The number of monthly broadcasters on Twitch nearly doubled in 2020, from 3.6 million to 6.9 million. And last month alone, viewers consumed over 2 billion hours of content. As Twitch grows and its demographic diversifies, many brands -- including those that might not conventionally associate themselves with gaming -- are realizing that their potential customers are already on the platform.
Following into the steps of DTC brands like Harry's and Bevel, Old Spice is opening a barbershop concept store that doubles as a content studio. According to parent company Procter & Gamble, the Columbus, Ohio shop will be open to the public for grooming services. And it shows Old Spice trying out some new experiential marketing strategies.
Five months in, and strategic differences between TikTok and Reels are emerging for brands. In particular, Reels has become the platform of choice for big, established brand accounts. In contrast, challenger brands -- and their influencer partners -- are gravitating more toward TikTok. That is thanks to a mix of algorithmic differences between the two platforms and an existing comfort with Instagram from incumbent companies.
Driven by the forthcoming direct listing of Roblox, plus the juggernaut success of Animal Crossing and Fortnite, agencies are springing up to help brands find their way in the gaming ecosystem -- a new and arguably belated recognition of the power that gaming communities can hold for brands of all stripes. Companies with direct ties to gaming, like headphone makers, are no strangers to the space, but most other brands have avoided marketing to gaming communities. Yet the rise of these agencies suggests that brands are finally eager to break into platforms like Twitch and into virtual, in-game universes in games like Fortnite.
TikTok has become known as a "food porn" destination, filled with trends like whipped coffee and mini pancake cereal bowls. Now that the platform has established itself among large retailers and emerging brands, food brands are seeking to capitalize on TikTok's engaged young audience. The latest of these manufacturers is hot chocolate bombs maker Modern Gourmet Foods.
At the very beginning of the pandemic, podcast listenership dipped dramatically due to the lack of commutes. While downloads recovered throughout 2020, brands that advertise on the medium have tweaked their marketing strategies to cater to the new listening habits.
YouTube's build-out of its e-commerce capabilities has been slow, especially in comparison to other platforms like Facebook and TikTok. But starting this spring, the video sharing site will begin testing a more robust shoppable video tool, which could allows for more effective brand advertising.
The ongoing alcohol delivery boom has prompted brands like Anheuser-Busch to move ad spend to platforms like Drizly and Minibar. In turn, Facebook is courting both platforms and brands to advertise their beverages to local 21-plus customers.
For the past several years, more and more people have started abstaining from or cutting back on alcohol during the month of January, as part of a campaign known as Dry January. For startups that sell alcohol-free versions of beer, wine and cocktails, that means this is their month to shine. Modern Retail spoke with founders of startups like Curious Elixirs, Ghia and Ritual Proof Zero about how they are trying to attract new customers this month.
While still a niche social marketing channel, Twitch is gradually being considered by more brands for digital activations. Following in the footsteps of gamer-friendly brands like Mtn Dew, Papa John's and Red Bull, hard seltzer brand White Claw recently began experimenting with virtual events for the platform's engaged users.
With the right video, any user -- and any brand -- can find themselves catapulted to viral fame overnight. But bigger companies figured out those same lessons -- and by crafting their own branded songs, leaning into self-parody and, in some cases, encouraging their employees to post on their behalf, retailers in 2020 finally learned how to use TikTok effectively.
Starting Dec. 15, Uber for Business' Vouchers program has new features aimed at retailers' marketing and customer service. The delivery service has expanded the program, which was originally focused on corporate ride compensation. The company hopes businesses will apply the Uber credit incentives to their customer service and marketing strategy.
Conversations with Walmart employees, interviews with executives familiar with Spotlight and publicly available episodes from Walmart’s Sparkcast podcast give a glimpse into how the growing program is trying to turn employees into a social media force to be reckoned with -- and might presage a future in which retail workers are tapped to promote products, broadcast store promotions and combat bad press.
But the Colgate and Headspace collaboration is the latest example of brands testing out niche smart technology. Companies are looking at collaborating with a whole host of smart products, from toothbrushes to smart fridges. Their reason for experimenting beyond the Alexas and Google Assistants of the world is largely about centralizing customer data. Turning to alternate smart products presents a way for brands to reassert control.
In a pitch deck obtained by Modern Retail, the national pharmacy showcased it vast retail footprint and first-party data. Walgreens is the latest retailer to trying to update its digital program. Over the last few months, it has been launching new digitally-focused services, including an updated app and loyalty program. But it faces headwinds a number of headwinds. Namely, convincing large brands to invest in a niche and nascent media network that's yet to be proven out.
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