Right Brain, Left Brain Blog

70 posts categorized "Business innovation"

08 July 2014

Think small and be mighty

Contrary to what you might believe, being “big” isn’t easy… especially from a marketing perspective. In a recent piece of research undertaken among senior executives at global organisations, we found a number of key areas in which these brands felt they came up wanting compared to smaller more nimble challenger brands.

The research targeted a range of industries including, oil and fuels, soft drinks, healthcare, agriculture and financial services, and covered the following markets:  Australia; UK; France; USA; Africa; and Singapore. What we uncovered was that regardless of industry or market there are three common complaints that appear to be undermining the business agenda.

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26 March 2013

The Quest for Provocation

It's a fact of life - the same route to work, the same coffee shop, the same issues pilling up in the in-tray - we can’t avoid the comfort of the familiar. Without realising it we all get very good at ‘pattern thinking’ - repeating today what worked yesterday. The history of commerce is piled high with once great businesses that were so focused on their current competencies and investments that they failed to spot the new wave of opportunities, and eventually it drowned them. This disruption theory is well known to corporate innovators. What is less well known is just how powerful a programme of provocation is – experiences that are designed to deliberately broaden the minds of executives.

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08 February 2013

Oreo catches fans by surprise at the Super Bowl!

By Cream Editorial

Fans frustrated with the 34-minute power outage at the Super Bowl in New Orleans were flooded with innovative advertising messages to keep their interest going during the blackout. Chief amongst these brands was Oreo, which stole the show with a tweet-cum-ad - while players milled about on the fields in darkness, the brand created an image of an Oreo set in light, shadow and darkness. The ad pointed thousands of followers to the line below the image that went: ‘You can still dunk in the dark’.

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24 January 2013

Awards open for Asian start-ups!

By Cream Editorial

Budding Asian entrepreneurs, who had winning business ideas but hadn’t found investors/partners to back them up, can now breathe a sigh of relief. The Festival of Media Asia 2013 is all set to launch the concept of M.A.P. (Media Accelerator Programme) in Asia, after a proven successful launch at the Festival of Media Global 2012.

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20 November 2012

How do brands choose a design for sustainable living?

By Ian Birkett, Corporate Culture 

The likes of Unilever and Marks & Spencer are amongst the ranks of blue-chip brands looking to bring sustainability firmly into the centre of their long-term business plans.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan and Marks & Spencer’s Plan A set out their visions for helping consumers live more sustainable lives. Furthermore, these blueprints highlight how they are more responsibly using vital resources such as water and energy in their manufacturing processes.

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19 November 2012

A ‘not so merry’ Christmas for Apple

By Jason Cross, Incentivated

It looks like size does matter as tablet sales are set to rise dramatically this Christmas. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have all released tablets in the last couple of months; models that are smaller, cheaper and catching up to Apple in the features, services and content ecosystems they provide.

Reviews for the Google Nexus 10 praise its design and hardware, suggesting that Apple ‘finds itself with serious competition at last.’ Kindle Fire, the first Amazon tablet available in the UK, has been praised for its 1200x800 HD display – ‘it’s a corker’ - and its ‘tempting price.’

So, how does the new iPad mini stack up? It’s still good, but in areas such as display quality, it ‘falls short of Android rivals’ Google and Amazon. Windows Surface’s ease of use is a big plus, with one reviewer arguing that ‘No other tablet makes it as easy to get to work straight out of the box. No other tablet has its broad compatibility with a range of peripherals.’

Jason Cross blog post

The big question of course is how does this translate to tablet sales? iPad 4 and mini still currently dominate with a reported 3 million sold (globally, it should be noted) on opening weekend, although from there it gets a bit confusing. Apple have yet to announce how many of these units are iPad 4 units and how many are iPad mini, or even whether this figure may include iPad and iPad 2 tablets, leading some to question just how successful the smaller product’s launch had been. The much shorter Apple store queues post-launch were also noticed.

The Kindle Fire has also reported record sales, not on its own launch date, but on the day after the iPad mini’s launch event. So it seems buyers waited to see what Apple had in store, and that the price was a deal-breaker, giving us a large clue about the contents are most likely to be for the boxes inside the wrapping paper on Christmas morning.

Google and Samsung Galaxy devices are Apple’s biggest competitor, with sales causing Apple to drop to 50% of market dominance in the US already. Nexus 7 is probably the biggest competitor and when comparing iPad mini directly to other 7 inch tablets, it has better specs, a lower price, gorgeous displays, and can be used one handed.

The success of the Windows Surface debut is less obvious, as Microsoft refuse to reveal sales figures. What is clear however is the company’s decision to adopt the same strategy as Apple – with a 53% higher profit margin than Apple makes on the iPad. This is opposed to Amazon and Google’s 13% and 16% margins respectively, effectively selling at cost with the aim of making money in the long run through sales of apps and content. The fact that these companies have been able to release sales figures more quickly and in a clearer fashion would suggest that this is the approach winning over customers in the current economic climate.

Increased competition means that Apple’s approach will need to change if they want the iPad to remain the dominant tablet in the market – the difference between tablets and MP3 players is that the competitors this time around are selling not just the plastic but the content environment to go with the device. Dominating a marketplace with the more expensive device will be a much harder ask than it was for the iPod, as competitor’s have learnt Apple’s lesson well.

The number of smaller, cheaper alternatives is increasing and will prove the more attractive purchase in the run-up to Christmas. As the capabilities between tablets become increasingly narrow, customer focus will become less about the hardware itself and more about the individual services, apps and convenience that they can provide.

ComScore and OFCOM have shown that tablets were owned by about 11% of the UK population in the middle of this year. It is entirely likely that this will break through the 20% barrier by January 1st – assuming the various manufacturers can maintain supplies in the next few weeks. To a degree that may well depend upon how many markets these various devices are currently available in. Which again, may play into the smaller, Android devices hands which have a more concentrated geographical spread relative to Apple this year.

09 November 2012

The real challenge is engagement across many channels

By Stuart Evans (ICLP)

Loyalty strategies were initially only focused on incentivising customer behaviour. Then brands woke up to the need to, and value of, collecting data to build insights. However, this is now coming full circle. 

Successful pure-play online brands already know a lot about their customers, even where they don’t have a loyalty programme in place. Online transactions automatically capture personal details that can be cross matched to other data sources to build customer profiles. The loyalty challenge here is building and maintaining customer engagement. Similarly, for multi-channel brands, the challenge is to understand how customers interact with them both online and offline and how loyalty can act as a bridge between both.

For example, having realised the importance of nurturing its ‘omni-channel’ customers, John Lewis installed Wi-Fi in its stores to facilitate price comparison and product research in-store. Having introduced a policy that allocates all online sales in a set geographic radius from its stores against the performance targets for the local store, John Lewis not only provided an enhanced offering to customers but avoided conflict between its channels – a smart use of its data. 

John Lewis offers Wi-Fi in stores

HMV has also incorporated free Wi-Fi in-store to integrate loyalty online and offline, as part of the launch of My HMV platform. Consumers entering the store will automatically receive a welcome message from My HMV, inviting them to join the programme. The aim is to make the brand experience more personalised, enabling shoppers to gain instant access content via the online platform, such as music streaming and reviews, whilst in-store.  

Today’s customers have a 360 degree view of your company, not the other way round.  They expect to have a consistent, value-added and interactive multi-channel customer experience across both directly controlled and indirect channels to a brand. Customers increasingly expect brands to not only have a presence on their social networks, but to use them to engage and feed their needs for interactivity and instant gratification.

Starbucks recognised this through the launch of the @MyStarbucksIdea initiative in the US – inviting customers to submit ideas on how to improve the business via Twitter and crediting the successful pitches on their blog. With over 70,000 ideas submitted in the first year, the successful strategy ensured customers felt empowered and part of the brand experience, building their confidence in the brand.

This paved the way for My Starbucks Rewards loyalty programme, enabling customers to redeem points and benefits for each transaction made with a Starbucks Card. Through developing this further to offer payment via mobile through the Starbucks App, the brand has ensured the customer remains engaged with the brand experience across numerous channels, and importantly, customer data is captured to allow the brand to make more personalised offers in the future.

29 August 2012

nails inc: Integrating technology into the consumer experience

Nailsinc2

By Helen McCall

In-store terminals are not necessarily new – in the past customers have been able to view products and sometimes order items via terminals physically located in the retail space. However, nails inc’s in-store terminal in Harvey Nichols goes above and beyond the standard terminal, creating something that helps it stand out from the retail crowd.

The nails inc retail experience is fashion and trend led. It’s all about customers exploring colour and effects, whether that’s through its range of special ‘mani’ and ‘pedi’ services or through the product range either online or in store. Therefore the brand’s innovative and trend-focused values need to be a reflection of how they position themselves online.

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About this blog

  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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