Sunday, December 30, 2018

BRANDING / CORPORATE IDENTITY - F-H's FORTE


At Fund-House our consulting strength is in Branding and Corporate Identity development. 

As a company's Brand and its vision/mission are one and the same, the process and discipline of design, development, and  management of the Brand is not only very important but requisite for success.Therefore for 2019 I will be authoring a series of posts  which address the how and why to develop and manage a Brand. The first topic is this series is Brand Positioning.

Brand Positioning -What IS IT?

A clear competitive brand positioning is essential to brand-building because it defines who you are selling to, what your business scope is, and how you create unique value for your customers.

Your Brand Positioning is one part of the strategic platform of your Brand.  It describes how you compare and compete against other brands. The other part of your strategic brand platform is your brand identity, which articulates what you stand for and believe in.

Brand Positioning Statement

For (core customer), we are the (competitive frame of reference) who does (unique value) because (reasons to believe).

Competitive frame of reference: the mental file folder you want your customers to put you in. Usually this is your industry category, but keep in mind that people don't necessarily think of products in terms of specific categories and in some cases you might be creating a new category so there is no obvious frame of reference. Plus, many purchase decisions involve 'indirect competition' in which consumers ask themselves: Water or soda? Dinner or movie? Vacation or new car?

The unique value of your Brand is what you do for people that either no one in your competitive frame of reference does as well, or no one does at all.  You should think about and articulate this in terms of customer benefit. Look at what you do from a customer's point-of-view.


Your Branding Experts

Developing Your Brand Positioning

1. What business are you in? Consider what you do for consumers instead of the product/service you produce.  Create a list of the possible businesses you might be in and identify the leading brands in each. The one that most directly reflects how your core customers think about what you do is probably your most effective competitive frame of reference.

2. Consider what life-stage your Brand is in.  If you are a start-up, you should define your competitive frame of reference more narrowly since your primary challenge is simply getting consumers to choose you over other existing companies.  Later in the life-stage of your brand, you should define your frame more broadly since you'll probably want to consider avenues for new growth through adjacent markets, categories, capabilities.

3. List key competitors in your competitive frame of reference and the unique benefit each delivers. Use industry research, analyst reports, review of competitors experiences and communications, and social media to help you understand each brand's points of strength and differentiation. Compile a description of each competitor's unique benefit.

4. Use competitive landscape maps to identify the competitive white space for your Brand. Start by drawing several charts, each with an x and y axis. For the first chart, start with axes that are standard for your category - for a snack food, for example, your axes might be low price vs. premium, sweet vs. salty, kids vs. adults. Plot on the chart the relative positions of brands in your competitive frame of reference.

On the next chart, use different axes that represent different attributes of your category. Continue to create new charts experimenting with different axes, especially those that speak to customer emotions or different usage occasions.  The more charts the better to define your competition specifically.

5. Identify the unique value of your Brand by evaluating the opportunities in the landscapes. In each chart, pinpoint where the competitive white space is and place your Brand in that white space. Then examine the positions and unique benefits of competitive brands and identify the unique value of your Brand relative to theirs in the context of that white space. After you examine the charts, the one that reveals the most compelling value for your Brand should become clear. It' the one with the most significant white space and the most differentiating benefit.

The process of Brand Positioning is both an art and science - but it works and will set your Brand apart from all others. And remember: all products or services can be copied. This only thing that can't be copied is your Brand!.


by Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
jlavorato@fundhouse.us

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Artificial Intelligence : Changing How Businesses Operate

The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was coined in 1955 by John McCarthy, a.k.a. 'the father of AI". Since then, AI has been on a non-stop journey (be it a slow one). But now, due to breakthroughs in computing power, the availability of big data, cloud hosting/storage, sophisticated software and complex algorithms, AI is now destined to fulfill its potential - with businesses being the most impacted benefactor.
Changing How Businesses Operate - We are at Level 1


What is AI and What is it Capable Of

- Level 1 Weak AI  Capable of demonstrating human intelligence to carry out specific tasks

- Level 2 Strong AI Capable of showing self-awareness, the ability to think and make decisions for
       itself to the same level as a human being

- Level 3 Super Intelligence Showing superior levels of intelligence to human beings and fully in
       control  of its existence.

For now, and in the distant future, only Weak AI is achievable and relevant

Weak AI is widely used by many different businesses. All of us have encountered some form of AI if you have a smartphone, watch streaming media, or order products online. Have you used Siri or Alexa? Have you searched for something and then received a slew of related ads and promos.

They are all using some form of AI software with the intention of bettering their customer experience, enhancing their financial opportunities, and improving their workplace efficiency.

AI can be summed up this way: Data is like crude oil. Valuable but unrefined. It has to change into something else before it can be profitably used.  Only 20% on available data is currently being used to generate profitable (usable) end products. The other 80% is held inside companies and not used.  This is where AI can be very useful, in: HR management, sales & marketing, best use of funds for capital outlays, analysis of new markets penetration, after-sales service are areas where AI will reine supreme.

As consulting firms, like Fund-House, exploit AI software capabilities within business suites, enterprise applications, infrastructure support services, the customer experience, and branding they will place your business on new footings and catapult it to greater growth and profits.


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by: Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
jlavorato@fundhouse.us



Thursday, December 27, 2018

THE NEW ROLE OF THE 'RETAILER"

Fund-House is approached with more requests for assistance from retailers than any other type of business. These 'retailers' can take any form: restaurants, apparel stores and boutiques, service providers from software developers to spas,and, although diverse in product and market they all have one,major thread in common: The Customer Experience or CX .
Apple Music Session


As we have discussed many times in this blog,to succeed in today's business environment:it is not just small companies and start-ups but the biggest, most established firms with great brands that know they must 'engage' to prosper.

A perfect example is Apple. About 18 months ago, Apple launched 'Today at Apple', a program designed to enhance its retail outlets by 'enriching the lives' of their customers. Note the words 'enriching the lives' which is the ultimate customer engagement.

 'Today at Apple' offers a slew of new training sessions designed to deepen customer knowledge of Apple's products. Currently Apple offers over 60 sessions, which include courses on: music, design, walking tours, video and photo labs, just to name several. It's the focus on content and creating experiences that stands-out and resonates with the retail community. Apple is the greatest brand in the world, but the concept of 'Today at Apple' can be applied to any retailer, of any size.

By developing workshops and experiences that attract customers into the store, Apple is creating a reason, other than to shop, to visit their outlets. The act of buying or pushing product gets a back-burner, and instead customers come into the store to learn and engage. And that process, inherently leverages the very products/services they are selling.

Let FundHouse assist in developing your retail CX  
Additionally, these sessions give local creatives a platform in their community - so it's a triple win: Apple, the artist, and the customer all win.

The END GAME

Retailers need to create a compelling reason for customers to visit their outlets - reasons that extend beyond making a purchase. We see examples of retailers creating co-working spaces, utilizing special events to draw in crowds, and are beginning to offer educational sessions to get foot traffic into their stores.

Fund-House has assisted many retailers in developing these non-traditional events and sessions which have and will be the 'new normal' in the retail marketplace. Sales are the goal, but creating a sense of community and becoming a destination rather than a quick-stop has far greater long-term value. 

Talk soon,

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
jlavorato@fundhouse.us


Sunday, December 23, 2018

SOCIAL MARKETING: DOES IT WORK?

The top concern of Social Marketers is to find out the ROI on their marketing outlays. Polls tell us that over 55% of social marketers want to know what their marketing ROI is.  Unfortunately, this financial measurement is still very illusive. 

Only 14% of social marketers are able to quantify the revenue generated from social media. So, if you do use social media to market your business look for non-financial criteria - specifically, such things as brand awareness, community engagement, upping web traffic, and increasing sales/leads.

Also, many polls have demonstrated that consumers are looking for content that feels authentic to the brand and not just an ad to push product.  So produce content that educates, tells a story, or inspires. To that end you need to have ads that: push discounts/sales, showcase new products/services, and/or videos that instruct. If consumers, on social platforms, feel they are being 'sold to' they are much less likely to watch your content/ad. 


Reach Out: fundhouse.us

Consumers are weary of ads, so it is imperative that brands have a firm grasp on the story they are telling in their ads. Social videos shouldn't be self-serving or laced with sales jargon, but offer real stories, people and situations.

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC

Marketing: The Emotionally Intelligent Experience

The Customer Experience (CX) is all the current rage in boardrooms and in tandem with CX is a new training criteria called 'Emotional Intelligence' (EI). 


EI training is aimed at heightening staff awareness to customers' needs and is required for all levels of management, but particularly upper management and marketing staff.

EI focuses on six core skills: vulnerability, self-belief, connection, anticipation, authenticity, and perseverance.  The purpose is to alleviate customer anxiety by responding to and anticipating the  stress-points people can experience when dealing with your business.

By properly using EI,  management becomes better at recognizing cues in customer behavior and uses this knowledge to foster natural and authentic connections with customers.

Customers want and will return to a brand not only because the products or services are good but because they feel that they are understood and have a sense of belonging. Customers are far more likely to continue using a service and to praise it if they feel this connection.



Reach Out: FundHouse.us



EI is also being used in business negotiations.  No longer a battle of the wills and who blinks first, business negotiations are now nuanced. EI builds relationships of trust, anticipating feelings and providing sensitivity for productive feedback.

Think of EI as an adjunct to your eMotive marketing strategy and branding components.

by:  Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC




Saturday, November 10, 2018

SWOT : Use It - It Works

Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) Analysis has been around for a long time.  Used by small and large businesses alike in determining their Process (if it is working as envisioned) and their present and future Operating Status.

SWOT is a self-analysis as well. Are your biases being played out and have you curbed your own shortcomings. Many business initiatives can be addressed.  Here's how"

                                       Strengths               Weaknesses              Opportunities          Threats

Product/Service



Brand/Marketing



Team building



Finance



Operations



Innovation




Fill-in under each main category.  Be thoughtful and truthful in filling out the grid. What will pop-up are those things you are strong and confident in doing and those that you are weak in.  A pattern will develop and a plan-of-action will be called to address both your business's good and bad points.

Based on the information, ask yourself, What are my immediate goals/next steps? What are my long-term goals/next steps?  Try SWOT. It WORKS.

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC







Saturday, November 3, 2018

Brand Differentiators : Ramp-Up Your Brand

Arguably the top priority in Brand Development is DIFFERENTIATION. Today, simply being better than other brands no longer creates a sustainable advantage.  YOUR BRAND must be different.
As you ramp-up your brand it is critical to identify and develop your KEY brand differentiators.

How To Ramp-up Your Brand

A Brand differentiator is a unique feature, aspect, and/or benefit of your product or service that sets it apart from competing brands - this is how you form the basis of your competitive advantage.

Our brains are hard-wired to notice differences. See the image to the right, your focus goes directly to the burnt match. Your Brand must do the same thing. The need to differentiate in vital. People have more choices than ever before with less attention span. That combination makes Brand differentiation more difficult and MORE IMPORTANT.

Sometimes your Brand's key differentiator is obvious and definitive. In other cases, you may have many possible differentiators and you need to prioritize them.  If possible, identify three key differentiators and designing the main one among the three.

1. Make a list of all the things that do or could differentiate your Brand. Consider:

- target market - specific customer segments your brand appeals to
- attributes - descriptive qualities or characteristics of your product or brand
- ingredients/specifications - the unique elements that comprise your product
- methods - the proprietary method by which your product is made or your service is delivered
- claims - definitive statements that can be made about your brand
- brand heritage/story - the narrative of why and how your brand came to be
- technologies - specific technologies distinct to your product/service
- performance - the unique way your product works or result it produces
- endorsements - statements of approval or support from people, groups, organizations
- awards - recognition for your brand
- company - your firm's unique programs,, people, design, etc.
- brand personality - the way your brand expresses itself

2. Rate Each Differentiator

- Importance To Target Customers - your differentiation must make a difference to the target market
- Difference From Competitors - the greater the difference, the stronger the differentiator
- Ease Of Achieving & Sustaining - how easy it is for you to establish & maintain the difference
- Relevance To Brand Essence/Purpose - the strongest differentiators support the Brand's essence

3. Use The Ratings To Prioritize The Top 3-5 Differentiators and Identify The Lead One


- Ensure Each Differentiator is Clear & Specific - understandable in language used by your target customers and be as descriptive & definitive as possible.
- Consider using A/B testing among your target customers to help you understand the relative importance of your differentiators.


Best

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC











Saturday, October 27, 2018

PRIVACY FIRST

 Everything is stored and used by social media companies
Companies go to great lengths to protect their intellectual property - from their patents and copyrights, to their firm's name and logo. In fact, as I've stated before: "everything can be copied, all products and services. The only thing that can't be copied is your Brand."

Yet, it is very difficult for consumers to grasp and appreciate how social media companies are collecting, analyzing, sharing, and selling a tremendous amount of information ABOUT THEM.

It has reached a point where uniform privacy protections that would provide meaningful consent for the use of online information no matter where they go on the internet is now required and should be demanded by consumers.

Fund-House believes that a national online privacy framework should start with the consumer and be grounded in the concept of empowering and informing consumers to control the personal information that is collected about them online.

Control

Consumers should be empowered to have meaningful choice for each use of their data through opt-in consent. The consent options should be purposeful, clear, and meaningful with no 'pre-ticked boxes, 'take-it-or-leave-it offers', or other default consents.  Additionally, the consent should be renewable at some reasonable frequency.

Transparency

Explanation about how companies collect, use, and maintain consumers' data should be clear, concise, easy-to-understand, and readily available.  Consumers should have the ability to weigh the benefits and harms of collection and use of their data.

Parity

Consent must be applied uniformly across the entire Internet and not based on who is collecting it, or whether a service is free or paid - and whether they are using an ISP, a search engine, e-commerce site, streaming service, social network, or mobile carrier or device.

Uniformity

Consumers should be protected under a single, national standard that protects regardless of where you live, work, or travel - the protection should not be under the control of individual State laws.

There are many accounts of data misuse and privacy laws are long overdue. Consumers deserve and have a right to control how their personal information is collected and used whenever they use the internet and whenever they go online.


Jim Lavorato
Principal, Fund-House Ventures, LLC








Sunday, September 23, 2018

What's In A Brand ..... Just Ask APPLE

I often get the response from new clients that Branding isn't really necessary. Just come up with a good name for the company, go out an buy a logo for $10 (yes, you can do that), and start marketing.
"Why do I need to spend money on Branding ?" is the retort I hear when explaining the need for branding and its link to the mission and success of the business.

To prove my point I need go no farther than APPLE!  Once a broken company on the verge of bankruptcy Apple was the first company in the history of the world to cross the $1 trillion valuation mark - this happened last week when Apple climbed to $207.30 per share.

So, what did branding have to do with Apple's rise and record setting performance - EVERYTHING!

Steve Jobs, on his return to Apple as CEO, wrapped Apple in a very simple mission/branding discipline - to 'focus on simplicity and forward technology in their products'. Breaking from the personal computer Apple ventured into new realms - launch of iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, the iPad in 2010, the Apple Watch in 2015, and introduced big-buck services like Apple Music and Apple Care (which some Wall Street analysts predict will be a $50b business within a year).

Apple stayed committed to their brand, which is currently the most highly valued in the world, to the extent that their products have and do command a premium price, ie. have 'brand equity'. Apple, through effective branding turned consumer' needs into wants and thus could charge more for what was the same or similar products vs. their competitors.

To put Apple's worth (valuation) at over $1T in perspective here are some comparisons:

- At $1T, Apple just falls short of the combined value of the four largest U.S. banks  (BofA, Citi, Chase,Wells) at $1.17T. 

- Apple's value is greater than the combined valuation of the top 24 auto makers in the world at $964B. Therefore, Apple is more valuable than GM, Benz, Toyota, Ford, VW, and 19 others altogether. 

- Apple is worth more than the entire American media industry, including: all of the major news publishers, TV channels, and media companies, including Netflix, AT&T, Disney, Fox, and CBS.

Which entity will be next to join Apple in the one-trillion dollar club?  Most likely it will be Amazon, Google, or Microsoft all three of which have valuations north of $750b. Amazon leads with a market value of about $825b. 

Keep in touch,
Jim Lavorato
Fund-House Ventures









Is Black Friday Getting DARKER!

Black Friday is no longer the post Thanksgiving shop-til-you-drop day. Black Friday has morphed into a shopping spree weekend - which runs from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday - it's a four or five day stretch that can literally make or break a business's profit for the year.  Hence the term 'Black Friday' - which signifies retailers' moving from YTD accounting losses ('in the red') to a profitable P&L ('in the black').

As the official kick-off of the holiday shopping season, Black Friday has evolved over the years. For example, 30 years ago no retailer had anyone on staff who managed social media accounts to help promote their sales or ecommerce staff who were tasked with creating a seamless online/in-store shopping experience. Yet, according to the Nationwide Marketing Group, 20% of all independent retailers don't have a website! That's one-in-five retailers with zero on-line presence. Granted, there may be particular reasons that a retailer may not require a website to market its product - but 20%!

Data show that last year, 64 million U.S. consumers shopped both in-store and on-line, while more than 58 million shopped on-line only. That's over 120 million Americans that logged onto some retail website and made a purchase during Black Friday weekend.

To further bolster the need for a retailer website, the data shows that multichannel consumers - those that shop both in-store and on-line - spent $82 more on average then the on-line only shopper and $49 more than the in-store shopper.

According to Adobe Analytics, the combined sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday for 2017 totaled $7.9b. Cyber Monday, $6.9b. That's not to say that traditional brick and mortar stores are losing significant holiday sales, but it does show that retailers have a great opportunity when using both ecommerce and in-store sales. Another interesting data point is that approx. 126 million people will be shopping on 'Super Saturday' or the last Saturday before Christmas.

2018 should be a stellar holiday shopping season and a sure record breaker in terms of spending given the great economy we are currently experiencing.

Best,
Jim Lavorato
Fund-House Ventures

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Branding: It's All About DIFFERENTIATION

Fund-House Ventures, LLC
In Branding, the old adage "Different is better than better", could never be more wise than in today's business environment.  With the fierce level of competition we're experiencing simply being better than others does not create a sustainable competitive advantage and lasting brand equity. When competition is high, strengths matter less and differences matter more.

Differences grab attention. Differences invoke a response. Differences generate buzz.

To build a great brand you must focus on being different, but that difference must make a difference. Great brands are built on meaningful differentiation, and to be meaningful your differentiation needs to be:

Polarizing: Your brand does not need to please everyone, but to engage your target market really well. If your difference appeals to everyone, than it's probably not all that different. When your brand is truly different some people will hate your brand and others love it. And those that love it will buy it over and over again and pay a premium for it, extol it, and value it - you can't do that by promoting a difference with mainstream appeal.

Transcendent: Meaningful and lasting differentiation is rarely achieved with a new feature, technology, a one-off 'er'.  Everything is copied in the world we live in - all products, all services, the only thing that can't be copied is your Brand. You need to differentiate on purposes, values, personality.  These create an emotional connection and are almost impossible to imitate.

Substantive: Your brand's difference, its distinctiveness must be substantive and valuable. Today's consumer can see through most marketing ploys. So, your difference can't be only what you say, it must be what you do and what you are. You must be relevant, authentic, reliable, and trustworthy - if you have to tell consumers you are different, you're probably not.

Jim Lavorato
Principal
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
search: jim lavorato   



Sunday, August 26, 2018

Often Overlooked In Branding: Colors and Fonts

Typefaces: all important in Branding
In developing Brands the mantra I adhere to is 'Never Go Unnoticed'. You want your Brand to be seen, and more importantly, remembered. This is not an easy task as consumers' attention spans are from 4-8 seconds (a Goldfish's is 8 seconds).

What is required is uniqueness with relevance. The company logo, as a metaphor for the company Brand, must be memorable and relate to what the company is all about. Therefore, a restaurant's logo, in terms of color and fonts used, would be very different from that of a wealth management firm.

Remember you want to 'never go unnoticed' and that means repetition. Your logo should be displayed on everything the company uses to communicate with the outside world - from its letterhead to all of its promotional materials. Don't be shy about the use of your logo.

A well designed and relevant logo is so important that I recommend the use of an identity design expert, like Fund-House, to assist in its spawning, development, and use.

Colors

Colors are important. They stir emotion and can make or break consumers' reaction to your Brand and eventual purchase of your product/service over competition. What type of company you have will, in many cases, determine what color(s) you will utilize in your: naming, logo, taglines, packaging, promotional materials, etc. Again, the use of a professional branding/corporate identity design expert is required.

Fonts (Typefaces)

There are hundreds of fonts. In some cases, a new font is developed from scratch (I did this with a company I own and have managed for over 20 years and which is in the motion picture industry - where uniqueness is a requisite).

Various fonts should be used in developing the company name and its logo. In most cases there should never be more than two fonts used and they should have relevance. Below are several, often used fonts:

Times New Roman
Arial
Helvetica
Courier
Georgia

This post is in Arial. Easy to read and lettering is distinct, but not attention getting for a company title or logo. There are the 100 Best Typefaces used for Branding. To get a copy of those top 100 contact me. www.jlavorato@fundhouse.us.

Jim Lavorato
Fund-House Ventures, LLC
www.FundHouse.us


Friday, August 24, 2018

Branding 'NO-NO" the ER

I'm presented business pitches all the time and it's incumbent upon me to distinguish between viable investment proposals from those with no prospect for success.

One technique I use in judging businesses is the 'ER' filter. 'ER' Brands are those that rely on others to explain 'who' they are.  For example, when the pitcher says, "we're just like X only cheaper, healthier, faster, bigger, sexier, " whatever.  These descriptions instantly set off my beware alert about this company's breakthrough ability and long-term viability.

Why?

An 'ER' position relegates your Brand to subordinate status as compared to the Brand used as your benchmark - it tells consumers your Brand possesses only comparative value rather than inherent value.  It also puts your Brand under constant pressure, because NOW its value is tied to Brand X's product/service. This leaves you with little basis to achieve meaningful and sustainable differentiation.

Iconic Brands NEVER settle for being 'ER' Brands. Your Brand must capture the imagination of customers and investors alike - and have reference points ONLY to themselves.

Not every product can be truly new but even if it is somewhat derivative the Brand must be clearly different.  You CANNOT use an existing Brand to explain yours - as a well conceived Brand platform and market positioning can relegate competitors to irrelevance.

Don't be an 'ER' Brand, it never works in the long-run.

Jim Lavorato
Principal, Fund-House Ventures, LLC


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Social Media Dictionary

Social media jargon got you down? Is the lingo of the internet stifling your creativity? Do you feel your dealing with a foreign language?  
It's FREE - Get It Now!

                                                FREE - FREE - FREE - FREE                                                  

Well fear not! Fund-House has compiled a dictionary with hundreds of words, terms, phrases, acronyms, et.al. that you'll encounter as you dive into online marketing.

It's clear, concise, easy to understand and, best of all, it's yours for the asking. IT'S FREE!

Just submit your email address and we'll download the Fund-House Social Media Dictionary to you. You'll be referring to it as soon as you get it.  

jlavorato@fundhouse.us


Best and enjoy,

Jim Lavorato

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

BEST BUY - A Case Study In ReBranding

One of the largest big-box retailers recently re-branded itself. To kick-off its new brand strategy, it unveiled a new marketing campaign, refreshed its logo, and reformed its brand narrative - I'm talking about Best Buy.
New Logo / Old Logo


Best Buy's goal is to reshape its image and focus on the customer experience (known by branders, like me, as CX) vs. the attributes of the products it sells. To do this Best Buy needed to change their brand narrative and carry through on a restructuring of their core business concept to push their employee function to coincide with the new CX strategy.

In a seminar I present as one of the Fund-House's client perks, entitled - "What's Behind Your Logo - Forging An Iconic Brand" - I speak to the notion that it's not a brand that is important but the fact that a brand and the business are one in the same, and your brand strategy must be you business's mission.

To obtain that meshing of brand equals business - you must tell a story (a narrative). Best Buy knows this. "Telling the story of our people - and how we make a meaningful impact on customers' lives. Our people are our insurmountable advantage" says Walt Alexander, Chief Marketing Officer of Best Buy.  Walt, gets it! Now to implement.

To accomplish this implementation, Best Buy has designed new promotional ads which were shot in black and white except for the bright blue shirts worn by every Best Buy employee - putting emphasis on the employee and their vital interaction with the customer. These promos are short vignettes that provide subtle hints on how technology can actually be used in ways to improve the customer's life.

Under the new branding strategy, employees are taught to tailor the shopping experience to the customers' needs - by engaging the customer. This scenario is not new and time will tell if Best Buy does it right or falls flat. CX is what marketing in now all about and should be at the top of very business's agenda.

I wish Best Buy all the luck in re-branding itself as this is not an easy task for any company.

Stay in touch,
Jim Lavorato