Is Workplace Design Reflecting Trends or Shaping Them?

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 8.43.41 AMOffice design is reflective of new work styles and the trends toward “agile” working. Many companies utilize and combine different styles like hubs, clubs, at home and roaming.

This brings up the classic chicken and egg question: are changes in the way people work requiring new office design approaches or are trends in design itself influencing the way people work? In my view, work itself is being redefined and design is playing catch up. Go back in time and note that in the 1950s and 60s many executives had their own offices and even a dedicated (almost always) female secretary- think “Mad Men.” Over time and to save money as companies were under pressure to trim costs, the now dreaded cubicle was invented – which gave people their own cordoned off space, but were hardly private. And now we have all sorts of variations including what WeWork calls the Hot Desk – a first come, first served desk in a common area; as well as dedicated desks in open space plans; sharing of conference rooms as the perennial private office.

WeWork, in fact, has become a global force in incubator spaces and is now in 15 cities in the US and 13 countries around the world. To read more see this excellent article in Design Week: http://bit.ly/2bYz8ix

Top 5 Reasons Why “Top 5” Posts May Be Hurting Your Brand

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 8.56.23 AMRemember the old trick where someone would create an ad that said “Sex,” and then the body copy would read “Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about…” Dishonesty and trickery, while initially getting your attention, usually leaves people disappointed or worse yet upset and predisposed to not wanting what you are selling. How many times have we all been tricked into reading a blog post that promised the “Top 5” or “Top 10 Reasons?”  The rationale in favor of this blogging tactic is that “it must work, otherwise people would not do it.”  A valid point perhaps, but marketers need to ask if the net result is in fact brand building or rather aversion. So here are my TOP 5 REASONS WHY TOP 5 POSTS ARE HURTING YOUR BRAND:

Reason #1:  People are sick of it.

Reason #2:  Interest is converted to dislike.

Reason # 3: You bury the benefit or value of your brand.

Reason #4: Your brand is seen as not authentic

Reason #5: Awareness, in many cases is less important than preference

Can you name the six generations of consumers?

World War II/Swing generations
Members of the WWII Generation were born in 1932 or before and are
aged 82 or older in 2014. Members of the Swing Generation were born
from 1933 to 1945 and are aged 69-81 in 2014.

Baby Boomers
The generation born between 1946 and 1964. In 2014, Baby Boomers are
between the ages of 50 and 68.

Generation X
The generation born between 1965 and 1976. In 2014, Gen Xers are
between the ages of 38 and 49.

Millennials
Born between 1977 and 1994, Millennials are aged 20 to 37 in 2014.

iGeneration
Born between 1995 and 2007, members of iGen are aged 7-19 in 2014.

Emerging generation
The newest generation began in 2008 as the annual number of births
declined sharply with the recession. In 2014 members of this as-yet unnamed
generation are younger than 7.

Is smart phone penetration fueling the next generation gap?

For thousands of years there has existed a gap between young and old. This much is a constant – but, is it possible smart phones are “pouring kerosene on the fire?” I was surprised to learn that according to a November 2013 study by comScore smart phone penetration shows a wider than expected gap between millennials and people over 55. Given the growing importance of mobile devices in the marketing mix, if the trend continues to widen it is likely that as people age they will fall farther behind in the attempt to stay culturally current. One data point is just a snap shot, but as those aged 18-34 increase their use of smart phones (ultimately approaching 100%), it will be interesting to see if the percentage difference will continue or perhaps even accelerate. At some point 100% of all phones will be “smart,” so you could argue the gap will ultimately narrow to parity, but the real issue is not whether people have smart phones but how as a result of usage their buying behavior and communications patterns change. smart phone penetration

Fasten your seat belt for the “battle of the brands”

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 8.56.25 AMThe Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 phased out the Civil Aeronautics Board and its control of pricing and routes in commercial aviation and paved the way for decades of new entrants and consolidation on an unprecedented scale. Now in the U.S. we have three major airlines: American, United and Delta and of course three favorite “brands” in JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America. So, it is not surprising that we are in the midst of a classic “battle of the brands,” as the big three legacy carriers attempt to carve out distinctive images.

As we know, American launched a new identity in 2013 and is digging itself out of a self-inflicted hole by aggressively adding new aircraft and showing computer animated simulations of the new livery flying around in the clouds with a voice-over featuring “Don Draper,” from Mad Men. Delta, while often producing beautifully filmed TV commercials, still punctuates them with the theme “Keep Climbing,” which seems ironically similar to the ill-fated United campaign of a few years ago, “Rising,” which failed because it offered a service proposition that they were unable to credibly deliver.

United, in an attempt to freshen their image, has turned back the clock and re-introduced the “Fly the Friendly Skies” tag line that many of us remember from childhood.  They have done a brilliant job in bringing back one of the most memorable tag lines in U.S. advertising history (not just in aviation) and made it relevant for today’s audiences. So far the feedback has been positive as United is showing that a great idea is one that stands the test of time. In the new ads and billboards, it is not surprising to see visuals of a mobile device accessing the United route map in a cyber inspired environment, and to see United working with Twitter followers to build intimacy across the globe.

Marketers will be observing closely how these three campaigns unfold and whether or not consumers will be moved to embrace the ongoing attempt to win loyalty in the skies, whether “friendly” or not.

 

 

 

 

 

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