When you’re hungry, is your first instinct to cook a meal or grab a snack from the cabinet? According to a recent article in Ad Age, snacking is the new eating. This trend is shaping the way brands target their customers when it comes to the snack aisle. One brand in particular recently strayed from its traditional role by introducing a line of unexpected flavors. Triscuit’s new Brown Rice lineup is taking supermarkets by storm and piquing the interests of snackers in the U.S.
Triscuit rolled out a new line of the classic crunchy treat by introducing flavors with “real food” ingredients such as brown rice with sweet potato or red beans. When I think of a snack, red beans and sweet onions don’t come to mind, but the trend towards better-for-you foods seems to have plenty of interested consumers. While the new line of Triscuits is not necessarily “better for you” when it comes to calorie count, the name and look alone give it a healthy vibe.
In the Ad Age article, Jimmy Wu, senior brand manager for Triscuit, said, “Consumers are looking for a lot of the same things they used to find in meals in snacks, and that’s really foods with real food ingredients and real food value in them.” According to a recent Rabobank Group report, snacks account for one third of the calories consumed daily by adults.
From Greek yogurt and hummus to pita chips and Triscuits, there is no doubt that the category of healthier snacks is growing. As people become more observant and cautious of the ingredients they put into their bodies, and as dietary and allergy restrictions play a larger role in the food habits of many people, the demand for better-for-you foods will grow. Whether for health reasons or lack of time, (or a combination of the two) the snack culture is changing.
Would you pull a Brown Rice and Wheat Triscuit off the shelves to try? Maybe their commercial will convince you.
The monster International Home & Housewares Show hit Chicago a couple of weeks ago with 2,000+ exhibitors and some 60,000 attendees. This is the place for retail buyers — from the likes of Walmart to small specialty shops — to gain perspective and see what’s new.
Celebrity chefs and their wares were in abundance — for good reason. A top trend is the return of The Kitchen as the connecting point within a home. For meeting, eating, working and entertaining, the kitchen has become the hub. People are cooking again, and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to save money. Often for health. Most interestingly for self expression and status. That’s right — status. This has divergent meanings, from social standing to being eco-conscious.
A highlight of the show for me was a keynote presentation by Tom Mirabile, the SVP, Global Trend & Design at Lifetime Brands, entitled, “Staying Relevant to an Unpredictable Consumer.” From fashion to food to housewares, many marketers are operating with a dangerously outdated view of today’s consumers. For instance, most people look at a “married with kids” family as typical when in fact only 20% of U.S. households fit that mold.
Currently in the U.S., two groups — Boomers and Gen Y’s — account for the largest numbers. While Boomers are trying to age gracefully, Gen Y’s are resourceful and seeking ways to express their creativity. Yet a desire for wellness factors into the food choices of both groups in a big way as people realize that to enjoy a higher quality of life, health is critical.
What were some of the key insights from the show? Functional Design was celebrated as evidenced by the shapes, colors and ergonomics of kitchen gadgets and wares. Appliances that allow for personalization were in abundance, like the Soda Stream machine that allows the user to create infinite varieties of flavors. Eco-friendly products were pervasive with lots of bamboo and other natural materials. And this is the show where Pantone unveils the color of the year. Going into 2014, let’s all celebrate Emerald (PMS 17-5641) for a big dose of harmony and balance.
According to ExactTarget’s Marketers from Mars study, 33% of consumers want marketers to invest more in email, 24% want marketers to invest in the brand’s website, and 22% of consumers want marketers to invest in creating a better Facebook experience.
- 36% of consumers with a smartphone, and 49% of consumers who do not own a smartphone, prefer to interact with a brand via email
- 49% of consumers have made a purchase as a direct result of an email marketing message
- 93% of consumers subscribe to at least one brand’s email, remaining consistent compared to 2010
- 31% of consumers with a smartphone, and 26% of consumers who do not own a smartphone, prefer to interact with a brand on Facebook, making it the second most common place consumers look to connect with brands online
- 58% of consumers have “Liked” a brand on Facebook, a 20% increase since 2010
- 21% of consumers report they have made a purchase as the result of a message they saw on Facebook
- 46% of consumers on Twitter follow brands to receive advanced notice about new products
- 12% of all consumers follow a brand on Twitter, a 7% increase since 2010
Marketers’ preferences for these media channels are exponentially higher, likely due to their affinity toward experiencing new technology before it becomes a consumer trend. So before I reveal the stats on how marketers use digital media to follow brands, why not jump in and tell us how you use digital media?
Do you prefer email from a brand? Do you actively follow any brand on Facebook? Do you use Twitter to get the latest offers from a brand? Please comment and let us know.
Advertainment. Tri-ti-tasking. Phablets. According to Business News Daily, these are just a few words that will be buzzing in the upcoming year. In addition to expanding your vocabulary, these terms can also be used to predict industry-wide trends for 2013.
One such trend is a higher level of involvement between businesses and consumers. The word “advertainment,” for example, describes the shift in advertising from interrupting what people are interested in to actually being what they’re interested in. And the phrase “return on involvement” refers to the importance of brand involvement within communities in achieving a sound return on investment. Although people interact differently today, the value in making meaningful connections has not diminished.
Multi-tasking (or “tri-ti-tasking,” if you happen to be doing three things at once) is another commonality. Why just be an inventor, when you could be an “inventreprenuer?” And why choose between a smart phone or a tablet? There’s a “phablet” for that. Today’s consumer wants to have it all – in five syllables or less.
My personal favorite? “Alphanista,” the title for a successful, powerful woman who’s got it all together. It’s a word that encourages women to be ambitious – and presents a viable contender in the “when I grow up” category.
See the complete list of buzzwords here.
This time of the year brings out a sleigh full of consumer insights based on actual shopping behavior that delight marketers’ understanding of today’s consumer. Noted below are a few stocking stuffers as gleaned from Experian Simmons and Acxiom during the current holiday period:
- Forty-five percent (45%) of holiday season emails are being opened on mobile – up slightly from the just prior to the season.
- Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday saw major increases in both online traffic and email volume. Thanksgiving Day online traffic increased 6% in 2012 versus 2011, and Cyber Monday traffic increased by 11%. Likewise, email volume was up 23% on Thanksgiving and 29% on Cyber Monday.
- Led by Black Friday offers, campaigns with offers in the subject line made up almost 30% of all campaigns sent this past week.
- For the week of 11/17/2012, visits to Cyber Monday websites increased by 259% compared to last year.
- Describing your brand as ‘Best’ in the subject line leads to the highest open and click rates for gift guides.
Forty-two percent (42%) of US adults have purchased gift cards in the past year.
And here is the answer to that annual question “What is this year’s hot item” based on search queries:
- Cyber Monday capped the weekend off with a 30% jump from last year, showing retail peaks at roughly 11:23 a.m. EST.Monday was a great day to use company time to get your shopping done. Good news is, many were not using the company network to tie up traffic as there was a tremendous shift to mobile browsing and more importantly mobile shopping/commerce ( 2X over last year).
- With over 7% of holiday retails sales attributed to some form of tablet purchase, online user experience will be all about touch-based navigation.
- While mobile is shifting online behaviors, consumer adoption of mobile payment services is also rising. PayPal reported a 200% increase in transactions through this past weekend.
What here surprises you?
Branding was the primary presentation topic of the day at the recent American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education (#amahighered). However, the B-school roundtable revealed some meatier issues that kept those marketers up at night. The 50 or more in attendance voiced concerns were varied, yet many were shared. This infers there is not one central issue to rally around, but rather a variety of challenges facing today’s higher education marketer, especially in business schools. I believe many of these issues are directly transferable and relatable to other university colleges and schools as well.
The following top issues were almost equally distributed in importance and urgency:
- Lack of direction from university leadership.
- Not changing programs to keep pace with student needs or technological advances. This related to courses of study as well as teaching method.
- Under resourced and under budget to meet the expectations of internal constituencies. This was voiced by both centralized and decentralized marketing departments.
- Changing school name affecting branding and name recognition.
- Changing skill set requirements with existing staff skill set especially with social media and mobile marketing influences.
- Defining, obtaining and analyzing metrics (what’s working, what’s not).
- What happens to the lead when it’s handed off to admissions, referencing lead nurturing.
- 30 second elevator pitch; being prepared to talk to prospective students or influencers in a non-campus setting.
- Consistency in messaging across all schools and colleges within the university, especially with regard to brand guidelines.
- How to maintain database inclusive of segmentation.
- Mobile site or app – when and how to choose.
- Social media analytics – establishing KPIs, measurement methods.
- Branding was last on their list of concerns.
CBD Marketing will be addressing each of these concerns in upcoming blogs and e-newsletters. Please feel free to comment and help our fellow higher education marketers move their brands forward.
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