May 1, 2018 § Leave a comment
Gift giving is an important part of retail sales. It also represents an emotional bond made between the giver and the recipient. Retailers should recognize the dual rewards in growing their gifting business because you are touching two targeted consumers at the same time – the purchaser and the recipient. Gift giving strategy can provide exponential results for marketers if done correctly.
Unity Marketing estimates that $1 out every $10 spent in the typical retail store, (general merchandise, apparel, furnishings and others) is spent to buy a gift. Gifts represent approximately $128 billion in spending in 2017. Consumers are typically buying a gift every one to two months.
So what’s behind the science of giving? The act of gifting is typically meant to communicate feelings for and with another, fostering stronger social relationships. New research by the Wharton School looked at what type of gifts build deeper personal relationships, a material gift or an experiential gift.
Experiential gifts win over material gifts
Despite gift givers’ tendencies to give material possessions, material gifts do less to foster meaningful relationships between gift givers and gift recipients. The researchers report, “Experiential gifts, in contrast, make recipients feel closer to the person who gave them the gift, regardless of whether the experience is consumed together with the gift giver. Experiential gifts have this effect because of the emotion they evoke when consumed, particularly when the emotion is shared.”
“Our findings demonstrate that giving experiential gifts is more effective at fostering closer relationships, and therefore implies that gift givers should feel happier as a result of giving an experiential gift compared to a material gift,”
What are experiential gifts? An experience could be providing services like a meal, spa outing, horseback riding, or vacation. But don’t dismay – material gifts can offer experiential aspects – candles, music, books, toys, food and drink items and even things that are nice to the touch – a furry throw, a cashmere pillow or silk pajamas.
Even the actual event of purchasing the gift can be experiential in a story setting or online by telling a story, allowing for touch and feel, and conjuring up warm feelings.
January 11, 2018 § Leave a comment
By Lauren Staub, Model
Modeling has always been viewed as a superficial line of work, where the young and beautiful get compensated on their features rather than their intelligence. As a model for the past four years, I disagree with this sentiment. I have gathered a collection of connections and have created a business off of my work ethic and extroversion. Because of this I am currently represented by agencies in Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, and Orlando.
The World of Modeling. The modeling industry has always been brutal, as agencies rarely care about your resume of experience. An agency visit is most often like this: you walk into their office, they take a look at your pictures, a look at you, then they send you off. Within this short period of time they are able to determine if you are too tall, too short, if your hair color is desirable, etc. The list of assessment is long and invasive. But recently a new critique has arrived: how many Instagram followers you have.
The Invasion of Instagram. Modeling is all about visual stimulation, what better way to exemplify this than through a photo sharing service? In a new effort to glamorize the modeling world, agencies have recently started inspecting social media outlets to see the amount of people who are interested in your life. When applying to agencies, many now ask about your Instagram and if you have over 10,000 followers. The question is, why does this matter? The more followers an agency’s models have, the better they look. If these models keep posting high quality content, it reflects highly on them and creates a sense of elitism. So not only does a model need to have “the look”, they now need the popularity. The issue here is that followers can be bought or created through software. A model can have 10,000 followers, but how many of them are actual interested individuals? How many of them are software robots created specifically to make the follower count go up? Despite the shakiness and stressful nature, a larger following is still something I must strive for to keep up. To fulfill this demand I make sure to post photos 3-4 times a week, but this also means having enough content to post, which I dedicate much of my free time compiling.
August 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
The new “Ghostbusters” opened this summer to rave reviews and high attendance. It deserves a round of applause for its boldness and all-star female cast including (left to right at top) Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristin Wiig and Leslie Jones.
It’s a little overdue for the new trend to put women in the lead roles in movies. Because – women bought 50% of all movie tickets in the U.S. last year according to the MPAA. National CineMedia (NCM) reports the Millennial women 18-34 movie audience jumped 61% from 2013 to 2016, while women 18-49 also increased by 42%. Also, NCM’s ratings for women 18-34 jumped from 6.2 to 9.2 against the top 15 television networks. That’s a 48% surge in ratings growth since 2014 — with significant increases year over year.
Much of this growth is due to the success of movies like “Bridesmaids”, “The Help”, “Hunger Games” and “Star Wars”. The first “Hunger Games” movie blew the doors off the box office, bringing in $408MM+. The following year, “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was breaking records and finding itself atop the heap as the No. 1 film of the year ($424MM+). Last year, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” introduced a new female hero in Rey (Daisy Ridley), while giving homage to General Leia Organa (formerly Princess Leia) as both a leader and a mother. Broadening the movie’s box office appeal by having such a strong draw for multiple generations of women — and providing role models for young girls — was certainly a factor in its huge success. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is now the high-grossing movie of all time, with over $936MM+ in domestic box office alone. Even if Disney left female actions figures out of the line-up until social media highlighted the omission.
Once again, women are leading the way in consumer purchases from everything from household items to entertainment. Hollywood seems to have embraced the power of strong women characters in movies.
So what’s next? Rebecca Eldridge from NCM gives us a little preview: “In 2017, look out for a highly-anticipated live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the comedy “Mother/Daughter” starring Amy Schumer (possibly joined by Goldie Hawn in her first movie since 2002), “Fast 8” featuring Charlize Theron making waves as the sole villain, and more. And looking even farther ahead, there are all-female versions of “Ocean’s Eleven” and “21 Jump Street” in the works, a remake of the cult favorite “Road House” with Ronda Rousey in the role made iconic by Patrick Swayze, and a girl-power spinoff of “Suicide Squad” featuring many of the female heroes and villains of DC Comics.”
Marketers, now is a great time to look to cinema advertising to meet your consumer where they play – at the movies.
June 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
There was a time when brands would slap an overly obvious pink color on something they intended for women. Think power tools, football jerseys, ballpoint pins, razors. Oh, wait. It is still happening, although not as often as before. Washington Post had a great article on the subject.
Bridgette Brennan, author of Why She Buys, says “Pink is not a strategy, unless you’re raising money for breast cancer research.”
It’s not that women don’t want products targeted to them. But in today’s world, women don’t want stereotypes. It’s a much more subtle type of targeting, like recognizing that women drink beer like Amy Schumer in Bud Light spots. They want a more representative view of society today.
And they don’t expect to see women in all the ads targeted to them. Moms like to see a Dad who likes his kids and is involved in their lives. Like those great Cheerios ads or a Dad who gets excited about a Swiffer.
Cultural stereotypes take time to change, but we are beginning to see a little more representation.
April 18, 2016 § 1 Comment
The mall is no longer the cultural center of consumerism. The crown jewels of mall shopping like Macy’s, J Crew and Sears are suffering. Some predict 15% of malls will fail or be converted into non-retail space within the next ten years. In 2015 major retailers saw sales move away from brick and mortar stores while online giant Amazon increased sales 97%.
There are many reasons contributing to this decline but most importantly, there is a new savvy shopper out there who wants or needs new experiences.
- The mall as a hangout or destination is no longer necessary. Young people used to go to the mall to see and be seen. Today, social media, text messages and video chats replace some of that social activity. Movies can be downloaded. And goods are accessible online. So, the number of retail visits continues to fall. Time saving is paramount for many.
- The middle class shopper has moved on. Only upscale shopping centers are surviving. The affluent are keeping luxury brands in business, but middle class shoppers have left semi-luxury brands in favor of cheaper alternatives. The middle class shopper is less financially able to shop malls. Upscale malls in “super zip codes” are doing well, but the middle class mall is suffering. Middle class shoppers are seeking out dollar stores and stand alone retailers like Walmart and T. J. Maxx.
- Savvy shoppers are in control. Educated shoppers know where to get the best deal. Shopping decisions start online with price comparison. Some 87% of smartphone and tablet owners use a mobile device for shopping activities according to a Nielsen report. While 59% said online shopping was actually their favorite way to shop, many still prefer going to a store after checking prices online. Purchases are moving online, particularly with the prevalence of free shipping at many online retailers. Purchases are going to mega sellers like Amazon, department store online shops, boutiques, designer sites and buying clubs like Gilt and RueLaLa. With this type of price scrutiny, retailers have moved to heavy promotional selling.
- Fashion is moving to more year-round clothing. Traditional seasonal shopping has been replaced by just-in-time shopping to more closely follow current weather patterns. Year-round shopping and the prevalence of discount fashion like H&M has changed patterns and total expenditures.
- The retailer options have continued to grow. Premium outlet centers has replaced the mall for many bargain seekers and sales continue to grow. But discounting by major retailers and the continued growth of online shopping may make outlet centers less attractive for savvy shoppers in the future.
February 20, 2016 § Leave a comment
Neilsen research shows there are significant differences in how men and women think, react, shop and watch. Understanding how these differences can drive behavior can help marketers create more effective advertising and marketing campaigns. Something Super Bowl 50 advertising clearly illustrated.
A Look at the Super Bowl 50 Ads
This year many of the ads appealed directly to women featuring racing dachshunds (my favorite), Doritos shopping dogs, Super Bowl babies and Hyundai’s spots featuring first dates and distracting men. Spot Trender did interesting research comparing several spots for gender appeal.
In a head to head playoff with Hyundai and Acura, Hyundai did a better job. The Hyundai spot featuring Ryan Reynolds showed a car that didn’t get distracted like the women driving it. Women loved this spot. But a few men (13%) were offended by it, or maybe just a little jealous of Reynolds. Acura’s “What He Said” ad for the Acura NSX was all rock music, special effects and speed. It was liked less than the Hyundai ad by both genders but clearly less than females.
The Death Wish coffee spot featured Vikings in a masculine approach to advertising coffee, even using the line “fiercely caffeinated”. The spot did well with men but the Starbucks ad showing a mom making her Starbucks on a lazy weekend morning did much better with women and did well with men as well.
Contrasts in Men and Women Brains
Nielsen says that while male and female brains may look alike on the outside, there are contrasts in how men and women process information, express emotion, interact with others and ultimately approach their daily activities that involve media and shopping.
Women are hardwired for:
- Big-picture thinking
- “Gut” reasoning
- Social and verbal skills
Men are preconditioned for:
- Concrete thinking
- Goal-oriented tasks
- Logical solutions
Differences in Advertising Appeal
When looking at advertising, women under 35 like ads that are upbeat, aspirational, celebrity-focused, occasionally silly, but never mean-spirited. Women 35-54 may respond more favorably to messages that are sentimental, highlight real-life activities, family friendly and relatable. Men are looking for fast acting movement, competitive activities and often, sadly, suggestive humor.
Tying this together, we see shopping patterns emerge. Men are goal-oriented shoppers. They shop to win or complete a goal. Women are more likely to browse around and shop for deals and special offers. Research says women are more attuned to discount and promotional news than men (men 57% vs. women 62%). Women might head to a factory outlet with name brands while men might go to the department store and pay full price. A few years ago, J.C. Penney learned an expensive lesson on the importance of promotions when they eliminated sales, promotions and coupons and drove away their core audience.
Marketing should employ creative elements and styles that resonate with the way the female brain works. Emotion wins the day over logical facts every time. That doesn’t mean women don’t want information; they will seek out the information after they become interested. Women also appreciate authenticity, social consciousness, and nuance. The female brain is programmed to maintain social harmony, so messaging shouldn’t focus on conflict.
“Women relate to a more aspirational approach, connecting with happy situations that feature characters who allow a woman to imagine herself in their shoes,” says the report. Men like the offbeat humor embodied by “normal guys” in exaggerated situations.
Frequency of advertising also plays into gender receptivity. Women can absorb more information in a 30-second ad than men but they are harder to convince, often only deciding to buy after multiple exposures.