Poor brand loyalty. Everybody talks about it but nobody quite understands it. Some brands think if they call programs loyalty then it will magically happen, even if they’re really dealing with a completely different animal such as a rewards program or payment system. It’s more than a tweet or a “like.” Throw in buzzy buzzwords like social, mobile, gamification, and brand advocates into the mess along with its touchy-feely nature and it’s no wonder 72% of CMOs don’t feel sufficiently prepared to build it. Here are some reasons why.
Last weekend I went to a design show closing and an art show opening, all in the same night! The former was for a new Chicago-area alliance that supports independent designers (makers who can’t afford/don’t want to mass manufacture objects). The latter was at a gallery where the owner tries to feature artists that represent the opposite of the art world stereotype (the frou-frou and pretentious).
Each space fulfilled its specific archetype – the design show had mostly functional objects with a crowd decked in gingham, Vans shoes, and screenprinted tote bags, while the art show had drawings and sculpture with a tattooed crowd donning black tees and Docs Martens …and a man dressed as an astronaut. But they were similar in how some work occupied the fuzzy boundary between the art and design: objects that could be functional and conceptual, if the rules of reality were manipulated, contemplated, or ignored. It’s a line we toe in every industry. But there was another similarity, and it was not a good one.
Today I had my annual physical. This is a bit of a misnomer because I can’t remember the last time I had one and actually had to ask my doctor if she had forgotten to give me the exam. I thought it would be more…invasive. She said no – since I am healthy and young (to which I snorted), she didn’t need to poke and prod too much.
Anyway, during my visit, I got shot! No really, it was a Measles Mump Rubella booster, which I was told included the extra benefit of protection against pertussis – whooping cough. Yes, it’s back??? Despite Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s Vaccination and Autism study from 1998 being proven as false, people like Donald Trump still believe there is a link between the two. Why? Because the story tugs at our heartstrings – what parent would want to knowingly expose his or her children to risk?
So emotions sometimes win over hard facts, especially in cases like this where anecdotes are stickier than statistics. Look at your child and then look at the number zero. Which one would you remember? Feelings are appealing and stories are the perfect way to package them. That’s why companies are all about creating narratives right now, and obviously why this whole paragraph has been one big DUH.
But then I read something in the New York Times that left me confused, because even though I don’t agree with this particular outcome, I generally like when feelings win over data.
Today is Thursday and tomorrow is Friday. For Denuo Chicago, this statement is more than just an exercise in keeping your days of the week straight. Friday = Roll Day, where each week one pair of Denuologists is responsible for bringing in breakfast. We are treated to wonderful meals ranging from bacon cupcakes, bagels, breakfast burritos, donuts, shrimp 'n grits - you get the idea. I would say that savory breakfasts are bigger hits than sweet ones, not because they aren't as delicious but simply because sugar crashes are not fun.
Every June, more than 50,000 conservative suits descend on Chicago for NeoCon (National Exposition of Contract Furnishings). There are so many of them, I feel like I never left my lovely hometown of DC, where Capitol Hill politicos run rampant and style still runs short. (Sorry, DC, you’re trying!) NeoCon is the most important show in the American contract furniture industry, with $25B in sales even during an economic slump. Your office chair, desk, and file cabinet were probably first scouted here. You haven’t given them a second thought once you were situated, and why would you (*yawn)? Fortunately, someone else is paid to do so and that person goes to NeoCon.
Established in 1969, NeoCon is always held at Merchandise Mart, a historic structure built by Marshall Field & Company in the 1920s. Once the largest building in the world at 4 million square feet, it has its own zip code and is a monument to architecture, design, and merchandising. It’s quite fitting that NeoCon is here: a pillar of a traditional American industry inside an American landmark. Merchandise Mart is now home to high-end designer showrooms, ad agencies, tech firms, and government agencies.
What you may not realize is that NeoCon is also a huge meat market.