Friday, December 31, 2010

Relativity theories of all kind influence your target market

Robert Cialdini presents in his book ‘Influence’ two interesting studies proving the importance of relativity:
"College-students got to rate pictures of average-looking members of the opposite sex as less attractive if they had first looked through the ads in some popular magazines. In another study, male college-dormitory residents rated the photo of a potential blind date. Those who did so while watching an episode of the Charlie´s Angels TV series viewed the blind date as a less attractive woman than those who rated her while watching a different show. Apparently it was the uncommon beauty of the Angels female stars that made the blind date seem less attractive."
The moral of the story: Don´t take your date to a club filled with beautiful people, or to a convention for rocket scientists (if brains is what turns you on...). 
Another theory of relativity is of course Einstein’s... which is very relevant today at New Years Eve when we reflect on the concept of time. The theory somehow teaches that there is no time. Time and length are relative to speed. So if we all stop moving, we will not move in time. If we move superfast, we will not grow old? I´m not sure, but open for suggestions, since the wrinkles of life are making their mark.
Einstein also told us that mass is equal to energy, meaning everything is energy; energy is mass. But more important, he said that energy can have different value, according to the laws of entropy. When energy get used – or misused – it loses its power.
I believe we can raise the strength of energy and fight entropy with the help of thoughts and smiles. Love conquers all. Dalai Lama among others has suggested that what we think can change the chemical mix in our bodies, and therefore our personality, and I think there will soon be a Nobel Prize won for such findings.
So... HAPPY New Year dear readers. xxx. Visualise the new year as being light and full of hope.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Like on Facebook?

Like all brands do at the moment, I have started a Facebook page! If you like it, 'Like' it... http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Branding/141141152606793

The most liked brand on Facebook is actually Facebook, followed by YouTube, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Oreo, Disney and Red Bull. Have a look: http://fanpagelist.com/category/brands/ A poker site has the largest amount of followers... saying you should be offering something to your fans.

So... if you Like my page, you get a free 20 min Skype Love Coaching session!

(Pst... I only have real friends on my personal FB, so I won´t accept your friendship request there if we are not buddies already.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Caps that fall over the ears - tribal shopping or trend spotting?

A friend got upset the other day, about the fact that caps suddenly looked different. 'People' were wearing baseball caps over their ears, and the peak was all flat! WTF!

It´s an interesting phenomenon to hear a 30+ friend getting upset about what the 'youth' are doing nowadays, lol, but I got curious about the hat thing. Last night I bumped into one of them, and got directed to the souce... Apparently some grafiti, tattoo, skate style trend (most caps sold out). Check it out: http://www.mikegiant.com/ 
http://www.rebel8.com/mens/hats.html 

Trends are funny. Where do they come from? Street wear, artists, French fashion houses speak... and suddenly we are all wearing a certain colour or style at the same time and feel nauseaus if we are not trendy as in 'normal'. Actually, most people are not keeping up with trends to be 'trendy' but to fit in, to be like everyone else and be accepted by the tribe. Some people are dopamine driven and constantly seek the new, the novelties of life, but most of us simply want what has been tried by others first.

I am reading The Long Tail by Chris Anderson at the moment, about how hit lists are mattering less in times when all things are easily accessed throgh Internet, and we can find the oddest things, instead of just sticking to what is in store at the moment. This has opened up for niches and tribal thinking and shopping, a less directed consumerism. Music, books, fashion - there is more to choose from than ever, and it´s easier to reach what is not on the 'top-10'. Our shopping bags will differ more.

Hence, not everyone will wear caps that falls over the ears - those are for guys with lots of tattoos?
Hence, my friend can relax.
Hence, we are all still confused shoppers - maybe even more than ever having to choose among thosands of things - calling for HELP, stuck somewhere at Myers!

The anxiety of freedom, as Kierkegaard or Sartre would have put it...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Deep and meaningful conversations make you happy!

“Having more conversation, no matter how trivial, appears to be associated with a greater sense of happiness,” suggests Simine Vazire, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

“The happiest were people who engaged often in more meaningful and substantive discussions, as opposed to those who filled conversations with idle chit-chat and small talk.”

Participants scored as “happiest” in the study spent about 25 percent less time alone and 70 percent more time talking to others, as compared with the unhappiest participants. The happiest participants had twice as many substantive conversations and one third as much small talk as the unhappiest participants. (Whole story: http://www.physorg.com/news189188045.html)

Today, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that people who have complex relationships have larger amygdalas (an almond-shaped clump of nerves at the base of your brain.)

Researchers in Boston have found this part of the brain, the amygdala, is larger in more sociable people than in those who lead less gregarious lives. Those with the smallest amygdalas listed fewer than five to 15 regular contacts, while those with the largest amygdalas counted up to 50 acquaintances.

''People who have large amygdalas may have the raw material needed to maintain larger and more complex social networks,'' Professor Barrett said. ''That said, the brain is a use it or lose it organ. It may be that when people interact more their amygdalas get larger. That would be my guess."

All and all, spending time with people and opening your heart towards them is making it easier to meet even more people, which will lead to happiness. You train your brain to be social. Amygdala grows with experience.

What does this have to do with marketing, branding or strategy? Well, I think that brands that respect their audience, see their deep needs (and not just try to do something 'fun' to get their short-term attention) will have the opportunity to get a stronger connection, being associated with happy feelings. One campaign after the other, that pumps out a new contest that is not really related to what you are selling, may give you a minute on the stage, but it hardly make you famous for longer. You will be another winner of Australian Idol, no Elvis Presley so to speak... The more we know about psychology and the mystery of men, the better our ideas will become.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who you want to be is who you become



I have a YouTube channel with videos on how to be happy and in love. This is the latest. All of the advice can be used for brands as well... This video for example is about that we become as we wish to be. Our identity is not only shaped by biology or our experiences, but also by what we aspire to be. A brand should think as big. Big ideas come from big dreams, big hearts and big aspirations.

All videos on www.youtube.com/carolinlovecoach

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Offer what the market wants, not what you want

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.


When was the last time your brand loved the customer in that way?

Most brands scream and shout and brag about themselves. They are the date who talks and talks without listening... Yesterday me and a girlfriend visited a pub and got approached by a guy who offered us a boat trip on his yacht. We said 'nah, we are going to the races with our friends' and he went all confused: 'Races? When you could be on my yacht!!' and then he said he would also give us a few lines of coke if we came. Uh... The only coke I´ve ever touched is Coke and I have no interest in getting into drugs at 37 years of age.

This guy had not done his research. He did not know what would be alluring in my ears, and what my needs are. He just assumed I would like the money and fun. Little did he know... so little did he get.

Many brands try to capture the eyes of their market in the same clumsy way. They go to themselves and think 'this is what I like' and create a campaign offering something they would want, but that people may not need. Do your research! Great strategy is based on deep knowledge on the target audience, the world we live in, human psychology and a curious mind, making sense of all the above. Explore, adore, get more...

You have two ears and one mouth! Ask more, tell less.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let friends give their friends free samples - WOM goes GOC

One of the trends predicted for 2011 by Trendwatching.com is "random acts of kindness". Generation G - for Generosity - is apparently looking for a human touch and 'real' brands, leading companies like Interflora and KLM to randomly shout the bill, send flowers or hold a surprise party. In Australia, Telstra paid the road tax for surprised commuters, and on a more private levels an organisation in Sydney have been handing out kindness cards. I have a bunch in my wallet, and whenever I feel like it I give a random person a gift - a flower, a muffin or such - and give them the card (so they can do the same for someone else).

It´s like charity for people who don´t need it, but a way to expand the world´s total happiness (well, brands have other drivers I assume...) Perfect to satisfy people´s emotional needs in times when depression is epidemic.

Another huge influencer in people´s lives today is 'friends'. We listen to our friends, care for our friends, and wish to have many.

When matching these two important trends, you get the other new trend - brands helping people give random gifts to their friends! It´s like Christmas every day! Word of mouth marketing working smoothly... Sort of like WOM going GOH - gifts of hand? Or rather GOC - gifts of clicks marketing (social media is most times the arena). No need to have a lady handing out samples in the store - let people give to their buddies and a brand´s credibility will rise.

Pizza Hut recently launched a new rewards program called the 'Feed a Friend' campaign, where customers and their Facebook friends can earn free pizzas. Every time a customer places an order on Pizza Hut's website they get two virtual slices of pizza - one for themself and another for a friend on Facebook. When the customer or the friend collects four virtual slices, they will then get one free pizza. I read about a similar campaign by a beer brand, letting friend shout their friends beer on Facebook.

I would say people like free samples in general, because it gives you a chance to try something different - and we are all short of money, aren´t we....? Especially the tight 18-24 year olds who are saving up to travel or buy a house, get mega excited by anything FREE. But by not simply giving from above, like you were Santa, you can tap into the valuable friend-to-friend space. How can your sampling campaign be filtered through the buddy channel?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hormones - why they can improve your marketing campaign

When you think "target audience", don´t just consider age, gender and social status, but also lifestyle and personality.
Did you know that your personality - and shopping behaviour - is defined by which type of hormone that is dominant in your body? According to anthropologist Helen Fisher in her amazing book "Why him? Why her?", people think, feel, behave and love differently, depending on if they are influenced by dopamine, serotonin, testosterone or estrogen. You will also be drawn to people whose genes are mainly influenced by a certain hormone, matching your own.
So how can you find out which type you are? Fisher explains the four types in her book, in which you can also do a test to find out. In short, the types work like this:
Dopamine makes a person willing to take risks, constantly seeking novelty and new experiences. The “explorers” are adventurous, optimistic, curious, energetic and creative. They find it harder than others to settle, and they are the once who most often get divorced.
Serotonin on the other hand make people calm, social, cautious, loyal and fond of rules and facts. The “builders” are often conventional and good at building social networks. They are family oriented and like stability.
Testosterone makes you direct, decisive focused, analytical, logical, tough-minded, exacting, emotionally contained and good at strategic thinking. Most people who are driven by testosterone are competitive and bold. You can spot them by looking at someone´s forehead, since it is often  broad and high.
Estrogen is a hormone that makes people see the bigger picture and think holistically. The "negotiators" have good verbal skills and can read body language, tone of voice and facial expressions easily. They tend to be altruistic, idealistic and emotionally expressive.  You can see on a person´s round face and full lips that they are mainly driven by estrogen.
People who are explorers usually like and get lucky with other explorers, while builders like builders. For the other personality types, opposites attract; testosterone driven directors attract estrogen driven negotiators, and the other way around.
Of course, all of us have a little of every hormone, but usually one type is dominant with another as secondary influencer of personality.
This means for marketers, media planners and brand strategists, that you can´t simply say "people" do like this, because we are all so different. Someone who is a dopamine driven explorer want to try a new shampoo every time, while a seroton driven person might like the shampoo bottle to look cute - and to come in pairs so you can give one to a friend!
Looking at ways to separate people beyond the obvious physical traits that market research normally use, is a new way to gain understanding. When you broaden your view on people to include insights on personalities - through Ayurvedic body types, Myers-Briggs and other ancient or modern ways of categorising people - you will attain knowledge beyond lazy facts, and reach people´s heart.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

News and media predictions - in short

Pst. Have a look at the prediction on news and media for next year: http://mashable.com/2010/12/20/news-media-predictions/

The article brings up the following issues:
1. Leaks and journalism - More Wikileaks to come...
2. More Media Mergers and Acquisitions
3. Tablet-Only and Mobile-First News Companies - unique content
4. Location-based news consumption - news follow your footsteps
5. Social vs Search - Facebook more important than SEO
6. The Death of the ‘Foreign Correspondent’ - everyone is a correspondent...
7. The Syndication Standard and the Ultimate Curators
8. Social Storytelling Becomes Reality
9. News Organizations Get Smarter With Social Media
10. The Rise of Interactive TV

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

With a Low-ride bike you show the world you are cool

In 2009 a magazine reported: "Miley Cyrus hopped on her beach cruiser after dining with older beau Justin Gaston in Toluca Lake, Calif. The baby-faced teen preferred to ride her big girl bike (sans training wheels) rather than her Porsche."

Now these pretty things are all upon us... Bikes are trendy, cool and full of life. Golden, pink, customized and made up for you. Push bikes ('pushy'), low-riders, tandems - you name it. A quirky bike is the thing to own in Summer 2010/11.

Jung: "Our personality is not only shaped by our past, but also by who we want to become".

Einstein: "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."

Monday, December 20, 2010

When brands say "Trust me" people really do! Trust me

According to the blog Neuromarketing, a new study from Dan Hill (author of Emotionomics) shows that brands can easily create emotonal connections with customers just by using a few simple words. Summary:

Researchers found that placing the sentence "You can trust us to do the job for you at the end of an ad for a auto service firm caused their trust scores to jump as much as 33%!

That phrase caused people to rate the firm in the ad higher in every category:
Fair Price – Up 7%
Caring – Up 11%
Fair Treatment – Up 20%
Quality – Up 30%
Competency – Up 33%
I believe this is beacuse we trust and follow self confident people in general. When someone is tall, talks with a strong voice, is dressed in suit... that makes us listen more carefully. So when someone is cocky enough to say "Trust me" we will, because of the tone of their voice, the vibe of the message. Few insecure people would even say such a thing. Ooze testosteron, dear brands, and attract more business.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The smartphone is the place to be for brands

We are getting close to our smart little phones, and since so many have one, or are planning to get one, it´s becoming an extremely interesting place to be for brands. 36% own one already and 28% of Australians said they will buy a smart phone withing the next year, according to a Nielsen study (nov 2010).
Naturally, it´s the tech-curious with money who actually have one first. Almost one in five Aussie smartphone owners are over 50, and 41% over 40. Males are bigger smartphone fans with 43% of mobile-using males owning smartphones vs 31% of females. Expect this to change fast though. The smart phone will be for everyone once the xmas pressies have been unwrapped. Dear Santa, give me an iphone or blackberry...
So how do we use them? Telstra’s Smartphone Index (research conducted in June 2010) reveals:
- More than half of smartphone owners use their smartphone in bed.
- Almost one third of Aussies have used their smartphone to surf the web while on the toilet (38% of men and 22% of women) 
- One in five Australian drivers surf the web on their smartphone while driving.
- One in four visit social networking sites like Facebook on their mobiles more than on a computer. Females check social networking sites more regularly on their mobiles than males (34% vs 29% on a daily basis).
- Around 10% are more likely to do their online banking from their phone than on their PC.
- Almost a third of Aussies believe they usually surf the web on their smartphone at home, versus commuting (13%) or during work hours in the office (12%). 
How are brands going to use smartphones in a smart way? Userfriendly websites that fit into the small screen? Follow movements and advertise on the way? Entertain on the bus? It´s up to you to come up with the big idea, but don´t let your strategists and creatives forget about the power of our new little body part...   

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Negative messages catches the eyes - but neither our heart or our wallet

People can perceive the emotional value of subliminal messages and are much more attuned to negative words. Researcher Nilli Lavie of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience flashed word - negative (e.g., “agony,” “murder”), positive (“cheerful,” “flower”), and neutral (“box,” “ear”) - at subjects for a fraction of a second, which was too quickly for them to actually recall the word consciously. When the subjects were asked to guess what emotion the word they “saw” represented, they were far more accurate at guessing the negative words.

Roger Dooley from Neuromarketing blog concludes: "What this study DOES show is that our brains are programmed to react quickly to negative messages. Lavie speculates that it is an evolutionary advantage to respond rapidly to threats, even before a conscious thought process can take place."

Studies from the research company Millward Brown ("Should my advertising stimulate an emotional response?") prove that emotional ads both make us more aware of a brand and more involved in its message: “The ads that evoke the least positive response (i.e., are disliked) are more memorable than those which fall into the middle ground, and those which elicit positive emotions become progressively more memorable.” This means that you can reach high awareness by evoking strong emotions, whether positive or negative. Emotionally powerful ads that people like are more memorable, and when an ad is memorable and emotional it generates more sales.

This proves however only that we buy if we are positive to the ad, but doesn´t say anything about the message in itself. Negative ads are definitely good for catching someone´s eye - but do they touch the heart?

Professor Arjun Chaudhuri has though, in his research for the book ”Emotion and Reason in Consumer Behaviour”, given us an answer. He writes: "fear or anger are emotions negatively related to ads being liked or products purchased. So called “pro-social affects” like happiness, love, bonding, attachment, nurturance and hope, were strongly related to positive evaluation, liking and buying."

More on this in my book Love-Branding

Friday, December 17, 2010

Decline in gambling - are people not screaming for help anymore?

A declining percentage of Australians are gambling according to the latest Roy Morgan data. For the 12 months to September 2010, 61% of Australians 18+ (an estimated 10.4 million) have gambled in the last three months, down from 64% in September 2009, and 72% in September 2003. Participation in most types of gambling has gradually declined over the last seven years.

What does this mean? That people have higher trust in their own abilities?

In my eyes, addicition to gambling - or speed diets, shopping, botox, horoscopes, tarot readings or similar ways of getting hope and results quickly - is a way of escaping a seemingly hopeless situation. Sure, I am a fortuneteller too (great way to fine tune intuition) but when people try to fix their inner confidence without having to work for it, they miss out. A lottery ticket can´t replace hard work.

A Chinese proverb goes: "A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." We need the challenges in life, and if we try to avoid them, they will keep on hunting us until we deal with them...

So is a decline in gambling a result of the life coaching trend? Are people reading self help book and discovering the unlimited power within? Is gambling nowadays considered a loser activity, since people are enlightened? 

I am not sure and wish statistics and facts were also followed by some dig-deep research... They are so sterile as they are presented now. Could you give them flesh and blood? Do you know? I´d love your insights. 

Don´t forget to read psychologist Richard Wiseman´s Luck Factor, amazing book that proves that luck is self-created, nothing mysterious or random.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Young Asians like mobile ads but hate TV ads

A survey of young Asians by global market research firm Synovate shows that the lives of Asia's youth revolve around their mobile phones. Overall personal ownership of mobiles has increased from 60 per cent in 2008 to 64 per cent in 2010. According to the survey, young Indians top the race for mobile phone ownership compared to the rest of Asia. Personal ownership of mobile phones among young Indians has increased from 28 per cent in 2008 to 37 per cent in 2010, while the average in Asia is only 18 per cent.

The survey also showed that young Indians are fatigued with TV adverts. Fifty five per cent of young Indians between 15 and 24 years would pay a higher TV subscription rate to avoid adverts (this percentage is the highest in Asia).

However, interestingly, they are of an entirely different opinion when it comes to mobile phone advertising, as 37 per cent say they won't mind receiving ads on their mobiles, or responding to such adverts as long as they are incentivised.

This percentage is the highest in the region after Vietnam (44 per cent). The Asian average is 29 per cent.
Listening to music, playing games and taking photos are just some of the activities that youth turn to their mobile phone for. About half of those surveyed perform these activities on their mobile. One in five (21 per cent) also uses this device to record video.

In India, the most popular mobile phone activities over the past seven days were listening to music (59 per cent young users listened to music on their mobiles), SMS (58 per cent), taking pictures (51 per cent), and playing games (46 per cent)."

This is a summary from a blogpost at http://youth-watch.blogspot.com/ (Study from Synovate

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

88% of all New Years resolutions fail beacuse we are afraid of change

New Years Eve is getting closer. Time to make plan for the next year; 2011 lays there as a blank slate - or like snow that no one has yet walked on (Swedish way of seeing it...).

Most of us make promises to ourselves on that night, or at least have a think about what we wish to achieve during the new year. But let me disappoint you... 88% of New Years resolutions fail, according to British psychologist Richard Wiseman (author of Quirkology and Luck Factor, great books, I´ve read them 3 times, ha-ha!).  

25% of people who had made resolutions threw in the towel within the first week, wrote University of Toronto Janet Polivy and Peter Herman 2002 in American Psychologist. Pharmacy company Pfizer found that only 11 % of those intending to quit smoking after New Years were successful. (thanks BRW for the article on this)

People say a lot of things; we are good at telling ourselves lies. We buy gym cards but never show up, we say we wish to have a happy marriage but keep on cheating (you know who I am talking about) and we of course, tell research companies we do all kinds of things we wish that we did.

I don´t think it´s about being evil, but about not having the understanding of how powerful and still weak our minds are. When you have been thinking the same thoughts for a lifetime - about who you are, what you are worth, what is good or bad - those thoughts steer your behaviour. To change your behaviour you need to change your thoughts. Just changing your actions is not enough. Your mind will go mental when you do, and your whole being wants to go back to the safe way things used to be. Smoking is not just about the cigarrette, it´s about what you think about you, your parents, other people, the world... Cheating can be a way to show the world how you loath yourself, almost like a cry for help. If you drop the behaviour, you can feel lost and lonely.

This may sound like pop psychology ramble, but it is useful for brands to understand the deep emotional needs and incongruity of humans. Customer might say they want your brand, but 88% make promises to themselves and break them within a few days... Look not to what they say, but what they are truly searching for.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Man marries a dog and woman marries herself - who do you love?

Recently, a 20 year old guy married his 5-year old Labrador Honey, in a ceremony in his local park in the Queensland town of Toowoomba here in Australia. 30 of the couple´s closest friends and family attended the ceremony. Guiso said while he loves his dog, "it is purely platonic".

A similar cermony was held in Taiwan a while back when a 30 year old woman "married" herself by throwing a wedding banquet in a Taipei hotel Saturday witnessed by 30 relatives and friends. She commented:

"Marrying myself is a way of showing that I am confident and upbeat and that I accept myself for who I am. We must love ourselves before we can love others. I must marry myself before marrying the special someone".

I do think these people are totally sane, perhaps even more so than ever other person who simply follow the majority and does what you are supposed to do. I think marrying a dog or yourself is a trend, a symbol for love being broader than just a traditional marriage between two people. Friends are love, pets are love, you are love, nature is love - love is an energy free from people.

Having said that, I belive we have become really bad at containing healthy relationships, which may lead to more people choosing the easy way out, staying single or with a pet. A study from Purina Petcare revealed that 64% of women and 48% of men actually their dog is a better listener than their partner and that 40% of Australians would prefer a warm welcome from their pet after a stressful day at work rather than a cuddle from their partner. 86% of dog owners consider their dog as “more than just a pet” and 20% view them as “a companion for life” .

For Love Coaching: http://www.thelovecoach.info/...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Who uses an address book and why are calendar producers still make them?

I bought my calendar for 2011 last week, and was giggling when I saw all the address books out there! Bookshops are full of them, calenders obviously need to include a section to write addresses in and I just scratch my head in wonder. Address book!! Who needs it, who uses it?

Times are changing (I should not need to tell anyone that). Most issue are solved online and Facebook is the global phone book for us all. Updated quickly, and if you need someone´s home address (for WHAT?) you can just ask. 

The same goes for faxes. My new calender wants me to fill in my fax number and my land line. But I´ll need to leave it blank. I used a fax about 5 years ago, since then I scan and email any documents. Who doesn´t?

The number of fixed phone lines has remained at 10.7 million since June 2000, but the number of mobile connections have increased from 8 million to 24.2 million over the same period (Sydney Morning Herald Nov 2010). Does this mean that people actually use their phone lines or are they for broadbands and kept just because they´ve always been there. I for sure use Skype if I want to call someone a little bit cheaper than the outrageous mobile prices.

Times are changing. Why are calender brands not keeping up with change? Why are some people so afraid of the movements, the natural flow? Marianne Williamson describes in "Return to Love" (fabulous book!) how she does when creating a sculpture. To be able to work on the clay the next day, you need to spray it with water to make it soft and flexible. If you don´t care for the clay it turns stale before you get to finish your masterpiece. It´s the same with businesses. Spray it with new, creative ideas and insights to be able to work on it, to make it even more nice to look at, more useful an successful.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vending machine in Tokyo can see who you are what you want

A new Japanese canned drink vending machine uses facial recognition technology to “recommend” drinks based on the customer’s age and gender. Suggested products may also change depending on the temperature and time of day.

When a customer stand in front of the next-generation drink machines, it will take a second to process your image. “Recommended” labels will then appear on specific drink products on its touch-screen pad, and then says “Thank you” to some or “I love you” to others.

500 of the machines should be available in Tokyo and surrounding areas by March 2012.

I am not sure what I think about this. Good or bad? Just imagine standing there and the machine assumes you are ten years older (we have those days, looking so-so...), or gives you a message "you could lose some weight, perhaps try diet Coke?" or something? Aaaaaah.

But it is a cool idea. Individualism makes the customer feel important. Like we have the special "Avatar" bond: "I see you"...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Consumers can´t be bothered about buying green

ABS data from 2008 showed that 4 out of 5 Australians "are ‘worried sick’ about the environment".

But 'worrying' is an emotion that does not lead to action. While 40% of consumers (Americans I assume) say they are willing to puchase green products, only 4% of consumers actally do when given the choice, according to Journal of Marketing, issue September 2010. 

Blue Marlin found that two thirds of Australian consumers think green products are over priced, and that nine out of ten consumers distrust green product claims. Proportion of consumers ‘Willing to pay 25% premium for green’ fell from 50% to 33% from 07 to 08, according to a study from Mobium.

In 2006 everyone went crazy about green issues and it happened over night. One day nobody cared - all we bothered about back then was to how to spend money on luxury - and then suddenly climate change was the most important issue in the world. Al Gore had something to do with that of course...

But now? I think it will be the companies that will need to take action, because people don´t see their contribution as making any difference. And in one study when people were asked what they would do to save the environment, buying was only one of 20 other things. It is hard to see how it can matter if I choose one option before the other. And a Gallup study showed recently that fewer Aussies believe climate change is caused by man (from 52 to 44% in 2 years), and more believe it´s a result of natural causes (21 to 31%). Let´s say Australian consumers have left the concern behind.

Large corporates can on the other hand, make a huge difference. For example, buildings are responsible for 23% of Australia´s total greenhouse gas emissions, and when constructing buildings in a green way, this can rapidly improve the situation.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Help your customers show the world how popular they are

"In 2011, you can´t go wrong supplying your customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or 'real world' that helps them display to peers their online contributions, interestingness, creation or popularity", writes Trendwatching.com in their trends update for 2011.

To connect your brand with an identity has always been a way to get an emotional connection that will boost sales. For example, sales of Ray-ban sunnies rose dramatically (50%) after Tom Cruise wore them in Top Gun. If a brand makes us feel cool, sexy, special, important or interesting, we will love the brand. It gives us an emotional value, and is more than a 'thing'.

Today, as Trendwatching predicts, we will want to put our importance on display by tweeting, status updating and logging in on Foursquare. If you are at the gym, let´s everyone know!! Makes it more worthwhile... Show everyone how active you are and that you have people to hang out with!

Ipsos and KPMG conducted a while ago a study on Facebook usage among young Australians and discovered that people tend to update their status when they are doing something exciting, like travelling to exotic places.  

Today, having friends is high status, so adding photos with yourself at parties and picnics is important. Actually, friends are a scarce resource today, as fewer people have close relationships, which means it´s getting even more crucial to show you are 'rich' in terms of buddies. Brands that help people spread the word about their glory will succeed.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Times are changing - how exciting!

The Week reports that new mothers are paying experts to come to their homes to assist in getting their baby to feed and sleep. The trend is being attributed to the rising age of first-time mothers, some of whom are less likely to have parents or grandparents to call on for support.
Communities are no longer built on family or geography. I read in the same magazine that nearly 60% of Australians never speak to their neighbours and 38% have no idea who their neighbours are. 82% believe their parents were more connected to their local communities than they are. Nearly half would hesitate to ask a neighbour if they could borrow a cup of sugar.
Yes, in the past people hanged out with people who lived nearby, or were relatives. Today a majority of the world population live in cities, and long distances are changing who we are able to connect with. Internet also brings like minded people closer, and we can have a chat with someone in Stockholm instead of chatting with the weird girl next door. We are no longer stuck with those who live at our street, but we can pick and choose those who have our sense of humour, interests and values. 
Magazines often make change sound negative and odd, but when we embrace change, change will be pleasant. Be curious and flexible, and stop resisting. Read blogs like mine to hear about trends and movements, feel faith that you will be able to handle it well, and you will find it fun :)
What about reading the successful book  "Who moved my cheese?" - a simple and eye opening entry book for those who have not yet found coaching and buddhism as useful principles for a happy life.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We choose the first option - whatever it is

It doesn’t matter how good your offer is if it is presented in the ‘wrong’ environment or situation. Just as in dating, it is all about timing and presentation. And I am not talking about looking stunning, but about simpler things...

The order in which alternative are presented can affect our decisions. Researcher Alexander Felfernig and his team tested the internet buying behaviour customers exhibited when purchasing tents, by presenting buyers with four choices arranged in a horizontal row. Each tent had unique characteristics. The researchers varied the order of presentation for each buyer, so that they could evaluate the effect of the order of presentation.

Amazingly enouth, the first choice presented was chosen 2.5 times more often than any other. Despite the fact that the tents varied in their shape, their degree of waterproofing, and other presumably important characteristics, the order of presentation was by far the most critical variable in the selection process. How’s that for logical decision-making?

Conclusion: be aware of how and where your offer is presented. The environment and context can be far more important in the decision-making than the product itself. We seldom make objective choices based on features and facts. How can your company or brand benefit from having a smarter strategy? At least, be on top at Google...

More of these interesting findings and how they can give you customer love in my book Love Branding, second edition out next week: http://www.love-branding.com/

Monday, December 6, 2010

Don´t laugh at Chinese innovations, it´s the new mindset that will change the world

China is trying hard to make the country innovative an rich. At the moment the government is encouraging people to apply for patents, and there is a new openess towards laws protecting ownership. "Anxious to promote domestic innovation, the Chinese government has created an ecosystem of incentives for its people to file patents", writes The Economist

Thomson Reuters predicts that China will become the world’s largest publisher of patents next year, and even if a lot of experts are sceptical, this is a beginning. Sure, the government may be nurturing useless ideas by giving incentives, and perhaps it´s all a bubble, but I still believe this is a way to change the mentality of a nation. Sure, the ideas might not be tip-top but ideas feed on ideas, so there is more to come.

If the old World gets snobbish and ty to reduce the importance of a Chinese curiousity in innovation, we will fail. I believe the Australians for example have become lazy and perhaps a bit frightened. Economy is ok, so coming up with new ideas can be risky. Hence... we stay where we are.

China does not.

Maybe Chinese incentives leads to too many patents, but when clapping your hands for every little idea, you send signals to people that ideas are welcome and they will keep on being creative. Maybe the first few attempts are rubbish, but after a while they will get the hang of it. It´s a mindset that will turn China into a bubbly society.

In Australia just 4 in 10 businesses undertook innovative activity in new goods and services, marketing or internal operations, in 2008-09, which is a fall from 45 % in 2007-08.

Who is heading up? Who is heading down under? Worrying, worrying.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Asia is getting more popular as tourist destination

"Approximately 3.7 million Australians (21%) would like to take a holiday in Asia in the next two years, up from 19% for the 12 months to September 2009, and 15% in the 12 months to September 2001. Although Asia has shown long-term growth in preference, Europe is still the most preferred overseas holiday destination with 27% of Australians saying they would like to take a holiday there, up slightly from 26% for the 12 months to September 2009." (Report from Roy Morgan)

49% Aussies now has a passport, an increase of 16% over the previous year. (2009). While this figure is well ahead of the United States (25%) it seriously lags European countries such as Germany with 90% passport ownership.

This is not just of relevance to the travel industry, but represents a shift in culture and values. Our values, beliefs and rolemodels change with the change. Europe is not longer as influential; we are getting increasingly curious about other, more vibrant parts of the world.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

2011 - What brands need to know about next year

Trendwatching released its 2011 consumer trends the other day. Here are the 11 trends to embrace and follow for next year:

In 2011, there will be no excuses left not to be kind as a brand.

Are you ready for hundreds of millions of more daring, more experienced consumers? And that's just one side effect of rapid global urbanization...

Flash sales, group buying, GPS-driven deals: in 2011 pricing will never be the same...

In 2011, expect an increasing number of 'Western' brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to consumers in emerging markets...

In 2011, you can’t go wrong supplying your (online-loving) customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or 'real world', that helps them display to peers their online contributions, creations or popularity... 
As good health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in 2011 to prevent misery (if not improve their quality of life), rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments...
SOCIAL-LITES are all about discovery, as consumers become curators; actively broadcasting, remixing, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, experiences to both their friends and wider audiences...

In 2011, brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale...

With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell/smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, 2011 will see full-on PLANNED SPONTANEITY...

When it comes to 'green consumption' in 2011, expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way...

2011 could be the year when sharing and renting really tips into mainstream consumer consciousness...

For more bout this, and for great examples, go to http://trendwatching.com/briefing/

Also JWT has a new top list of trends for 2011. The headline is "Space Market" and here are the trends in short (you need to buy the report to get more information, but there is a video on their blog explaining a bit more.

1. All the world´s a game
2. The urgency economy
3. Non-commitment culture
4. Eat, pray, tech
5. De-teching
6. Retail as the third space
7. Creative urban renewal
8. Worlds colliding
9. Hyper-personalization
10. Out-sourcing self control

Blobal supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence Mintel´s 9 consumer trends, article here.

1.  Prepare for the Worst
After the global recession, a renewed emphasis on prevention will drive consumers to think defensively.
2.  Retail Rebirth
Discounting is a no-win battle against the internet. Shops need to get more creative to lure consumers.
3.  Where It's App
Smartphones are becoming the dominant mobile force.
4.  No Degree, No Problem
Consumers will question higher education's ROI and alternative channels for learning will gain credibility.
5.  On Her Own Terms
Women are earning and learning more than men, creating new gender roles in business and consumerism.
6.  Retired for Hire
People are working beyond retirement.
7.  The Big Issue
Our attitude toward weight is polarizing - the super-healthy against the eternal appeal of indulgence.
8.  Garden State
Modern city dwellers have a growing love of gardening and a need for nature.
9.  Who Needs Humans
As we move into an ever more digital era, automated technology has machines replacing people?