Monday, June 28, 2010

Value, Innovation and Chipotle

Today let's take a look at some themes like value statements and innovation in product offerings. We'll also take a peek into brand identity, and find out that there is finally a good use for junk mail.

What does "Value" Mean?
For many retailers, the term "value" is simply a code word for cheap and discounted products. This is changing for retail marketers, as they broaden the term to mean not just lower prices. Value messages now incorporate such aspects as service, customization, craftsmanship, and convenience.

WalMart is a good example of this trend, dropping the "always low prices" tag line in favour or the more aspirational "Save Money, Live Better" moniker. Upscale furniture retailer Ethan Allan is another trying a new message, focusing on quality and style, rather than competing on price with mass merchant furniture vendors.

Broadening the value message comes as retailers look for ways to engage recession weary consumers. Customers want products that carry a aspirational "feel good" message at a reasonable price.

The Next Big Thing
Retailers have slashed costs and shuttered poor performing stores to combat the recession. But that doesn't mean they have given up trying. Many major retailers are investing heavily in the development of new products, trying to find the "next big thing" to woo customers and drive sales. Watching the sales of new and innovate items like the IPad, retailers are bringing products to market that are new, innovative and different than the same old tired products they are presently stocking.

It doesn't all have to be whiz bang technological products either. Medicines, Organic foods and a futuristic bra are some of the product lines that retailers are rolling out to snag your hard earned dollars. You can read more here.

You are what you buy
A recent article summarized some new research on how we identify with various brands. The study, called "Got to get you into my life: Do Brand Personalities Rub off on Consumers?" was written by a pair of University of Minnesota researchers and published in the "Journal of Consumer Research".

In one study, Women were given a Victoria's Secret shopping bag to use at a local mall. After using the bag for awhile, women perceived themselves to be glamorous, good looking and feminine carrying the bright pink bag. These were all traits of the Victoria's Secret brand personality, rubbing off on the users.

In a separate test, students at the University of Minnesota used pens branded with the MIT logo for a six week period. These students felt that they were more intelligent and harder working than those with regular non branded pens - another example of brand cache connecting with the user.

You can read more about the research HERE. It is interesting how some people get connected and "feel" the brand, while others are completely immune to any brand strategy. Worth contemplating as you slap logos on pens and binders and t-shirts.

Spam - Glorious Spam!
Chipotle has come up with a great promotional campaign, along with a useful fund raising effort. Starting last Friday, Chipotle is asking customers to forward their junk mail to For every 100,000 junk mails it receives, Chipotle will donate $10,000 to "The Lunch Box" a nonprofit that provides healthy recipes to schools throughout the US.

The campaign is part of Chipotle marketing and brand strategy to focus on good healthy food without any "junk" included. It's a very clever campaign and you can watch the junk mail countdown on their facebook fan page.

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