Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Death of the Easy Button

What does Staples' move into a more emotive territory mean for the beloved red button? Is it a good move or a bad one?

For the first time in a long (long) time, Staples is changing things up, moving away from its "That was easy" platform, which was centred on its Easy Button, towards something much more emotive, called "Make More Happen".

I'm confused.


Heartbroken, even!

After all, like many people, I loved the Easy Button. Not just for its simplicity and recognizability, but for its damn near cuteness, too. That button was everywhere, from commercials to trucks, to an Easy Button that you could actually buy… at Staples.

Check out one of the funnier "That was easy" spots below:

Now, a weird "Unboxing" video for the Easy Button itself:

The goal of this platform was obvious — showcase the range of office and technology-related products that you can get at Staples, and pitch the retailer as the easiest place to get them.

And... it worked.

When asked about where they would go for business or office-related supplies, etc., most Canadians would say Staples (formerly Business Depot). The place was your first and likely only stop for any business or project-related activity.

But "Make More Happen" takes this idea a step further. It's the "business or project-related activity" that's important, not just the products or the store. The heart of the platform is about the "Big Idea", the business or project that Staples' consumers are truly passionate about, whether it's a store or a startup.

Check out the first "Make More Happen" ad here:

What this new platform does is broaden what Staples means to its shoppers, from a place of convenience and ease (a very functional benefit), to a place of inspiration, encouragement, and facilitation (a very emotional benefit, and one that speaks to the heart of every entrepreneur).

The Easy Button, and everything it represents, has been tossed aside for something much bigger.

Strangely, I like this.

It speaks to me, as a quasi-entrepreneur and someone who has a lot of passion for both personal and business projects. Staples gets that its role, and its product selection, is to help me nurture and market and sell my big idea — to help me "Make More Happen".

So, while I shed a tear for that fun little button, I also sit up, with interest, to see where "Make More Happen" will go.

Will Staples truly live up to this new role? Will they use their retail space (as Home Depot and Lululemon do) to nurture its customers' goals and provide a place for them to network and share ideas? Will it use social media and technology to do the same?

I hope so.

It's the right way to go, but it won't be easy.

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