in the spotlight

McDonald's, Automakers Read Tea-Leaves on Consumer Confidence

Posted by Dale Buss on June 4, 2012 04:13 PM

It's the third year in a row that brand executives have worried about the "c" word — as in "confidence." Consumer confidence, to be exact.

In the wake of last week's tough U.S. jobs numbers for May, there's more discussion among brands whether the economy this year will follow the pattern of the last couple of years: a first-quarter strengthening followed by relative anemia in the following months.

Only this year, while the American economic recovery has at least seemed on track, brands are more worried about negative influences from abroad.

"The headwinds we face on both the top and bottom lines, such as austerity measures in Europe, higher commodity costs in the U.S., and slowing growth in Asia, do remain," Don Thompson, new CEO of McDonald's, told securities analysts last week, according to Nation's Restaurant News. "I'm confident in our ability to navigate these near-term headwinds, because we've faced these situations before."

Thompson told the analysts that McDonald's long-running Plan to Win best practices platform, established by his predecessor as CEO, Jim Skinner, will be up to the challenge of any softening in consumer confidence, using local innovations scaled across the company's entire global system, for instance.Continue reading...

privacy alert

Microsoft IE10 Privacy Move Does Not Track With Advertisers

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 1, 2012 05:55 PM

As Microsoft released its new version of the Bing search engine today, it was another browser move that caused a flap. While potentially a win for Microsoft's brand, its consumer-first decision to embed 'Do Not Track' functionality in version 10 of its Internet Explorer browser in Windows 8 — with a default setting in the 'on' position — is "strongly" opposed by the Association of National Advertisers.Continue reading...

shopper insights

Quri App Pays Shoppers for In-Store Intel

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 31, 2012 10:08 AM

Looking for shopper insights? How about paying consumers for insights to share as they shop? That's the thinking of a startup called Quri, which is paying folks to take pics with their smartphones and gather small amounts of data as they hit the supermarket, drug store or other retail outlet.

Participation in the EasyShift network, as Quri calls their shopping mavens, is open to all and once a user signs-up, they immediately see assignments, a.k.a. literally working "Shifts,"in their neighborhood. The idea takes the notion of "mystery shoppers" to a whole new level, as the Quri mobile app makes it easy for shoppers to (for example) snap photos of shelf displays, measure stock levels, promotion presence and competitive positions within hours.Continue reading...

the new digerati

Why Brands Need to Drop the Jargon and Focus on Digital Experience

Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 10, 2012 02:03 PM

Take a look at the number of new products launched at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show — more than 20,000 — and you can see the magnitude of the effort required by marketers to break through to consumers in the world of technology brands.

While most of the manufacturers of those products touted technological bells and whistles in promoting their wares, it seems what consumers REALLY want to know is how technology will simplify their life, according to a new global study of 6,000 consumers, the "Ketchum Digital Living Index," conducted by global communications firm Ketchum.Continue reading...

brand loyalty

FanCulture: Tracing The Evolution of Influence

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 27, 2012 04:02 PM

FanCulture is a short film that explores the relationship between fans and brands and the methods used to harness that enthusiasm in marketing.

Featuring interviews with leading academics, brand strategists and fans including Dr. Matt Hills, Sony PlayStation, Fred Perry, UK broadcaster Channel 4, Polydor Records, the Kaiser Chiefs and "superfans" of brands from Nike to Marmite, it explores the issues at the heart of the brand-fan relationship such as: Is there a formula to creating fans, how much can fans be worth to a brand, and why engaging enthusiasts and brand ambassadors should become more than just buying "Likes" on Facebook.Continue reading...

generation why

From Hip-ennials to Gadget Gurus, BCG Parses the Millennial Consumer

Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 19, 2012 11:31 AM

The Millennial generation, 16-34, is in the driver’s seat, 79 million strong compared with waning Boomer’s 76 million. They wield hundreds of billions of dollars annually as influencers of commerce, culture, business and brands – and their clout will only increase as they move into their peak spending years.

In order to better understand the Gen Y (or as some call them, "Generation Lost") cohort born in the 1980s and '90s, The Boston Consulting Group, along with Barkley, and Service Management Group, have collaborated on a new study, "The Millennial Consumer: Debunking Stereotypes."

The just-released research (download it here) surveys 4,000 Millennials and 1,000 non-Millennials (ages 35 to 74) in the U.S. to better define the differences between the two groups, and identify qualities inherent to the Millennials demographic and not just attributable to youthful age.

“Don't believe the hype that Millennials consume less than previous generations,” said Christine Barton, a partner at BCG. “Those companies that truly ‘get’ this generation will have an opportunity to differentiate themselves and forge profitable long-term relationships with Millennial consumers.”Continue reading...

digital moves

Pew State of the Media 2012: Digital News Omnivores on the Rise

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 21, 2012 11:01 AM

According to the latest 2012 State of the News Media report from Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2011 truly marked the tipping point for a new era of digital media consumption and sharing.

In the new "new media" landscape, Pew's landmark annual consumer research underscores the widening gap between the news and technology industries as a small, powerful group of digital behemoths increasingly consolidate and control our digital lives and become media titans in their own right.

“Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and a few others are maneuvering to make the hardware people use, the operating systems that run those devices, the browsers on which people navigate, the e-mail services on which they communicate, the social networks on which they share and the web platforms on which they shop and play,” says the study.Continue reading...

response mechanism

Deals Trump Brand Loyalty for Mobile Shoppers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 15, 2012 04:12 PM

Everybody loves a deal, particularly in such tough economic times. Smartphone owners of the world have given themselves another channel toward savings as mobile deals are starting to pop up — and new research shows that consumers tend to follow those deals more when they come during a shopping expedition than they follow brand loyalty.

Not shockingly, the survey (from AisleBuyer) of more than 1,000 shoppers shows that the group that is most ready to throw brand loyalty to the side are between the ages of 25 and 34, the site notes. A whopping 82 percent of them would do it in a heartbeat if they get a good offer for a competing brand on their mobile device.Continue reading...

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