The Future of Web Design May Be Ugly

We’ve seen a variety of disastrous web design trends over the years. Remember splash pages? All-Flash sites? Frames? We may be on the cusp of a new trend: unstyled ugliness.

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Brainy Marketing at Forbes: Most Popular of 2013

I had quite a few posts at my Brainy Marketing blog at Forbes.com get shared extensively this year – here are 2013′s “biggest hits:” Starbucks: Loyalty Program Misfire Starbucks is great at marketing, but they did find a way to really irritate those customers who don’t drink enough coffee to retain their gold status. This [...]

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The Fatal Flaw in Loyalty Programs (And How to Minimize Damage)

Loyalty and rewards programs can be great motivators. When a business rewards the behavior they want from their customers – say, giving them a free coffee after they consume nine – they encourage that behavior. The most potent loyalty programs go beyond mere periodic freebies and confer status.

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Starbucks Loyalty Fail

Starbucks knows a thing or two about loyalty. I’m a Gold Card member, and enjoy the free refills as well as the periodic free drinks I accrue by using it. (Green Card members get the refill benefit, but not the free beverage after every 15 purchases. In addition, Gold Card members get a personalized card [...]

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Starbucks, Your Digital Neighborhood?

Starbucks has changed a lot in the last six months, at least in the digital world. First, they finally ditched their paid-only Wifi and went to a free system that requires only one-click acceptance of their terms of use. Then, a few days ago, they launched a new portal page with some of their featured [...]

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Trade-Off by Kevin Maney

Marketable business ideas often have two key characteristics: simplicity, and a way of categorizing products, brands, or companies. The Boston Matrix, for example, launched armies of strategy consultants who neatly fit businesses into buckets labeled, “cash cow,” “star,” “dog,” etc. Kevin Maney’s book Trade-Off has those characteristics as well.

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Caffeinated Branding: Think Inside the Cup

Way back in 2005, in Can Caffeine Brain Boost Help Ad Recall?, I suggested that Starbucks could sell potent ads on their cups. This idea, though tongue-in-cheek in nature, was based on fMRI research that showed caffeine stimulated areas of the brain associated with memory: Dr Florian Koppelstatter of the Medical University Innsbruck, Austria, found [...]

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Anchor Pricing Strategies

Here’s a scenario… You decide to venture into a cell phone store despite your reluctance to deal with a bewildering number of phones, options, plans, along with a confusing price structure. As usual, you find you’ll have to wait a bit for a salesperson. The greeter hands you a card with a big “97″ printed [...]

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Coffee Smell Is All You Need

I’ve written about sensory branding, olfactory marketing, and in particular Starbucks’ attempt to get more coffee aroma into its stores. Now, it seems that all you need to get you going in the morning is a whiff of coffee aroma: Wake up and smell the coffee…yes, it’s the best way to cure tiredness. The researchers [...]

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Simulating the Coffee Drinker’s Nose

Is Scratch ‘n Sniff Starbucks in our future? No industry focuses as much on olfactory marketing as the coffee business. Starbucks recently dumped its breakfast eggs because their smell didn’t pair well with the coffee aroma. Nestle unit Nespresso has not only modified its home brewing equipment to release more enticing smells, they have even [...]

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