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It's Saturday night.
What are you doing for dinner?
Five Dining Predictions for 2010
Just as many households can expect to rebalance their finances or lifestyle expectations in 2010, the restaurant industry can expect to get back to basics as it recovers from a tumultuous 2009, according to research firm Mintel.
The menu trends analysts at Mintel outlined five projections for industry trends in 2010, and the unifying theme is a renewed focus on quality after a year preoccupied mostly with cost and how-low-can-you-go value deals.
"Restaurants are redefining 'value' on the menu, moving away from the cost savings that were so important earlier this year to incorporate high-quality ingredients, classic flavor combinations and authentic, old-fashioned preparations," said Maria Caranfa, a registered dietician and senior analyst for Mintel. "In 2010, we expect menus to go back to the basic roots of good food and drink."
Mintel identified the following upcoming trends:
As Mintel put it, over the past year chefs have discovered that "simple sells." Industry watchers can expect a greater emphasis on simple ingredients and preparations and classic food combinations. Nowhere is that more evident than the white-hot better-burger movement in quick service and fast casual, where Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Smashburger, The Counter, The Habit and many more brands vie for supremacy of that American holy trinity: burgers, fries and shakes.
In recent months, McDonald's, Wendy's and Denny's have all rolled out their own versions of premium hamburgers, not only to compete with trendy brands like Five Guys, but also to hang on to customers that may have traded down from casual dining and upscale independents during the recession.
On the other hand, Ruby Tuesday recently moved to position itself in a more upscale-casual segment of the industry with its upgraded decor and expanded menu. While the chain is trying to increase its average check by selling more big-ticket items like lobster and seafood pastas, it also is hoping to show that quality and value aren't mutually exclusive. Its bar program is offering signature cocktails and well drinks for $5, but the liquor used will remain premium brands like Bacardi, Beefeater and Jim Beam.
Customers still will seek out menus loaded with "rustic" food made from locally sourced ingredients, including some foods picked from on-site restaurant gardens, Mintel predicts. As more chefs are recognized for a commitment to growing much of their own ingredients or procuring them from local sources -- Chicago's Rick Bayless and Seattle's Jerry Traunfeld spring to mind -- more restaurants will look to differentiate themselves in this way, the research firm said.
Not that the trend would be exclusive to chef-driven independent restaurants. Quick-service chain Burgerville already has garnered increased guest counts and sales with a seasonal-ingredient limited-time offer that changes every month. The 39-unit brand is showcasing local cranberries for the month of November, including a turkey burger with cranberry and jalapeno salsa, sweet-cranberry bourbon baked beans, and a cranberry-walnut tart for dessert.
As guests cut back on actual visits to restaurants, some brands are branching out beyond breakneck unit growth and developing more online-ordering platforms or making inroads into retail sales, Mintel pointed out.
Innovations in ordering are everywhere in the pizza segment. Pizza Hut recently won two awards from the Mobile Marketing Association for its smart-phone application, which it said accounted for $1 million in sales this past year. Competitor Domino's chose not to develop a smart-phone app, opting instead to build optimized mobile-ordering platforms for the Apple iPhone, Palm Pre and Blackberry.
Meanwhile, grocery store shelves are becoming more crowded with restaurant companies' branded items. While celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, California Pizza Kitchen and T.G.I. Friday's have been in the space for a while, brands such as Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Bennigan's and P.F. Chang's have debuted new retail products over the past year.
According to Mintel research, nearly nine in 10 Americans think it's important to eat healthful meals, but 63 percent say that's very difficult to accomplish in restaurants because of a lack of healthful items.
But many chain restaurants have been at this trend for a while, as calls for legislation requiring the display of nutritional information or the reduction of sodium levels in restaurant food have necessitated innovation. Recent examples of more healthful menu initiatives include Dunkin' Donuts' DDSmart line, Starbucks' move away from high-fructose corn syrup and KFC's introduction of Kentucky Grilled Chicken.
In addition, Romano's Macaroni Grill continues to introduce more healthful entrees in its ongoing menu makeover. For example, a reformulated recipe for the chain's scallops and spinach salad contains 420 calories, and a new Lamb Spiedini dish coming out next week contains 505 calories.
Mintel noted that four in five Americans said they had eaten ethnic food at a restaurant in July. The research firm projected that, because cuisine types like Chinese, Mexican and Italian have become so mainstream, "it's time to dig deeper" and feature the staple foods of specific regions, from Tuscany in Italy to North Carolina-style barbecue.
Italian dinnerhouse chain Il Fornaio has integrated the tour of different regional cuisines into its successful, long-running loyalty program, Festa Regionale. The Corte Madera, Calif.-based chain gives its guests a "Passaporto" in the mail and invites them to have the paper passport stamped each time they eat from a monthly rotating menu featuring cuisine from a different Italian region. In December, Il Fornaio will showcase the food and wine of Sicily.
(Source: Nation's Restaurant News, 11/20/09)
Saturday, December 05, 2009
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How to Build a Social Media Campaign
Good marketers see the value of developing a presence where their audience already gathers, whether online or at the shopping mall
Social media is all about sparking conversation, not just online, but offline too. Done well, social media draws us in, delights us, and even offers glimpses of the future. These dynamics overlap into the real world, as people go about their daily business. Companies that understand this and interact with their market at every opportunity—both on the Web and face to face—get the most from their marketing campaigns. And they help to further imprint their brand on the public.
Visit a Simons' Mall, for example, where thirsty shoppers who stop at Coca-Cola's (KO) latest touch-screen vending machines are now in for a surprise. Never mind yesterday's technology, where consumers routinely plunked in coins, punched in numbers, and received a bottle. These new machines showcase video images of bottles that you can spin—virtually—and learn more about the product, including its pricing.
Yes, it's a play on that old-fashioned game, Spin the Bottle. Yet it's also a recurring theme with its smart phone app, "Spin the Coke," prompting fans to post online about how much they enjoy the combination of Coca-Cola and the promise of kisses. In addition, Coke gives consumers a chance to build a community around its most recent beverage offerings.
Such innovation foreshadows new conveniences on the horizon, making it easy to envision a day in the not-too-distant future when consumers might be able to order a Coke on their smartphone and be directed to the nearest deli where a frosty bottle awaits. Talk about one-on-one interaction with the customer.
Coke gets it. And those who model a marketing platform after Coke's can build a foundation where they can not only engage followers and ride the wave to the next generation of social media. Like all good marketers, these companies see the value of developing a presence where their audience already gathers—whether online or in our streets and shopping malls. And by putting themselves front and center, these companies interact with the public, finding out what people want, inspiring spontaneity—and yes, purchases.
Still, as with traditional marketing, a successful social media program must be mindful of consumers' interests. This mission is easy to accomplish, whether by constantly developing tools that help a company remain relevant to its audience or by conducting some research to garner customers' thoughts about an organization's products and services. The best part?
Businesses don't need deep pockets to incorporate an effective social media platform. But they will need the time to engage their market share online, whether through a Facebook fan page, Twitter, or a host of other popular sites. True, not all of these sites are household names yet. Still, they enjoy solid followings.
Below are some suggestions to help jump-start a successful social media platform.
• Keep it interesting.
Run contests that generate water-cooler talk—whether for a weekend getaway, a dinner out, a new wardrobe, or a gift certificate. For instance, JCPenney, which recently mounted a major effort to build a following on Facebook, is running a contest in which its fans show off their style by posting their photos donning their favorite JCPenney outfit.
• Be consistent.
Are you fun and whimsical online? Maintain that momentum offline as well. Followers will expect that same identity in all of their interactions with your brand. Here, again, Coca-Cola leads the category—playful on the Web and when customers interact face-to-face with its products.
• Comb the Web for free market research.
Don't overlook the importance of staying in tune with your customers. Read what they're saying, whether on Facebook, iTunes, YouTube, or elsewhere. And know when to respond. Maybe they love your product or service—something you may want to build upon, whether through developing new offerings or spearheading a new branding initiative.
Then again, maybe their posts reveal that they are looking for a product or service that you in fact, already offer. If that's the case, let them know as quickly as possible, before they go searching elsewhere. Or maybe they are complaining about a kink in one of your applications; you'll want to let them know you are working on a resolution.
• Stay relevant.
Avoid frequent posts that would not pertain to your base at large. Otherwise fans will lose interest, and worse, begin to consider your status updates as spam. That's a sure way to lose your audience, no matter how great your offerings.
Stick to these steps, and your followers will stay tuned—a surefire sign that your social media campaign is working.
Hilary JM Topper is the author of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media, but were afraid to ask....
Labels: social media
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from my email:
Daily Sales Tip: Persistence Pays Off
Not every prospect buys immediately, but that doesn't stop top sales producers from thinking of each as a customer. They stay close to and cultivate their prospects -- even those who don't buy after repeated presentations.
They send a powerful message to prospects: "I want you as a customer, and I'm going to work with you until you become one, no matter how long it takes."
Being relentless makes the difference; doing more, solving more problems, and discovering more possibilities that change prospects into customers.
Source: John R. Graham, president of Graham Communications (www.grahamcomm.com)
Friday, December 04, 2009
Interesting thoughts about email in the first story... Do you agree?
From the WonderBranding.com blog:
Global Economy = Working Women. Are You Prepared?
Posted By Michele Miller
If you’re a regular viewer of any of the NBC/MSNBC news programs, you’d have to been deaf, dumb, and blind to miss numerous segments presented recently as part of Maria Shriver’s “A Woman’s Nation”  project. Based on The Shriver Report – a compilation of mostly essays and light surveys that chew over old material – the segments shed little light on where women are headed in work, careers, and family.
The one statistic that bears repeating is the percentage of women who are either the main breadwinners or co-breadwinners [Click to enlarge]:
During a conference call with bloggers (worthy of a blog post in its own right – can you see me rolling my eyes?), former Clinton White House chief Jon Podesta  said, “We are very excited about this information. It just kind of snuck up on us!”
Really? Maybe you’ve just been inside that Washington bubble too long, Jon. As a girlfriend of mine said when I quoted her a few of the Shriver Report statistics, “What’s so new about that? We’re living it every day.”
The report you really should be paying attention to is much smaller. It was quietly tucked in the back third of the November 2nd edition of Newsweek. 
Titled, “Hear Her Roar,” the article focuses on the financial power women hold in the global economy – the lead-in to the article heralded:
Working women are poised to become the biggest economic engine the world has ever known.”
Surveys, studies, and in-depth research by such organizations as Boston Consulting Group, Goldman Sachs, and the National Bureau of Economic Research reveal that:
- Women currently control $13 trillion of the world’s $18.4 trillion in consumer spending. That is expected to rise to $18 trillion by 2014.
- Over the next five years, $5 trillion in new female-earned income will come online.
- A narrowing wage gap and rising female employment means that women will drive the shopping process even more than before.
- The new generation of women (with better equality in education and wages), will fill more Fortune 500 CEO positions – rising from today’s 38 to more than 100 in the next ten years.
These facts alone have strong implications – for hiring (wages and promotion), human resources (flexibility in time, work space, and career track), product development, marketing and advertising.
The products, services, advertising message, and customer experience you create for your customers are about to become more important than ever.
You need to start thinking more about transparency, authenticity, and writing to different types of female customers. Just because it snuck up on Maria Shriver and Jon Podesta, doesn’t mean you have to let it sneak up on you. Sphere: Related Content
Monitoring your brand online can be a serious effort - the number of channels and outlets you need to track, the anonymity of potential brand attackers or even promoters, the speed with which fallacious information can spread and ruin the value of what would have once been a carefully planned and thoughtful brand approach.
It all makes for a challenge if you want to build your brand and not watch it be built for you (to either your detriment OR benefit). I think that's what Drew was talking about in this post re: fear.
To do a good job keeping abreast of your brand and promoting your brand's champions or quickly responding to brand threats, you could use paid real time monitoring services like biz360 or radian6. They make sense if you do have a very large brand - they can be great tools. But what if you aren't ready to spend the big bucks yet still want to influence the direction your brand is taking online?
At real time search engines like Surchur (here are some others for you to check out) you can track the majority of what you'd find on the elite brand monitoring services - all for free. Here are 3 tips to using a real time search engine to keep your brand image well above board:
Daily monitoring: Because the real time web is just that - real time - and it moves very quickly, waiting a week or two to check on your brand can be a disaster.
It's much better to respond to a potential threat with a real conversation (a topic for another post) immediately rather than weeks after a comment, tweet or post has lambasted your latest campaign. Enter your brand in a real time search engine a la this Nike example and see your brand as it is happening on the web. You'll likely be surprised where your brand is turning up.
Keep on top of all media types: Blogs, tweets, news, videos - they can all be an outlet for customer expression, and a place for your brand to find life or possibly get squeezed.
That's why we recommend you do more than just look at Twitter Search or your favorite blog search engine. Your customers will communicate according to their preferences and never fit into the neat little box we'd all like. Make sure to find a real time search approach that gives you a view on as many online methods as possible.
Automate the process: Though many of us can be disciplined and take the time everyday to check our brand, it helps to put in place an automatic method for being brand informed.
If your favorite real time search engine has an RSS feed you can follow add that to your favorite RSS reader or homepage like Netvibes. Make that your start page so that every time you open your browser you'll get the chance to see how you?re being talked about on the web. You can see an example at surchur using our previous example of Nike by visiting this link and see how quickly you can get a summary with a feed reader or feed enabled homepage.
Take your brand seriously and build it by managing the real time discussions that are taking place about you - not letting your worst detractors destroy your image with a few random tweets, posts or comments. Also with Surchur's newly released social platform it's easier for our users to influence the search results by voting or commenting -- engage the surchur community to vote your brand up and establish yourself as a positive contributor on the social web.
Todd Hogan is the founder of surchur.com and builds and manages a large portfolio of social media and search websites in collaboration with designers and developers around the world.Every Friday is "grab the mic" day. Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew's Marketing Minute? Shoot me an e-mail. Sphere: Related Content
Labels: social media
What to Do With an Immediate Brush Off
At a training seminar this week I was asked what
to do with a prospect who blows you off the phone
even before you can get your opening statement
out of your mouth.
Should you just call back right away and act like
you were disconnected, he asked.
Well, you could, but really, is that going to cause
them to think how clever you are? I doubt it.
If this truly is a prospect that you want to pursue,
consider some alternatives.
First, consider that the prospect might be having a
bad day, or has just experienced an office emergency
requiring immediate attention. Therefore another contact
might be worth the investment, just not right now.
And instead of calling, try an email, fax or a brief note,
"I have the feeling I called you at a bad time the other day.
I apologize. The purpose for my call was to run an idea by
you that could potentially help you to (fill in the blank with
some result they would be interested in). I'd like to ask you
a few questions to determine if we have the basis for a
conversation. I will call you again on Friday, or you can
reach me at at 800-555-2922."
Is this likely to get a high response rate? No, but any
response you get would be better than the flat out "no,"
and the upside return on the investment could be huge.
Another alternative would be to simply place them back in
your calling rotation for a few weeks down the road. They
likely won't remember.
Go and Have Your Best Week Ever!
Omaha, NE 68137, (402) 895-9399. Or, email:email@example.com Sphere: Related Content
Thursday, December 03, 2009
I saw the KFC Ad last night...
that makes us spend freely or run the other way.
Worth Every Penny
Because of this, he frowns on budget pricing for the high-quality products and services many customers want. Instead of cutting prices, he argues, you should consider raising prices by as much as 10 percent. Say what?
But he addresses four reasons businesses like yours often resist premium pricing. Here are two:
- We don't have the name awareness of our rivals. Although an introductory, limited-time offer can expand a new company's client base, Furtwengler advises against permanent discounts. "Whenever you feel tempted to lower your price because you don't have a well-established reputation," he notes, "Ask yourself the following question: 'Would I rather have the prospect walk away saying 'I wish I could afford his offerings' or 'His price is so low; I wonder if his offerings are any good?'"
- Low price points matter most. Were that the case, he counters, General Motors would be crushing Honda and Toyota. "Whenever you feel tempted to lower your price because you don't have a well-established reputation," he notes, "ask yourself the following question: Would I rather have the prospect walk away saying 'I wish I could afford his offerings' or 'His price is so low; I wonder if his offerings are any good?'"
The Po!nt: Price your product or service to reflect its true value, then show your customers why it's worth every penny.Source: Pricing for Profit. Click here for more information. Sphere: Related Content
This weeks edition from Amy:
Mrs. Claus has needs... on Santa's busiest workday. "Joy Someone." You can't "app" a vacation. Let's launch!
Honda launched two TV spots promoting the Honda Accord Crosstour, dubbed an alternative option in the SUV/CUV realm. Both spots use pronounced polygonal animation and rhythmic music to demonstrate how Crosstour "fits, without fitting in." Equipment for activities ranging from white water rafting, playing Frisbee with your dog and stargazing fold neatly into "Boxes" that fit inside a Crosstour. Watch it here. "Instruments" large and small are transported from gigs via Crosstour, while "Fever" plays in the background. See it here. RPA created the campaign and handled the media buy.
Say your wife blatantly hints that your anniversary's around the corner or your colleague asks if you've read a recently sent email. Now, you can buy your wife flowers and read said colleague's email while on the phone with them. That's the gist of the first of two demo ads for Apple's iPhone. Users can place their caller on hold, make a purchase or check email, then return to the call. Watch it here. The next ad shows an iPhone owner talking to a friend who's unable to look up movie times or directions to the theatre. See it here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the campaign and handled the media buy.
There's no app that's equivalent to a vacation in the Florida Keys. And that's a good thing. The Monroe County Tourist Development Council launched a 30-second spot that resembles an iPhone, "There's an app for that," spot. This time around, however, as pictures of pristine water, canoeing, scuba diving, sunsets and fresh seafood dinner are flipped through with an index finger, a voiceover says, "There's no app for this. Real experiences are always worth more. So unplug and reconnect in the Florida Keys & Key West." Take that, Apple! Watch the ad here, created by Tinsley Advertising.
But how will Mrs. Claus explain the carrot, sticks and coal? Well, the coal is hers for being naughty... A picture of Santa Claus gets turned down, while Mrs. Claus gets turned on... by Frosty the Snowman, in an ad for Boost Mobile. The latest ad in the company's "Unwrong'd" campaign features a reindeer seeing Mrs. Claus in bed with a snowman while Santa is busy working. "What. You think this is wrong? Santa's busy and I have needs," explains Mrs. Claus in the ad promoting Boost Mobile's $50 unlimited monthly plan. Santa returns earlier than planned, so Mrs. Claus takes the hairdryer out to remove most of the evidence. The spot, seen here, begins airing today on MTV, FX, ESPN, SPIKE, VH1, and USA. 180LA created the campaign.
Mammoth Mountain launched a print campaign entitled "Birds of Mammoth." The birds are not what you'd expect. Birds descriptively showcased include skiers, snowboarders and a Horizon airplane, the newest bird flying at Mammoth. Look out for the "California Winged Cougar," "Naked Pale Aler," "Spotted Chickadee" and "Black Diamondback," among others. The ad, seen here, will run throughout Northern and Southern California. David&Goliath created the ad.
My favorite part of this ad is Neil Patrick Harris yelling, "Out of my way, freak," to a green dinosaur. Motorola launched "Valley," an ad promoting its Cliq phone that's equipped with Motoblur. Multiple email accounts, Facebook updates and Twitter feeds merge together in one place, allowing the user to select what's important in a herd of information. The character in the spot sorts through a slew of incoming information and chooses the girl as his main priority. See the ad here, created by Ogilvy New York and edited by Tim Hardy of Cut + Run/NY.
T-Mobile's myTouch 3G campaign is all about you and the ability to individually customize phones. The latest ad premiered during the American Music Awards and stars Wyclef Jean, Avril Lavigne and Brad Paisley, musicians with different tastes. Jean keeps a picture of his daughter close by; Lavigne scrolls through her music collection and Paisley watches a performance of himself interacting with fans. Watch the ad here, created by Publicis in the West.
The Illinois Lottery launched a holiday ad that encourages people to "Joy Someone" by giving others a holiday scratch-off ticket. And by others, I mean "the guy who took away your futon, the man who shampooed and conditioned your carpet, plus the butcher who sliced your beef paper-thin." These unexpected lyrics are sung to the classic holiday song, "Joy to the World." See the ad here, created by Energy BBDO Chicago and directed by Aaron Ruell of Biscuit Filmworks.
Random iPhone App of the week: Like Guinness? Not in Ireland? This app is for you. The brand launched Guinness Pub Finder, an app that allows U.S. residents to "Locate a Pint" using GPS to draw them to the closest pubs serving Guinness. The app provides the name, address and telephone number of the selected pub chosen, access to directions, and a prepared email to send to friends. The app includes access to games, quizzes and "Know Your Pint," a tutorial on the six steps to creating the perfect pint. KICK Design created the $1.99 app, available here.
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If you aren’t speaking from conviction, if you don’t really believe what you’re saying, you’re never going to be a great salesperson. Not unless you’re one of the best actors that ever lived. And if you’re that good an actor, you’ll probably be better off (those you’re trying to sell will certainly be better off) if you just go to Hollywood. Source: Sales author/consultant Barry Maher (www.barrymaher.com)
A simple concept...
Daily Sales Tip: 'Good' vs. 'Great' Salespeople
Good salespeople are polished and professional. And just a little slick. They’ve got a great pitch. They might be very likeable, but they make most prospects just a bit wary.
Great salespeople might be as polished as the Crown Prince of Moravia if that’s who they are or they might be as folksie as Will Rogers or Abe Lincoln. They might be a disorganized sloppy mess and not particularly articulate, though they’re always likeable, very likeable. And somehow they do always say just the right thing. Since they so obviously seems to believe in what they’re saying, it doesn’t seem to be a pitch. They “just seem to make a lot of sense.”
And they’re never slick. They’re genuine. The longer they talk, the less wary the prospect becomes. When the time comes for the great salesperson to close, buying from him or her is often as natural and as easy as ordering a fine meal at a favorite restaurant.
Great salespeople are aggressive and persistent and non-threatening: Which means they’re subtle and likeable enough that few ever perceive them as aggressive and persistent.
If a prospect tells you you’re a great salesperson, you aren’t. What he’s saying is that he feels that he’s being ‘sold’ something he would never purchase on his own. He may roll over and buy, but he won’t be happy about it. He won’t be happy to see you on your next visit, and he’s far more likely to develop buyer’s remorse and re-contact you the next day.
To me, the highest praise a salesperson can receive from a prospect is simply, “You make a lot of sense.” People who say that don’t feel sold, they feel their needs are being met. Of course they may never have realized they had those needs until you walked in the door. And I guarantee they’ll buy more from the salesperson who appears to make sense than from anyone they consider ‘a great salesperson.’
If you aren’t speaking from conviction, if you don’t really believe what you’re saying, you’re never going to be a great salesperson. Not unless you’re one of the best actors that ever lived. And if you’re that good an actor, you’ll probably be better off (those you’re trying to sell will certainly be better off) if you just go to Hollywood.
Source: Sales author/consultant Barry Maher (www.barrymaher.com)
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Every night by 6pm....
The perfect example of this? Layaway. Layaway is a method by which retailers allow consumers to make a purchase over time with the exchange of the merchandise coming at the conclusion of the payment period. This was designed by marketers as a way to sell more product. Consumers were having a hard time affording the items that retailers were selling, so retailers simply changed the way purchases were made. The advent of layaway was a coup for retailers following the Great Depression.
Eventually, layaway gave way to a more advanced form of consumer-based flexibility: the store credit card. Retailers found that, by offering consumers instant gratification by allowing them to take possession of the item upfront, they could charge them interest on the back end. In addition, this new-fangled way to provide the consumer with product also made layaway a taboo topic. Layaway was viewed as lame, and store credit was the chic way to buy things that might have previously been viewed as unattainable. This not only helped sell more merchandise, but it also gave the retailer an alternate income stream based on the interest collected.
All of this continued to work brilliantly until the "punch in the teeth" that was 2008. Consumers' credit worthiness tanked, and retailers' sales hit the skids. The old standby, store credit, was no longer an option. So what did some retailers do? They re-familiarized themselves with layaway. That's right. Layaway is back. When marketers were faced with the age-old question, "how can we get more people to buy more stuff?," they chose layaway. The interesting thing is that many people that fall into Gen Y aren't familiar with layaway's choppy history. This means that the previous reputation of layaway isn't a barrier to its rebirth. In fact, the old technique is so popular again that a new crop of online sites allows consumers to purchase goods from multiple retailers using online layaway. It's quite simple: you make payment to the website for a small fee, and your stuff arrives when your balance is paid in full. It is the perfect solution to what ails the American consumer (for the time being).
What ways are you coming up with to help your company sell more stuff to more people? Have you harkened back to yesteryear to find a source of motivation? Some retailers have as they make a final push to sell more stuff to more people this holiday season. Old tricks are new treats to newer generations. And, believe it or not, layaway may help retailers get into the black as this year comes to an end.
|Peter Dunn is the Gen Y financial expert who created the successful financial education programs Green Candy and 60 Days to Change. His book, "60 Days to Change: A Day by Day Guide to Changing Your Financial Life in Just 60 Days," will be published in the fall of 2009. Peter appears regularly on Fox Business News and Studio B with Shepard Smith. He is also the host of the popular radio show "Skills Your Dad Never Taught You" on News Talk 1430 (WXNT). Peter blogs regularly at www.petetheplanner.com/blog. Email him or follow him on Twitter. Reach him here.|
Michael Jordan, the flying, tongue wagging basketball superstar was a failure.
For some reason, he thought he could translate his basketball skills to the baseball diamond.
Didn't work. But he redeemed himself by continuing playing basketball.
Oh, and I understand he also could hit a golf ball.
There were some questions about his personal life, but he is not damaged goods.
Tiger Woods can also hit a golf ball, with the same success that MJ had on the basketball court.
However right now, he is also damaged goods. Skip from Maple Creative has some advice for Tiger along with you and me:
Unless you've been living under a rock (or you were "hiking the Appalachian Trail" over the weekend), you know that Tiger Woods is in a tight spot. Figuratively, his ball is in a deep fairway bunker, and he's lying 3 on a tough par-5 ... 255 yards out, with a tree blocking his line to the green.
Yes, something happened at 2:00 in the morning on Friday. We may never know what. Details are sketchy and the story keeps shifting. Today, Tiger released a public statement:
As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore. This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again. This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible. The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false. This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.
There are a couple key things to note here:
1- The statement above rings hollow. It lacks contrition. Tiger is not the victim here. He's a public figure; he relinquished his privacy a long time ago. I'm not saying that's fair. It just is. Tiger is also a role model to many, especially many kids. An act like this one equates to him letting down (i.e., disappointing) his fans. He never said, "I am sorry."
2- We haven't seen him. The public cannot judge his non-verbals. We need to see video in order to be able to assess his remorse and his sincerity. Better still, we need to see Tiger with Elin at his side ... happy couple together, working through this together.
With the clear understanding that (1) rehabilitating a reputation takes time and that (2) actions speak louder than words, let's shift the focus toward the public relations strategy. What are the right tactics to use in a situation where a person has made a career-threatening mistake? I would advise my clients and anyone else to adhere to the following ABC principles:
A - Apologize
Admit your mistake and ask for forgiveness. Demonstrate that you have a contrite heart. This is done by speaking in a humble manner and expressing remorse.
B - Be genuine
Show some emotion. No one will forgive an over-rehearsed, stiff emotionless robot. Speak from the heart and use natural, appropriate hand gestures and other non-verbals. Obviously, we don't want to see a blubbering basket case, but genuineness and emotion can be very helpful. This is where television could help.
C - Compassion
Show compassion. The root of the word "passion" is "suffer." To show compassion is to demonstrate that you are suffering with the person (or parties) who were affected. The audience will identify with compassion and respond favorably to it. Perhaps no one understood this better than Bill Clinton who repeatedly emphasized: "I feel your pain." Tiger's last sentence of his statement, calling for some privacy "no matter how intrusive some people can be" simply kills any hint of compassion (for Elin or for his fans).
All in all, the majority of the positive impact, or image rehabilitation, will come in the weeks and months that follow the initial episode. Sorry ... there simply is no quick fix. If Tiger was our client, we would work with him to establish an ambitious, pro-active outreach plan to lead them through this subsequent phase. Ultimately, the key to successfully rehabilitating a reputation is consistently repeating good deeds, rightful and helpful acts, over an extended period, in a manner that reestablishes trust. Hunkering down and remaining invisible will not help to make this go away. The media is not going to let go of this story. Details will continue to emerge, and Tiger (in his defensive posture) will be plagued by such episodes as the story plays out.
ABC Tiger ... ABC!Sphere: Related Content
Sphere: Related Content
from Craig Garber recently:
Every Sunday in my local paper, they have some kind of a
spreadsheet comparing the cost of a basket of groceries at
a few different supermarkets.
So one week, Publix might be the cheapest place to shop... and
another week it's Wal-Mart, and sometimes even the Super
Target gets in there. I don't know, I really don't pay too
much attention to the winner as much as I do the concept.
The thing is -- and these are the little kinds of pearls of
wisdom I'm always looking for -- it's very easy to get
shopped around for prices when you're selling the same
thing as everyone else is.
When you're a commodity, you can only charge "so much."
After all, a gallon of milk's a gallon of milk, regardless
of where you buy it, right?
Same thing with Navel Oranges, Oreo cookies, and Windex, for
the most part.
I mean, if you're a price shopper, it's kind of hard to
justify spending twice the price on Windex when you can
walk across the street and get it at half price, no?
But if you look at this from the outside in, this whole
concept is very revealing. Because what this tells you is
that if you want to charge (and collect) more money than
your competition, then you have to be selling something
This completely removes any ability to "compare" prices.
So for instance, if you're a music teacher, while most
people are offering Music Lessons, you can create a
"Professional Guitar School," or a blues-guitar school, or
a heavy metal guitar school where you "Make your students
into metal Gods" or something like that.
If you're a financial planner, and you're mired in mutual
funds and insurance products, you can sell a "Baby Boomer
The point is, if you want to charge more money, the easiest
way of doing this is by offering something different than
what everyone else is offering.
After all, no matter how you cook 'em... eggs... will always be
If you enjoyed this, forward it on to a few of your friends
and business associates. And if you have any comments,
just leave them here on my blog:
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Tiger and more...