Zappos eschews the industry approach of treating vendors as adversaries, and instead treats them as partners.The $1 billion company says their vendor relationships are “one of the most valuable parts of our business,” and “Without those friendships and their belief in us, there might not be a Zappos today.” HBR – The Conversation 6/4/10
In case you missed it, here's the third and final song in the United Airlines trilogy from musician Dave Carroll. You may recall that he decided to compose three songs and release them via YouTube when United Airlines refused to replace a treasured guitar destroyed by baggage handlers. To date, the YouTube video of song #1 has been viewed over 8.6 million times.
Best Buy’s (BBY) Twelpforce consists of 21,100 employees who respond to customer tweets about consumer electronics via Twitter. To date, the Twelpforce has delivered advice in the form of 12,314 tweets to its 13,398 followers. Brandweek 10/31/09
Starbucks (STBX) will launch a new customer loyalty card program, called My Starbucks Rewards, on Dec. 26, 2009. The program will consolidate Starbucks Card Rewards and Starbucks Gold card. It has no annual fee, allows members to use one registered card (any Starbucks Card) and provides customized rewards, that increase with frequency of use. Chain Store Age 10/30/09
The Federal Drug Administration has notified Proctor & Gamble (PG) that the company’s marketing two of its Vicks-branded over-the-counter medications—Vicks DayQuil Plus Vitamin C and Vicks Nyquil Plus Vitamin C—violate FDA guidelines by portraying products as both a cold medication as well as a dietary supplement. Brandweek 10/30/09
Target (TGT) has cut 85 marketing jobs, about 8% of its 1,100 employees in that department.The recession has hurt Target because much of its revenue comes from fashionable nonessentials such as home decor and clothing. Chain Store Age 10/30/09
To introduce a leather-scented deodorant called Axe Instinct, Unilever (UL) is paying street musicians $1,000 to put up “Axe Instinct” signs, offer free deodorant samples when they play and, a few times a day, sing a ‘ditty’ “Look Good in Leather” that Axe is using in its commercials. NYTimes 10/29/09
Less and less individuals are trying out Bing says a study by online ad network Chitika. In looking at network traffic from August through the first half of October, it appears that although Bing's share of search impressions has declined at a steady rate, the number of users coming through Microsoft's (MSFT) decision engine has declined much more quickly.
In August, over 8% of search engine users and 6.7% of search traffic came from Bing. Since then, however, Microsoft's impressions share has dropped to 5.44%, and the user share has decreased even more significantly, to 6.28%. Chitika, Inc. 10/29/09
Videos posted on YouTube over the past two months featuring “the world’s fastest nudist” show a man, “clad only in running shoes, tube socks, and a strategically positioned frontward fanny pack” running through high-profile locations in New York City. Turns out the viral videos are a campaign for Zappos.The revelation comes too late for CNN and other media outlets who didn’t realize the runner was really an actor and included him in interviews and news stories. NYTimes.com 10/28/09
“United Breaks Guitars” musician Dave Carroll flew United Airlines (UAUA) last Sunday, and guess what? The airline lost his luggage. Carroll was on United because it was the only carrier with service from Canada to Colorado Springs where he had a speaking engagement. United located his luggage and returned it to him---the following Wednesday. NYTimes 10/28/09
So musician Dave Carroll is sitting on a United Airlines flight waiting for takeoff and a passenger behind him cries out, “My God, they’re throwing guitars out there.” Sure enough, at the plane's destination, Carroll’s $3500 Taylor guitar is DOA.
After nine months of buck passing United Airlines finally refused to pay the $1200 repair bill and Caroll promised to write three songs and post them to YouTube to memorialize his experience with United. Dave Carroll is a man of his word - video of the first song is below.
The latest WealthSurvey from the Luxury Institute finds that luxury brands are failing to deliver on the fundamentals of luxury at a critical time for the industry:
- For wealthy consumers, superior quality (82%), superior craftsmanship (78%) and superior customer service (60%) are the top three requirements of a luxury brand. Yet, more than one-third of consumers say luxury brands are worse today than in the recent past on delivering superior customer service and on failing to have salespeople who are experts in their products.
- Half of consumers earning more than $200k annually and 46% of those with a net worth more than $1 million think luxury brands are becoming commodities.
- 64% of wealthy consumers believe luxury goods prices are too high relative to the value they deliver. One reason may be that while major luxury brands are trying to spread themselves into as many categories as possible, 68% of the wealthy consumers believe a luxury brand can only be an expert in a few truly related product categories.
- The failures come at a time when 43% of wealthy consumers say they are becoming more practical in their luxury purchases, are becoming more budget conscious (43%) and are purchasing more of what they need rather than what they want (30%).
- 62% of wealthy consumers say that the current state of the economy has changed their view of the luxury industry. When asked why in an open-ended format, consumers cite the following as key reasons for the change of view: becoming more budget-conscious and prudent, the need to re-think and re-prioritize, a strong feeling that luxury goods are too "mass" vs. price, a sense that flaunting luxury at this time is insensitive and a desire to help others rather than spend on themselves.
- A majority of wealthy consumers state that they like to buy luxury items for the quality because they last longer and keep their value (77%)and that they buy expensive items for their own pleasure, not to show off (72%).
- Half of luxury consumers cited discounts and sales as a major influencing factor in making luxury purchases and more than half of wealthy consumers say they are likely to respond to a special offer or sale from a luxury brand over any other factors.
A national sample of 500+ wealthy American consumers was surveyed online by the Luxury Institute. The Institute's respondents had an average income of $308,000.00 and an average net-worth of $3.9 million.
Coca-Cola (KO) is planning to introduce Sprite Green, the first in a line of naturally sweetened reduced-calorie beverages made with a sweetener from stevia leaves called “truvia.” Sprite Green is aimed at active young adults. Atlanta Business Chronicle 12/17/08
Jamba Juice (JMBA) has launched slow-cooked Steel Cut Oatmeal with real fruit and organic oats, to target “on-the-go people who are looking for a slow food experience in terms of taste and quality, but in a quick service format.” The company believes their product offers improved texture and flavor versus instant rolled oats offered at competitors, including Starbucks (SBUX). Brandweek 12/18/08
City and state attorneys general have succeeded in getting MillerCoors to remove stimulants, such as caffeine and guarana, from Sparks, their best-selling alcoholic energy drink, and to change a brand-marketing program that the attorneys general said appealed to underage drinkers. AdAge 12/18/08
Barnes & Noble (BKS), USAA, and Hampton Inn were among the top scorers in the Forrester Research, Inc. Customer Experience Index of large US firms. Just 11% of companies received an excellent rating; 38% of firms were rated as poor or very poor. Marketing Charts 12/18/08
Burger King (BKC) announces The Flame by BK, a new body spray that captures the essence of America’s love of the Whopper, or as they put it, “Behold the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame-broiled meat.” The King himself is freaky enough with his clothes on---how creepy is the photo of the King, dans le buff leering and stroking a fur throw? Eeuww. However, if it works for you, you can get the body spray at http://www.firemeetsdesire.com/. Another tactic that BK’s target will love. AdFreak 12/16/08