Next Big Design

Monday, December 22, 2014

Where Does Online Shopping Leave Glamorous Window Displays?

The holiday season, despite its one eve of festivity, absorbs anywhere from weeks to months of our time as shoppers and consumers, and even more so if we are marketers. It evokes the anxiety, well pondered over in days when brands battled for loyal consumers. Attracting one and all with the glitterarti of lights that brighten up the night sky for miles, attracting shutterbugs and stories for lifetimes. One has to think of all the historical, traditional efforts put into the likes of Macy’s and Harrod’s, juxtaposed against a modern lifestyle of lesser and lesser offline shopping.

However in today’s world, with retailers opening up stores way into the middle of the night, if not 24 hours, and with online accounting for a large chunk of decision making, if not sales, the dynamic has become muddled, and all the more interesting to explore. Despite decadent window displays of Christmas chocolate architecture or humane mannequins in theatrical poses in a luxury London, for instance, which have perhaps become more tourist attractions than reliable sources of revenue, many have chosen the online world as a foray into replacement shopping. Convenient, faster, and to a certain degree, almost less magical.

On drawing comparisons between the online and offline world, alongside the regularity of last minute versus planned shoppers, a two by two matrix on uncovering four holiday shopping personalities can be deduced. Let’s call it The Timed Shopping Framework, since it can apply to any phase of life when we have to shop with a deadline.

Bandwidth Basher

Purchasing Power: High. It’s unlikely that these shoppers will be looking for deals, but are more in a frantic rush to buy something while multitasking a busy corporate or bustling alternative life; thus the restraint from going in stores.

Retailer Benefit: Shipping fees. Consumers in this segment may be blind to free shipping coupons in all the haste, so retailers can gobble up any margins on those exorbitant overnight fees.
Strategic Sprawler

Purchasing Power: Moderate. These shoppers will likely have scouted the deals, almost as early as Black Friday and Thanksgiving. Being deal hunters, it’s not to say they are budget battlers: rather the contrary, they are likely to spend in volume. Call them indecisive, or on the other spectrum, simply smart with a cool variety of friends.

Retailer Benefit: Volume purchase and loyalty. It’s likely that these shoppers will seek deals with enough prowess to use coupon codes or minimum purchase requirements to benefit retailers, either with volume or future loyalty.

Methodical Maneuverer

Purchasing Power: Moderate. These are traditional shoppers that would rather drive to the stores come fall, and load up their trunks and rear seats with less shopping on a periodic basis. And they never forget the wrapping, bows, cards and frills. These shoppers either have a sense of detail, or are simply preventing an anxiety attack, as per a former framework.

Retailer Benefit: Traditional store sales, which as we all know, may not be real value sales, but well marketed ones. Nonetheless, courtesy of methodical research, retailers should not expect these consumers to be strong spenders.

Splurging Sprinter

Purchasing Power: High. These shoppers have simply had no time in bustling lives, and tend to leave things to the last minute. With about half of their preferred selections disappearing off shelves, they are likely to be struck by anxiety and spend more than they need. Sans details, they may skip the frills and even ask for gift wrapped gifts altogether! Just beware that these folks may be struck by stress more often than not; even in public.

Retailer Benefit: Revenues from last minute shopping. Retailers can expect high spending from these consumers, with a slight dose of stress depending on the level of shopper persistence. It will be easy to entice them with leftover, often non-sale items, or with stocking stuffers.

Sourabh Sharma, Senior Manager and Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an boutique marketing research consultancy, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at Follow him on @sssourabh.

Monday, December 15, 2014

REVOLT Audience Insights & Strategy VP On Audience Engagement in the Digital Media World

Next up, in The Media Insights Interview Series brought to you by The 2015 Media Insights & Engagement Conference, we were lucky enough to catch up with Jake Katz, VP, Audience Insights & Strategy at REVOLT. He shared with us some of his key insights into audience engagement strategy in the growing and evolving digital media landscape.

Here's what Katz had to say: 

IIR: What has been your most successful audience engagement strategy?

Katz: Make your consumers owners. In building a TV network from scratch, some of the biggest strategic challenges fall within understanding how a content brand lives and engages across screens and platforms. When launching this brand, REVOLT launched on Twitter almost a year prior to the channel actually going live on linear. We had a constant dialogue with our target audience on Twitter, that leading up to our linear launch, built advocacy. Many folks call our 15-29 target narcissistic, but what is often less celebrated in the press is that by asking for their input, the Millennial/Post-Millennial audience then has a shared responsibility of your success. That said, REVOLT was a top trending topic the first night it launched the actual network on TV.

IIR: How has the new 2-screen environment affected TV advertising?

Katz: Historically the TV business drives off of presenting itself as a reach vehicle within the advertising community. The reality of our target audience is that TV content continues to drive the pop culture conversation, but is watched across many different screens at many different times around its actual premiere. Our vision at REVOLT is that in a world where viewers value social media as much as they value traditional media, TV is where you spark "engagement" and when your content creates dialogue in social, digital is where you check the box of "reach" and "frequency." Multi-tasking media behaviors are an opportunity, not a dilemma.  

IIR: How do you synthesize data to make it more meaningful?

Katz: Given that our world now moves at the speed of social media, no matter what category you play in, we are now in the business of understanding "why" not "what." By the time you have identified "what," it is too late. Consumers are super-served, if not overwhelmed with messaging and content, so marketers must understand how they can tap into relevance subconsciously but project a POV in their positioning. This means my job as a strategist is not to inform what the audience wants through a series of PPT charts, but study in to and strategize around the psyche, motivations, and drivers of the culture + conversation we are seeking permission to enter.

IIR: What does the always-on shopping trend mean for your business?

Katz: It used to be that you would engage a target a consumer a certain number of times so that when they were in purchase-mode, your offering would be top of mind. The rise of online shopping has made it so that now your target consumer is always in purchase mode, and furthermore, expects a shorter distance between discovery and purchase. The always-on shopping trend means that our ad-partners must message to our target audience as if they are in research mode, subtly prompting them to continue the journey of consumer curiosity online. 

IIR: Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect at your session, “Post-disruption, the New, New Media Landscape: How to Do it”?

Katz: To launch and build a TV network for 15-29s in 2014, I cut to the truth of the Millennial conversation and uncovered actionable new rules of consumer engagement through our insights initiative, Road to Truth. As we kick off 2015, I have just launched our next insights project called Code of Content. Why? Because the evolving media landscape demands more than just traditional media placements, and as a result, compelling content marketing is king when it comes to engaging the Millennial audience.

If "the medium is the message," we need to understand how brands live in a world of many screens and platforms – not just for our brand, but to answer questions throughout the industry and across categories. Through Code of Content's expert interviews, surveys, and ongoing mobile ethnographies, we are decoding these four Ms of content marketing:

1.       Motivation: Underlying emotional and functional content needs among 15-29s
2.       Medium: Pushing culture through the lens of various distribution platforms (e.g. TV, social media, digital, apps)
3.       Mode: Content format (e.g. A tweet, pic, gif, video clip, episode)
4.       Message: Content purpose, tone, and characteristics

Want to hear more from Jake? Don’t’ miss his session, “Post-Disruption, The New, New Media Landscape: How To Do It” at The Media Insights & Engagement Conference at 10:00 am on Thursday, February 5, 2015. To learn more about this event or to register, please visit our website:

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Top Next Big Design Blog Posts of 2014

We’ve published a lot of creative, inspiring, and thought-provoking posts this year on the Next Big Design Blog, so we wanted to take a moment to look back on the most popular posts of 2014. Here are the topics our readers enjoyed the most this year:

Why Your Brand Needs to Get Visual: Today in media, everywhere we look we are seeing a shift to visual – including photos, infographics, illustrations, slideshows, memes, videos, and any other imagery that can be engaged with and shared. With more images and fewer words, visual content is the perfect answer for our busy schedules and hyper-engaged lives. Businesses looking to make an impact in today’s world should embrace this shift and the advantage that visuals provide to be seen and heard — quickly, clearly, and powerfully. To read the full post, click here.

How to Create a Magnetic Brand: Marketing messages are coming at you everywhere you go. In fact, customers are bombarded with thousands of marketing images and messages every single day - more than 5,000 to be exact, according to researchers.  When you’re standing in line at the grocery store, when you’re driving down the street, when you’re watching TV and, whenever you’re online, someone is trying to sell you something. This leads to “communication fatigue”—meaning we are bombarded by so many messages that we end up ignoring more to keep our heads from exploding. So, what does this mean for your brand? It means crafting the best marketing campaign in the world may not cut it anymore, if consumers are not interested in what you have to say. To read the full post, click here.

29 Ways to Stay Creative: Creativity is something that many look beyond, but creativity is one of the greatest qualities we can be lucky enough to have, but many never allow their true creativity to be expressed. Our ability to express our deepest feelings is at the core of the importance of creativity. As humans we have a very strong need to express ourselves and we're happiest when other people understand what we are trying to get across to them. We can all benefit from a boost to our creative juices. Those who are truly creative don’t copy what others do; instead, they may use innovative ideas from others as a springboard to come up with a unique product for themselves. They tend to distance themselves from the competition rather than compete with them. If they see another company or person copying what they do, they create something even better. Put simply, they are able to leverage their creativity and innovative capabilities to attain success. To read the full post, click here.

How to Create a Memorable Design: Although it may not seem like it, what we experience and what we remember are in fact two very different things. Most product design strategy is directed toward experience, but cognitive scientists say that we should really focus on memory instead because our memories drive the majority of our decision-making. To read the full post, click here.

The Key Ingredients of a Comprehensive Brand Strategy: Did you know your business won’t succeed without an effective brand strategy? Brand strategy is the how, what, when, and to whom you communicate your product to the world. Having a clear brand strategy leads to stronger brand equity, or how people perceive your product, and how much they are willing to pay for it. To read the full post, click here.

5 Ways Creativity Creates Productivity: Today, business leaders are completely and utterly focused on productivity. Meanwhile, creativity is the spark of a new idea so incredible that it interrupts whatever you’re doing to get it onto paper. Creativity leads to productivity, if that workplace environment is developed and nurtured in a way that allows the two to peacefully co-exist. To read the full post, click here.

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?: A truly great company logo becomes synonymous with its identity. For instance, McDonald’s golden arches, Apple’s apple, Coca-Cola’s cursive typeface, Nike’s swoosh and all of those iconic brand images stuck in your head. But what does a logo say about your company? To read the full post, click here.

About the Author: Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist of the Marketing Division at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. Amanda is the Editor at Large for several of IIR’s blogs including Next Big DesignCustomers 1stDigital Impact, STEAM Accelerator and ProjectWorld and World Congress for Business Analysts, and a regular contributor to Front End of Innovation and The Market Research Event,. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the technology industry. She can be reached at Follow her at @AmandaCicc.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It’s Time to Evaluate Your Client & Agency Relationships

Even the best client & agency relationships need to be evaluated...

Let’s get down to the facts:
Fact: 88% of clients claim to speak their mind freely to their agency while 36% of agency partners would agree
Fact: 90% of agencies say they truly understand their clients business but only 65% of the other halves agree

As you can see, there is a big disconnect here and it leads you to wonder what other vital information is your counterpart missing?

Join us next month at the Client & Agency Summit where we break down the walls in these relationships and get to the core of what you expect and need from your agency or client. We created this summit to expose the issues in seemingly perfect relationships and help you work towards being better… together.
Client & Summit brought to you by FUSE
December 9, 2014 // New York City

View the full agenda here:

Here’s the Inspirational Speaker Line-Up:
Sarah Armstrong
Director, Worldwide Agency Operations
The Coca-Cola Company

Brett Colbert
Chief Procurement Officer
MDC Partners

Ed McFadden
Senior Group Manager, PMG

Stephen Gates
Vice President and Creative Director, Global Brand Design
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

Bob Kantor
Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer
MDC Partners

In the spirit of truly meaningful relationships, we are offering a group discount - Register 2 people for $800! Invite your client, or your agency representative, this is an event that you don't want to miss. Register here:


The FUSE Agency Client Summit Team