The Politics of $pending

Super Saturday marked the mad dash to the end of holiday shopping before the Dec. 25 deadline and a day expected to increase seasonal sales by 4 percent over last year. While politics may be the last thing on shoppers’ minds as they wait in checkout lines, market researchers, demographers and think-tank experts, alike, say political ideology shapes buying habits more than we realize, influencing where we shop and what we purchase.

Sharp partisan divide in brand allegiance can be found between Republicans who favor Coldwater Creek, Hobby Lobby and Wal-Mart and Democrats who prefer Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana-Republic and Carson Pirie Scott according to numbers from the global credit agency Experian. University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business researchers found liberals inclined to buy planet-saving light bulbs at a higher price while conservatives eschew products promoted as ecologically friendly, predicating purchases on price point instead. Continue Reading

Budget-Friendly, High-End PR/Marcom Trickles Down to Small, Local Businesses

Recently, I got a call from a prospective client who asked me to draft a branding campaign. He insisted I include ample time for research and analysis of his product, market and competitors, a prescient request from any client, made more so that it came not from the communications director of a multi-national corporation, but the proprietor of a locally owned and operated distributor of printers and printing supplies. The man, an Asian immigrant with an immigrant sense of entrepreneurship, proceeded to outline, in rather prescriptive terms, what he wanted his branding campaign to do and how he wanted it to proceed to be cost-effective and successful. Once again, I was impressed. “That’s what I would do,” I thought—research and develop branding materials and follow that with an inventory/overhaul of his website to stay on budget and message. Continue Reading