Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 Hispanic Holiday Shopping Survey: Feliz Navidad For Retailers

This holiday season Hispanic shoppers will make the difference between a ‘Feliz’ (happy) and ‘Feria’ (fair) ‘Navidad’ for retailers, according to 2,417 Hispanic consumers who participated in the Brand Keys 20th annual Holiday Shopping Survey.

The projected individual spend among Hispanic households is estimated to be $985.00, about 7% higher than last year, and nearly 15% higher than the projected 2014 spend for the general population. But retailers will need to work culturally smarter if they want to get their share.

In this year’s Brand Keys Holiday Shopping survey, 54% of the general population indicated they were going to start Holiday shopping in November, a trend we’ve commented upon for a number of years now. But this is not the case for Hispanic shoppers. Nearly half of Hispanic consumers surveyed (49%) indicated they were going to wait until Black Friday November 28. Many Hispanics (38%) indicated they were going to wait well into the traditional holiday shopping season to buy gifts, which has less to do with discounts and more the time taken to search for the perfect gift. The rest started shopping last month.

Virtually all consumers interviewed indicated they’ll buy holiday gifts online this year (98%), and is equally true for Hispanic shoppers. And, even in light of the mobile sales movement, brick-and-mortar retailers rank high on Hispanic consumers’ list of places to shop, with some meaningful differences from the general population:

Store Type                                    2014               % change from General Population

Traditional Department Stores       88%                                        +10

Specialty & Apparel Stores             63%                                        +23
Discount Department Stores          90%                                        – 6
Catalogues                                     15%                                        -10

Gift cards have become as universal as greetings cards, and Hispanic shoppers indicated they’d buy at least one this year, at slightly higher levels (98%, +3) than the general population. Hispanic consumers indicated that the following categories are where money will be spent. The differences from the general population is worth noting by retailers:

Gift Categories                               2014             % change from General Population

Clothing and Accessories                 83%                                        +5

Electronics/Phones/Computer          58%                                        +7
Jewelry                                              25%                                        +5
Food and Wine                                  21%                                        +1
Toys                                                   15%                                        +7
Home Décor                                      10%                                        +3
Personal Care Products/Spa             10%                                       -23

Hispanic consumer expectations are up again this year regarding outreach and convenience, but particularly as regards the brick-and-mortar retail shopping experience. Brand trumps dollar-value perceptions among this cohort and retailers that can integrate some sense of Hispanic culture and store experience with all forms of outreach will likely find it to be a winning combination for this shopper segment. Y una muy feliz navidad este año!

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

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Few. The Proud. The Marines.

Tuesday is Veterans Day, a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. We salute them all. But today belongs to the United States Marines, marking the 239th birthday of the Corps.

Marine Corps birthday celebrations come with a traditional cake-cutting ceremony that would put your usual event marketing to shame. For this, a commanding officer cuts the cake with a Mameluke sword (a kind of scimitar), the first piece going to the oldest Marine present, which is then passed along to the youngest. During the annual birthday celebration, Order No. 47 is read, which says in part, “it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.” Marines are proud of that history.

This birthday presentation started November 1, 1921 by order of the 13th Commandant, Gen. John A. LeJeune, as a reminder of the service of the Corps and its inception. It’s been celebrated this way for 93 years. So a real tradition and part of its “long and illustrious history” and a truly emotional event where loyalty and continuity continues to reinforce the Marine Corps brand.
History and tradition are a big part of the Marine Corps brand, and many expressions that have become part of the American lexicon are related to the Marines.

For example, the phrase “Leathernecks,” hearkens back to 1776 when the Naval Committee of the Second Continental Congress stipulated new Marine uniforms and along with green coats, buff breeches, and black gaiters, the committee mandated a leather collar to protect the neck against cutlasses. Oh, and to help maintain proper military bearing. Marine “packaging” has changed over the past 239 years – they have the best dress uniforms of any of the services – but the name stuck!

The appellation “Devil Dogs” comes from the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918. The Germans called the Marines fighting through woods that were thought to impenetrable, and who finally captured ground thought to be an absolute German safe haven, “Teufel Hunden,” referring to the legendary Hounds from Hell.

Marines have sometimes been called “Jarheads,” and that term originates from the "high and tight" haircut that many Marines have, which makes their head look like a jar. (OK, nobody’s perfect, but Marines come as close as you can get to perfect!)

The Marine Corps motto – “Semper Fidelis” (“Ever faithful” and the John Philip Sousa official march of the Marines) – was adopted in 1883. It replaced three traditional but unofficial slogans, which isn’t a bad record for a brand that’s 239 years old (Take a look and see how many times Coca Cola has changed their tag line. And that brand is only 128years old!)  The first was “Fortitudine” (Latin for “with courage”), the second, “Per Mare, Per Terram” (“By sea and by land”). The third, “To the shores of Tripoli,” was revised in 1848 to “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”

That was incorporated into the "Marines' Hymn," the official hymn of the Corps as well as the oldest official military theme song in the United States armed forces. See what we mean about history? Marines stand at attention when it’s played or sung, a real tribute to the Mad Men of the ‘50’s who counseled you could identify a hit brand, theme song, or campaign by “running it up the flagpole, to see if anyone saluted it.” Marines continue to do so.

But the six words the Marines, and the Marine brand, are perhaps best known for are, “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

A lot of credit goes to ad man J. Walter Thompson for that. Mr. Thompson enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1864 so you might say there was some history there too, because l about 100 years later his company helped develop the Marine Corps into the elite brand it stands for today. It is, perhaps, the most-cited slogan of any of the U.S military forces and even appears on Madison Avenue’s Advertising Walk of Fame.

But, like all things Marine, it also has its roots in history. On March 20, 1779, Captain William Jones of the Continental Marines placed a recruiting advertisement in The Providence Gazette (digital banner ads being unavailable at the time), which read in part "The Continental ship Providence, now lying at Boston, is bound on a short cruise, immediately; a few good men are wanted to make up her complement." If you want a celebrity endorsement regarding that practice, it was George Washington who later commented, “It is infinitely better to have a few good men than many indifferent ones.”

So to the complement of those few good men, past and present, we say “Happy Birthday.”

And (as is traditional) “Semper Fi, brothers.”

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

Thursday, November 06, 2014

For Retailers “Black Friday” Has Become A Season Unto Itself. Oh, And It Started November 1st.

Super-charged by increased mobile outreach, intensified consumer planning, and raised numbers of retailer mobile apps, traditional retailers will be going to work earlier, and working harder to engage consumers this season if they want their share of a projected individual $855.00 holiday spend, about 4% higher than last year. Sixteen-thousand (16,000) consumers from the 9 U.S. Census regions identified these real facts-of-retail-life in Brand Keys’ 20th annual national holiday shopping survey.

And many consumers missed Black Friday. That’s because it started last Saturday.  Surprised? Well, it shouldn’t have been a total surprise. Store checks conducted by Brand Keys found retailer displays of holiday greeting cards, giftwrap and Christmas-themed gifts already on display in October. Consumers shopping for Halloween candy, actually had to sort through themed packaging, because retailers had Christmas candy leitmotifs right next to the bat wing and witches-on-broomsticks packaged candy, for the same candy!

More than half of the sample indicated that they were going to start holiday shopping in November. In last year’s Holiday Shopping survey, 54% of consumers indicated they were going to start Holiday shopping in November, a trend we’ve commented upon for a number of years. Only 25% of consumers – 10% fewer than 2013 – indicated they were going to wait until Black Friday November 28th.

Amazon and Walmart kicked off their Christmas discounts on Saturday, November 1st – 27 days before the traditional Black Friday, which had long been regarded as the start of the holiday shopping season.  Amazon started its “Black Friday” Saturday with two daily deals on holiday merchandise that will run through December 22nd. Walmart’s chief merchandising officer, Duncan MacNaughton, said, “As soon as they put away their Halloween costumes, our customers start prepping for Thanksgiving buying Christmas trees and shopping for gifts.”

Ninety-eight percent of those interviewed indicated they’d buy holiday gifts online again this year, but no surprise there. And, even in light of the mobile movement, bricks-and-mortar retailers still rank high on consumers’ list of places they intend to shop:

Store Type                                         2014            % change from 2013

Discount Department Stores                96%                             +2
Traditional Department Stores             78%                             +2
Specialty and Apparel Stores               40%                             - 5

Catalogues (25%), are down again from last year by 50%. And apparently if a consumer can pull it up on a site on a mobile device, hard-copy has become superfluous.

Oh, and spoiler alert: everybody is getting a gift card this year. Gift cards have become as universal as greetings cards, with 95% indicating they’ll buy at least one for someone.  All other categories remain relatively unchanged from 2013. Apps and downloads have replaced CDs, DVDs, and printed books.  Consumers indicated the following categories where money was going to be spent:

Clothing and Accessories                     78%                                        
Electronics/Phones/Computer              51%                                        
Personal Care Products/Spa                33%                                        
Jewelry                                                 20%                                        
Food and Wine                                     20%                                        
Home Décor                                           7%                                        

Value is still paramount for all platforms and consumer expectations regarding outreach and convenience, particularly for mobile, and the shopping experience for bricks-and-mortar retail, are all up again. Retailers that can integrate the store experience with their mobile outreach will likely find it to be a winning combination. They’re just going to have to do it much earlier this year.

But given the intense competition for consumer dollars, Department stores and specialty shops will have to become more aggressive on deals, promotions, and operating hours.

Because this year they won’t be able to avoid it.

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