Share the Week - December 1, 2017

Jonathan Gardner

A weekly wrap-up of valuable insights from the world of visual content, social media, and influencer marketing.

Targeting a New Retail Hope

It won’t be news to you that we have strong opinions on the current upheaval in the retail sector, we at ShareIQ like to be optimistic and point to the ways through the woods for marketers. In short, there is a lot that brands caught off guard by shifts in the marketplace can do to get headed in the right direction. Top on the list is to learn from what successful retail brands are doing. While change is scary, we’re seeing smart challenger fashion brands launch savvy earned media and social media marketing campaigns that bring greater returns than wasteful paid media strategies. Many a retailer is going into experimental mode, trying new tricks that appeal to an offline consumer used to buying just about anything online.

What’s more, as we noted this week, according to analysts, there is a seismic shift disrupting retail, with factors such as the emerging dominance of ecommerce in general (and Amazon specifically), changing forever how consumers shop. According to Fast Company, Amazon dominates e-commerce and has gobbled up 5% of total U.S. retail sales. Some expect that the company will own half the online market within the next five years, a period during which, Credit Suisse predicts, a quarter of all malls will close.

Also, this week, our VP of marketing, Thomas Burg, reported on the smart moves we see our smart brand clients making to survive and thrive in an uncertain time. He wrote in AdAge:

Amid all the gloom and doom about a potential "retail apocalypse" and threats from digital-savvy challengers, it's clear that to survive, traditional brands desperately need to fix their leaky marketing funnels. The problem of a disconnected discover-to-buy consumer pathway is especially prevalent in the mid-to-high-end fashion category, where vulnerable old-school contenders are being outsmarted by young guns with social media chops.

Traditional brands have invested a ton of money on awareness and brand building, only to realize that they're not positioned for how people discover brands and buy products today. Companies make basic errors with their social media strategy, like not adding shoppable links to their posts or learning from challenger, indie, direct-to-consumer brands. The upstarts are often "shoppable-first," with brand discovery and purchase leading everything they do in marketing. Many traditional brands -- especially in mid-range and luxury categories -- are way behind in thinking about how millennial consumers actually want to interact with and purchase from brands.

Target, one of the more retail daring brands, this week announced that their sights are set on expanding their reach with male customers. As Matthew Boyle and Alexandra Strattonreported in Bloomberg, women make up about 55 percent of the chain’s core customers, according to an industry study by market researcher Magid, a greater share than that at competitors Wal-Mart Stores Inc. or Costco Wholesale Corp.For years, cheap-chic women’s fashions from in-demand designers like Isaac Mizrahiand Jason Wu were enough to keep the cash registers ringing.

The retailer has unveiled Goodfellow & Co., a line of stylish everyday shirts, pants and shoes. With $23 slim-fit chinos and $50 herringbone blazers, the prices are well below J. Crew while the styles are on par with fast-fashion emporium H&M. More than 80 percent of the assortment is available in big and tall sizes.

Target is reaching out to men with ads in GQ magazine and during televised football and baseball games, hoping to lure guys like Andrew Hart, 23, an analyst in Dallas, who shops at J. Crew and Banana Republic and said he “would never buy clothes at Target,” damning it as “both less stylish and lower quality.”

Target’s courtship of men goes beyond clothes, to beard wax and craft beer. Last year, the retailer brought in shaving products from Harry’s, an online purveyor of affordable, German-made razors that’s sliced into the market share of Procter & Gamble Co.’s Gillette. Since then, Target has added other high-end brands like Bevel, Beardbrand and Cremo and built an in-store male-grooming display area that’s now in 40 locations, with more to come.

In Target’s new store in Manhattan’s Herald Square, guys can relax in “Harry’s Lounge,” where shaving kits mingle side-by-side with Goodfellow shirts. Before walking out, they can pick up a six-pack of local beer, part of a broader push into booze that’s helped lift sales in the grocery department, a perennial underperformer for Target.

No one will argue that paid media doesn’t have its place in the modern marketing mix. However, the troubles, however the travails of advertising are well noted. From ad blocking and ad fraud scandals to the unplugging from traditional TV, the world we knew in the Mad Men era has been upended. Marketers burned by digital advertising overpromising have realized that line items like earned media, social media, content and influencer marketing have strong roles to play in getting brands and their content discovered, and shepherding customers to click the buy button.

The major brands we work with know the value of getting their visual content in front of the right audiences. We just released yet another powerful tool to help marketers get deep understanding and actionable insights about who is engaging with their earned media, when and where they are engaging with it. This new product, Audience Trends, for the first time gives brands powerful data about how their social media audiences are growing -- and how that compares to the competition.

Where we’re Going we Don’t Need Ads

Echoing ours -- and our clients’ -- belief in the incredible value of visual content and earned media, this week Julian Mitchell had an interview on the Forbes website with the CEO of Havas Creative, Paul Marobella.

Whether working with top tech powers, leading lifestyle brands, or consumer product giants – engaging consumers in the digital era begins with understanding the values that drive a generation. Companies that identify these nuances unlock the ability to spark, control and advance conversations that matter to the audiences they serve. Thus, the most impactful marketing companies break the rules, transcend tradition, and invest in creating cultural experiences that embody the spirit of key consumer segments. Accomplishing this task starts with rethinking the agency archetype and enlisting the talent of multifaceted creators immersed in the culture.

One global power at the forefront of this changing trend is Havas, a premier cultural marketing agency celebrated for creating award-winning campaigns and experiences for a decorated list of Fortune 500 companies. Spearheaded by Havas Creative Chairman and CEO Paul Marobella, the agency has generated over $300 million in revenue, boasting a client roster that includes DISH, Citi, Hefty, Kmart, Reynolds Wrap, Ragu and Autozone. Leading the largest Havas imprint in North America, with offices in Chicago, New York and Boston -- the former President and CEO of the Havas Chicago Network now manages a team of over 1,500 employees.

Said Marobella: “Being able to capture content on an iPhone changed our industry. When we saw the ‘Shot On An iPhone’ campaign, me and my partner looked at each other and realized our competition is not other ad agencies, it’s the kid with an iPhone and 100,000 followers. We knew that we were either going to embrace that, or make the mistake of ignoring it. When we went out and started recruiting content creators, people with a point of view who don’t know anything about advertising — that was really exciting to us. As we started the program and it caught on, the concept also got really exciting to brands. The modern CMO cares about being culturally relevant, creating engaging content, and creating powerful customer experiences over campaigns.

The Best of the Rest

Engadget - Instagram is testing a lot of new features, including a repost button

CNBC - Chobani wants to disrupt the yogurt category again

CMO.com - 5 Times Retailers Made Their Advertising Experiential

Digiday - ‘There’s a lot of noise’: The importance of first-mover advantage in the DTC space

Mobile Marketer - Study: Wayfair grows Black Friday social media audience 2x faster than Ikea

Targeting a New Retail Hope. It won’t be news to you that we have strong opinions on the current upheaval in the retail sector, we at ShareIQ like to be optimistic and point to the ways through the woods for marketers.
Jonathan Gardner

Jonathan is vice president of marketing for ShareIQ, based in New York City.