Monday, October 15, 2018

Do No Evil. Unless You Have A Really Good Reason. Then Feel Free!

  1. YouTube
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. Instagram
  5. Reddit
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Snapchat
  8. Pinterest
  9. Yelp
  10. Tumblr

Those are the top-10 social networking sites ranked by users in this year’s Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index.

The full list contains 20 brands, but even if we listed all of them, Google+ wouldn’t be there. The incidence level of people using Google+ as their primary (or even secondary) social media site was so low they didn’t make the list in 2018.

Google+ launched in 2011 as a challenge to Facebook, but you needed a special invitation to join. By the time they decided to allow anyone to join, it was pretty much too late. So much for being social.

Earlier this year Google+ exposed a half-million users’ private data, but they didn’t bother to inform them. So much for “do no evil,” Google’s unofficial motto, which they replaced it in their Code of Conduct with “do the right thing,” and later added the evil stuff back in. 

BOTTOM LINE: Seven years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, Google is abandoning their consumer effort, shuttering the social media site.

At one point in time Google boasted Google+ had 300+ million members, but a lot of them weren’t active, just folks who clicked into the site by accident.

There’s no denying that Google is big. So big, they’ve apparently bought into the Field ofDreamscredo, “If you build it, they will come.” To be successful, the real trick in social media needs to be, “if you build it, nurture it, engage them, entertain them, and value them, they may come and stay.”

Oh, and also do no evil. 


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 08, 2018

A Brand Wrapped In Bankruptcy Inside An Enigma

The weekend of July 4thToys ‘R’ Us shut all 700 of their stores. They announced they were going to conduct a bankruptcy auction of its brand name, Babies R Us, and their website domains. They were betting their giraffe on it!

It turned out the auction bids they got were not deemed to be superior to a plan to revive the brand because auctioning them did not offer “probable economic recovery” to creditors or stakeholders. 

There’s equity in them thar brands, so the top lenders decided to cancel the bankruptcy auction and are going to maintain the brands as a new independent U.S. business. 

They plan to revive the Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us brand names and run a branding company that will maintain existing global license agreements. Oh, and will invest and develop new retail shops.

BOTTOM LINE: As we’ve pointed out in the past, most of the time it is easier to take an old brand & leverage the values of the established brand rather than create a new brand with new brand values. 

Identifying new brand values is both difficult and painful. And most of the time isn’t as cost-effective as leveraging values consumers already value. Unless, of course, you have access to emotional engagement insights, which makes an often byzantine process more efficient and graceful.

Talking about developing new retail stores in any category complicates an already complex process, particularly when trying to revive a failing brand.

In this case, the enigma is that in the next few years nearly 85% the toys purchased will be sold online. So toy stores, not so much!

And while there’s a whole lot of shoppers out there who can still hum the “I’m A Toys R Us Kid,” tune, when they get to the line, “They got the best for so much less,” consumers are more likely than not going to flip their lids for likes of Amazon!


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.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Why Sears Sucks

This is not a customer complaint. Would that it were.

Sears’ same-store sales are down (again) nearly 16% this year, with total revenue down more than 25%. So anycustomer complaint would probably be welcome at this point. That would mean Sears still had enough customers so they could disappoint some!

No, the brand’s in trouble, facing what the company called, “Significant near-term liquidity constraints.” We’re not precisely sure what that means, but it sounds really bad.

Bad to the point where Sears asked lenders to exchange loans for equity stakes in the company, which assumes that Sears has an actual future in retailing. 

Our advice: DON’T DO IT!

Brand Keys has tracked Sears for nearly 40 years and can confidently say Sears‘ downfall has not been a triumph of e-commerce over bricks-and-mortar.

No, Sears suffers from a lack of meaning. The brand stands for nothing. There’s history. And the catalog, for those old enough to remember the catalog. And Craftsman tools, but shoppers are purchasing those on Amazon.

And although a validated process exists to measure, identify, and leverage meaning, the Sears brand continues to stand for nothing meaningful or emotional enough to engage customers. Or, at least, enough customers to be profitable.

What about your brand? Can you confidently say it incorporates meaningful, emotional values into its marketing and communications? Are they the right ones? Did you miss some? Are they the most leveragable values for creating profitable customer engagement? 

For a complimentary Meaning Diagnostic of your brand, call or write, Leigh Benatar at 212-532-6028 or leighb@brandkeys.com  

Because in today’s complex, socially-networked branding environment, being known isn’t the real challenge. 

Meaning something is.


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.