Reinventing the Wheel....er, Cog
It looks like the Cog started a revolution in marketing - and the revolution won't necessarily be televised.
"The Cog" is an advertisement created for the release of the new Honda Accord that featured some 60 plus parts of the vehicle working together to create a chain reaction that is nothing short of breathtaking. It was a runner up for the grand prix at Cannes, and by all accounts was a remarkable step forward in the realm of creative advertising.
But what's more remarkable is that the advertisement was available only on the Internet. It has been downloaded millions of times in a very short period of time, and according to Business 2.0, has led to 10,000 requests for more information in England alone.
A brilliant, award-winning advertisement that can demonstrate real, measurable results? Perhaps the Internet is not the bane of the marketing world after all.
Who do you know?
Creating demand for products before they come out is a difficult task to pull off. Unless you have a few dozen celebrities at your disposal to do the job for you.
The Wall Street Journal wrote about Harry's Shoes, which plans to release it's first line of shoes later this year. The shoes, which range from $300-500 per pair, are going to be sold at some of the most exclusive retailers in the world, in very limited supply.
But while scarcity itself can help increase demand for a product, Harry's has another quiver in its arrow. The owner, 39-year-old Matthew Mellon (the same family whose moniker graces Carnegie-Mellon University) has friendships with some of the most famous men in Hollywood. Over the past couple of years, starts like Denzel Washington and Elton John have been seen with his wears at various award shows. In total, the WSJ reports over 66 celebrities have been seen wearing Harry's Shoes.
If you're going to go for the elitist marketing angle, you might as well do it right.
Would your clients say this about you?
"Their style is incredibly loose...It's an extremely informal company...I just call them up, place an order and then go pick it up. There's no paperwork. But they'll bend over backwards to please me."
Quite a quote. It comes from the agency for Chik-Fil-A, about a company called Associated Fiberglass Engineers. This is the company that made the 3-D chickens for billboards all over the country. The company had never done anything like it before, but it had a reputation for doing spectacular work.
The company now designs similar works of art for other food chains, and could do a lot more. But the company is choosing to stay small so it can continue providing its clients with the kind of quality they first became known for.
Who says that capitalism and greed must go together?
It looks like tire copmanies can be hotbeds of innovation. Rubber companies are recycling their old tires into mulch. The stuff comes in different colors, doesn't get packed down or wash away, saves trees, and is easier on knees. It's selling like crazy, at a price roughly 8 times that of regular mulch.
If tire companies can come up with new ways to make money and delight consumers, we certainly have no excuse.
What does the store of the future look like?
It might look something like this.
Carts that remember what you buy and allow you to scan items as you shop. No more waiting in line. For companies, the opportunity to market products for different prices to different customers on the fly. And an inventory control system that tracks and adjusts itself automatically.
Pretty crazy stuff. Certainly a few years ahead. But who's to stop a company from implementing some low-tech versions of this stuff now?
Why not have more registers than you need so people don't have to wait in line?
Why not guide people through the store and save them time?
I bet you could easily think of 20 ways to make grocery shopping a more painless, enjoyable experience.
So try! Let us know what you come up with!
Is the circular dead?
A handful of retail establishments are forsaking the simple household mailer for something a little more substantial. The Limited Too is making preparations to sell a series of books about the lives of four best friends and their obsession with fashion. And companies like Bloomingdales and Coach are now investing in 100-plus page publications dedicated to their wares. But what's interesting is there's no real method in the publications for generating sales - the companies aren't trying to make catalogs. Instead, they're attempting to build their brand images by generating loyal followers of their new publications.
I'm not a 16 year old girl, but I'm all for this trend. Anything to get rid of the dozens of circulars in my mailbox each week is a good thing.
When is a brick more than a brick?
Hanson Brick is trying to find out. A company founded in 1999 by the joining of 7 brick companies all over the world, Hanson Brick is trying to break the commodity status that brick obviously occupies. By grouping their products into a series of five "collections," they are attempting to focus on the aesthetic appeal of the product rather than it's utilitarian purpose.
Will they be successful? Who knows. But they've recognized that it doesn't hurt to try. In a marketplace that is rapidly changing, perhaps even the century-old brick industry needs to start taking some risks.
What's an Insperience?
Whirpool is trying to turn dishwashers and refridgerators into something more. With the Insperience Studio, the company intends to create a sales experience where people happily walk through a 90 minute sales presentation in exchange for being able to try the appliances. People can do their laundry, make dinner, anything they want in these kitchen showcases.
The idea sounds a little odd, but they're doing what they should - they're trying something and testing it. They've developed a series of metrics, including foot traffic, market share, number of builders as new customers, as well as "sales figures at retailers whose salespeople are trained at Insperience." If it backfires, odds are they'll at least know why. And if it sticks, they'll have a prototype that can be rolled out all over the country.
At the very least, they're trying. Sure beats throwing another Flag Day sale.
Profiting from bizarre behavior
I grew up with a mother that treated her dogs very much like people.
It appears as though she wasn't alone. In fact, pet-lovers have become a large enough market to warrant the attention of big business. Virgin Atlantic now apparently offers frequent flier miles to pets traveling on the airline.
Richard Branson may be a bit crazy, but his company is very much tapped into the minds of its customers (apparently including poodles.)
Breaking old paradigms....REALLY old paradigms
Ashley Huntington is taking the wine-making business in France and turning it on its head.
The Australian owns the Domaine de la Baume vineyard, and has been doing things many of his peers consider blasphemous. He's packaging wine with metal screw caps. He's disrupting the supply chain by offering growers more money to grow better grapes. And he's selling single=grape varietals that appeal to the mass market (they're easier to remember.)
And how is he doing? He sold $7.1 million last year.
It might upset your competition to do something different. But the opinion of the customer is more important.