The Mannequins of NRF 2014

While we have been spending most of our time covering various keynotes and breakout sessions, one thing we noticed at Retail’s Big Show this year is that many exhibitors have stepped up their mannequin game.

We have clocked countless miles wandering around the Expo Hall floors, snapping photos for our twitter feed, and we thought we would compile a few of them into a post here on Merchandising Matters for our readers who might not have been able to attend NRF this year.

So here they are, the mannequins of NRF 2014.







Life Is Good CEO on how Joy, Compassion, and Optimism help grow your Brand

Good retailers obsess over what their customers think and feel about. Core values begin to emerge as a result that humanize their brand, streamline their messaging, and grow their brand through community engagement and customer experience.


This was the topic of Tuesday morning’s NRF Big Show 2014 keynote session featuring BJ Bueno, Founder of The Cult Branding Company and Bert Jacobs, Co-Founder and CEO of Life Is Good.

BJ took the stage to outline the three core values that every good brand should strive to embody. In doing so, retailers create a level of communication with their customers that goes beyond transactions and reinforces their emotional connection with the brand.

Those core value are:

  • Joy – Coca Cola launched a happiness campaign that allowed their brand advocates to experience the emotional power of the stories featured in their campaign. As a result, consumers continue to love a brand who is already powerful.
  • Compassion – Google has a program to help executives become more compassionate and have genuine empathy for their customers.
  • Optimism- The power of optimism can transcend the cynicism that comes with age. Bert Jacobs at Life Is Good realized this when the bottom feel out of a box of t-shirts he as carrying through the rain and landed in the mud.

It was then time for Bert himself to take the stage. Clad in a t-shirt and armed with frisbees, he addressed the crowd saying “you are not retailers, you are people, you are people that love to laugh and have fun.”

“You were not made for retail,” he continued, “retail was made for you.”

He talked to the issue of the cynicism and how it grows inside us as we get older. He believes “Life Is Good” as a slogan is about maintaining that openness of when we were kids. For large-scale retailers, this is achieved by finding causes that align with their brand’ score values and nurturing them through them. As he put it “takers eat well, givers sleep well,”

As brands think about how to best convey their core values and messaging Jacobs has one piece of advice; “keep brand ideals simple and people will get it in an instant.” Simplicity and authenticity help your message grow your audience base which, in turn, leads to increased sales and brand engagement.

We have entered a world where customers are the co authors of your brand. “If they see something that is not authentic they will tear your business down,” said Jacobs. “If they see something that is authentic they will build it up.”

He then hurled another frisbee into the crowd.

A look at SAP and Motorola Solutions at NRF 2014

There are a record number of exhibitors and attendees at the 103rd annual Big show by NRF. Two companies front and center at this year’s show are SAP and Motorola Solutions. We thought we would put together a quick post to show off both, and if you saw the lines outside each booth you would appreciate he lengths we had to go to to get these.

In the interest of transparency, we will admit that Merchandising Matters operates under RBM Technologies, a company represented at both booths.

Want to learn more? Stop by booth 1501 (Motorola Solutions) and 3205 (SAP) and see for yourself. They are both very active on social media and you can follow them at @MotoRetail and @SAP_Retail