Earlier this month on an investor call, Pepsi’s CEO Indra Nooyi was lamenting how retail spending is shifting online. Obviously, this places pressure on many sectors – consumer goods, malls, and retail stores.
But there’s no whining in business. Companies, industries, and brands that were built on great foundations decades ago are finding the old models are breaking down. Consumer products giants like Pepsi are just now getting their heads around the way the retail experience has morphed right before their very eyes.
Consumers aren’t just looking to merely buy stuff at the market – they’re seeking experiences. It could be about health and wellness, dining and drinking, travel, or entertainment, but the trajectory is quickly moving away from the mundane and toward memorable moments.
Why buy a Bud when you and your friends can share a locally sourced and brewed craft beer?
Why make the trek to Target to buy groceries when you can have prepackaged dinners from Blue Apron delivered to your door?
Why settle for a mundane hotel room when you can meet people in faraway cities by staying in a home via Airbnb?
That’s the disruption that’s in the air, having measurable impact on conventional, traditional businesses that were simply doing their jobs. And it’s a call to all of us that in order to stay relevant in this consumer-driven world, we have to do more than play the hits. We need to find ways to provide unique and memorable experiences.
It’s why Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods has the entire food industry buzzing – and perhaps dreading – how Jeff Bezos will change the way we select, purchase, and receive our groceries – in the same way he disrupted bookstores and libraries when the Kindle was introduced.
And so to remind myself of the need for our business to be innovating, changing it up, and offering experiences that go beyond a well-tested playlists, I have my friend Rex staring at me every day I’m at my desk.
The mission is not to become a dinosaur by doing the same things over and over again, hoping that consistency and repetition will continue to captivate and delight consumers. It won’t.
In today’s disruptive world, innovation is the ingredient that can turbocharge even the most traditional business or brand. Sometimes, it’s in the way a product is created, but in other situations, innovative marketing can be the “secret sauce” that sets a brand apart.
Take the airline industry, for example. They have a monopoly on travel, but these days, there’s nothing glamorous about flying. Take it from someone who’s on the road 40 weeks a year – just about every flight is packed to capacity, seat room has shrunk, and in-flight services have greatly diminished.
Yet, cleverly marketing experiences is a way for an airline to separate itself from the pack, renewing our spirit for getaways, and reminding us that in our hassled and harried world, a chance to reconnect with our loved ones stirs up wonderful memories of family vacations.
JetBlue has provided us with a great example. This video ad, created by the agency MullenLowe, doesn’t market its summer fare extravaganza, its increased legroom, or its seatback video entertainment. It speaks to creating unique experiences we can all relate to, and it cleverly uses children to remind us adults that air travel should be more than just getting from Point A to Point B:
Whining and hand-wringing isn’t going to jumpstart a business or a brand. Innovation will.
As Pepsi’s Nooyi reminded her increasingly nervous investors, consumers are expecting “premium experiences and at the same time seeking value.”
She might want to talk to the team at JetBlue.
Thanks to the always innovative David Gariano for the heads-up.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.