Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Are Demographics Dead?

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “demographics” as the statistical characteristics of populations, such as age, gender, education, and income to identify markets.

They’re still very useful. Particularly for media targeting, but not so much for marketing any more.

A lot of marketers seem to think that if you get someone to engage with your brand at the start of their consumer lifecycle ­– barring some sort of brand or marketing disaster – you’ll keep them forever.

But that theory no longer works. Certainly not as well as it did 40 years ago. Or even 20 years ago.

Communication, customization, and context have changed the way consumers interact with brands. Their attitudes toward brands have changed. Their access to brands has changed. How consumers behave toward brands has changed. Hell, everything you knew has changed.

Well, everything but emotional engagement. That’s only gotten more important. Consumers respond more to the emotional than the rational and using emotional engagement to “define” audiences has been proven to boost brand consideration, ad effectiveness, and sales.

Want to see how?

We invite you to read a new study published in AdmapDefiningAudiences in the Fast Casual Category,” that shows how advertisers can more successfully segment audiences via emotional engagement and create more effective advertising. In most categories, up to six times more effective!

Unilever CMO Keith Weed recently called for brands to market “in segments of one.”

That one most important segment?

Emotional brand engagement.


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. 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Sometimes the Business of Brands Is Just Business

We’re pretty proud of our ability to identify what consumers really expect from brands.

More than a year before Amazon bought Whole Foods our brand assessments identified an area of opportunity for them: groceries. So QED. If you want to hear what we said (and why) give listen to “The Marketplace of Everything” here

But now Amazon is considering offering a checking account-like product for younger customers who currently don’t patronize traditional banks. And that’s pretty much a business decision. Smart, but more “business” than “brand.”

As big as Amazon is, they still have to pay fees for credit card purchases and bank charges, and a closer financial relationship with customers could help save Amazon big bucks. So, a bottom-line decision. It’s likely to be a partnership with an already-established bank, since the undertaking to become an actual bank would be difficult – even for a company as big as Amazon.

So great brand, with great business sense. It helps to have the financial wherewithal to deliver pretty much anything the consumer expects, but it also helps if you have a brand consumers are willing to engage with.

With engagement levels that guarantee that in virtually any category you’d care to name!


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. 

Thursday, March 01, 2018

What’s The Price Of An AR-15 To A Brand?

Dick’s Sporting Goods announced it was ending sales of assault-style rifles in its stores and websites and they would no longer sell high-capacity magazines or sell guns to anyone under the age of 21, regardless of local laws.

Dick’s is deliberately positioning the brand in, what the company called “common sense gun reform.” That means raise the minimum age for gun purchases, ban bump stocks and assault weapons and conduct better and broader universal background checks.

According to the 2018 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty and Engagement Index, one of the critical Sporting Goods emotional category values is “family friendly.” So Dick’s figures to benefit mightily from being seen as more family friendly for two reasons.

First, the majority of sports retail sales have to do with, well, family sports. Things like soccer balls and cleats. Athletic shoes, footballs, basketballs, baseball bats, tennis rackets, golf clubs and ping pong paddles. Second, since real gun-involved consumers probably aren’t buying guns from national sporting goods retailers, Dicks is seen as reacting positively to recent tragic events in Florida.

On the more rational side of things, Dick’s discovered it had legally sold a gun to Nikolas Cruz, the accused Parkland shooter, though not a gun used in the Florida school shootings, and decided public safety was more important than gun-sale profits. And, really, really bad PR. So the brand supports the 2nd Amendment but continues to sell sport and hunting firearms.

The debate has moved beyond sporting goods retailers. Brands like Delta and United Airlines, Best Western and MetLife, along with dozens of others, have decided to end benefits and promotions offered to NRA members.

The NRA has slammed companies that have been cutting ties with the group, calling it a "shameful" move. "The law-abiding members of the NRA had nothing at all to do with the failure of that school’s security preparedness, the failure of America’s mental health system, the failure of the National Instant Check System or the cruel failures of both federal and local law enforcement."

But promotional associations are a co-branding exercise, which reinforces values of one or the other of the partner brands. And whether the NRA position has some validity, what brand wants to be associated with the deaths of children? Generally speaking, brands should be concentrating on category values that engage consumers – not disengage them. Political polarization and more fervent social movements like #grabyourwallet and #MeToo have coalesced to change the face of brand engagement and consumer loyalty.

That being the case, now the question for all brands is, “How well can you position yourself so that you’re being viewed as honest and supportive of what is clearly a national crisis and not appear to walk away from the Second Amendment?”

Brands that don’t have the right answer to that question will pay for it dearly.


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.