retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Now available on iTunes…

To hear Kevin Coupe’s weekly radio commentary, click on the “MNB Radio” icon on the left hand side of the home page, or just go to:

Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is MorningNewsBeat Radio, available on iTunes and brought to you this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.

Do what I do for a living, and one gets bombarded with press releases, announcements, white papers and editorial suggestions on an almost daily basis. A great deal of the stuff, to be honest, makes it perfectly clear that the people sending it have never read MorningNewsBeat and have no idea what I do for a living. Some if it is interesting, if not particularly useful. But every once in a while I get a press release that actually is worth sharing.

Into this small pile goes one that I got the other day from a consultancy called Brand Keys, which focuses on some key insights for marketers to use as we careen toward 2010 – insights that they feel, and I agree, could make the difference between success and failure. And I’d like to share some of them with you…

• “Value is the new black.” The idea here is that pretty much all consumer spending will be pegged to shoppers who have a compelling reason to buy…and that authenticity in meeting those reasons will be the differential advantage.

• “Brands increasingly will be a surrogate for value.” This makes sense, especially in view of yesterday’s New York Times story about how traditional brands with a history of strong consumer connections are getting a lot of marketing push these days – there is a reassurance of value that consumers find comforting. Of course, this can also apply to retailer brands…especially in cases where the retailer has been aggressive about making those connections to the shopper.

• “Consumer expectations are growing.” I think this is true, and matches up with something that we talk about a lot here on MorningNewsBeat – that consumer aspirations have not gone away just because the economy tanked. Brands that figure out these aspirations – and unmet expectations – and then work to deliver on them will be the ones that have a leg up in the long run.

Finally, perhaps the hardest thing that brands will have to do in 2010 is understand that “buzz” is an antiquated concept, and that “engagement” is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That doesn’t just mean consumer engagement with the brand, however, though this clearly is important. It also means engagement with each other, and with the wide variety of media and communications vehicles that are at their fingertips 24 hours a day.

So these are the marching orders. In order for a brand to succeed next year and beyond, brands only have to be authentic, be able to meet unmet and even unstated consumer needs and aspirations, and engage shoppers and enable a kind of national conversation about the brand that will extend beyond the simple purchase and use of the product.

How hard can that be? Sounds like 2010 is going to be a piece of cake for brand marketers.


For MNB radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
KC's View: