How to offer discounts without trashing your brand

How to use discounts without trashing your brand

"The only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself," said William Churchill and, given that he reputedly drank 42,000 bottles of Pol Roget champagne in his lifetime, you'd hope there's some truth in that. Here's a little nugget of purest nonsense we stumbled upon recently, based on research carried out by The Logic Group and Ipsos MORI.

According to their survey of over 2,000 customers, people are more likely to be motivated to shop by earning loyalty points (27%) than they are by discounts (11%) or offers (9%).

We smell a rat. A fishy rat. We're not saying that the survey isn't 100% accurate, but there's no way those 2,000 people answered that question that way, so maybe something's been lost in translation (from English to... um...). Loyalty schemes are great, but no one's going to accrue rewards tomorrow instead of reaping benefits today. It's just not going to happen.

But here's where we do agree with The Logic Group (quoted here): “Brand Britain has become eroded as a result of rampant discounting across the board. By ‘flogging’ merchandise through widespread discounting, the prestige of many British brands is being compromised.” That's absolutely true because,

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Talk is cheap: the state of Social Commerce 2013

Talk is cheap: the state of Social Commerce 2013

We originally wrote this article as a guest post for socialmouths - one of our favourite blogs covering social media. We'd strongly recommend joining their mailing list for insightful advice and commentary.

Last year, the blogger Francisco Rosales wrote a brilliant piece asking whether we were ready for Social Commerce. It was a strange time: on the one hand, research companies like Gartner were saying brands were about to start generating 50% of their web sales via social. On the flip-side, F-Commerce (ie, bolting old-fashioned e-stores onto your Facebook Page) had crashed and burned all over Zuckerberg-land, making social selling about as sexy as a yardsale in a cemetery.

So, it's high time to take a look at the state of Social Commerce today. And where better to start than New York, where the great, the good and the bountifully expense-accounted recently gathered for Business Insider's rather grandly-titled Social Commerce Summit. Shall we take a look at who spoke?

Well, there were retailers from the likes of the Home Shopping Network, Sears, Walgreens and True&Co (an online bra store, it turns out - which made researching this post a time-consuming chore). There were pundits, thinkers and writers. There

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Microsoft utter the unspeakable truth about Facebook likes

The Unspeakable Truth Of Facebook Likes

We've been saying it for a long time. Our clients have privately admitted to us that they feel the same way. But, finally, Philippa Snare, Microsoft UK's chief marketing officer, has publicly said what everyone secretly thinks about brands who hoard Facebook Likes in the same way that old people on that cable show hoard junk and filth and slimy stuff that makes you go: 'Groooooo!"

Rather charmingly reviving the spectre of old-school Facebook pokes (of course, the word has recently been co-opted by Zuck's Snapchat rival), Snare told this week's Direct Marketing Association Integration Summit: "I'm hearing about how many 'likes' you get, how many pokes you get. I don’t care how many pokes I’ve got if it’s from people I don’t want to talk to, but I really care if I’ve got four or five high quality likes from significant influencers."

She added that her board share her utter lack of desire to chase Likes, and went on to say that Microsoft were busy trying to identify metrics which truly measure social engagement, with an emphasis on "rewarding quality over volume".

And that's the interesting bit. Because Snare and Microsoft are by no

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Putting On The Brits: Why Brands Rode The Gravy-Train Last Night

Brits and Brands

Looks like Damien Hirst may have used some of our favourites on the #BRITs2013 award!

— Dulux (@duluxuk) February 20, 2013

If you've been anywhere near Facebook or Twitter in the past 24 hours, you'll have seen lots of this: brands casually mentioning The Brit Awards, or posting pictures of their products dressed up as pop stars, awards or anything 'Britsy'. And it wasn't just last night that this kind of thing went on. There were similar tidal waves of products arranged into heart shapes for Valentine's Day, brands 'celebrating' the DVD release of 'Skyfall' (though they had Sweet MI6 to do with the movie) and endless random Superbowl posts - often saying something along the lines of "We don't understand it either, but... yay! Exciting!"

These posts are arguably there for two reasons. Ostensibly, they form an association between the product and an event everyone's talking about (official sponsorship seems so superfluous in the social age) - but, when all your rival brands are playing the same game then... meh, not so much. No, the real reason behind posts like these is that they garner lots of 'Likes', shares and comments on Facebook and retweets, replies and

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A GREAT Social Commerce Infographic

social commerce report

Wow. The US-based 8thBridge just released an absolutely enormous 111-page report on social commerce, which we're going to spend a lot of time devouring. But the headline findings are already very interesting:

  • 70% of respondents would rather hear about a new product from a Facebook friend, than from a brand

  • 57% have asked their friends on Facebook for advice before purchasing a product

  • 64% said that more Facebook “likes” on a product do not increase the likelihood that they will buy that product

  • 35% of companies researched had apps on Facebook that were not functioning and/or were out of date

  • Growth areas include website social apps, Facebook custom open graph integration  and social logins

  • The most social companies are 17 times more likely to incorporate social functionality into their websites

  • Rewards are critical to encourage sharing and customer referrals

  • The past was about driving brand awareness. The future is about driving commerce.

Here's some of those findings in a nice, print-out-and-keep infographic. And stay tuned - we'll be deep diving into this behemouth of a report over the coming weeks.

Robin Bresnark

Infographic Via 8thBridge

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