Things are really looking up these days for Dollar Shave Club. The company that pioneered the online subscription model for selling razors and blades recently received a $75 million investment. Sales growth has been reported by Re/code as ramping up from $19 million in 2013 to an estimated $140 million in 2015. To borrow their tagline, that's f***ing great.
When you run for political office you have to establish your brand. One expression of your brand is, of course, your logo. Let's take a look at the two identities of the early front runners, Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush.
The Republican candidate, Jeb Bush (you may have heard of his family), recently announced his candidacy and released his official logo.
My take is this is connotes energy, enthusiasm, and a positive message. It's an effective mark to use when you are trying to attract followers. Ironically, I don't sense these factors in my limited exposure to the candidate. Experts from the design industry have critiqued it, with mostly positive reviews.
The Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton (are you having a 90's flashback?), also has a logo.
My first thought was she's running to be CEO of FedEx. On the plus side, I like the combination of red and blue and the arrow does connote a dynamic focus on the future. Opinions were decidedly mixed. I would say it accurately represents her positioning as a safe and credible candidate, albeit a little boring.
No one votes for a Presidential candidate based solely on their logo (unless you're a complete design geek), but it's fun to analyze how branding works in the political realm.
It's clear that the dominant business model in the music industry has shifted to streaming services. iTunes was the gold standard in retail marketing for many years but the rise of Pandora, Spotify, Songza, and a host of other services, has fed consumer desire for on-demand access to music that's not owned. In a way, I think we are returning to an older model popular in the 1950's where radio was the primary delivery channel and people bought just a few of their favorite songs. Today, the Internet is the primary delivery channel.
Further evidence comes via following the money trail. Apple paid $3 billion to acquire Beats and Spotify recently raised additional funding putting its valuation at $9 billion. Pandora is already a public company with a valuation of $3.6 billion.
This week, Apple rolled out its new streaming service, Apple Music. The value proposition they are touting is "All the ways you love music. All in one place." It's clear we are going to see a major showdown in the months ahead between the big players.
None of these services offers much unique or exclusive content. The innovation comes in their distribution models. Apple is trying to line up some exclusive artists and DJ's so they must realize that coming late to the party requires some redefinition of the model.
Since Apple has more cash on hand than most of the countries in the free world, I would advise them to buy a major music label. The key to me is offering exclusive content to build dominant market share. Integrating content and delivery would also help solve the revenue split between distributor and artist which has become a problem for companies like Spotify. If an Apple Music label offered higher royalties along with their marketing muscle, they could become the market leader again just as they were with the iTunes store back in the day when consumers bought their music.
Well you knew this was coming as soon as Facebook paid $1 billion to acquire Instagram. Quoting from the NY Times article, "Marketers will be able to target ads to the service’s 300 million users by interest, age, gender and other factors, just as they can on Facebook."
Interesting article here from Fast Company. A study was recently completed on the depth of emotion that people feel for their favorite brands. While the degree of brand affection does not quite equal that of romantic human love, it's not that far off. Which leads me to wonder if this scenario will ever play out:
"It's not you it's me. I'm leaving you for Ralph Lauren. I'm just more fulfilled with RL than I am with you."
Here's a new form of variable pricing, one that's actually based on reputation. Basically what happens is social media data is provided to hotels along with comparisons to their major competitors. This info can then be used to adjust prices. It makes a lot of sense to me to add this factor although it wouldn't be a primary one in setting room prices. Vacancy rates and seasonal fluctuations would be more important along with competitors' rates. Do you think we'll see this strategy applied in other industries?
Later this year, HP will split into two companies, one dedicated to consumer products and the other to serving the B2B market. Today, they unveiled a new logo for the HP Enterprise company that will serve businesses. While beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, I'm guessing this one won't win any design awards.
When I think of virtual reality, the image that comes to mind is some type of sophisticated device or headset that users wear. Google has a shockingly simple alternative with Cardboard. It's a basic cardboard box with inexpensive lenses that works in concert with a smartphone.
You can read more about Cardboard in the NY Times article I linked to. Sounds pretty cool.