Brand Shout-Out: Nordstrom

November 20th, 2014 in advertising, branding, Fashion | Tagged | by | Leave a comment

My mind is naturally attuned to all things marketing-related, whether I’m out in the field or relaxing on the couch with some of my favorite Shonda Rhimes characters. When I leave the office I try to flip the switch to my internal analyst off  but sometimes the light flickers back on. This happens most when I’m inspired, amazed, or emotionally-touched by a company or brand’s creative work. The last time the lights flickered for me was during a pre-holidays catalog browsing sesh for some of my favorite clothing, housewares and lifestyles brands.

Here’s what sparked my lights:

Nordstrom Holiday Shopping Shortcuts

Nordstrom Holiday Shopping Shortcuts

This handy little “cheat sheet” wraps up Nordstrom’s value propositions in a gigantic, sparkly Christmas bow. It speaks to the benefits of making Nordstrom your go-to shopping destination for all things Christmas and provides solutions to almost any present-shopping query. Nordstrom has always had a reputation for being supremely customer-service oriented (surely you’ve heard the fabled tire story), but this snappy graphic is a fresh approach to making the shopping experience easy and even engaging for today’s digitally-savvy customer.

Whichever way you slice it, whether your shopping in-store, shopping online, or don’t even know where or how to begin your shopping journey (there’s a “gift guru” for that), Nordstrom has your back. So a big shout-out to Nordstrom for embracing cross-channel shopping, providing customer-oriented solutions, and showcasing them in a simple and creative way. Smart work that makes me want to leave the lights on a little longer.  Forbes even agrees with me, albeit for a set of slightly different reasons.

Visualizing With Fruit

November 18th, 2014 in Data Visualization | Tagged , , | by | Leave a comment

This is simple, even silly, but I’ve never found a better example of the value of data visualization. It makes a difficult concept approachable and relatable; everyone gets this.

Visualizing Fruit


(via Kottke, Boing Boing)


Social Logins: Infographic

October 28th, 2014 in infographics, social networking, technology | by | Leave a comment

Facebook is constantly evolving. Though it has always been a platform for users to share their profound thoughts and insights (or more commonly pictures of babies and fancy meals…), Facebook has also become a very common third-party identity/login provider. The infographic below, created by Gigya, shows the trends in social logins over time and for this past quarter (Q3 2014). It’s definitely interesting to see how the other social networks play in different industries. Who knew Google+ was such a big player in the media & publishers login space!

Also, be sure to check out Victor White’s blog post about the infographic here.

Q3 Social Login Infographica


October 24th, 2014 in advertising, branding, knowledge, market research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | by | Leave a comment

FAN2012517Establishing reliable benchmarks and tracking the health of a brand and the success of marketing initiatives over time is imperative, but tracking research need not be limited to monitoring awareness, consideration, and stated intent.

W5’s approach to strategic tracking research goes beyond basic “brand funnel” metrics to explore an evolving marketplace, bringing depth and context to consumer behavior and attitudes. A more holistic and strategic approach to tracking research helps a company not only understand their relative brand health, but also how their brand is perceived and fits within the marketplace. In these situations, our clients have taken the time and made the investment to get their target consumers engaged in a survey…so why not dig a little deeper than the typical brand/ad tracking survey?

Here is an example of how we recently extended a brand health study into something more exploratory and ultimately, revealing:


A category-leading CPG company partnered with W5 to better understand the state of their category and how to best position their products in stores. In addition to running brand health tracking research to map back to previously collected data, the study was extended to explore consumers’ attitudes and opinions about the category, brand and product, and examined consumers’ purchasing behaviors. The following year, a parallel wave of research was conducted to not only track the brand health but also the extended learning.


In addition to asking questions to compare back to the earlier waves of survey research, additional questions were included to derive a holistic view of the marketplace and the challenges facing the brand. These questions included exploration of consumers’ perceptions and expectations of the company, its competitors, and product locations in stores as well as opinions of new packaging options. Through in-depth tracking reporting, W5 illustrated new trends in the marketplace, communicated how consumers’ perceptions have changed over time, and highlighted shifts in consumers’ expectations.


The client used the study insights to guide branding and communications efforts to maintain their leadership role in the marketplace. The learning was also used as a resource for sales teams to inform communication with store management regarding the placement of products in stores. The information has allowed for the client’s products to be positioned competitively, and in the locations consumers expect to find them.

This is just one example of how W5 can do more with multiple wave tracking research than showing how brand and advertising health metrics have shifted over a time period. Contact us for additional perspective on strategic tracking research. We would be happy to share our W5 white paper on the topic or discuss your research initiatives.

Spotlight is a special feature of the W5 Blog showcasing W5 consultants’ approach to designing marketing research studies, creating engaging deliverables, and informing strategy. For more information on W5’s approach to strategic tracking or other quantitative or qualitative research, contact

No pain, no gain

October 23rd, 2014 in Blog, culture | by | Leave a comment

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent a lot of time in airports lately, captive to mainstream cable TV viewing habits, but I feel like extreme fitness and endurance shows (think Naked and Afraid or American Ninja Warrior) are a big thing in American culture right now. Taken together with mud-drenched obstacle courses, CrossFit diehards and exercise routines with ‘insanity’ in their name and I’d say we have a trend worthy of some cultural analysis on our hands.


When you look closer there is some truly fascinating stuff going on:
• Militaristic regimens
• Notions of penance, atonement and salvation
• Physical asceticism & pain
• Survivalist mindsets
• Strong interpersonal bonding through shared experience & accomplishment

Clearly I’m not alone in thinking this, as a recent article in The Sunday Times Magazine nicely proves. It does a great job at exploring some of the themes mentioned above.

I suppose the big question is why – or perhaps more specifically, why now? What does it say about the current American psyche writ large?

Is it a response to larger trends involving technology, human connection and a return to physical experience? Does this notion of preparedness reflect larger perceived treats like terrorism and disease? Does the attraction to extreme challenge, discipline, endurance and accomplishment speak to a deeper search for purpose, structure and meaning?

It will be interesting to follow these practices and rituals over the coming years to see if they gain traction or peter out – no doubt to be replaced by something else that is equally revealing.

10 New Hispanic Consumer Trends

October 22nd, 2014 in market research, study | Tagged , , | by | Leave a comment

Recently, the Pew Research Center’s Hispanic Trends Project put out a list of emerging trends among Hispanic Americans. Understanding their new trends can go a long way in identifying ways to speak to the Hispanic consumer and understand shifts in consumption and behavior.


1. The US Hispanic population is now at 54.1 million which solidifies their place as the second-largest ethnic group in the US. That means that close to 20% of Americans are Hispanic. This is a huge growth, as Hispanics made up only 5% of the population in 1970.

2. Five Hispanic origin groups have grown to one million people each: Cubans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Guatemalans and Colombians. This means a larger and unprecedented variation of country of origin among Hispanic Consumers.

3. The share foreign born among Hispanics varies by origin group. Only a third of Mexican origin Hispanics are foreign born, far lower than any other major group.

4. Income of Hispanic immigrants have slowed greatly. This means that a growing number of American-born Hispanics are aging into adulthood and becoming the face of the next Hispanic consumer.

5. Hispanics are the youngest of racial and ethnic groups with a median age of 27, a decade younger than the US overall. There is also a large difference in median age among US-born and foreign born Hispanics.

6. The number of Hispanics under the age of 18 have doubled in the last decade.

7. Hispanics are still the largest immigrant group in the US, despite the slower levels of incoming immigrants.

8. The share of Hispanics who identify as Catholics has decreased 67% since 2010.

9. A record-breaking number of Hispanics are eligible to vote in 2014, 21.3 million more than in 2010.

10. Hispanics still mainly speak Spanish at home.

Learn more about the Hispanic Trends Project here.

Nike, Cultural Relevance, and Market Dominance

October 22nd, 2014 in branding, culture, Fashion | Tagged , | by | Leave a comment

Nike ReebokThe recent news of a potential bid by an investor group to buy Reebok from Addidas (which purchased Reebok in 2006) is interesting not necessarily because of Reebok’s struggle to remain relevant ever since its pinnacle with the phenomenon known as “The Pump” – but because of the utter dominance that Nike has over the U.S. sneaker market. This is not so much a story about what Reebok has done wrong or what Nike has done right, but about Nike’s identity as an American cultural icon.

Nike’s market share has grown from 35% in 2005 to 60% in 2014, while Addidas’s market share has been nearly cut in half and Reebok’s market share is a one-quarter of what it was in 2005. While it is conceivable that Reebok can gain back some of its lost market share it is hard to imagine Nike, with all of its cultural cachet, ever falling from its perch atop the sneaker industry. In a category that is ostensibly driven by athletic functionalism, Nike transcends consumer expectations of athletic shoes to be a brand that more broadly reflects being a part of a tribe driven by a determination to achieve excellence.

Well – Nike has clearly achieved excellence in the sneaker market. As both Nike and Red Bull have shown, cultural relevance and market dominance is achieved not through offering products or solutions bounded by the limitations of category expectations, but instead through offering inspiration to transcend expectations. Unfortunately for Reebok, it is going to take much more than changing the logo or a singular focus on fitness (or another gimmicky shoe) to turn its fortunes around.



October 20th, 2014 in Blog, infographics, market research | by | Leave a comment

While kids reach into buckets of candy, adults are reaching deep into their wallets. An expected $7.4 billion will be spent on Halloween festivities in 2014, including over $2 billion on candy. Do you have a furry friend who likes to participate in the festivities? About $350 million will be spent on pet costumes. Check out the infographic below from Zanifesto to see more spooky spending.


4A’s StratFest & Jay Chiat Awards

October 8th, 2014 in advertising, market research, Media | Tagged , , , , , | by | Leave a comment

The 2014 4A’s Strategy Festival wrapped up with week in Chicago at the Langham Hotel. Between the powerful speakers, rich content, impressive case studies, and jaw-dropping venue I would argue the conference was a smashing success.

The conference also celebrates the Jay Chiat Awards. Now in its 18th year, the Jay Chiat Awards are global awards that recognize the best strategic thinking in marketing, media and advertising around the world. The conference featured various case studies from this year’s winners. The awarded agency spoke to not only the campaign, but the challenges they faced, the strategies that overcame those challenges, and the staggering success metrics the campaign delivered on.

The highest honor is the Grand Prix which was awarded to OgilvyOne for the British Airways “Visit Mum” campaign. Check out their campaign and a few other winning campaigns below. For the full list of winners click here.

Grand Prix: OgilvyOne— British Airways “Visit Mum”

Global Strategy, Bronze: Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide/Holler/Starcom MediaVest Group—Procter & Gamble – Always “#LikeAGirl”

Product/Service Creation, Silver: Lowe Lintas and Partners, India—Hindustan Unilever Ltd. “Little Farmers of Kissanpur”

Non-profit, Gold: Memac Ogilvy & Mather—Sawa Mninjah “Rescue Radio”

Lastly, a special thank you to FCB for hosting the Monday night party at their stunning offices on Michigan Avenue. No trip to Chicago is complete without some Garrett popcorn, thanks for party favor!

Welcoming Marketing Scrutiny

October 6th, 2014 in advertising, branding | by | Leave a comment

The emergence of social media brought with it more scrutiny over marketing efforts as consumers can now speak out (loudly) about marketing they disagree with. It is predicted that this scrutiny will only increase, as discussed in one of my blog posts. Marketers are pressured to stand for more than just sell, which can be scary to many brands unsure of what to stand for. But when well done, this new type of marketing can motivate your consumers to rally for your brand and, most importantly, understand your brand is on their side. Not to mention, of course, all the social good you can do.

This is best exemplified through the Dove Real Beauty campaign and the more recent campaigns for Under Armour, Verizon and Pantene. Under Armour, failing miserably in 2003, recently launched it’s “I Will What I Want” campaign, highlighting trailblazing women. Jennifer Pozner, founder of Women in Media and News, says “[Marketers] have wised up and said, ‘If we create ad platforms that treat women and girls as if they’re fully human, we can turn them into brand loyalists.’”

There have been many times where I have heard my co-workers tell me they think of their jobs as bringing the consumer’s voice into the marketing conversation. The voice brought to Under Armour was an unsatisfied female athlete  who was tired of frills and euphemisms, and wanted to be treated like the strong, no pain no gain athlete she is. Under Armour listened and  is now the second biggest sports brand in the US.

Learn more about Women in Media and News here and while you’re at it, look at Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media here.