LAUNCHING NOOK COLOR by Fleishman Hillard for Barnes And Noble

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Industry Electronic Devices & Home Appliances
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Fleishman Hillard
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Technology and Manufacturing
Advertiser: BARNES & NOBLE
Product/Service: NOOK COLOR
Chief Executive Officer: William J. Lynch (Barnes & Noble)
President, Digital Products: Jamie Iannone (Barnes & Noble)
Sr. Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs: Mary Ellen Keating (Barnes & Noble)
Director of Corporate Communications: Carolyn Brown (Barnes & Noble)
Corporate Communications Manager: Arielle Berlin (Barnes & Noble)
Vice President, Digital & Channel Marketing, Corporate & Credit Cards: Sasha Norkin (Barnes & Noble)
Sr. Vice President & Senior Partner, Marketing Communications: Heidi Hovland (Fleishman-Hillard)
Sr. Vice President & Senior Partner, Marketing Communications: Lisa Dimino (Fleishman-Hillard)
Vice President, Marketing Communications: Shanee Goss (Fleishman-Hillard)
Senior Account Executive, Marketing Communications: Brittany Roth (Fleishman-Hillard)
Sr. Vice President & Senior Partner, Director of Content Development: Nick Childs (Fleishman-Hillard)
President & Chief Executive Officer: Dave Senay (Fleishman-Hillard)
President & Sr. Partner, U.S Eastern Region: Steve Hardwick (Fleishman-Hillard)
Sr. Vice President, Marketing Communications: Laura Russo (Fleishman-Hillard)
Sr. Vice President & Sr. Partner, Business Media: Steve Naru (Fleishman-Hillard)
Sr. Vice President & Partner, Corporate Affairs: Melody Kimmel (Fleishman-Hillard)
Managing Supervisor, Marketing Communications: Lauren Naru (Fleishman-Hillard)
Sr. Vice President, Marketing Communications: Maria Dottori (Fleishman-Hillard)
Sr. Vice President & Partner, Marketing Communications: Russell Grant (Fleishman-Hillard)
Design Director: Peter Farago (Farago Design)
Media placement: Press Release And Launch Event - Incl. Google, Yahoo! News, Wall Street Journal, Etc. - October 2010
Media placement: Broadcast - CNN, CNBC, ABC News, Etc. - October 2010
Media placement: Print & Wires - New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, AP, Reuters, Etc. - October 2010
Media placement: Online - CNET, PC Magazine, Mashable, Gartner, CNN Money, Engadget, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, - October 2010
Media placement: B-Roll - Various Outlets Including ABC News, CNBC, Bloomberg TV And Others - October 2010
Media placement: Ongoing Media Relations - HARPER’S BAZAAR, Woman’s Day, Travel + Leisure, CBS Early Show, Live With Regis - October 2010- January 2011
Media placement: Social Media – Counsel And Blogger Ambassador Program -,,, - October – December 2010

Summary of the Campaign

Amid an explosion in digital reading, Barnes & Noble (B&N) prepared to unveil NOOK Color, the first full-colour touch dedicated eReading device and the most important launch in the brand’s 40-year history.
The world’s largest bookseller leveraged its deep understanding of changing reading habits to create a game-changing device that was not only technologically superior, but designed specifically for people who love to read everything – books, magazines, children’s books and more – in vibrant, vivid colour.

From the unique positioning as the first Reader’s Tablet to the unorthodox technology launch event and a carefully calibrated media strategy, the team orchestrated a unique and seamless debut for NOOK Color and created an overnight blockbuster. The rave reviews calling NOOK Color – the best dedicated eReader, best colour eReader and best Android tablet, along with other positive coverage, helped to quickly make NOOK Color the company’s best-selling product and the entire NOOK line the overall best-seller over B&N’s four decade history. With NOOK Color’s strong introduction, B&N grew its share of the eBook market 20% and reinforced its leadership position in the bookselling and technology industries by successfully communicating a laser focus on what America’s favourite bookstore knows best: reading.

The Situation
In 2010, the eReader market became as suspenseful as any best-selling thriller. Apple’s iPad, a multi-functional colour tablet with eReading capabilities, served up a major plot twist to the quickly growing digital reading market, long defined by Amazon’s black-and-white Kindle.

NOOK Color was developed expressly for people who love to read everything. While Kindle is fine for reading books, and the iPad’s color is burdened with weight and a steep price, NOOK Color marries the ideal form factor – sleek, light, compact, with a stunning colour touch display, and the most expansive collection of books, magazines, newspapers and children’s books.

The Goal
- Establish a differentiated market position to drive trial, sales and further increase market share for NOOK Color and B&N.

- Elevate the status/influence of B&N as a leader in the digital reading space through third-party endorsement by influential technology and consumer media.

B&N’s research with its female-skewed customers revealed shifting reading trends, including an increasing appetite for "snackable content." These insights helped B&N successfully create a product that would transform the way people read. B&N had succeeded in combining the functionality and convenience of a dedicated eReader with the benefits of a 7-inch wireless tablet.

The Strategy
To clearly differentiate NOOK Color and reinforce B&N’s vision, business strategy, promise and commitment, we employed the following strategies:

- Create an unexpected and non-traditional launch event. The introduction would clearly signal the Barnes & Noble difference in digital reading.

- Create a first-to-market, differentiated positioning. To effectively define and own this leadership position, FH dubbed NOOK Color the first-ever Reader’s Tablet, designed explicitly for people who love to read everything and for whom reading in brilliant colour is the killer app.

- Move quickly to maximize the lucrative holiday shopping opportunity. The team worked aggressively to closely manage product reviews with the "make-or-break" technology influencer media, while also moving swiftly to secure holiday gift guide and other lifestyle coverage, particularly as holiday issues were closing.

We unveiled NOOK Color at the company’s Union Square store in New York City to more than 150 publishing partners and other VIPs, including a "who’s who" of leading business, technology and consumer media and industry analysts.

The event opened with a small-scale theatre production, complete with actors, dancers, a high-concept set with a giant, rotating NOOK Color replica and original music score, conceived to showcase a technology product as only B&N can: from the reader’s perspective. The dramatic presentation demonstrated "A Day in the Life" of NOOK Color’s bulls-eye consumer, a busy woman with a multi-dimensional life and diverse reading habits. Keynotes from B&N executives, media Q&A and NOOK Color demonstrations followed.

Following the event, the team meticulously briefed leading technology reviewers, clearly distinguishing NOOK Color from competitors. This carefully orchestrated effort resulted in high praise and critical acclaim from leading technology and consumer media.

Documented Results

On the strength of NOOK Color’s Reader’s Tablet positioning, B&N:

Experienced immensely successful sales
- NOOK Color drove the company’s strongest holiday sales in a decade.
- Device sales helped increase holiday season eBook sales 78% over 2009.
- The entire NOOK line became B&N’s biggest best-seller ever (ahead of sensations like Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code).

Gained credibility with influencer endorsements
- "Best Standalone Color eBook Reader," "Best Dedicated eReader" and "Best Android Tablet of the Year" by Consumer Reports, Associated Press and Gizmodo, respectively.
- Gartner’s leading industry analyst: B&N "nailed it" with the Reader’s Tablet positioning.
- The Wall Street Journal: "unapologetically focused on reading."

Cemented B&N as a leader in digital reading
- Drove a 20% increase in B&N’s share of the fast-growing eBook market by early 2011 – greater than the company’s significant share in the physical book market.