Category Archives: Current Affairs

What the Iowa Caucuses Can Teach Brands About Earning Consumer Trust

The run-up to the 2020 Presidential elections is well underway and a wide field of Democratic candidates are competing for the party nomination. After several debates and months on the campaign trail, the first big moment of primary season is fast approaching – the 2020 Iowa caucuses. As the Des Moines Register reported this summer, the candidates’ campaign stops and events in Iowa alone surpassed 1,000 in August and are expected to reach nearly 3,000 by February, when voting will take place.

For me this prompts a question: in today’s digital world, why are candidates flocking to Iowa to make a record number of personal appearances? With massive media budgets and social media staff at their fingertips, the sheer commitment in dollars and man-hours from candidates speaks to one vital goal – building trust.
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Managing Major Change: How Brands Navigate Pivotal Moments

Our recent exploration of sustainability initiatives in the fast fashion industry raised one big question: faced with increasing consumer demands, how can brands make big changes without compromising their identity? For the fast fashion space, this is a tricky proposition – after all, their identity is built on providing clothing that is trendy and disposable. When consumers decide they want to support sustainable brands, how can the giants of fast fashion (or any industry) make those necessary shifts?

Incremental change is the safest approach, but when consumers are clamoring for something new, they expect brands to act quickly. The issue of sustainability is particularly time-sensitive, as reports continually surface about the environmental damage caused by industries including fashion. The change process isn’t easy, but consumers are ready to reward the brands that take the lead.
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Sustainability in Fashion: Where Do We Start?

The fast fashion model is built on trendy, cheaply made pieces that are only meant to last through a few seasons before being retired or forgotten. As a result, unprecedented amounts of clothing are ending up in landfills (or on bonfires) after being worn once or twice. We recently examined fast fashion brand Zara’s new sustainability goals, noting that while it’s encouraging to see a major brand step forward to start a conversation about sustainability and environmental impact, these goals will require enormous change within the fashion industry as a whole.

Faced with the need to make monumental changes, where do consumers and the fashion industry begin?

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Stretch Goals: The Fast Fashion Industry Grapples with Sustainability & Change

Research shows that consumers, especially younger buyers, favor brands that have a track record of sustainability. As a result, leaders in many industries are moving in a more environmentally and socially conscious direction. However, sustainability is a complex goal. 

Depending on your business, sustainability initiatives can encompass everything from updating facilities to be greener, examining ingredients used in manufacturing and analyzing supply chain practices to considering how products are packaged and shipped. True sustainability usually requires major structural change.

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Multifaceted Spaces: Bar K Dog Bar Unites Diverse Interests

There’s something special happening in Kansas City’s Berkley Riverfront Park. Bar K Dog Bar, which opened last August, is revitalizing the area by serving a unique intersection of consumer interests. The primary attraction is a “state of the art” dog park overseen by dog-care professionals, which draws dog owners from across the metropolitan area. But what separates Bar K from other dog parks is the inclusion of a restaurant, bar, and coffee shop where customers can relax and connect while their pups play nearby.
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Courting Controversy: Gillette & the New Playbook for Social Messaging

In our contentious political and social climate, most brands choose to play it safe and advertise their products without engaging with any issues that may alienate a portion of their consumer base. Not so with Gillette, which recently released an online ad titled We Believe: The Best a Man Can Get that courts controversy by invoking the #MeToo movement, toxic masculinity, and bullying (among other hot-button issues). The ad, which provoked a firestorm of competing editorials and news coverage, has placed Gillette at the center of an ongoing debate about social messaging from brands.

A lot has been published about the ad’s message and the public’s response. What I’d like to examine is the risk vs. the reward of socially-engaged brand content and how brands are creating a new playbook for effective social messaging.
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