The Sell: It’s not just Lion-shaped awards that count…

by Mimi Nicklin (@MimiNicklin) In June 2014, brands and agencies alike watched the global stage as the 61st Cannes Lions rolled out shiny gold statues to the most inspiring and creative work worldwide. I want to look at a winner of an entirely different awards ceremony: The Effies.

No-frills alternatives are helping our favourite brands survive

By Andrew Hughes Only a few years ago jokes about home brand products were quite common. Having a blue and white or red and white dinner meant enjoying generic brand fare that night around the table. But the recent intensification of the supermarket wars has seen the introduction of more sophisticated and aggressive branding strategies by Coles and Woolworths.

#trendMARK: Social media commerce in the Reassurance Economy

a trendMARK feature by Dion Chang (@DionChang) Let’s talk about retail disruption and other top trends for 2014, including: social media commerce; catering to the millennial palate; the reassurance economy; and millennial martyrs (the big data backlash).

Green Sky Thinking: Innovation that matters — the business case for sustainability

by Colwyn Elder (@colwynelder) Economic efficiency is environmental efficiency’s quick win when convincing hard-nosed business practitioners about the benefits of investing time and money in sustainability initiatives. What better case than a direct financial ROI that goes straight to the bottom line?

The Sell: What retailers could learn about fan creation from Lady Gaga

by Mimi Nicklin (@MimiNicklin) Globally, the rules are changing all the time and what one might have once thought were experiences to be owned by the music loom and entertainment brands are now creeping into retail. So, while it is harder for PnP that it ever would be for Lady Gaga, there are many lessons it can learn from her fan creation, brand interaction and her provision for entertainment when purchasing her ‘product’.

Shelf Life: KFC surrenders the Colonel

Louise Marsland’s (@Louise_Marsland) pick of new product, packaging and design launches:

KFC puts aside its iconic branding to promote hunger relief; Clorets breathes new life into Alex; Google and KitKat collaborate; Brand Union explains the new Vodafone ‘Power of Red’; and Kiehl’s finally opens up in Cape Town.

Media Future: The fastest growing categories of online sales in South Africa

New research reveals that one of the fastest growing categories of online sales in South Africa is practically invisible, writes Arthur Goldstuck (@art2gee).

Online shopping is usually associated with electronics, books, clothes and groceries, to take some examples of physical goods being bought on the Web and delivered in the real world. But the biggest growth trends are in an invisible market that comprises both purchase and delivery in the virtual world.

When MasterCard released the findings of its annual Online Shopping Survey this week, it focused on the highlight of the research: that 91% of South Africans who shop online are highly satisfied with their overall experience. This means that, once people are persuaded to shop online – and that takes some doing – they are generally happy with the experience. There are many exceptions, as suggested by the 9% or 1 out of 10 who are dissatisfied with their experience.

The real test of satisfaction is, of course, the returning customer. And here the picture is enoraging but not as massively positive: 76% of respondents return to an online shopping site that they have used before.

The highest spend by online shoppers is, not surprisingly, on travel products: air tickets, travel and accommodation. Behind these come concert and event tickets, and coupons from group buying sites. Arguably, all of these are virtual products that do not, up front, involve a physical purchase. But all do result in a physical outcome: a plane trip, a hotel stay, or a group purchase of a physical product.

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