In our last post on INFLUENCE, we hypothetically queried: “ Do you ever wonder if John Wanamaker had a branding firm?”

Well, we’ve come to find out that he, in fact, did not. He was his own branding firm. For years, in fact, he wrote all of his own ad copy (and then finally caved and hired the world’s first full-time copywriter).

That’s neither here nor there, except to say, Wanamaker was truly an advertising pioneer, and his approach to advertising was revolutionary. In 1874, he became the first-ever retailer to place a half-page newspaper ad, which very simply stated his four cardinal points of clarity: “full guarantee, one price, cash payment, cash returned.”

Simple. Direct. Done.

Old John was obviously ahead of his time, and understood the power of marketing. He knew what still holds true today:

Of course, he still struggled to engage the hearts and minds of ALL of his customers through advertising, as evidenced by his now famous (and often overused… SEE OUR LAST FOUR BLOG POSTS) quote: ”half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Fact is, Wanamaker had almost everything figured out, but he didn’t have the benefit of technology, algorithms, analytics, and the past 150 years of insight to make his marketing efforts as effective (and profitable) as they could have been.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been discussing a few of the different crucial areas of effective marketing and advertising. Take a look back at previous posts: Target, Track, Reach, and Influence, and you will begin to understand what Wanamaker never had the opportunity to discover. Sure, he was a creative guy and a pioneer, but it is only when you can put all of these disparate parts together in a unified, strategic approach to communication that real effectiveness (and cost efficiencies) begin to make a difference.

Once your most profitable customers and prospects are identified, they should be served brand content that engages their emotions and their intellect. Your core values are crucial to your customers and constituents, but others, quite frankly, don’t care.

SO, Stop marketing to “the others.”

That said, with consistent exposure of your brand to the right people through the right channels, your brand will start to feel like a trusted friend.


of consumers say they will trust a recommendation from a friend, and make buying decisions based on what their friends say. 

So, not that you’re friends… What’s next?


Design is the means by which brands build emotional connections.

When it comes to consumer buying decisions, the fact is, we don’t purchase on fact. Humans make decisions based on emotions and then rationalize them with logic.

Customers who feel emotionally connected to a brand or category spend up to 2x or more with their preferred retailers, and have, on average, 306 percent higher lifetime value. They’ll stay with a brand an average of 5.1 years (compared to 3.4 years of satisfied customers), and recommend brands at more than 3 times the average rate. (total retail)

The value of emotional connection isn’t theoretical; it’s quantifiable. The data clearly shows that emotionally connected customers spend more, stay with brands longer, and recommend them at higher rates. And because these emotions are consistent and predictable, marketers can use them as a foundation to develop sustainable campaigns and marketing strategies.

At blu, we believe the very best way to make emotional connections is through storytelling. Stories bring us together; they allow perspectives to be influenced and changed because — when told well — stories are personal, impassioned, and real. And studies show that’s what consumers want today more than anything else.

Our creative team will tell your brand narrative in a unique and refreshing way while building emotional connections with your consumers. Combined with our data analytics, we get to the pulse of your brand by digging deeper and constantly asking the question “what if?” We focus on learning your industry in order to fine-tune verbal messages and creative assets. That way, you are positioning your brand in the right way, at the right time and to the right people.

Don’t be a Wanamaker.

John Wanamaker was a brilliant guy. He set the standard by which a lot of marketing strategies have been created and judged for more than 150 years. But he couldn’t see the whole picture. His tactics and understanding of his customers were limited by the moment in history during which he operated.

But things have changed. It’s a new day. We have access to untold insights, data, creativity, and resources that allow us all to KNOW where our marketing budgets are spent… and where they should be spent to make a difference in our customers’ lives, and our bottom lines.

Blu can help you track your total marketing spend to the very cent through our 24/7 web portal. From creating content that engages emotionally and rationally with individuals, to posting content on channels that engages your most potentially profitable customers, to tracking that customer to a sale or transaction. We can show you where every last nickel of your ad budget is sparking results. Learn more about our Brandwashing process.

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