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Graduate Your Brand from Human to Enlightened | HOOKD.in

Graduate Your Brand from Human to Enlightened

We’ve heard it before. Brands need to be more human if they want to survive – or at least thrive. They (brands) need to connect with people, and not just in the traditional sense. Brands need to discover what it takes to be part of their customers’ lives and to truly make an impact. Brands need to adopt an empathetic, flexible, humorous tone in order to become “human.” Unfortunately, some have taken this either a little far, or have become, well, lazy in their attempts to connect. That, or they just don’t truly understand what being human means. As a result, we’ve got brands who try to force a square into a circular hole  – unsuccessfully engaging in youth-culture or chiming in where they feel it is their responsibility. Where do we go from here?

Every month, TrendWatching.com delivers Global Trend Briefings sent to over 250,000 business professionals looking to stay on the leading edge of consumer engagement. This month, TrendWatching.com clues us in to how brands can, and must, evolve to meet consumer demand, surpassing the level of being “human,” and becoming “enlightened.” Consumer expectations are rapidly evolving, and now, your customers are looking for brands that are “taking real, meaningful, even painful, action to make their lives – and the world we share – better.”

So, what makes an enlightened brand?

According to this month’s Global Trend Briefing, enlightened brands have 3 characteristics: Restless, Empathetic and Demanding.

A restless brand is one that is always looking for new opportunities to engage consumers and to do their part to make the world a better place. In today’s market, you can’t sit still and you can’t become content. In order to be a restless brand on you path to becoming enlightened, you need to constantly be learning more about your audience or your target consumer. You need to research what it is that makes them tick and what is important to them (not just in a product, but in life) so that you can be involved and make an impact. As quoted in the briefing, 63% of consumers say that they only buy products that appeal to their beliefs, values and ideals*. What are you doing to meet that expectation?

“63% of consumers say that they only buy products that appeal to their beliefs, values and ideals.”

Empathetic brands are those who have done their homework and truly understand their consumer’s values. Not only do empathetic brands understand, but they can start to connect and “address customer pain points.” That means using the research you’ve collected to pay attention to what’s going on in the world and find what is important to your customers. Once you find that, you can insert your brand into that situation. But, remember. You’re there to provide value to your customers, not to take advantage and gain exposure.

As an example of an empathetic brand, check out how Mophie combined support for a St. Bernard rescue foundation with addressing customer pain points at SXSW. Trained dogs were deployed to bring SXSW goers Mophie gear to help charge their depleting battery-powered devices. Read more here.

And finally, demanding brands are those who help their consumers meet their own standards. Sometimes, the beliefs and values of your customers won’t exactly match up with who they actually are. So, it’s up to you as a demanding brand to nudge them in the right direction. Show them the way to becoming a better version of themselves by rewarding their good behavior (although that sounds kind of Pavlovian). By offering reward for their participation in a certain activity or support of a cause, it shows that you are truly committed and it’s at that moment that you’ve earned their trust.

The Peruvian League Against Cancer found a way to coax beach goers out of the sun, at least for a little break, by offering free wifi on the sand to anyone who is under the cover of their shade tower. Forcing consumers to take a break from the sun reinforces the League’s mission against cancer. See how they did it here.

Now that you know what it takes to be an enlightened brand, it’s time to graduate from just being human. Following the path outlined in TrendWatching’s briefing, you’ll be on the path to success. To download the briefing for yourself, click here.

What do you think about the enlightened trend? Are you currently taking any steps to make it happen? Let me know in the comments below or connect on Twitter – @HOOKDin! If you’re interested in receiving more tips and insights into building a strong brand, be sure to subscribe!

– A.J.

*GFK, April 2015

Weekly App Review #5: Jet – Beautiful design, incredible savings.

Here’s something we can all agree on – we all love a good deal.

If you’re an avid online shopper, whether that be through retail sites, Amazon, eBay, etc., the Jet.com app is going to be right up your alley. Jet is a shopping site geared to the deal-hungry consumer looking to purchase anything from home supplies to laptops, gardening tools to lawn mowers. What’s the difference? Jet, and the Jet app, find the lowest price on goods from around the web and offers instant savings on each of your purchases just for being a member. More than just that, Jet gives you more saving options during check out, such as the ability to waive your right return an item, or choosing a certain payment option such as a debit card vs. a credit card.

Here’s how it works:

Beautiful Design

Outside of the incredible savings, the Jet.com app has one of the greatest UI experiences I’ve seen in a shopping app, maybe even any app. The material design is done perfectly and Jet’s bright brand colors offer a relaxed a positive feeling when spending your money (gotta love consumer psychology). As I mentioned in week 3’s app review of Food.com, I love when an app truly feels like an extension of your device, as opposed to a completely separate ecosystem. With the Jet.com app, I can quickly jump in and find an item I’m shopping for without feeling the jolt my brain reorienting itself for a new experience.

The apps material efforts extend beyond hamburger menus and flat colors. For instance, while searching for an item inside of a category, a floating action button, which has an amazing animation, allows you to filter (by way of category, brands, color, etc.) or sort (Relevance, prices low to high, member savings, etc.) your results. The app’s shopping cart is not without pleasing aesthetics either. Entering the cart, you can quickly remove items by swiping left, exposing the brands purple color and a vector trash can icon.

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Incredible Savings

So back to the savings which is most important in a shopping app. For the little bit of time that I’ve spent with the Jet.com app, I am very pleased with the savings that I’ve seen. The concept of scouring the web for the lowest price and then adding member savings and additional options for savings is brilliant in my opinion. As a test, I found a particular bag of dog food on the Jet.com app and compared the price to Amazon.com (the app does this for you, but I checked on my own as well). According to the Jet app, the prices matched exactly, however, when researching myself the Amazon price was actually a couple dollars less. BUT, I then realized that Amazon was going to charge me $22 in shipping for 30 pound bag of dog food, and Jet would charge me $0.

What’s the Catch?

When you first download the app and start to realize the savings potential, it’s incredible. What they don’t tell you up front is that all these great deals are part of a 3-month trial period that starts at your first purchase. After your 3 months, you’ll have a to pay an annual fee of $50 to keeping getting the deals. Not so sure about it now? Well, remember, Amazon charges $100/year for their Prime service to get free shipping and exclusive offers. Another perk to Jet.com? There is no sneaky auto-renew feature when your trial ends. And for that, we thank you.

So, all-in-all I’m a huge fan of Jet.com’s app. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great deal and a pleasurable shopping experience.

What do you think of Jet’s shopping app? Let me know in the comments below or connect on Twitter – @HOOKD.in! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to be the first to receive next week’s app review!

– A.J.

Ad Spotlight #4: WhiteSquad Pushes it Uncomfortably, but Wonderfully Far | HOOKD.in

Ad Spotlight #2: WhiteSquad.com Pushes it Uncomfortably, but Wonderfully Far

“Is your skin color holding you back?”

Never have my ears perked and head raised so quickly to pay attention to my T.V. screen as when I heard those words, and that of the commercial that followed.

“White Squad is a team of carefully selected white representatives who act on behalf of people of color. We’re your stand-ins for life’s racially unbalanced situations.”

At first I couldn’t decide if this was a real commercial or some kind of skit from a crew similar to CollegeHumor.com or Friends of the People. The idea of hiring a “white representative” to hail a cab, get a better apartment, or stand in for you at court, couldn’t be possible, right? That couldn’t be a real thing. But, the more the commercial goes on, the more believable it gets. The acting is mediocre and sarcastic, but never over the top. The production is top notch. The logo is professionally designed and the format is well thought out.

Needless to say, my eyes and ears stayed glued to the picture box hanging on the wall until the end of the spot, still waiting for the punchline reveal. When I didn’t get that, I immediately turned to my phone to follow the CTA to the White Squad website. Much to my disappointment, the site was down, which I can only assume was a result of a mass influx of curious viewers such as myself – or maybe my internet just wasn’t cooperating.

Ad Spotlight #4: WhiteSquad Pushes it Uncomfortably, but Wonderfully Far | HOOKD.inAfter finally connecting to the WhiteSquad website (on my laptop,) the professionally produced facade continued with a smooth and fully built out experience including a ‘Services,’ ‘How it Works,’ ‘Our Team’ and ‘FAQ’ page. After browsing around the site, the secret is finally revealed when you try to actually request a service. An animation ensues, taking over the screen and revealing “White privilege is real. White Squad is fiction.”

Brought to you as part of MTV’s Look Different campaign, White Squad is an (effective) effort to bring more awareness to prejudice in our day-to-day lives. This ad in particular is a satirical stab at white privilege, and whether you agree or disagree with the campaign and the commercial’s approach, this ad is sure to get people to pay attention at least until the end of the spot. As can be expected, Mashable points out in their review that responses to the ad via social media have varied widely.

What do you think about the new White Squad campaign from MTV? Let me know in the comment below or on Twitter – @HOOKDin. Also, be sure to subscribe to get the next Ad Spotlight delivered right to your inbox.

– A.J.

Weekly App Review #4: True Skate | HOOKD.in

Weekly App Review #4: True Skate

In last week’s app review, I mentioned how smartphones have primarily become time wasters killers. Many of the spare seconds we have are spent scrolling through Facebook, browsing Twitter, and of course, playing games. I personally am a gamer at heart, so to no surprise, most of my smartphone time killing comes in the form of games. Well, I’ve found a new game that has proven to be quite good at helping me kill time, and also happens to be pretty awesome – True Skate.

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Become a Search Engine Pro: Tips and Tricks for Mastering Google. | HOOKD.in

Become a Search Engine Pro: 6 Tips for Mastering Google

Have you ever spent hours trying to find the perfect source to cite in you paper, or find a statistic that supports a product you are trying to sell? Or maybe you stumbled across an article a while back on a particular site and now you need to find it again. These can be frustrating tasks when you’re using a search engine such as Google, but if you know exactly what to enter, you’ll quickly become a search engine pro.

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Weekly App Review #3: Food.com | HOOKD.in

Weekly App Review #3: Food.com for Android

Now that smartphones have been around for a while, and the technology is starting to plateau, it’s interesting to see how people are using them. In my observation (no research to back this up,) smartphones have really become a distraction, time killing, entertainment device, occasionally used for communication. Think about it. When smartphones first came onto the scene, it was all about productivity paired with connectivity. Now, we’re primarily using our phones to browse through Twitter, scroll through Facebook, get sucked into a Reddit rabbit hole, play games, etc. This is something I haven’t paid attention to until I downloaded the Food.com app for Android and realized, “Hey, this magic device along with this app can actually make my life easier.”

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Weekly App Review #2: Flynx | HOOKD.in

Weekly App Review #2: Flynx

Given that my first weekly app review was of Opera for Android, a suitable replacement for Chrome, I thought I would look at something even a little more different when it comes to web browsing. We as consumers are always looking for quicker, more efficient means of consuming information, and we don’t want to sacrifice quality. When it comes to web browsing on Android devices, Flynx from InfiKen Labs tailors to that need.

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Ad Spotlight: Dove Men + Care Spot | HOOKD.in

Ad Spotlight #1: Dove Men + Care “#RealStrength”

Father’s Day may have come and gone, but the feels from Dove’s #RealStrength campaign is still in full effect. Starting by airing the first spot during the Super Bowl, the campaign focuses on how men can show their real strength in how they care – how they care for others, and an even larger focus on how they care for their kids.

The latest spot for the Men + Care #RealStrength campaign centers around the moment that men find out they are going to be a father for the first time. After spotlighting the emotion of these real men, the ad displays on-screen copy that states “Real strength means showing you care even from the very first moment.”

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Weekly App Review #1: Opera Browser for Android | HOOKD.in

Weekly App Review #1: Opera Browser for Android (In-depth)

It appears I’ve been blinded by ignorance when it comes to web browsers for my Android phone. Somehow last week, can’t really remember how, I stumbled upon an app called Opera. Upon first glance, I almost scrolled right past it thinking the “O” stood for Oprah, or that the non-stylized red character represented the Overstock shopping app – that’s just the vibe I got from the icon. But, as it turns out, this is actually a popular (50 million downloads popular) alternate browser that I’ve come to realize may likely become my new daily driver. Here’s why.

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