Warby on authenticity & transparency

Warby Parker, killing it per usual, with great perception and intuition of their millennial customer base. Authenticity, transparency, understanding, rinse, repeat.

Co-founder/co-CEO Dave Gilboa noted that it is simple for companies to be opaque about business and employment practices and partnerships, and it’s impossible to hide these facts in today’s world where information flows so freely.

Being authentic and transparent with consumers is important because people are going to find out how you are operating, he explained.

"Our customers are buying our glasses because they think our glasses are a great product at a great price point, and we make that convenient,' Gilboa said. "I think they feel good about supporting a company that has a bigger social mission, but for the vast majority of our customers, that is not the primary purpose in buying our product."

-- "Warby Parker plays down social mission in marketing materials" via PR Week

On beer, marketing, and #millennial men

"Brands have a new love affair with millennial men...

Aside from his various devices, there are a few things that a millennial man cannot live without.  One of those things is his favorite beer chilling in the fridge for a night out with the guys or to drink while watching the game on Sunday night. As the youngest legal drinkers, millennials as a whole have embraced beer drinking and are transforming the entire industry. Craft breweries are popping up all over the country and millennials are opting to pay more forcraft beers instead of public brands. However, there are lessons to be learned from beer brands that are staying relevant and available to the millennial men taking over the market."

Brand love is never static:  According to research conducted by  BERA Brand Management , there are 5 stages of development that parallel human relationships – new, dating, love, boredom and divorce. Like every great relationship, the ideas is to remain “fresh” and “exciting” to the other party.

Brand love is never static: According to research conducted by BERA Brand Management, there are 5 stages of development that parallel human relationships – new, dating, love, boredom and divorce. Like every great relationship, the ideas is to remain “fresh” and “exciting” to the other party.

Five Love Lessons For Marketing to Millennial Men

  1. Understand the head winds and tail winds of millennial culture
  2. Seek the intersection of your brand authority and cultural trends
  3. Keep it fresh because love doesn’t stand still (i.e., boys will look at other brands)
  4. Engage your consumer as a participant; do not refer to them as a target audience
  5. Disrupt your last success because if you don’t someone else will 

-- "Budweiser, Heineken & Five Millennial Male Marketing Love Affair Lessons" via Millennial Marketing

Millennial Luxury Consumers Will Behave Differently (via Appliance Magazine)

Members of the Millennial generation will begin to reach their peak earning years in 2020, according to Unity Marketing, and the wealthiest members of this cohort will enter a “window of affluence” that will last for two decades.

Unity Marketing said that predicting who is likely to be wealthy is not as difficult as predicting how members of the Millennial generation, born between 1978 and 2000, will spend their money.

Unity Market research has determined that Millennials are different from previous generations of luxury consumers in four key ways:

  1. Millennials will reject their parents’ status symbols. Millennials will find status in achievements instead of purchases. They’ll get far more satisfaction from earning a degree or completing an athletic event than by some kind of status symbols that can be bought.

    An example of how this might affect buying behavior: they may be more interested in buying a $500 Ironman triathlon watch to mark an achievement rather than a $5,000 brand name watch.

  2. Millennials will trade money for time, so they will have less to spend on luxury. While prior generations of affluents were willing to work long hours, Millennials will be willing to slow career progress—and earnings—in order to enjoy the time they have now. That means fewer discretionary dollars.

  3. Millennials will shift from conspicuous to conscious consumption guided by values. Social, environmental, and ethical values guide how Millennials spend money and make purchases. This can already be seen in Millennials’ tendency to rent rather than buy. This may impact tendencies to buy cars, designer clothing, and other products that could be rented instead.

  4. Millennials see “luxury” as a marketer’s label. Millennials perceive the term “luxury” as another tool to entice them to buy, not a descriptive adjective conveying something important about the product or service.

    Affluent Millennials will key in on products that help them live the lives they want, and will be far less likely to look for luxury or status as traditionally defined.

Millennial Luxury Consumers Will Behave Differently (via ApplianceMagazine.com)

"2014 Millennial Trends"

"In order to stay relevant, brands must capture Millennial interest through new innovations and strategic campaigns that engage Millennials through a variety of different networks. Here, we have compiled a list of the top five Millennial trends to watch for in 2014:

  1. Social media paradigm shift. This new paradigm shift in online privacy is changing the perception of what/why information is shared online. Instead of being afraid to share information, users are now focusing on what benefits come from sharing personal information online.
  2. Social ads are replacing banner ads. Different from banner ads, social ads provide a brief description of the product or company being promoted and are included in the users news feed. Traditional online banner ads are mostly ignored by social media users and are only clicked on 0.2 percent of the time they are seen. 
  3. Pictures speak louder than words. As a creative generation, Millennials value brands that allow them to express themselves in unique ways. Photo sharing is a way Millennials can connect with others through creative expression.
  4. Say bye-bye to luxury branding. Affluent Millennials are a growing segment within Generation Y. According to Unity Marketing, this group will take over the luxury segment by 2018. These Millennials do not seek out products that show off their high status. Instead they are driven by experiences and opportunities to create memories that they can share with friends. Luxury brands are also becoming more available to the general Millennial demographic. Brands like, Nike and Honda are now considered luxury brands are generally favored by the majority of Millennials.
  5. More mobile. The Millennial generation is redefining the way brands are using mobile marketing. According to a study released by InsightExpress, two out every five Millennials say would feel anxious without their smartphones. Now, it is imperative that every platform be optimized for mobile use. Millennials make up 70 percent of consumers who say they are more likely to immediately delete an email if it is not adjusted for mobile use. Millennials are an on the go generation with no plans to slow down in 2014. The connection between mobile use and brand engagement will only get stronger as the year progresses.”

— “2014 Millennial Trends" via Millennial Marketing

On #millennials and the brands we hate (via iMedia Connection)

"By now, one thing should be perfectly clear: Millennials are not monolithic…Individuals of specific generations are undeniably individuals — separate from others and unique in wants and needs. In fact, according to The Boston Consulting Group, U.S. Millennials comprise six diverse segments. The Anti-Millennial, for example, is locally minded, conservative, and does not spend more on green products. Moreover, Millennials comprise the first population of “digital natives,” a cohort connected by its interaction with digital technology from an early age. The constant exposure to various beliefs and habits on the internet has produced a generation of extremely diverse individuals. Consequently, a one-size-fits-all marketing approach to this generation falls short…

At the same time, Millennials share a number of characteristics, which creates an excellent opportunity for advertisers. Let’s be honest — marketing is made easier (and more effective?) when groups of people can be compartmentalized according to birth years. As detailed in [research], Millennial consumers more or less value social networking, demand transparency and authenticity, are active (not passive) consumers, exercise a high level of influence over others, and require much more from branded experiences. 

These brands represent a small segment of companies that have pissed off Millennials. Obviously, not all of Generation Y hates these brands, and Millennial discontent does not necessarily sink sales. But imagine how much more dominant these brands could be by better accounting for those characteristics that Millennials do share. Of course, doing so would lead to success across all generations, but connecting with the largest group of consumers in U.S. history is a sure way to establish long-term success.”


— Brands that Millennials love to hate via iMedia Connection

On the #millennial consumer (via BCG Perspectives)

"Move aside, U.S. baby boomers. The Millennial generation is bigger than you and growing in influence. Now numbering 79M  (vs. boomers’ 76 million), U.S. Millennials—people between the ages of 16 and 34—have been the subject of abundant analysis and commentary, mostly revolving around their avid use of technology, changing media-consumption habits, and entry into the workforce. Less has been written about Millennials as consumers…

On average, U.S. Millennials already shell out and influence the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars annually—an amount that will only increase as they mature into their peak earning and spending years.

Millennials’ expectations are different from those of previous generations, and companies will need to rethink their brands, business models, and marketing accordingly. Yet our research shows that many executives who make product and service decisions for their companies have negative or dismissive attitudes toward Millennials.

Clearly, companies will have to understand, accept, and embrace the characteristics and values of this generation if they are to create and market relevant products and services that resonate with them and meet their needs…This generation engages with brands, channels, and service models in new ways limited only by the rate of technological advancement and innovation…”

Debunking Stereotypes: The Millennial Consumer by BCG Perspectives

Variable pricing for Super Bowl ads via porn data...

As a lukewarm football fan (thx Google for providing me with “superbowl 2014 teams” day of info) who views most things from a marketing mindset, I watch the Super Bowl 85% for the ads.  Factor in 15% for an excuse to order wings and Amstels (as if we needed one).

We all know that commercials during the most-watched televised US event of all time (not to mention the 2nd largest day of food consumption…nice one, America) are the priciest of all ad spaces, which begs the question “how is it being capitalized on?” 

1) Is it fixed pricing?  I’ve long heard the statistic that a 30s ad runs upwards of $1M…at least.  Does this mean it costs $1M to purchase any ad space, regardless of time interval the ad airs?  I ask this because, to me…

2) Variable pricing makes more sense… I am very curious to know if commercials are priced differently depending on the proximity to beginning/end of game as well as to the halftime show.  I’d expect peak viewer numbers at the beginning and also close to halftime, but does that mean the Super Bowl has also built in mechanisms to capture the additional revenue they would be able to drive from selling off this prime ad space?  Pricing towards the end of the game would be more variable, since it is difficult to predict with accuracy whether the game will be neck-in-neck or have a clear winner (sorry Broncos #toosoon).

Take the Pornhub traffic data collected from this year’s game: 

"While porn viewing numbers in Seattle and Washington dropped below average in the wake of their massive victory — presumably because everyone was out partying — the numbers in Denver and Colorado surged to 10.8% and 7.6% above average, respectively. The climax reading topped off at around at 11pm before Bronco fans eventually took to sleeping off their loss and their quick release fantasy.”

(Source: Scallywag & Vagabond)

With data like this, it seems feasible for there to be a live bidding system that happens during the actual game (where companies can put in bids to buy the next immediate prime real estate for their commercial).  However, would this put the underdogs (e.g., in my opinion, Squarespace) at a disadvantage?  A friend then retorted that clearly no one who is vying for Super Bowl ad space could possibly be labeled an ‘underdog’ because every brand in the running can already afford the 6-figure base rate.

All in all, many of these questions regarding Super Bowl ad space are left unresolved, but a great exercise in brainstorming pricing strategy regardless!  Well done, NFL.

One last tangential thought: I am pretty sure this is the first time I (and many of my friends) have watched full-length commercials on a TV (and advertisers only have the Super Bowl to thank for that).  With the landscape of televised programs changing so rapidly (go get ‘em, Netflix!) and channels like YouTube empowering brands to make and track viral commercials, it will be interesting to see how big televised events change (if at all) in the coming years…

On Brand Minimalism

from: Andrew
to: Rae, Lucy
date: Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 1:11 AM
subject: A Study on Brand Minimalism


What do you guys think? I didn’t really like any of the final distillations (mostly 1st & 2nd), save for Schweppes’s bottle design.


from: Rae
to: Andrew, Lucy
date: Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 10:54 AM
subject: A Study on Brand Minimalism

lol funny this is in 2011 since this is the big trend anyways

the only one i like is the evian one and only b/c i think water packaging should be minimalist anyways…

funny because even the dieline re-branded very recently (i think like.. less than a month ago): http://www.thedieline.com/blog/reintroducing-the-dieline-new-identity-and-website
think the trend is obvious


from: Lucy
to: Rae, Andrew
date: Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 11:09 AM
subject: A Study on Brand Minimalism

Yeah, this trend is definitely obvious and has been somewhat long time coming.  with regards to helping/hurting the brands, i think it greatly helps the brand if they are already a well known entity (e.g., Starbucks, Durex, M&M’s) and so they can also leverage this minimalist copy with their signature brand colors (e.g., Target) that everyone is already familiar with.

I think were people run into trouble is this huge startup bubble that has all startups using Helvetica font and one color, thinking that simple is key and as long as they have a simple brand then everyone will think its sexy and everything else will fall into place (e.g., all the companies on http://betali.st/).  I think what a lot of wannabe start-ups are lacking is the understanding that branding is a lot more than just a distilled down label, it is that on top of a clear message and strong sense of brand/vision.  As sexy as these minimalist labels are, they don’t mean anything unless the company is actually as simple/efficient as they are trying to come off (e.g., Apple).