Sunday, January 13, 2019

What Keeps CMOs And Brand Managers Up at Night? Answers Fight Off the Nightmares of Marketing’s Brave New World

Social Networks are under siege while social activism has reached a 50-year high. Mountains of data accumulate in organizational silos, while marketing professionals deal with brand values infused with political dogma. Those concerns, the need to accommodate emerging technologies, and the unrelenting demand to continually prove marketing’s value are only some of the concerns keeping marketers up at night, according a new Marketing On My Mindsurvey conducted by Brand Keys.

Top Marketing ‘Nightmares’

Brand Keys asked 558 CMOs and brand managers, “What issues keep you up at night?” and asked 3,900 consumers to provides some insights and solutions in those same issue- areas. Percentages indicate the frequency of mention among professionals interviewed. “Problem” areas that received mentions by 75%+ of participants include:
  1. ROI and ROMI (97%)
  2. Big data, big tech, and big security issues (95%)
  3. Establishing trust between my brand the consumer (95%)
  4. Addressing innovation, AI, technology, and marketing automation (92%)
  5. Consumer expectations regarding privacy and transparency (90%)
  6. Better managing social networking (89%)
  7. Creating relevant and engaging advertising content and storytelling (88%)
  8. Deployment of predictive consumer behavior analytics and technologies (86%)
  9. Dealing with consumer advocacy, social activism like #MeToo & issues like gun violence (85%)
  10. Growing consumer expectations and gap between brand promise and expectations (82%)
  11. Developing a long-term strategy that aligns with corporate growth goals (80%)
  12. Ability to engage my audiences, not just identify and find them (80%)
  13. The democratization of the digital world and protecting my brand’s equity (79%)
  14. Political Tribalism and how it affects my brand (77%)
  15. Being relevant and tweeted, not just tweeted (75%)
  16. Keeping consumers engaged with my brand (75%)
  17. Create better cross-platform synergy for my marketing campaigns (75%)
  18. Being replaced by a Chief Revenue Officer (75%)
  19. Creating an ‘unlearning curve’ to move away from legacy marketing metrics (75%)
  20. Creating marketing synergy among different generational age cohorts (75%)
Consumer Insights For Insomnia-Inducing Issues

Brand and marketing professionals talk about the need to be “customer-centric” and to represent the “voice of the customer,” so Brand Keys decided to provide a little help. After all, who better than the consumer – via emotional engagement evaluations – to better point the way to effective brand solutions?

Insights from 3,900 consumers were used to examine issue areas that keep CMOs up at night. Recorded brand activities, solutions, and actual, what-happened market results were collected for sectors and categories including: 
  • Social Networking,
  • Social Activism, 
  • Retail (Apparel, Sporting Goods, & Department Stores), 
  • Beverages (Coffee & Beer), 
  • Food (Fast, Natural, & Supermarkets), 
  • Major League Sports, 
  • Technological Innovation & New Product Development, and 
  • Consumer responses to Politics, Patriotism, and Binge-Watching in marketing’s brave new world. 
Those insights can be accessed free at: brandkeys.com/what-happened

With a new year ahead, it is our hope that these problem-solution insights will help CMOs and Brand Managers better manage their day-to-day activities, and the long-term issues that will define success over the coming year.

And maybe even get a better night’s sleep!


Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Top New Year’s Resolutions. And Two We Never Thought We’d See!

It’s been said that a New Year’s resolution is bound to be broken.

Maybe people set the bar too high. My favorite acknowledgment of that is the one that goes, “My New Year’s resolution list usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and a thousand pounds.” It turns out that losing weight has perennially been No. 1 on New Year’s resolution lists, and that was true this year too.

How do we know? As part of our annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (those results will be available January 21st) we ask about what consumers planned for their New Year’s resolutions in 2019. The first 10 are “perennials.” The next ten vary somewhat year-to-year, although this is the first year #12 and #13 showed up!
  1. Lose weight 
  2. Eat healthier
  3. Exercise more
  4. Keep my resolutions more than a week
  5. Get organized
  6. Save more
  7. Get out of debt
  8. Spend more time with my family
  9. Be a better person/volunteer
  10. Quit smoking
  11. Spend less time on Facebook
  12. Watch fewer news shows
  13. Get more politically involved
  14. Drink less
  15. Find a new hobby
  16. Get a new job
  17. Read more
  18. Find a new relationship
  19. Travel more
  20. Stress less
Maybe if you can keep #12 and #13, #14 will be inevitable! Maybe #20, too.

Anyway, for 2019 62% of consumers plan to make resolutions. That’s up 4% from last year. On average, only 10% are successful. Maybe that number would be higher if they were called something else, like “New Year’s casual promises” or “Things you think would be a good thing to do but are under no legal obligation to fulfill.”

Or maybe it’s just like Mark Twain said. “Now is the accepted time to make your annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

We wish you success in your 2019 endeavors. Whatever’s on your list.



Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

HERE’S WHAT OUR BRAND KEYS EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT METRICS PREDICTED:

1.    Earlier holiday shopping would become the “new normal.” 
2.    More shoppers would shop beforeBlack Friday. 
3.    Retailers would encourage this consumer-shopping paradigm, and promote “Pre-Black Friday-like” sales. A lot.
4.    (It’s a pattern we identified in 2014 and now call “Black November.”)
5.    Black Friday would still embody a retail raison d’ĂȘtre, and a “tradition” or “ritual” for some families, but would become a relic of 20thcentury retailing, with brick-and-mortar sales declining, Y-O-Y. 
6.    Cyber Monday would take over the role formerly played by Black Friday and would reap the benefits.
7.    Top-3 on-line beneficiaries would be Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy.

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED:

1.    Black Friday foot traffic was down 6%.
2.    Black Friday sales were down 7%. 
3.    It’s the 4thstraight year in a row. Not an encouraging pattern.
4.    Cyber Monday sales were up 18% Y-O-Y.
5.    Amazon had its biggest shopping day in the company’s history.
6.    They sold 100 million products.
7.    Clicking “Add to Cart” has become easier than finding a parking space.

ONE MORE PREDICTION:

For now, and the foreseeable future, when it comes to the holidays, for consumers there’s only one shopping day left ‘til tomorrow.


Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Black November

Earlier (and earlier) holiday shopping has become the “new normal.”

You’ve probably already seen ads in emails and online and on TV. “Black Friday Starts Now,” “Door-Buster Sales,” “Early Black Friday,” and (my personal favorite) “Black Friday on Monday.” 

You can’t have missed them. The deluge started 3 weeks ago. In fact, you’ve probably come to expectthem.

The earlier shopping is something Brand Keys calls “Black November.” 

Here’s how consumers are reacting to this shift in retail outreach. See our full survey results in this SmartBriefentitled, “Welcome to Black November.”

Brand Keys wishes you and your families a Thanksgiving filled with all the goodness of the season (it’s stillthis coming Thursday) and plenty of time to enjoy it!



Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Brand Research and the New Face of Patriotism

Given the extraordinary degree of political enmity in the United States and the upcoming midterm elections, it seemed an apt time to revisit a survey analysis we cautioned brands (and tangentially, voters) about 2 years ago. 

It was based on our Brand Keys predictive emotional engagement metrics and how consumers looked at brands when it came to the value of “patriotism.” 

The study was conducted in July 2016 in our 15thannual survey of iconic American brands revealing what drove “patriotism” when it came to brands. It was about how the drivers of loyalty and engagement had changed over the past half-decade, with a not-so-subtle move toward what might more correctly be defined as “nationalism.”

Here’s part of what we wrote at the time:

“Patriotism” is pride. Pride in one’s country and a willingness to defend it. Pride in what a brand stands for. It’s courage, it’s freedom of speech, it is liberty. It is ultimately a set of values people admire and brands can use to better position themselves.

“Nationalism,” on the other hand, has become the belief in the superiority of one country over another and its usual form is aggression, hostility, and belligerence. For brands it has become, more-often-than-not, whothe brand represents. It’s the Bizarro world of patriotism. It’s mean and it’s small. It pits citizen against citizen, black against white, Christians against Muslims. Patriotism is rooted in unity and values. Nationalism is rooted in rivalry and odium, and usually results in violence. 


  • What was once “Pride” has moved closer to “Self-Importance”
  • What was unquestioned “Inclusion” has shifted to “Marginalization”
  • “Courage” has morphed to “Convenience”
  • “Freedom” has actually become the vice of “Extremism”

BOTTOM LINE WARNING TO BOTH BRANDS AND POLITICIANS:To no small degree, shifts in the drivers of patriotism have dramatically changed how consumers look at brands.

Playing the nationalism card works only with a very, very small percent of any population. Smart brands will know what consumers are willing to believe about them and will leverage the hell out of that. They end up winners. The less smart brands won’t know the difference. Oh, and there's a big difference between being patriotic and being political, another thing the American consumer is on to. 

Patriotism isn’t a campaign. It isn’t changing the name of your brand to “America.” It’s not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion – with or without flags. Those are more promotional than patriotic and – more-the-pity for brands – consumers know it. They can feel it!

Real patriotism is the quiet and steady dedication of a lifetime’s work – whether you’re speaking of a brand or about a person. Some approaches can be categorized as “liberal,” and others “conservative,” but perhaps Mark Twain’s definition is the way to go; “Patriotism is support for your country all the time – and the government when it deserves it,” a sentiment that pertains to both brands and politicians.

And if you can configure an important value – whether for a brand campaign or a political campaign into something emotional and believable, consumers (and voters) will not only stand up and salute, they’ll buy whatever it is you’re selling!




Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Trump Brand Update

The Trump brand has changed. Radically.

Five years ago the fabulously successful lifestyle brand made a sharp right turn away from the promise of luxury, high living, extravagance, and indulgence and turned into a political brand. Now the Trump brand’s values of conservatism, authoritarianism, social dominance, and nationalism resonate.

There’s no political or tribal bias to that observation. 

After tracking the brand for more than 30 years, it’s just a fact of brand-life. The Trump brand has fundamentally changed. It wasn’t overnight or even in a year. It took 58 months, but that’s the way it happens, especially with human brands with entrenched values.

Gone are the high-end steaks, flashy jewelry, and expensive suits and ties, replaced by political rhetoric and MAGA hats (in classic red andcamo), t-shirts, teddy bears, and dog toys, all appropriately priced for a middle class audience. The “Entertainment” portion of the brand gets buttressed every day!

To be fair, categories like “Country Clubs” and “Hotels” are still doing OK monetized more by political push and potential Presidential access than brand pull. No, now when it comes to the new Trump brand-version of hotels, it’s a mid-scale, patriotically-themed chain called, “American IDEA.” 

The times – and the brand – have changed. And whether you see this as good or bad will depend entirely upon your political affiliation, brand acumen, and self-image. And contrary to Kellyanne Conway, facts arefacts especially when it comes to brands.

Based on the emotional brand engagement assessments of 1,500 Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, we invite you review our new Trump brand survey results here


Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Politics of Actually Selling Something to Consumers

Yes, yes, tweets are terrific and social networking is swell, but the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. 

You need to get consumers to purchase your products or services, and not your competitor’s. You need to make profits.

Back in January we warned brands that Political Tribalism and Social Activism had shifted the way consumers were acting – and were going to act – in the real-world marketplace. It was all dependent upon your brand, the category in which you compete, and leveraging the proper values in your marketing.

So with the mid-term elections coming up, we thought you might find our Quirk’sarticle, “When the Path-to-Purchase Turns Political” of some marketing, research, andfiscal currency.

Today, political marketing plays to people’s emotions. Successful brand marketing should too. Emotional brand engagement metrics are reliable, predictive, and both effective andcost-effective.

Because in addition to wanting consumers to “vote” for your brand in the social space you want them actually buying your brand in the marketplace.


Find out more about what makes customer loyalty happen and how Brand Keys metrics is able to predict future consumer behavior: brandkeys.com. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more about Brand Keys methodology, applications and case studies.