As we pulled together this month’s newsletter, a few themes emerged. The first on Brand for Good, a topic we’ve been promoting and covering for the last several years. The next, a new organizational model seems to be popping up in a few companies where Marketing and Sales functions converge into a single group focused on demand creation. We see new brands and brand experiences being created, while we learn from new, small brands on the block. Finally, new generations are of focus—Gen Z consumers and workers and Millennial parents.
There’s much more, and we hope you’ll find at least one insight to inspire you to action.
Will Amazon falter? Is it doomed to fail at some point, as Doug Stephens argues in this article? What do you think?
Or, will Amazon have take lessons from this TED talk, and will you, too, to build a business that will endure over time.
Need a way to assess risk? Test the CARVER model.
A case for questioning a company’s need for data or big data. Worth a read if you’re determining if big data should be a key strategy for your business.
John Deere provides a good example of a company that has evolved its strategy and products to maintain relevance in today’s technology-driven world. The green tractor is still relevant.
A theme emerged this month on what we call “Brand for Good.” We’ve been tracking this and framed it per our article linked below. Here’s other recent coverage that beats the same drum.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speaks to Kara Swisher at the Recode conference. A few of his statements stood out to me: make principled decisions vs. simply a business decision; when something is related to your mission, there’s an opportunity to lean in; when a company is big, it will have an impact on society and thus has a responsibility to society; society expects more of such companies; it’s important to report on results within the context of multiple stakeholders; and it’s important to have a long-term horizon. But, really, listen to it from Chesky himself.
An article that advocates for actions that need to be taken to support leaders in broadening their stakeholder base beyond shareholders, as Chesky has committed to do.
This article champions having companies operate consistently with their purpose, making a specific point around CEO pay relative to workers. The author questions whether the disparity that exists today will make it difficult for employees to buy-in to a company’s purpose.
And another on connecting purpose and profit. It’s important to still start with purpose.
Electronic Arts (EA) is reshaping its marketing function and CMO role, putting data at the center of its evolution. An article on an interview with CMO, Chris Bruzzo. It’s interesting how in EA’s example and in the podcast from Chobani below how CMO’s are starting to have sales functions reporting into them, consolidating demand creation under the CMO. This also shows up in one of the trend articles at the bottom of the newsletter.
Read how some companies are doing more to create a degree of transparency around consumer data use. More from PSFK >
What can you learn from how some indie brands are succeeding in today’s market? Building frameworks and integrated systems, having and exhibiting a personality, and taking advantage of risk taking.
ICYMI, a range of coverage on Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad, from the positive to the questioning. What can be learned from these perspectives?
- Are you crazy enough? It’s inspiring enough, I’ll say that!
- Is Nike making a bet on resonating with more people than those it might alienate?
- If you’re going to take a stand, politically charged or not, align with your brand’s purpose.
- Is the support of Kaepernick about social justice, or is it just good business?
- Taking a stand doesn’t make good for shortcomings in the past. Values have to bleed through everything a company does.
- An early read shows positive results, but time will tell if it the long-term financial results are in the green.
A new brand for Gap, Hill City, targeted to men and offering athleisurewear that can go from workout to work, similar to its Athleta brand. Gap is doing what other companies are likely to need to do—build a direct-to-consumer brand from the ground up that resonates with today’s consumer through positioning, product, and its go-to-market model.
Watch and listen to how young brands KIDBOX and Away are connecting with consumers and growing their business.
Eileen Fisher has long been a brand that is governed by values. Now they have a new concept store, Making Space, in Brooklyn that is bringing those values to life in an experiential format. Shoppers can see artists in residence, exhibits showing how items are made, and public workshops. It’s a great test of a new retail concept to engage consumers more fully into the brand.
What marketing personalization do consumers really want? Learn more from McKinsey >
Why does Gen Z engage with Youtube? To release stress, learn, and connect. Learn more >
Did you know that most new parents today are Millennials? Read how brands are targeting this generation’s parental needs.
While meat alternatives continue to be the rage for investors, are consumers really buying in? Cultured or lab-grown meat may have a way to go to bring consumers onboard, but it’s not surprising to find that younger people are more open to try.
A case for leveraging Gen Z workers as intrapreneurs. This article takes it from the angle of what will be required to have engaged Gen Z workers. Yet, I’d say there’s a benefit to companies thinking more about the need for intrapreneurs to fuel their innovation programs and perhaps Gen Z workers being just the right cohort to take these roles on.
It’s not easy for big and small companies to work together or merge given operating and cultural differences. Here are a few tips to hopefully ease some of the pain.
IDEO’s 5 tips for running a design sprint. Ready, set, go!
Innovation is such a long road. So, you have to plan for hand-offs and transitions. Some advice here on how to ensure good handoffs from development teams to commercialization teams.
Love this article on Lululemon and how the company is defining its next act with a focus on product innovation and a unique view that puts the consumer at the center.
And some tips on designing great products.
Sometimes people think creativity is all about sparks of insight and flourishes of energy. Yet, planning does have its role. See how J.K. Rowling planned out the plot for the 5th book in the Harry Potter series. Planning and right brain activities aren’t bad for the creative process. On the contrary, they are often needed to finalize the creation. (See our book reference below!)
The beauty and power of bringing data to life in graphics.
Explore an old nature-oriented guide to color that is now available in an interactive format.
ICYMI in SF and happen to be in or visit NYC, check out the Color Factory, a colorful, immersive experience.
And why are floral book covers trending now? Learn more, but regardless they are quite pretty!
The Halloween decorations are in the windows, so holiday season has officially started. What’s on tap for 2018 holiday? Here are a few views:
- From Criteo – start early, focus on mobile, focus on the time between Christmas and New Year’s as a part 2, and leverage data to strengthen customer relationships.
- From Shopify – a few builds from above… prioritize email, be mindful of your CPC vs. AOV and focus on increasing AOV, consider that online holiday shopping is a global market, and more.
- From Big Commerce – some holiday marketing campaign ideas.
And if that’s not getting ahead of ourselves, a look towards 2019 is starting to take shape. From Strategy Insider, Brand Trends for 2019.
And further out still, what will Food look like in 2038? Find out at Fast Company >
Book in Brief
“Making Ideas Happen,” by Scott Belsky
I love this book and was happy to take it back off my shelf to peruse through it for some reminders on how to make things happen. Belsky covers the practicalities of getting into action, organization, and execution and that’s coming from a creative’s point-of-view. He delves into the power of communities and how we need people around us to help bring ideas to life. Finally, he speaks to how to be a leader that makes things happen. He provides sound, practical, and inspiring guidance to get us to accomplish what matters to us.
Have a Listen
A chat with Chobani CMO Peter McGuinness who speaks to his new role leading a Demand Creation Unit that brings together marketing, sales, and other functions into one collaborative team. He also shares insights on what keeps the company on the forefront, challenging themselves, remaining curious, and maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit.
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