This Week in Business and Brands: Toddler Tactics, Boomer Boons, and More


Customer-Centric Currency: Payment Power Play

Time to put another straw on the back of the cash-camel: with Venmo’s latest foray into the e-commerce checkout line, online shoppers will soon have their favorite virtual payment method at their fingertips. The PayPal-owned app is set to ring up big gains by expanding beyond peer-to-peer exchanges by partnering with online merchants, who will fork over transaction fees of 2.9% + $.30 for the integration. But an added bonus for brands will be the extra exposure in users’ social feeds, as their names will appear side by side with buyers’ actual buddies. That said, brands shouldn’t expect any further marketing opportunities from the app itself, as it claims to “have no ambitions to be an ad platform.” Famous last words, perhaps – but in the meantime, the move appears to be a win-win-win for the platform, its partners, and the purchasers all at once.

Refreshing Rebrands: Bold Baby Steps

At nearly 90 years old, Gerber is certainly no babe in the wild. But the veteran purveyor of baby foods is only now taking its first steps into the modern era of branding and messaging, growing up with much more than a whole new look and feel for contemporary consumers. Fostering fresh flavors from kale to acai, the big baby brand is surely shifting its focus to the culinary-conscious parents of today. And while Gerber’s goods have been quietly organic and free of GMOs for decades, those previously unsung perks are now placed front and center to compete against its rugrat rivals like Earth’s Best and Plum Organics. In the $7 billion baby-food market, there’s no shortage of young whipper-snapper brands biting at its ankles, but Gerber’s giant overhaul positions this powerhouse to continue doing “Anything for Baby.”

Talking Tactics, Tête à Tête: Designing with Data

Samsung, Samsung Galaxy, Galaxy, Phone, Tablet, Screen

As customer centricity becomes ever more influential in every aspect of business, the interplay between consumer and company is finding an even bigger role in one key component: UX and design. Hear the latest takes on its evolution from these UK experts:

  • Simon Manchipp, Founder of SomeOne: “Rather than hyper-customised communications, ultra-focused media thinking means you can be where the desired audiences are. It is far better to create compelling commercial work for people inclined to be interested than attach a brand to a finger that is forever trying to flick it away.”
  • Malcolm Garrett, CD of Images&Co: “The information designer must work in harness with the coder to make the design and the code indivisible. Online systems are a combination of design and engineering, and the two parts have to work hand-in-hand.”
  • Gabor Schrier, CCO of Saffron: “Everything you design is in beta mode. Nothing is permanent, everything is a prototype. You have to have the flexibility to see what’s going to come in the future and how things are going to change, working across disciplines to make the design open and able to grow. And that’s very difficult.”

Demographic (Re-)Discovery: Betting on Boomers

Last week The New York Times gave us the golden age to target for millennial marketing (26), but now they’re singing a different tune, and it’s one from the ‘50s: don’t neglect the big boons to be brought from baby boomers! While marketers make much of the “cool segment,” they all too often overlook the fact that most 53- to 71-year-olds are savvy with smartphones and social media – and don’t try to tell them otherwise. Some brands are savvy to the opportunity themselves – like T-Mobile, who created a new subscription option for the 55-and-older crowd, mocking competitors for their uncouth condescension. After all, “While the millennials are sharing stuff, boomers are buying stuff,” and no retweet or two will ever be worth more than a real bottom-line bump. Of course, the best strategy is not “either/or,” but targeting towards the two with bespoke messaging for both. But the powerful point persists: when it comes to mature marketing, always make sure to respect your elders.

Progress with Partnerships: Interesting Duos  

That’s all for this week! We’ll leave you with big cheers to the unlikely ads by Absolut and Skyy vodka, teaming up to take down inequality; plus, the recent news of CapitalG’s $1B bet against Uber….