The Fragility of Brands in a Culturally Blind Society

By George L. San Jose We all have grown up in a rapidly changing world, and many times we heard our parents speak about “the way it used to be.” We call that progress. The digital era has brought instant ways for us to communicate visually, share opinions via text, emails, tweets, blogs… Everyone has the ability to become a publisher of their own thoughts, and affinity groups have the means to organize overnight. Just think about it… we have become global tribes, able to share our likes and dislikes with people all around the world… instantaneously. The power of communication and persuasion has shifted from a select few to the masses and the masses are not as homogeneous… as they once were. Okay, so most of us know this— indulge me and I’ll make it play out. Once not long ago, three major networks fed our nation homogeneous viewpoints—they taught us how to behave, how to think, and what to buy. Today there are hundreds of channels for us to learn how to behave, what to think… well you get the idea. Communication proliferation in content and channel preference is already the old reality. Now, let’s talk about what is not so apparent underneath the surface of these communications revolution there has been as equally important development. The major demographic and psychographic shifts that are now the proliferated voices… of the new faces and minds of America. Just look at the number of presidential candidates who postulated to run in 2016 and you will not find a number as high lest you go back 100 years… when people lived in ethnically segregated neighborhoods. Nothing illustrates this better than the movie Gangs of New York. History does have a way of repeating itself in ways we cannot even imagine. I’m not suggesting that we are gangs; rather, I’m merely using the analogy to illustrate one point: there are as many groups with different opinions and likes as there are people. The only difference is...

read more

Cyber Liability Insurance

2013 Black Friday shoppers got a nasty shock when their Target purchases spoiled their holiday spirit via a massive data breach. However, the December 2013 data breach didn’t just squander the holiday spirit; it cost Target shareholders $148 million, a CEO and a large amount of consumer trust. Although Target’s earnings have dropped since then, the superstore will receive $38 million of insurance payout on the data breach from their cyber insurance policy, a kind of specialty insurance surging in the marketplace today. While the policy will aid in the financial loss, the retailer also has to worry about its reputation with consumers, as the breach comprised the personal information and credit and debit card accounts of as many as 110 million customers. A year later and Target now stands among a handful of brands that have fallen to the PR and financial crisis that is a massive data breach. According to a report by the Ponemon Institute, an independent research firm for privacy, data protection and information security issues, 43% of companies experienced a data breach in the past year, which is up 10% from year before. Specialty insurance covers items or situations that are special or unique. In 2013, the total global losses due to cybercrime amounted to $445 billion, and the increasing rates of cybercrime have pushed the market for cyber liability insurance to grow rapidly. In the U.S., the market capacity for cyber liability insurance could reach up to $2 billion by the end of 2014, as companies try to protect themselves from the financial and reputational damages data breaches can have. While cyber liability insurance stands as an obvious choice for large corporations, small businesses also benefit from this investment, since any company that has a website, uses social media or digitally stores customers’ personal records is at risk for a data breach. And while Target’s reputation suffered in the public eye, imagine if specialty insurance had not been in place. Even if a company chooses not to host data...

read more

Mobile Shopping Trends

Dec 02, 14 Mobile Shopping Trends

Posted by in CPG, SJ Consulting

By Jenny Bergman, Junior Executive Intern at The San Jose Group   Motivated by the massive winter storm that spoiled in-store shopping plans and prevented presents from arriving on time, consumers got a head start on their holiday shopping this year. The holiday season accounts for more than one-fifth of retailer’s sales for the year, and shoppers now rely more on mobile devices to take care of their loved one’s wish lists. The Internet represents the favorite shopping destination of almost half of all consumers, and in the spirit of the recent Thanksgiving holiday, retailers should be grateful for the 75% of consumers expected to use their mobile devices to shop during the holidays, as online shoppers tend to spend more. Through mobile email marketing, social media and mobile apps, brands can target this increasingly large mobile-savvy shopper demographic. Email marketing messages can be an effective way to inform consumers about deals and promotions, as email offers influence 80% of online shoppers to make a purchase. However, if retailers want shoppers to open their emails, content should take center stage; emails must include both compelling texts and graphics–just having one will not be enough. The inboxes of consumers likely contain a multitude of emails from their favorite brands, as 91% of retailers around the world will integrate email marketing into their marketing campaigns during the 2014 holiday season. Social media platforms inform consumer shopping decisions in different ways, as shoppers tend to turn to Twitter for product reviews, Facebook for discounts and Pinterest to research ideas. Over the last 12 months, 30% of consumers made a purchase based on their engagement with a social network, and exclusive discounts on social media sites encourage consumers to complete purchases on social networking sites. As a marketing tool, native ads on social media continuously prove to be successful ways to entice shoppers, as they fit well in social content streams. “Effective digital campaigns and online retailers create even more competition among retailers during the holiday season,” said George...

read more

Blurred Lines: In Today’s Digital Age, Where Does Advertising End and Public Relations Begin?

By George L. San Jose, President and CCO of The San Jose Group To the average consumer, advertising and public relations have never really seemed like two distinctly different marketing tools—branded content seems like branded content. After all, advertising and PR share the same goal: engaging and ultimately communicating a message to a target audience. However, industry insiders know the tactics applied to reach that goal have traditionally differed. Advertising works as a more direct medium, providing consumers with entertaining messaging and platforms, while PR operates as a more covert or indirect medium, sometimes seeking out third party opinions to plug a product. However, the line between these two fields is increasingly blurring and many PR firms are coming to resemble full service advertising agencies. This “blurred lines” effect seemingly results from the increase in digital and social communication techniques over the past several years. Digital and social media represent especially tricky territories for determining where advertising ends and PR begins. Consumers look to social media, websites, blogs and video sharing channels to stay abreast of products, promotions and developments (which is advertising territory). However, everything on social media happens in real time and is a platform for message control (which is PR territory). Ultimately, PR professionals were prepared to take on these digital changes as they were experts in creating content used to engage consumers, versus advertising agencies who work in the format of 30-to 60-second messaging. When PR professionals take over the digital space, they assume the role of advertisers because they can speak directly to their audience. As a result, many agencies have re-branded themselves as integrated firms that have the ability to both develop their clients’ messages and disseminate those messages to a wide array of audiences. What were once traditional PR agencies are now firms with the ability to provide creative and strategic support for clients. This blending of industries allows for a more cohesive approach to branding and messaging. When the entire process for creating a campaign comes from the same place, it...

read more