Sourced from The Customer

Since his election to the Presidency, the added-value the Trump brand engenders has ‘ping-ponged’ according to his political postures.

Editor’s Note:  Brand Keys has been tracking consumer sentiment and brand loyalty for the past 25 years and has compiled one of the most robust longitudinal views of brand performance ever assembled.  One of the beauties of this kind of research is that its utility transcends branding and loyalty and can be applied (very nicely) to things like politics.  To wit, today’s news:

Trump Brand Loses Added-Value in 75% of Categories Tracked

  • Consumers – particularly republicans – see Trump as “Entertainer-In-Chief”
  • 21% of Americans would tune in to ‘Trump TV’

For 30 years Donald Trump was one of the most powerful consumer brands that Brand Keys, the global leader in brand loyalty and emotional engagement research, tracked. Since his election to the Presidency, the added-value the Trump name engenders has ‘ping-ponged’ according to his political postures.

The Trump Brand Took A Sharp Right And. . .

Since Trump made a sharp right turn away from consumer marketing to politics, consumers’ tribal and political bonds have made their effects felt. “The Trump brand lost efficacy in a number of consumer categories it once dominated,” noted Robert Passikoff, Brand Keys founder and president. “It’s difficult for one brand, even one as strong as Trump’s, to operate successfully in the consumer and political arenas simultaneously.”

The Trump “Human Brand” – Lift And Drop

Mr. Trump was designated a “Human Brand” in 1991 by Brand Keys, which coined the nomenclature to describe people that were the living embodiments of particular value sets, who were able to successfully and profitably transfer those values to products and services. If a Human Brand could do that, it increased a product’s perceived value and desirability. Percentages reported by Brand Keys indicate the value-add (or reduction) produced by, in this case, adding the Trump name to a product category or sector.

Four Categories Survive Trump Politics and MAGA Hats Don’t Count

Ultimately, labels and retailers abandoned the Trump brand, and categories – clothing, suits, ties, watches, and jewellery traditionally tracked – vanished. “MAGA hats and tee-shirts were self-classified by respondents as ‘political statements’ rather than traditional clothing,” noted Passikoff.

Four categories in which the Trump brand still exhibits Human Brand-efficacy includes TV/Entertainment, Golf & Country Clubs, Hotels, and Real Estate. In the current tracking wave, the Trump brand decreased its value-add in three of the four categories. Only TV/Entertainment was up.

trump brand lift

Political Branding Effects

The most recent national Brand Keys survey, conducted October 19-27, 2020, included 1,812 self-identified Republicans, Democrats, and Independents drawn from the nine U.S. Census regions. It examined the four categories where the Trump brand still resonates. The only category where attaching the Trump name showed any lift was TV/Entertainment – but only among Republicans.

trump brand lift

Tuning Into Trump

Four years ago, when a win for Hillary Clinton was assumed, the expected move for then- candidate Donald Trump was a Trump TV channel. His surprise victory changed that trajectory, but with President Trump soon to exit the White House speculation about launching a Trump cable network has reemerged.

Twenty-one percent (21%) of the total sample indicated a top-two box likelihood (definitely/probably) of watching some form of Trump TV, with political affiliation clearly and unexpectedly influencing likelihood-to-view:

  • Democrats: 7%
  • Independents: 15%
  • Republicans: 41%

“Trump’s efficacy as the ‘Entertainer-in-Chief’ has already been demonstrated. Cable news network ratings have hit record levels since he became a candidate,” noted Passikoff. “And remember Trump was already a TV star as the host of ‘The Apprentice.’”

Launching a cable network is problematic as consumers continue to shift away from pay TV subscriptions. “It would be more viable for Trump to acquire an existing channel that caters to his conservative followers or to sign on as a program host at an established network,” said Passikoff. “Trump’s tweets reveal he already believes he is personally responsible for Fox News’ dominance in the ratings, although it has been the most-watched cable news source since 2002.”

“A Trump TV show might help to revive faded categories,” observed Passikoff, “This current survey is exclusively an American respondent group but there’s a whole world out there.”

Sourced from The Customer


By Varsha Rao

Emotional design can seep into every level, be it a logo or the offline and online packaging, of any brand. As human beings, we respond to humour, love, pain and a plethora of emotions.

Good design has two layers: aesthetics and functionality. However, great design happens to have an additional facet to it, empathy. The emotional element of designing is rarely thought about, be it on the part of marketeers or designers. Creating catchy looking collateral and content for brands thrives on a single, detestable word – VIRAL. Unfortunately, this ugly V word is often mistaken to be a tool that builds rooted connections with its users when it’s actually far from it.

With expanding channels that allow brands to connect with their user base, brand owners and marketeers currently face a challenge they had never envisioned. In order to ensure brand visibility and find a place in the target audience’s mind, they need to constantly create and push out fresh content aggressively in order to stay relevant. Be it videos or posters, brochures, infographics, reels or G.I.F’s, nothing seems ever enough! The brand owners straddle a thin line where on one hand, they need to have a social media presence that reflects what their brand stands. On the other hand, however, they don’t want to create brand saturation either. From the brand owner’s perspective, the question of how much brand content is enough brand content, is a tough nut to crack. As for the user, most of brand content often feels like stale leftovers. Having been recycled and reheated many a times, for the user, most of these brand content simply seems like a rehash of the latest viral trend – oh no, not this again!

User Experience designer, Aaron Walter, in his book ‘Designing for Emotion’, talks about how emotional experiences imprint on our long-term memories. Designs have the capability of creating experiences where the user feels like their interaction with the brand is grounded in shared human interest as opposed to the mechanical feeling of interacting with machines. Don Norman, the author of ‘Emotional Design,’ breaks down his approach to creative design into three stages: building the appearance of a design, perfecting the way it works and lastly amplifying the long-term impact. It is in these core basics where most brands fail. Brand owners, marketeers and design agencies these days are so busy creating as much content as quickly as possible that they forget how unsustainable this whole vicious cycle gets. If anything, we need to evaluate and evolve the manner in which we measure the impact of digital branding, stepping away from number of views and clicks. Being able to create designs that allow users to be introspective, become aware of unhealthy social patterns, uplift moods or create a call for action for social causes, are the kind of meaningful experiences that helps a product or a services crossover from being a brand to becoming a part and parcel of the community.

Emotional design can seep into every level, be it a logo or the offline and online packaging, of any brand. As human beings, we respond to humor, love, pain and a plethora of emotions. Hence, a design can reach its fullest potential by being, not merely functional but also emotionally stimulating. The #likeagirl campaign by Always won an Emmy, a Cannes Grand Prix award, and the Grand Clio award not because it wowed the panel with its CPC value. 2017’s App of the Year Calm, is a product that cracked emotional design to the T. Designing with emotion reinstates the awareness in the user that the brand is genuinely invested in their growth as opposed to treating them as mere numerical targets. By daring to go beyond numbers and projections, these well-designed campaigns have added substance to their brand identity.

Simply put, as a brand, you have to look at the concept of success in long term perspective. By rising above immediate buzz, it becomes critically important that each element of your brand, be it your website, an advertisement or an entire ad campaign is a building block to your brand’s identity as well as longevity. To build meaningful relationships and interactive communities through a brand, what one needs is not design that is VIRAL, but design that is actually HUMAN.

By Varsha Rao


Sourced from AdAge

TikTok tops our annual list of the top performing brands of the year

The 10 brands that comprise Ad Age’s 2020 Marketers of the Year list didn’t just survive the pandemic, they thrived.

The list is topped by TikTok, which emerged as a major pop culture force and must-stop for an increasing number of brands, including several on our list. That includes cosmetics upstart e.l.f., which had the foresight to jump on the platform back in late 2019 with its 15-second “Eyes Lips Face” song, and has since amassed 10 billion views for its TikTok content. Other new economy brands making the list include meditation app Calm, whose Election Day marketing set a new standard for timely product placement. Online marketplace Etsy smartly tapped into trends like DIY and customizable goods, including, yes, masks.

But breakthrough marketing in 2020 was not confined to plucky start-ups. Stalwarts like State Farm, which is nearly 100-years-old,also cracked the list, thanks to a reinvention strategy that included putting a new spin on its iconic “Like a good neighbour” tagline. McDonald’s, No. 2 on our list, found ways to reach new audiences, including with its wildly successful Travis Scott collaboration.

The list—chosen by a team of Ad Age reporters and editors based on factors that include business results driven by breakthrough advertising and smart strategic thinking–is full of brand marketing lessons, including from an unlikely source: Conservative anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project, whose go-for-broke attitude shows that fearlessness is a key ingredient for great creative. “We’re not unemotional about this stuff,” TLP cofounder Rick Wilson told us. “We’re passionate about this stuff.”

No. 1: TikTok

No. 2: McDonald’s

No. 3: Lowe’s

No. 4: The Lincoln Project

No. 5: Etsy

No. 6: Calm

No. 7: e.l.f.

No. 8: Lego

No. 9: Adobe

No. 10: State Farm

Sourced from AdAge

By Madeleine Streets

For most of 2020, brand marketing has been a critical way for companies to connect with their consumer and try to preserve their loyalty. But these direct communications mostly focus on existing customers or those familiar with the brand; shoppers must have already opted into email or SMS updates, or visited the brand’s site. In order to reach new customers, brands must explore shared locations like marketplaces or social media.

“Reaching shoppers on external platforms is critical because it’s your way to introduce them to your brand on their turf, rather than your turf,” said Kevin Dugan, VP of agency services at performance marketing agency DMi Partners. “As someone is browsing Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, they are actively engaged with the content and if you meet them with the correct messaging and tone, it’s a powerful way to bring your products into their world.”

Unlike other segments, retail has been given designated advertising spaces within these platforms – think the Instagram “shop now” function or Google Shopping – and this ensures fertile ground for marketing initiatives. But while these platforms aren’t new or unknown to brands, effective strategies for social media, Google and e-commerce marketplaces each require tailored approaches.

For one, competition on these platforms is tough and can come at a high price; smaller businesses that need the exposure may be the same ones that are unable to afford to market their product extensively. Moreover, the saturated space means that effective advertisements need to stand out and resonate with the right audience, in order to generate real benefit for the brand.

“The way that these platforms have evolved over the last couple of years, there’s a lot more levers to pull around targeting that didn’t exist before,” said Mike Farrell, senior director of integrated digital strategy at marketing platform Sidecar. “A thoughtful targeting strategy would allow retailers to take that limited budget that they might have and really focus it in on the highest value customers that they’re going after.”

Platforms like Sidecar are specifically focused on creating marketing for these external platforms due to their specific requirements and data-rich nature. These function as a double-edged sword: With the right support, a company can tailor its marketing to each audience and reap rewards; without the ability to leverage data and optimize strategy accordingly, brands are likely to find their messages lost amongst the competition.

Then there’s the diversity of campaigns needed within each platform. DMi Partners’ Dugan warns against brands just setting a few generic social ads live and expecting traffic to roll in. Instead, he argued the importance of identifying different consumer groups based on their experience-level with the brand.

“We are always advocating for subtle differences in messaging depending on the audience we’re reaching on these channels,” said Dugan. “We suggest at least having top of funnel social ads, for your behavioural and interest targeting; bottom of funnel ads, for your retargeting audiences; and winback ads, for your custom audience of past customers.”

From a content perspective, marketing should consider the platform it’s on. Social media sites are well-suited to discovery and brand storytelling, although Dugan highlights the opportunity of Facebook Shops for a more direct-conversion experience. Google Shopping and Amazon are the most purchase-driven; clear product imagery and information performs well for shoppers who are ready to buy.

Farrell recommends that brands use their marketing to spotlight their best performing styles but in colourways that perhaps aren’t as popular; this evokes familiarity and novelty simultaneously. As a result, brands might be able to reduce the common diminishing of sales that occurs once the preferred shades sell out and also optimize inventory, which is a challenging area for many companies right now.

Feature Image Credit: URUPONG – ADOBE STOCK

By Madeleine Streets

Sourced from FN

By Chris Ward

COVID-19 has forced many brands to deliver years-long transformation programmes in the space of  a few weeks.

It’s been well-documented how quickly many brands have had to accelerate certain aspects of their digital transformation plans as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

But according to the Covid-19 Digital Engagement Reportthe speed at which some companies have had to push forward their digital agendas has been extraordinary.

Surveying 2,000+ customer experience, marketing, operations and IT professionals, Twilio found that brands had had to accelerate their customer communications transformation strategies by an average of 6.1 years.

27% of respondents said COVID-19 had fast tracked their transformation plans by between 5-9 years. Astonishingly, 19% said it had pushed things forward by between 10-14 years.


Source: Covid-19 Digital Engagement Report

Omnichannel focus

Twilio’s study revealed a number of other surprising statistics, no less that COVID-19 had led to numerous barriers to digital transformation being broken down.

The top barrier was ‘getting executive approval’, which 37% of respondents said had been broken down as a result of coronavirus; this was followed by a ‘lack of clear strategy’ at 37% and a ‘reluctance to replace legacy software, at 35%.

Insufficient budget had also been a key factor for 34%, prior to the coronavirus crisis.

As well as breaking down barriers, COVID-19 has also propelled brands’ omnichannel communications strategies. 54% of brands have increased their focus on omnichannel communications, with 53% adding new communication channels since the start of global lockdowns in March, and 52% ‘speeding up their digital communications strategies’.

“Over the last few months, we’ve seen years-long digital transformation roadmaps compressed into days and weeks in order to adapt to the new normal as a result of COVID-19,” said Glenn Weinstein, chief customer officer at Twilio, responding to the findings.

“This has affected everything from the ways in which businesses talk to their customers, to how their workplaces function. We’re seeing how digital technologies are being used to completely reimagine the business landscape.  Communications technology is at the heart of this transition to a flexible remote working model for employees, and a seamless, digital customer experience for businesses at large.”

Behaviour changes

According to Contact Babel research in June, 51% of contact centres have reported an increase in email use, with 47% reporting increases in webchats and 37% report an increase in social media use.

Zendesk research also highlights that customer support tickets have seen a huge surge in usage on messaging channels such as WhatsApp, which has increased 148% since late February.

Despite the huge jump in consumers wanting to communicate with brands, they still expect a human response, further complicating brands’ communication strategies.

Sitel’s recent survey and report, COVID-19: The CX Impact, revealed that 87% of consumers want to connect with a human to resolve critical issues, despite having a preference for resolving problems with self-service.

21% of consumers indicated they were happy to start using voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa as way of engaging with brands, yet a huge proportion of the research’s survey also acknowledged they valued emotional intelligence and empathy in a customer service interaction, something they were unable to obtain from automated assistants and bots.

“The last three months have challenged consumers and brands like never before, and we are all faced with understanding a new reality: How do we shift from adapting to the crisis to driving a success strategy in this future world?” said Martin Wilkinson-Brown, global CMO at Sitel Group.

“In this quickly changing world, customer experience is truly one of the only ways for brands to stay competitive within their industries and now more than ever it’s critical to meet consumers where they want to interact with brands.

“Combining human-led technologies with searchable knowledge bases and even branded online communities to handle common issues and typical contact drivers will reduce inbound call volumes and traffic to other live channels. This will actually drive costs down while improving CX for all customers, regardless of their channel of choice.”

Feature Image Credit:  istock/CSA

By Chris Ward

Sourced from mycustomer

By Benjamin Vaughan

Establishing customer engagement and keeping them engaged is more important than ever for brands. Now that many brands have temporarily lost the ability for invaluable face-to-face contact with customers, it’s crucial that they diversify their engagement for this new normal.

What are brands having to do differently?

Where possible, brands are figuring out if and how they can offer their services online. This is understandably tricky for people like hairdressers and massage therapists. And even if people working in these professions did manage to offer services online, they do so at the risk of their post-lockdown income—will people want to pay $50 for a massage if their partner can do it for free?

Many of the bigger consumer brands quickly boosted their capacity for home deliveries to account for a much higher online demand. And some restaurants and bars developed delivery systems for the same reason.

Aside from simply making an income from customers, brands need to work out how to keep their customers engaged with their products or services.


Customers can’t pop into their local branches for now so they’re not able to get a feel for the brands’ latest offerings. Through livestreaming, brands can give customers introductions to new products and services, delivered by a representative of the brand, just as if they visited a branch.

Fitness and wellness coaches have embraced livestreaming as a way to host classes and training (often for free). Giving customers the real-time presentation a livestream affords, a brand can really make them feel included and maintain the idea that they’re consuming the product or service.

Goodwill gestures and rewards

Brands need loyalty right now. And the kind of loyalty we’re used to isn’t possible—rewarding x amount of purchases with a free gift isn’t very useful. Offering gestures of goodwill and usable rewards will make customers feel thankful and it’ll give them a helpful reminder that the brand is still around and that it’ll still be there when lockdowns are eased.

Goodwill gestures have proved to be valuable to brands from a marketing perspective too. Lists have been doing the rounds of companies offering discounts to essential workers and stepping up to the fight against the virus. Among them are the likes ArmaniKiehl’s and Co-op. Conversely, those that haven’t shown the same goodwill now belong to their respective lists of brands to avoid.

Keep customers informed

As a way of keeping customers included and nudging them with a reminder that they still exist, brands should keep customers up to date. Whether it’s updating them about new products or announcing a charitable scheme, customers will appreciate the heads up. And since they’re online more than usual anyway at the moment, they might even feel more inclined to share it with their network.

Don’t stop there

Here are a few more tried and tested ways brands and online communities can boost engagement (whether or not there’s a pandemic):

Offer value

People will engage with truly valuable content. This might be through blogs, video, images, livestreams, and so on. Whatever form it comes in, it needs to inspire, entertain and inform.

Take a personalized approach

People thought chatbots would revolutionize customer service. Those people were wrong. Customers still need the personal touch. Brands still need to make them feel valued and listened to—they must be responsive to their community’s questions and comments

Help customers to help others

Step 2 can lead to step 3. Brands want their customers to contribute too. Customers can sometimes take the role of ad hoc customer service representatives and marketeers, if they’re treated well in the first place.

Reaffirm your mission

Customers should be reminded of why brands exist. What are they trying to achieve? What problem do they solve? What is their mission? Customers need to feel the excitement they felt the first time they came across a brand.

Be transparent

Customers respect honesty and transparency, even when things aren’t going so well, When brands communicate openly and trust customers’ perspectives, they’ll win trust and strengthen loyalty.

Stay consistent

Remaining consistent is key to building brand loyalty. If a brand is consistent with what it provides, it’ll become ingrained in customers’ minds and loyalty will become second nature.


It’s vital that brands maintain their customers’ engagement, and it’s at times like these that businesses experiment with new ways of delivering services and satisfying customers. That’s really exciting and let’s hope it sets a trend for the future too.

By Benjamin Vaughan

musician, I had my own community of fans and followers. What I didn’t have was my own space to grow and manage that community in the way that worked for me. So, I set out to create that space, and in doing so, found a lot of other community managers with the same problem as me. Health and wellness coaches, film stars, YouTubers, politicians and celebrity chefs were all looking for a solution to the same problem. Disciple is a community media platform that, unlike Facebook or a website, empowers community hosts to build, manage and control their own private, social apps. Our platform gives communities their own mobile meeting spaces to gather and interact in the ways that work for them.

Sourced from Forbes

By Katie Sehl,

Like most social media trends, Instagram trends move quickly. And in 2020, change has been fast and furious, with a global pandemic, social uprising, and competitors, shaking things up.

Trends make the difference between looking out of touch or ahead of the curve. That doesn’t mean you should throw your social media content calendar out the window. It means you should stay informed and stay flexible.

There’s a lot to stay on top of at Instagram. From Instagram Story trends to Live Shopping, and Instagram Shops, we break down the biggest trends on the app.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

9 of the most important Instagram trends in 2020

These are the top trends on Instagram to watch right now.

1. Brands and influencers reckon with racial inequality

On June 2, Instagram feeds were checkered with black squares in support of Blackout Tuesday. The original concept, The Show Must Be Paused, was created by music executives Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, as a day for the industry to “take a beat for an honest, reflective, and productive conversation about what actions we need to collectively take to support the Black community.”

But the black squares swiftly became symbols of performative allyship. The posts inadvertently drowned out the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, a channel activists use to relay vital information. Many brands and influencers who participated were called out for virtue marketing or hypocrisy, spurring calls for transparency and action.

Designer Aurora James’s #15PercentPledge initiative calls on big retailers to pledge %15 of shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Brands including Sephora, Rent the Runway, Cupcakes and Cashmere have since made the pledge. UOMA Beauty founder Sharon Chuter launched #PullUpOrShutUp to challenge brands to back their marketing with employee diversity statistics.

Instagram plans to reexamine how its policies, tools, and processes impact Black and other underrepresented communities on Instagram. The company will focus on addressing harassment, account verification, content distribution, and algorithmic bias.

Black creators and professionals have also been speaking out about tokenization, pay disparities, and being sidelined. Several celebspublic figures, and influencers have responded to this disparity by sharing Black influencers and businesses or hosting account takeovers. As a result, many Black creators have seen their followings double overnight.

The social momentum behind Black Lives Matter is stronger than ever. But as initiatives like #PullUpOrShutUp demonstrate, brands need to know the difference between social trends and social movements. As eTalk CTV reporter Tyrone Rex Edwards said, “My trauma is not a trend.”

Anti-racism, inclusive marketing, equal pay and opportunity are not trends. They’re the new norm and the bare minimum of what consumers expect from brands going forward.

2. Instagram goes Live

Stay-at-home orders and event cancellations have helped propel Instagram Live viewership figures to new heights. Between February and March, the number of people tuning in for live broadcasts rose by 70%. More than 800 million people now watch live video daily across Instagram and Facebook.

Live lineups have been packed with star power. DJ D-Nice’s #ClubQuarantine sets have featured shoutouts to Rihanna, Zuckerberg, and Joe Biden as the viewership count soared above 100,000. Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Justin Bieber were among the 50,000 viewers punctuating a live convo between NBA star Stephen Curry and Dr. Anthony Fauci with emoji.

As people look for ways to replace in-person activities, brands and creators have jumped on live, too. In fact, 80% of live broadcasters have fewer than 1,000 followers.

Instagram Live sessions include everything from cocktail and comedy hours to virtual protests, yoga classes, and drawing tutorials. Desktop functionality, added in April, has made tuning in a lot more practical.

Like Instagram Stories, live videos tend to be more intimate and spontaneous than posts in the feed. Hosts can also respond to questions and comments in real-time, which is why Live videos tend to average six times more interactions on Facebook.

It’s too soon to know what staying power Instagram Live may have in a post-COVID world. For now, Instagram is rolling out enhancements, such as the option to save videos to IGTV and run fundraisers. Live Shopping and Badges allow creators to monetize livestreams.

Instagram is also testing showing two-rows of Stories in the feed, with live videos up top.

Until in-person activities resume, expect to see more memes and innovation on the Instagram Live front.

3. Creators can now make money directly on Instagram

Since its inception in 2010, Instagram creators have mostly monetized their audiences through affiliate marketing and brand partnerships. New features introduced in May now allow creators to make money directly.

Instagram is now testing Badges with a small group of creators and businesses. During a live broadcast, viewers can spend 99 cents to $4.99 for heart badges to stand out in the comment stream and unlock features. During the test phase, creators will receive 100% of revenue earned from these badges.

Instagram influencer doing a live video

Source: Instagram

Tests for IGTV ads are underway as well. These ads can last up to 15 seconds and appear after someone clicks to watch the full IGTV video. On par with YouTube, 55% of ad revenue is shared with the creator. In addition to ads, Live Shopping tools now let creators and brands tag products during live videos.

Influencer doing an Instagram live skincare tutorial

Source: Instagram

These changes come as competition to retain creators heats up between platforms. They also cater to a cohort of “specialized” creators who monetize their audiences by offering valuable content, rather than featuring valuable products and experiences in their content. It’s why many are shying away from the label influencer in favor of the term creator, or even ambassador.

Brand partnerships will still remain an important source of revenue, but they’ve already become a lot less transactional. Expect to see some fine-tuning in the Brand Collabs Manager from Instagram (and Facebook).

4. Instagram Shops set brands up to cash in on conversions

Instagram Shops promise to make it easier for brands to make money, too. Shops let businesses create a storefront directly in the app, so people can buy without the need to visit a website. By eliminating this friction, brands should be able to drive significantly higher conversions and sales.

In May, Instagram and Facebook launched a phased rollout to businesses globally. The plan is for the shopping experience to eventually be integrated across all of Facebook’s apps. Once complete, it will mean that when someone puts something in their cart on Facebook, they can check out later on Instagram using stored credit card info or Facebook Pay (which will likely be integrated, too).

Instagram shopping in Explore tab

Source: Facebook

To improve discoverability, Instagram will soon have a dedicated Shopping tab, like the Explore tab, which already features a shopping section. Accounts with shops have a View Shop button on their profiles, as well as a shop tab. Businesses can customize how collections appear, connect loyalty programs, and benefit from the platform’s built-in AI to create personalized experiences.

There are now more ways to spend money in Stories, too. In addition to product tags, companies can share gift card, food order and donation Stickers.

Set up Instagram Shopping so you can sell your products.

5. Shopping and advertising get AI-powered upgrades

More people shopping across Instagram and Facebook means more data. And more data brings the company closer to its vision of “making anything shoppable while personalizing to individual taste.”

To make anything shoppable, the Facebook engineers have developed an A.I called GrokNet that can automatically tag the products in a business’s catalog in seconds. The A.I., which is already used on Facebook Marketplace, can scan photos, identify attributes such as colour and style, cross-reference with catalogs, and suggest descriptions. On the flip side, this data is used to deliver better search results and targeted ads to users.

Rotating View is another A.I. project that aims to enhance social shopping. The feature, which allows people to create 3D-like images, is currently being tested on Marketplace. Maybe it will crop up on Instagram, too.

Instagram may soon introduce ads that use augmented reality to let people “try on” beauty products or preview furniture in their homes. Facebook already offers an AR ad format, and Zuckerberg recently announced more developments are on the horizon.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a lifestyle photographer used to grow from 0 to 600,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

Get the free guide right now!

Read our complete guide on how to advertise on Instagram.

6. Instagram Guides accompany the rise of “info-social”

Brands and influencers often get asked for recommendations, from “where should we eat in Marrakech?” to “how do you talk to your kids about climate change?”. In the past, these requests have been handled by referring followers to highlights or blog posts. Now guides can be created directly on Instagram.

several different Instagram guides

Source: Instagram

According to Instagram head Adam Mosseri, guides were initially developed for travel, but that idea was curtailed by the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, they launched under the theme of wellbeing, with more themes coming up. Instagram recently assembled a racial justice resource guide, too.

Guides have their own devoted tab on profiles, and can be shared to Stories or appear in the Explore tab. They can include curated posts and videos with added notes and tips.

There’s a growing appetite for informative social content. On TikTok, educational videos are surging in popularity, especially in China, with a reported 14 million “knowledge-based” posts created last year. In the United States, career coaches, personal finance experts, and fitness experts are finding success on the app.

On Instagram, everything from “practice accounts” to doctor and nurse micro- and nano-influencers are popular, proving that engaged communities are much more valuable than high follower counts.

7. Values take center stage

Authenticity is a big buzzword in the influencer industry. But it’s not just an influencer trend. Consumers increasingly demand authenticity from brands, too, especially in the form of transparency.

As brands and influencers use their platforms to take a stand, promote values, and support causes, transparency will be more necessary to retain authenticity. For example, sustainable beauty brand Elate Cosmetics goes into great detail to explain the eco-attributes of its products and practices.

Influencers will share more about their decision making in general, and be more upfront about why they partner with specific brands. To maintain trust, disclaimers and clear labelling between spon-con and regular posts will be necessary, particularly in Stories.

With social advocacy on the rise, Instagram has added several fundraising tools, including live fundraisers and donation stickers. The company is also reportedly testing the option to add fundraisers to profiles. Nonprofits already have access to account Donate buttons.

Instagram is also adding context to posts from high-reach accounts. In April, the company started piloting a feature that shows location and where followers are based on posts from these accounts.

Instagram post showing where account is based

Source: Facebook

8. TikTok, Twitter, and Giphy invade Instagram

The days when Instagram was only a place for filtered images are long gone. Instagram’s feed now features everything from memes and Twitter takes to TikTok challenges, special effects, music, and more.

To keep up with competition from TikTok and Snapchat, Instagram’s been on a feature-adding bonanza—especially in Stories. The recent acquisition of Giphy, which already sourced 25% of its traffic from Instagram, will add to a collection of interactive features that already includes stickers, filters, and other special effects.

Despite more content variety in the feed, the Instagram aesthetic still creeps in. As Arimeta Diop points on in Vanity Fair: “It’s the end of the iPhone-Notes-App-Apology Era.” Bold typefaces, templates, and hand-drawn sketches have proven more popular, thanks in part to Instagram’s strong design community. Infographics and visual storytelling have taken off, too.

Most cross-platform sharing is up to the users, except when it comes to Facebook’s family of apps. Further integration between Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger—on the front and back end—is looming. Beyond a fully integrated shopping experience, Facebook is developing an option for users to view and reply to Instagram Stories from Facebook.

Facebook is also planning to merge messaging across its apps by the end of this year. Once complete, Instagram users would be able to message friends on WhatsApp and Messenger, even if those friends don’t have Instagram accounts. This level of integration would make the app family comparable with the WeChat, the super app that dominates in China.

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By Katie Sehl

Sourced from Hootsuite


Brands need to focus on hyper-localisation by connecting with consumers where they are, as Covid-19 has dramatically changed consumer behaviour and altered the path-to-purchase, according to Facebook and Boston Consulting Group.

According to a new report called ‘Turn the Tide’, released by Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group, the use of micro-targeting can help brands get the first-mover advantage. This is because countries are being divided into different zones, with distinct restrictions due to the pandemic, so they need to build social connections despite social distancing, by engaging with consumers in their context

To cope with pandemic lockdown, which has caused significant disruption for communities and businesses, people are spending more time on social media platforms. This means brands have an opportunity to build stronger dialogues and deeper connections with users.

The aim of the guide, according to Facebook India and Boston Consulting Group, is to guide brands to adapt to the pandemic and ensure business continuity.

Nimisha Jain, the managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group, says: “We are experiencing unprecedented shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviours as 80%+ consumers will continue to practice social distancing and are bringing the outside inside, over 40% of consumers are dialling up on health and wellness spends, e-commerce adoption has already advanced by two-three years, to name a few.”

“These aren’t just temporary surges, and many will last longer and become more defining traits. Our analysis reveals that only one in six companies emerged stronger in past crises. Players who show the agility to reinvent their value propositions, go-to-market plans and business models to address these demand shifts, will be the ones that set themselves apart from the pack.”

In addition, the report also shares actionable guidance for brands to build for the new consumer journeys in times of Covid-19 and beyond.

For example, brands can bring alive experiences through virtual launches and product demos as people turn to virtual experiences for every facet of their life. Facebook said it is already seeing more brands explore Facebook and Instagram ‘Live’ to connect with their followers and customers, with brands now thinking about using social media platforms for new product launches too.

Heeru Dingra, the chief executive officer at WATConsult tells The Drum the agency has modified its planning and strategy around the new consumer journeys, urging its clients to follow a simple mantra of ‘solve, serve and sell’.

She explains brands should focus on solving the problems their consumers face, serve their purpose and the result thereof could be the sale of services or products. She notes a lot of brands have understood this concept and have already started altering their approach to fit this mantra.

“We leveraged the power of gaming and re-created one of the most iconic games of all time, Ludo, for our client Tata Motors. Titled #SafetyFirst Ludo, this version aims to spread awareness about the importance of personal hygiene and social distancing amid the Covid-19 outbreak,” she says.

She also calls out work by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance called #CareWillOvercome, which salutes frontline workers, while a #ReconnectWithStarbucks campaign turned the act of baristas calling out people’s names into a digital phenomenon.

She adds: “These examples summarize how we integrated the need of the hour that is to maintain social distancing, continue to concentrate on personal hygiene and at the same time have our heartfelt appreciation for the ones who have been fighting for us day and night, into our brand approach in some way. This helps to amplify the brand message while being sensitive to the current situation, serving the purpose of extending the required communication and increasing as well as sustaining brand recall.”

The report also advised brands to look at their media mix models to drive growth by aligning to new media landscapes. According to the report, when brands, especially those with traditional product categories, start spending more online, they need to understand incremental outcomes, as well as cross-platform efficiency.

This would increase the need for digital measurement standards, such as custom mix modelling (CMM) by Nielsen, which Facebook said it had piloted last year.

Gautam Mehra, the chief data officer for South Asia and chief executive officer of programmatic at Dentsu Aegis Network observes the importance of moving away from traditional marketing metrics to real business metrics that can be measured and improved on an ongoing basis.

“With the impetus of commerce, CRM and digital transformation, I think, every company will now have a direct-to-consumer line of business and will want to bring themselves closer to the consumer, and rely less on the intermediaries,” he explains.

While most brands are dealing with huge change across many aspects of business, focusing on the changing customer journey is a good place for marketing to focus attention.

Feature Image Credit: the report also shares actionable guidance for brands to build for the new consumer journeys in times of Covid-19 and beyond.


Sourced from The Drum

Marketers came roaring into 2020 with plans to spend heavily on in-store experiences and brand activations such as pop-ups and parties. But with a large number of Americans still facing stay-at-home orders, industry experts are observing a shift to a different marketing approach: influencers on video platforms.

“Many small- to mid-size apparel brands are focusing in on three platforms: TikTok, YouTube and Instagram,” said Clayton Durant, founder and managing partner at consulting firm CAD Management. “Quarantine has bumped up the amount of time spent on these platforms.”

Influencer marketing is not new, but the financial strain felt by many consumers is changing the way brands approach it. Durant said traditional advertising campaigns are no longer deemed tasteful nor are they driving the meaningful engagement required to convert sales. Instead of glamorous, aspirational images, consumers want meaningful, authentic content from sources they trust. Increasingly, that means social media micro-influencers.

For many brands, partnering with a series of micro-influencers is becoming a more reliable source of marketing than traditional campaigns. These influencers usually have 50,000 to 2 million followers on social media, but speak to an engaged audience with more followers than many top celebrities. They are also less expensive to partner with.

“Many of these influencer deals give the brand the most amount of leverage in the transaction, allowing the brand to get a better ROI,” said Durant. “If you handle micro-influencer campaigns right there is more of a ‘partnership’ feel to these transactions; many micro-influencers are going above and beyond their deal points.”

Finding the most cost-effective marketing approach is more critical than ever, with many brands suffering from sales drops. But the disappearance of live marketing has also allowed for the redistribution of resources to social media, SEO and influencer campaigns. Durant believes that investing in these partnerships now could also pay off in the long term, as brands and consumers adjust to the new retail landscape.

“I expect brick-and-mortar foot traffic to take at least a year to get back to ‘normal,’” said Durant. “To make up for the loss of foot traffic, brands are going to turn to platforms like YouTube, TikTok or Twitch to create one-of-a-kind virtual shopping experiences that mimic walking in the store. That is where partnering with influencers to host digital store experiences could be quite powerful.”

TikTok, one of the pandemic’s success stories with 315 million app downloads this quarter, has also observed this shift. The platform has recently launched an ad format for influencers, enabling its more prominent users to include “shop now” links in their videos. For brands to capitalize on this feature, though, they will need to partner with that select group.

Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock

By Madeleine Streets

Sourced from FN


Self-quarantining and social distancing have taken a toll on the business of fashion, and on a personal level, many of us have swapped ready-to-wear for loungewear. In a lot of ways, fashion’s taken a back seat to the booming world of self-care — and topping our list is skincare. To transition from style snob to beauty snob, we’ve enlisted the expertise of grooming connoisseur Garrett Munce, who cleverly compares your favorite fashion brands to their skincare equivalent.

Skincare is like fashion in a variety of ways, and not just because they’re both aesthetic pursuits. First, it’s a personal journey. The same products that work for your friend might not work for you. Second, both skincare and fashion are about branding.

Think about it: what makes you pick up one item off a rack packed with others? The label plays a big part. The same goes for why you pick a certain skincare product off a crowded shelf: you’re drawn, know it or not, to the brand. And, these days, guys want their face cleanser and moisturizer to do more than just cleanse and protect their skin. We want products that fit into our lifestyle, that we’re not embarrassed to leave out on our bathroom counters, that have vibes instead of just ingredients.

If you know fashion, you’ll understand skincare. These are the brands you should know, alongside their fashion equivalents.

Bode = Vintner’s Daughter


Bode represents a world where people are willing to pay huge sums of money to feel like they’re acting sustainably, and those people are also using Vintner’s Daughter. One of the brands that launched the current Green Explosion, Vintner’s Daughter only has two products: a serum and an essence made from all-natural ingredients, both of which will set you back a couple of hundred dollars. A cult following of green-minded fancy people has popped up around both brands, who believe that conspicuous consumption and harsh chemicals aren’t necessary to be cool.

Chanel = La Prairie


Like the storied House of Chanel, favored by fancy grandmothers and young hypebeasts alike, the skincare “house” of La Prairie has a long history. The brand extends back to 1931 with the opening of Clinique La Prairie and the cellular rejuvenation research of Dr. Paul Niehans. Like Coco Chanel, Dr. Niehans had a vision, and almost a century later that vision is still something you want to put on your body. Nowadays, also like Chanel, La Prairie is expensive AF, but completely worth it, according to brand acolytes. The rich moisturizers and silky eye creams might have a decidedly old lady scent, but if you ask us, that only adds to the experience.

Goyard = Biologique Recherche


Even when Goyard wasn’t at the front of every stylish dude’s mind, it was still churning out luggage for those in the know. You’ve probably never heard of its skincare equivalent unless you follow beauty influencers on Instagram: Biologique Recherche. Its hero product, an exfoliating toner called Lotion P50, has been referred to as “Jesus in a bottle,” and seems to be the desert-island product of anyone serious about skincare. It’s expensive and hard to find, but using it means you know something your friends don’t.

Tom Ford = Tom Ford


OK, this is an easy one, but think about it: can any brand get to the level of Tom Ford without actually being Tom Ford? The notoriously well-groomed designer first extended his taste level to fragrance, creating an extensive line of instantly iconic scents and, just last year, came out with a new unisex skincare line to match. Tom Ford Research isn’t going to set you back as much as a sharkskin suit, but in skincare terms, it comes pretty close. There are only three products: a moisturizer, serum, and an eye cream, but if we’re to learn anything from Ford, luxury is in the details.

1017 ALYX 9SM = The Nue Co


The whole point of 1017 ALYX 9SM is to blend what we know — streetwear, tailoring, and technical fabrics — to create something surprising. The same ethos goes into The Nue Co, an innovative grooming and wellness company from the UK. All of the supplements are fused with the combination of nature and science, and can combat everything from bloating to skin issues. Teaching us that better skin is possible from the inside is the type of out-of-the-box thinking that The Nue Co is best at. Plus, the bottles fit perfectly in a 1017 ALYX 9SM harness pouch.

Snow Peak = SK-II


Japanese brand Snow Peak is the gold standard of design-minded functionality, even for people who have never built a campfire in their lives. Knowing about Snow Peak gives you instant cred, and the same goes for its skincare equivalent SK-II. The products themselves, like the essence and mask, are beloved around the world because they’ve been perfected over the years to not just work, but make life easier. But more than just using the products, both SK-II and Snow Peak are about a lifestyle, and actually owning a piece of the brand signals that you value functionality and design (and are willing to pay a premium for it).

Jil Sander = Dr. Barbara Sturm


The similarities between Jil Sander and Dr. Barbara Sturm go beyond just the founders (both are blond, German ladies). While Sander made her mark on the fashion world with her minimal designs and created a global brand founded on a “less is more” attitude, Dr. Sturm’s ethos comes from using scientifically-proven ingredients to perfect your skin. The simple, minimal packaging is one thing, but inside the bottles are advanced formulas that work to rebuild skin and attack a variety of issues, including some you can’t even see (like pollution). A Dr. Barbara Sturm serum is the Jil Sander white button-down of skincare: not everyone will get it (or understand why you paid so much for it), but the trained eye can tell you’re onto something.

Supreme = Glossier


Every hypebeast waiting in line outside the Supreme store in Manhattan has a girlfriend waiting in a similar line a few blocks away: outside Glossier. Are the logos similar? Yes. Have both brands mastered the art of the drop? Yes. Can people get enough? No. Where Supreme constantly reinvents classic garms like tees and sweats and makes them cool just by slapping on a logo, Glossier has done the same to easy, no-fuss skincare. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every face serum, they say, you just need to put it in a slyly designed bottle and give it a great marketing campaign (or lack thereof). For the record, both brands are unisex, and in the case of Glossier, there’s even an Instagram account to prove it.

J.Crew = Kiehl’s


Peek into the closets of half of America (and most of the Brooklyn dad population), and you’ll find at least one item from J.Crew. Peek into those same dudes’ medicine cabinets, and you’ll likely find Kiehl’s. Both classic American brands are now mainstays of any red-blooded guy’s style. Thanks to both brands’ availability at malls, they’re easy to find and meet a need that most guys have: to look put together without necessarily standing out or opening their wallet too much. Like J.Crew’s democratic, slightly-elevated basics, Kiehl’s has an extensive line (and sub-lines) of skincare products that work for every type of guy and make you look good without going over the top.

Gucci = Buly 1803


Did Alessandro Michele directly reference Buly 1803 when he took the helm of Gucci? If we were to take that bet, we’d put our money on “yes.” Now, it’s easy to confuse the packaging of the two-centuries-old French apothecary brand with what we think of as Michele’s signature style: maximalist, ornate, and vaguely mystical. Lotion tubes with tarot hands printed on them, face cleanser bottles with script words you can’t quite pronounce, hand soaps that smell like a grandma but in a good way — they’re all at home in the print-crazy, layered, cartoonish world of Gucci. Is it something you stole from your grandmother or something you bought from Mr. Porter last week? In the case of both brands, it’s almost impossible to tell.

Nike = Unilever


While global force Nike has gradually taken over closets and decided what we wear in and out of the gym, another conglomerate has taken over our personal care: Unilever. What it lacks in name recognition, Unilever makes up for in reach: it’s the company that owns Axe, Suave, Noxzema, Dove, Vaseline, and tons more. Walk down any men’s grooming aisle (or look in your own bathroom) and half the products are made by Unilever. It even has its own version of high-end NikeLab: a luxury portfolio that includes brands like Dermalogica (a science-backed, very high-end skincare brand), REN (cutting-edge, clean skincare), and Living Proof (guy-friendly, solution-based haircare).

Acne Studios = Aesop


Acne Studios’ clothing signifies a certain commitment to an art degree (or anyone who wants to look like they have one). The clothes are minimal, sure, but hidden in the details are codes that the wearer might be wearing a T-shirt, but their T-shirt is cooler than yours. It’s a similar ability to build a lifestyle through subtlety that makes sustainably-minded, minimal-but-not skincare brand Aesop so desirable. One of the OG natural-inspired grooming companies, Aesop is all about effective ingredients in easy-to-use formulas with just-advanced-enough sounding names to confuse those left out of the loop. Everyone who’s anyone can identify a bottle of Aesop soap or hand cream sitting on a sink counter (and if they can’t, it’s lost on them).

Uniqlo = The Ordinary


From its innovative technology, like Heat Tech, to the consistent roster of surprising artist collabs to its high-end collabs that sell out in seconds, Uniqlo has cemented its place as a fashion force, price point be damned. Similarly, when The Ordinary launched in 2016, skincare pros were left gobsmacked at how such great products could be sold at such low prices (many of the products have a single-digit cost). And, like Uniqlo, The Ordinary prides itself on its ability to infuse its products with technology and craftsmanship more commonly found in products with much higher price tags.