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John Lewis, White Stuff, RB: Everything that matters this morning – Marketing Week

John Lewis to work with six startups as part of retail innovation programme

John Lewis is to work with six startups that it believes could transform shopping in the future after a competitive pitch for its retail innovation programme JLAB.

Eleven companies were invited to pitch to a panel of 10 judges plus a group of customers and John Lewis employees. These ranged from a new way to explore and navigate shops using a smartphone to home beauty services and technology to create so-called urban allotments in stores.

The six startups are
– Seloylive, which transforms shops windows into interactive displays
– Oriient, which helps shoppers navigate to specific products in-store
– Ruuby, which allows customers to book beauty treatments at any location they choose
– MemoMi, which operates a virtual try-on service for fashion and beauty
– MakersCAFE, which 3D printing and laser cutting services
– LettUs Grow, which is looking to use retail space to create a more sustainable approach to farming

Peter Cross, customer experience director at John Lewis & Partners, says: “Our search was for those entrepreneurs who might dare to think differently about the future of retail. Recent years have seen seismic changes in our sector, with a new benchmark in customer expectation every time they shop. Shops simply have no option but to inspire and delight customers – offering both fantastic products and personalised seamless experiences.

“We believe the dynamic new businesses selected for further discussions with JLAB will help us continue to stretch, shape and deliver together for our customers in the future.”

RB puts focus on targeted advertising to fuel growth

Reckitt-Benckiser (RB) is putting its focus on targeted advertising to fuel growth as it looks to win over new customers in emerging markets such as India and China who are increasingly shopping online.

The FMCG giant, which is behind brands including Nurofen, Dettol and Clearasil, is prioritising digital growth in its hygiene and home business where adoption of online channels has been slower than at its healthcare business. To do that, RB is “ramping up” use of targeted advertising to help it identify “very dedicated parts of the population”.

“The rules of fast-moving consumer goods have changed,” say Rob de Groot, president of the hygiene and home business, speaking on an investor call. “Where in the past, it was about putting big sales forces together and going to the stores, now the digital technology, both at the consumer communication part as well as the transaction part from a channel perspective, opens up completely new opportunities.”

RB also sees an opportunity to offer a full brand presence online, despite the fact that in some markets such as dish washing in China penetration may be just 1%.

“The digital platform enables us to put the full-fledged organisation in that digital world because we don’t need to go to all the stores with 1% penetration. We’re launching new brands, therefore, like Finish, but also Vanish in China, and we’re doing that with a dedicated organisation that is cut out of the normal go-to market so that the expertise is really travelling across the world,” he adds.

Consumer confidence falls to lowest level for a year over job concerns

Consumer confidence has dropped to its lowest level since March 2018, according to IHS Markit, as job security perceptions fell despite unemployment hovering at a near 40-year low.

The survey of UK households reveals that worries about Brexit and slowing economic growth have knocked confidence. The household finance index, which measures overall perceptions of financial wellbeing, fell to 43.4 this month. Any reading above 50 indicates growth, while a reading below that level suggests sentiment is deteriorating.

IHS Markit says that despite the fact wage growth is outstripping inflation, this won’t “necessarily translate into boosted spending” because the impact of Brexit is squeezing demand. UK households reported high living costs and a slowdown in workplace activity.

IHS Markit economist Joe Hayes says: “The impact on confidence caused by Brexit uncertainty continues to pose a notable risk to the domestic economy, also highlighted by job security perceptions becoming increasingly negative in February.”

He adds: “The survey also signals that the improvement in real earnings growth, which has been driven by higher nominal pay and softer inflation, may not necessarily translate into boosted spending by UK consumers.”

Justice4Grenfell campaigners call for action at London Fashion Week

Justice4Grenfell, the community-led campaign set up by local people in response to the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, staged a protest at London Fashion Week calling for justice for the victims of the disaster.

Created by BBH London, the protest featured 72 people wearing t-shirts with the words: “72 dead and still no arrests? How come?” Those taking part included families of the victims, members of the public and celebrity supporters including musician Emeli Santi and model Adwoa Aboah.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the fact that, almost two years on from the tragedy, nobody has been held accountable and there have been no arrests. It follows previous activity that saw the campaign position three billboards outside parliament, a nod to the film ‘Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri’.

“The fire at Grenfell Tower is the unfashionable side of London where 72 people needlessly lost their lives. Their deaths will not be in vain. We are honoured to be part of LFW that will assist our campaign in keeping a global focus on what happened at Grenfell and to support the bereaved families in their continued fight for truth and justice,” says Yvette Williams Justice4Grenfell campaign coordinator.

White Stuff hires first customer director

White Stuff has hired Boden’s former top marketer Penny Herriman to the newly-created role of customer director as it looks to drive digital transformation.

Herriman will join in April and lead all aspects of White Stuff’s customer strategy, marketing and creative. She will sit on the exec team and report directly into CEO Jo Jenkins.

Herriman most recently worked at Boden, where she was global brand director and is credited with leading an overhaul of the brand that drove growth in its three core market: the US, Germany and the UK. She also led an expansion of the brand’s digital presence, wholesale partnerships with the likes of Nordstrom and John Lewis and its own stores.

Prior to joining Boden, Herriman worked agency side, including at Leo Burnett and BBH before becoming CEO of WCRS and then Isobar.

Herriman says: “Jo [Jenkins] is putting together a top leadership team that is ambitious and focused on making White Stuff a stand-out brand that truly excites its customers. I’m thrilled to be part of it and can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Jenkins adds: “Penny’s reputation and proven track record demonstrates her passion for driving customer-centric brands. Her wealth of experience in leading business transformation will be a huge asset in driving our growth and ensuring our brand is highly exciting for our customers at every touchpoint.”

Monday, 18 February

Facebook branded a ‘digital gangster’ in government report

Facebook and its executives have been accused of behaving like “digital gangsters” that consider themselves to be “ahead of and beyond the law” in a new report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee.

The 18-month investigation into disinformation and fake news accuses Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg of contempt for refusing to give evidence on numerous occasions and warns British electoral law is unfit for purpose and vulnerable to foreign interference.

It also calls on the British government to launch an independent investigation into “foreign influence, disinformation, funding, voter manipulation and the sharing of data” in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 2016 EU referendum and 2017 general election.

“Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day,” says DCMS committee chairman Damian Collins.

“Mark Zuckerberg continually fails to show the levels of leadership and personal responsibility that should be expected from someone who sits at the top of the world’s biggest companies.”

In response to the report Facebook says it is open to “meaningful regulation” and supports the committee’s recommendation for electoral reform.

READ MORE: Facebook labelled ‘digital gangsters’ by report on fake news

Bose to sponsor Formula 1 on Channel 4

Bose will sponsor Channel 4’s coverage of the 2019 Formula 1 season for a second year, including live broadcast of the Grand Prix from Silverstone on 14 July and highlights of all Formula 1 races throughout the season.

Channel 4 will also be showing full live coverage of the British GP practice sessions and qualifying rounds.

“We’re delighted to re-new our partnership with Channel 4,” says Jorma Kremser, global media manager at Bose. “We’ve had some great feedback of the back of our sponsorship of Channel 4’s 2018 Formula 1 coverage so we’re looking forward to the 2019 season with real optimism.”

Rupinder Downie, Channel 4’s partnerships controller, sponsorship, adds: “Channel 4 will be the go to channel for free to air TV coverage of Formula 1 in 2019 and we’re delighted to be continuing our relationship with Bose, a brand that sits perfectly with our  Formula 1 coverage.”

According to its own research, Bose claims its headphones became the most recognised brand among viewers of Channel 4’s Formula 1,overtaking two other leading headphone brands during the course of the 2018 season.

Bose says claimed ownership of its headphones also increased among viewers from 17% to 21% during the period.

UK ad industry launches Export Month

The Advertising Association is coordinating its biggest effort yet to showcase UK advertising services to international audiences.

Export Month will run throughout March with a series of activities including trade missions to Shanghai, Tokyo and South by Southwest – the first time UK advertising will have its own day at SXSW – as well as events in the UK during Advertising Week Europe.

The advertising industry’s think tank Credos is also launching the first annual UK ad exports report, while the search will begin for UK advertising professionals to represent the country in the global Young Lions finals in Cannes in the summer.

“The UK stands at an important crossroads in its relationship with the EU and the rest of the world,” says Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the AA.

“Export Month will act as a celebration of what we do best in UK advertising – a multi-national workforce servicing a global client-base via a winning combination of creativity, innovation and technological expertise. This programme will showcase these strengths like never before and we welcome all those businesses with export ambitions to join in.”

Porsche prices could rise 10% after Brexit

Carmaker Porsche has warned UK consumers that prices of its cars could rise by 10% after Britain leaves the EU.

In a statement sent to the BBC, the Volkswagen-owned brand says: “As one potential outcome of the Brexit negotiations, there is a possibility that a duty of up to 10% may be applied to cars imported into the UK by us after March 29.

“In light of this, we have chosen to inform customers whose cars are likely to arrive after Brexit occurs to warn them that they may be affected by this tariff – allowing them to be fully informed at the point of sale and, if they wish, to adjust their order accordingly.

“This is a precautionary step in the interests of allowing our customers to plan ahead.”

Porsche sold 256,000 cars across the world last year with 12,500 of those in the UK, making it one of Porsche’s biggest markets.

Volkswagen, which also owns marques including Skoda, Audi and Lamborghini, says it is keeping a “very close eye” on developments in the run-up to Brexit but has not confirmed whether to expect a surcharge on the rest of its portfolio.

READ MORE: Porsche warns UK customers of Brexit price rise

Flybmi files for bankruptcy

UK regional airline Flybmi has filed for bankruptcy amid uncertainty around Brexit and rises in fuel and carbon costs.

Flybmi, which is owned by East Midlands-based airline British Midland Regional Limited, operates 17 regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities. The administration notice puts 376 jobs at risk.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement,” a Flybmi spokesperson says.

“The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme.

“Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe.”

READ MORE: Passengers seek flights after Flybmi ceases operations

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