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J.C. Penny has hired Ron Johnson, Apple’s head of retail, as its new CEO. The goal is to capture some or Apple’s retail magic in s bottle and pour it on the top floor of J.C. Penny stores and hope it dribbles down the escalators to the main floor. Past the jewelry counters, bread mixers, faux leather jackets and J.C. Penny house brand jeans. Don’t get me wrong, I am an optimist by nature. Brand planning is all about positivity and change. Even heavy Domino’s Pizza type lifting, but this one feels like it will need Microsoft money to accomplish.
Michael Dell who also practiced his marketing ju-ju in Plano, TX, but has had a hard time of late, would agree. A J.C. Penny retail makeover is quite a challenge. The articles about Mr. Johnson’s hire talk about innovation…but innovation is not a word that can be slapped on a product label. Apple’s innovation began in R&D, in the labs, in the culture and resulted in some fine-ass products. Penny’s innovation can’t come from pricing, or salespeople, or the merchandise sets – it has to come from something much deeper. I suspect Mr. Johnson, as excited and smart as he is, may be the wrong tool for this job. I hope he proves me wrong, because it would be exciting to watch.
A while ago I suggested Sears reposition and become El Sears, catering to the Spanish and Latin communities. (They didn’t listen. Give them 7 years.) J.C. Penny needs to focus on innovation it has a stomach for…and its consumers have a stomach for. This move may actually be “the idea to have an idea,” but not the idea itself. RIP Dick Kerr. Peace!
Tags: apple, Dick Kerr, domino’s pizza, El Sears, innovation is not a label, J.C. Penny, ju-ju, michael dell, microsoft, plano texas, R & D, retail marketing, Ron Johnson, sears, whats the idea, whatstheidea
There are a lot of smart people out their explaining how to make your marketing better. How to make more sales, more clicks, more inquiries? Thanks to the web and the algorithm whole new cottage industries have grown up around the more-more. The speaking circuit, conferences and webinars are growing like a dookie thanks to the new tools. But they are only tools.
My shtick is all about finding your brand idea and organizing it with the right planks so that when you pick your tools the job is easier. “Here’s a canvas, now paint a picture.” Or, “Here’s a canvas, now paint a fall landscape.”
There are some wonderful tenets of marketing that are not very often preached or practiced but, when followed, have a powerful impact on efficacy. (And we overlook them because we’re trying to find the message in the dark, sans brand plan.) Here are a couple of those tenets:
Surprise and Delight. Humans love to be surprised. And they love to be delighted. But often, marketers are so tired and beat down they just default to selling — even if nobody’s buying. Whenever you create something for a customer or prospect ask yourself “Is this surprising?” Or is it the same old, new color. Ask “Will this put a smile on someone’s face”? And probe its toothsomeness.
Be Artful. I read today about Ben Wilson, a U.K. artist who paints pictures on discarded blobs of gum. He brings his brushes and color palette and bellies up to the sidewalk and creates art. As Keith Haring did before him, Mr. Wilson creates wonderment and art for the people. The man and his work are beloved. If you want your marketing to outwork your competitors, it must possess artfulness. Find a strategy, then worry about the really important stuff. Do it in didge, traditional, PR or whatever. Stop poopin’ it out. Peace.
Tags: be artful, ben Wilson, brand plan, Brand Planning, didge, keith haring, marketing, more-more, poopin out the marketing, surprise and delight, whats the idea, whatstheidea
The new big thing in marketing is transmedia — the ability to carry a consistent message from media type to media type. A video on YouTube may be an extended version of a :30 spot from TV, using a music bed and voice over from radio, telling the same story told on an out of home billboard supported by a branded geolocation app on your mobile. It takes planning and is not easy, but for those who do it, it’s tight.
Touchpoints are marketing parlance for places consumers come in contact with the brand. They include all the aforementioned media intersections but extent to packaging, point of sale, customer care and, to an extent, curated community. The goal at the touchpoint level is similar to the goal at the transmedia level: foster positive opinion, create bias toward your product and sell (Foster, Bias and Sales, the name of my next business). This must be done in an organized way that doesn’t create or even begin to create confusion.
Twitchpoints are my new thing. Mapping them and making them work to your brand’s advantage is the goal in a Fast Twitch Media world. Fast Twitch Media is bursty media consumed in small chunks that supports our ADD habits. Texting, Tweeting, hashtags, landing pages, mobile apps, reality TV. When you read something in a magazine and Google it, that’s a twitch. Marketers who can maps and manipulate the fast twitch media behaviors of millennials and the rest of us, will have an advantage. Let’s call it the third “T”. Pah, pah pah Peace!
Tags: fast twitch media, geolocation, touchpoints, transmedia, twitchpoints, whats the idea, whatstheidea, youtube", “foster bias and sales”
Huevos. Pronounced way-bose. For my non-Spanish friends that means eggs. It was reported today that Ford Motor Company has decided to drop plans to re-enter the minivan market in the U.S. Instead, it’s turning a Detroit plant loose building small hybrid cars with the silly name C-Max. Small cars. Hybrid only. Let the other knuckleheads build the minivans. Huevos!
My daughter drove from Long Island to Baltimore to see her boyfriend and the EasyPass bill just came in. It showed about $50 in tolls round trip. Sans gas. During rush hour, the Long Island Rail Road from Babylon to NYC (about 40 miles) costs $27 round trip. The gub-ment is charging us healthily for transport. Why? Because it’s hemorrhaging money, thanks to bail outs. Who did we not bail out? Ford. Why? Huevos.
If you follow this blog (Google whatstheidea+Ford or GM), you’ll know that I’ve been ranting about gas guzzlers and large cars for years. Adapting and adopting are American traits. Pioneering traits. I Tweeted this morning that as a nation if we put as much collective energy into clean tech and green tech as we put into Anthony’s Wiener, we might actually become the nation of pioneers we once were. Peace!
Tags: Anthony weiner, Baltimore, c-max, Clean tech, ford motor company, gm, green tech, huevos, long island, minivan, nation of pioneers, whats the idea, whatstheidea
Bing may be a better search engine; it may not be. If you listen to Microsoft insiders it certainly is. If you listen to SEO nerds it’s a toss-up or a no. If you try Bing, it appears to be a new skin with better pictures on the same algo.
Bing’s initial advertising straddled the fence on 2 ideas: the decision engine and information overload. The latter was fun and made for great advertising and a great launch. It set the stage for an implicit benefit: make better decisions. The benefit was not explicit, though the tagline was. Microsoft recently moved the Bing business to Crispin Porter Bogusky from JWT and is running a new TV ad talking about Facebook integration. (Integration is a word techies use when at a loss for other words.) The new work is cute and will appeal to fast-twitch media consumers (millennials) but it feels idea-less. I’m not getting information overload or decision engine.
Though not everyone who searches is looking to make a decision, decision engine is a good strategy. Tying the wagon (Could I be more of a geezer?) to Facebook or Project Glee is a borrowed interest approach to marketing. It’s a tactic. The nerdiest softies in Redmond know their search algo is better than Google’s. Someone just needs to find out why. And how. Then take that how and wrap it English — with song, pictures and video and sell some clicks. And the real softy nerds know this. “Why are we singing, when we should be saying?” Decision engine is the idea. Organize the proof. Peace!
Tags: algo, better search engine, Bing, crispin porter bogusky, decision engine, facebook, fast twitch media, fast-tritch media, google, information overload, jwt, micorsoft, millennials, project glee, Redmond, search engine, softies, whats the idea, whatstheidea
The cloud is the cloud. Apps are the software we all use. Many apps are free, others are pay-for. What the cloud and apps have in common is the internet. Apple was always a wonderful design company. First and foremost the designs were physical – about the device. Also the designs were logical – about the software and usability. But physical design is the tangible evidence of what makes Apple graet..
As Apple moves its center, its core, away from the wonderful designs it has created over the last 8 years towards more cloud-based designs (read iCloud) will the luster come off? Clouds are pretty to watch, but don’t offer the luster of slim, shiny touchables. I would almost prefer to see Apple go into the car or refrigerator business than the cloud business. But that’s moi. Peace!
Tags: apple, car busniess, cloud computing, design, icloud, refrigerator business, untouchables, whats the idea, whatstheidea
One of the fastest growing titles in marketing is “digital strategist.” Everyone wants them. Question is: How do you find them, what are the qualities for judging them, and once you find one what do you do with her/him? (Read the specs on these job descriptions some time.)
A friend runs a very nice web design and development company in NYC. One day we were meeting (okay, drinking beer) and he told me “I’m working on the strategy for Stella Artois.” The brand planner in me wondered what a web guy was doing working on the strategy. Asked to clarify, he said on I’m working on the web strategy.
I’ve long advocated “there’s only one strategy” and many ways to express it – called tactics — but that’s just me. I suspect companies are burning lots of calories hiring digital strategists because someone needs to manage all the social media managers. Hee hee.
So here’s the fast take: Fifteen years ago brand and account planning grew out of the need to unify advertising, promotion and direct marketing. PR should have been in the fold but wasn’t. And now with the algorithm, dashboards and web nerds commanding serious budgets – and Radian6 and Google giggling all the way to the bank — the demand for digital strategists is taking off. Band-Aid. Brands need one brand strategy. One brand architecture. And smart groups of people to bring it to life. As the family is gets bigger, parenting becomes more important. Peace!
Tags: Account Planning, Advertising, Band-Aid, Brand Strategy, digital strategist, direct marketing, PR, promotion, stella artois, web design, web strategy, whats the idea, whatstheidea