical Curation – Amazon, eMusic and iTunes – began to pick up on my change in musical preference and start gently nudging me into orbit around it. I began to see the word in reviews and recommendations; but searching would just take me to a recent album by that very name, in this case Neil Young’s 34th studio album (34th!), or to a more general reference of antiques and ephemera that evoked earlier American merchandise – and had little to do with music.

Then one day, while updating my iTunes Genius Mixes, there it was: Americana. It was somehow official. Now I should note that I have come to regard the Genius Mixes with healthy skepticism. To illustrate, right now, on my iTunes screen I see a mix labeled ‘Mainstream Rock’ with the following four corners: Steve Van Zandt, Carolyne Mas, Anita O’Day and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Say what? The only possible label I could think of applying to that amalgamation is “Record Store Day Rummage,” which actually is a fairly accurate depiction of how they came to share space in the Music folder of my computer. But Ms. O’Day and the Daredevils are arguably the spectral equivalents of ultraviolet and infrared; and chances are good that you, esteemed reader, might not have heard of either.

In comparison, the Americana Mix seemed like a somewhat tighter cluster, in this case including Leon Russell, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris (a duo album), Neko Case and T-Bone Burnett. Leon seemed like a stretch … until I thought about it. Mark, Emmylou and Neko all made sense. And Mr. Burnett, from what I perceive, may currently be the de facto Godfather of Americana. Think of the soundtracks for O Brother, Where Art Thou and Cold Mountain. That’s right; you’re starting to hear it.

So what’s in my collection that fits the moniker? Well, for starters, I must confess that I was drawn to some by the Siren Call – my male ears are easily seduced by the female voice. The haunting vocals of Annalisa Tornfelt drew me to the band Black Prairie, where I serendipitously discovered even more instrumental-only tracks, all showcasing superb musicianship, as one would expect from the alumni of The Decembrists who make up the majority of the band. Just in the past month I happened upon perhaps the most genuine and authentic of recent female vocalists: Alynda Lee Segarra, and her group Hurray for the Riff Raff. Alynda’s story sounds almost too rootsy: a Brooklyn runaway who rode boxcars across America until she settled in New Orleans, initially playing washboard with street musicians. Once you hear her voice, all thoughts of such a narrative as public relations posturing fade quickly away.

Then there’s Tamara Lindeman of the Weather Station, and Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee recordings – more musical gems. Other new artists include delightfully surprising Valerie June, Jason Isbell, last year’s breakout stars the Alabama Shakes and this year’s Shovels & Rope. But it isn’t just about new artists on the scene – stalwarts like Bonnie Raitt and Patty Griffin are still raising the bar of their own musicianship with critically acclaimed releases this year, and surely fit this genre. Looking back at artists of yesteryear, The Band is sometimes cited as the “first Americana group,” Neil Young has certainly charted this territory before, as did Kate and Anna McGarrigle. The list goes on and on.

There are even sub-genres. Once can find reference to “Gothic Americana” (don’t ask: I have no idea.) A significant set of recordings bridges the genres of Americana and Classical, coming to musical fruition in the collaborations of Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer and Mark O’Connor with the remarkable Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey albums. Ma and Meyer collaborated more recently again, this time with Stuart Duncan and Chris Thile in The Goat Rodeo Sessions. Here again is the dilemma: are these Americana? “Symphonic Americana”, perhaps, to coin a new sub-genre name? If I may borrow from The Bard: these songs by any other genre-name would sound as sweet.

The Howlin' Brothers, at the Americanarama day stage at Grimeys (photo credit: Erika Goldring)

The Howlin’ Brothers, at the Americanarama day stage at Grimeys (photo credit: Erika Goldring)

If you enjoy musical exploration, and haven’t tickled your ears with some of these artists, I hope you’ll give them a try. And if you really want to immerse yourself live and in person, then consider the Americana Music Festival coming up in September, in Nashville, which promises a stellar lineup.

So what’s the technology angle in this branding story? Saying I ‘happened upon’ these and other artists sounds like more bargain bin browsing at the record store – when in fact this is where the technology aspect worked it’s magic. From streamers like Pandora, Slacker, Spotify, Rdio, MOG and Rhapsody/Napster; to music lockers like Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Music and iTunes Match; to sniffers like Shazam and Soundhound, and sharing networks like Soundcloud, a vast array of technologies are lined up like … well, like the AM/FM radio stations that once dominated our musical explorations (and for surprisingly many, still do) and these provided the navigation that led me to this new musical playground.

Before closing, I’d like to cite a famous quote that seems rather relevant: that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” The problem is that I cannot discern to whom this slyly clever quote should be attributed. No kidding. Google it up and you find multiple ‘experts’ ready to  assert that the quote comes from Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Frank Zappa, Elvis Costello and Martin Mull. Are these the scions of a new genre? Alas, the problem with names. – JTS

Walmart flexes muscle by moving into the neighborhood

In brand-building, Shopper Marketing on March 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm

by Robert Liljenwall

In the supermarket business, there is no bigger, badder brand than Walmart.  By a long way, Walmart is the world’s largest retailer in terms of total revenues ($446 billion), employees (2.1 million worldwide), and $206 billion market cap in the supermarket segment.  Not satisfied with its global power, Walmart is heading to a neighborhood near you with its new, smaller Neighborhood Market format, which will be about a third of the size of its regular Super Center stores – from 33,000 to 45,000 sq. ft., which is about the size of Best Buy.

English: A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in Win...

Image via Wikipedia

Why is this brand event significant? The down-sizing of Walmart’s traditional do-it-all format to fit into local neighborhoods spells trouble for the well-established supermarkets brands in Southern California where the company has targeted approximately 13 stores in the near future.  These stores will compete head-to-head with Ralph’s, Vons and Albertson (California’s ‘big three’) which are unionized – and Walmart isn’t.  And the company has picked a very smart strategy of avoiding ugly public fights with opposition of unions and local communities.

 

Most of us have always had the brand perception of Walmart as the ultimate downtown-killer, forcing thousands of local merchants throughout its dominant South and Midwest markets out of business, leaving many downtowns to antique stores and a few insurance companies.  That is the fear that many cities have, especially in Southern California which already has 28 Walmart stores in Los Angeles County.  According to their new strategy, this move into smaller markets will probably work because they have learned that the Walmart brand doesn’t always mean cities are hanging out their ‘Welcome To Our Town’ signs anymore.  Every city wants more business, more employment opportunities, but not at the expense of closing their downtowns.

If you haven’t been into the newer, refurbished Walmart Super Centers – you ought to visit, shop.  These stores are extremely well designed – still have wide aisles and great in-store fixturing and signage.  The signage is particularly helpful and dramatic, especially in the meat section.  I was impressed.  One thing you can count on: Walmart will not make the same mistakes that Tesco did with Fresh & Easy, a concept that has not caught on, especially in the Trader Joe’s sector.

Walmart appears to have a handle on its brand values – good and bad – and is making adjustments to expand and enhance their revenues, even at the expense of its competitors.  — RJL

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Global Road to Mobile Marketing Success

In brand-building, mobile & tablets on October 28, 2011 at 10:40 am

Lessons from abroad, courtesy of InMobi

by Jeff Sandgren, Technology Editor

Mobile is top digital channel in Africa

Mobile is top digital channel in Africa

Here in North America, mobile devices are in the process of overtaking traditional PCs – Gartner predicts that combined sales of smartphones and tablets will exceed desktops and laptops for the first time this year.  In other markets the mobile devices have already established their dominance.  So it makes perfect sense that leadership in mobile marketing solutions reveals a top player who leveraged a true reverse market strategy.

That company is InMobi, a global mobile advertising network launched in 2007 who mastered their boot camp skills in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, all markets where mobile is the number one digital channel, before market timing and marketing savvy set the stage for their big beachhead assault on the North American market.

At this summer’s Mobile Marketing Association Forum one of the best presentations was delivered by Anne Frisbie, InMobi’s VP & Managing Director for North America, backed up with some very solid market intelligence developed by James Lamberti, InMobi’s VP of Global Research & Marketing.  Anne and James were the first two strategic hires for InMobi’s North American market entry, and we had the opportunity to spend time with both of them.InMobi VP's Anne and James

We asked Anne what surprised her most about the recent studies presented at the forum.

“Two thirds of mobile shoppers make direct purchases on mobile,” Anne revealed.  “People used to think it would all be digital, games and ringtones.  But we’ve found that a third of the users are buying physical goods and services on mobile.”

InMobi now serves over 50 billion impressions per month, according to the company’s website.  Their US push includes two recent catalysts: a $200M investment from Japan’s SoftBank, and their opening this month of their new Manhattan offices. Although the office is new, Anne and James have actually been busy in the US for a few years, since most of the advertising inventory comes from the US.

“We’ve been working with lots of publishers here in the US for the past three years,” Anne explained.  “There’s been a big leap here over the past year.  Marketers have really woken up.  The immersive, rich media ad experience that became possible on the smartphones was really eye-opening.”

Anne’s a straight talker.  “It’s pretty schizophrenic out there,” she told us, “about half of the top 200 brands don’t have a mobile optimized website.”

Analytics point the way

Marketers now are trying to measure all the way through to the point of sale, Anne contends.  InMobi has seen a big increase in their customers’ usage of the available analytics.  This seems to be indicative of a real turning point, as advertisers and agencies are driven more and more by the need to demonstrate return on marketing investment.  Test, Learn & Evolve is a common mantra of advertisers these days.  Numbers rule: it’s been demonstrated that ad budgets are growing faster in channels that have more metrics.

InMobi is big on analytics.  “We offer real-time analytics,” Anne continued “and can track over two dozen variables, back to whatever event people want to monitor: engagement actions like videos views, or right down to conversion and sales.  More importantly, this real-time analysis drives the ad-serving logic, so the ad serving can truly be optimized.  At the publisher level we’ve seen a huge difference.”

This big difference in Marketer perception complements the growing usage by consumers.  The research reported at the MMA event showed that the demographics of smartphone shoppers who say they prefer mobile to PC shopping now includes all age groups except those over 65.  “Every six months, you bring another decade of consumer demographics into the market,” said James Lamberti.  According to this study, even non smartphone users prefer mobile to PC shopping.Smartphone and Feature Phone users prefer mobile to PC shopping

James, who previously pioneered some of the top tools on comScore, including qSearch™ and Video Metrix™, now widely used by hundreds of clients around the world, has played a key role not only in driving the focus on analytics at InMobi, but also in helping see where the market was going at an early stage.  According to James, “we recognized earlier than many that Android and IOS would be game-changers, delivering compelling consumer experiences at scale, globally.  And we recognized that it would be a ‘developer economy’ with application developers becoming publishers, and doing so in a new way that was truly global.  We saw them focusing on global monetization, without a lot of ‘country bias’, so that’s been key in helping us architect the right platform.”

In fact, over half of the developer/publisher revenue comes from outside the US.  Let’s recap that important distinction: over half the ad inventory comes from inside the US, but the majority of revenue comes from outside.  So InMobi has built itself to be “a one-stop shop for global monetization”, according to James.

The Privacy elephant in the boardroom

The privacy issues commonly come up in conversations about mobile marketing.  They technically center around the UDID (Unique Device ID), which, as the name suggests, is an identifier unique to each individual device.  The UDIDs are pretty critical to Application functionality, so they’re necessarily accessed.  Will they be classified as personally identifiable information, from a personal privacy standpoint?  How will they be allowed to be used by marketers?  The Mobile Marketing Association is developing a Point Of View and recommendations on dealing with privacy in mobile marketing, as one of its top initiatives.Privacy concerns are top-of-mind for mobile marketers

According to James, the Tier 1 players are all aggressively managing privacy issues, as a group.  They’re leveraging the learning from privacy concerns on PC-based web marketing, so the hope is that they will solve these issues fast and better than their desktop/laptop predecessors.  But not everyone is on board.  James cautions, “If some Tier 2 providers are promising a high degree of targeting, marketers should be sure to ask the tough questions.”

The investment by SoftBank might be a significant validation of InMobi’s leadership.  SoftBank is a big, big player in digital media, the dominant Japanese Digital Media company.  Case in point: they have a 40% stake in Alibaba, the Asian counterpart to eBay.  They’re clearly staking a big bet on InMobi as a key investment in mobile.

Looking ahead

InMobi offers advice to those who haven’t yet optimized.  Looking ahead, Anne expresses a consumer-driven vision.  “We expect over 100 million Americans every month will enjoy a better mobile ad experience by the end of this year.  I would love to see every ‘top 2’ brand optimize on the mobile platform BECAUSE it matters to consumers.  Not all CMOs fundamentally believe yet that people are buying on mobile.  But it’s changing fast.”  Brand Marketers have good reason to heed the trend.  InMobi shared a case study from ten Memorial Day campaigns that showed clients realizing a 74% reduction in cost of conversion.  Marketing, Shmarketing, now you’re getting Finance’s attention.Aggregate of 10 campaigns with 74% reduction in conversion costs

For those ‘sub-optimized’ brands, Lamberti counsels that you start safely and solidly.  “There’s a lot of distracting shiny objects in mobile right now, that don’t all scale well and may have high opportunity costs.  You don’t want to start off with a bad first impression on mobile.  Start with the common elements, aspects of Mobile that are working now, not just all-in on rich media.  Build a holistic plan.  And don’t just take what worked on a PC and stick it on the mobile phone.  There are five main calls to action for mobile – you need to make sure you use them all.”

James sees the evolution in phases.  “Deployment at scale was Phase 1.  Achieving real consumer engagement, at scale, was Phase 2.  We’ve done both. Phase 3 comes when you solve the problems of privacy and tracking, and when you solve the equally important challenges of bridging the analytics and message delivery between mobile and other channels.”

InMobi, we guess, is working hard on both these challenges.  We think bigger things in mobile marketing are yet to come.  -JTS

Enhanced by Zemanta

Virtual Assistant Cuts in Line at Duane Reade

In brand-building, Shopper Marketing on October 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

by Jeff Sandgren, Technology Editor

Some brands have it tough right from the start.  Branded solutions that focus on situations we innately dislike, for example.  Take waiting in line.  We hate to wait. In today’s society we’re each of us much too busy (and far too important) to have to endure anything short of immediate service and gratification.  So waiting is a big negative.  By association, so are all the accoutrements of waiting.

Queue Management solutions seek to tame that beast.  The most familiar component to most of us is the systems of belts and stanchions that line everyone up into an orderly queue, like at airport security points.   It’s a love/hate affair, really.  You may not like the feeling of being “herded” by the retractable tension belts, but the alternative is much worse, with a pushing and shoving crowd in which the rudest and pushiest are rewarded with the shortest wait.  Let’s face it: the tension belts of queue management keep things civilized.

More recently, however, innovative companies have begun to look at this space as an opportunity not just for orderliness, but for engagement.  They’re going beyond tension barriers and take-a-number systems, and employing digital signage, and even holographic projections.

We spoke with Keith Carpentier, Senior Business Development Manager at Lawrence, a Tensator Group Company.    At this year’s GlobalShop, the leading industry trade event for marketing-at-retail solutions, Lawrence showed some bold solutions to change the user experience while waiting into something more informative, entertaining, and social.  Apparently, some innovative retailers took note.

“Our position in the industry historically was retractable tension belts,” Keith explained, “but at our show this year, there were very few tension barriers as part of our booth.  We made a very powerful technology statement around queuing, and around impulse purchase buying.”

“The main goal has always been to guide the customer.  But in today’s competitive world, the guidance part is just the foundation of the pyramid.  Layered on top of that – and what the retailers today are most interested in – is impulse purchase generation, reduction of ‘walk-away’ shoppers, and efficiency.”

Lawrence claims to have led retailers to success in treating the checkout and service queues as a ‘micro-environments’ within the store.  It’s not the Point of Sale, and it’s not the broad shop.  It’s unique, with its own dynamics.  “It’s now taking on a more digital persona,” suggests Keith.  “The newest generation of solutions improves the efficiency AND become a profit center.”

Tensator has studied the difference between Actual Wait versus Perceived Wait.  A big factor is whether the waiting guests have their attention occupied with something they find interesting.  An occupied wait always feels shorter than an unoccupied wait.  Witness the prayerful posture of the smartphone crowd in such situations.

The checkout queue is the moment when a shopper has made the decision to buy something and invested the time to make the purchase, so it seems to be an ideal moment to engage them.  Initially, in-queue signage has offered URLs of brand sites or brand social sites as suggestions for guests to browse and “Like”.  QR codes are part of the next iteration, to make it easier for guests to ‘leapfrog’ to their sites with a simple click of the phone’s camera.

“Right now Brands are testing, learning how to best utilize the space.  Retailers are working hard at staying relevant, especially with younger shoppers.  They are looking to leverage this space as part of the experience, creating custom content to drive the consumer to social media sites.  It’s a great way to gain additional consumer insights.”

The ‘Holy Grail of queuing’, according the Keith, has always been grocery. Within the past year, there has been a big uptick in the grocery category, which pundits used to feel was ‘off limits’.  This includes interest and pilot studies by big players like Safeway, Kroger, Giant Eagle, and H.E. Butt in Texas.

Chain Drug retailers are even further along.  “Six out of the top ten chain drug are working with us to adopt these innovations,” claimed Keith.  “And we’re especially proud of our latest, state-of-the-art installation at Duane Reade.”

This past July, Duane Reade, New York City’s largest drug store chain, held a grand opening of its Wall Street megastore in the Trump Building.  Prominently displayed is “the industry’s first Virtual Assistant”, a next-generation digital signage solution by Tensator that creates the illusion of a real person acting as a ‘Greeter’ to provide Duane Reade customers with a friendly hello, useful information, and brand and promotional messaging.

“Our Virtual Greeter is an essential part of the ‘wow factor’ we have built into our newest store, and serves as ambassador of the new Duane Reade customer experience,” said Paul Tiberio, Senior Vice President of Merchandising & Chief Marketing Officer for Duane Reade. “The virtual aspect captures shoppers’ attention from the moment they enter the store – engaging their visual and auditory senses. And because the Virtual Assistant is so compelling, shoppers are receptive to the wealth of information she provides.”

There’s a bit of a Wizard Of Oz parallel to the presentation in the visual impact of the image – along with the requisite “pay no attention …” implied relative to the rather large projection platform, but it’s a nice neutral grey that quickly disappears from the visual perception with only the brand imagery sticking to the memory (hopefully).  Besides, the Virtual Assistant is just so charming, who cares what’s behind the curtain?  See for yourself at http://bit.ly/Virtual-Greeter

The size of the projection device also triggers in our price-sensitive minds the question of what this thing costs – or, more importantly, how the payback measures up.  Tensator is no stranger to these issues with their traditional product line, having done extensive studies of the reduced cost of “walk-aways”, consumers who were intending to purchase but abandoned their merchandise when dismayed by the perception of a checkout queue that was too daunting.  Tensator studies have allegedly found an 80-90% reduction of this costly phenomenon when queues are properly designed, managed, and equipped with engaging information for the shoppers.

In this case, the Return On Investment seems pretty clear: replacing the cost of a human greeter with one whom, as the website demo informs us, is “available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, never needs a break or vacation” and can say whatever messages you want in whatever language is required with total compliance and consistency.   Human resources like that don’t come free … certainly not on Wall Street.            -JTS

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Snappy Approach to Mobile Advertising

In brand-building, mobile & tablets, Shopper Marketing on October 5, 2011 at 10:07 am

by Jeff Sandgren

Quiz: What innovative 2-D tag image solution was used in these advertising campaigns this summer?

  • Ocean Spray, in their cross-country mobile sampling tour
  • Toyota Motors’ ToyoTag, to “move the consumer closer to the transaction”
  • Gap, in Glamour Magazine (right on the cover, next to Rihanna’s … personality)
  • Office Depot’s nationwide back-to-school promotion offering $500,000 in mobile gift cards
  • Wrigley’s Orbit gum back-to-school in 100 million packages of gum
  • Bud Light’s “Ultimate Fan Experience” promotion
  • Casa Noble Tequila and Bar Louie restaurants offer chances at tickets to a Santana concert
  • Chivas Regal’s “Brotherhood” campaign

If you answered Quick Response (“QR”) Codes, or the more colorful Microsoft Tags, you’re wrong.  The correct answer is SnapTags, a solution offered by SpyderLynk, a mobile activation and marketing platform company.

This could be mobile marketing’s worst kept secret.  While Quick Response codes seem to dominate the news, and Microsoft Tags fight for a share of media attention, SpyderLynk continues to build up an ever-growing stable of successful campaigns.  And there are two good reasons why.

The first, from a brand point of view, is looks.  QR codes are functionally nifty, but they’re ugly … by design.  They were developed by the Denso Wave Company as a better way to track car parts, with more information than traditional ‘striped’ 1D barcodes.  Nicole Skogg, SpyderLynk’s Founder and CEO, is also the inventor of the SnapTag, which feat she performed before she’d even heard of a QR code, so the whole angle of approach is different, coming from a visual, brand-friendly starting point.  Where the visual appeal matters (e.g. Rihanna on Glamour), the choice of a simple, attractive logo with a surrounding circle, rather than the black and white QR checkerboard, has better brand appeal.

The second reason for SnapTag’s success, from an advertising effectiveness standpoint, is reach.  At issue is the question of how many cell phones are “feature phones” (cell phones with cameras) versus how many are “smart phones” (iPhones, Androids, etc.), which matters because SpyderLynk’s SnapTags work with both, so they simply cast a wider marketing net.  Two equally credible reports came up with different answers this summer.  Nielsen finds that 40% are smartphones vs. 60% feature phones.  The report from comScore found an even smaller slice for smartphones, at around 35%.  SnapTags can potentially be “read” by virtually all of these devices.

Smartphone adoption is growing, but the numbers for now still give feature phones the majority.  On top of that, comScore also found only 6.2% of mobile phone users actually scanned a QR code in the most recent test period.  Here in the US, camera phone users can use a service from another company, Scanlife, to send a photo of a QR code via MMS to a special number, where a server decodes it and sends back an SMS message with the web link or other info that the user can then input to get more content.  Did that sound too involved to you?  Precisely the point.

We spoke on two separate occasions with Nicole Skogg, SpyderLynk’s Founder/CEO and Jane McPherson, SpyderLynk’s CMO, who have had a great view of the development of this new solution over the past few years.  We wondered, would the trend in QR adoption make it easier or harder for SpyderLynk?

Jane prioritizes brand strategy over technology:  “The bigger questions should be, are brands really giving consumers a reason to use them?”

“There’s a bit of risk,” Jane explained.  “If everyone throws QR codes on everything without offering consumers value beyond a web connection, will it turn consumers off?  Right now there’s still a novelty factor, but marketers are going to have think more carefully about the best times, places, and ways to use mobile activation codes.  We try to focus our clients on really meeting a market need.”

According to Nicole, “We’re moving into a Marketing 3.0 landscape.  Consumer-driven conversations are the next phase, an ongoing, on-demand dialogue with the brand.  It’s about brands getting close to consumers, and to their decision-making process.”

Adoption by brand marketers has come in waves, according to Jane.  “Traditional advertising was the first big wave, then event marketing, now retailers.  We’re finding that shopper marketers are focusing more on purchase consideration, rather than just dropping brand and awareness.  Their focus is on helping consumers in making a purchasing decision.  HP is doing a good job of serving short videos to help them answer questions about products.  For Coors, sweepstakes still work, because that’s a high engagement brand.  It varies by product.”

An interesting example of on-package marketing with SnapTags is the recent work of Colorado Native, a brand of AC Golden (MillerCoors) that’s marketed locally in the Rocky Mountain state.  According to Jane, they put SnapTags on their bottles.  Participating consumers are first “age-gated”, then drawn into a back and forth dialogue with trivia, polling questions, and social networking.

“They are doing a great job of crafting campaigns that drive loyalty in the marketplace.  Colorado Native contributes a portion of all sales to a charity. Right now, if you snap and send (with your cell phone camera) the SnapTag engagement lets the consumer decide which charity.  Now the consumer feels connected.  Colorado Native has also become arbiters of event news.  So they ask via SnapTag conversations: what events do you care about?  Consumers choose the event, and they send out messages about the appropriate events.  Their SnapTag community is as big as or bigger than their Facebook community.”

SnapTags were also used to clever effect in DVD launches, like Warner Brothers’ “Inception” and Sony Pictures’ “This Is It”.  Ah, but show business has a way of drawing the unwary into its web.  Nicole’s innovations were recently honored by The Producers Guild of America, in association with Variety, who chose her as one of the 2011 “Digital 25” Leaders in Emerging Entertainment.  That puts her in the heady company of Lady Gaga.  We’ll be looking for her first SnapTag tattoo soon.  -JTS

Editor’s Note, March 2012:  We learned from a David Alex that there might be some name confusion.  In the completely-unrelated world of biological research, a Professor Kai Johnsson developed ‘novel tools to study protein functions’ and calls the technology a SNAP-tag.   Spyderlynk’s mobile marketing technology is called a SnapTag and enables marketers to offer consumers the opportunity to activate commerce, social, promotional and couponing campaigns from any location. Nicole Skogg, the founder of SpyderLynk invented and patented the SnapTag.  We are not sure she how much she knows about protein functions … but she is a wiz at mobile technologies and marketing platforms.  Thanks, David, for helping with disambiguation.

Enhanced by Zemanta
%d bloggers like this: