Joel Rubinson

President, Rubinson Partners, Inc.

Joel is President of Rubinson Partners, Inc. marketing and research consulting for a brave new world. Prior to that, as Chief Research Officer at The ARF, Joel interacted directly with hundreds of research leaders and drove the organization’s initiatives regarding notably:

  • Research transformation (designing the future of the profession)
  • 360 media and marketing
  • Social media and listening
  • Online research data quality
  • Shopper insights

Joel helped build awareness of the ARF and its priorities by building a sizable social media presence via a blog that achieved thousands of page views each month and with a twitter profile of nearly 3,000 followers.

Prior to joining the ARF, Joel was Senior Vice-President, Head of Advanced Solutions for Synovate North America where he was their leading branding resource and was also the global thought leader for shopper research. Before joining Synovate, Joel was at the NPD Group for many years, leading the creation of tools for brand equity management (BrandBuilder), new product forecasting (ESP), category management and designed many of their data collection and sampling methodologies as NPD changed from paper diaries to online research. Joel started his research career at Unilever.

Joel is also a published author of numerous papers in professional journals and frequent speaker at industry conferences. He has taught the official American Marketing Association advanced tutorial on brand loyalty and lectured at Columbia, NYU, Wharton, Amos Tuck School, and University of Rochester, among others. Joel holds an MBA in statistics and economics from the University of Chicago and a BS from NYU.

  • Posted on: 06/21/2021

    Can Victoria’s Secret shift its brand image from sexy to empowering?

    You know, I really think this might have been based on an over-reliance on "right-think." In social media, those ideas are very prominent, but I suspect not so much on main street USA. I prefer Dove's approach ... the real meaning of beauty. Their sketches campaign was absolutely brilliant.
  • Posted on: 06/16/2021

    Is simpler better for rewards programs?

    Simplicity always wins! Why do you think Google and Amazon are so successful? I have often said any website needs to be as intuitive as buying a book from Amazon the first time. About the structure, I think airline award-style programs with high thresholds would only suffer from those who might think they will never get to an award level. As such, smaller awards along the way would encourage continued participation and initial signup, BUT IT HAS TO BE SIMPLE! Please, no gamification ideas or badges ... that would be so 2005!
  • Posted on: 06/14/2021

    Is Netflix about to replicate Disney’s product merchandising success?

    Interesting. Merchandise for shows like Stranger Things should be a hit. One more advantage -- they KNOW who watched what shows! This makes the targeting of e-mails, ads, and personalization on sign-in off-the-charts effective. Although the discussion topic doesn't call for this comment, the BIG idea is for them to start taking advertising.
  • Posted on: 06/08/2021

    Will prescription med discounts help Walmart+ gain ground on Amazon Prime?

    This is an area where Walmart is ahead of Amazon. For Walmart to press this advantage now, before Amazon can respond, is brilliant. Also, Rx medication has a barrier to switching that doesn't exist for other products so this can be a great lock-in strategy for Walmart. Overall, very good move.
  • Posted on: 05/25/2021

    Organized theft is turning San Francisco into retail’s wild west

    Thank you for this comment. This is part of the reverberating effects of going soft on crime. The "no bail," "reduce police presence," etc. clustering of beliefs that seem to typify so many of our cities' leaders is just so destructive....
  • Posted on: 05/24/2021

    Do chatbots need to be more likable?

    I love technology but not this! I HATE it when you call customer service, knowing you need a person and you get six levels of press 1 for this and 2 for that. Chatbots are just another manifestation of the marketer saying "I care more about efficiency of my staff than I care about your time and frustration, my customer."
  • Posted on: 05/14/2021

    Should retailers continue to require associates and customers to wear masks?

    I think retailers need to follow guidelines that come from the CDC but can be superseded by state rules. Whatever the governing guidelines are, I think that there will be a phase where retailers have their associates wear masks but where they no longer mandate that customers must wear them. Err on the side of caution regarding associates though for both safety and also to send a signal. Remember, even when the guidelines say masks are no longer required, many customers will still wear them because they are still afraid of getting sick. Associates wearing masks will make them feel comfortable in their personal decision.
  • Posted on: 05/13/2021

    Simon says J.C. Penney is ready to become a 21st century retailer

    Certainly name recognition is high and I would not say there is baggage that prevents reinvention. turning around J.C. Penney and the future of malls are certainly related ideas and I think "shopping therapy" might be the key to both challenges.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2021

    Will going low lift up Bed Bath & Beyond’s sales and profits?

    My guess is that Home Goods has been a big thorn in the side of Bed Bath & Beyond. Home Goods promises exploration, with the idea of finding some really good deals on things you need or on things you didn't know you needed! This new private label line by Bed Bath & Beyond is probably the best response they could have. I think it is a winning idea.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2021

    Simon CEO says Americans are experiencing ‘euphoria’ as they return to malls

    The human experience factor cannot be dismissed, but it could also be a bit of nostalgia. The long-term trends are clearly headed in one direction -- down -- without reinvention. This makes me personally sad, but the trend towards online only accelerated during Covid.
  • Posted on: 05/06/2021

    Will a new subscription program make Circle K a daily stop for members?

    This is perfect for workers who are on the road every day! Just speaking from personal family experience, I think it is most likely an offering for a blue collar outdoor worker (they stop and get pre-made sandwiches and snacks too). Not sure how they will police people not stopping multiple times or a crew (gardeners for example) not all piggybacking on one person's monthly plan. Anyway, I think this program will be a winner.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2021

    Kroger CEO says no one has the ‘data and insights’ that it has

    I have been working with leadership there and it is their whole culture not just the data assets. They will win on data and analytics because that is how they are viewing the transformation of marketing, personalization, and retailing. Kay, who leads their media team, was quoted recently in an article by Jack Neff at Ad Age that was based on a new brand growth framework I designed. Her comments would be illuminating on this issue.
  • Posted on: 04/01/2021

    Do consumers see brand activism as genuine or simply pandering?

    There is also the other issue. The majority of America is repulsed by cancel culture but will not express that opinion except by tacit boycotts. NFL TV ratings reveal this. Marketers have to realize the need to celebrate common ground.
  • Posted on: 03/19/2021

    How are 2020’s wacky comparisons affecting retailers now?

    I think the biggest challenge might be managing how investors and the financial markets process growth numbers. Can they be "trained" to look at comps a different way because of COVID-19? I hope so, but so much of the stock market pricing is based on emotional aspects rather than fundamentals it is hard to know.
  • Posted on: 03/17/2021

    Why is gaining meaningful insights from data still so hard?

    I do a lot of work in this space and have numerous thoughts. First, let me say that insights without predictive value are empty calories. You must have an eye towards prediction or activation for an insight to really have meaning. Secondly, data used for targeting and any form of differential marketing will pay off IF (that's if and only if) you have the right principles for determining marketing responsiveness. An example ... many marketers (include retailers) think incrementality mostly or completely comes from non-buyers. WRONG! Advertising to the vast pool of non-buyers of your brand represents unprofitable ad spending. The great majority of non-buyers have no interest in your brand and will not respond to your advertising. Response comes from the Movable Middle ... those with a 20-80% probability of buying your brand (or visiting your store). Direct disproportionately more advertising to those consumers and you will create a virtuous cycle of profitable growth. If data are used in THAT way, the payoff can be huge to a well organized and integrated first-party database.

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