Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Some of the more recent trends we’ve has identified involved brands’ shifts from pure economic efficiency to include a sustainable quality of life and a need to help heal our ecological systems.
And because personal consumer choice has ecological, social, and even spiritual consequences, more consumers are re-examining some deeply held notions that underlie their lifestyles – holiday greetings and festive celebrations among them.
So, we believe that this holiday season presents the perfect opportunity to remember that the economy isn’t the “green” that matters most, and for those of you looking for more environmentally-friendly gift alternatives we direct your attention to The Nature Conservancy, one of a number of organizations whose mission is to preserve plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth.
As is our tradition, and in order to “re-charge” our own mental, physical, and spiritual sides, our offices will be closed from noon December 24th through the New Year.
To our clients, friends, and readers of our blog, the Brand Keys family wishes you and yours the very best of the season, peace and prosperity, and a happy, healthy, and green New Year.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
No matter the state of the economy or the state of mind of the consumer, the memory of gift giving for the holidays mostly centers around toys. Recognizing that, the National Toy Hall of Fame acknowledges beloved toys that have inspired creative play and remained popular over many, many years. And, with last-minute gift buying at hand, we offer up a list of the Toy Hall of Fame Inductees as a gentle reminder of holidays long ago:
Cardboard box (yes, just a box)
Easy Bake Oven
Etch a Sketch
Mr. Potato Head
Raggedy Ann & Andy
Stick (yes, just a stick)
There’s an old adage that goes, “a classic toy is one that doesn’t have to be reinvented every few years.” Thank goodness.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Coca-Cola is expected to launch a drink this week with an ingredient that has not yet received Food & Drug Administration approval.
It’s been reported that Coca-Cola will begin selling drinks made with a natural, zero-calorie sweetener made from stevia, a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family, native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America, commonly known as sweetleaf, sweet leaf, or sugarleaf. It’s a sugar substitute that has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, and although stevia hasn’t received the FDA approval, it’s been reported that the sweetener is “generally regarded as safe.”
Coke plans to market three juice drink flavors using this natural, non-caloric sweetener. Pepsi apparently has several drinks ready for distribution in the US market but has opted to wait for the FDA nod.
It’s certainly a new marketplace out there. Used to be you only had to worry about cavities!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
With the downturn in the economy, cost-cutting measures, and more consumers indicating that they’re planning on spending less, we wondered how this belt-tightening was affecting true love.
The “true love” we’re referring to is the one in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” the English Christmas carol, which enumerates a series of increasingly grandiose gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. It is a cumulative song where each verse is built on top of the previous verses, and has been one of the most popular Christmas songs in America and Europe throughout the past century.
Annually, PNC Wealth Management has looked into the question what this year’s Christmas gift-giving fling was going to actually cost True Love, and here’s the estimated expenditure for 2008:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree: $219.99
2 Turtle Doves: $55.00
3 French Hens: $30.00
4 Calling Birds: $599.95
5 Gold Rings: $349.95
6 Geese a Laying: $240.00
7 Swans a Swimming: $5,600.00
8 Maids a Milking: $52.40
9 Ladies Dancing: $4,759.19
10 Lords a Leaping: $4,413.61
11 Pipers Piping: $2,284.80
12 Drummers Drumming: $2,475.20
That’s a grand total of $21,080.10, which puts to shame the average $775.00 (down 5% from last year) consumers who participated in our Holiday Spending Survey indicated they were planning on spending for holiday gifts. One also needs to keep in mind that the true cost of True Love’s holiday spree is the cumulative cost of all the gifts as they are repeated in the song. You can do that math.
Of course one can still watch their wallet and be a romantic at heart. As the saying goes, “True love is inexhaustible; the more you give, the more you have.” That may come in handy this holiday season.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Even though the economy’ playing havoc with retail sales, people are still getting ready for holiday gift giving. And while the tree and the gift list are getting trimmed this year, one thing that is up is the number of holiday packages getting mailed.
So, if you’ve made your list and checked it twice, now’s the time to consult the calendar and make note that you have about a week left to ship holiday packages overseas. You have less than 2 weeks for gifts to be delivered in the Continental United States. Make those dates and you can virtually guarantee your package will arrive before December 22nd (beginning of Chanukah) or December 25th (Christmas Day).
But even if you’re behind in gift wrapping, you can be of good cheer. Some retailers will ship till 3PM on the 23rd and there are always the overnight services for the more spontaneous gift givers among you. As a part of our holiday helpline, and to help expedite your choice, we can say that most recent of our Customer Loyalty Index assessments ranked the overnight parcel services on reliability as follows:
- US Postal Service
The USPS has moved up a notch in the annual poll and why not? They have nearly 7,500 Post Offices with expanded hours and almost 215,000 delivery vehicles, which, at 826 million individual pieces processed daily (18% higher than the rest of the year) is probably indispensable. If you are checking that calendar and organizing your “mail run,” the absolute busiest day of the year will be Monday, December 15th.
In today’s modern world the phrase “you’ve got mail,” has taken on a slightly different meaning than years ago. Still, for everyone, the post office has undoubtedly held a great charm at one point or another in our lives. And likely this is no truer than around the holidays.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Understanding how consumers interact with media and advertising has turned into a mystery for many brands. Marketers are confronted with a puzzling range of advertising “solutions,” their options further confounded by a marketplace where consumers are definitely in charge. And it isn’t getting any easier.
So, it would seem a good time to collect evidence of what we is known and not known about advertising, and to that end The Wharton School is hosting an invitation-only conference today and tomorrow to do just that. Attended by the world's leading academics and major players from established and emerging media and research, the objective of the conference is to help identify empirical generalizations that can help advance the art and science of advertising.
Brand Keys is proud to have been invited as one of the conference presenters. Our topic: “Empirical Generalizations About Advertising Engagement” and we’ll be addressing three, specific empirical generalizations in our paper. And, while the field of established engagement inquiry and assessment is relatively new – less than 2 years old – our clients and regular readers of The Keyhole will know that “engagement is not a new concept for us. As leaders in the field of engagement and loyalty metrics over more than a decade we have regularly shared our repository of investigations and published papers, all of which link advertising engagement with actual, in-market consumer behavior, sales, and profitability.
To paraphrase a great investigator, of course it is a capital mistake to make empirical generalizations before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. Another generalization we can empirically make is that real engagement metrics always prevents that from happening.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Yesterday was Red Monday, the 75th anniversary of the invention of that beloved brunch-time beverage, the Bloody Mary.
The drink is an American institution that originated in Manhattan, created by a French bartender, Ferdinand Petiot. The cocktail was originally called the "Red Snapper" because the term “bloody” was considered harsh for a drink in the 1930’s. When Tabasco sauce was added to the drink the name "Bloody Mary" became a household word. In the 1960s, when a guest at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago needed something to stir their vodka-based drink it became popular to serve the cocktail with a stalk of celery.
According to the classic Bloody Mary recipe, 1.5 ounces of vodka are required. And, according to the Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, the five top-rated vodkas are:
- Jewel of Russia
- Grey Goose
Whichever you prefer, the classic recipe commands that you combine the vodka with a half cup of tomato juice, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces and salt and pepper to taste, and shake the mixture well over ice, and strain it into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with a celery stick and a lemon wedge and toast 75 years of a classic drink.
But keep in mind that no matter which recipe you follow, a classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules. It is classic because of a certain eternal freshness. Being an 80-proof beverage doesn’t hurt either.