What We’re Reading—Week Of September 27th

We’re rounding up the most insightful articles for senior marketing leaders this week.

World’s Most Influential CMOs 2021


Forbes’ ninth annual round-up features chief marketing officers who are shaping business, culture and society. The publication’s pool of candidates was drawn from over 500 chief marketing officers and brands from across a wide range of Forbes lists and external lists such as the World Federation of Advertisers and the Brand Finance Global 500. Candidates that were considered had to be active and in their role from at least January through May 2021. 

Why it matters: Forbes’ top five most influential chief marketing officers are: Bozoma Saint John of Netflix, Stephanie McMahon of WWE, and Dara Treseder of Peloton, Raja Rajamannar of MasterCard and Nick Tran of TikTok. Brands seeking to maximize profits and increase engagement can study the strategies deployed by 50 of the world’s greatest marketing professionals.

Holiday Marketing Gets An Early Start With Promos From Target, Pottery Barn

Ad Age

Despite it still being September, continued delay-causing supply chain problems have forced retailers to start holiday promotions earlier than ever. Target announced it’ll host its annual Deal Days event from October 10 to 12. Several other marketers including Sephora, Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn have included holiday messaging in their email communications this month. Introducing holiday deals early marks brands’ way of being solvent and encouraging consumers to shop early before supply runs out.

Why it matters: Experts say that because Amazon has trained consumers to expect on-demand delivery, brands are doing everything in their power not to be the first to admit they’re struggling with shipment delays. Still, Pottery Barn’s West Elm brand recently told a customer: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our global supply chain has been stretched to new levels, resulting in temporary delays.” 

Unilever’s New Startup Program Kicks Off With Eye On $3.4T Social Commerce Opportunity

Marketing Dive

As part of its broader Positive Beauty strategy, Unilever launched a new program to partner with startups and scaleups (later-stage startups with proven growth) that specialize in live streaming shopping, shoppable media, gaming commerce and group buying. Applicants will pitch for the Positive Beauty Growth Platform and winners will receive the opportunity to test ideas with Unilever brands like Dove and Axe. The Platform is a collaboration between The Unilever Foundry and Unilever’s Beauty & Personal Care division.

Why it matters: Unilever’s program is a realization of the fact that technology needs are shifting rapidly in the packaged goods arena and that it must strategize to stay ahead of trends. The beauty and personal care categories are ripe to benefit from a union between influencer marketing, social content and commerce. Unilever, through this program, aims to amass as large a portion as possible of the growth of these segments as they increase by 30 percent until 2028.

How To Determine Whether TikTok Influencer Marketing Is Good For Your Business 


SocialPubli chief executive officer Ismael El-Qudsi implores brands to ask themselves three questions before considering whether to invest marketing dollars in TikTok: 1) whether your ideal customer is active on TikTok; 2) how flexible and creative you want to be with your brand; and, 3) whether your marketing goals align with TikTok’s capabilities.

Why it matters: Although TikTok’s popularity can’t be overstated, it’s not necessarily the right platform for every brand. Its principal demographic might not be your target audience, you might not be willing to go outside the box in ways that TikTok users expect, or you may want to focus more on ads and platforms that offer universal ecommerce functionality. There are a number of elements to consider before hopping on the bandwagon and spending marketing dollars on a TikTok campaign that isn’t purely for advertising purposes, but rather for awareness and engagement.

The Curious Case Of Puerto Rico Within The Marketing World


The majority of Puerto Ricans value the relationship with the US and the citizenship it brings, yet Puerto Ricans also value their Hispanic culture and the Spanish language. One reason many see Puerto Rico as the Caribbean extension of the US Hispanic market is that Puerto Ricans carry American passports but are unable to vote in presidential elections while living on the island. For others, Puerto Rico remains a distinctly Latin American market.

Why it matters: According to Jaime Rosado, owner and CCO of RosadoToledo&, brands that perform better in Puerto Rico are those that localize their strategies based on the uniqueness of its market.

Angela Rodriguez, senior vice president, head of strategy, ALMA, says marketers should be cautious not to lump Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico together with US efforts since the identity drivers and barriers of one whole may not necessarily translate to the other.

Evolution And Opportunity In The Post-Pandemic Economy

McKinsey & Company

The three main trends that the pandemic accelerated and are likely going to persist at varying degrees moving forward include how companies adopt technology, remote work and consumer digital transactions.

Why it matters: Contrary to how companies normally respond to recessions, the pandemic caused them to adopt new technology to keep operations going – from automation and robotics to virtual reality (VR) headsets that enabled technicians to repair machinery remotely. Before the pandemic, about five to six percent of Americans regularly telecommuted. During the pandemic, that figure rose to 35 to 40 percent. Last, consumer pulse surveys indicate that consumers find digital transactions efficient and convenient even on channels that hadn’t tried such transactions before the pandemic.

TikTok Launches ‘TikTok Shopping’

At its first-ever virtual, global brand conference TikTok World, TikTok introduced TikTok Shopping–a set of advertising tools that will allow brands to engage with customers in a more meaningful way.

TikTok Shopping includes six features to better facilitate how its worldwide community discovers and shops for new products on the app. 

  • Direct integration will allow merchants to experience a full commerce experience by uploading products and managing everything from shipping to fulfillment and point of purchase. 
  • Partner integration will allow merchants to continue working with their preferred third-party commerce partner such as Spotify, Square, Ecwid and PrestaShop. TikTok expects Wix, SHOPLINE, OpenCart and BASE to join in the near future. 
  • Users can now visit instantly loaded product detail pages when a brand links one or more products directly from an organic TikTok video. 
  • Brands can also connect directly with users in real-time while sharing dynamic links to products and services. 
  • Brands will be able to include custom, swipeable product cards in their In-Feed video ads.
  • Brands can serve users personalized, targeted ads based on their interests.

The new suite of solutions has been 18 months in the making as TikTok has been striving to make its platform more conducive to convenient and effective ecommerce. During that time, TikTok examined what commerce on its platform would look like through partnerships with Levi Strauss & Co. and Walmart Inc. as well as through pilot programs in Europe via Spotify. 

TikTok Shopping comes on the heels of the platform reaching more than 1 billion monthly active users as of September 27, 2021. Prior to TikTok Shopping, the platform’s organic, word-of-mouth style of content inspired shopping as opposed to providing a place to do it–creators discussed products in their videos and viewers responded by purchasing them wherever they could. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, for example, has 5.4 billion views and strengthened TikTok’s commitment to adapting its platform to the future of social commerce. The new features effectively cut out the middleman and streamline the process of discovering and shopping for brands, creators and users.

“It is a fully immersive experience, and we’re fully integrating…the merchant side and also providing the user a very seamless shopping experience on TikTok. It can be [an] extremely safe shopping environment. People can really see what they’re actually buying and also directly checkout in the app,” said Ray Cao, TikTok managing director and global head of product strategy and operations in an interview with WWD.

Standing For A Data Culture With Tableau’s Jackie Yeaney

Jackie Yeaney is the CMO at Tableau, where she is responsible for empowering and educating people on seeing and understanding their data.

In this episode, Jackie and I discuss how she ended up at Tableau, what Tableau is working on, and how they go to market. Jackie has more than 20 years of experience as a marketer, but she started her career as an Air Force officer. Later on, we discuss what she thinks marketers should focus on and the misconceptions and responsibilities of being on a board of directors.

Jackie says that being a successful marketer “has far more to do with being data-driven, understanding your customer and the market better than anyone else, and putting your energy there to target and be relevant.” She believes companies win by doing these things. Not by screaming from the rooftops.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of seeing and understanding data
  • Maintaining brand voice during an acquisition
  • How to build trust and relevancy with your audience

Key Highlights:

  • [01:58] Jackie’s side hustle 
  • [04:34] Jackie’s career journey
  • [07:51] Who is Tableau? 
  • [09:58] Overcoming the fear of being data-driven
  • [12:22] Salesforce acquires Tableau 
  • [14:01] Maintaining Tableau’s voice in the acquisition 
  • [19:24] Building trust and relevancy with your audience
  • [23:54] The misconception of being on a board of directors
  • [30:12] An experience that defines Jackie makes her who she is
  • [37:04] A topic marketers should be learning more about
  • [39:30] The brands and organizations Jackie follows
  • [41:42] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned: 

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Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

The Washington Post Taps Perrin Lawrence As Head Of Brand Marketing

This week in leadership updates, The Washington Post hires Perrin Lawrence as head of brand marketing, Zip Co names Jinal Shah chief marketing officer, Sesame Workshop elevates chief marketing officer Samantha Maltin to executive vice president and more.

The Washington Post’ Names Perrin Lawrence Head Of Brand Marketing

Perrin Lawrence has joined The Washington Post as head of its newly formed brand marketing division.

Lawrence joins from AI.Reverie where she was head of marketing and communications.

Previously, Lawrence spent five years at The New York Times, most recently as senior manager of international marketing. For a time, she also served as director of audience development for the NBA.

Zip Co Hires Jinal Shah As US Chief Marketing Officer

Zip Co has appointed Jinal Shah chief marketing officer for its US market.

Shah joins Zip from Feather, where she led marketing for nearly two years.

Prior to Feather, Shah was vice president of marketing and ecommerce at S’well.

Sesame Workshop Promotes Samantha Maltin To Executive Vice President And Chief Marketing Officer

Sesame Workshop’s chief marketing officer Samantha Maltin has added executive vice president to her purview. Maltin has been chief marketing officer for the company since 2019 and will now expand her scope to include strategic communications, events and archives.

Before joining Sesame Workshop, Maltin was a partner at Known. She also previously spent four years with A+E Networks as a senior vice president and head of marketing for the HISTORY Channel and H2, as well as 15 years at Viacom/Nickelodeon in senior domestic and international roles.

Focus Brands Elevates Mike Freeman To Chief Brand Officer Of McAlister’s Deli

Focus Brands-owned McAlister’s Deli has promoted Mike Freeman to chief brand officer.

Freeman has been with McAlister’s Deli for 13 years and was most recently vice president of operations.

Pinterest Predicted 8 In 10 Trends Two Years In A Row

This week in social media news, new Pinterest research found the platform predicted 8 in 10 trends two years in a row, YouTube expands Super Chat and Super Stickers access to more markets, Facebook says it’s underreporting iOS web conversions by about 15 percent due to iOS updates, TikTok highlights the power of product recommendations on the app, Instagram debuts a new global campaign and more.

New Pinterest Research Shows Trends On The Platform Grow Faster, Last Longer

Each year, Pinterest publishes what it calls a ‘not-yet-trending’ Pinterest Predicts report that outlines all the trends it anticipates will blow up in a given year. What it found after its last report is that 80 percent of the trends in its annual report continued to climb throughout the year and that trends sustain monthly growth longer than trends on the rest of the internet.

Why it matters: Pinterest partnered with Black Swan Data to compare how trends played out on Pinterest compared to other platforms. Pinterest trends, it turns out, grew much faster than trends spotted elsewhere on the internet; Pinterest trends increased about 56 percent in their first six months while trends on other platforms only grew about 38 percent in that same time.

The details: Pinterest says it predicted 8 in 10 trends two years in a row. Among the trends it accurately predicted would go big in 2021 include ‘athflow,’ ‘skinimalism,’ and ‘vibey lights.’

Another theme Pinterest predicted in 2021: the ‘Bland is Banned’ food trend. Last year, Pinterest spotted the jalapeño pepper jelly trend. Indexed searches for these recipes grew 30x over six months once the trend picked up momentum, according to Pinterest.

Dawn launched a trend package based on the ‘Bland is Banned’ trend and saw 24 percent more efficient CMPs than Pinterest’s benchmark for household good ads.

According to Black Swan Data’s findings, on Pinterest, trends sustain monthly growth more than 20 percent longer than trends on the rest of the internet. For example, indexed searches for ‘forest resort’ sustained growth for 13 months.

Plus, trends on Pinterest usually evolve beyond their original use case, according to the platform, which gives marketers a unique opportunity to highlight ways consumers can apply these trends in all areas of their lives.

Pinterest will reveal its 2022 predictions in a report launching on December 7.

YouTube Expands Super Chat And Super Stickers Access To Streamers

During the latest video in its ‘Creator Insider’ YouTube series, YouTube announced that it’s expanding Super Chat and Super Stickers streamer donation options to users in additional markets.

Why it matters: The full rollout comes four years after YouTube first debuted Super Chat and almost two years after launching Super Stickers in 2019, a way for fans to donate to livestreamers via animated characters.

As competitors like TikTok and Facebook continue to beef up their monetization opportunities for creators, YouTube in July also launched its Super Thanks feature, an animated GIF fans can purchase to show their support for their favorite creators.

The details: With Super Stickers, fans can place stickers in comment streams. The creators then earn a percentage of the purchase price of each sticker.

In addition to expanding Super Chat and Super Stickers, YouTube is launching a new button in its mobile app that translates comments in-stream.

Lastly, YouTube is testing new filters on the ‘Uploads’ page to help users sort videos according to upload date and video popularity.

Pinterest And Albertsons Cook Up Shoppable Recipe Pins

As part of a multi-year agreement between Pinterest and Albertsons, Pinterest users can connect their accounts and shop saved recipe pins on the Albertsons app.

Why it matters: According to Pinterest’s chief revenue officer Jon Kaplan:

“At 4:00 p.m. every day, the number one food search on Pinterest is what’s for dinner, and Albertsons Cos. is delivering inspiring and intuitive experiences that help our Pinners answer that question every day.”

The partnership follows Albertsons’ collaboration with DoorDash, which saw the creation of a Tetris-like game called ‘The Bag’ where users could score up to $40 off their Albertsons order.

The details: The new Albertsons integration on Pinterest will also recommend recipes to consumers based on past searches, saves and purchase history.

Additionally, Albertsons has tapped 20 of its associates to become Pinterest creators who will use the platform’s Idea Pins to create content around their areas of food expertise, including meat, wine and patisserie.

Facebook Shares List Of Actions Businesses Can Take To Counter Impact Of iOS Updates

As part of an update and a best practices guide on navigating Apple’s privacy changes, Facebook said that in aggregate, it’s underreporting iOS web conversions by about 15 percent and that it’s heard from many marketers that the impact on their ad investment has been greater than they expected.

Why it matters: During its earnings call in July, Facebook said it expected increased headwinds from the recent iOS changes to have a bigger impact in Q3 compared to Q2.

Since that call, Facebook has expanded conversion modeling capabilities in its default attribution setting of 7-day click and launched improvements for 1-day click attribution to improve conversion reporting accuracy.

Earlier this month, Facebook expanded modeled reporting for Website Purchases Conversion Value, so businesses may see an uptick in reported conversion values and other associated metrics such as return on ad spend.

Other actions Facebook is taking to counter lost conversions include extending its ability to measure in-app conversions that SKAdNetwork can’t track and launching capabilities to allow advertisers to track web conversions even when they don’t own the top-level website.

The details: First up on the detailed list of actions Facebook suggests brands take in response to the iOS updates is allowing time before analyzing performance—a minimum of 72 hours.

Next, Facebook recommends analyzing reporting at the campaign level, not the creative. In addition, to optimize ad campaigns and decrease cost per action, businesses should consider adding the Conversions API to their existing marketing data setup.

Click here for Facebook’s full list of best practices.

TikTok Highlights Commerce Benefits #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt Phenomenon Provides

As social media giants continue to enhance the in-app shopping experience, TikTok has shared an overview of what makes the digital word of mouth that spreads via TikTok so powerful for brand success.

Why it matters: Ecommerce is expected to grow 14 percent this year and one-third of people want commerce to be more entertaining. For brands, the beauty of TikTok is that users are seeing content they actually are interested in through its discovery-based ‘For You’ page. This type of content invites users to connect in the sharing or creation of content as opposed to advertising that prioritizes selling at consumers.v

The details: According to TikTok, the majority of users report feeling entertained when they use the platform and people say that ads on TikTok are the most fun and entertaining compared to the ads they see on competing platforms. This type of user engagement fuels the power of product recommendations on TikTok.

As TikTok notes:

“Community Commerce, on the other hand, encourages audiences to create entertaining, compelling content that just so happens to feature brands. That content is then shared with and enjoyed by those creators’ trusted communities. In essence, it’s the digitization of word-of-mouth marketing—and it empowers brands to form genuine connections with people in a way that drives awareness, favorability, and sales.”

On TikTok, users can go from discovery to action in mere seconds—from seeing a video about a product to then visiting the brand’s site. As the platform notes, all of this takes place within the TikTok app and happens so seamlessly that the user can return to scrolling their feed as soon as they’re done.

“In that sense, TikTok doesn’t push users along the marketing funnel so much as it guides them through a flywheel—a continuous loop of awareness, consideration, and conversion that happens in the TikTok environment,” said the platform.

Pew Research: Over Half Of Twitter Users Regularly Get News From The Site

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted between late July and early August, 48 percent of US adults say they get news from social media “often” or “sometimes,” a 5 percentage point decline compared with 2020.

Why it matters: Overall, the percentage of users of each platform who regularly get news there has remained relatively stable since last year. Yet as Pew found, Facebook and TikTok buck this trend; the number of Facebook users who say they regularly consume news on the site has declined 7 points since 2020. And on TikTok, the number of users who regularly get news from the app increased by 7 points.

The details: Nearly a third of Americans regularly get news on Facebook, followed by 22 percent on YouTube, 13 percent on Twitter and 11 percent on Instagram.

Twitter is used by 23 percent of US adults yet 55 percent get news on the site regularly. While YouTube is more widely used, it sees a smaller portion of its users—30 perfect—turning to the site for news.

Stark demographic differences also exist between the users who turn to each social media site for news. For example, white adults comprise a majority of the regular news consumers of Facebook and Reddit (60 percent and 54 percent, respectively), yet only 36 percent of Instagram news consumers are white. 

Both black and Hispanic adults each make up a sizable portion of Instagram’s regular news consumers (20 percent and 33 percent, respectively).

A majority of regular news consumers on LinkedIn (57 percent) have a four-year college degree or higher. Additionally, adults ages 18 to 29 are far more likely to regularly get news on both Snapchat and TikTok than other age groups.

Snapchat’s Vice President Of US Ad Solutions On Getting The Most Out Of Advertising On The App

In a recent interview with Social Media Today, Snapchat’s vice president of US advertiser solutions Luke Kallis said that the Snap community opens the app 30 times a day on average and globally, the Snap generation carries over $4.4 trillion in purchasing power.

Why it matters: Though TikTok just hit 1 billion users worldwide, young audiences continue to use Snapchat for more intimate forms of engagement. According to the platform, Snapchat now reaches 75 percent of millennial and Gen Z users while its users spend over 30 minutes per day on the app, on average.

The details: From awareness and shares to clicks, visits, purchases and more, Snap offers a variety of goals and bidding options across the marketing funnel.

As Kallis told Social Media Today:

“We also believe that for advertisers of any size, seeking any objective, there is deep, long-term value in reaching our audience of 13-34 year-olds. This audience is passionate and engaged, and many are at the ages when they’re beginning to build brand loyalties as they go through major life milestones.”

One key to an effective marketing strategy on Snap, according to Kallis, is leveraging multiple ad products tied to a defined advertising goal. For example, Kallis says a great brand awareness booster is combining an AR Lens with Snap Ads and/or Commercials (video ads).

“This type of multi-product execution tends to achieve stronger overall results than any individual ad format in isolation,” said Kallis.

In addition, many brands are finding success running ‘always-on AR.’ When added to a Snap Ad campaign, AR reaches an incremental 31 percent of Snap’s audience who are using the camera.

Warner Music And Twitch Partnership Will Launch Various Recording Artist Channels

As part of Warner Music Group and Twitch’s new partnership, the companies will launch multiple WMG recording artist channels and a standalone music space featuring music-centric programming.

Why it matters: As noted in the press release:

“The move empowers Warner Music’s talent to tap into Twitch’s unique creator-driven model, opening up additional income opportunities, as well as access to Twitch’s fan engagement tools to get to know their audiences better.”

The details: Among the artists that will be featured on WMG and Twitch’s new artist channels are Warner Records singer Bella Poarch and Saweetie plus Atlantic Records singer/producer Sueco.

The standalone WMG space will include original programming curated by IMGN as well as music discovery and regular appearances from top artists. Programming will include ‘The Drop,’ featuring hosts and audiences discussing the latest music news with special guests and performances; ‘Freestyle Throwdown,’ where Twitch rappers have to impress the panel while playing games; and ‘The One,’ where guest artists perform the song that inspired them to become a musician and take audience questions.

TikTok Hits 1 Billion Active Monthly Users

TikTok now boasts 1 billion global users, the platform’s chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas announced in a video on TikTok’s official profile.

Why it matters: The news comes a day ahead of TikTok’s first-ever global summit for businesses, a virtual event where marketers can learn about TikTok’s full-funnel ad solutions, case studies from TikTok clients and what’s in store for TikTok’s future. Plus, TikTok creator David Ma will share how brands can embrace the platform and create must-watch videos.

The details: ByteDance-owned TikTok has had its fair share of ups and downs, from almost getting banned in the US to getting heat for its fatal, viral challenges. Nevertheless, it’s thriving and reportedly has experienced a 45 percent increase from July 2020. Comparatively, Facebook announced it reached 2.9 billion active monthly users.

Facebook Invests $50 Million In Programs To Build The Metaverse

Facebook wants the time users spend online to be more meaningful, so it has announced the XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year $50 million investment in programs and external research aimed at creating a set of virtual spaces where users can create and explore with people who aren’t in the same physical space as they are. This ‘metaverse,’ which Facebook dubs “the next computing platform” will be fully realized in the next 10-15 years, according to a blog post.

Why it matters: Facebook is emphasizing the ways it plans to build this metaverse “responsibly,” which includes anticipating risks and addressing issues around economic opportunity, privacy, safety and integrity and equity and inclusion. To do that, its $50 million fund will produce collaborations with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits and academic institutions.

The details: As outlined in Facebook’s blog:

“As we focus on helping to build the next computing platform, our work across augmented and virtual reality and consumer hardware will deepen that human connection regardless of physical distance and without being tied to devices.”

A few of the platform’s initial partners in building the metaverse include the Organization of American States, Africa No Filter and Women In Immersive Tech. Some of the global institutions that it’s working with to facilitate independent external research include Seoul National University, The University of Hong Kong and Howard University.

Instagram Launches A New Global Ad Campaign

Instagram has rolled out a new global advertising campaign called ‘Yours To Make’ to highlight how users are using the app to explore their identity.

Why it matters: As the platform noted in its announcement of the campaign:

“For young people, identity isn’t defined, it’s something that’s constantly explored. Whether that means connecting more deeply with the people that matter to you, discovering and experimenting with new interests, or sharing your perspective, however a work in progress it may be.”

The details: Instagram’s latest campaign includes a 90-second spot that features creators and everyday users engaged in different activities such as discovering new products, trends and features via Instagram.

Those featured in the spot include hip-hop artist Topaz Jones, gymnast Morgan Hurd, Native American makeup artist Madrona Redhawk and digital creator Justin Yi.

With the tagline “Let’s see who we can be” encouraging people to stay true to themselves, the campaign is already live in the US and UK, and will launch in additional countries later this year.

Interactive Brands Win At Loyalty During Pandemic

Lockdowns in the last year-and-a-half illuminated which brands managed to maintain or gain loyalty through the pandemic. According to Brand Keys’ annual Loyalty Leaders List 2021, consumers chose to recognize established brands rather than support new ones. 

“The 2021 loyalty rankings describe a desperate desire by consumers for a return to normalcy. Over the past year loyalty has experienced a COVID-induced medical and marketplace trial-by-fire, the toughest test of customer loyalty we’ve measured in nearly 40 years conducting loyalty research,” said Brand Keys founder and president Robert Passikoff.

Brands with high customer loyalty can sometimes act as proxies for emotional values that are missing in consumers’ lives. These brands are six times more likely to fulfill that role during certain periods, for example, lockdowns.

Home Depot, PayPal, Clorox, Hulu and Purell, for example, all maintained loyalty leads established during 2020, as per Brand Keys. The top 10 Brand Keys loyalty leaders are Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Domino’s, Amazon, Disney+, Google, WhatsApp, Instagram and Nike. All brands except Instagram and Nike were in the top 10 in 2020.

Of the top 20 Brand Keys loyalty leaders, Discover experienced the largest gain from the 16th to the 12th spot, while Samsung experienced the largest loss from 10th to 14th.

“The stronger the loyalty, the better the behavior shown toward a brand. The better behavior represented by sales, the stronger a brand’s bottom line,” added Passikoff. 

New additions to the list this year include TikTok (#21), Apple TV (#26), Levi Strauss (#46), Red Bull (#61), Walmart.com (#64), Crest (#65), Svedka (#86) and Lululemon (#90).

While this year’s top 100 included significantly fewer new brands than previous years, some brands fell out of the top 100, including cosmetic brands Lancôme, Estee Lauder and Clinique; Vodka brands like Grey Goose and Ketel One; and Insurance brands like Progressive and Farmers.

Some brands’ return to the list through the pandemic reflect consumers’ longing for a return to the marketplace and as Brand Keys notes, “lifestyle regularity.” These brands included McDonald’s (#72), Shake Shack (#80), Mastercard (#81), Call of Duty (#82), Konica-Minolta (#93) and iTunes (#95).

Of the top 100 loyalty leaders, the brands that saw the largest gains included Pinterest (+22), Chobani (+21), Lyft (+17), Old Navy (+17), GEICO(+15), Ford(+15), Dick’s Sporting Goods (+15), Purell (+14), Chase (+12) and Square (+10).

Among those with the largest losses included Zara (-27), Costco (-23), USAA (-19), Budweiser (-19), T-Mobile (-18), State Farm (-18), Haagen-Dazs (-16), New Balance(-14), Sam’s Club (-14) and Zappos (-9).

Because loyalty is emotional and so are consumers, establishing a connection and satisfying expectations are imperative to growth during crises. Brands that make connections and satisfy mostly emotional expectations do about six times better during crises, and always better than their competition, according to Brand Keys.

Brand Keys’ data was derived from a cross-category study of brand loyalty among 1,260 brands in 112 categories between August and September 2021.

Halloween Spending Expected To Reach All-Time High Of $10.14 Billion This Year

After a Halloween-less past year, Americans plan to spend more than ever on Halloween-related items with consumer spending around the holiday projected to reach an all-time high of $10.14 billion. That’s up from $8.05 billion in 2020 according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

With retailers bringing in Halloween merchandise earlier than normal this year, consumers are getting a headstart on their Halloween shopping. Forty-five percent plan to shop in September or earlier and another 39 percent during the first two weeks of October. This gives marketers an opportunity to start their Halloween campaigns early and get a leg up on competitors.

On average, US consumers celebrating Halloween this year plan to spend $102.74 on costumes, candy, decorations and greeting cards—$10 more than they planned to spend in 2020.

Households with kids are estimated to spend more than twice the amount than households without children ($149.69 compared with $73.57) on Halloween items. Spending on Halloween decorations continues to climb and is expected to reach $3.17 billion, up from last year’s $2.59 billion.

At $3.32 billion, the NRF says total spending on Halloween costumes is the highest it’s ever been since 2017. Over 1.8 million children plan to dress as Spiderman, more than 1.6 million as their favorite princess, more than 1.2 million as Batman and more than 1.2 million as their other favorite superheroes.

As for adults, about 69 percent already have their costumes planned. More than 4.6 million will dress like a witch. Other top costume choices for adults this year include a vampire, a ghost, a cat and a pirate.

One in five plan to dress their pet up for the holiday this year—28 percent of those aged 18-24 and 30 percent of those aged 25-34. The most popular costumes for furry friends this year include a pumpkin, hotdog, superhero and bumblebee.

Halloween celebration plans are also on the up and up, with an estimated 65 percent of Americans intending to celebrate Halloween or participate in Halloween activities—not too far off from the 68 percent in 2019 before the pandemic and slightly higher than the 58 percent in 2020.

The top Halloween activities consumers plan to engage in include handing out candy (66 percent), decorating their home or yard (52 percent), dressing in costumes (46 percent) and carving a pumpkin (44 percent). Just a quarter of Americans plan to host or attend a Halloween party this year.

The NRF’s findings are based on responses from 8,061 consumers during a survey conducted from September 1 to 8.

Trend Set: Emily Zugay’s Brand Redesigns, Fortnite x Balenciaga

Ayzenberg junior strategist Ashley Otah surfaces the latest trends at play in the world of culture and entertainment.


Tipping on Twitter just took a turn. Twitter has announced a new feature for its platform which allows Bitcoin payments through Strike, a crypto wallet app. This cements the company as the first mainstream social platform to roll out crypto features for its users. Most recently, China declares bitcoin illegal.

Merch Madness

Colossal collaborations and drops are happening left and right. From Balenciaga x Fortnite, Swedish House Mafia x IKEA, and A&W’s Cheddar Weather, brands are cashing in on limited capsule drops that keep the people coming back for more.


The race to the top streaming spot. Amazon has launched Prime Video Channels in India as they look to expand in the market. While Netflix rolls out free plans in Kenya on Android smartphones, Disney+ brings back a limited capacity of its seven-day free trial.


TikToker Emily Zugay is teaching brands design 101. After uploading a now-viral video showcasing her rebranding skills, Adobe, Detroit Lions, Nascar and more are knocking at her door. While the people love it, they want brands to step up and pay for the promo.


Money matters. MagnifyMoney found that nearly six in ten investors aged 40 or younger are members of investment communities and forums, and nearly half turned to social platforms for research. Social media is becoming a sounding board for the next generation of investors in this modern trading world.

What We’re Reading—Week Of September 20th

A look at the trending articles we’re tracking this week.

Carl’s Jr. And Hardees Bring Adult Swim Toys To Combo Meals

Ad Age

Timed to Adult Swim’s 20th anniversary, the network, Carl’s Jr. and Hardees have teamed up to include specialty toys in combo meals, including the restaurants’ mascot Happy, Space Ghost from Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Robot Chicken from the show of the same name, Nathan Explosion from Metalocalypse and more. Available from September 22 to November 7, the toys will add $1 to the price of a large combo meal.

Why it matters: Patty Trevino, senior vice president of marketing at CKE Restaurants, parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees, says she can’t recall ever seeing a meal targeted at adults that included a figurine or a toy. 

News of the collab follows McDonald’s announcement that it will reduce its use of plastic toys for its Happy Meals.

Why A DTC Shoe Brand Spends Big On Instagram And Facebook


Fulton, a New York City-based DTC footwear brand targeting millennials, currently allocates 60 percent of its total ad spend toward Facebook and Instagram. Despite Apple’s data privacy crackdown and an oversaturated marketplace, the brand has yet to reduce its Instagram budget given 65 percent of its sales are attributed to Facebook and Instagram. Instead, the brand has dedicated 20 percent of the total ad budget to experiment with incremental channels like TikTok and newsletters.

Why it matters: As per Fulton’s co-founder Libie Motchan, Instagram’s retargeting, conversion, performance measurements and optimization capabilities are the reason the platform is a crucial part of the brand’s media mix. “We see it as a tool to help us destigmatize the category. [Shoe insoles] could not be a less cool product or category, but it was very critical for us to develop a curated Instagram,” said Motchan.

The Market Minute: Consumer Brands Are Capitalizing On The IPO Market

Crunchbase News

This year, VC-backed consumer brands that have gone public include FIGS, The Honest Company and Poshmark. Other consumers brands in the IPO pipeline include Brilliant Earth, Dutch Bros, Olaplex, Allbirds and Warby Parker.

Why it matters: According to Rick Batenburg III, a venture capitalist at Cliintel Capital Management Group, consumer-facing companies are going to do well because people know what they are, and people like what they understand. That, and deals are much more accessible thanks to platforms like E-trade, Robinhood and Public.

Why Digital Video And Influencers Are Shaking Up Travel Marketing


According to a Morning Consult report, 63 percent of people engage with travel influencer content more now than they did before the pandemic.

Why it matters: Amid the meteoric rise in digital video consumption, travel brands have a rare second chance to make a first impression; video and influencers are two powerful mediums to accomplish that. Adding an influencer campaign to business-as-usual ad strategies is expected to become the gold standard in travel advertising as it’s been shown to improve sales lift.

Climate Week Kickoff Sees Brands Pledge New Ambitions But Is It Too Late?: Short Takes


Several companies have announced renewed sustainability pledges ahead of the United Nations Assembly and Climate Week in New York City. In addition, Amazon’s Climate Pledge added 86 new businesses to its roster, including Asos, Selfridges and Procter & Gamble.

Why it matters: ASOS and Primark’s sustainability ambitions have been met with backlash over their vague or open-ended goals. Primark is committing to increase its recycled materials and has been working with its partner CottonConnect since 2013 to develop its sustainable cotton program, which now counts 3,000 farmers and aims for a 100 percent transition rate for uptake of regenerative practices by 2030.

Progressive Insurance Appoints Remi Kent Chief Marketing Officer

This week in leadership updates, Progressive names Remi Kent chief marketing officer, Samba TV appoints Meredith Brace chief marketing officer, Xerox elevates Deena LaMarque Piquion to chief marketing officer, Barclays US Consumer Bank taps Lili Tomovich as chief marketing officer and more.

Progressive Insurance Hires Remi Kent As Chief Marketing Officer

Progressive Insurance has named Remi Kent chief marketing officer. Kent joins from 3M, where she spent the past eight years, most recently as senior vice president, global chief marketing officer.

Prior to 3M, Kent spent 13 years at Procter & Gamble where she led marketing for businesses across North America, Asia and Western Europe.

Xerox Promotes Deena LaMarque Piquion To Chief Marketing Officer

Xerox has elevated Deena LaMarque Piquion, senior vice president and general manager of Xerox’s Latin America operations, to chief marketing officer.

Prior to Xerox, Piquion spent nearly 20 years at Tech Data, most recently as vice president and general manager of the company’s Latin America and Caribbean operations.

Barclays US Consumer Bank Appoints Lili Tomovich Chief Marketing Officer

Barclays US Consumer Bank has named Lili Tomovich chief marketing officer.

Tomovich joins Barclays from Grove Collaborative, where she served as chief marketing officer. Previously, Tomovich was the chief experience and marketing officer for MGM Resorts International.

Bank Of America Plans To Ditch Its Chief Marketing Officer Role

Following the retirement of its chief marketing officer Meredith Verdone later this year, Bank of America will axe its chief marketing officer role

According to Business Insider, Bank of America’s head of digital David Tyrie will oversee marketing operations when the shift occurs. With this shift, Bank of America’s 1,400-person marketing team will also be integrated into Tyrie’s digital team.

As Tryie told Insider Intelligence, “Digital has become the centerpiece of the relationship with our customers.”

SiriusXM Announces New Senior Marketing Executives

SiriusXM has added new executives to its marketing team. First up, Jasmin Chanana has been named senior vice president, digital and customer experience. Chanana joins from EY, where he served as managing director, digital.

In addition, Kimberly Wilson has been appointed senior vice president, brand and advertising. Wilson previously served as vice president, multiplatform marketing for Disney.

Samba TV Taps Meredith Brace As Chief Marketing Officer

Samba TV has hired Meredith Brace as its first chief marketing officer in 21 months.

Brace joins Samba TV from Fox, where she most recently served as executive vice president, brand marketing and category sales.

Samba’s chief marketing officer role has been vacant since Randi Barshack exited in December 2019. Since then, head of marketing Jim Tarr assumed the role.