19 April 2013 • Yes, we know that there are differences between a dedicated e-reader and a tablet. And if absolutely forced, consumers will acknowledge the differences too. But ultimately that's not really what consumers focus upon. In the hearts and minds of consumers it works out to a kind of 'meet-my-expectations-stupid' paradigm, and articulated or not, shrinking sizes and prices of 'full-featured tablets,' are managing to better meet customer expectations and are, thus, raising questions as to the viability of devices upon which one can only read a book.
04 April 2013 • Corning – the 'glass company' that came up with the telescope mirror for the Palomar Observatory, lighter and tougher windshields, and with Gorilla Glass for the first iPhone (GG now in its 3rd generation) – has showcased their new, ultra-thin, 100-micron thick, flexible glass.
02 April 2013 • It was American President Eisenhower who famously spoke of "unwarranted influence." At the time he was talking about the military-industrial complex. But if he were around today, we suspect he would have included the aviation business, specifically passenger airlines, especially in light of the spate of recent mergers.
12 March 2013 • Real fishermen have a saying: "a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at the office," but perhaps not at McDonald's. Not this month, anyway. It turns out that Fish McBites – offered in three different sizes and a new Happy Meal – didn't lure enough customers into the chain to help U.S. sales last month.
21 February 2013 • Looks as if Office Depot is going to buy OfficeMax. That purchase would combine the #2 and #3 office supply retailers, leaving only the new entity and Staples (currently #1), in an industry that has been pretty much undifferentiated and, in the industry's terminology, "overstored."
14 February 2013 • For those of you who missed it, we announced the results of our Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) last week. There were actually some seismic shifts in how consumers view categories and brands, and products and services that used to be brands and now aren't.
12 February 2013 • It looks as if US Airways and American Airlines are going to merge very soon. That merger would put them ahead of Delta (that purchased Northeast, then merged with Western, bought Pan Am routes, and finally merged with Northwest) and United (that kept it simple and just merged with Capital with Continental).
05 February 2013 • If you watched the commercials on the Super Bowl this past Sunday it won't come as a surprise that consumers desperately need greater levels of emotional engagement, if marketers want to – not just entertain – but actually sell products and build real brands. That fact was confirmed by findings from the Brand Keys 17th annual 2013 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI).
25 January 2013 • American Airlines jettisoned its old "AA" tail-wing signature logo and unveiled its new logo this week. It's the first time they've had a new logo in 40 years, so they're really emotional about it. It's an updated eagle inside a blue and red stripe. It's a nice enough logo, and, apparently, it comes surrounded by a whole lot of rational explanations.
18 December 2012 • The New Year, 2013, approaches. And as everyone knows, the number thirteen has lots of symbolism. For the religious among us there were the 13 guests at the Last Supper and the 13 tribes of Israel. Scientists know the Universe is governed by 13 fundamental constants of physics, and the relationship between the volume of the Earth and the Sun is 1310. For shoppers there’s added value of 13 items that comprise a “baker’s dozen.” Anthropologists study the 13 skies of the Aztecs.
14 December 2012 • You can't have missed the now-familiar HSBC ad campaign, posted at every airport in the world for a long, long time. HSBC spent years positioning itself as the "world's local bank." They did it via a campaign that featured series of similar visuals and single-word observations, which were designed to indicate that HSBC understood the subtleties of cultural differences and were fully invested in understanding multiple perspectives.
27 November 2012 • Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving in the US, has traditionally been the start of the holiday shopping season. The name originated in Philadelphia, to describe heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicular traffic, when many folks took off the day after Thanksgiving as an extended holiday and used it to shop. That was back in the 1960s. By the mid-70s it spread to other large cities as a retail event. Another explanation was given the increase store traffic that particular Friday, it was the point when retailer ledger entries got made – not in red ink, representing losses – but in black ink, indicating profits. Get it? Black Friday!
15 November 2012 • Just because retailers began advertising and decorating stores for the holidays well before Halloween doesn't mean consumers are shopping earlier. Yes, some have been, having learned tighter inventory controls increased chances that if they wait too long, products might not be there. But that's only 24% of shoppers. For the rest, 40% indicated that they'd begin shopping this month, with a third of consumers waiting for the traditional Thanksgiving Black Friday, and Cyber Monday sales. Thirty-six percent (36%) of shoppers are waiting till December, with 9% indicating they'll actually wait until the last 2 weeks of December. So much for all that early-earlier-earliest holiday advertising!
06 November 2012 • Legendary newsman, Walter Cronkite, once noted, "Everything is being compressed into tiny tablets." And that was 33 years before Apple announced it has sold 3 million iPad Minis during its introductory weekend. That was a new product launch record for them, which is saying a lot when you talk about Apple.
01 November 2012 • Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard, is instituting a new turn-around attempt – a new line of printers. Or, more precisely, multi-functional printers, or MFPs. MFPs combine printers with scanners and digital storage. Generally a single product that allows one to manage electronic documents in different ways. But the reality is that given electronic document management today, people end up printing less and managing more. And while HP has, well, not done much of anything as regards research and development in a while, other brands have stepped in to fill customer needs.
31 October 2012 • Voting offers people the opportunity to make choices. With those choices come consequences. And while we all may have our minds on another election, the votes are in and counted when it comes to who won the brand loyalty race this year. We've just published the 16th annual list of brands that have won the hearts, votes, and loyalty of our notoriously fickle citizenry.
24 October 2012 • It's not very often that you hear the phrase, "poor Brad," but after last week's airing of the film noir ad for Chanel No. 5 starring Brad Pitt, not-a-little sympathy is in the air – especially after Saturday Night Live and Conan O'Brien had a run at him. Finding the ad abstruse and esoteric, the first male spokesperson for the perfume was skewered by these comedians in skits that mocked pretentious advertising as much as it did Brad.
Bringing it on: The battle of Amazon, eBay, and Walmart delivery to deliver on customer expectations
12 October 2012 • If you were looking for a motto regarding the fact that the consumer has been in control of the marketplace for more than 2 decades, here's one: Impatience is the mark of independence.
09 October 2012 • It will come as no surprise to anyone that the most-important engagement driver in the airline category is "Safety." That's what passengers expect. And, because we have regulations, planes get grounded when they aren't considered safe enough to go up.
04 October 2012 • Deutsche Telekon's USA-based T Mobile and MetroPCS – companies that have not done well in the highly competitive U.S. wireless providers category – have agreed to merge their businesses.
27 September 2012 • Research In Motion's new Blackberry 10 operating system was due out around now. And, yes, we do know Apple launched their iPhone 5 and sold 5,000,000 in the first weekend. So perhaps it was serendipitous that the company ended up delaying the planned update.
05 September 2012 • Summer's officially over, Labor Day celebrated, so welcome back to work. We hope you had the chance to follow Mr. da Vinci's advice we offered up last month and take some time off to "go some distance away and put your work into perspective."
07 August 2012 • Would you be surprised to hear that children lining the athletes parade route through Olympic Park in London were advised to wear "comfortable, unbranded or adidas shoes"? A bit biased, you say? Okay, lots of sporting events are used to promote brands. The Olympics, perhaps, more than most. But brand advisories?
31 July 2012 • With the weather being some of the hottest in decades, one might think that iced coffee sales would be going through the roof. But if Howard Schultz, founder and CEO of Starbucks, seemed a bit jittery, it wasn't from too much caffeine. Analysts' confidence was apparently on the decline when the company posted what they felt were disappointing earning results. And the share price fell nearly $5 at close of trading Friday.
27 July 2012 • New Yorkers – not known for their reticence making their opinions known – gathered at the NYC Board of Health yesterday for a public hearing on the Mayor's controversial proposal to ban large-sized sodas and sugared drinks from restaurants, sports arenas, movie theatres, delis, and outdoor food vendors.
About Robert Passikoff
Robert Passikoff is founder and president of Brand Keys, Inc.