The Head Down Revolution

Woman on city street looking at smartphone

If you live in a major metro market, then you know what it’s like to walk down the street and see 90% of the people with their heads down buried in their phone. I was one of those people, until I found myself standing in the middle of the street in Manhattan writing a text and nearly getting hit by a taxi. From that point on, I made sure that I was always looking up. But I am definitely in the minority. And this post is not about the safety, or lack thereof, when it comes to texting. It’s about how marketers can capitalize on this Head Down Revolution.

According to Statista, the U.S. mobile phone penetration has reached 81%, representing 223 million consumers. And those consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours per day glued to their smartphones. More importantly, is the role that texting now plays in our everyday lives, especially when it comes to marketing. For an eye-opening example, texts have a 99% open rate compared to 20% for email*. Pretty amazing, huh? Now I imagine that smartphones are currently in the midst of fine tuning their hardware to introduce features that can block such correspondence. But who knows when that will come?

So until that day, marketers have a humongous opportunity to take advantage and focus their outbound efforts on the behaviors of the smartphone user. A behavior that is now second nature, and while receiving a text from a brand may seem like a nuisance at first, it is certainly less of one than an email. Also, if you’re sending info or content that isn’t selling, but more serving them something of value, then you’re more likely to be able to maintain that dialogue.

And isn’t a dialogue what we want? It opens the door, and leads to traffic. And when you have enough traffic, ultimately it will lead to transactions. It’s this approach to marketing, partnered with the aforementioned tactics, that can build the awareness and engagement you’re looking for.

Now how about a little “social experiment”: The next time you’re walking down the street, take note of how many people’s’ heads are down. It truly is a sight to see. Just think, those eyes could be engaged in your brands message. And if the message is “timed” to when your customer is in the market for a new product, it becomes relevant and timely — a very powerful combination.

*Credits: Jack Loechner — Editor of The Center for Media Research; SinglePoint; Statista

Creatures of Habit

Brands and marketers spend a lot of time and money with “new and exciting” initiatives based purely on trends that are influencing their consumers. But what they should be doing is improving their existing products and marketing efforts based on consumer habits.

As consumers, we are programmed to intuitively select the products and brands we need based on what looks familiar (e.g., the easiest decision to make). And as marketers, “the goal is to make consumers repeat their purchases by matching the value proposition to their needs.” Consumers don’t want to spend the mental energy when shopping (online or in-store for that matter), so why make them?

Branding, Design, Advertising, MarketingThe solution for brands lies within understanding the habits of their consumers, and evolving or improving upon them based on what their brains are programmed to be looking for. And unless consumers are absolutely screaming for a change, and the return is solid for your business, then making a dramatic change is no bueno.

Brands like Coke, Tropicana, GAP, and many more have undergone redesigns in some capacity over the years. Consumers didn’t demand it. They weren’t educated on the change, nor provided a real rationale. The result was backlash, and even a decline in sales, which pushed the brands to quickly go back to the original. A lot of time and money lost. However, sometimes it pays off (only if the demand is there), but often times it doesn’t.

There are more examples and insights we could share, but we simply don’t have the time, nor blog post space to do so. That said, we want to leave you with this very simple message: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And if you decide to fix it, make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t disrupt the habits of your consumers.

Get Ready To Gift Unique Items This Season

It’s that time of year again, it’s that special season when you realize you’ve been so focused working late every night to avoid having to schedule conference calls over the holidays, that you’ve forgotten to purchase gifts for at least a third of your significant others extended family. Don’t worry, we’ve come up with a list of five great gifts ideas, that your loved ones never knew they wanted.

1. Shoe Shine Boy

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 4.52.13 PMShoe Shine Boy is perfect to make shoes and bags shine like never before. This small gadget set has all the goodies one needs for a thorough gleam on calfskin pieces to extend their life. All you need to do is insert two AA batteries into your device, attach the microfiber pad, apply shoe polish to the pad and turn on polisher. Shoe Shine Boy works at 420 rotations per minute and can be used on a wide range of leather products including car seats, shoes and leather bags. If new, the batteries can last up to 70 uses. Think it might be the perfect gift for someone you know? Don’t hesitate to purchase it here. 

What Sparks Our Fire: A gadget that can keep our leather goods looking good with  minimum fuss.

2. Lensbaby

Lensbaby-Sweet-Spot-LensLensbaby is a mobile lens more fun than a barrel of filters. Thin enough that it won’t interfere with most cases or other lens attachments. With the lensbaby, you get an effect that’s very similar to the one you get when zooming a lens while shooting, with a depth-of-field blur. A gadget highly recommended for people looking to enliven their camera photography but still merit a #nofilter. So if you want to gift someone who is really into photography, we recommend getting your hands on this. Where to buy? Simply click here.

What Sparks Our Fire: A gadget that can make us have professional camera effect with just our mobile phone.

3. Fujifilm’s Intax Printer

image128Another gadget for photography lovers. With apps like Instagram and its many filters, quite often, one wish to have its pictures printed. With this Fujifilm’s Instax Printer, anyone can have their phone pictures printed like a Polaroid. Now, that’s cool, right. What is fun about this is that there is no need for a separate supply of ink so you don’t have to worry about running out of ink and don’t have to load cartridges. The gadget actually uses the same cartridges as Fujifilm Instax instant cameras. The camera simply uses LEDs lights along with a liquid crystal shutter to expose the film inside the printer. It is fun and you can watch the image develop over the next several minutes. Fancy this? Get it here.

What Sparks Our Fire:  A portable photo printer, because in 2015 millennials will appreciate pictures in print more than the ones on their instagram feed (maybe).

4. Hoodie pillow

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 5.00.14 PMAnd yes this exists. Simple as the tittle, it’s a hood with a pillow. This hooded pillowcase can provide ultimate “ Cocoonification™”, helping you tuck away the stresses of your day. Useful for long flights trip or simply for curling up with a good book, dozing on the couch, watching TV. This is the perfect accessory to enhance your lounging experience. The HoodiePillow Hooded Pillowcase fits all standard bed pillows and measures. There is alsoi the C shape version. Sometimes, pictures speak louder than words. Get one here and why not for yourself as well.

 What Sparks Our Fire: a gadget that every holiday season traveler wants, but is too embarassed to purchase for themselves.

5. Slimger

1048029_1526493884264679_3972367664762119302_oWe all suffer from short life batteries whether we have an iPhone or an Android. For some reasons phone makers have not tackled the issue yet. So, in the meantime while they get it all together, we have this suggestion that could be the gift of the year. It is called Slimger: a charger so thin and small it can fit in your wallet. This is the result of a project on indiegogo that received more than six time its initial pledge of $10,000. Thank you to all backers, we can now all benefit from the magic. If you need to purchase a devise. Here is the link

What Sparks our Fire: a useful devise that is easy to carry around and a life/phone save

We hope you found this list useful. What did you pick? Let us know.

The Bluetooth Speaker For Party Around Water

ECOXGEAR_ECOSTONEA lot of outdoor products seem like they were designed by people who’ve never been around water (beach, pool, etc.) but with the Ecostone speakers, engineers clearly understood the main priority of the poolside party. The coolest thing about Ecostone is that it is a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker that you can take anywhere and that can survive everywhere. A small splash of water on it wouldn’t turn your pool party into a meditation group. Not only can it shrug off a splash, it floats and can survive being dunked up to 3 feet underwater or even endure a sandstorm. It has a 12-hour battery life and is equipped with detachable mounting options that can attach the speaker to just about anything. The Ecostone is available now at many fine retailers in Black, Blue, Orange and “Real Tree”. You also have the option to purchase it straight from the company’s website.

What Sparks Our Fire: A perfect gadget for those who live an active lifestyle.

Would you consider  EcoStone for your next summertime pool party?

Coffee As Unique As Your Handprint

Memory-by-Wenyao-Cai-Electrolux-Design-Lab-2012-finalistA small but important part of many people’s lives is the intimacy of having a barista who remembers who you are and more importantly how you have your coffee. Memory is a coffee maker that uses hand print recognition to act as your personal barista and make the right cup of coffee for the right person. Set it to your preference of weak, medium or strong coffee or even an espresso to a ristretto. When you’re ready for your perfect cup of coffee, Memory will scan your hand and get it right every time. The machine was designed by WenYao Cai from China, an Electrolux Design Lab 2012 finalist.

No matter how hard we wished it wasn’t, Memory is still in the concept phase and isn’t ready to be on the market just yet.

What Sparks Our Fire: An innovative gadget that allows you to get your perfect cup of coffee with a simple scan of the hand.

Do you wish Memory was out on the market? Let us know your thoughts.