The Warc Blog

The Warc Blog

Don’t worry about your rough edges: Why brands need to be open about their imperfections
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
Richard Shotton

Which cookie would you rather eat?

If you're anything like the 626 people we asked you'll have plumped for the one on the left. An overwhelming 66% preferred it.

This cookie experiment was originally developed by Adam Ferrier of cummins&partners, who conducted it at Nudgestock with the same findings.

But why? The differences are minor. The cookie on the right is perfectly round whilst the other has a rough edge. Could it be that the small imperfections made the snack more appealing?

A series of academic studies suggests this is a widespread phenomenon. Eliot Aronson, from the University of California, was the first academic to investigate this bias, now known as the "pratfall effect".


Subjects: Brands, Consumers

24 June 2015 16:27

Retailers need to focus on retail technology to drive footfall
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Gavin Ray, SVP of marketing & products at ip.access.

"The high street is dead", the critics proclaim. Mary Portas walks down the empty street like Will Smith in I am legend; a post-apocalyptic nightmare with boarded up shops and tumbleweed drifting slowly along in the wind. There’s no one about.

Depicting the current high street as some sort of ghost town is perhaps slightly disingenuous. If you consider that 94 per cent of global retail is conducted offline (in the real-world of high streets and shopping centres), it puts into perspective the fact that bricks-and-mortar retail is still alive and kicking strongly.

But there is a problem. Retailers are fighting to unify the shopping experience for consumers moving between these worlds. While 76 per cent of purchasing decisions are made in store, 66 per cent of shoppers have said that in-store delivered messages influence their purchasing decision (Popai), and there-in lies the problem. Two thirds of shoppers clearly see that there is high benefit in making informed purchasing decisions, but not enough is being done yet to provide them with useful and relevant information that will better equip them to purchase particular products in-store like they do online.


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers, Digital

19 June 2015 17:26

Last word from the East: The end of big luxe?
Posted by: Edward Bell, CEO, FCB Greater China
Edward Bell

You have to feel sorry for the big luxury brands. Encouraged by years of explosive growth and projections of China becoming the world's largest luxury market, they expanded like crazy, opening dozens of new outlets every year and ever-larger flagship stores. And then in late 2012, President Xi Jinping launched his much-publicised crackdown on 'excess'. Ever since, China's luxury industry has been in a flat spin, dazed and confused, lacking clear direction. Is this the end of the 'Golden handbag'?

The past two years have been a hard landing for luxe. Every brand that rode the rocket of 'official gifting' has come down just as hard. The luxury watch business – which dropped 25% immediately after Xi Jinping's speech – is today 95% smaller than the pre-2012 heyday levels. The Macau watch fair was cancelled due to 'low interest'.

High-end liquor has also been decimated. Baijiu, the strong-tasting Chinese white spirit, once a favourite gifting item, has seen sales drop by two-thirds. Even foreign spirit houses, such as Diageo, that are much smaller in volume, are off 25%.


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

18 June 2015 16:53

Are you paying attention? Confirmation bias and how to overcome it
Posted by: Richard Shotton, Head of Insight, ZenithOptimedia
Richard Shotton

A couple of weeks ago, 40,000 people made the arduous journey to Omaha, Nebraska. They weren't travelling to see an NFL or NBA game but to listen to Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger speak. These two fund managers have become billionaires through understanding human behaviour better than any of their peers. Their speeches are peppered with insights into customer motivation, which makes them not only popular but also of interest to marketers.

One of Munger's regular themes is how hard it is to change customer's minds once they're made up. In his vivid phrase:

"The human mind is a lot like the human egg, in that the human egg has a shut-off device. One sperm gets in, and it shuts down so that the next one can't get in. The human mind has a big tendency of the same sort."


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing

17 June 2015 11:49

The customer experience engine: How to organize marketing for outstanding customer experience
Posted by: Brand Learning
Brand Learning

In this post, for The Economist Group Lean Back blog, Rich Bryson argues that marketing departments need to organise themselves differently to deliver the customer experience. For his full perspective read our white paper.The customer experience engine: How to organize marketing for outstanding customer experience

In our rapidly changing world, it’s the customer experience that matters above all else. It’s what builds relationships and drives growth. This customer experience is enhanced or impaired through every interaction a customer has with an organization. As Simon Lowden, CMO for PepsiCo North America, has said: “in today’s world, partnering cross-functionally is everything.”

Continuing to organize marketing in outdated structures while calling to break down silos will no longer suffice. We need a new approach that focuses also on marketing working with other functions as a “Customer Experience Engine,” shaping outstanding customer experiences that drive business growth. There is no one-size-fits-all, but there are principles for success.


Subjects: Consumers, Marketing, Brands

12 June 2015 15:23

The tipping point for customer-centred leadership
Posted by: Brand Learning
Brand Learning

When a Chief Brand Officer is elected to take over the helm at the world’s biggest fast-food chain, you have to acknowledge that a leadership tipping point has been reached. A clear sign that leadership needs to be customer-centred. From March, McDonald’s new CEO & President will be ex-brand man, Steve Easterbrook. In his inaugural press release he states,

"I am honored to lead this great brand, and am committed to working with our franchisees, suppliers and employees to drive forward our strategic business priorities to better serve our customers."

I’m very grateful for that quote as it beautifully summarises the essence of customer-centred leadership as we outline in our white paper True Marketing Leadership. In order for Steve to be successful at McDonald’s  he’s got to keep things simple and the framework below might just provide a useful roadmap for his leadership journey.


Subjects: Marketing, Consumers

10 June 2015 16:59

The technological challenge?
Posted by: Peter Mouncey, Editor-In-Chief, IJMR
Peter Mouncey

GreenBook provided a 'Sneak Peek' of the findings from their latest GRIT (Research Industry Trends) survey in a webinar on May 14th, with a panel of research sector leaders to discuss the key points.

According to the survey, the biggest challenge is around technology. At the heart of the findings, and of the discussion, was the decades old dilemma of what the market research sector should be. Our heritage, and much of our skill-set, expertise and experience is vested in methodologies for collecting primary data to provide fresh insights into consumer, and citizen, behaviour. Not simply to identify the 'who', 'what', 'where' and 'when', but importantly the 'why'.

However, our clients seem to be busy with analytics and data integration in the 'new' world of big data, questioning what we might bring to the party. This is, of course, NOT a new finding – it emerged in the 1980s as database marketing enabled clients to undertake their own 'research' by either recruiting analysts, or turning to the new breed of marketing analytical companies that were getting off the ground.


Subjects: Data, Consumers

03 June 2015 09:46

How did the German discounters get so popular with the Brits?
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Hannah Campbell, Operations Director at The Work Perk.

A recent survey by The Grocer reveals that out of 11 supermarkets across Britain, Aldi and Lidl are not just winning the price war; both supermarket chains have also changed consumer perceptions by proving that a product can still be perceived as 'quality' without a brand's name or a large price tag attached to it.

The report also highlights that Aldi and Lidl are speeding ahead of the 'big four' supermarkets, and have more than five times the nine new store opening projects that have been put forth by Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons combined for 2016. So how did these two discount supermarkets swoop in and take on the UK's most established food stores so successfully?

In short, Aldi and Lidl – in particular – proved to British consumers that they have been mistaken in their perceptions. They didn't attempt to get involved with the supermarket price wars; they simply showed the British consumer that better value for money does not have to equate to poor quality. Aldi and Lidl altered the public's perception of quality by challenging people to step outside of their comfort zone. They didn't pretend to be something they are not – they simply wanted the consumers to understand who they are, by trying their products out for themselves.


Subjects: Brands, Consumers

29 May 2015 14:39

Treading carefully: Connecting with the new Indian woman
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Poonam Kumar, Asia Pacific regional director of brand strategy at TNS

In Ramayan, India's most revered epic, the main female character Sita willingly follows her husband into the forest for 14 years of exile. Like a good dutiful wife she meticulously places her feet exactly where her husband walks, ensuring that there is no evidence of her existence as a separate entity.

The Ramayan personifies India's deeply embedded patriarchal code and has set the standard of what is required to be a woman of virtue and value – obedient, chaste, self-sacrificing and ideally invisible.

For decades, Indian brands have faithfully mirrored and reinforced this code, without subtlety or apology. The fair-skinned domestic goddess is put on a pedestal, to be condemned or appreciated. It was not unusual for advertising to shame a woman for her child not growing tall enough, or her husband's shirt not being white enough, or even to imply that a girl had no suitors because of the dark and undesirable colour of her skin.


Subjects: Consumers, Consumers

28 May 2015 14:26

Mobile wallets: Only the beginning
Posted by: Guest blog
Guest blog

This post is by Juan Ageitos, Senior Marketing Manager at mGage

We are heading rapidly towards a situation where mobile is synonymous with 'wallet'. With a flurry of innovations in the sector such as the launch of Samsung's m-payment service, the unveiling of the Apple Watch, the ability to pay via Snapchat, the introduction of payments on social media, and an increase in consumers paying for things on their mobile, it is no surprise that mobile wallets are poised to become a massive marketing channel.

Results from a recent survey carried out by mGage, looking into consumers' attitudes towards charging things to their mobile bill, suggest that this is a natural progression and something that consumers are ready to welcome. The research found that almost one third of consumers have donated to charity via their mobile phones, with a similar number being happy to pay for everyday items by charging them to their mobile phone bill. Of these, 80% of consumers said they would be happy to charge up to £15 on every-day items to their mobile.


Subjects: Digital, Consumers

22 May 2015 16:57


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