The Swirl: March 28, 2016

Shake off your chocolate bunny and Robin Egg hangover, it's time for the Swirl. In this edition: real talk about athleisure, continuous innovation, and what is up with geotargeting.  


Geotargeting (n) - delivery of content to a website user based on his or her geographic location. Sometimes considered a little too "Big Brother," but intended to serve up the right information, to the right person, at the right time.  


Whoever thought that the athleisure would top the list of fashion trends? Most of us thought chic athletic wear would die out after this fad, but after years of booming rates, it looks like it isn't going anywhere. Lululemon was the first to really break this case, but other brands are starting to catch up. Last week, Nike launched an interactive installation that generates personalized Air Max designs based on what the person is wearing. Somehow in the past few years tennis shoes have become more about fashion and less about running. And people are eager to spend $200 on yoga pants.  


How did something so simple turn out to be so successful? It has a lot to do with this new, lifestyle-obsessed consumer. They want things to fit their daily needs without sacrificing style. Running errands in some snazzy running shoes is much more desirable than rushing around in heels. As much as this trend might seem about fashion, it's really about providing consumers with a product that helps them live a better lifestyle. Looks like it's working.  



Uber set the bar pretty high when it comes to delivering on-demand services and was one of the first to crush the 'exceeding unmet needs' game. Since, brands like Birch Box, Postmates and Blue Apron have followed suit in hand-delivering products right to your door. But the innovation hasn't stopped there.

Meet Maple - an app-based restaurant chain that is running circles around Chipotle. It's pumping out food faster and more efficiently… nearly three times the speed of the burrito chain. What's their secret sauce? We'll give you a hint: there's no tables, no cash registers, and no waiters. The chain is run entirely off a kitchen, a mobile app and a team of bicycle deliverers. And people love it.  


It's not just the sexy brands of fashion and foods that are responsible for the trend. Even financial services like MasterCard are making strides towards innovation. Even better, one Canadian bank will allow selfies as identify verification when making online purchases. Get your duck face ready.  


User experience reigns supreme. From websites to ordering food, people want it easy and they want it now. Just because your mode of operation is "working" as is - always challenge your brand to innovate and streamline to be more effective and efficient.  


Last week we talked about the importance of mobile. There's no doubt that you need to be on it, but even better, there's this little gem about smartphones that you need to know about: geotargeting (see definition above). In #basic terms, it locates e-commerce customers and allows companies to send relevant content, like offers and holiday hours, when they are within a certain distance of a store. Banks are using it to send customers push notifications about nearby branches, hours, and even combat fraud. Macy's is using it to retarget app users and give shoppers a chance to win gifts by playing a mobile game in stores. There are so many different things you can do with it and brands are only getting more innovative with the feature over time.


Geotargeting strategies not only improve your reach and catch people when they are most receptive to your messaging, but they also increase conversions. Why? Because it reaches consumers near the point of purchase. Literally right across the street. Impulse purchase anyone? Hyper-local advertising has the potential to dramatically change the relationship between retailers and consumers. Plus, there are so many different creative things to do with it. Get to work.  


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