Category: branding

branding

N Brown Group: CRM Brand(s) Analysis

Welcome to episode 34 of PostFunnel’s Seven CRM Commandments series, where we get to N Brown Group plc.

Most people may not know this company by name, but it’s safe to assume most UK customers have come across the group’s brands – JD WILLIAMS, HOME ESSENTIALS, simply be, Ambrose Wilson, and others.

And before we start going through the CRM tactics here and giving grades, we just wanted to note that this analysis is different from the first 33. Instead of choosing one of the group’s brands, we mixed things a little and randomly chose a different brand for each category. You’ll see.

So, how will the group’s brands score on each of the commandments below? Let’s find out.

1. Be Transparent 10/10

N Brown Group deserves a perfect score here for a number of reasons as with this retailer – everything is out in the open for customers. For starters, N Group’s HP slide banner displays their first-half results as well as their 2020 annual report.

In addition, and as previously reported on PF – N Brown Group announced that it had secured shareholders’ support in its bid to raise £100m to strengthen its balance sheet and accelerate profitable growth.

“Having restructured the business and transitioned to more than 90% of revenues from digital, we now see a clear opportunity to capitalise on various industry drivers, not least the increasing trend towards online retail, and further improve our customer proposition,” said Steve Johnson, CEO at N Brown Group.

“While we are mindful of the ongoing uncertainty of the UK retail environment, we are confident we can continue to build on the unique strength of the group’s brands and remain focused on creating a sustainable business delivering profitable growth over the long term.”

We’ve analyzed dozens of brands so far. Such openness is rare.

2. Incentives and Perks 10/10

Here, we checked out a few of the group’s brands to see whether they provide customers with incentives and perks for shopping (and re-shopping) with them. And the many brands do indeed offer promotions.

Ambrose Wilson:

And JD WILLIAMS:

It’s clear that the group’s brands know how to play the D2C game – especially when it comes to discounts and offers. They get a perfect 10 here also thanks to the wide range of offers. Again, one might think it’s trivial, but after looking into so many online stores in recent months – we actually know it’s not too common. And what we saw here is exceptional in terms of “having something for everyone” – the newcomer, the bargain hunter, the social-distancing customer, and more – on the discounts aspect.

3. Be Relevant 10/10

Regardless of this challenging past year, the group’s brands are out on a mission to support Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).

One of N Group’s main brands, Jacamo, is best known for selling plus-sized clothing, focusing on larger sized clothing for men, a segment usually much less attended to than others.

While the group’s intimate wear brand, Figleaves, caters to customers with larger bust sizes – with marketing language that represents women of various backgrounds, religions, and races.

So, although D&I is a subject that should be top of mind for every brand – the brands under N Group’s name have already incorporated this into their underlying values for years.

“We believe in FASHION WITHOUT BOUNDARIES and fabulous clothes for every age in a range of sizes,” N Group communicates to customers on their website.

Furthermore, for the sake of this commandment – we checked whether Jacamo had altered their product offering or service to help customers shop in a more convenient, fast, and safe way as the coronavirus continues to affect us all. Or, at least, help with the online holiday shopping spree.

And here, once again, the brand is checking the boxes with an extended returns offer:

As recently reported on PF – the post-holiday shopping season could be even more hectic than the shipageddon – with tons of customers planning on making a return after XMAS. So, obviously, it is excellent to see Jacamo acknowledging it.

Also, very relevant to these WFH, comfy clothing times – the brand has created an entire Loungewear section for customers to shop quickly and easily.

4. Be Helpful 8/10

Sustainability is among the group’s central values. N Group writes on its website:

“We strive to make as little environmental impact on THE PLANET

as possible, and we are always considering how better to enrich both our customer and employee experience.”

They also have an entire strategy webpage on sustainable growth that reads:

“RETURNING N BROWN TO SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

Over the last two financial years, the group has undertaken a significant restructuring programme, which has created the right platform for sustainable growth. We are now in an “accelerate” phase driven by five growth pillars which have been developed to reflect the focus of the business and the external environment.”

Still, we couldn’t find a recent way the fashion retailer has been giving back to society and those in need during this past challenging year. Other brands (check the rankings below) have supported charities and causes by providing monetary donations to show empathy towards emotional and sensitive issues.

5. Realtime Personalization 3/10

For this commandment – we chose to analyses the brand, Ambrose Wilson.

When adding children’s sneakers to our shopping cart, we presented with item suggestions – but they were totally off… weird!

Then when adding a toy accessory kit, the same thing happened:

Therefore, though the brand has cross-sell and up-sell marketing techniques in place on their site – they were totally off – really leaving the personalization factor out!

When exiting all sites that we took into account during this analysis – no realtime retargeting efforts were made by the brand whatsoever on our social media accounts. (FB and IG)

6. Master UX 9/10

For the sake of this commandment, we rated the user experience of Home Essential’s website.

Everything from presenting us with the most relevant products to these times (new home gym workout equipment and cozy home blankets) and the entire look and feel of the brand’s site was both neat and memorable.

When shopping, customers can also narrow search results for a more direct experience – whereby you can choose the color, area of the home, price range, review rating, brand, and more.

When adding and removing items from our cart – and heading over to check out – the process was easy and even fun! Our experience with this brand was great – overall. It gets a 9/10 (and not a perfect score) because the very Amazonesque experience lacked a bit of originality.

7. Leverage Social Media 7/10

Here, we rated the brand Simply Be.

Their Instagram account has over 200k followers. On this platform, they post in high frequency – more than a couple of times a day – content that promotes their attire – and provides promo codes, inspiration, and videos to help strengthen customer relationships.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Simply Be (@simplybeuk)

Their Twitter account has over 94k followers.

On this platform, the brand last Tweeted in October 2020 – not great. Also, their pinned Tweet is a message apologizing to customers for longer customer service response times. From April. If the issue still persists, then, yeah, it’s a long time to wait for response…

Their Facebook account has over 440K likes. On this platform, they also post in high frequency – the same kind of content they post on Instagram.

They lose points also because they were no evident attempt to match the kind of content to the platform.

**

Overall, Nando’s is getting a 57/70 here (81%), placing them in 7th place in a tie with West Elm and The North Face.

Though this is quite a high score and ranking on our list, N Group still has to ask themselves, “What does personalization mean?”, in order to really give their customers the personal touch and experience they deserve.

There are many tools out there that can help with your personalization efforts – we can expect this new influx of capital into the company’s coffers to drive them in that direction, among others.

For example, Optimove data showed that customers who landed on a personalized homepage version stayed on the site 22% longer than users who didn’t.

Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. Vrbo 83%
  7. N Brown Group 81%
  8. West Elm 81%
  9. The North Face 81%
  10. Holland and Barret 80%
  11. lululemon 80%
  12. Brooks Running 79%
  13. Best Buy 78%
  14. Nando’s 75%
  15. Etsy 76%
  16. The Body Shop 74%
  17. Gymshark 73%
  18. William Hill 73%
  19. Essence 72%
  20. Iceland Foods 71%
  21. Total Wine & More 70%
  22. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  23. Walgreens 70%
  24. Kohl’s 70%
  25. United Colors of Benetton 69%
  26. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  27. Fiverr 67%
  28. Next 63%
  29. Patagonia 61%
  30. Express 60%
  31. Burberry 60%
  32. Zara 59%
  33. COS 57%
  34. Dream11 53%

We publish a new analysis every week, so watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

The post N Brown Group: CRM Brand(s) Analysis appeared first on Post Funnel.

branding

Express: Expressing CRM Best Practices?

Welcome to episode 32 of PostFunnel’s Seven CRM Commandments series, where we get to the American fashion retailer Express.

So, is the Columbus, Ohio-based workwear retailer treating customers with CRM’s most updated best practices?

Let’s see.

1. Be Transparent 10/10

It makes perfect sense that the retailer who sells corporate wear for the office would be experiencing a decrease in sales as most folks have been working from home for the past year.

According to Market Watch, the company reported “a 30% decline in comparable sales last quarter and would cut 10% of its corporate staff to help conserve cash.”

Express CEO Timothy Baxter said that “the company is not considering bankruptcy and continues to take decisive and appropriate action to manage liquidity throughout this prolonged pandemic.”

Retail Dive added that Express’ corporate cash cut would result in an estimated $13 million in cost savings in 2021.

“Further reducing our workforce was a difficult decision but was appropriate to calibrate the organization to capabilities of this new operating model,” said Baxter referring to the company’s inventory planning to help optimize efficiencies.

This is all really bad news for the brand, and we wish them a quick recovery. But for the sake of this segment here, the fact they’re open about the struggle and how the brand has been communicating its difficulties are humane and transparent.

2. Incentives and Perks 10/10

Yes, the brand is handing out discounts as shown in their HP banner below:

The discounted offers (40-60% off) as well as the $10 reward deal are both very enticing promotions to get shoppers buy with the brand, even more than once.

Express Insider, their membership program also calls for customers to join throughout the customer journey in a popup banner:

Express also gives customers 10% off any purchase for signing up to their emails.

And they also offer customers further deals and discounts for opening and using the Express credit card. Oh, and they have an entire Sale section on their website with tons of discounted items, offering up to 70% off clearance merchandise.

We can’t – and won’t – ask for more than this here.

3. Be Relevant 7/10

The brand offers customers BOPIS options with the ability to pick up items purchased online in stores nearest to them – a must offer nowadays.

The brand also offers curbside pickups and other express (yuh) pick-up options – not only making it easy and convenient for the shopper but also good for combating the spread of COVID-19 and keeping customers safe.

Obviously, a big chunk of the world is shopping for the holiday season RN and it is a stressful time – therefore, Express acknowledges that with these two banners at the bottom of their HP.

However, we deducted a few points from this commandment. We couldn’t find any mention of how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the brand’s product offering, as many other brands we’ve analyzed have communicated this to customers.

4. Be Helpful 3/10

Other than being helpful to customers by means of providing them with all the info they need to shop at these stressful times – as well as numerous methods to shop accordingly – we couldn’t find anything Express has recently been doing to perhaps “give back” to society, the community and/or the world.

Other brands we have analyzed to date have been helpful throughout this challenging year. Whether it be donating merchandise to frontline workers or those directly affected by COVID-19 or working with non-profit organizations, or simply raising awareness – we didn’t see any of that.

Nor anything regarding any other global trend – such as green initiatives or social issues. Thing is, these things are expected from brands nowadays.

5. Realtime Personalization 1/10

After adding an item to our cart, we went back to the brand’s HP – only to realize that our experience wasn’t personalized to our product choice. I.e., we added sweats to our cart and weren’t presented with any relevant item suggestions.

When continuing to shop – no upsell or cross-sell techniques were used either to a) try to make us buy additional items (to perhaps match the sweatpants with) or b) cross us over to another (more expensive?) category of purchase.

Finally, no retargeting efforts were made in realtime by the brand when we exited their website and went on to our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter.)

6. Master UX 7/10

When entering the brand’s FAQ page, a chatbot appeared at the bottom right-hand corner of the page – and we thought it was a helpful one.

On the other hand, when shopping around – we received the following countdown banner that reads “Hurry! Going fast,” about the item we literally just added to our cart. This sense of urgency was redundant as we didn’t even browse more than one category of clothing – nor were we anywhere close to finished shopping.

In fact, numerous times throughout the user experience, we were interrupted with various promotional popups. Annoying!

Still, however, we had a fair experience with the brand – whereby the basic stuff was simple to perform – and finding the categories of clothing we came to purchase was also easy (also thanks to the chatbot).

Also, the brand offers an abundance of information for shoppers – to really make it clear as to when and how items will be delivered to customers.

7. Leverage Social Media 4/10

Although, the retailer has an abundance of followers on all three social media channels that we checked – we feel they could have been doing a bit more to cater to them on each channel with appropriate content/videos/campaigns/offers/promos/and more.

Express’ Twitter account boasts over 235K Followers. They post in high frequency – almost every day – mostly promoting their latest collections. Here the brand does take a more “timely/relevant” approach by promoting comfy clothing:

 

Their Facebook account boasts over 4.7 Million likes. They post the exact same content as they do on Twitter. We never give extra points for this as it’s completely missing on the opportunity these different platforms offer brands to build meaningful relationships with customers.

Recently, we’ve been writing a whole lot about D&I, and we were pleased to see the brand acknowledging it:

Their Instagram account has over 1 Million followers. Again, on this channel, too, the brand mostly promotes their latest outfits, obviously a lot of sweaters and winter caps as well as cozy fleece jackets. Kudos to Express on their Insta page, which makes a work wear apparel line, looks super comfy for these work from home times. For example:

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by EXPRESS (@express)

 

But overall, no real attempt to use social media for anything, well, social.

**

Overall, Express is getting a 42/70 here (60%), placing them at the bottom of our table. Sometimes there are just one or two things we can point to that a brand needs to improve in order to boost their CRM tactics dramatically.

But, unfortunately, no one thing, in this case, can make a significant difference.

From personalization (a glaring hole) through social media and to be helpful as a brand, and that’s before we’re talking about some much-needed minor improvements on UX and relevancy – an overhaul is required here if they want to meet the modern customer’s expectations.

Now more than ever, consumers are expecting your brand to not only be there for them but to be helpful, relevant, and inclusive to all. The faster Express realizes this, the better.

Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. Vrbo 83%
  7. West Elm 81%
  8. The North Face 81%
  9. Holland and Barret 80%
  10. lululemon 80%
  11. Brooks Running 79%
  12. Best Buy 78%
  13. Etsy 76%
  14. The Body Shop 74%
  15. Gymshark 73%
  16. William Hill 73%
  17. Essence 72%
  18. Iceland Foods 71%
  19. Total Wine & More 70%
  20. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  21. Walgreens 70%
  22. Kohl’s 70%
  23. United Colors of Benetton 69%
  24. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  25. Fiverr 67%
  26. Next 63%
  27. Patagonia 61%
  28. Express 60%
  29. Burberry 60%
  30. Zara 59%
  31. COS 57%
  32. Dream11 53%

We publish a new analysis every week, so watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

The post Express: Expressing CRM Best Practices? appeared first on Post Funnel.

B2CRM News

8 Examples of what Diversity and Inclusion Can Mean…

Now more than ever before, brands are taking the pledge to integrate diversity and inclusion (D&I) into their workforce, product offering, and marketing campaigns to show a full representation of age, sex, race, size – as expected by customers.

And while countless brands already realized the much-needed change, a few always manage to catch more headlines. Here are eight broad and timely examples of brands doing the D&I thing that will explain how all-encompassing it all is.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

Best Buy

Just this week, we told you here on PostFunnel how Best Buy has pledged over $44 Million towards a 5-year plan and has publicly committed to doing better. Check it out to see what a genuine commitment from a brand looks like.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Best Buy (@bestbuy)

Pinterest

The social media platform has undertaken a significant reassessment of its internal approach, teaming up with NAACP to establish a new advisory council to guide its internal policy direction.

“As part of an ongoing commitment to create a safe and equitable workplace, Pinterest announced today the formation of a new Inclusion Advisory Council in partnership with the NAACP. This external council will bring influential voices together to guide the company on its journey to foster a culture where all can thrive and are valued for their unique perspectives,” the company explained.

H&M, Miss Selfridge, Shein

PostFunnel also recently covered how smart brands have started to #CommitToChange, with H&M leading the way by offering customers clothing that ranges between XL and 4XL. Miss Selfridge and Shein are among other fashion eCommerce platforms committed to showing a full representation of all body types and races – being inclusive to all.

lululemon

Paying off for lululemon, which then announced that it has started expanding the sizes of the workout gear it sells, was an increase in sales of 22% last quarter in women garments, reaching pre-COVID-19 growth levels.

“No other high-end brand has offerings that can be worn by so many,” Sam Poser a Susquehanna Financial Group analyst wrote. “Lululemon continues to attract more customers to the brand, retain its existing customers, and take market share during the pandemic.”

What’s more, lululemon has an entire D&I webpage on their site dedicated to addressing this issue.

Atlanta’s Marketing Community

The AMC has taken the pledge to acknowledge the disparity in the advertising and marketing industry across the entire state.

“The pledge is an effort to challenge the Atlanta advertising and marketing community to match the diversity of their team to that of Atlanta by 2030,” said Tawanda Carlton, an account executive at already-pledged agency Media Frenzy Global.

Cleveland’s Baseball Team

This past summer, amid BLM protest, numerous brands started answering to the call for change by removing stereotypes and racism in their names, taglines, and logos. Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, and Lady A are just a few that already took action. Even Washington’s professional football team is no longer called Redskins.

Now, after a months-long process of consulting with stakeholders, the Cleveland sports team plans to drop the word “Indians” following the 2021 season.

“As a result of that process, we have decided to move forward with changing the current team name and determining a new, non-Native American based name for the franchise,” the club said in a statement.

Has your brand thought much about D&I? If you answered, “not yet,” now is the time to put your D&I efforts into motion as it’s clear that customers worldwide are expecting it.

 

The post 8 Examples of what Diversity and Inclusion Can Mean for Brands appeared first on Post Funnel.

B2CRM News

Helena Bonham Carter Talks About Dating in 2020 for…

You don’t have to be single to identify with the delightfully described dating difficulties in “When Dating Met 2020 with Helena Bonham Carter.” The actress’ narrative perfectly captures the struggle of trying to have some kind of social life under the restrictions of a pandemic and then being called to account by family members at holiday gatherings.  

The engaging presentation is, in fact, an ad for the location-based dating app Bumble. The video was just uploaded to YouTube on December 8, and within just a single day received close to 105K views. 

While most of the comments express admiration for Carter, some admit that they feel “so validated” after seeing the video. 

The ad concept was created by The Brooklyn Brothers. Its creative director Cali Oliver shared the thought that went into it: 

“There was an opportunity to do something that showed we understood – something that feels as if it’s for women, by women – and to celebrate this imperfect dating journey that so many people have been on. In showing that truth in a relatable way, you can be encouraging, optimistic and looking forward.” 

They definitely hit on that. I know that some singles I’ve set up struggle with how to meet and date when they want to stay safe and have far less freedom to travel, not to mention fewer venues in which to have the date with so many things closed. (Yes, I’ve had to give some suggestions for what can be done on a Zoom date.) 

Of course, the dating app can’t solve all those problems, though it can help people connect on the virtual level and hope to work out standard dating later. 

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

The post Helena Bonham Carter Talks About Dating in 2020 for Bumble  appeared first on Post Funnel.

branding

Is Essence Pampering Customers According to CRM Best Practices?

Welcome to PostFunnel’s 30th episode in the Seven CRM Commandments series! Today, we will be analyzing Essence Makeup – a high-quality cosmetics brand.

FYI: Cosnova GmbH is the German company behind Essence, CATRICE, and L.O.V. And it appears to be big in Japan China.

So, how do you think they score and rank against the other 29 brands that we analyzed to date?

1. Be Transparent 3/10

Though we couldn’t find any recent news on the makeup brand itself, its parent company – Cosnova – has been more out-there in terms of press releases.

For example, according to news from Alibaba Group, Cosnova boosted sales by 25% YoY by turning to more engaging and interactive shopping experiences using live streaming.

“Livestreaming is ideally suited to translate the haptic and sensory buying experience into the digital world,” said Cosnova Founder and President Christina Oster-Daum.

We like it because it shows the company has been innovating to attend to the changes in customer behavior.

But, beyond these self-hyping announcements, we could not find other instances where the company or the brand are letting us behind the scenes.

2. Incentives and Perks 10/10

Essence Makeup offers 25% off deals and promos, as shown in the main banner on their HP:

The brand has a reward program, offering members various benefits:

They also have a newsletter signup offer, that reads:

All fantastic ways to provide customers with incentives and perks for shopping with you.

3. Be Relevant 7/10

The brand offers both “stocking stuffers” and “gift guide quizzes” for this time of year – both great examples of proper seasonal marketing.

Essence has also launched an online holiday popup store for customers this Christmas. An advent calendar, lash princess pack, shine holiday kit, spread the magic brush set, and so much more is currently on offer.

However, when it comes to acknowledging other current events that aren’t as festive, like the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their product – there was no mention of it at all on their site. Some of the other brands we have analyzed to date mention COVID-19 updates directly on their HP while others write about it in their FAQs – there are so many ways to show support.

4.Be Helpful 8/10

Essence is a cruelty-free cosmetics brand that does not test on animals, as they write on their site:

“Essence cosmetics is owned by Cosnova Beauty from Germany where animal testing for cosmetic products has not been permitted since 1998. All of Essence products comply with the European and American ingredient, manufacturing, and testing standards. Our suppliers are also held to these same standards and we only partner with the ones that do not test on animals.”

In their accessibility statement, Essence has the following disclaimer on their site:

“Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues may be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied. We appreciate your understanding.”

On social media, among other platforms, the brand strives to be an influential vegan and animal rights activist:

However, other brands we have analyzed to date have been showing support in ways that are much more substantial and timely – for instance, a monetary donation just in time for Christmas or directly supporting those who have been affected by the pandemic by any means. Still, what Essense is promoting and how they od it, is worthy of a perfect score here.

5. Realtime Personalization 6/10

The gift guide quiz is an excellent way to personalize a customer’s shopping experience. Before taking the quiz, which includes 6 questions to get that perfect beauty product, Essence writes:

“Finding the perfect gift is not always easy but with our holiday gift guide, we have you covered! Whether you are shopping for the teen who is just starting to play with makeup, the work from home mom who wants a low-key look or a friend who loves to get full glam, we have something for everyone!

Here are the results of the quiz we took:

Very personal, very unique.

Also, when adding mascara to our cart and going back to the HP, we were presented with similar eye product suggestions at the very bottom of the page:

However, no up-sell or cross-sell techniques were used here. Too bad! They’ve got the perfect product to do so and easily could have. For instance, Essence could have suggested we match the mascara with an eyeshadow (up-sell) or an entire makeup palette (cross-sell) that’s likely to be more expensive. And we’re not even talking about cross-selling to other brands owned by COSNOVA.

Also, when exiting their site and hopping on to our social media accounts – no retargeting efforts were made by the brand, in realtime.

6. Master UX 8/10

Our experience with the brand was good overall. The website is colorful and filled with glam, perfect for its target audience.

Adding and removing items from our cart was simple – as well as the checkout process.

The brand has a clearly instructed contact us page:

As well as a well-elaborated FAQ section:

They do not get a perfect score here because we did not leave the site with a memorable experience. There was nothing about the experience itself that would make us want to come back.

7. Leverage Social Media 7/10

On Twitter, Essence has over 36K Followers. However, their last Tweet was in July, 2019! The role of Twitter in business is tremendous. Therefore, a few points were deducted here.

On Instagram, Essence has over 2.3 Million Followers. On this social media channel, the brand posts in very high frequency and uses all of its engaging features – like Instastory.

Obviously, Essence mostly posts its latest products – but also provides customers with beauty inspo, fun videos, motivational quotes, and more.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by essence cosmetics (@essence_cosmetics)

 

Also, this post, in particular, is a perfect example of a brand that caters to the customer and their needs:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by essence cosmetics (@essence_cosmetics)

On Facebook, Essence has over 4 Million Followers. Here the brand also posts in high frequency – mostly showing off their chic cosmetics, but also making sure to do so in the most delightful way:

The score is only 7 out of 10 here because there is still a lot more that brands can do with their social media account in order to nurture customer relationships, that Essense does not do.

Overall, Essence is getting a 49/70 here (70%) placing them 17th. Once they really fine-tune and personalize their marketing strategy, and allow themselves to share more about the people behind the logo and the products, they’ll be on their way to mastering CRM best practices.

Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. Vrbo 83%
  7. West Elm 81%
  8. The North Face 81%
  9. Holland and Barret 80%
  10. Brooks Running 79%
  11. Best Buy 78%
  12. Etsy 76%
  13. The Body Shop 74%
  14. Gymshark 73%
  15. William Hill 73%
  16. Iceland Foods 71%
  17. Essence 70%
  18. Total Wine & More 70%
  19. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  20. Walgreens 70%
  21. Kohl’s 70%
  22. United Colors of Benetton 69%
  23. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  24. Fiverr 67%
  25. Next 63%
  26. Patagonia 61%
  27. Burberry 60%
  28. Zara 59%
  29. COS 57%
  30. Dream11 53%

We publish a new analysis every week, so watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

The post Is Essence Pampering Customers According to CRM Best Practices? appeared first on Post Funnel.

brand awareness

The Dos and Don’ts of Meme-Based Marketing

Every advertiser hopes that a marketing campaign will go viral, and what’s more viral than memes? But there’s a right and wrong way to leverage memes when speaking on behalf of a brand. By following these dos and don’ts, you can have some fun with existing customers while appealing to a much broader audience.

Do: Align memes with your brand voice

Memes may be jokes the entire internet laughs along with, but they still need to reflect your brand values. If one of your core traits is positivity, funny yet nihilistic memes probably aren’t going to land the way you expect. On the other hand, self-awareness of how jokes reflect your brand can help your audience grow.

This example is not theoretical. When Arby’s realized it was the subject of a parody Twitter account called “Nihilistic Arby’s,” it knew responding in kind conflict with its laid-back persona. Instead, it flew an executive out to bring food and an adorable puppy to the account creator. The result of this kill-them-with-kindness strategy was more goodwill for Arby’s that subverted the memes without dismissing them outright.

Do: Know your audience

Contrary to popular opinion, memes don’t translate universally to all online audiences. Instead, they spread through internet cultures that are familiar with the reference point. Memes are rooted in language conventions and shared understandings that trigger a response to share them. This behavior is precisely why some of the biggest memes tend to revolve around movies and TV shows in the popular zeitgeist — it makes us all feel like Captain America in the Avengers.

Marketers are already familiar with this concept, as it applies to every marketing campaign. Knowing your core audience is the quickest way to determine what messaging will resonate or which deals will convince them to make a purchase. For a brand-made meme to take off, that same understanding of online culture is crucial.

So, if your audience is millennials who love to talk about movies on social media, memes based on pop culture might strike the right tone. If they’re more academic, jokes about higher learning in 2020 may go farther than you think, including this one created by Western University instructor Yimin Chen.

Don’t: Chase trending memes because they’re trending

Memes are sharable, so when a marketer sees one going viral in real-time, it’s tempting to chase the trend with your own hasty contribution. Please. Do. Not. Do. This. As a marketer, your role is not to force branded messaging into any popular meme. Instead, filter through them to find the one that will have the greatest impact.

Still, you might wonder what the harm is, considering anyone can produce memes at literally no cost. Why not leverage that freedom to drive more views for your brand? Unfortunately, not all attention is good attention, and misreading a trending meme can ensure the focus is negative. BMW learned this the hard way when it latched onto the “OK Boomer” hashtag, not realizing the meme is dismissive of boomers — a significant portion of their audience.

That’s not to say marketers should ignore meme trends or only use the most inoffensive examples. The issue is when marketers don’t understand the origins or cultural insensitivity of a given phrase. Pay attention to what will resonate with different audiences and internet subcultures, and you can be more than the punchline of a hashtag.

Don’t: Overdo it

Memes can be valuable marketing tools, but they are not always effective marketing tools. Yes, they drive brand awareness, but they are exclusively top of funnel content. Spending too much time on memes may inflate your social media following, but it won’t necessarily drive conversions if you don’t balance it out with messaging and lead generation techniques.

On top of this challenge, becoming too reliant on memes can backfire horribly. Wendy’s and Denny’s both became popular for edgy posts with viral appeal, but on occasion, they became overconfident about whether a joke would land. Denny’s ended up in hot water when a meme made light of waitress tipping — which was in poor taste given Denny’s low wages. Social media goodwill is fickle, so focus on a few good memes and move on.

Do: Experiment with meme formats and challenges

We often treat memes as a catch-all term for funny pictures shared on social media, but that’s only part of the story. At their core, memes are simply a process of mimicking and remixing concepts — taking something recognizable and putting a unique spin on it.

This detail is essential because by that definition, memes don’t have to be limited to images. These formats are evolving alongside internet culture, and marketers who wish to use memes effectively have countless opportunities at their disposal. Outside of still images, other examples of popular memes include:

  • GIFs
  • Reshares of social media posts
  • Hashtags
  • Short videos

If you’re looking for an excellent place to start, be on the lookout for meme challenges. These viral events take a simple, broadly applicable meme and put a personal spin on the concept.

Some recent examples include 2020 mood boards and how it started and ended comparisons, both of which drove impressive turnout from brands. Meme challenges have a short shelf life, but they’re an excellent platform for experimentation.

Of course, you’ll still need to follow the advice above — a meme challenge can go badly if you neglect your brand voice or audience expectations. But memes are a fixture of online culture and can benefit your long-term marketing strategy if you leverage them effectively.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

The post The Dos and Don’ts of Meme-Based Marketing appeared first on Post Funnel.

#MarketingAmidCorona

How 3 Big-Name Brands Thrived During the COVID-19 Crisis…

You don’t need us to tell you that 2020 hasn’t exactly been the best year for business, in almost any industry.

While it seems like things are slowly getting back on track, most industries still aren’t completely there yet. As of September, many – if not most – companies are operating at about 80% capacity across the board.

Obviously, this hasn’t been good for business: As Statista reports, a global loss of over $75 billion is, at this point, a best-case scenario for the economy.

But:

A number of companies (both large and small) have managed not only to weather the storm, but to actually thrive throughout the crisis. Here, we’ll take a look at how three popular – and now ultra-relevant – brands quickly adjusted their approaches during the global shutdown in order to stave off catastrophe.

Let’s dive in.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

Impossible Foods Modifies Its Supply Chain, Adds Extra Value

For the average consumer, the meat shortage that took hold during the early stages of the shutdown was perhaps one of the most notable.

Though the crisis wasn’t near as bad as it could have been, early signs pointed to major catastrophe for meat and meat-packaging companies throughout the country. And, of course, there was no telling exactly what would happen back then; only hindsight is 20-20, after all.

At the time, a perfect storm was brewing that had the industry scrambling. Factories and packaging plants were shutting down indefinitely – as were delivery routes throughout the supply chain. This led to stockouts in grocery stores across the country, as panic-buying swept through the nation.

At the same time, many consumers were opting to forego meat altogether – choosing instead to give The Impossible Burger a spot on their dinner plate.

Of course, they didn’t just make this shift unprompted. Rather, it was Impossible’s ability to pivot that made it all…well…possible.

The key shift Impossible made was moving its product availability from restaurants to grocery stores. In just a few short months, Impossible Foods’ retail footprint increased from 150 stores to over 5,000. The move was so successful that IF projects a fifty-fold increase in its retail footprint by the end of 2020.

(And, when restaurants are able to ramp things back up, Impossible will likely be able to ramp up this footprint, as well.)

Impossible also managed to create a new, unbreakable supply chain via its recent direct-to-consumer efforts, as well. Though the company has spent zero dollars on advertising its DTV offering, the initiative boasts an astounding 90% retention rate.

The team partnered with two other food-related brands – Home Chef and Imperfect Foods – to expand their reach even further. Here, Impossible’s meats are packaged alongside complementary food items, allowing the recipient to make an entire meal out of the product.

On this same note of complementary value, Impossible also created a branded cookbook during the shutdown. In doing so, they not only add value to their product, but also create an additional flow of income for the company.

Overall, Impossible has certainly made the best of a bad situation throughout the coronavirus crisis. In fact, the shutdown may have somewhat forced the team’s hand, and led them to make moves they may not have made otherwise.

Impossible Foods’ President, Dennis Woodside, makes the company’s ultimate intentions clear during the early stages of the shutdown:

“Impossible Burger has always been delicious and nutritious – and this summer, we’re making sure it’s ubiquitous, too.”

With a clear plan for spreading brand awareness and keeping its supply chain intact, Impossible Burgers seems to have carved out a path for itself during what are still pretty uncertain times.

Steak-umm Gets (Surprisingly) Real with Its Audience

Speaking of “uncertain times”, there was no shortage of brands using that exact phrase in an effort to compassion and camaraderie with its audience base.

Needless to say, consumers were pretty quick to pick up on the downright pandering nature of most of these marketing campaigns. Without going too into it (since you know exactly what we’re talking about), way too many brands made their “We’re here for you” statement, only to turn around and go right back to their normal marketing routines a week later.

Steak-umm was not one of those brands.

In fact, Steak-umm is still going hard on its promise back in April to spread awareness, information, and overall positivity to its social media audience.

Sure, they used the same, tired phrase all brands were using back in April – but they didn’t stop there.

Instead, Steak-umm’s Twitter channel has, to some extent, become a go-to resource for:

  • Scientific information regarding COVID-19
  • Messages relating to health & safety
  • Critical thought and discovery

…not exactly what you’d expect from a frozen food company, is it?

And, to be sure, the ongoing campaign has worked like gangbusters for Steak-umm in terms of:

  • Creating brand awareness and engagement
  • Generating praise for their honest, authentic messaging
  • Increasing purchasing intent among their target audience

Really, the “out-of-left-field” nature of Steak-umm’s efforts is what made their efforts so successful.

It’s the expectancy violation theory in action: By delivering pleasantly surprising messaging to its audience, Steak-umm’s perceived value essentially skyrocketed in the eyes of its customers.

Take a look at some of the praise and engagement the brand has generated in the past six months:

 

Remember:

This isn’t National Public Radio, or a non-profit organization operating in the healthcare sector.

It’s Steak-umm – just a frozen food company.

Or, at least, it was just a frozen food company.

Through their dedication to the health, safety, and well-being of its audience and global community, Steak-umm has solidified itself as an authentic group of people who truly care about the world around them – that also happens to sell frozen steaks.

To be sure, the swift transformation Steak-umm has undergone will absolutely be enough to get the ethically-conscious consumer onboard with their brand – as a customer, an evangelist…or both.

Cadillac Goes Hyper-Agile, Meets the Customer Where They’re At

Back in April of this year, the Detroit Free Press speculated that the pandemic would all but derail Cadillac’s plans for a 2020 comeback.

And, well…it certainly did: The automotive giant reported a 34.7% decrease in overall sales throughout Q1 2020, with some now-discontinued models showing a decrease in sales of over 90%.

This, of course, was to be expected once the global shutdown took hold. Of the many priorities that consumers had during such an economically-uncertain time, buying a new car wasn’t exactly at the top of the list.

(On top of that, most people just didn’t have anywhere to go during the shutdown, anyway.)

Basically, product sales were out of the question for Cadillac.

That being the case, the team instead shifted toward “redefining Cadillac’s reputation and repositioning it for the future”.

Cadillac’s first order of business was to get hyper-agile in their messaging throughout the early stages of the shutdown.

This meant:

  • Pulling any previously scheduled marketing/advertising campaigns
  • Developing authentic, empathetic, personable messaging within its campaigns
  • Creating a shorter, more agile campaign rotation to keep up with day-to-day changes

As Cadillac’s CMO, Melissa Grady, explains:

“We changed our advertising about every two weeks going on through the pandemic. Collectively as humans going through this whole thing … we needed very different things in week four (than we did in) week one.”

The creation of more short-lived campaigns allowed Cadillac to gradually refine its messaging on a bi-weekly basis. This, in turn, showed consumers that Cadillac, as a team, was with them every step of the way (and, conversely, that they aren’t stepping in with a new campaign every once in a while just to stay relevant.)

Cadillac also made a number of changes to directly impact the individual consumer’s branded experience throughout the shutdown.

Though developed before the pandemic, Cadillac’s discount programs for first responders, members of the military, educators, and more took center stage during the shutdown.

From there, the team developed a number of promotions, services, and experiences to better serve its community throughout the pandemic.

A few key examples:

  • Extending discounts and personalized financing options to emergency personnel
  • Ramping up its digital showroom experience to keep consumers engaged
  • Creating its Shop, Click, and Drive initiative, allowing consumers to finalize automobile purchases from their home devices

Currently, Cadillac is looking forward to its next big campaign, dubbed “Never Stop Arriving”.

More than a marketing campaign, the team is adopting the statement as a mantra for future customer-facing initiatives. Though the pandemic has made it blatantly obvious that change is the only constant, this is always the case – whether or not a global emergency is taking place.

To that end, Cadillac understands the importance of never resting on their laurels, and instead to always be looking for new and exciting ways to deliver value to their audience.

The takeaway:

No matter what industry you operate in, or how successful your company has been in the past, there’s always more to be done in the future – and what that “something” is may not always be so obvious.

No matter how well things may be going for your business today, you need to have a plan in place for how to succeed tomorrow. Without this critical piece of the puzzle in place, it’s only a matter of time before your once-loyal customers move on to greener pastures.

Wrapping Up

The biggest lesson the coronavirus shutdown has taught the business world is that nothing is guaranteed, and that anything is possible.

But, it’s also taught us that being prepared for the unknown – or, at least, knowing that “the unknown” isn’t “the impossible” – is what keeps businesses afloat during times of crisis. Though most businesses have plans in place for dealing with known emergencies, it’s those who best navigate the unknown who will continue to come out unscathed.

The post How 3 Big-Name Brands Thrived During the COVID-19 Crisis – and What You Can Learn from Them appeared first on Post Funnel.

branding

United Colors of Benetton: Using Colorful CRM Tactics to…

Welcome to PostFunnel’s 29th episode in the Seven CRM Commandments series!

This time around, we will be analyzing that colorful and carefree knitwear brand we all used to love back in the 90s – United Colors of Benetton.

Are they up to the task of what basic CRM tactics require of a brand in 2020?

1. Be Transparent 9/10

Between the way the brand has been handling an antitrust investigation in Italy, and different press releases it sent regarding the needs for accelerated modernization and digital transformation of its digital assets, we feel like the brand is “some you can talk to”. And that is what transparency is all about – a brand showing itself to be human.

Regarding that digital transformation, it was reported here on PostFunnel that the iconic fashion brand is set to transform its digital shopping experience for its loyal customers by teaming up with agency R/GA London.

“With the importance of Benetton’s digital experience more significant than ever due to the changing market conditions, we are thrilled to have been selected as their new Digital Transformation partner,” said Rebecca Bezzina, SVP managing director R/GA London.

“We look forward to helping pivot this incredible fashion brand and create a next-generation eCommerce platform that sets them apart from the competition.”

Therefore, Benetton has publicly acknowledged that it needs to improve the overall digital experience for shoppers – not shy to let customers know the truth about where the brand is heading.

2. Incentives and Perks 3/10

Other than signing up to receive the brand’s newsletter with a promise to, “Get a sneak peek at our latest news and promotions!” – we didn’t notice any other special offers, first time purchase promos, bonus codes, or other CRM marketing promotional offers that can definately work for the brand to retain customers as well as require new ones.

3. Be Relevant 7/10

The brand’s HP features a Christmas theme (holiday marketing) banner – which also gives customers the ability to browse through their “Gift Guide” – obviously relevant just in time for Christmas.

Also, their cozy home wear banner below is relevant as consumers still spend more time at home than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the brand’s FAQ section, we didn’t find any mention of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected the brand by any means.

Also, numerous brands have created new ways to shop in order to combat the spread of coronavirus. For instance, delivery methods like BOPIS, click and collect, or contact-free delivery have been introduced (among others) and have already been put in place across many retailers’ websites. For lack of this at Benetton, few points were deducted.

4. Be Helpful 8/10

United Colors of Benetton is a green fashion brand. On its sustainability webpage, they write:

“Since 2017, we have been part of the SAC (Sustainable Apparel Coalition), the largest alliance for sustainable production for fashion, footwear and textile brands.”

The brand also has a news section on their site with posts ranging from fashion to weather, inspiration, culture, and so much more.

The brand’s Dress Safely provides plenty of details on how “the Benetton Group project aimed at raising awareness and reassuring customers about the quality and safety of our garments, especially those that will be worn by children.”

Finally, with the brand’s slogan being: “All the colors of the world,” it’s clear that Benetton promotes diversity and inclusivity through its overall image and standpoint as a fashion brand.

These are all fantastic ways to show the world your brand’s values – however, how about something a bit more relevant to these times, especially for a year gripped by a global pandemic!?

5. Realtime Personalization 4/10

Although it might seem obvious, not too many brands that we’ve recently analyzed to date offer a drop-down menu to choose your country in order to localize and personalize your shopping experience. Especially not with such a wide range of options.

We also couldn’t help but notice a small banner at the bottom of the brand’s HP reading, “An exclusive service on benetton.com: personalize your virgin wool sweater, add your initials or give a special gift.”

However, when adding an item to our cart and going back to the homepage – we weren’t presented with “similar items” suggestions. Also, when adding that same sweater to our cart – no up-sell or cross-sell efforts were made by the brand.

Finally, no re-targeting efforts were made on our social media accounts either.

6. Master UX 6/10

Overall, our experience with the brand was good. It was nice to see them offer an “inside” section aside from shopping, with a campaign, expertise, history, sustainability, and even a “how do you feel” section.

The menu bar on the top left-hand corner of the brand’s HP is also clear and neat – making it easy to interact with the brand and find the category of products you’re looking for. We’ve seen worse sites.

Kind of annoying/outdated to have to fill in the entire form below to contact their customer service team, though:

Finally, removing items from our cart also wasn’t that simple – other brands simply offer it at the click of a button.

7. Leverage Social Media 6/10

Benetton’s Twitter account boasts over 34K Followers. However, the brand’s last Tweet is from the year 2018.

Though from a couple of years ago – this was a very cool and creative idea that the brand initiated and brought to life:

Also, to the brand’s defense, Benetton India is indeed an active page on Twitter.

Benetton’s Facebook account boasts over 636K Followers.

The brand posts every couple of weeks, more or less – mostly promoting their clothing lines and/or new collections.

Benetton’s Instagram account boasts over 657K Followers. The brand is a lot more active on this social media platform, posting every single day, and also using the Instastory feature.

The brand posts colorful images from all around the world as well as videos here to properly engage its large user base.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by United Colors of Benetton (@benetton)

It’s clear that the company’s focus is on Instagram – and we agree that it’s the most suited platform for what they do. Still, neglecting other accounts isn’t ideal.

**

Overall, United Colors of Benetton is getting a disappointing 43/70 here (61%) placing them in joint 24th place, really near the end of the pack. We would agree and say – they are in real need of a digital overhaul. We’ll make sure to check in on them in a few months.

Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. Vrbo 83%
  7. West Elm 81%
  8. The North Face 81%
  9. Holland and Barret 80%
  10. Brooks Running 79%
  11. Best Buy 78%
  12. Etsy 76%
  13. The Body Shop 74%
  14. Gymshark 73%
  15. William Hill 73%
  16. Iceland Foods 71%
  17. Total Wine & More 70%
  18. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  19. Walgreens 70%
  20. Kohl’s 70%
  21. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  22. Fiverr 67%
  23. Next 63%
  24. Patagonia 61%
  25. United Colors of Benetton 61%
  26. Burberry 60%
  27. Zara 59%
  28. COS 57%
  29. Dream11 53%

One more brand to go and we’ll be reaching a total of 30 brand analyses! Stay tuned to see who’s next.

 

 

The post United Colors of Benetton: Using Colorful CRM Tactics to Care for Customers? appeared first on Post Funnel.

branding

Is Vrbo Making Customers Feel at Home With CRM…

Welcome to PostFunnel’s 28th episode in the Seven CRM Commandments series!

Today, we will be ranking the vacation rental marketplace: HomeAway – now known as Vrbo.

Vrbo, or Vacation Rentals By Owner, is a global community of homeowners and travelers, with unique properties around the world. And as they aim to match you with the perfect homes to stay in, can they also make customers feel as welcome through proper CRM practices? Their final score makes it very clear that they do.

Watch, book, and learn.

1. Be Transparent 9/10

Despite the merge with the HomeAway brand, and the ownership of a big company (Expedia Group), the brand makes considerable efforts to show their human side. And they do so by making their customers’ health a priority.

According to Short Term Rentals, the launch of Vrbo in the U.K. is meant to change the way British families travel during the coronavirus pandemic. To make it very clear to British customers, Vrbo has announced that it is taking extra measures to keep its properties clean and safe by closely following medical guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID. Vrbo is working with local governments to update its existing guidelines so customers can make informed decisions when booking homes. The brand has also introduced new tools and features, like a search filter for cleanliness.

“Holiday homes are the preferred accommodation choice for families wanting to go away again, after months of not being able to travel. And we are glad that we have the right measures and guidelines in place to provide them with a feeling of safety and security so that they can purely enjoy the change of scenery and the precious time together,” said, Vrbo president, Jeff Hurst.

2. Incentives and Perks 3/10

By subscribing to Vrbo with an email address, the brand promises customers special offers, travel inspiration, and additional perks/incentives. Asides from that, however, we didn’t receive any special offers such as a bonus code, deposit offers, discounted offer, or sign-up promo on the brand’s site.

3. Be Relevant 10/10

The homepage banner on the brand’s website is indeed relevant to the upcoming winter season – which is also, obviously, the holiday season – portraying that cozy Christmas feel:

Right underneath this banner, there’s a link to a dedicated webpage called Travel Safe. The page provides customers with all the info they need on how to travel safely during COVID. Obviously, for a product offering as such, not only is this relevant – but also rather – mandatory.

This next thing isn’t mandatory. Some might say it’s going above and beyond. Anyhow, according to WFMZ News, Vrbo and Lifetime have collaborated to create, “the real-life, one of a kind, Christmas movie-inspired vacation home that is available for stays for a limited time.”

It’ll be called the Vrbo “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” Holiday House. Located in Connecticut, the house will be available for booking this week!

“We’re having a lot of twinkly escapism fun with this, for sure,” said Lish Kennedy, Vrbo’s vice-president of brand marketing. “But it’s also a fit because Vrbo is all about family togetherness and Lifetime has put together a slate of holiday movies featuring all kinds of families. When we decided to bring a make-believe place to life in an over-the-top holiday Vrbo, we knew Lifetime would have the recipe.”

4. Be Helpful 10/10

The brand offers customers a Discovery Hub where they can browse through tips & resources, get inspired, see guidelines for homeowners and property managers, watch on-demand webinars, news & events, and access updates on the coronavirus.

In addition, the brand offers customers the ability to “Ask an Agent” questions that may be bothering them before booking.

They also have a “Book with Confidence” page as well, which helps the customer feel safe and secure to make a payment on their site. The page details “how to protect your trip before it begins.”

Finally, as mentioned above – through the brand’s “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” Holiday House – all proceeds will go to charity – which is the perfect initiative for this time of year to donate.

5. Realtime Personalization 6/10

When going back to the brand’s homepage after simply looking at one cabin near the town of Skaneateles – we were immediately prompted with similar stays in that same area – really personalizing our experience:

We were also offered to continue searching Onodaga County – our getaway of initial interest.

Finally, seems as if the brand took into consideration our interests in nature and beaches by providing us with the following personalized recommendations:

However, when exiting the site and logging onto our social media accounts, no realtime retargeting efforts were made by the brand – and they easily could have.

6. Master UX 10/10

The gallery grid view of categories is both a unique and helpful way to browse through the homes on offer – also creating an interactive and smooth UX.

When checking out a cottage that we were interested to stay in, there’s so much information available for the customer/guest – barely leaving anything out. Not only is this great for the customer but also for the Host/Brand who won’t have to deal with any of that redundant back and forth messaging before a possible booking.

Finally, the brand also has a virtual assistant chat and that’s actually helpful.

7. Leverage Social Media 10/10

Vrbo has 30k followers on its Twitter account. The brand does engage users here by tweeting funny content as well as posting images and videos that really get you into that getaway/escapism feel when scrolling down their Twitter page.

Obviously, all of it has been catered to very much suit these times in every way possible, too.

 

On Instagram, Vrbo has +265k followers and posts the same type of content as mentioned above. They also try to reach their audience on a personal level here by providing something for everyone.

A lot of their Insta posts tend to market to the user’s family – again giving that personalization feel here – allowing the customer to interact with the brand on a higher level.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Vrbo (@vrbo)

Finally, on Facebook, the travel company has 6 million page-likes. Once again, they post in high frequency here – lots of content filled with great visuals that make the user want to continue scrolling down the page and ultimately – yearn that next vacation/getaway. Well done!

 

Overall, Vrbo is getting a 58/70 here (83%) placing them in 6th place! Just a few tiny tips from us on realtime personalization as well as how to create the strongest, most long-lasting, and loyal customer relationships through promotional incentives (that make sense) – can really take Vrbo’s CRM results to the next level.

Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. Vrbo 83%
  7. West Elm 81%
  8. The North Face 81%
  9. Holland and Barret 80%
  10. Brooks Running 79%
  11. Best Buy 78%
  12. Etsy 76%
  13. The Body Shop 74%
  14. Gymshark 73%
  15. William Hill 73%
  16. Iceland Foods 71%
  17. Total Wine & More 70%
  18. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  19. Walgreens 70%
  20. Kohl’s 70%
  21. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  22. Fiverr 67%
  23. Next 63%
  24. Patagonia 61%
  25. Burberry 60%
  26. Zara 59%
  27. COS 57%
  28. Dream11 53%

We publish a new analysis every week, so watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

The post Is Vrbo Making Customers Feel at Home With CRM Too? appeared first on Post Funnel.

branding

Relationship Marketing 101: The Dawn of Branding

Welcome to Relationship Marketing 101, a new monthly series that examines the evolution of marketing — from radio ads to social media — and the lessons this history shares. In this installment, we’ll explore branding’s origins and discuss how marketing behemoths like Coca-Cola learned to connect with customers.

The history of branding dates back thousands of years, though the term didn’t have its current context until the 1500s. According to Skyword, Stone Age cave paintings depict early humans branding animals with paint and tar. That method soon gave way to burning ownership marks onto cattle, while artisans in ancient China, Egypt, and Rome added brands to hand-crafted creations. This practice created a sense of loyalty between the crafter and owner; artists marked their products so that customers knew they were buying quality work.

By the sixteenth century, what began as a technique of claiming literal ownership had evolved into a form of artistic expression and representation. It wouldn’t be long until new inventions tied this concept with modern advertising to create the marketing force that we’re familiar with today.

The Industrial Revolution Bred Innovations in Manufacturing and Advertising

The Industrial Revolution, which occurred from 1760 to around 1840 in Europe and the United States, changed life as everyone knew it. With the invention of machines, artisans suddenly began mechanizing many centuries-old manual processes. Chemical manufacturing, steam and waterpower, and the rise of the textile industry were all hallmarks of this period.

Another hallmark of the Industrial Revolution is advertising. Advancements in printing press technology allowed businesses to print text and images quickly and cheaply. This development opened new avenues for companies looking to spread the word about their products, and modern advertising was born. After centuries of primitive branding efforts, companies had a fast, affordable way to share their brands far and wide.

In 1841, Volney B. Palmer opened the first American advertising agency in Philadelphia, the modern-day home of cheesesteaks, disappointing sports teams, and Gritty. By 1900, these agencies were commonplace and considered a crucial part of brands’ success. While newspapers were a common channel at the turn of the century, radio advertising soon became a favored medium.

During this period, companies started thinking in earnest about their relationships with customers and how ads fostered that relationship. Early marketing pros realized that because women were doing most household shopping, ads should target this demographic. In this radio ad from the 1920s, a male narrator describes how a cutting-edge hairdryer could enhance the average woman’s life:

Yes, the themes are outdated and sexist — beauty brands certainly wouldn’t make “pleasing your man” and “having more time for housework” cornerstones of their modern ad campaigns — but the ad shows how advertisers forged connections with their female customers. Even when advertising was largely product-focused, the result is comparable to today’s relationship marketing campaigns that garner an emotional response to build lasting connections between the consumers and the brand.

The guide to advanced customer segmentation

Coca-Cola and Mascots Set the Stage for Modern Branding

At 134 years old, Coca-Cola is one of the most enduring and iconic brands in the world. For decades, Coke was viewed almost like an “old friend,” with one WWII-era ad literally adopting the phrase. Coca-Cola positioned the beverage as something familiar, comforting, and reminiscent of home. It’s no wonder that it resonated with buyers during the periods of turmoil that punctuated the late 1800s through the 1940s.

One of Coca-Cola’s most lasting contributions to the branding landscape first appeared in a 1922 French ad: the first-ever Coca-Cola polar bear. Its appearance reflected a new trend in which companies used mascots to anthropomorphize their products. Creations like the Quaker Oats man (1877), Mr. Peanut (1916 – 2020, RIP), Rice Krispies’ elf trio, and the Jolly Green Giant (both 1928) turned corporations into individuals with faces, feelings, and personalities, making products more memorable and relatable for consumers.

Companies quickly realized that mascots often take hold in the public consciousness, sometimes becoming more famous than the products themselves. While these cuddly, sofa-loving bears didn’t become prominent in corporate branding in 1922, today, they take up an entire section of Coca-Cola’s online storefront. Just for polar bear merchandise. Today’s companies can leverage mascots as both branded advertisements and independent revenue channels that drive interest in t-shirts, toys, and much more.

These mascots’ real power is they don’t belong solely to the company — they represent an evolving relationship with fans. The Coca-Cola bears started as cute branded images, but they inspired environmental sentiments that helped raise millions for conservation efforts. Modern campaigns are not immune to this phenomenon, much like how Gritty went from one city’s hockey mascot to a global symbol of revolution following mass protests. Mascots are perfect examples of how brands sell more than products — they also sell connections.

The Evolution of Branding

Branding has seen several evolutions throughout human history. In its earliest days, it represented ownership. Over time, it became a symbol of product quality. Today, the best examples of branding highlight a connection between a company and consumer, much like Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign that incorporated consumer names into its branding. Sometimes these lessons are ones that successful companies learn to take literally.

Check back next month to learn more in our second installment of Relationship Marketing 101!

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