Friday, 27 July 2012

Getting social with Jack Wills

Jack Wills describes itself as 'University outfitter, fabulously British', although anyone between the ages of 17 and 22 won't need to refer to that description. With more than £100 million in annual turnover, the fast-growing retailer has expanded beyond UK markets to US resort cities, Hong Kong and beyond. 

Jack Wills puts more emphasis on social media and word of mouth than on traditional adverts. Its stylish Seasonnaires are brand ambassadors for the retailer's preppy fashion image, media friendly and the life of the party--made for social media.

Watch for Jack Wills and the Seasonnaires on a long list of sites:

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Pop-up shops

With one in ten shops empty on the high streets, landlords and city officials want to revitalise shopping districts. One solution being recommended is to promote pop-up shops, temporary retail locations that 'pop up' for a limited-time. Although applying for and receiving planning approval can be time-consuming and costly, government agencies are looking at ways to cut red tape for businesses that want pop-up space.

The idea makes sense for retailers who want additional store space during busy shopping seasons and for marketers that need to test new brands, showcase specific product ranges or experiment with new formats and services.

From July through September, one pop-up store in London is the only retailer outside the Olympic Park to sell special Olympic products such as pin-badges.

Here are a few other highlights of pop-up marketing:
  • Liberty is looking to open a handful of temporary stores for pre-Christmas shopping.
  • London College of Fashion is opening a pop-up to sell clothing designed by alumni, 'future design stars'.
  • Samsung opened a number of pop-ups around London (see above) to launch its Galaxy S3.
  • Ocado opened a one-month pop-up virtual store in Birmingham, inviting customers to use its 'on the go' app to scan products and place orders for home delivery.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Freemium pays--but what about privacy?

According to a Guardian analysis, 68% of the top 100 UK Android apps are free--actually, freemium, meaning the initial game or function is free but upgrades or extra elements carry a fee. In addition to ad revenue, these apps make money when consumers pay for higher levels or better characters/equipment/functionality.

Another study indicates that tablet computer users largely prefer free to fee apps. These users do make purchases via apps or within apps, but they don't want to pay for the app itself.

As consumers continue to adopt free or freemium apps for any and every purpose, advertisers and ad networks are finding new ways to attract app users' attention and collect users' data. Google does explain how its AdMob for apps network operates and how consumers can adjust their ad preferences, by the way.

The Economist writes that a growing number of ads delivered by apps are making 'aggressive' moves such as creating new icons that display ads when clicked (see table above, from mobile-security firm Lookout). Users don't expect ads to appear in those places and are surprised--not pleasantly--when they click and discover a commercial message.

Just as bad, users may not be aware of what type of information an ad network is collecting and how it will be used. And with Facebook intensifying its focus on apps and ads, consumers can expect to see more ad messages in the months ahead, with privacy continuing to be a concern.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Amazon lockers at the London Olympics and beyond is the online retailer of choice for millions of shoppers worldwide. But what if customers can't be home when their packages are scheduled to arrive?

Just in time for the 2012 Olympics, Amazon has an alternative: It's been installing self-serve lockers in transportation centres, shopping centres and other centrally-located public areas. reports that shoppers choose a convenient locker location when they complete their Amazon purchase. Each shopper receives a code number that opens the specific bin where the purchase is stored.

Amazon first tested lockers in its headquarters city of Seattle, Washington, before opening some in London, New York City, and around Washington, D.C. Where will Amazon innovate next?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Preview of Olympic sponsors' adverts

2012 Games: 588,000+ FB likes, 802,000 Twitter followers
From 27 July, the London 2012 Olympic Games will begin, a sports and marketing extravaganza.  

Marketing Week and the Telegraph have posted their picks of the best adverts from Olympic sponsors, to date.

On both lists: P&G's 'Thank you, Mum', Omega's 'Start me up' and Adidas' 'Take the Stage' adverts.

Marketing Week also lists Coca-Cola and Cadbury. The Telegraph adds British Airways and EDF. Lots more marketing on the way after the games begin.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

What do consumers REALLY look at in the store?

How does a company like Unilever know what packaging will catch your attention from the crowded supermarket shelf? Eye-tracking technology is the key.

Consumers can't always articulate what they need or like, so researchers have devised various techniques for digging deeper to find out what really drives the decision-making process. Neuromarketing, which includes eye-tracking and fMRI testing, offers insights into consumers' physiological reactions to packages, ads, and other marketing tactics.

The image above shows how long and how often consumers in one Unilever test looked at particular packages on a simulated store shelf. Researchers in several areas, including London and Mumbai, are using eye-tracking to gauge local consumers' reactions to Unilever products. Neuromarketing isn't used by the majority of marketers--yet--but it is a promising technique for deeper understanding of what consumers feel about brands and products.

Monday, 9 July 2012

How much is that jet?

A price war is looming in the market for commercial jetliners, where Boeing (left) and Airbus are the dominant competitors. Just as consumers rarely pay full price for a new car or truck, airlines rarely pay full price for a new jet, especially during high-profile events like the Farnborough International Air Show (9 July - 15 July).

Both Boeing and Airbus feature their newest models and like to announce major multi-jet deals before, during and after this show. It's not just for bragging rights: Market share must be preserved to avoid losing so many jet deals that manufacturing costs go up as economies of scale are lost.

One London researcher who follows the jet industry tells Reuters: "Boeing is adamant there is a price war with Airbus coming into their territory and that they can't accept a 58/42 or 60/40 [share] split."

With list prices that are sky-high (up to £250 million for the largest jetliners), a lot is at stake when buyers and sellers negotiate. Reports indicate that the discounts airlines receive are, on average, approximately 45% of the list price. Of course, the larger the order, the more bargaining power the buyer has. With so much money at stake, how much will jets sell for this year?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

John Lewis connects with its communities

Retailing is so often focused on price competition, and yet strong, positive relationships with customers and their communities can make a real difference in long-term loyalty.

John Lewis is opening its doors to community groups that need meeting space, expertise and other assistance. Among the groups that have taken advantage of free meeting space in John Lewis department stores are Friends of the Welsh National Opera, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and the Peace Hospice.

'We'd like our shops to become a place where the community is happy to spend time, for use as a genuine resource', says Managing Director Andy Street.

Each John Lewis department store has a community liaison coordinator to work with local groups in identifying needs and providing resources such as free meeting space or volunteers recruited from store staff. These personal connections help the retailer integrate more fully into the everyday life of the community, a key element in social responsibility.

Take a look at the John Lewis Partnership's social responsibility page for info about other steps the retailer is taking to connect with its communities.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Why sponsors support the Olympics

Coca-Cola UK answered one of the FAQs about its involvement with London 2012 (and its support of the Olympic Games since 1928) by pointing to brand-building and quality:
We are a business, and so part of the reason for our sponsorship is to build awareness for our brands and the wide choice of quality and refreshing drinks we offer consumers. We sell a range of drinks at all Olympic venues during the events. Coca‑Cola also shares the Olympic Movement's vision of connecting people with sport, and we are committed to promoting active, healthy lifestyles and increasing participation in sport at every level.
Panasonic explains its support of the Olympics by showing the connection with the passion that athletes and fans have for sports and the company's ability to provide tools for self-expression and the joy of sharing:
Panasonic is proud to support the Olympic Movement which aims to promote world peace through sports . . . Panasonic is committed to "Sharing the Passion" of athletes with people around the world and connecting people who are passionate about sports and the Olympic Games . . . Panasonic also empowers consumers with new tools for self expression and heightens the joy of sharing with consumer digital cameras, camcorders, and Internet TVs. Though made for the consumer, these devices integrate sophisticated audio video technologies used in a broad array of Panasonic's professional systems for applications such as large-screen display and broadcasting equipment.
Procter & Gamble says it's supporting the Olympics for three reasons: business, corporate branding and internal marketing. To quote the UK and Ireland Olympic Projects Director:
"First it is to build the business. Anyone who does a partnership deal and says it is not to build their business, then you wonder what they are doing it for . . . Secondly, we have made a clear decision to use the Olympics to launch Procter and Gamble as a corporate brand, as something separate from the individual brands that P&G owns . . . The other reason for backing the games is that it can be a powerful tool within our workforce, in the UK and around the world."
From today, the Olympic Games begin in 26 days. The world will be watching and cheering!