All I want for Christmas is a giant roll of toilet paper

Imagine the joy on Christmas morning as little Sophia or Jackson rush under the tree and tear into the giftwrap to find a sleek new Quip power toothbrush or Crest Express Whitening Kit with blue-light activator — or even a Tushy toilet-to-bidet converter kit.

It’s not as far fetched as it sounds, though realistically all these gifts are more likely for adults than kids. Packaged-goods and personal-care marketers are finding gifts with a decidedly practical bent have gotten popular, and they’re taking steps to make them more so.

Historically, the October-December quarter has accounted for 35 percent of Crest Whitestrips volume, reflecting the holiday gift appeal, says Greg Barnsten, North American associate brand director at Procter & Gamble Co. This year, the brand has been pushing the idea more overtly with Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat advertising from in-house performance-marketing agency 87Hundred and Publicis, including a $20-off Cyber Monday deal that has extended into the remainder of the holiday.

Continue reading at

4 Steps to Earning Customer Loyalty with a Relationship Banking Strategy

How Relationship Banking Helps Reduce Customer Attrition

If another financial institution offered your customers or members a better deal, would they take it? According to a recent survey, 43% of bank customers would be quite or very likely to switch from their current bank. While poor service is ranked number one for reasons why customers leave their banks, over half of customers said their decision could have been swayed if their institution had made an effort to keep their business.

Customer loyalty has long been a point of pride for the financial industry, with the average American keeping a checking account for 16 years. But a widening world and shifting consumer preferences threaten to disturb that status quo. This threat is particularly applicable for institutions focusing on products and sales, rather than understanding customer needs, earning trust and strengthening relationships.

6 Reasons People Switch Banks or Credit Unions


How Relationship Banking Wins Over a Transactional Approach

Historically, banks have operated under a transactional approach—product-centric and sales-focused. Shifting the focus to providing value versus simply increasing products-per-customer, relationship banking takes a benefit-driven approach to service. This long-term strategy aims to get to know what customers or members really need to strengthen the bonds between you and those you serve.

By creating a partnership with customers, you’re fostering a feeling of dependability, consistency and trustworthiness. Relationship banking inspires customers to view your institution as a one-stop shop for whatever they need, when they need it―whether that’s a mortgage, auto loan or interest-bearing savings account.

“Experience has taught us that keeping existing customers or members satisfied is just as, if not more, important to overall success as signing on new ones,” Cheryl Parker weighs in, evok’s director of client services. “Relationship banking, and the idea of truly getting to know what your customers need from your institution, works to extend the connection between customer and bank or member and credit union beyond transactional to a mutually beneficial partnership between equals.”

Marketing Relationship Banking to Current Customers and Members

Start with your “why”

In tackling any challenge leading to significant change, we must look inwards before taking action. Whether it’s coming up with a game plan to finally kick that bad habit or a shift in long-standing internal processes, getting to the “why”—the real reason you’re embarking on this journey—helps define your mission with more clarity and improve your chances of success.

For financial institutions shifting from transactional to relationship banking, this introspection calls for a fresh look at brand pillars, including values, mission and positioning, as well as internal processes. Does your messaging align with your vision? Or does the pressure to meet sales quota place products sold over customers’ real needs? If there is a disconnect, it may be time to reevaluate and redefine your brand, starting with your employees.

Embody relationship banking from the inside out

Your institution’s employees are the vehicles for delivering your brand’s promise to customers or members. To truly embody the spirit of relationship banking, you’ll need their support and determination. But first, you’ll need to ensure they are fully immersed in your brand, your mission and your goal to earn your customers’ loyalty with personalized service.

Internal rollout of updated brand elements is about more than introducing a new identity—it’s about getting your staff reacquainted with what’s unique about your institution. Whether it’s through a brand manifesto video, like the one we produced for Pita Pit following a brand and positioning refresh, or a suite of rollout materials, bringing your employees on board should be equal parts educating and exciting.

Develop audience personas

Relationship banking is defined by matching customers with the right products for them—a personalized cross-selling strategy. And while there is no shortcut to getting to know customers better, you can develop audience personas to act as guidelines for more personalized marketing.

Audience personas are structured as profiles of individuals, but are meant to represent larger audience segments with shared qualities—Sarah the college student, Luke the recent homeowner, Emily and Joel the newlyweds, etc. These personas dig into the attitude, behavior and motivation of your primary targets based on data from real customers. They also outline preferences and interests, including which products and services would be most applicable for them at their current life stage.

These personas can be applied when marketing specific products and services to ensure the message matches the audience. However, for personalized marketing to be a possibility, segmentation must first take place.

Segment your marketing

To connect with today’s consumers, personalization is the name of the game. Whether they’re choosing what to watch next on Netflix or the best rewards-earning credit card, customers are looking for recommendations based on their history, preferences and specific needs. This one-size-doesn’t-fit-all approach calls for institutions to take on an advisory role for each member or customer.

Developing personas is the first step in delivering personalized marketing, but segmentation is what makes this strategy plausible.

Segmenting your audiences according to your brand’s personas allows you to tailor marketing depending on who is on the receiving end. And while your personas act as a great starting point for creating those groups, the ways you can segment your audiences don’t end there. Consider segmenting your audience based on recent products used or accounts opened, transactions during in-branch visits, or new products/features relevant to their needs or existing products used.

Investing in Loyalty Leads to New Customer Acquisition

The formula is simple—customer satisfaction inspires loyalty, which inspires advocacy. Because recommendations from friends remain the most credible form of advertising, inspiring existing customer advocacy is a direct investment in customer acquisition.

Relationship banking, which focuses on delivering relevance and value for customers or members, is the key to increasing satisfaction and building ongoing partnerships with those you provide services for. It all comes full circle to define a long-term, growth-driven strategy for banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

CBS board denies Moonves $120 million severance after probe

CBS Corp.’s board denied a $120 million severance payment to former Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves, capping the dramatic descent of a longtime Hollywood mogul felled by accusations of sexual harassment and assault.

In deciding to refuse Moonves’s pay, CBS said he flouted company policies and failed to comply with an internal investigation. The move followed a more-than-four-month investigation that also delved into the corporate culture at the broadcast network.

“We have determined that there are grounds to terminate for cause, including his willful and material misfeasance, violation of company policies and breach of his employment contract,” the New York-based company said in a statement Monday.

Continue reading at

Why brand building is China’s key to the future

This article originally appeared in Forbes

Aside from airline status and global cuisine, the other perk of my job is observing how branding and marketing differ across the Pacific. And most fascinating to me these days is how Chinese businesses and brands are evolving worldwide.

It’s no secret that China is growing fast. As Chinese companies mature at home, they have sought new routes to growth in North America. Flush with cash, Chinese companies have been expanding rapidly abroad and doing so through acquisitions, not organic expansion. What used to be known in America as “Made in China” is now “Owned by China,” a subtle shift that most consumers in the U.S. likely haven’t noticed.

The “Owned by China” trend was, in part, spurred from lessons learned by Chinese companies that witnessed their American counterparts enter China seeking the spoils of the fastest-growing economy. The success of American companies in China was stymied by a poor cultural and local market understanding, a lack of product and marketing localization, unrealistic growth targets and, of course, failure to work around a myriad of stringent governmental regulations. This is not to say there aren’t some success stories, but those are dwarfed by the large list of failures that have since recalibrated what success looks like in China. So, when the time came for Chinese global expansion, they elected to buy instead of organically build, a strategy clearly based on what they observed at home.

This strategy has worked exceptionally well in recent years. Most Americans would be surprised to learn that their Motorola smartphone is made in and owned by China. The same can be said about AMC Theaters, Hoover, Grindr, Ironman, Volvo, GE Appliances, Smithfield and even some of America’s most iconic brands, like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The quintessential American luxury experience was acquired in 2014 by Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group, a group which was recently taken over by Chinese regulators. So, in essence, when the newly refurbished Waldorf opens for business, that experience will be delivered by none other than the Chinese government. Let that sink in.

The pace of this acquisition spree is staggering. China’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity has hit a record high in recent years. In 2017, Chinese companies spent $227 billion on acquiring foreign companies — six times what foreign companies spent acquiring Chinese firms, according to McKinsey.

But this strategy of global expansion is hitting a wall due to the rising discourse and debate of tariffs and fair competition. In the first six months of 2018, Baker McKenzie reports the value of Chinese mergers and acquisitions in Europe hit $22 billion, nine times higher than that in North America. In fact, Chinese outbound investments have declined a staggering 92% in the U.S., dropping from $24 billion to just $2 billion within the span of a year. Although Chinese companies continue to take the M&A route, there is a clear shift away from North America.

What does this mean for Chinese businesses looking for growth in the U.S.? Many businesses in China are at a fork in the road and the path forward will look very differently than what led to today.

Where the real potential lies for Chinese businesses is to invest in building their own brands the old-fashioned way — organically — and competing for U.S. customer loyalty on merits beyond price. This hasn’t been a hallmark of Chinese businesses given their deep manufacturing roots. Many established Chinese brands have tried to win organically in the U.S., but most have failed miserably, including LeEco and LiNing, just to name a few.

To be successful in this approach requires a seismic shift in how Chinese companies operate and think. I once witnessed a conversation between one of my U.S.-based clients and a Chinese seller of multimillion-dollar business-to-business (B2B) equipment. My client pointed out to the Chinese sales associate that his product fell well behind a U.S.-based competitor’s offering in the area of up-time and overall performance. The response to that question by the salesperson was: “Our product is less than half the price of the competition. When ours breaks, you buy a new one, and you still save money.”

For B2B customers and consumers alike, manufacturing and price are important. But this can’t be the only lens in how you see the world, at least not in America. Service, customer experience, performance and innovation are essential to facilitating loyalty. But to make that really part of how you do business in the U.S., it has to start with the people who come to work for you every day.

If your company is going to win, it has to start with people. Brands that win in the U.S. win because they don’t just make great products, they are driven by a purpose — a purpose that attracts and unites employees who bring the product and customer experience to life; a purpose that connects different market segments and product offerings into a broader story and an emotional connection to customers who see a brand as an extension of their own value system.

But to do this requires a long view. It requires resources. It requires real marketing know-how, and more than anything, it requires direct support and adherence from the top of the company. It can’t be contrived and it must be authentic.

But if that can’t be done, the path ahead for Chinese businesses in America looks very different. The current political and economic debate shows no sign of slowing. Even if it is resolved in the short-to-medium term, there is likely to be residual fallout for years to come.

What does this mean for Chinese brands that seek growth in America? Most likely, they will be directed into low-value industries where regulators or consumers don’t care about brand or country of origin — industries where technology is nonessential and/or low-cost B2B sectors are deemed as low-risk to national security. They will be in a place that feels eerily similar to the perceptions that dogged Chinese brands in years past — cheap. And that would be unfortunate.

Jason Cieslak is President, Pacific Rim. 

The post Why brand building is China’s key to the future appeared first on Siegel+Gale: Brand Consulting, Experience, Strategy, and Design.

New Job for the New Year: Mistress x Indeed

With more than 200 million monthly visitors, and jobs across 60 countries and 28 languages, Indeed is the number one job site in the world. The job search giant makes hiring fast and efficient for job seekers and business owners alike.

So when we heard Indeed was looking for some fresh talent, we couldn’t help but send our portfolio. And the rest is history.

Mistress is excited to announce our latest strategic and creative engagement, a collaboration which will produce Indeed’s next round of television spots in 2019. Chosen for our ability to blend brand-building with direct response advertising—as well as our track record of moving the needle for consumer internet brands like TripAdvisor and Custom Ink—we’re looking forward to sharing first work early next year.

The post New Job for the New Year: Mistress x Indeed appeared first on Mistress.

Experiential tech: a solution to providing your brand promise

If our recent global Experience Brand Index reveals one thing that should send a chill up the spine of every brand marketer, it’s this: The vast majority of brand experiences simply aren’t worth talking about.

That, and the fact that only 1 in 4 brands stands out to consumers.


At Jack Morton, we’ve long said the most powerful brand experiences deliver proof of your brand’s promise in a simple, moving, original and effective way. Take our client, L.L.Bean, for example, whose brand promise focuses on the shared joy of the outdoors. To help their employees, and consumers overall, “Be an Outsider” (Be an Outsider at Work), we created a movement. We built the first-ever outdoor co-working experience that appeared in urban parks around the country, and published a research study showcasing the benefits of getting outside – all of which perfectly epitomized the brand’s promise.

The reason? We know that by proving their brand promise through memorable and shareworthy experiences, L.L.Bean was able to both establish and reinforce what makes their brand different.

Technology: an opportunity to shine

Today’s technologies present us with tons of opportunities to reinforce brand promises. But be forewarned – it’s easy to go off-track and leverage technology for technology’s sake…which says something not so flattering about your brand. That’s why we recommend starting with the brand characteristic or value you want to emphasize, then moving to the technology only after you’ve established that.

So how do you think about the best way to leverage experiential technologies? From Augmented Reality (AR) to Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence, location-awareness, chat bots, gesture and more? At the risk of over-simplifying things, you and your team should start by asking why you’re leveraging experiential technology to enhance your experiences. Meaning – do you want them to be more immersive, responsive, curated or connected?

And remember: Your job as a brand marketer is not to know the technologies themselves – it’s to clearly articulate what characteristic of your brand you want the experience to demonstrate, or prove.

Let’s break down these characteristics one at a time.

  • Immersive. Immersive technologies have been all the rage for a couple of years now, and there’s no sign of slowing down. Whether it’s AR, VR or Mixed Reality, the ability to create a more immersive experience is getting easier, cheaper…and at the same time, more challenging.

We’re happy to see brands asking themselves more serious questions about how to use the technology to reinforce their brand promise (we’re getting fewer requests for “something VR!” from clients these days). For example, our digital arm, Genuine, created an AR experience for athenahealth at HIMSS that allowed the audience to actually see the mountain of paperwork generated in healthcare. For a company that’s committed to freeing the healthcare industry from burdensome busywork and communication issues holding it back, the experience perfectly shined a light on reality.

And in a recent press and influencer event for Royal Caribbean, we used AR, VR and environmental technologies to actually transport people to the cruise of the future and help them SeaBeyond.

  • Responsive. Experiences are exciting because they draw a crowd. And with today’s technologies, we can use the unique energy of the crowd to actually tailor the event to the whims (and heart rates) of the attendees. Biometric bands, location / motion sensors and other inexpensive techs can be married to machine learning programs to build reactive environments that respond to passive input from attendees. For example, at the Panorama Music Festival in NY, we created a 30-foot-tall wall of LEDs that reacted to the time of day, music preferences of guests, and breaking news (the death of David Bowie). Our Nike Unlimited Stadium in Singapore was the world’s largest LED track, recording the runner’s first lap then creating an avatar for them to run against on subsequent laps.
  • Curated. To a former newspaper editor like me, curated is just a fancy way of saying personalized or tailored to fit (how about we stick with “edited”?). In any case, some of the most sophisticated technologies – AI for instance – are the simplest to understand in their application.

AI and other machine-learning simply allows marketers ways of matching attendee interest with content they’d be interested in. For example, simple RFID tags in ID badges or wristbands can be combined with a wide variety of inexpensive sensors that can serve up content automatically, whether it’s video, audio, or simple text-on-screen. Cheap voice-recognition technologies also allow another very human way of providing personalized content based on increasingly sophisticated queries.

  • Connected. We’re moving pretty rapidly from the era of big data, to the era of connection and understanding. It’s safe to assume that if data is in digital form and available, you’ll be able to connect it to other data through APIs and other methods of tying data sources together.

So when you’re planning your experience, start by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. Do we want to prove that we offer a unique or dramatic point of view? (If so, consider AR, VR or mixed reality.)
  2. Do we want to show that we anticipate and respond to customer needs? (Yes? Consider environmental technologies like motion/location sensors.)
  3. Do we want to demonstrate our ability to tailor solutions or show that we make connections? (Absolutely. Consider personalization methods like voice-recognition or RFID.)

Simple? Maybe. But like we always say: Simple is the hardest thing we do.

The post Experiential tech: a solution to providing your brand promise appeared first on Jack Morton.

We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #427

Social media overtakes newspapers as a go-to source of news in the US
According to a new report from Pew Research Center, for the first time ever more adults in the US now get their news from social media than from print newspapers. Last year, the number of people who got their news from social media was on par with those who read newspapers, however, this number has now jumped to one-in-five US adults compared to 16 per cent for newspapers. Despite this shift, social media is still lagging behind other traditional news sources, such as TV and radio.

Social media beats newspapers

Facebook brings back search ads
After its initial foray into Sponsored Results back in 2012, Facebook is now looking to bring them back – as the platform announced it’s testing search ads in its search results and Marketplace with a small set of automotive, retail and e-commerce industry advertisers in the US and Canada. The new ad format will be “repurposed News Feed ads featuring a headline, image, copy text and a link in the static image or carousel format that can point users to external websites”. It’s hoped that search ads will prove an effective additional revenue stream, as Facebook continues to see great results with new formats such as advertising within Stories.

Facebook Watch scales up its ad offering and tests live slots
Facebook’s TV-style service, Facebook Watch will now let brands across 40 countries – including India, Singapore, Italy and Hong Kong – buy ad space within its content. In the new year, the platform will also begin testing new placements, such as the ability to slot ads into influencers’ live streams; and will be looking into the potential for wider sponsorship deals in the future. The platform claims that “each month 400 million people now spend at least one-minute using Watch” with 75 million daily users spending on average more than 20 minutes on the feature.

Facebook Watch ads

Facebook redesigns its Life Events feature
The social network has announced a redesign to its long-running Life Events feature which will enable you “to add animated photos or videos, photos from the people or Page you’ve tagged”, and more to your key life moments – such as getting engaged or starting a new job. The photos and videos will include subtle animations, like slowly zooming in, and the platform will also alert friends when you’ve shared a new life event. In addition, when someone reacts to your life event they will now be shown all the other reactions from friends alongside their own. The update is currently being rolled out globally.

Facebook Life Events GIF

Facebook adds games, a web browser and more to its Portal device
After receiving a bashing from the critics since its launch, Facebook has added a whole host of new features to its Portal device including a web browser, several of Messenger’s Instant Games, new augmented reality features such as Masks, a manual zoom mode, and more – as a way of enticing buyers. The platform has also said it’s hoping to add Google Assistant to the device in the future, though no work has currently been done on this.

Facebook Portal

Instagram tests Creator accounts with special features for influencers
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Instagram is currently testing a new type of account for influencers with large followings which will grant “access to insights about follows and unfollows, as well as the ability to filter direct messages from different groups of followers (such as brands and IRL friends)” and control how others can contact them. The new Creator accounts are currently being tested with a small number of users but are expected to be rolled out to more users in the near future.

Instagram brings voice messaging to Direct Messages
Voice messaging is coming to Instagram DMs. The platform has rolled out a new feature for iOS and Android which will enable you to send audio messages up to one minute long in private and group chats. To use the new feature, simply hold down the microphone button and speak. Users then have the choice to release to send or swipe to delete and record again.

Snapchat introduces new location advertising features
Snapchat is releasing a suite of new location advertising features for retailers. The first, its visitor re-engagement audiences option will allow advertisers “to retarget previous visitors to their stores and create lookalike audiences based on those visitors”, as well as select the frequency of the visitor they wish to target. The platform has also introduced a new chain locations targeting feature, allowing retailers to create a radius around locations to easily scale campaigns. These build on the “good performance” of location targeting and filters launched this year.

YouTube brings its trending charts to YouTube Music
YouTube is integrating its Music Charts feature into its YouTube Music app across all 29 markets. Music Charts will now appear on the home screen and in search on the Music app, and users will get five charts playlists: three specific to their country and two global lists. Charts will be updated weekly and can be added directly to your library, to help to stay up to date with the latest bangin’ tunes.

The popularity of gaming video content soars in 2018
Gaming has continued to grow as a cornerstone of internet culture this year, as more than 200 million people now view gaming content on YouTube – equating to more than 50 billion hours of video content in the last 12 months. Added to which, video-game-centric platform Twitch also now sees 500,000 streamers going live every day, with streamers per month topping 3 million this year.

adidas lets you virtually try on trainers in new AR promotion
adidas is giving its fans a new way to try on the latest trainers, kind of, in its latest ad campaign utilising Snapchat’s AR capabilities. The “AR option lets you select a pair of shoes, which are then placed on the ground via the Snap camera’, so you can see how they’ll look on your feet. The campaign is a great showcase of how Snapchat’s AR tools can be used to promote other items within the fashion space, with Sephora and Amazon already making strides in this space. The new adidas Snapchat Lens is currently available in selected regions.

The post We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #427 appeared first on We Are Social UK.

My trend 2019: Microsoftization

The established stars of the digital economy Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google have a common problem: they lose their shine. Customers, employees and the stock market alike become disenchanted. Apple’s innovative powers fades. For many years, the latest model was a must-have. Today, the internet is full of posts on topics such as ‘Why I renounce the iPhone X – and reach for the iPhone 8 Plus’.

Der Beitrag My trend 2019: Microsoftization erschien zuerst auf Serviceplan Blog.