Fascinating stories from the world of business this week included Lego’s bold move to finally create a safe social network online for kids, Starbucks’ growing pains from its mobile app that perhaps works too well, a new startup that will pay business travelers to skip the hotel mini bar to save money, and how augmented reality may transform home buying. And on the gadget side, a cargo robot that follows you around and carries your stuff. I’ll be back on Monday next week with a special SUPER BOWL edition of this newsletter featuring my pics for the best and worst of ads launched this weekend (as I have done for the last eight years)!
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Is Starbuck’s Mobile App Getting Too Popular?As the mobile orders flood in, Starbucks customers who walk up and order regularly are being forced to wait, creating unintentional chaos. This is the downside of Starbucks’ deep mobile integration … they are hitting this issue before other retailers. As they respond, any brand considering better multichannel integration should be watching and learning from what CEO Schultz decides to do next.
Startup Rewards Business Travelers For Skipping The Hotel Mini BarMany corporate travelers have bad habits when it comes to spending … from buying $12 bottles of water in hotels to paying unnecessary change fees. Startup TripAction wants to incentivize them to save by offering gift card rewards for keeping travel expenses under control. The market seems to think it’s a great idea as the startup just closed over $14M dollars in funding.
How To Save Yourself From a Brand Naming #FailIf you have ever struggled to name a product or company or startup – this very smart app called Viable from the team at i-Strategy Labs will help. Simply put in your desired name and the app will search everything from available domain names to trademark databases to quickly let you know how viable your brand name might be.
Forget Drones … Get A “Cargo Robot” To Carry Your Stuff InsteadThis cute little robot is designed to follow the wearer of a special belt and navigate its own route to help you carry just about anything you like. It is easy to see how useful this might be … particularly for the user who is not particularly worried about the inevitable stares and attention this autonomous cargobot known as the “Piaggio Gita” will attract. Now they just need to build a little army that can be dispatched to help when you are moving house.
Can Augmented Reality Be A Realtor’s Best Friend To Sell Houses?Home buyers are getting used to virtual tours, but this past week Realtor.com went a step further, announcing two new mobile app features: Street Peek and Sign Snap. The first lets you use augmented reality to see information about any home on a particular street, and the second lets you scan any “For Sale” sign to pull up a home’s listing. Of course you’ll still need a realtor to access that lockbox and get inside …
Lego Launches New Safe Social Network For KidsCreating a social network that is truly safe for kids requires something that most brands are hard pressed to invest in: real human moderators … but if any brand can do it, it would be Lego. The brand just announced a new community where kids can share their creations, get judged by Lego experts and even create their own emojis. Data gathering plus deeper brand engagement … if it works, this idea will make Lego into even more of a brand powerhouse than it already is.
How Are These Stories Chosen?
Every week I review more than a hundred data sources to curate the best and most under appreciated marketing stories of the week. The aim of this email is to spotlight these “non-obvious” stories, along with a quick take on why they matter for you. I hope you find this email interesting and useful … and am always open to your suggestions on how I might make it better!