All posts tagged innovation

I love a bit of retailer innovation.  So imagine my delight when I nipped into town for a few (boring) essentials this morning, and found myself face-to-face (or should that be face-to-bonnet?) with the fabulous Bessie the Bus. For those of you unfamiliar with Bessie, she is Oasis’ new mobile shop. You can check out her story here.

Bessie is an old mobile library, refitted in a fab #fashpack style is currently on tour.  Her schedule is chocca – she’s visiting regional events, retail parks, and high streets where Oasis does not currently have a retail presence. What a brilliant concept – the store that comes to customers rather than waiting for customers to come to them.

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What makes Bessie even better is that fact that she’s not simply an Oasis groupie…or worse, a jumped-up-market-stall. She’s had a modern-retro makeover that accentuates her fun, quirky side. Her  bespoke interior includes a kitchen hob holding key accessories, a breakfast bar that doubles as a hanging display unit and a jewellery box that opens to print customer receipts She also has a fitting room and the best sales staff EVER (how much do they love their jobs?!).

Bessie has more than 250 stops planned in her 2015 tour…so it shouldn’t be long before she’s at a venue near you. You can even petition for her to visit your town via Twitter using #bessiethebus. Go Bessie!

hoverboard

I don’t know about you, but it’s taken me a while to find my 2015 stride.  I mean, it’s hard to believe that we’ve finally reached the year that Marty Fly visited in Back to the Future II. So it turns out that we don’t have flying cars, there isn’t a female US president and hoverboards are not the favoured transport of the younger generation.

The film did, however, accurately predict handheld tablets, 3D movies and video conferencing. In comparison to 1989, when it was made, the technologies of today are unrecognisable and far-fetched.   But as with everything, the progress has snuck up on us gradually. We don’t bat an eyelid at Google glasses and Skype is pretty run of the mill these days. It’s easy to dismiss how far we’ve come.  The advances in marketing since 1989 are even more radical. Our industry changes so rapidly and hindsight nearly always provides a glaring missed opportunity or ‘could have done better’ moment.

So, how to grab the marketing bull by the horns in 2015? My top tip would be to stop chasing marketing trends and take some time to design a strategically driven marketing mix for your business. It can include several compatible strategies and merge traditional and digital channels to produce the perfect brand-oriented marketing blend.

It may sound obvious, but successful content marketing is reliant on a content marketing strategy.  This strategy is essential. It guides your otherwise eclectic content marketing efforts and is the cornerstone to digital marketing success. Whereas content was undeniably king in 2014, in 2015 it will take on a more presidential role.  By which I mean it is pivotal to all your communications, not just an insubstantial figurehead. Make sure that you are investing in content creation and curation.  You can no longer afford to ‘wing it’, using an ad-hoc/when you’re not tied up with other things approach.

Let’s not forget that the bastion of content marketing is a customer-centric vision.  In 2015, our ongoing quest is to improve the customer experience.  Customers these days are incredibly aware of their worth, and empowered by the knowledge that a single complaint on social media can have a costly impact on a brand.

So, in a nutshell, the best way to apply this to your content marketing is:

  • Get personal – connect, engage and listen intently.
  • Customise – where possible make sure your content is always relevant to your target audience and tweaked for brand relevance.
  • Entertain – within reason, you can’t go wrong if you’re entertaining your customer.
  • Build brand ambassadors – they will be worth their weight in gold.

The other key aspect of marketing in 2015 is to ensure that you THINK MOBILE FIRST. Smartphones and tablets made up 60% of total digital media time spent in 2014 (up 50% from 2013). 2015 looks set to build on this, as analysts are predicting that by 2017, mobile will represent 91% of all internet use.

The key learning here is to keep mobile users at the forefront of your mind in terms of all website updates and marketing communications. If you ensure that you keep the customer front of mind in all your marketing activity you should avoid falling foul of 2015’s big bombshell…DIGITAL DISAPPOINTMENT. Digital natives are the most spoilt and demanding customers ever.  Find a way to make meeting their digital expectations the core of your business and you might just be onto a winner.

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The broad brush definition of Content Marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. So the formats that immediately spring to mind are blog posts, website updates and email newsletters, right?

In my opinion, the essence of content marketing is far broader than this.  It’s a strategy, not a tactic, and should actually encompass every single communication that your company utters online, including job adverts, one-to-one emails and absolutely anything you write on social media sites and forums.

Content marketing is one of the best ways of engaging with audiences and potential customers online. It is useful for improving search rankings, increasing brand engagement, loyalty and visibility and for facilitating social sharing and interaction. If you are a consumer-facing company, it is imperative that you  are actively embracing content marketing.

People in-the-know have even gone as far as to say that content marketing is the new SEO.  A big claim, but one that makes sense.   Content is the undisputed king in 2013. High quality content targets relevant keywords, boosts social sharing and increases the number of indexed pages on your website, all of which aid your search ranking climb.

Significantly, the focus for content marketing is not on selling, but rather on communicating with customers and prospects.  So it’s really all about improving your communication strategy and making sure you are communicating with your target audience on the right platforms, with relevant information, using a tone of voice that endears you to them.

What I’ve said so far obviously applies to any consumer facing company. But if you’re a food or lifestyle company you’ve got a distinct edge on the content marketing front and I’ll tell you for why (Gavin & Stacey repeats on Gold, anyone?).

Chances are your product is way more aesthetically pleasing than the majority out there.  People love to drool over images of food or beautiful interiors.  There’s a reason TV is flooded with food porn (Masterchef, The Great British Bake Off, Nigella) and house porn (Grand Designs, anything with Sarah Beeney).

They (those in-the-know bods again) say a picture speaks a thousand words. So you are at a distinct advantage in having access to delicious images that your audience will want to see.  Of course, you don’t want to be just firing incessant pictures of your brand at them, but having this content in your locker gives you a natural foundation for your content marketing efforts.

So what are you waiting for?  If you’re not quite sure where or how to start then either give us a call or pop back next week when my blog will give you a step-by-step guide to Content Marketing.

Back in the day, Word of Mouth Marketing was the rarely achieved panacea, the elusive holy grail of the broadcast marketer.

These days it’s become our bread and butter.  Word of Mouth Marketing (or WOMM for short) is the cornerstone of brand success in our digital age. And from the girded loins of WOMM has sprung the latest favoured child, Social Commerce.

With modern consumers imbibing WOMM as an essential part of their decision making processes,  Social Commerce has become the key to future success.

In 2010 Mark Zuckerberg said “If I had to guess, social commerce is next to blow up”.  He wasn’t wrong.  With 74% of consumers now relying on social networks to inform their purchasing decisions, no modern day brand can afford to ignore this latest concept.

Social commerce is defined as a subset of electronic commerce that involves using social media, online media that supports social interaction, and user contributions to assist in the online buying and selling of products and services. In a nutshell, selling within social networks.

Social Commerce allows brands to sell where consumers spend their time.  To capitalise on this you need to make sure you’re there, at the coal face, engaging with your consumers, gaining insight and generally being a likeable, trustworthy all-round good guy.

While Social Commerce is very much in its infancy, with big online brands such as Amazon, American Apparel and Cafepress still at the toe-dipping stage of engagement, it is undoubtedly the shape of things to come. So if you haven’t already, you need to start thinking about it.

How to prepare? In short you’ve got to have a brand that wins on social media – see my previous blog for details of how to do just this.

Now as a marketer, I’d never advise you to put all your eggs in one basket. An integrated strategy is always the way to go.  No one channel can ever deliver business success in isolation. And there’s always a place for the old-school skills. If you’ve got sufficient budget, clever advertising is still a great way to achieve brand awareness, and get you on the radar of your target audience. When it comes to the transactional crunch, though, it’s WOMM that increases your conversion rates and closes deals. And with Social Commerce enabling brands to hold transaction-inspiring conversations quite literally at the point of purchase, you’d be a fool to ignore it.

The high street is dead (boo), long live SC

bacon flavoured coffee

Granted, I’m probably not in the most gastronomically objective of moods, given that at 1am today I was rounding off the evening (a quiet night in with a friend, don’t you know?) with a large tumbler of elderflower liqueur. It was one of those ideas that seemed great at the time, but now in the cold light of day, with pounding head and churning tum, was clearly a huge mistake. Not remotely big or clever…especially on a school night.

But even without a hangover, bacon flavoured coffee just seems wrong. I’m all for pushing the boundaries of flavour combinations in pursuit of the next taste sensation (well, maybe not today), but there is a line.  And that has crossed it. Created by gourmet coffee company Boca Java, they claim their Maple Bacon Morning blend is  ‘reminiscent of a hearty Saturday morning breakfast’. Even for a brand whose tagline is ‘redefining the perfect cup’ this has surely got to be a massive stretch?

I mean, I’m all for the nuances bestowed by different coffee blends – spicy, fruity, full-bodied, rich, smooth etc, but to my mind coffee should taste like coffee…and definitely not like bacon.

Now some flavour combinations, that seem plain weird at first, just work. Peanut butter and jelly (sorry, jam), chilli and chocolate are a couple that spring to mind. Discovering new taste sensations is all in a day’s work for the scientists at Foodpairing. They are slaving away to discover new ways to pair old ingredients.  Using a scientific flavour analysis, they pair together foods that share major flavour components, in ways that we couldn’t even dream of.

According to their findings, surprising yet winning combinations include: Heinz Tomato Ketchup and banana, dark chocolate and parmesan and French cheese and almond cookies.  What say you Rumblechatters? Do any of those tickle your fancy, or even your tastebuds?

I’m not keen on the first pairing, but on a better day I could see the appeal of the latter two. For now though, I just need a strong coffee-flavoured coffee…and maybe a little lie down.

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I’ve been reading this week about Japan’s culture of cute… especially when it comes to food. The Japanese encourage their children to enjoy meal times by cutting food into interesting shapes, creating characters out of food, and keeping food colourful and interesting.
Even their favourite cartoon characters are food-based! They have Anpanman or ‘Bread Man’, who superhero powers are allowing starving children to take chunks out of his face. Then there’s Hannari Tofu, a cartoon character made from your favourite meat-alternative.
Over at RumbleChat Towers, we find this concept interesting. We know you readers are big foodies: you live to eat, not eat to live. Many people who love food use it in a multi-sensory way. These days, people don’t just enjoy the tastes, but people suck up the smells, the textures, the sights and even the sounds of food! But taking the Japanese way of using food as a form of entertainment, I urge you to take it that one step further – have FUN with your food. Go back to your childhood and eat some popping candy. Have a super hot gob stopper that burns your mouth and turns your tongue blue. Then once you’re done, send us a tweet @RumbleChat about your fun foodie experiences!
Get silly with your food! It’s just all too serious these days!

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Ever wondered what high-res fried eggs would look like, stuck onto your living room wall, surrounded by your favourite art-deco lamp that sits on top of your faux-Victoriana side board?! If this sounds like a designers’ idea of hell, well it’s true, you can now adorn your home with wallpaper printed with images of food. American retailer Spoonflower sells rolls of the stuff, and you can buy anything from bacon, to sweets, to cakes.

I think I’ll stick to my magnolia thanks.

Merry Boxing Day to all you RumbleChat foodies!

If you found that after all the turkey, sprouts, Christmas pud and mince pies, the effort to open your Christmas presents yesterday was just too much, (unless you opened them all before breakfast that is!) then this might be the thing for you! A Brazilian burger chain has just released an advert with their food served in edible wrappers! See the advert here…

It’s hard to get your head around it isn’t it? I find even sugar paper hard to eat!

 

If you are a keen mixologist, then we have found the perfect tool for you! The Bar10der is a 10 pronged Swiss Army Knife style gadget that features everything you need to create your favourite drinks in minutes. It has a bottle opener or a corkscrew for the less adventurous, and when you’re ready to go crazy with your cocktail making skills, then check out the muddler, the reamer and the jigger. Yup, I have no idea either.

But it looks awesome!

 

This is genius! An E-book has just been launched called ‘The Startup Chef‘. It features 75 recipes that were created by techy wizards who work for huge corporations such as Facebook, Google, Spotify and Yahoo! All recipes are now firm family favourites and give you an insight into the diets and guilty foodie pleasures of the creators and employees within some of the world’s greatest techy brands.

So you can make a ‘SLO Town Tri-Tip Sandwich’ just like Bubba Murarka from Facebook, followed by ‘Thumbprint Cookies’ just like Hunter Walk from YouTube, and wash it all down with ‘The Ultimate Bloody Mary’, as made by David Pakman from Venrock.

Not only is this a sweet idea, but ALL proceeds go to charities to save the lives of hungry children such as NoKidHungry. To get your copy, click on this click RumbleChatters and let us know what you make!