Thursday, November 29, 2007
Just what might be expected, and similar to last years’ declared purchases. There’s been a slight “bump” in the electronics-technology category, up 10% from last year, and gift cards are up 15% from 2006. Consumers are anticipating discounts in the electronics-technology area, as those kinds of offers tend to generate store traffic, and gift cards have become a very safe and very acceptable holiday staple.
1. Gift Cards 70%
2. Electronics 62%
3. Clothing 60%
4. Clothing Accessories 54%
5. Computers 51%
6. DVDs 50%
7. Cell Phones 49%
8. Video Games 48%
9. CDs/Downloads 45%
10. Jewelry 41%
11. Toys & Games 40%
12. Cooking Utensils 39%
13. Fragrances 33%
14. Books 30%
15. Home Decor 20%
16. Automotive 18%
17. Garden/Flowers 15%
18. Food-related gifts 2%
19. Travel 5%
20. Pet-related gifts 2%
And if you think that the holiday advertising starts earlier and earlier, it’s nothing compared to the consumers! Nearly one half of the consumers surveyed (52%) have indicated that they have already begun their holiday shopping earlier this year, with some consumers indicating that they started making lists and started stockpiling gifts during the September Back-to-School sales.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The results revealed the average shopper intended to spend only 2% over last year. So naturally we were interested in what was going to happen on “Black Friday.”
In more certain economic times, Black Friday — thus named because stores traditionally became profitable on that day and were able to make ledger entries in black ink — was a celebration of capitalism and consumerism.
This year, stores managed to draw huge crowds, with traffic up over last year. But the mood was more desperation than celebration, with average spending down over last year, which pretty much reflected our findings. For the first time in nearly a decade, 30% of consumers had indicated that they were going to spend less. And they did: Spend less.
On the other hand, one of the other findings was that “online” shopping was due to be up, 17% over last year, so you have to factor “Cyber Monday” into the post mortem.
Cyber Monday is a name coined in 2005 to describe the surge in online shopping that occurs as workers return to their offices on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and apparently not completely sated with their bricks-and-mortar acquisitions, continued their buying binges online. The good news was that more cyber-dollars were spent this year than last, so bricks, clicks, and mixed; all seem to have evened out.
But ultimately, all the focus seems to be on the power of business and the retailers. But in spite of the earlier hours, later closings, and extra promotions, it ultimately all comes down to the consumer.
So – particularly this time of year – it’s worth reminding our readers that it all comes down to understanding customer values and leveraging their patronage: Fridays, Mondays, and every day of the week.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
But some brands have taken the lead in helping to manage both your health and your waistline. This has been particularly prevalent in the branding of products that are free of NaCl – salt.
In the hope that we can help you get through your Thanksgiving dinner without having to deprive yourself, we thought the attached article, Food Firms Prep for Salt-free Wave, by Brandweek’s Vanessa L. Facenda would be of interest to you.
One other bit of holiday trivia: On average, Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. We believe that this is not a coincidence!
Brand Keys wishes you a Thanksgiving graced with love, health, and family, however you choose to season it!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
French farmers, manufacturers, and supermarchés have been trying to figure out how to curb the expected increases. Even President Nicolas Sarkozy has made increasing consumers' purchasing power a priority. But the only subject everyone (including the news shows) seems to agree upon is that the red-hot agricultural markets are a new fiscal phenomenon and that a price increase is unavoidable.
Another thing that’s different here is how all this is dealt with. The approach is reflected in a French management saying that goes “it's all very well in practice, but it will never work in theory.”
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The networks estimated that a backlog of finished scripts and episodes would keep most prime-time series on the air until early next year. But support for the strike from "show runners" is critical, because without their cooperation networks could be forced to shut down or curtail production of series they had hoped to keep going for weeks or even months.
Now, the supply of new episodes is expected to dry up around Thanksgiving. For example, "The Office" will air only two new episodes, and new "Desperate Housewives" will disappear in early December. Some shows may never return.
The strike raises a lot of downside questions: Will engaged viewers stand by and settle for re-runs? Will networks survive the financial effects of the strike? If you’re an advertiser who’s bought a schedule and the schedule isn’t what you bought, what do you do?
There is one upside, however. This represents an excellent opportunity for someone to brand a frozen radio dinner!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The Pacifica has been criticized as being too big and too expensive. And likely the PT Cruiser is the only one you can picture in your mind’s eye, and even with that, you have to take a can opener to the roof to imagine the convertible. But design issues notwithstanding, the reality is that Chrysler didn’t imbue any of these brands with enough meaning so they’d actually resonate with the car-buying public.
Want proof? Well, sales of all those models have dropped by nearly 30 percent this year. Seems like a sign large enough for a dairy animal to read that consumers aren’t engaged and cars aren’t exactly disappearing from the showroom floors!
In light of the disappearance of these brands, it’s worth remembering that it’s a Federal crime to hijack an automobile. The same should be true for an automobile brand.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Alas, that was not to be. If you thought that you had a fix on the meaning of “marketing” you might be interested to read a new iteration being bandied about by the AMA:
Marketing is the activity, conducted by organizations and individuals, that operates through a set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging market offerings that have value for customers, clients, marketers, and society at large.
A little ambiguous regarding how to define marketing success and where the proverbial “buck” should stop?
For a somewhat less ambiguous position we invite you to read our Brandweek column,” Firing Your CMO? Read This First!”
Someone once noted that 80% of success is just showing up. For CMOs that may not be enough anymore.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
We have often commented upon the power (and danger) of relying upon living celebrities to front for brands. The upside is, of course, that they may provide much-needed added value and may help to engage consumers. The downside is that they may implode in a very public way, bringing the brand down with them.
That second point is, of course, less relevant when dealing with a dead celebrity. Their estates continue to make money by making deals involving their work and the rights to use their name and likenesses on merchandise and in branding and marketing campaigns, so the celebrities are extraordinarily less likely to do anything that might embarrass the brand!
How well can the dead reanimate marketing campaigns? Well, the list collectively earned $247 million in the last year, with the top-13 gone-but-not-forgotten celebrities being:
1 Elvis Presley
2. Kurt Cobain
3. Charles M. Schulz
4. John Lennon
5. Albert Einstein
6. Andy Warhol
7. Dr. Seuss
8. Ray Charles
9. Marilyn Monroe
10. Johnny Cash
11. J.R.R. Tolkien
12. George Harrison
13. Bob Marley
Mark Twain once noted, "The report of my death was an exaggeration,” and he’s not even on the list!