Innovative Marketing: P&G’s Manhattan pop-up store

8 December 10

I often find myself lost at the local grocery store, or on the pages of soap.com, shopping list in hand, wondering how to choose between the plethora of kitchen towels, detergents, or bath products available. Better yet, how does a company like Proctor and Gamble get me to purchase their particular version of a product? Packaging surely can’t get any more glitzy and eye-piercing, one would hope, so how do I pick among the various options without experiencing buyer’s remorse once I return home?

It just so happens that P&G conducted a market research campaign which showed that up to a quarter of household product purchases failed to live up to expectations but that nevertheless, people were very open to trying out new and innovative products they came across. Instead of simply gearing up for another media advertising campaign, P&G decided to open up a pop-up store in a busy Manhattan intersection to give visitors a tactile experience of select merchandise in order to sway their purchasing habits. The ten day pop-up experience, located on the corner of 57th Street and 6th Avenue, was part of P&G’s new marketing campaign designed to showcase 18 of the company’s newer and innovative products. Dubbed “Have You Tried This Yet”, the new campaign focused on providing various customer touch points in order to form a stronger connection between buyer and product, and allow visitors to actually try out products while being helped by friendly P&G employees. Perhaps this would help me find some answers to my vexing shopping experience?  Read the rest of this entry »



Retail Revolution

27 September 10

The Future of Retail

At this fall’s New York Fashion Week, the most interesting trends were happening off the runway. While models were showing off new looks, designers and their retail partners were demonstrating innovative ways to connect with today’s shoppers.

High-end fashion houses including Gucci streamed their runway shows live online. Burberry took it a step further with a “retail theater” that allowed at-home shoppers to purchase runway outfits online as models were strutting down the catwalk. Diane Von Furstenberg’s partnership with HP further proved that fashion and technology are now highly integrated. At the DVF Lounge during fashion week, customers were invited to sip refreshing drinks while browsing new DVF looks on HP touchscreen panels. They were even able to conveniently print out their favorites on HP printers. Real-time tweets about the event were on display on another large HP display screen.

It is not only high-end designers who are on the cutting edge of retail innovation, leveraging technology to reinvent the shopping experience and connect with customers; the following are a few more examples of how retailers are reaching their customer in new and innovative ways. Read the rest of this entry »


Innovation Inside

24 May 10

There has been a lot of recent innobuzz  about crowd-sourcing and looking outside for innovation. Both techniques have their place in idea generation, but what about the people who know your products the best? You know, your employees. Now, I am not saying you need to launch an innovation center like Bayer is to come up with the next big idea (albeit if you can, go for it), but rather think about ways you can grow or enhance your business from within.

The following are some companies who have successfully looked inside to innovate:

  • Southwest Airlines: Southwest is using an idea management software tool to capture their employee’s ideas on improving and bettering processes. This web-based  ideation tool allows employees in different geographic locations and of different levels to share ideas and work together to problem solve.  Bringing internal minds together has enabled Southwest to improve internal processes and create efficiencies.
  • Intuit: Intuit gives their employees 10% of unstructured time during their workweek (Google does something similar). During this time, Intuit employees are allowed to collaborate with others in order to develop new ideas. Viable products such as viewmypaycheck.intuit.com are results of such unstructured time. Read the rest of this entry »

Green Innovations

23 April 10

In honor of Earth Day, the futurethink team took some time to evaluate our own carbon footprints.  Using Global Footprint Network’s eco footprint calculator, we each answered a smattering of lifestyle-related questions and a few minutes later, ended up with an estimate of how many planet earths it would take to support our lifestyles (humbling enough, if everyone lived like me, it would take 5.7 earths to provide enough resources!). We found that simple actions such as eating less red meat can help us reduce our carbon footprint.  Beyond this, there are innovative companies that have created products to help us further reduce our footprint.  The following are some clever eco- innovations that we’ve spotted lately:

1. One easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to switch from disposable household products to reusable ones. Monte-Bianco, a Canadian company, has developed an innovative product that is not only eco-friendly, but also makes economic sense.  The Monte-Bianco clip offers you the familiarity of a standard toothbrush handle, with the additional flexibility of disposable brush heads that snap in and out. There are even two options for bristles – vegan friendly nylon and natural boar’s hair.  The brush heads, retailing at $5.50 for a set of three, are an inexpensive alternative to replacing your toothbrush every time. Read the rest of this entry »


Future 2049: It’s all about the package.

7 May 09

This is Part II of a series of predictions of the future in 40 years. Click here to view my previous prediction, Microwave World.

It’s all about the package.

Thanks to the proliferation of computers and online commerce across all economic classes, in the future we all use online shopping for 80% of our purchases. No more grocery stores (who needs them when there’s Fresh Direct or Peapod? People used to waste an hour in a grocery store? It’s one less stop in the ‘food chain’ if I get it right from a ‘distributor’ like Fresh Direct anyway right?).

With all of our food being delivered directly to our door, our first point of interaction with a brand for many is now AFTER the purchase decision has been made, not before.

What’s the implication of this? Marketers and brand experts now put almost all their emphasis on the packaging of an item – injecting all kinds of functions, incentives, and whiz-bangs into it – ensuring that your brand ‘interaction’ is good when you open the grocery box that arrives at your door. The most important part of branding is no longer about the ‘pre-purchase’ which used to be ‘at shelf’ in the store – this is due to the shift in consumer purchase habits; marketers now almost solely focus on the POST purchase and what they can do to make their package stand-out in the delivery box.


Is Txt Spk Ovr?

10 December 08

futurethink-text-speak

Now that smartphones with full QWERTY keyboards are seemingly more popular than the number-pad mobile handsets of yore, is there really a need for ‘text speak’ anymore? Or does the ‘language’ now solely exist in the realm of marketers?

Sure, there are still quick abbreviations—OMG, LOL and TTYL don’t seem to be going anywhere—and Twitter’s 140-character limit forces people to be creative in their tweets, but the rampant use of text shorthand seems to be fading among actual users, while it’s transparent abuse seems to be rising amongst marketers striving to be ‘cool’ in speaking to Gen Y. Read the rest of this entry »