Apr 20 2016
On April 12, Devils Backbone, an independent brewery located in Nelson County, Virginia, announced they were being purchased by the biggest name in big beer, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
And then, the universe exploded.
Well, maybe not the entire universe. But if you follow craft beer, especially Virginia craft beer, you likely experienced an eruption of opinion across your news and social media feeds. Though the tone ranged from repulsed (“this is disgusting…a cancer in the bloodstream of good beer”) to resigned (“you will be much missed”), the largest, or at least the loudest, reaction from craft beer enthusiasts was that this was not a good thing, and would signal the decline of a quality craft product.
What’s going on:
Devils Backbone is the eighth independent brewery that AB InBev (primarily known for not-so-craft beers like Budweiser, Corona, and Bud Light Lime-a-rita) has acquired since 2011. While their strategy is clearly…
Apr 7 2016
It took years for healthcare providers to accept the term “consumer” when referring to patients. In today’s healthcare economy – one that’s focused more on wellness, prevention and keeping people out of the hospital – understanding patients as consumers is critical to success. (For those of you in long-term care, this includes your residents. And for those of you in health insurance, this includes your members.) Healthcare consumerism is here to stay.
Most healthcare communicators have already made the shift in what we say and how we say it. We’ve stopped talking at consumers and only pushing out our own messages, whether they care or not. We have done this by adopting journalistic principles, providing news they can use and information they want. We have also done this by engaging in a dialogue with consumers via social channels, and learning to go where the conversations are happening rather than expecting everyone to gather around like we’re the EF Hutton of healthcare.
It’s a good start. But it won’t be enough. When it comes to making a great patient experience, we talk a lot about anticipating the wants and needs of patients.…
Apr 1 2016
Well, today is April Fools’ Day. People’s reaction to that news is mixed, depending on whether they are usually the fooler or fooled.
One thing remains constant, however: This is the day consumer brands spend a lot of time, money and creativity to generate fake news, products and headline-grabbing PR stunts. And over the past decade, each April Fools’ Day gets bigger and bigger, sometimes to the holiday’s detriment.
Don’t get me wrong, when these pranks are well-executed they attract a lot of social engagement and media attention for brands. Do you remember Wiffi’s Wi-Fi You Can Smell prank this past year? I would love to be able to sniff out the greatest Wi-Fi connection. Genius!
It’s certainly not easy for brands to be human and successfully pull off a prank. There’s a fine line for brands to play, especially when a poorly executed prank could potentially lead their consumers to distrust them.
If you’re planning to make an April Fools’ Day recommendation for your client, or you would rather prank a few of your PR colleagues, there are few things you’ll want to keep in mind to be successful: Be playful and mischievous but avoid alienating your core consumer.…
Mar 25 2016
A recent Bernstein survey revealed that 55% of consumers are becoming more distrustful of the food system, a 15% increase from 2013. While it has a way to go before reaching distrust in government levels that have fueled a raucous presidential primary season, it continues a trend that manufacturers (and investors) large and small have noticed.
Concerns over food safety, GMO foods, and antibiotic use in animals were all up in the survey. One of the big drivers of this I believe is transparency, or lack thereof. Earlier this month, the state of Washington won a lawsuit against the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) for not disclosing donations from major food companies to defeat a labeling proposition.
The GMO labeling debate reached a tipping point resulting in Kellogg, General Mills, Mars and Campbell Soup announcing they will begin to identify products that contain genetically modified foods. This followed the failure of a Senate bill that would have blocked state GMO labeling requirements like the one about to go in effect in Vermont. I expect this to lead to national…
Feb 3 2016
I’m skeptical of old-fashioned segmentation: women, age groups, income levels. With so many data streams accessible and the ability to glean extensive information about consumers, we have an opportunity to reassess how we categorize affinity groups. Emerging fields like ethnography and neuroscience add layers of intelligence and new ways of approaching segments that can guide brand managers and marketers. I wrote about this in 2013 following a conference that I co-created to explore marketing themes in the wine industry, The Exchange. One example: analyzing how mothers and daughters shop together, a prevalent occasion in the Latina community, can enhance how beverage alcohol brands market to this group of potential consumers. That segment can’t be explored by broadly looking at women and wine.
Is simply halving the population enough of a segment to shed light on how to go to market? Can we glean any actionable information from this? The short answer is that it depends.
Last week, I attended a Wine Market Council research conference. The Wine Market Council has been tracking annual wine consumer attitudes and behaviors for two…