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Thanks bay2016. This is a great post. I’ve used Hilton’s app and have loved the mobile check-in and room selection. It was a move that was very consistent with the way travel was evolving digitally (ex. checking in early for flights, mobile boarding passes, etc.)
The competitive pressure you highlighted was very interesting. I agree, I think Hilton needs to make bold moves, quickly to compete against the alternatives and substitutes. I read an interesting article about Marriott – they just set up a Hotel Innovation Incubator at the Charlotte Marriott City Center. It’s an innovation lab, with what they call “live beta”. They’ve implemented several digital changes (keyless entry, digital experiences in their fitness center, etc.) but they have “beta buttons” that allow customers to approve / disapprove of innovations with the push of a button. This gives Marriott real-time feedback and the ability to respond quickly. It’s the same initiatives that Hilton is using but with a direct feedback mechanism which I think is crucial before nationwide implementation.

The competition is fierce – hopefully Hilton can keep up!

Thanks Sabine. This is a great article. So sad to see what’s happened to a childhood favorite! The article also shows clearly how if a company panics and does too much, too soon, it can really harm them. I actually think there’s a lot of value to physical toys despite where the world is heading. I wonder if Lego could keep their physical toys but integrate digital into this offering by creating an online community where kids could share their creations with other kids all over the world. I didn’t know if this existed but found that there are actually several online communities for kids (See article below). They all require the help of a parent to sign up and encourage parental monitoring, which is great. A lot of them are run by larger companies too, like Disney. They’re trying to increase demand and brand awareness among kids using digital platforms. I think this is something Lego could consider to marry their age-old physical toys with the new age of digital.

On November 20, 2016, Anisa commented on Sephora: Bringing Beauty to the People :

Thanks Ldubs. This is a cool article. Really interesting to see how the consumer is changing. I think it really highlights however, the reduced importance of the sales associate and the in-store, in-person interaction. I 100% agree with your article that customers likely prefer looking on their phone for a review rather than having to speak to an associate but it makes me wonder if physical brick-and-mortar stores will be a worthwhile investment in the next few years.

I like your recommendation of embracing Snapchat in Sephora’s digital strategy. I’ve seen a few make-up tutorial articles / videos that are based on Snapchat filters (see below). I think Sephora could sponsor this kind of content and use it to lead customers to purchase products that would help them get those looks. Could be a good partnership!

On November 18, 2016, Anisa commented on The Devil Wears Digital: Condé Nast Reinvents Itself :

Thanks JZ! Great post. I like your recommendation on the messaging apps. I’m amazed at the growth that those have relative to traditional social media. On the podcasts, I think that’s a really great idea too but I feel like the beauty of magazines whether they’re digital or in print is the visual component. Seeing the edgy shoots and all of the designer clothes. That being said, I’m sure there’s a way they could integrate visual with the podcast so that the user still gets the full experience.

See the article below. It talks about some of the challenges with digital publications, an avenue that CN and other magazines have started to go down. Obviously, it’s way more convenient to have a magazine on a tablet rather than in-hand but I think consumers aren’t as likely to flip through the entire magazine as they would be if it was on their coffee tables in hard copy. A way that CN and other magazines could get around this is having shorter publications, quick look-books to still distribute content, but in shorter bursts. I imagine customer attention spans have declined so this would be a way to potentially mitigate that.

Thanks Erik. Your points on enhancing digitization in the home with the refrigerators were really interesting. I’m one of those grocery shoppers that hasn’t been able to get on board with grocery delivery. I much prefer going to the store, even if it’s inefficient! I think Whole Foods could integrate this “at home service” with their delivery service although this could cause a pretty big strain on their logistics. If they give the option for customers to order grocery delivery at any time based on their fridge status, this could create a huge surge in demand for delivery. I also think this could eventually reduce the importance of brick-and-mortar stores.

This whole smart fridge concept kind of reminded me of Amazon and their “Dash” offering. They’re starting to integrate this with their grocery offering, Amazon Fresh and it speaks to this concept of having a presence in the customer’s home and mind. See the article below. In the UK, they’re giving out these “Dash” gadgets to Amazon Fresh customers that have built-in bar code scanners that link directly to your Amazon Fresh account. Could be major competition for Whole Foods if they decide to further innovate in digital!

Thanks for this post. Really interesting to see how climate change is affecting a category like cereal. The point on decreasing dairy consumption is interesting – I wonder if this responsibility lies with General Mills because of it’s position or if the milk producers and farmers have a role to play as well. This does lead me to think however, that even if we decreased dairy consumption, would this impact the methane levels? Wouldn’t the cows continue to release methane?

I am happy to see that Mills is setting actionable targets to decrease their footprint. I think it’s a really important piece that brand managers now have to consider as they manage the P&L of a brand. I also think it’s important from a competitive standpoint for Mills to set the standard and raise the bar, given how large they are and how much power they have.

Thanks for the post!

On November 7, 2016, Anisa commented on Sysco: Squeezed by a Changing Climate in Consumer Demand :

This is a really interesting take on climate change affecting food. We often forget the distributors but your post shows that the impact is quite real and significant!
One thing I thought of as I was reading was the pressure that local growers may feel if they being to work more with distributors like Sysco. Presumably, Sysco has the power in the relationship and probably would demand high quantities of a specific standard. While this is a great opportunity for some of these local players, I wonder if it puts more pressure on them, rather than if they were to deal with a smaller, local distributor. Your post does however mention that Sysco is working with farms to try and help them invest in the right technologies and help them meet new levels of demand so hopefully what I mentioned above is mitigated.
On the flip side, I wonder what this does to the relationships between Sysco and some of the larger, more national manufacturers. If consumers are demanding more local, it must mean that the national guys are suffering. I wonder if and how Sysco is dealing with this. Perhaps it’s just on the national guys to invest in more organic and locally sourced ingredients so that they can compete.

Thanks for writing this. Very interesting!

On November 7, 2016, Anisa commented on A World without Hershey Kisses? :

This is a great post and a really interesting perspective. I agree with the concern above about GMO-usage. When I first read it, I immediately had a negative perception and I think other consumers would too. It would take a lot of education for Hershey to explain the intent and outcome and how it’s not what we think it is.
I think a clever way to reduce portions is to tie it in with the trend of healthier eating. I was actually surprised to read that consumption is expected to increase, particularly with the trend of healthier eating, calorie counting, etc.
Perhaps Hershey could introduce small portion sizes but market them as lower calorie portions. Cadbury did this with “Cadbury 100-Calorie Thins” and they were pretty successful (as far as I know). I have to imagine consumers appreciated the opportunity to have their chocolate but in a smaller bite.
Either way, I think this post is really interesting and I’m happy to see Hershey is taking action. Thank you!

On November 7, 2016, Anisa commented on Can top chefs play a big role in reducing global warming? :

Great post. What an interesting product. I think the threats you mentioned are spot-on. As I think about implementation and expansion of this, the one thing that comes to mind right away is the complication of the channel. Not only do you have to convince consumers to eat the product but there are so many other players here – supermarkets, fine dining restaurants, quick-service restaurants. Each one of them thinks very differently so I think there’s a big challenge there. It would be amazing though if one day, McDonalds’ Big Macs could contain the Impossible Burger! I wonder if there may be an opportunity for partnership there, rather than competition. Why can’t McDonalds, as part of their CSR strategy, partner with these guys and help them with global distribution? If this is where the consumer is going, the quick service restaurants will need to react accordingly.
Great post!

On November 7, 2016, Anisa commented on Global Climate Change: Should we really be “wine”-ing? :

What an interesting post! Given that California produces 90% of American wine, E. & J Gallo are clearly on to something that could become a huge issue. What I find particularly interesting is the connection to the length of the production cycle of wine. Wine is typically aged for several years so if any of these solutions are implemented, we may not see the effects on demand until much much later. And to that point, if we make a significant change to the way we produce wine and the demand effects are unfavorable, because of the large amount of time it takes to get a bottle of wine ready to consume, it makes it much more challenging to then reverse those changes or implement new ones.
Another interesting piece here is the variability within each region in California. I visited Napa this past summer and was amazed to see how the grapes and wines differ across the various regions, even though they are relatively close in distance. Some grapes can only be grown in certain parts of the Napa Valley, for example. As we think about changes and the idea of maybe moving vineyards to cooler regions, this could have major implications on the product mix that is produced in California. It also means that the water conservation strategies that work for one vineyard could have very different impacts to a vineyard that’s just a few miles away. Lots to think about here but the innovation is fascinating. Thanks for the post!