Target pairs associates with digital experts in ‘innovation sprint’
Target Corp. has kicked off a partnership with BCG Digital Ventures to conduct a 14-week “innovation sprint.” For the project, BCG's experts (including designers, engineers and investors) are working side-by-side with five Target associates to develop new growth concepts and ideas. (The associates are middle managers from across Target's various divisions, reported the Star Tribune.)
In a blog on its website, Target said the goal of the project was to tap its team’s skills and experience "to explore new and compelling business cases that are natural extensions of our brand and expertise, and support Target’s strategic priorities."
The Target associates are working out of Digital Ventures' centers in New York and Los Angeles. Currently, they have been split into groups doing customer behavior research in six cities. Each group has a mix of Target and Digital Ventures team members, ranging from ethnographers to venture capital investors, product managers to designers, engineers to growth specialists, and more, the retailer said.
New products and businesses that come out of the project will be designed to address the needs of Target’s shoppers now and well into the future, the company said.
"This is a unique partnership with tremendous potential — and we’re excited about the passion, inventiveness and entrepreneurial commitment being brought to bear from Target and Digital Ventures,” said Anthony Koithra, partner, BCG Digital Ventures.
Report: Social media giant turns catalogs into buyable mobile ads
Facebook is helping retailers bring their catalogs to life.
The social media giant introduced a new ad format that enables brands to distribute catalogs through mobile devices. Called "lifestyle templates,” the new format replicates the look of a print catalog, and also allows customers to make a purchase items directly through the Facebook ad, according to Business Insider.
The template is an extension of Facebook’s “Collection” ad format, a platform that showcases relevant merchandise and features in a single ad. It also supports a fast-loading, full-screen experience that allows users to tap on ads to learn more about the features of a specific product, according to Facebook.
By integrating the lifestyle template within Collection’s functionality, Facebook allows brands to add more details that will inspire shoppers to browse and buy the merchandise in real-time. Facebook can also target and personalize ads based on user behavior, Business Insider said.
In the report, Graham Mudd, director of monetization marketing at Facebook, said, "There are elements of the catalog which are really unique and certainly worth replicating, such as their storytelling potential. But, I think there are some elements that we're bringing to the experience that are really specific to mobile and to Facebook.”
Here’s how it works: As lifestyle format ads appear in user news feeds, customers can click on different items in the photo to get more information about the merchandise. As users scroll down, new pages appear. If a user wants to make a purchase, they click on a "shop now” icon, which connects them to the advertiser's online store.
According to the report, Williams-Sonoma’s chief marketing officer Felix Carbullido partnered with Facebook to create the lifestyle templates. Williams-Sonoma’s West Elm brand, along with roughly a dozen brands including J. Crew, plans to make the ad format available globally in October, according to AdWeek.
The platform rivals a similar program from Pinterest. The social media company’s “Shop the Look” program is an extension of its Buyable Pins program, which enables “pinners” to buy a specific item directly on Pinterest. By using Shop the Look, users can buy products they find inside fashion and home decor Pins.
America’s most trustworthy brand is…
Face-to-face human contact is not necessary for a brand to make a strong connection with consumers.
Amazon was deemed the most trustworthy brand in a first-ever national survey by social science research entity The Values Institute. It was followed by Marriott, Microsoft, Hilton, and Southwest Airlines. The survey, which ranks the six largest national brands in seven key categories and also overall, calculated trust by looking at 25 "trust dimensions" in five categories: competence, consistency, connection, candor and concern.
“In the past, we have seen the strongest Concern and Connection scores come from brands where there is a personal interaction with the customer," said Mark Weinfeld, TVI’s director of strategic planning who administered the survey. "Amazon has done an amazing job of creating that personal touch that may even exceed what you get at a brick-and-mortar location.”
In addition to having the highest score overall (290.75), Amazon scored highest in the retail category. Rounding out the top five most trustworthy retailers were Costco (266.80), Target (261.25), Macy's (251.50) and Walmart (240.75).
The most trustworthy quick-service restaurant brand was Subway (270.25). It was followed by Wendy's (268.85), Starbucks (264.15), Burger King (257.65) and Taco Bell (254.05).