More and more shoppers are embracing food as medicine, and consequently heading to local grocery stores to meet their health and wellness needs.
Food-as-medicine is not a groundbreaking idea; the concept can be documented as far back as the Ancient Greeks (the famous quote “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” can be attributed to Hippocrates). But until recently food-as-medicine has been more of a “fringe” idea than mainstream. While the public’s faith in traditional medical institutions and treatments has crumbled and healthcare costs have continued to rise, shoppers have renewed their interest in the idea. As a result, the functional food and beverage space is exploding. And in the last year, health and wellness spending at grocery has started to rival mass and drug expenditures.
The food-as-medicine lifestyle encompasses more than increased organic and natural options. In response to growing shopper interest, grocery stores are adapting in innovative ways. They’re redesigning the grocery retail experience to accommodate wellness services and support, and playing an active role in shopper health management.
A) The unofficial start of Summer
B) BBQs and beer
C) Honoring the 45+ million who have served in our military during war time
D) A very welcome long weekend
E) Best time of the year to buy a refrigerator
Like most Americans, you probably had a difficult time deciding on just one “reason for the season.” Since its inception, Memorial Day has nearly always been a “tug-of-war between solemn remembrance and summertime fun." The holiday lies at the apex of tradition and seasonality. It subconsciously ushers in summer food cravings and outdoor activities. And at the same time it’s also a sacred time to recognize and pay our respects to those that have served in our military. These distinct forms of thought provide challenges for both consumers and brands.
At a time when people are scrutinizing how much the media can impact perspectives (and…elections) like never before, some brands are taking the opportunity to showcase past mistakes with the hope that, by doing so, they will be able to demonstrate their commitment to rectifying past mistakes and win over shopper loyalty. The overarching sentiment is, “that’s who we were, but not who we are anymore. Trust us.”
One great example of this is National Geographic’s recent race-themed issue. In it, National Geographic explores how race defines, separates, and unites us, while also taking a look at the role the magazine’s own content may have played in driving our ideas about race. To do this, National Geographic recruited historian John Edwin Mason to analyze its photos and articles published over the past 130 years. Mason found that subjects of color were typically depicted as “savages,” and bare-chested women were often photographed to entice male readers. In Mason’s words, National Geographic promoted the view that the “black and brown world was primitive and backward and generally unchanging.”
This content is running in National Geographic current issue because—in its words—“For decades, our coverage was racist. To rise above it, we must acknowledge it.”
Most brands and retailers today are trying to gain favor with the ever elusive and appealing Millennial target. Marketers hope that by engaging this unspecifically broad group, they will be able to rejuvenate their brand by earning the sort of virality, fame and success that Gucci made with this group over the last few years. But the focus on younger generations often overshadows a growing target group that is hardly mentioned in industry case studies – seniors. While the 50+ crowd may not seem as desirable as younger groups they do represent a tour de force that should not be ignored. In the U.S. alone, 80 million people will be 65 or older within a few decades, compared to around 50 million today. In the UK, nearly one in seven people will be over 75 by 2040 and life expectancy currently grows by five hours a day.
While some companies recognize this and offer new products and solutions for older audiences, very often the way such products are approached and communicated is biased. Many fall into the trap of thinking with clichés, using stereotypical portrayals of older people, resulting in oversimplification of a diverse target group. While some may be happy to retire and look after their grandkids, others may want to keep working well into their 70s. Still others may be looking to do things they never were able to before, such as traveling or engaging in the community. For example, Australian seniors are more active than ever before.
Understanding these needs of older audiences becomes crucial at the point of sale as well. American retirees spend 25% more time shopping on every dollar they actually spend than younger people. While we often talk about creating shopping experiences for the latter, it is the former who have more time to spend on shopping.
At its core, the Olympics are about pushing the boundaries of human limitations. The primordial elements that cement the Olympics in our hearts and minds center on perseverance, competition, achievement, and even defeat. It’s the rugged path to Olympic victory, often requiring seemingly superhuman skills, that captures viewers’ attention across the globe for two straight weeks. It’s a powerful ethos and brands jump at this opportunity.
A lot of the advertising during the Olympics attempts to harness the triumphant spirit of the event and is ultimately designed to pull at our heart strings. Brands do this to create an emotional bond with their viewers, establishing a deeply rooted link between what people are feeling and the brand itself.
For Super Bowl LII, NBC sold an estimated $500 million in ads with an average of $5 million per 30-second spot. Which seems like a lot, but not without some major benefits.
According to The New York Times, 55% of Millennials said they consider the Super Bowl to be a social or entertaining spectacle as opposed to a sporting event, and a third of Millennials would prefer a boring Super Bowl with great commercials versus a great game with boring commercials. In the age of cutting the cord, gaining the opportunity to have over 111 million people view your ad might make the $5 million price worth the investment.
At the end of the night, who were the winners?
In a world with so much choice and little brand allegiance there also seems to be more and more stunts as brands compete for the love of consumers. In just the past few months we've seen Oktoberfest shoes by Adidas, Thanksgiving pants by Stove Top, and a Super Bowl fanny pack by Heluva Good Dip just in time for the big game.
But sometimes the most basic stunt of all can have the most impact–a sale. Intermarché's recent price slashing of Nutella was so dramatic (at 70% off) that it caused massive lines and riots in store. Hundreds of people lined up to get their hands on some Nutella and word spread across the globe as the frenzy exploded.
Brand love can come across in innumerable ways and you never know what consumers will react to. Sometimes it's best not to overthink it and just give the people a great sale.
Contributed By: Kira Walstrom, Integer Denver
Image Source: Unsplash
Spotify recently launched a new feature called Your Time Capsule. What is it? A personalized playlist of thirty throwback jams. With an unrivaled algorithm, the music-streaming service pinpoints your favorite musical period and delivers curated picks evoking a nostalgic yearning for yesteryear. The accuracy is uncanny. Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, The White Stripes, and No Doubt. Yup. That sums up my ‘90s awkward angst in a nutshell.
Aside from a fun trip down memory lane, there’s also a hidden marketing lesson.
While there’s obviously a fine line between invasive annoyance and useful engagement, we can’t underestimate the power of detailed personalization. Done correctly, it can be an added value that sparks a special affinity. The proof is in the numbers. Bombarding people with useless messages leads to consumer fatigue. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by Fox School of Business, social media advertising can boost short-term purchase by roughly 5%, but it also increases the likelihood that people will unfollow the company by 300% in the long term. Touché.
Don’t be that brand. Be the brand that does something useful. Be the brand that tunes in and makes people’s lives unexpectedly better.
Image Source: Spotify
The topic of optimizing productivity continues to be a pervasive point of discussion; but why does it feel like everything we’re doing still isn’t enough? Well, for all the moneymakers out there, you might be surprised to hear that our productivity has increased nearly 400% since 1950, while wages have remained virtually stagnant. Just look at the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If today’s expectation is that we do more and more for less and less, at what point do we see people break?
Professional moms feel the brunt of this burden the most—sacrificing (happiness, commitments, relationships), just to stay afloat. Pair that with the cultural pressures and stigma of being a working mom (only 21% of adults say the trend toward more mothers of young children outside the home has been good for society) and you have women who give up on their dreams and stop reaching for opportunities.
As consumers look to streamline their day-to-day to-do lists, these tradeoffs and compromises become the norm. The myth of about “having it all,” is just that. A myth. But we continue to chase after these unrealistic dreams.
It probably won't come as much of a surprise that the top Google search regarding Mother's Day is "when is mother's day." For the record: it's the second Sunday in May, which in 2017 happens to be this Sunday, May 14th (you're welcome—go buy your mother a card). No doubt the shifting date of the holiday contributes to much of the forgetfulness, along with the fact that it is an occasion more likely to be celebrated with a card, flowers, and a phone call rather than a trip home. This doesn't mean, however, that brands should sit out the holiday: in 2016, the NRF estimated that U.S. consumers would spend $21.4-billion on Mother's Day. So how should brands engage with shoppers around a holiday that shoppers want to spend money on but can't seem to remember when it is?
Since the addition of the smartphone to our daily lives, it has become inevitable that mobile shopping would one day be ingrained in society. Yet for years, our data showed that shopping via a mobile phone exhibited a slow acceptance rate, with only modest increases year over year. However, based on our recent findings, it seems that 2016 was finally the year of mobile adoption.
We found that nearly two-thirds (64%) of our respondents are now using their mobile devices to complete purchases– up from just 25% in 2012. Furthermore, while adoption is greatest with the younger generations, it is gaining momentum from ages all around, with 26% of respondents aged 65+ reporting mobile shopping use.
To find out more about mobile and e-commerce growth, download the most recent issue titled The Checkout: Digital found here.
Netflix, AT&T, Target, and Walmart. What do they have in common? These four behemoths, and countless others, regularly embrace and host Hackthons events that encourage outsiders to come together, all in the name of creating, building, and prototyping new ideas. What’s the common bond that links these people together? The art of experimentation. Within the seemingly endless options to explore, hackers at a recent Netflix Hack Day cracked Mattel’s MindFlex technology (which measures brainwave activity and allows you to circuit those impulses to an electrical toy through a series of computer processes). By rewiring the technology, they created a way for users to navigate and control selections on Netflix, through the power of their minds. The team affectionately labeled this technology, MindFlix.
These innovative breakthroughs signal the exciting possibilities of the future. Though the technology is in its infancy, just imagine the possibilities. Could advertisers eventually preemptively send ads, samples, or a personalized engagement based on the what we’re thinking? That reality may not be so far-fetched. What are the potential pitfalls of a technology like this? Are we on the verge of a Big Brother-esque reality? Only time will tell.
Image Source: Netflix: Stranger Things
Companies are willing to spend upwards of 5 million dollars on a Super Bowl advertisement because it's one of the biggest ad engagement opportunities of the year. But what happens if you don't have that kind of money? Well, The Honda Dealerships of Southern California have developed a different way to prompt Super Bowl viewers to engage with their brand; they are encouraging consumers to continue doing something they do every year--judge commercials and tweet.
These Honda dealerships have preemptively put a dollar amount on every possible cliché Super Bowl advertisements could include. For every dollar that adds up, the dealerships (with the help of their agency, Secret Weapon) will match the amount with a donation to the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Secret Weapon has watched commercials from the last three Super Bowls and noted common trends, assigning each a dollar amount. These trends include babies ($1,000), hipsters ($5,000), famous people ($500) and talking animals ($1,000) among others. Throughout the event, Honda of Southern California will be live tweeting each cliché they spot and supplying updates on the total donation. The total dollar amount will be immediately donated to the Boys & Girls Club.
When the Wu-Tang Clan released their new album in 2015, ‘Once Upon A Time in Shaolin,’ it was met with an immense amount of hype. The year prior, a double CD of the album was stored in a vault at a hotel in Morocco, you know, as one does with a new album. But this wasn’t any album drop – they only released one copy. ONE. And that single double-disc sat inside of a vault in northern Africa until someone bought it at an auction for $2 Million. It was unattainable to the nth degree. It was as much an innovative music launch strategy as it was a wild PR and marketing stunt. And it got people to notice, with social chatter skyrocketing for several months after the album’s initial announcement.
Of course, the Wu-Tang example is extreme. Six years of work and creativity, in secret, only to allow one wealthy human to hear your production – it seems crazy. But with marketing, "crazy" can sometimes work. And then when you think about it, it all doesn’t seem that crazy. Even though there were legal regulations put on the leaking of the album once purchased, in this day and age, do you think they all really thought the masses wouldn’t hear at least some of the music in the end?
People create hype, not brands. Until people start talking, hype doesn’t exist, regardless of what off-the-wall plan your brand comes up with.
Click to download Part 4: The Socioeconomics of AI to explore how AI impacts various shopper types