My colleague, Scott Davis recently polled the Prophet team of over 400 brand fanatics to find the top brand winners and losers of 2013. There were plenty of nominees, but the three in the top spots were Nike, Miley Cyrus and Netflix. Nike with its Fuelband SE connects consumers, activities, communities, products and services in a way that revolutionizes exercise programs. Miley Cyrus schooled major brands by controlling the dialog, changing what is relevant and taking the meaning of brand energy to a whole new level. Netflix, which only a few years ago seemed to be fading, transformed itself into an almost indispensable part of the lives of many and with ongoing innovation have made their brand the dynamic exemplar of its category.
It got me thinking about the brands that caught my eye in 2013. Over the course of the year I highlighted approximately 25 compelling brand stories, but seven particularly specifically stand out: …Continue reading
David Kelley, the founder of IDEO and the Stanford D-School, and his brother, Tom Kelley, a partner at IDEO and the author of two innovation books, have just published a new book, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.
They make some provocative and suggestive assertions; here is my take on several of them.
Everyone has creative potential – everyone.
Creativity is not reserved for those few with the right genes. The key is to attain creative confidence, a belief that you are indeed creative and an optimistic way of looking at what is possible. That confidence comes in part from trying, doing, accepting failure and creating small successes. …Continue reading
Tis the season of coming together. A time to reflect and remember the things that we’re thankful for, from family and friends to the little things that make life easier. As you would imagine, we at Prophet believe brand plays a large role in the things we’re thankful for in life. Whether they allow us to work the way we want, express ourselves with a sense of fashion or provide us ease and access in the places we need it most, some brands are essential to living the lives we love. At Prophet, when we’re not helping brands grow and innovate, we’re growing our families and following our passions. So, we wanted to know what brands inspire Propheteers as we follow our unique paths both at work and at home. Through an internal poll, we compiled a list of brands we’re thankful for. Read below and let us know: What brands are you thankful for? …Continue reading
Engaging Consumers & Reducing Costs
In this series we are zooming in on trends, brands and innovations within the healthcare space. We hope to explore new perspectives on existing structures and creative approaches that are redefining the system. By focusing our attention on singular aspects of the market we will discover that opportunities for growth are highly achievable. See our previous post here.
With buzz around Apple’s forthcoming iWatch, FitBit’s Force and the continued success of Nike’s fuel band, the celebration of “quantified self” technology is on the rise. Mobile apps, wearable tech and other products that connect users with their health is a clear sign that consumers want to play an active role in their own wellness. If leveraged correctly, the quantified self-movement could provide valuable patient insights as well as reduce long-term costs for healthcare brands.
But before talking about the benefits to brands, we must first understand their importance to the consumer. After all, it’s the customer (or in this case, patient), that should always come first. These products don’t just monitor activity or measure how long you’re at the gym. They allow users to connect their actions with the effect of those actions. Quantified self products engage the wearer with their lifestyle goals, stress levels and current healthcare regimens. This unprecedented awareness of one’s actions can provide insights into behaviors that are negatively affecting health.
To get a better sense of this feedback loop between measurement and behavior change lets look at a few examples of quantified self products. …Continue reading
The HUB magazine announced the results of its annual contest for the best brand experience of the year. This year, the “best of show” honors went to Kmart for their “Ship My Pants” commercial. The ad was produced to promote Kmart’s program to ship any out-of-stock or wrong-sized item in the store to you for free. It’s a program that deals directly with an ongoing Kmart issue. The 31-second spot had several characters repeat the “ship my pants” or “ship my drawers” line…and it was hard to avoid misinterpreting “ship.”
I recall that when the commercial was first aired, some said it was unwise and off-brand because it would (and did) offend some and ran counter to Kmart’s family-friendly image.
They were wrong. …Continue reading
How the blood industry can inspire our thinking
Businesses in healthcare are facing a problem. In such a diverse, complicated and innovative field, determining how to pursue growth can be overwhelming. From political influences and new technologies to cultural changes and economic shifts, where to spend your resources is a challenging question. The problem lies in considering all aspects of the industry simultaneously. Businesses are attempting to react to all the changes, opportunities and competitors in the industry. But taking too wide a view is leading to muddled solutions and slow progress.
The solution lies in narrowing our focus on just a few aspects of healthcare to understand where the tide of change is turning. In this three-part series, we hope to explore new perspectives on existing structures and innovative approaches that are redefining the system. By focusing our attention on singular aspects of the market we will discover that opportunities for growth are highly achievable.
To start let’s look at an oft under-considered player in the field: blood. …Continue reading
Few executives realize how much the value of their company depends on profitable growth. In healthcare companies, for example, market expectations of revenue increases account for 58 percent of market capitalization. In consumer products, it’s 42 percent. In fact, generating meaningful revenue gains in a 12 to 18 month period is proven to be the single best route to a) get more love from Wall Street, and b) improve the odds for long-term growth down the line.
In our experience, the most fruitful way to achieve rapid revenue gains is to radically rethink the way you connect with your customers. Customer needs, perceptions and motivations hold the key to answering the two questions that should drive every growth strategy: “Where to play?” and “How to win?” These two questions determine where a company can create lasting customer value and how to deliver it. Today’s competitive realities demand that the search for these answers shouldn’t be limited to customer research and the sales team. Creating customer value should inform all your growth efforts, starting now. …Continue reading
Most marketing and branding teams look to spend their budget on promoting the offering, brand, and/or firm. The problem is that no one cares about their offering, brand or firm. And as a result, the payoff is disappointing and the social amplifying potential is non-existent.
An alternative is, instead, to look to what the target customers are interested in – what they talk about, how they spend their time, and what represents their values and lifestyle. I call that the customer sweet spot. Think of Pampers Village or Sephora’s BeautyTalk. And Citi Bike! …Continue reading
Last month, we visited Chicago for an amazing week of inspiring lectures, workshops and conversations. It was Chicago Ideas Week, and it was fantastic. Prophet’s Curator and Provocateur, Andy Stefanovich was invited to host one of many sessions – his focusing on the future of work. Andy’s role in looking towards the future of how we work has been decades in the making. For more than 25 years, Andy has been helping companies think differently about how they do the work they do with a combination of energetic inspiration and grounded strategy. While many organizations talk about unique culture, the way we work is far more nuanced and complex. As brands seek growth in an economy dominated by digital and increasingly driven by millennials, thinking about how work is changing is vital. Encouraged by Andy’s inspired storytelling, five talented speakers brought to life a highly engaging session. …Continue reading
As my book Brand Relevance asserts—the only way to grow is to create a “must have.” It must define a new subcategory and then manage that subcategory by becoming its exemplar through ongoing innovation that creates a moving target.
No brand has done that better than Gillette.
Instead of being killed off by the introduction of the electric razor in the 1930s, it used innovation and self-expressive benefits to lead the subcategory (and thus Gillette) into profitability and dominance for the better part of a century throughout the developed world.
Gillette has been most impressive in India. In 2008, Gillette’s premium shaving subcategory needed to fight the low end, double-edged razors that had 80 percent of the market, as well as a growing subcategory represented by men modeling the stubble look of some movie stars who shaved only once a week. The breakthrough was a Gillette-stimulated program called W.A.L.S. (Women Against Lazy Stubble), designed to change perceptions and behavior toward the subcategory (as opposed to the Gillette brand).
It was based in part on a 2008 Nielsen survey that revealed 77 percent of women in India preferred clean-shaven men. The effort involved the campaign, “India votes, to shave or not,” the endorsement of two glamorous Bollywood actresses, a record setting event in which 2,000 males shaved simultaneously, and more.
The momentum of W.A.L.S. helped, but more was needed to counter the low-end market. Into that context, Gillette made its signature Mach3 razor much less costly (to only three times that of the double-edged razors where it had been fifty times). Perhaps more important, a new razor was developed, the Gillette Guard, which was equal in cost to that of the double edged razors. In addition, Gillette crated a distribution strategy that accessed the rural retailers that reached the mass of users outside urban areas.
By 2013, two out of every three razors sold in India was a Gillette Guard and the Mach3 enjoyed an increase in sales of some 500 percent. …Continue reading