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By Gary Drenik

The retail landscape is evolving beyond bricks versus clicks, demanding a unified and complementary strategy that bridges physical stores with digital engagement.

Imagine a busy executive browsing online and discovering a product at home. Later, during their commute, they receive a personalized notification about the same item available at a nearby store. Intrigued, they visit the store and complete the purchase. This is a very basic example of a purchasing journey where the boundaries between physical and digital retail spaces are becoming increasingly blurred, resulting in an interconnected ecosystem that caters to consumers’ constantly evolving needs. This is omnichannel advertising.

Omnichannel advertising is all about creating a seamless and fully integrated experience for consumers across multiple channels — both online and offline. It transcends the traditional boundaries of physical and digital retail, ensuring that the consumer journey is consistent, cohesive, and convenient.

Mastering the omnichannel journey between ecommerce and in-store experiences is crucial — and retail media can help connect the dots along that journey. Retail media, where retailers sell ad inventory on their sites to brands who are eager for engagement, is one of the fastest-growing sectors in advertising and is expected to represent over $150 billion in global ad spend by 2026. This surpasses both search and social advertising, making it a pivotal strategy for retailers who understand the consumer journey best.

Retail media has emerged as a strong tool for brands – not only because of its engaging native formats on retail sites, as well as offsite across open web publishers, but also because of its use of first-party commerce data from retailers. This allows brands and retailers to create relevant and addressable advertising using logged-in commerce data, as opposed to third-party signals such as third-party cookies, which are facing deprecation from Google Chrome at the end of this year.

The Rise of Omnichannel: A Shift in Consumer Behaviour

According to Brian Gleason, chief revenue officer at Criteo, a global commerce media company, the current popularity of omnichannel advertising can be attributed to rapidly shifting consumer behaviour and expectations.

“Modern shoppers demand a consistent brand experience, regardless of the channel they choose to engage with — be it a brand’s website, social media, mobile apps or physical stores,” said Gleason. “Simultaneously, it enables executives to leverage data-driven insights, personalized recommendations and predictive analytics to create that experience.”

For Gleason and other top decision-makers, it is not just about brands being present on multiple platforms; it is about orchestrating these channels to complement each other.

“Customers no longer view shopping channels in isolation – they expect a fluid and interconnected experience,” said Gleason. “It’s a journey where every channel contributes to a narrative of convenience and personalization.”

This expanded approach is crucial in today’s economic climate, as it highlights the shifting landscape of consumer behaviour. By 2027, 23% of retail purchases are expected to take place online, showing that online sales are here to stay. Yet a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey found that a majority of Gen-Z shoppers still prefer physical stores, with 53% favouring in-person purchases for essentials like apparel and accessories. This indicates a complex interplay between online and offline retail experiences that also varies by vertical, emphasizing the need for retailers to embrace omnichannel strategies to cater to their consumers’ specific and diverse preferences.

“Businesses across verticals can glean valuable information about preferences, behaviours and trends by noting customer interactions across various channels,” said Gleason. “This wealth of data empowers informed decisions, optimizes marketing strategies and allows for tailored and relevant offerings to specific audience segments.”

Connecting Retail Experiences Across Channels with AI-Powered Personalization

The retail landscape is evolving, but recent trends reveal a surprising truth: physical stores are not going anywhere. Beyond Gen-Z, data from Criteo shows a consistent surge in brick-and-mortar shopping during post-pandemic holiday seasons. In 2023, four in ten shoppers started their shopping in physical stores, highlighting storefronts’ enduring appeal.

“Unlike digital platforms, physical stores offer unique experiences like the ability to try on clothes, feel product quality and receive personalized service, which strengthens brand loyalty by providing a tangible connection,” said Gleason. “However, the true power lies in the synergy between the physical and digital realms. Omnichannel retail, which seamlessly integrates these experiences, offers a strategic advantage.”

Gleason cited a few specific examples.

“Omnichannel drives customer action, with retail media campaigns bridging the online-offline gap,” Gleason said. These campaigns leverage digital channels to raise brand awareness and ultimately drive consumers into stores. Metrics like foot traffic data and increased conversion rates during campaign periods demonstrate the success of this approach.

Major retail players have successfully embraced omnichannel strategies. Amazon’s integration of online shopping with its acquisition of Whole Foods; Apple’s seamless transition from online to in-store experiences that compel consumers to touch, feel and experience the product before making the final purchase; and Nike’s combination of ecommerce and immersive physical stores exemplify the power omnichannel advertising has to capture the attention and loyalty of executive-level consumers.

“A seamless omnichannel experience fosters brand consistency and reliability,” said Gleason. “Consumers easily transition between online research and in-store purchases, creating a sense of trust.” This, in turn, fosters brand loyalty. Loyal customers, who are repeat buyers and brand advocates, are the backbone of any successful retail business.

A unified brand story that transcends the digital and physical realms fosters consistent consumer engagement and influence. “Integrating retail media strengthens this narrative, maximizing the impact of marketing efforts,” said Gleason. “Ultimately, a well-executed omnichannel strategy with strong retail media integration not only drives sales but also leads to higher customer satisfaction and long-term brand loyalty.”

This year, Gleason foresees artificial intelligence as a key next step, playing a pivotal role in crafting hyper-personalized shopping experiences. By analysing vast consumer data, retailers can understand intent, anticipate individual preferences, tailor content, and deliver targeted promotions across channels.

“Imagine an ecommerce platform suggesting complementary items alongside a product you’re browsing or a store sending you targeted promotions based on your recent in-store purchases,” said Gleason. “With a deep understanding of individual consumer preferences, AI can generate highly personalized product recommendations across various channels. Moreover, AI can personalize website content, email marketing messages and even in-store displays. AI will personalize the shopping journey at every touchpoint, leading to a more engaging and ultimately a more profitable consumer experience.”

An omnichannel strategy is not a buzzword; it represents a dynamic approach that will redefine the retail landscape in 2024 and beyond. Embracing these predictions and leveraging innovative technologies will position executives to lead the seamless shopping revolution, forging lasting connections with their discerning customer base.

Feature Image Credit: ADOBESTOCK

By Gary Drenik

Check out my website.

I cover consumer-centric insights and analytics that provide executives with solutions needed to drive strategy. I am the CEO of Prosper Business Development where, for more than 20 years, we have provided market leadership and developed contemporary solutions to help Fortune 500 companies navigate change that impacts their business. I got my start in the radio industry.

Sourced from Forbes

YouTube’s decaying user experience has a more significant role to play in piracy than ad blocking

It’s always the innocent civilian who is the casualty of any war. It would be unfair to say that YouTube’s crusade against third-party apps has quite the gravity of war. However, the fact of the matter is that, once again, it is the customers who are caught in the crossfire of the company’s relentless pursuit to thwart third-party apps. Something’s got to give.

Recently, YouTube stated that it would strengthen its enforcement against apps that help users circumvent ads, circling us right back to YouTube’s other unwinnable war, its war against ad blockers. However, there’s a fallacy in YouTube’s understanding of the issue. Ad-blocking is just one feature offered by third-party YouTube apps and doesn’t necessarily even require another app. These alternative YouTube apps open up a world of quality-of-life additions that YouTube has either decided to remove or wasn’t thoughtful enough to include in the first place. And avid YouTube enthusiasts aren’t about to give up on these incredible features in the face of the company’s threats.

Ad-blocking is just one reason to install a third-party YouTube app

YouTube’s cheapening of the user experience has a larger role to play

Understanding YouTube’s ham-fisted approach against third-party apps requires understanding why people care enough to jump through loopholes to sideload these apps. It would be fairly trivial to point at ads as the singular problem with YouTube. However, that would be trivializing the extent of the issue. Ads have almost always been part and parcel of the YouTube experience. However, there’s a point at which ads become so frequent, so irrelevant, and so relentless that they start hurting the user experience. We’ve been past that point for a while now.

Scour community forums like Reddit, and you’ll spot user complaints about people having to sit through back-to-back ads after watching a single video. The other day, I had to sit through three 30-second long ads, two seemingly unskippable, to watch a minute-long video. That’s ridiculous. YouTube’s sneaky methods of hiding away skip buttons add to the menace.

But that’s not all there is to it. YouTube’s entire user experience has been going downhill for years. Pop open the app, and you’ll be bombarded by utterly unrelated content that has nothing to do with what you’ve been watching. Whatever happened to personalization, YouTube? The issue isn’t recent, either. By all estimates, the tipping point was somewhere around 2016. However, it’s just been getting worse. I don’t see a correlation between stand-up comedy and an account that only follows engineering and history documentaries, but perhaps I’m missing something.

Moreover, those unrelated recommendations have completely taken over my subscriptions. Unless I deep dive into the subscriptions tab, the app won’t show me all the new content that creators I follow have been putting out. There used to be a time when I’d pop into an exciting video and be taken down a rabbit hole of related videos I could binge through the night. That time has gone and has been gone for a while now.

Unfortunately, I wish solid recommendations, or the lack thereof, were the last of my concerns. It’s not, and the mobile app’s degradation has almost put me off watching YouTube on my phone. As I write this piece, my homepage consists of a sponsored ad for a television show in a language I don’t understand. This is followed by a 2 x 4 grid of YouTube Shorts with content unrelated to my subscriptions and watch history. Perhaps there’s a missing connection between Bollywood dance and Czechoslovakia’s Socialist history, but I fail to see it. Stay put because it doesn’t end there. You’ll also find a few more ads and occasionally an entire section dedicated to YouTube Music. Sigh. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise to Google that users are starting to retaliate.

Elsewhere, the app keeps making watching high-quality videos more complicated. My data limit is high enough that I don’t need to micromanage YouTube’s data consumption. If I’ve set it to high-quality playback, I want it to be the case for all the videos I watch. Except, that isn’t the case. Repeatedly, the app swaps out the high-quality stream for a mobile-optimized option.

Third-party apps offer a better YouTube experience than YouTube itself

Sometimes, Less is more

Based on the company’s statements, it’s clear that Google thinks third-party apps exist to remove ads. Sure, that might be the case for a significant number of users. However, these apps also add quality of life additions — A concept that is alien to the company. Dislikes? Who needs them? Right?

Third-party apps let users take control of their feeds. Apps like Revanced let you remove shorts from your home feed, get rid of obtrusive end screen cards, or do things like repeat a particular video — a must-have if you have a go-to focus music track.

Elsewhere, tools like SponsorBlock are a godsend for scrubbing past annoying sponsored segments within a video. This is not content that Google can monetize and should have no issue with. I won’t go into the ethics of supporting a creator you like. My gripes tend to be with creators who agree to partner with unscrupulous companies for a quick buck. But that’s a debate for another day.

YouTube vs. Third-party apps: A cat and mouse game

Third-party apps aren’t going anywhere

YouTube app showing ads

I have little hope that the collective protests of YouTube enthusiasts will change the company’s stance. As video consumption grows multifold year-on-year, Google has a business to run, and ads are its business, not entertainment. It wants you to watch more videos, any videos. Pushing clickbait and conspiracy theories is bound to pique the curiosity of most of us. Similarly, the push to bring podcasts to YouTube is driven by the desire for a consolidated user base to monetize through ads. And it’ll do everything it can to boost engagement over usability. Any additional tap, accidental even, is worth it. It’s pure speculation on my end, but I think it would be fair to say that YouTube’s UX focuses on making the experience annoying enough that users will eventually be compelled to pay for YouTube Premium.

The Android Police team dive into YouTube Premium and whether the benefit of YouTube Music is worth the cost to remove ads

But here’s where YouTube is mistaken — third-party apps aren’t going anywhere. Developers erring on the rebellious side of the internet tend to have a dog-headed approach. The recent example of Nintendo striking down emulators shows that, like the proverbial Hydra, if you chop off one head, another head, or in this case, fork, is bound to pop up. The more Google pushes back, the more developers are bound to double down on their efforts. It might take longer for devs to circumvent some restrictions, but I don’t see any scenario where third-party YouTube apps won’t exist.

YouTube’s monopoly on video streaming guarantees that we haven’t seen the last of this cat-and-mouse game. Google’s “Don’t be evil” days might be behind it, but it would do well to take a step back on pursuing alternative app developers and focus more on improving its core user experience. It only makes it look more evil.

By Dhruv Bhutani

Dhruv Bhutani has been writing about consumer technology since 2008. He brings extensive insights into the Android smartphone landscape, which he translates into features and opinion pieces.

Sourced from Android Police

By Goldie Chan

Branding is the most important part of your marketing strategy, without a recognizable brand, potential customers won’t know who you are.

The Nike tick, and the McDonalds sign are two of the most popular logos in the world. But there’s much more to a brand than a logo, colours and a slogan. Branding gives your audience insight into who your organization is outside of its corporate name. Therefore, a brand framework that gets results must answer five critical questions, and it starts with defining the vision for your brand. Once you are clear about the direction you want to take, everything else falls into place. But without a firm foundation in place, you’ll find it difficult to build. If you want to crush your company goals, start by developing a powerful brand framework that will guarantee results.

1) What is the Vision For Your Brand?

Start with the end in mind, think about where you see the company five, ten, and fifteen years from now. Please keep in mind that a vision is not strategy, at this point, you are not working out how to get to your destination. You are defining where you are now and where you want to go. Here are seven steps to help define your vision:

Step 1: What Are Your Goals? What do you hope your company will achieve?

Step 2: What Are Your Values? Define your values, it can be a sentence such as, “Adding a creative edge to education.” Or, words such as, “communication” and, “innovation.”

Step 3: Build Your Mission Statement: Your vision is an extension of what you are currently doing; therefore, build on your mission statement to further crystalize your vision.

Step 4: Make it Measurable: Dreams without deadlines will remain dreams. Put a deadline on the things you hope to achieve. A five or a ten year plan is a good place to start.

Step 5: Be Specific: Being wishy washy won’t get you very far, you can compare it to wearing a pair of glasses that are too weak for your eyes. You won’t be able to see anything. When you know exactly what you want, you are better able to aim for it.

Step 6: Think Ahead: Pay attention to the changes that are taking place in your industry and plan accordingly.

Step 7: Keep it Simple: Be as ambitious as you want, but keep it simple. Refrain from over defining your vision.

2) What is the Voice of Your Brand?

Have you ever answered your phone without looking at your caller ID but recognized the persons voice immediately? That’s because you’ve spoken to them so many times that you know what they sound like. That’s what your brands voice should be like. What you say and do should be so consistent across all channels that your customers immediately know it’s you when they come into contact with your brand.

3) What is Your Brand’s Story?

Every brand has a story, it gives your audience deeper insight into what a company is about, and the motivation behind why it started. Brand stories are important because we all remember a good story. It helps build an emotional connection with your audience especially if it’s inspiring and heartfelt.

4) Who is Your Target Audience?

Defining your target audience is the key to success. When you know exactly who you’re selling to and why, it is a lot easier to reach potential customers. For example, a nursery will want to target mothers and families with toddlers. Therefore, all advertising should be targeted towards this people group.

5) Who Are Your Competitors?

Regardless of the industry, there will always be competition. The good news is that competition can work to your advantage if you study them the right way. One of the best ways is to evaluate their bad reviews. In this way, you get to find out what they’re doing that their customers don’t like. You can use that as a marketing tactic to gain potential customers based on giving them what you know they want.

If you want to build a brand that performs, see a return on your investment, and gain a competitive advantage in your industry, the first step is developing an effective brand framework. We are living in an era where consumers demand authenticity, and the most effective way to deliver this, is through the right branding.

Feature Image Credit: GETTY

By Goldie Chan

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I’m a personal branding expert, keynote speaker, creative and cancer survivor. I’m known as the “Oprah of LinkedIn” and one of…. read more

Sourced from Forbes

BY ROLLING STONE CULTURE COUNCIL

Building a successful brand means understanding who you are and staying true to it.

IN SO MANY areas of culture, building a successful personal brand is key to getting ahead. Who you are, what you’re known for and what value you provide to others all play a role in creating your brand, and those who create positive ones are likely to find more opportunities coming their way.

But creating a personal brand isn’t as simple as some may think. It requires intentionality and a deep understanding of self to get started. Here, 14 leaders of Rolling Stone Culture Council share some of the other steps you’ll need to take if you want to build a successful personal brand, in life and in business.

Start With ‘Why’

Remember Simon Sinek? Start with why. Personal branding starts with purpose and passion. Explain and show what you are about and why. Don’t rely on social media alone — it will only show a very fragmented part of your personal brand. What would your Wikipedia page or bio say and why? – Igor Beuker, Igor Beuker

Deliver Excellent Value Consistently

Demonstrate your unique skills and values through consistent excellence in your work. Authenticity fosters trust and attracts opportunities, enabling you to differentiate yourself and excel in your career. Consistently delivering value builds your reputation and opens doors to advancement and success in your chosen field. – Matthew Miller, Orlando Informer

Align Your Expertise With Your Passion

Don’t spend time working out what will make sense on paper. Find the alignment between your expertise and passion, and go with that. If you overthink it, you’ll spend too much time turning your wheels. If it’s not what you are excited about, people can easily tell. – Steven Le Vine, GVG Agency

Engage in Thought Leadership Online

Build your own brand by investing in thought leadership on professional networks online. One key platform for this is LinkedIn. Stay active and engaged by building your LinkedIn profile, adding your experience and features, and creating a personal brand that demonstrates your expertise. Be sure to post regularly, comment on industry professionals’ posts and share your knowledge! – Dan Serard, Cannabis Creative Group

Find the Center of Your Personal Venn Diagram

There’s never been anyone else quite like you. What one-of-a-kind Venn diagram does your professional history, personal interests, life experiences and identities make? The center of that diagram is your personal brand. – Amanda McLoughlin, Multitude

Live Your Values Every Day

One of the best ways to build a personal brand is to be genuine and walk the walk. For your brand to be sustainable and appealing, you need to do more than simply cultivate an image; you need to live your values and the values of your company. Customers can tell when your brand aligns with who you are, and they will respond positively to your authenticity. – Evan Nison, NisonCo

Figure Out What You Want to Be Known For

Have you thought about how you would want people to speak about you when you are not in the room? This “brand message” should be consistent. Take the time to build out what you want to be known for professionally and personally. Personal branding is not only about what work you do, the people you surround yourself with or your behavior; it’s also about what you wear and how you present yourself. – Angelique Kuiper, Resonance

Give Respect to Get Respect

I’ve been part of nonprofit outreaches for years, including working with many members of gang organizations. A common saying on the streets is, “You’ve got to give respect to get respect.” This is true from tough environments through to the boardroom. Lead with respect. Make it a central part of your brand. Figure out how to show respect in each environment, and incredible doors will open for you. – Jed Brewer, Good Loud Media

Reach Out to Your Peers for Help

Personal branding doesn’t mean branding alone, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. Gather your creative, supportive and qualified team that knows and understands not only your goals and ultimate mission but also your unique personality and core values. They will offer you critical feedback and reliable insights. – Magen Baker, Bell + Ivy

Pledge to Stand by Your Word

When building a brand, integrity is your most valuable asset. My journey toward building a sustainable salon taught me a hard but invaluable lesson: Compromising your values for short-term gain is betraying others and yourself. Pledge to stand by your word, even when faced with the toughest choices; it’s the foundation upon which successful brands are built. Your brand reflects who you are. – Kelley Swing, Head Case Hair Studio

Think ‘What,’ ‘Who,’ ‘How’ and ‘Why’

Start small: What do you do and who do you help? For example, I help business owners and entrepreneurs be seen and heard to make a bigger impact on this world by helping them build credibility, authority and visibility in the media. From there, you can build your brand by answering questions like, “How and why do you achieve your ‘what’ and ‘who’?” – Victoria Chynoweth

Consider How New Opportunities Fit in Your Brand Story

Think of your brand development like a book with several chapters, each building upon the previous one. When considering new opportunities, ask yourself how they fit into the larger story of the brand that you are creating. Do they reflect your core beliefs and support your worldview? Can you make them uniquely your own? It will help you create something that is both urgent and distinctive. – Michael Klein, cannabisMD

Define Your Unique Value Proposition

Start by defining your unique value proposition and core values. Consistently share authentic content that reflects your expertise and personality across relevant platforms. Engage with your audience, offering value and building trust. A strong personal brand sets you apart and makes you unique, opening doors to opportunities and career advancement. – Sonia Singh, Center of Inner Transformations

Focus on Authenticity and Integrity

Without authenticity and integrity, nothing will work. Some leaders are flashy, and some are quiet. Some are bookish, and others are rough. But those are their personal styles. What all followers want from their leader is someone they can trust, who understands them and has the answers to their problems. – Zain Jaffer, Zain Jaffer Foundation

Feature Image Credit: HIXEL — STOCK.ADOBE.COM

BY ROLLING STONE CULTURE COUNCIL

Sourced from RollingStone

By Ana Bubolea

In today’s digitally-driven world, where consumers are inundated with a constant barrage of advertisements and content, storytelling serves as a potent antidote to ad fatigue. By crafting narratives that resonate with the audience’s aspirations, challenges, and desires, brands can cut through the noise and forge genuine connections that foster loyalty and trust.

As the founder of a consultancy that leaders’ stories into their competitive business advantage, I’ve found that people remember stories more than facts. I focus on making the founder’s journey relatable and engaging through stories. I dive deep into their journey, focusing on the raw, unfiltered moments that shaped their vision. It’s effective because people crave genuine connections, and by sharing these stories, we foster a bond based on shared experiences and values.

To help leaders humanize their message, I asked members of the Marketing & PR Group, a community I lead through Forbes Business Council, for ways they’ve been using storytelling as content strategy in digital marketing — and why they’ve been successful.

1. Real-Life Customer Success Stories

Storytelling has a profound impact, particularly on entrepreneurs. By spotlighting real-life customer success stories, banking is infused with humanity, fostering trust and connection. Storytelling’s success lies in transforming impersonal financial services into experiences that resonate, creating a narrative that entrepreneurs can see themselves in, thus fostering deeper engagement and trust. – Aleesha Webb, Pioneer Bank

2. Brand Narratives

You can showcase your product through sheer brand narratives that connect with audiences. Start by creating a compelling story that revolves around the brand’s values, mission, passion and journey. This way, you can create an emotional connection with consumers by developing brand loyalty and engagement. I’ve found this strategy works well since it humanizes the brand and people can connect with the product more easily. – Vinay Chandrashekar, Long Boat Brewing Co.

3. Captivating Hooks

Captivating hooks will always be a pillar for any successful content strategy online. Without engaging hooks on each piece of content, you cannot capture the audience and “win the click.” Start each piece of content by immediately stating a problem, goal or emotion to your audience. This will lead to much stronger engagement and reach. – Reggie Young, Exit Advisor

4. Social Media Reporting

YouTube and social media reporting have become so impactful that they can even work against you. During the early creation of the company, we begrudged internet trolls which led to tons of false negative content being posted all over the internet. It taught us the importance of owning your content channel (YouTube especially) and being proactive in telling your own story and that of your customers. – Ali Mahvan, Terasynth

5. Brand Videos

Utilizing brand videos to weave compelling narratives around the brand’s values and products has been successful. This strategy emotionally connects with the audience, leading to better brand recall, increased engagement and higher conversion rates. – Mohammad Bahareth, MBI

Feature Image Credit: NOPPADON – STOCK.ADOBE.COM

By Ana Bubolea

Follow me on LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Founder of Buzzworthy Brands. Follow me on LinkedIn for daily personal branding insights. Read Ana Bubolea’s full executive profile here.

Sourced from Forbes

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It turns out, your brand is about more than logos and slogans.

The French fry has been around for a long time. McDonald’s first served them in 1949, replacing potato chips on its menu. Since then, the McDonald’s French fry has gone through a few changes–they are no longer cut fresh, and they aren’t cooked in beef fat, but over the past 75 years, they’ve become the most widely sold fast-food item in the world.

They are also synonymous with the McDonald’s brand. If you walk into a McDonald’s restaurant, the first thing you experience is the smell, and it’s something you’d recognize anywhere. That smell is the smell of French fries.

If you’re McDonald’s, there is a lot behind that smell. There are 75 years of people coming to your restaurant with friends or for birthday parties. That’s 75 years of memories people have made and associated with, well, a smell. At least, that’s the bet the company is making in a campaign in the Netherlands called “Smells Like McDonald’s.”

The company built billboards with nothing on them and placed them in public places near a number of its restaurants. Seriously, McDonald’s put up large yellow or red billboards with no logo, pictures, or words at all. The trick is that as people approach the billboards, they are greeted with the smell of French fries, which is wild, if you think about it.

First, there’s the technical side of building a scratch-and-sniff billboard, without the scratch, of course. McDonald’s used vents in the face of the billboards to emit the scent as people approach.

Then, there’s the idea that the smell of McDonald’s French fries would be so powerful that the company didn’t need to put anything else on the signs. I imagine a giant red box in the middle of a plaza would attract some degree of attention, but it’s the smell that would really capture people.

“Smell has been proved to be more effective at sparking clear and emotional memories than images,” McDonald’s Netherlands chief marketing officer Stijn Mentrop-Huliselan told Adweek. “With the inclusion of this next sense in our advertising, we found a new way to remind people of good times at McDonald’s.”

There’s a lot in that statement, but the thing I think is so smart is that the company is leaning into the idea that the most powerful form of marketing is to remind people of “good times.” Smell, it turns out, does that better than almost anything.

Sure, you can look through a photo album on your phone or computer, and remember the various moments you captured. Photos of your favourite pet or a place you love to visit can certainly elicit an emotional reaction, but there is something different about smells. It’s just science, really.

Our sense of smell is handled by the olfactory bulb, which is directly connected to your limbic system, the part of your nervous system that handles mood and emotions. As a result, a familiar smell takes you back to a place and moment in time as though you are suddenly there again. It can generate the strongest of memories and emotional reactions.

Look, we can debate whether the smell of french fries is a good or bad smell. If you’re not a fan of McDonald’s, this whole thing probably seems pretty silly. But there is something incredibly smart about the idea that McDonald’s built an entire ad campaign not around a slogan or a familiar image but around a smell.

“The smell of McDonald’s is an iconic asset for the McDonald’s brand, as recognizable as its products, golden arches, or jingle,” TBWA/Neboko chief creative officer Darre van Dijk said in a statement to Adweek. “That made us wonder: Can we make an outdoor where the McDonald’s smell is the ad? So we wanted to test that a red or yellow billboard with nothing on it but the iconic smell could make people think of McDonald’s.”

There’s a lesson here, which is that your brand isn’t about slogans or logos. Your brand is about the way people feel about your business. One of the most powerful and effective things you can do is to remind people of the positive connection they have with your brand. That part isn’t surprising at all. No, the surprising part is that–for McDonald’s–the most effective way to do that was to simply let its most iconic smell be the entire marketing campaign.

Feature Image Credit: Matthias Balk/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

By

TECH COLUMNIST 

Sourced from Inc.

By

Ease of use stands out as a particularly strong loyalty driver when evaluating a good brand experience, a Mailchimp survey found.

Dive Brief:

  • Frictionless experiences — and the removal of barriers to shopping journeys — are a key aspect of building loyalty, according to an Intuit Mailchimp report on the science of loyalty released Monday. Canvas8 surveyed about 4,000 consumers from the United States, U.K., Australia and Canada on behalf of Mailchimp.
  • Nearly all customers who made repeat purchases — 97% — said their preferred brand made purchasing quick and easy.
  • “One theme that unites the most prestigious behavioural scientists — such as Nobel Prize winners Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler — is their belief that one of the most influential behavioural nudges is: ‘make it easy,’” Richard Shotton, author of “The Illusion of Choice” said in the report. “They argue that we overestimate the impact of appeal and underestimate the impact of friction.”

Dive Insight:

While there are many different aspects that go into developing brand loyalty — from consistency to emotional connection — a seamless experience is vital to getting customers to come back time and again.

“Our study found that consumer loyalty is often the result of subconscious cues that factor in routine, availability, ability, motivation, and convenience,” Mark DiCristina, VP of brand experience at Mailchimp, told CX Dive in an email. “In this landscape, loyalty exists at the intersection of emotion and pragmatism.”

Ease of experience greatly influences functional loyalty, the idea that a product or service functions the way it’s supposed to, according to Alexander Chernev, a professor of marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the author of “Customer Science.”

Removing friction also allows for easy decision-making. One example is providing customers with a look at new products via email. Nearly half of email subscribers look at product offerings in brand emails, and nearly 2 in 5 make a purchase after reading the message, according to the report.

The survey highlighted the success of oral care company Quip, which offers a subscription plan for new toothbrush heads. The subscription model removes friction for customers, who don’t have to go in and make the purchase themselves every three months.

However, when friction is introduced into the experience, that can affect behavioural loyalty — the purchases customers make out of habit, Chernev said. He pointed to Tropicana, which redesigned its packaging about 15 years ago.

“It confused a lot of consumers” who were unsure where the orange juice they normally bought was, and disrupted sales, Chernev said. “When there is tension in the purchase process, it can disrupt behavioural loyalty.”

Feature Image Credit: Portra via Getty Images

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Sourced from CX Dive

“We will not stop until beauty is a source of happiness.”

Personal care brand Dove has become known for its campaigns championing real people with real bodies, as exemplified by its shunning of TikTok ‘beauty’ filters. And now, the brand is targeting AI in the latest iteration of its decades-old Real Beauty campaign.

The brand announced this week that it will never use AI-generated imagery to represent “real bodies” in its ads. And in a powerful short film, it takes aim at the generic and unrealistic beauty standards depicted in images churned out in text prompts such as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” (For more great ad campaigns, check out the best print ads of all time.)

Alessandro Manfredi, chief marketing officer at Dove, adds, “At Dove, we seek a future in which women get to decide and declare what real beauty looks like – not algorithms. As we navigate the opportunities and challenges that come with new and emerging technology, we remain committed to protect, celebrate, and champion Real Beauty. Pledging to never use AI in our communications is just one step. We will not stop until beauty is a source of happiness, not anxiety, for every woman and girl.”
Indeed, over the 20 year course of its Real Beauty campaign, Dove has repeatedly proven itself to be a force for good. From shunning AI to helping game developers code natural hair in an effort to increase diversity in video games, the brand’s inclusivity credentials continue to impress.
Feature Image Credit: Dove

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Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.

Sourced from CREATIVE BLOQ