Yahoo! Director of B2B Strategic Research and Insights Edwin Wong Delves Into Women’s Social Connections in the Age of New Media

Women will impact over $13 trillion dollars in purchase decisions, estimates Yahoo’s B2B strategic research head, Edwin Wong. And 40% of women interviewed said they would choose spending time on the Internet over even sex!

Edwin Wong
Director of B2B Strategic Research and Insights

In this second installment of IIR’s Future Trends expert interview series, “Forward Focus,” Wong discusses the value of online media to women, how and why they use the various platforms available, and the implications for marketers that wish to connect with women in a way that is appropriate and consistent with women’s online connection norms and values.

“When you talk about what social media means, it’s much bigger and broader than what we consider as marketers as social media,” said Wong. “It’s not just about Facebook. It’s not just about Yahoo! It’s about Twitter and where do AOL, MSN – all of these brands that are out there, even our own personal blogs… How do they all fit into this realm of connections?”

To answer these questions and more, Yahoo! initiated a series of research with more than 3000 women. What are they looking for when it comes to connections?

“As a result, we think we’ve found a new way to really think about all the social connections that women have in this space,” said Wong, who will lead a symposium on the emerging concept of “connectonomics” at IIR USA’s Future Trends conference October 18-20 in Miami, Florida.

For more information about Future Trends, please visit our website.

Forward Focus is a special podcast series for IIR USA’s Future Trends conference taking place October 18-20th in Miami, Florida. The podcast series features experts who will be speaking at the event and who are leading the way from best practice to next practice.
Thank you for your responses to our “Future of..” newsletter series leading up to the Future Trends 2010 event taking place next week in beautiful Miami, FL. The event features trends and insight presentations on The Future of... America, Technology, Work, Consumption, Innovation, Healthcare, Digital Products, Aging, Brand, Global & Emerging Markets, Social Media, Education, and much more.

Future Trends
October 18 – 20, 2010
Eden Roc – Miami
-It’s not too late to register!

But before we meet next week – What do you think is the future of cooperation?

The spirit of cooperation is rising. Many factors, including but not limited to the financial crisis, environmental degradation and democratization of the internet are feeding this trend. Fortunately we have a “cooperation expert” that can guide us in this transformation: Nature. Species have to cooperatives with each other in order to survive. Rather than competing, they invest energy – the most valuable resource they have – in creating and sustaining mutually beneficial relationship to the extent that they evolve together. In our shift to a more cooperative business approach, what can we learn from nature?

Bringing the power of Biomimicry into the conference room, Zeynep Arhon, Marketing & Future Trends Consultant, Certified Biomimicry at Trenddesk presents a session focused on nature’s 3.8 billion year old strategies in order to stimulate thinking about cooperation in business. The session also includes an inspiring experience: We will try to “quiet our minds” in order to connect with nature through our senses.

We look forward to meeting you next week!

Future Trends
In an effort to build buzz about a new, local grocery store, the Plains Grocery Store Committee is asking the people of Plains, Kansas to decide on the grocery store logo. Enlisting the help of Kansas State University graphic design students, residents of Plains can pick from logos located in the Plains State Bank lobby.

According to The Southwest Times, the city of Plains has been looking for a grocery store to serve the area for over three years. Kansas State students were given basic information on Plains and given concepts the committee wished to express in the campaign. The committee wanted the logo to be classic, fresh, chic and incorporate a rooster. Grocery store committee member Cheryl Rickers said the committee was very pleased with the boards by the students.

The committee will return the design boards to KSU on Oct. 18. The city has a population of 1,163 according to the 2000 census and the city is 31 miles from the nearest grocery stores located in Liberal, Kansas.

Will we see an increase in movements to bring independent, local grocery stores to under-served areas throughout the United States? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this and other independent grocery stores.
The Private Brand Movement held in Chicago September 28-29th, provided knowledge and information on private brands, and more specifically the shift of private labels into private brands. Additionally, a focus of many sessions included fundamental strategies for retailers o improve or introduce private brands and ways to manage these brands.Major recurring themes that emerged throughout the event included: consumers’ acceptance of private brands, own brands become more than just national brand equivalents, and private brands are here to stay.

Shift from Private Label to Private Brand

Though the recession helped growth among many private labels, private label growth began before the US recession. As consumers began to purchase private label products, they started to accept them and even became pleasantly surprised with many products. Initially, private label products were retailers’ efforts to offer products that were equivalent to national brands, at a significantly lower price. This started as a short term solution to boost profit. However, as consumers increasingly purchase private label products, retailers have begun to take notice and are stepping up efforts to evolve their private label offerings. Within the past year, several retailers have relaunched their private label products to become true brands. These include Target, Safeway, Duane Reade, Bloom, Walmart and Kmart.

Success in Private Brands

In order to be a successful private brand, retailers need to implement several strategies to engage customers and encourage trial and repeat purchase. Retailers need to manage private brands as brands rather than products, they need to focus on the customer and introduce products to help meet their needs and provide solutions for them. In addition, differentiation and innovation will be keys to successful private brands. Not only will consumers continue to seek value, but unique products that they are not able to find elsewhere. Differentiation will come in a variety of ways including innovative packaging and design and new products.

The Future of Own Brands

Retailers will continue to look for opportunities to expand or introduce private brands in many categories. They will no longer replicate national brands, rather focus on innovation to create original products. The look and feel of packaging must also be compelling. The old generic black and white look of store brands is completely outdated. Upgraded packaging will create visual appeal and will resonate well with shoppers. Retailers have a great advantage in uncovering customers’ needs through their own network of shoppers. They will use insights gleaned from consumers to help develop products and promotions around them. Consumers will seek authentic products, value is no longer compelling enough, they desire experience and authenticity when shopping for products in a crowded marketplace.

This post was provided courtesy of Ali Lipson of Euromonitor.
The following is a guest post from Perry Seelert the strategic partner of the New York City based strategic branding and design firm united*. Perry presents his insights and learnings from this past weeks groundbreaking Private Brand Movement Conference in Chicago.

The Private Brand Movement conference was insightful in a number of ways, but here is quick “take” on what it brought to light that felt different than other conferences and shows past. The overarching observation, though, is that the “new school” for Private Brands is starting to overtake the “old school”.

New School – Sees Private Brands strategically, where points of difference are truly developed, innovation plays an integral role, and are not just seen as a “value” play Old School – Sees Private Brands through functional eyes and more as “products” vs. “brands”, where imitation and NBE rule the day, innovation is left to the leading brands, and private label is purely a margin/value play.

Transcending F-D-M:
Another key takeaway was that in this Conference, you felt like the world of Private Brands transcended the Food-Drug-Mass channels, and this was exciting to see. There was a real diversity of attendees from Golf/Sport, Home Improvement, Dollar and Office channels, and while this interest was encouraging, it does beg the strategic question of what categories, destinations and “anchors” will you own in the consumers’ minds, as a channel and as a retailer. It cannot be just what’s available from the manufacturers; rather, the destinations you create in the future will guide the product development process.

Building A Voice:
A further separation at the Conference between the new and old schools is the emerging belief that a brand’s voice is developed by more than just the visual language and design. It used to be that Private Brands were just happy to address the aesthetics – colors, cues, typography and iconography, and they had to be mindful (and many were too mindful) of the leading national brands. Well, that dynamic is changing. When enlightened companies are developing a brand language, it is visual, verbal and structural, and these elements are all considered within the story of the brand. Many presenters at the Conference indicated this was starting to happen, not perfectly, but at least starting to. But even more important, the voice of many Private Brands is being transmitted beyond the package itself, within event marketing, through social media, interactively, through the store environment and across advertising. This is new for most. Taking advantage of this more expansive voice is the easy part, doing it creatively and with a unique idea in mind for your brands will be the challenge. Doing it with an emotional voice will further separate you from the pack.

It is clear from the Conference that the one area for growth is the idea of innovation, even though it was talked about a lot, because the degrees from “incremental” to “breakthrough” are subjective retailer-to-retailer. Personally, I don’t think the product innovation really has to be breakthrough in all cases, in fact, I think focused innovation is better. If retailers had 3-4 big product ideas where they forcefully and consistently told the consumer unique stories, this would have a huge halo effect on the store. Premeditated innovation, not innovation by happenstance, is what everyone should be concentrating on, and doing it in the 3-4 places that reinforce your points of difference and/or destinations will have a huge impact.

Next steps for the conference in 2011 will be to make it more global, even more cross-channel, and more granular in discussing how innovation can come to life cross-functionally. But 2010 was definitely a success, with a new school emerging around Private Brands that gives us all a lot of motivation to do more and hope for the future.

Perry Seelert is the strategic partner of united*, an award winning branding and design firm co-founded in 2006 with Lawrence Haggerty and Andy Johnson. united* has been embraced by many of the world’s most influential companies because of their unconventional approach to design. A&P Supermarkets, North America’s first chain grocery retailer and largest in metro New York, teamed up with united* to develop an array of revolutionary brands which have transformed the way shoppers are thinking about Private Brands. He can be reached at

This post was brought to you courtesy of Christopher Durham, President & Blogger-in-Chief, My Private Brand. Christopher is The Private Brand Movement 2010 Conference Chairman.
The history making Private Brand Movement Conference continues to receive alot of press, it is exciting to note that there were press in attendance from many trade magazines and websites including: Private Label Buyer, Private Label Magazine, Super Market News, Store Brands Decisions and Retail Wire. You can read all of Carol Angrisani’s coverage for Supermarket News on their blog Total Access. Here is a sample post.

Premium Products
Sam’s Club made a strong statement in private label this year when it introduced an ultra-premium vodka called Rue 33. Sold under the chain’s Member’s Mark label, Rue 33 is a refined wheat vodka from the Cognac region of France. A 1.75 liter bottle sells for $28.
The goal was to offer a private-label spirit that represents the highest of standards at a great value.
Sam’s Club is now using that strategy is other categories.
The latest news is that it’s wooing high-end beauty buyers with Sophyto, a professional, natural skincare regime.
“Every Sophyto anti-aging product delivers professional results, yet is formulated with pure, natural ingredients,” according to marketing materials.The Sophyto “daily renewal” kit sells for about $30, and includes a cleanser, serum and moisturizer.Maurice Markey, Sam’s vice president of private brands, mentioned Sophyto in a presentation at the Private Brand Movement conference.Both Rue 33 and Sophyto make it clear that Sam’s Club is positioning itself as a destination for the most discriminating of shoppers. It’s a smart move, because while there, these buyers can load their carts with the many other products Sam’s Club sells.

Read all of the Supermarket News coverage.

This post was brought to you courtesy of Christopher Durham, President & Blogger-in-Chief, My Private Brand. Christopher is The Private Brand Movement 2010 Conference Chairman.
Here is another installation of my thoughts and observations from this past week's Private Brand Movement Conference in Chicago. In a last minute addition to the speaking roster Michael Ellgass the Director of Grocery Marketing, Walmart presented “Great Value Relaunch: Connecting the Brand to Save Money, Live Better” The presentation was an engaging look at the ups and downs of the Great Value launch and growth over the last year. Mike was refreshing in his candor he frankly discussed the learning’s and mistakes of the relaunch of Great Value and presented the updated color guidelines that both brighten the stark white design and increase its shopability. It is exciting to see a major retailer not only recognize their mistakes but adapt their go forward strategy.

Note in the slide above he also presented a sub brand of Great Value – Lean Cafe this addition to the strategy presents some interesting opportunities for Walmart to increase selection perception in the sea of Great Value.
Mike continued his candor in an extended question and answer session that included questions on both Sam’s Choice and World Table.

This post was brought to you courtesy of Christopher Durham, President & Blogger-in-Chief, My Private Brand. Christopher is The Private Brand Movement 2010 Conference Chairman.
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Thursday, October 14th from 2:00 PM - 3:00PM EDT

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Sustainability has been called the first megatrend of the 21st Century. And as sustainability moves beyond eco-efficiency, it will become a major force for innovation.

But what constitutes world-changing ‘green’ innovation? And how can corporations embrace it for maximum returns?

There are three trends that are proven indicators of successful innovation. Understanding and embracing them is vital for any company embarking on a path of green innovation.

In this webinar, Mike Maddock and Marc Stoiber will provide the big picture on these trends, and outline their role in creating successful ‘green’ innovation.

Featured Speakers:
Mike Maddock, Founder, Maddock Douglas
Marc Stoiber, VP of Green Innovation, Maddock Douglas

Mike is founder of Agency of InnovationTM Maddock Douglas. He has helped 25% of the Fortune 100 successfully invent, build and brand. A serial entrepreneur, Mike has launched three successful businesses and chairs the Gathering of Titans entrepreneurial conclave at MIT. He is a featured innovation columnist for Bloomberg-BusinessWeek and author of Saving the Idea Monkey, a book due out in early 2011.

Marc is VP of Green Innovation at Maddock Douglas. He was an award-winning creative director prior to founding his own green brand agency, which was acquired by Maddock Douglas. He writes for Fast Company and Huffington Post, speaks on the subject from coast to coast, has been featured at TED, and regularly appears as a green expert commentator on television.

This web seminar is presented to you by:
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