The Warc Blog

Postmortem: a Borders non-fiction selection

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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It's been said that a good book tells the truth about its hero and a bad book tells the truth about its author. But the liquidation of a 40 year-old bookstore chain ultimately tells the truth about the brand and how it was managed.

Last Friday, Borders bookstores began liquidation sales at their remaining 399 retail stores. Former Borders VP and Chief Merchandising Officer and current interim CEO, Mike Edwards, sent out an email to Borders Rewards customers, which was an interesting spin on events. But to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, a thing is not necessarily true because a brand dies for it, so here are some portions of his letter and some of our observations from a loyalty and engagement perspective.

27 July 2011, 10:57
Expelliarmus

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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For the handful out there who are unfamiliar with this phrase, uttered famously in the Harry Potter books and films, this spell is used to disarm another wizard, typically by causing the victim's wand to fly out of reach. We could not help but think of this as we reflected on the prediction made by a modern-day "wizard" a number of years ago, right after the 6th Harry Potter book was released.

An independent global branding consultant proclaimed, "Harry Potter is headline news today because of the media blitz surrounding the new book. Six weeks later, you won't hear anything."

25 July 2011, 10:04
MRS conference - New solutions to old problems

Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc

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Agency creatives, tech firms and market researchers were all represented at Advertising Research, an event organised by the MRS and held in London last week. I was there too - and subscribers can read full Warc reports from the event, including key charts and video interviews with presenters, here and here.

To Helen Gawor, who chaired the conference, the main theme of the day's presentations was the expanding repertoire of new techniques available to today's researchers.

22 July 2011, 15:22
The Big Ideal

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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Ask anyone an opinion on any brand or product. Maybe you are thinking of buying one yourself, or maybe you’re just curious. What you are asking for, ultimately, is a vote. Is it cool; good; not so much? These answers are the kind of information that brands continue to pay good money for every business day.

It's actually relatively easy to get that information, however. You find your customers, design your questions, and then ask away. Where this whole process gets tricky is not in simple scales of liking or who recalled the brand name. That's just counting. What's hard is really describing the target. What is the yardstick they are evaluating the product against?

18 July 2011, 16:22
Fixed shopping budget?

Posted by: Grey Group Asia Pacific

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How much gets filled into a shopping cart and the types of brands which get in are determined by the consumer’s budget. This is a straightforward and innocuous statement to make, given the fact that this is a general belief held sacrosanct by marketers and retailers, and any attempt of even trying to suggest otherwise is bound to be met with opposition and ridicule.

Nevertheless, Grey and G2’s Eye on Asia – Retail study threw up an interesting set of numbers which tells quite a different story and provides me enough ammunition to re-think my stance on the issue.

13 July 2011, 11:10
The endangered species of the marketing world

Posted by: Grey Group Asia Pacific

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Brand loyalists, brand evangelists or however you may want to define them, are amongst the most precious people in any brand owner’s life.

We count their numbers, keep a hawk’s eye on the progress of that number and do everything possible to increase that number and protect it. It is not just a day job, it is a mission.

13 July 2011, 11:04
The unexploited powers of the trial pack

Posted by: Grey Group Asia Pacific

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“Tryvertising” or trying-before-buying was first spotted as a global trend by Trendwatching.com in 2005 and continues to proliferate until today; more consumers are making up their minds about brands based on their experiences and less so the messages conveyed to them. This upward trend reflects the findings in Grey and G2’s Eye on Asia – Retail study which uncovered that within the deep melting pot of in-store communications, a smorgasbord of tactics ranging from packaging, leaflets and brochures to scripted storekeeper advice, it is trial packs which are ranked by Asian shoppers as the most memorable brand interaction in-store. 

Clearly, the potential of the trial pack is great, particularly in higher investment (and therefore riskier) categories such as beauty and health supplements. According to Grey and G2’s Eye on Asia – Retail study, almost 33% of Asian shoppers who purchase beauty products and 30% of shoppers who purchase health supplements prefer brands that have trial packs available. Trial packs are also particularly relevant in this day and age when there is truly an abundance of choice, and a positive product experience can make or break the sale. However, despite this potential, the power of the pack is still under-leveraged and has considerable room for growth.

13 July 2011, 10:53
A Friendtelligence test

Posted by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys, Inc

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Q You're going off to grad school and the love affair is over. Response, once mind-blowing, has turned frustrating. Shutting down just happens. That's it. It's time to do a back up and get a new computer. What do you do first?

A A toss-up between a and b. Would eat dirt before doing c.

11 July 2011, 15:00
Mythbuster: Stick with what works

Posted by: Mythbuster, Les Binet and Sarah Carter, DDB

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DDB recently celebrated a special birthday – it is 20 years since the Felix cat food TV campaign first appeared on UK TV. Since then, it has run consistently across the UK and Europe, with hundreds of executions, across multiple media, launching new products and with the famous black and white cat appearing on everything from posters to tea-towels.

Felix has only ever had one campaign. Few campaigns anywhere in the world have run continuously for so long. Like the advertising jingle, the long-running campaign now seems an anachronism. This is bizarre, really, since client briefs rarely ask for campaign ideas that will need changing quite soon.

05 July 2011, 17:12
Warc Asia Prize - Winner's interview

Posted by: Joseph Clift, Product Manager, Warc

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It's been a very busy few weeks on Warc's Awards page, with cases from the Creative Effectiveness Lions, the North American Effies and the EACA Care Awards all now available for our subscribers to browse. But perhaps the biggest awards news of the season (for us at least) was the announcement of the first-ever Warc Prize for Asian Strategy, which was won by Coca-Cola Japan for 'Crush Eco', its striking launch campaign for mineral water brand I Lohas.

At the Cannes festival last month, I had a chance to catch up with Coca-Cola Japan's Vice President of Creative Excellence - and author of the prize-winning case study - David Elsworth. And David agreed to sit down for an interview about the development of the winning campaign.

05 July 2011, 14:27
 

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