Saturday, April 03, 2010

Who will be your Customers in 5 years?

Or for that matter, this year?

Millennials Could be Your Next Growth Opportunity

As brands evolve and consumers change, most marketers realize that their most loyal consumers today may not provide the growth they need for tomorrow, and that it's important to continually bring new customers into the fold. Could Millennials be your next growth opportunity?

Considering that the oldest Millennials are already getting married and becoming the heads of households, if you haven't already targeted this generation, now is an important time to introduce them to your brand. In fact, at the CPG Summit in Chicago, SymphonyIRI Group speculated that Millennials represent a $50 billion growth opportunity for package goods brands alone.

Do Millennials even care about brands and, if so, what qualities in a brand do they find attractive? The good news is that Millennials are actually quite brand loyal, but when considering how to position your brand with this generation, there are some key things to consider:

How familiar is your brand?

This generation is always "on" and strapped for time as they move through a life stage distinguished by unprecedented upheaval and personal change. But Millennials also maintain strong kinships with their boomer parents and look to them for direction on which brands to believe in and trust. As a result, Millennial brand loyalty is often driven by familiarity. In fact, GFK Roper found that Gen Y-ers define themselves as "brand shoppers," consumers who stick to the brands they know.

Smart marketers will recognize this behavior as an opportunity to connect with Millennials AND their parents. Attracting one doesn't mean alienating the other. Campaigns like Dove's "Real Beauty" worked across generations and Toyota's new "meet the parents" minivan ads nicely acknowledge the familiarity of growing up with a minivan while also connecting with the Gen Y parents of today.

Connecting with both generations can have an added positive effect. Because Millennials are close with their parents, as they age, they are exerting more influence on their parents' purchasing decisions and moving product adoption from children to parents.

Are your brand's values clear and aligned?

Because Gen Y-ers are at an age where they are still formulating their belief systems, they are attracted to well-defined and authentic brands that help to strengthen their values and reinforce the identity they are building as a generation independent of their family. In essence, brands create a sense of community for Gen Y-ers and can even help bring order to their world.

Brands that want to stand out with this generation should offer a vision for how they see the world and offer opportunities for Gen Y to get involved and help make an impact.

Marketers can also celebrate their values in ways that align with where Gen Y-ers are in their life stage: First job/social network, parenthood/optimism, first home/economics, etc.

Is the value you offer clear?

In general, Millennials believe they will achieve "the good life," but given the recent economic turmoil, they are experiencing a struggle between their entitlement ideals and their financial reality. They still see possessions as essential to a good life and they are willing to pay for higher quality if they will save money in the long run. In fact, they aren't as likely as older adults to trade down even in difficult times.

Brands can help bridge the gap between Gen Y-er's desire to spend and their need to save by building savings opportunities into other products. Credit card companies, for example, have done this with "rounding up" incentives that purchase balances towards savings accounts. And while Millennials value great function, but they also want style, too. Brands that can offer cheap-chic or affordable luxuries will help Gen Y-ers straddle the gap between their material desires and need to be frugal.

Millennials could be your next growth opportunity if you can appeal to the right sensibilities today. Gen Y-ers are looking for brands that offer confidence and familiarity, that solidify and reinforce their values and that provide smart solutions to the either/or obstacles they face.

Mike Doherty is president of Cole & Weber United. He is a marketer with more than 25 years of experience creating effective growth strategies for a diverse group of clients. Working on both the agency and client sides of the business, Mike's passion lies in helping clients find new ways to go beyond the boundaries of traditional advertising to effectively engage customers in branded experiences.

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King Copies the Clown

I'd be willing to try it, but Burger King is not convient for me like McDonald's and Arby's are in the morning.

This is from

BK Wages Breakfast War on McDonald's With New Sandwich

Ads for Cheaper Offering Depict King Breaking Into Rival's Headquarters for McMuffin Recipe

NEW YORK ( -- Burger King is betting big on breakfast with a new national blitz to promote a morning sandwich that's admittedly a lot like McDonald's Egg McMuffin, but cheaper.

In a new 30-second commercial from agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, BK's mascot, the King -- armed with a flashlight and donning a hoodie -- breaks into McDonald's headquarters in the wee hours of the morning to copy the recipe for McD's Sausage McMuffin with Egg sandwich. A voice-over says, "It's not that original but it's super affordable ... egg, sausage and cheese on a toasted English muffin." (The sandwich is being sold for a $1 at Burger King restaurants. McDonald's doesn't offer that sandwich on its breakfast dollar menu, but it does offer other selections, such as a sausage biscuit and sausage burrito).

Advertising Age Embedded Player

McDonald's doesn't seem to be ruffled by the comparative ad or use of its brand in Burger King's commercials. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," a spokeswoman told Ad Age in an e-mail. "As always, McDonald's continues to focus on its business and customers."

It seems to be the first time that Burger King has shown a likeness of the Golden Arches in its ads, but not the first time McDonald's imagery has made its way into a BK commercial. In July 2008, spots from Crispin showed a couple of young guys wearing Whopper Jr. and Chicken Sandwich getups trying to go into an actual McDonald's location only to get kicked out.

BK's breakfast assault
The latest campaign comes as Burger King prepares to take direct aim at McDonald's breakfast offering -- a segment that the Golden Arches has long dominated and that accounts for McDonald's most-profitable meal. In addition to the new muffin sandwich, which will likely supplant the Croissanwich, BK has launched a major breakfast assault with a series of product introductions such as the BK Breakfast Bowl for $2.79 and has added Seattle's Best Coffee to its menu, replacing coffee provided by Sara Lee Corp. The chain is expected to be making these new products available ahead of a more comprehensive U.S. breakfast platform launching in late 2010.

For fast-feeders in general, breakfast is fast becoming the most competitive day-part, with players such as Starbucks and Subway stepping it up in the space. Subway's new breakfast menu debuts nationally this coming Monday with customizable omelet sandwiches and combo meals.

According to Gary Stibel, founder-CEO of New England Consulting Group, "the breakfast day-part is very important to the industry and sales and traffic will increase as a result" of increased competition by restaurant chains in the space. Breakfast "has suffered because unemployment is so high," Mr. Stibel said, noting Americans "are not running out of the house at 7 in the morning, so it hasn't received the same attention as other day-parts because people aren't going to work."

Winners and losers
He forecasts that Subway, Burger King and McDonald's will all drive sales with their new breakfast offerings, while some of the losers will be casual and family restaurants that serve breakfast.

"The big winner here will be Subway; they've got more locations and theirs is a far more innovative menu," Mr. Stibel said. "Burger King will do better than they have in the past, but honestly they won't do much better than they have in other day-parts because their products are just too similar," he said, adding, "McDonald's is the best at breakfast and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will react and protect their turf."

McDonald's recently began selling oatmeal for $1.99 at restaurants in Baltimore and Washington, taking a page from the playbook of rival Starbucks Corp. When Seattle-based Starbucks launched oatmeal in the fall of 2008, it quickly became the coffee chain's top-selling breakfast food.

According to stats released by Chicago-based Technomic late last month, restaurants are still struggling to bounce back to pre-recession profit margins. The 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains registered a decline in sales, posting a 0.8% annual sales decline in 2009, with U.S. system-wide sales for the top 500 falling to $230 billion in 2009, down almost $2 billion over 2008.

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The Other Guys

Some practical advice that I follow from Jill Konrath:

Should I mention my competitor?

Posted: 25 Mar 2010 05:59 PM PDT

Recently I got an email from Chris, who is trying to get her foot in the door of companies who are using one of her primary competitors. She wanted to know:

If we offer the same service at a cheaper rate with additional services, should I mention their current provider and then state their missed opportunities related to my value proposition? Or should I leave the name of the provider out all together?

Here's my response:

It's okay to be knowledgeable and state the other vendor's name. Do it in a matter-of- fact manner. State that that's why you're calling.

If you don't, they'll try to blow you off with "We're already working with XYZ Company". Now they can't use that excuse because that's the primary reason you're initiating contact. That's why you want to be upfront about it.

Then state that you offer additional capabilities that can enable them to shrink/minimize/eliminate/increase (key business driver) at the same or less cost - and would like to set up a time to discuss this.

What would you suggest?

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click & Read:

by Karl Greenberg
"Most of cars out there have become commodities and there's a huge underserved population of people out there who love cars for what they were always meant to be: devices for transportation and also symbols of freedom," Dodge president Ralph Gilles tells Marketing Daily. "People who buy Chargers and Challengers feel that way, and I think we can spread that love beyond those kinds of vehicles." ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
To commemorate the milestone, the company has set up a special page, to offer discounts, promotions and giveaways to its registered users. Prizes will include digital picture frames, gift certificates and HP-branded products. The promotions will culminate in a special offer available on October 10 (10/10/10). ...Read the whole story >>
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Dennis Haysbert will appear in several new spots this year, including one that will launch in April titled "Protection." The ad reinforces the fact that because consumers want to protect their families, Allstate provides them with the best protection at a price that's affordable: "Allstate pone la major proteccion a tu alcance." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
Hyundai's investment in Equus is about more than sales of Equus. "The car is about return on image," says Auto Stratagem's Dan Gorrell. "Hyundai's investment in Equus is an investment in PR and marketing as much or more than return on sales. It's as much about the rub-off on the rest of the models." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
Creative appeals to consumers' individuality, positioning Coffee-mate as another way that they can add their own touches to their lives. The integrated campaign spans TV, print, online, out-of-home and radio, and targets both the general market and Hispanic consumers. (It includes Spanish-language versions of TV, radio and out-of-home.) ...Read the whole story >>
by Sarah Mahoney
By differentiating themselves, stores can find ways to boost sales. "Retailer websites that have tools that make shopping easier are one example," says Nielsen's Todd Hale. "We're seeing that consumers are getting tired of all the work it takes to save money, so stores need to remember that shoppers value other things, too, whether it's convenience, variety and assortment, or a focus on health and wellness." ...Read the whole story >>

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No More Boring Advertising

Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads wrote this in September 2008:

Some Things There Are That Last Forever

I recently asked a group of 14 men to share a snapshot from their photo albums of random memory, a vivid image, unfaded, a moment inexplicable, captured forever by a long-ago click of that camera in the brain.

Here’s what they handed me on scraps of paper:

Trish’s laugh as she walked out of the room on the day we met.”


“How my knee bled when I crossed the line.”


Father Caprio lifting the fear of failure from my fifteen year-old shoulders.”


“Game nearly over, rain pouring, no time outs remain. A seven year-old says, ‘Coach, I gotta go to the bathroom.’ I say, ‘No time-outs. Go in your pants.’ He does. We win.”


“The sight of my mother driving into the park an hour after I nearly drowned.”


“Seeing my Dad lying in a hospital bed after a liver transplant, hundreds of tubes running out of his body.”


Trevor’s face after I beat him in a footrace – two things had died – our friendship, and something in his eyes.”


“Holding her hand as we said a prayer and goodbye.”


“Walking onstage for the first time at age 40 to play a sold-out show for screaming fans.”


Seeing my one year-old nephew’s lifeless body.”


“Cleaning two garbage bags full of fish in the bathtub with my Dad.”


Ringing the bell to start a local wrestling match when I was seven.”


“The car ride with my parents as we drove across town to pick out a puppy.”


“Walking through the haunted hallway to get to the playground on the other side.”

(That last one about the haunted hallway almost sounds like a metaphor for life, doesn’t it?)

My point today is this: Each of us lives in a private world alone, trapped by our own opinions, limited by our own attitudes, guided by our own experiences. Sometimes I wonder how we’re able to relate to each other at all.

And yet we create ads under the assumption that customers are all alike.

When writing ads:

1. Never assume that other people think like you do. You’ve got to be willing to see your own opinions as those of an irrelevant freak.

2. Never assume that other people make decisions using the same criteria you use. EXAMPLE: A product comes in two sizes. A ten-ounce package costs a dollar. A forty-ounce package costs two dollars. Half the people will buy the ten-ounce package because it’s cheaper. The other half will buy the forty-ounce package because it’s cheaper.

3. Never assume your ad to be relevant to more than 10 percent of the people who encounter it. There is no such thing as the general public.

4. Never write to “everyone.” An ad written to an individual is always more effective than an ad written to a faceless mob.

Click the highlighted word in any of the quotes above to see how a random quote can be used as a persona-target at which to aim your ad writing.

Roy H. Williams

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Dinner Plans?

Take a look:

The Changing American Diner

The average American consumer has been evolving for quite some time, and a special report by Nation's Restaurant News reinforces the most crucial aspect of that change: There no longer is a typical American consumer.

According to projections of the 2010 U.S. Census by demographic-trends expert Peter Francese, Americans are becoming older, more diverse and increasingly clustered in bustling and multiethnic regions of the country, which affects their dining out behavior and how restaurateurs must adapt to the new consumer landscape.

But as Francese shared his data of shifting demographics and household income with Nation's Restaurant News, he reassured operators that they need not wait for census results to be published to get a better idea of changes to consumer behavior that they could address. The answers are already out in dining rooms across the nation, he said.

"The way in which any restaurateur can keep up (with the changing American consumer) is to constantly be in touch with their customers -- their specific customers," he said. "I eat out a great deal, and I'm always stunned by how seldom I get a questionnaire. Comment cards are absolutely essential, and if you can get e-mail addresses, you can query them back for demographics, but the key thing is to constantly be in touch with your customers to see how well the value proposition worked for them."

In addition to highlighting Francese's consumer trends research in the special report, NRN also canvassed the restaurants of the United States to ask operators how they've seen their existing customers adjust to a changing country and a still-turbulent economy. NRN's staff put forth the question: What's been the most noticeable change in your customers' behavior during the economic downturn of the past few years?

"The most obvious behavioral change is that consumers want top-quality, fine-dining food in very informal and casual restaurants. They don't want white tablecloths and stiff service and are willing to give up dining in grand rooms in exchange for saving some money and having more fun while dining out." -- Shelley Lindgren and Victoria Libin, co-owners of A16 and SPQR in San Francisco

"The most surprising and welcome behavioral change is our guests' increasingly open desire for more stimulation, either in challenging menu items, more obscure wines and varietals, and old-school cocktails with a less sweet, more bitter and herbal flavor profile. We are selling more offal than ever. The interaction between service staff has turned into more of an interactive exchange of enthusiasm, knowledge and adventure." -- Garrett Harker, proprietor of Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston

"The most surprising behavioral change is the way people are coming out -- at the last minute. Between eating at the bar and calling at the last minute for reservations on the weekends, the pattern of business is very different. It makes planning both from a supply and a staff point of view more challenging than it was before the recession." -- Nancy Laird, owner of Restaurant Serenade in Chatham, N.J.

"Guests have become extraordinarily price-sensitive and extremely forthcoming with their displeasure if they feel they have not received appropriate value. Last night, for example, a guest who was here for the first time for All You Can Eat, and who had received a hearty first portion of food but not yet received a 'refill' simply because the kitchen was extremely busy, immediately accused the server of 'fraud.' It was not always this way in the restaurant business. The leap toward litigious terminology is a new phenomenon. This of course makes perfect sense given the economy, and we have come up with recession specials like All You Can Eat to address those needs. Ironically, it is the folks who take advantage of our specials and our many discounts and promotions that seem to be the most extreme in their reactions if they feel the discount or value was not sufficient or not properly communicated." -- John Shaw, operating partner and chief operating officer of Hill Country in New York

"We've seen a definite drop-off in add-on beverages, particularly at lunch. The coffee customer in the morning is continuing to buy coffee, and at lunch people are still buying sandwiches, soups and salads, and they're still getting the bread with it. But they seem to be cutting back on drinks. We're selling the same number of sandwiches, and our soup sales are up, but add-on drinks seem to be suffering. Otherwise, things are still the same in terms of mix." -- Ed Frechette, senior vice president of marketing for Au Bon Pain in Boston

"In regard to the 'great recession,' it's all about perception. Customers look for any kind of bargain, and they are willing to spend money as long as the perception is that they are getting a deal. Patrons tend not to want to buy bottles of wine, or if they do, it will not be anything 'expensive.' They would prefer to buy wine by the glass, as it gives them a sense of control, even if in the end they pay more for four glasses than they would have for a whole bottle." -- David Drake, chef of Alice's Restaurant in Lake Hopatcong, N.J.

"I see that our patrons are really taking their time to enjoy the dining experience. They aren't as rushed to get out the door as they used to be. It's like they are enjoying the simple pleasure of a good meal." -- Walter Pisano, chef of Tulio Ristorante in Seattle

"I've seen the neuroses of uncertainty. They have trouble committing to anything except at that moment. We're getting fewer reservations and a lot more walk-ins. We do a lot of holiday business, and we saw that they'd make the reservations -- on Mother's Day we'd open the books a month in advance and sell out in five days, but the percentage of no-shows is going up. We took to taking credit card numbers (to hold the reservations), which has reduced that dramatically." -- Gerry Kingen, head of Salty’s, which has two units in Seattle and one in Oregon

(Source: Nation's Restaurant News, 03/22/10)

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Building Connections


Wow, What Are the Odds of That?

Salespeople have long known that establishing rapport with a customer can help close a sale. And in these days of the cautious consumer, the tactic of revealing personal information about personnel "has become increasingly popular in sales and customer-service contexts," a group of researchers recently reported.

One of the factors their research focused on was "incidental similarity," where two people notice a coincidentally shared history or experience. The team conducted five tests to examine the effect of incidental similarity between a salesperson and a potential customer in different sales environments.

In one experiment, pairs of participants were asked for feedback on a new "personal trainer program" to be offered at a local recreation center. They were provided a brochure describing the program that included a short biography of a "trainer." The bio was altered for one of the two participants in each pairing to include the birth date of the trainer—which coincidentally matched the birthday of the participant.

The results? "The existence of a shared birthday significantly increased an individual's intention to enroll in the program," the researchers report.

Based on this and other experiments, the researchers conclude that incidental similarity can "play an important role ... in establishing rapport with a client at an early stage." In fact, establishing a connection "based merely on incidental similarities may be sufficient to influence consumer decision-making," they say.

Their advice for managers includes tips like this one: "Merely having staff members put their hometown on their name badges can help to initiate conversation and make customers feel that they are special and more familiar."

The Po!nt: Go ahead and share. As customers become ever more wary and discerning, a simple, honest attempt by a salesperson to identify common ground may help more than you think.

Source: "The Persuasive Role of Incidental Similarity on Attitudes and Purchase Intentions in a Sales Context," by Lan Jiang, Joandrea Hoegg, Darren W. Dahl and Amitava Chattopadhyay. Journal of Consumer Research, 2010.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Click and read, then go play some more April Fools Pranks...

by Sarah Mahoney
"We know that the majority of Americans have been cutting back on spending on landscaping services, and are interested in doing more themselves," Martin Lee, CMO of Sears' lawn and garden business, tells Marketing Daily. And, while price is the most important factor in what type of mower people buy and where they purchase it, in this category, experience is the No. 2 driver." ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
The company is also sponsoring -- and has several products in -- the upcoming "Sex and the City II." Steve Cannon, MBUSA's VP marketing, tells Marketing Daily, "It's a big position in a film that skews female, which is a great demographic for us," partly because of a demographic shift toward women among highly educated, affluent consumers. ...Read the whole story >>
by Tanya Irwin
The primary objective of the campaign is to connect with the trendsetting, creative 18-24 age group in a nontraditional, innovative way, Nancy Inouye, Scion advertising and media manager, tells Marketing Daily. "We wanted to create an experience that was both engaging and entertaining while leveraging the strength of online media." ...Read the whole story >>
by Aaron Baar
Nearly two-thirds of the 4.2 million net new subscribers added during the fourth quarter of 2009 did so using prepaid contracts -- a 54% increase for the prepaid segment of the overall wireless market in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2009, compared with 3% growth for the postpaid (also known as contract-based) plans during the same period. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karl Greenberg
As Chrysler sails into 2010 under the wing of Fiat and off the launch pad of the company's turnaround program, the Jeep unit of the Auburn Hills, Mich. automaker is figuring on working out its own flight path. And it has its brand equity to uphold. ...Read the whole story >>
by Karlene Lukovitz
"There is still weakness in the industry, but we're starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel," NPD's Bonnie Riggs says. "GDP is up, and consumer spending and retail sales were up last month. Moreover, the consumer confidence level -- a very key metric for restaurant analysts -- is up. When consumer confidence rises, traffic usually starts to improve shortly after." ...Read the whole story >>

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The Perfect Cup of Coffee

It was about 10 years ago that I was introduced to coffee shops, where you pay big bucks for a special coffee drink.

Starbucks had not yet made it to Fort Wayne, Indiana, but there were a slew of local places that were opening up.

Then the economy took a hit, and many of the local shops discovered that unless you were special, you would be out of business.

Also Starbucks came to town and opened up nearly a dozen locations. When they cut back, they closed some Starbucks in neighboring small towns, but all the Fort Wayne Starbucks remained open.

I got word this week that they are going to open a second location in downtown Fort Wayne in a new hotel that will be open 24/7.

In the meantime, the coffee wars have heated up. McDonalds improved their brew then added McCafe. Dunkin' Donuts added more stores in Fort Wayne.

Now comes word that 7/11 is going to revamp their coffee image. That's one that I'll have to live without since we don't have a 7/11 in this city anymore.
7-Eleven Revamps Coffee to Attract Younger Crowd Since 1964, when one of its franchisees first created grab-and-go coffee, 7-Eleven Inc. has always offered its No. 1-selling proprietary beverage in glass pots. In fact, customers at the chain's stores pour 1 million cups of coffee from these glass pots every day.

This year, however, that is all about to change.

After more than a year-and-a-half of research and development, the Dallas-based convenience store giant is revamping the way it delivers, presents and markets the coffee category in its stores, as it attempts to attract younger consumers. In an exclusive interview with CSNews Online, Jay Wilkins, 7-Eleven's category manager for hot beverages, spoke in detail about the retailer's new coffee strategy and goals.

While the c-store chain has no doubts about the quality and flavor of its coffee -- or how it stands up against the competition -- Wilkins said there's no denying that the consumer is constantly changing, just as new trends are always emerging.

"Coffee is an integral part of our business," he said, noting a high value is placed on the coffee customer since they are frequent visitors and very loyal. "We know we have a relatively good coffee business, but we also know we want to continue to message to and target that younger customer -- the Millennials, 20- to 35-year-olds. We want to attract new people to our stores, while also making sure we're completely respectful to our customers today."

7-Eleven's existing shoppers are mostly males in their late 30s to early 40s, but Wilkins said they're now going after a mix that's more male/female balanced and younger.

As the company's research showed, what resonates well with Millennials is different than what resonates with 7-Eleven's existing customer base, particularly when it comes to coffee. And so, the retailer is changing things up with this mind. The revamp includes:

-- Switching from glass pots to urns;
-- A new coffee bar with a modernized look and more functional layout;
-- Redesigned cups and coffee branding; and,
-- Promotions aimed at the younger demographic.

Wilkins told CSNews Online the decision was made to replace its long-standing glass pots with urns because younger customers recognize urns as "a freshness cue." 7-Eleven also determined the quality of its coffee could be better sustained with urns since they hold product at a more optimum temperature. "It's not that we want to hold product longer, but we believe we can maintain the quality better," he said.

As for existing customers, Wilkins said there will always be a few who resist -- as is the case with any change. But by and large, he expects the urns to be well received. "I think the biggest hurdle is not whether or not they like an urn; it's getting them to try it and [overcome] the mindset that 'I've made my coffee the same way for so long," he said. "Once they try the urn, they'll see that their coffee still tastes the same."

In combination with the introduction of urns, 7-Eleven took a look at its coffee bars and asked what would work best in terms of flow. With the help of a design firm, the chain created a new coffee bar to accommodate the urns and condiments. It's been several years since the physical plan of its coffee bar was revamped, according to Wilkins.

"One of the strengths 7-Eleven brings is the ability to customize coffee the way you like it. Our research shows our customer gives us a lot of credit for that," he said.

And as the coffee category has expanded with the addition of more beverage choices and condiment options, people are spending increased time at the coffee bar customizing their drinks. For that reason, 7-Eleven's new coffee bar is laid out so there is less congestion at the condiment station. Plus, in those stores with the highest coffee sales -- such as the chain's Long Island locations -- the new coffee bar provides more prep area.

7-Eleven is overhauling the coffee bar's look as well. The new one is more modern and less utilitarian. The counter where the urns sit is a dark chocolate color called mocha, while the prep stations are a lighter tan color called pinion. Everything has rounded edges, so it's easier to move around and more people can use the urns at the same time.

"The coffee bars have a nice, fresh look. We're using more current materials, and all of it has a much stronger appeal to the Millennial consumer," Wilkins explained.

In terms of the actual coffee, not much will change as of now. 7-Eleven will continue to focus on the small number of blends that drive the business. But with the new coffee bar, store operators now have the flexibility to add urns or remove urns at peak times.

"At the end of the day, we have built some layouts that meet the needs of the consumer from a functionality standpoint," Wilkins said of the new coffee bar design. "We're giving the consumer an experience that's familiar from one 7-Eleven to the next. It's not cookie cutter, but it's consistent and more functional."

The company is already testing the new coffee bar and urns in four of its high-volume Long Island stores, and recently installed the new coffee package in 14 stores along the central California coast. Starting in May, 7-Eleven plans to do an additional 20-store test of the urns and new coffee bar in Long Island's Nassau and Suffolk counties. Through testing at these high-volume coffee stores, the chain hopes to learn how to best handle traffic flow at the coffee bar, and how customers will use the urns, condiments and counter space.

As for a rollout, Wilkins said installations will be done gradually. The new coffee package will be incorporated into this year's store remodels, as well as any new builds and acquisitions. "There will a fair number of stores with it by the end of 2010," he noted.

There is one change being rolled out to all 6,350 7-Eleven stores in the U.S. and Canada: redesigned coffee cups and coffee bar branding. The cups reflect new colors and graphics, with each one carrying the tagline, "Great Coffee. Any Way You Take It." The new cups are being substituted as 7-Eleven's stores and distribution warehouse runs through the old cups. The new cups are not in all stores yet, but will be within the next few months.

Customers are sure to notice the changes -- and for now, 7-Eleven will rely on word-of-mouth to let consumers know about the coffee revamp, according to Wilkins.

The retailer is, however, doing a host of other coffee promotions targeted to Millennials, including a partnership with Howard Stern's show, and its new Coffee Cup With a Cause charity program, which began in February and continues throughout the year.

Under the program, 7-Eleven stores nationwide sell limited-edition, 20-ounce coffee cups designed by entertainment and sports celebrities. The cups can be filled with any of 7-Eleven's hot beverages from coffee to tea to hot chocolate. Proceeds from the cups sold benefit the featured celebrity's charity of choice. Nicole Richie, Joel Madden and Benji Madden kicked off the program, and this month, 7-Eleven is selling a cup styled by singer-actress Jennifer Hudson to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

"Millennials are much more altruistic; they believe in giving back to the community. Coffee Cup With a Cause allows us to do that in a very special way," Wilkins said, noting the program is off to a strong start and has long-term value for the chain.

Speaking about the revamp as a whole, he added: "It's about doing things that are a little bit different. We're really just looking to invite them (Millennials) into 7-Eleven for a great cup of coffee. At the end of the day, it's still all about that great cup of coffee.”

(Source: Convenience Store News, 03/22/10)

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New Ad Campaigns

from Amy:

Puppets. Beer. Home is where the Sorento is. Let's launch!

These city maps are sharp. Just don't rely on them for directions. Nissan Brasil created maps of Barcelona, Brasília and Paris using a laser cutting technique that stripped building and landmarks away and showed only the streets and avenues of each city. The paper and acrylic displays were then illuminated so shadows of the maps appeared on walls. Maps compel observers to view the cities in a different light and signify the precision Nissan uses when designing cars. See the ads here, here, here and here, created by Lew'Lara/TBWA.

The Most Interesting Man is back in a series of TV, print and online videos for Dos Equis. He's witty and charismatic, usually in 15 words or less. Because the Most Interesting Man knows that less is more. On "Lady Luck," he informs viewers to "be wary of a woman who only shows up when you are winning." See it here. When it comes to manscaping, he says, "I have no idea what this is." Watch it here. In another ad, seen here, MIM ice fishes, feeds orphaned birds and "at museums, he's allowed to touch the art." The online video garnering the most attention is "Snow Monkeys." The Most Interesting Man usurped a GE ad featuring a hot spring full of snow monkeys. The same snow monkey footage appears in this ad, along with MIM emerging from underwater. Watch it here. Print and outdoor ads, shown here, here, and here, include words of wisdom like, "If you're tucking anything into your shirt, it better be your chest hair," and "If you didn't use your back-up plan, you played it too safe." Euro RSCG New York created the campaign and MediaVest handled the media buy.

Is this a younger, less experienced version of the Most Interesting Man? The young go-getter in "Boss' Daughter" has an intimidating boss with a hot daughter. He stares fear in the face and opts to buy the girl a Heineken, while her father takes a phone call. It's the first ad for Heineken Lager, created by Euro RSCG New York, the agency behind Dos Equis' creative. See it here. The ad will run for eight weeks during "Lost," "24," "The Office" and NBA games. Print ads, running in the April and May issues of Rolling Stone, Paper, ESPN, Complex, Fader and GQ, offer inspirational words targeting a younger crowd, such as "Charisma. You can't buy it. You can't make it. And you sure can't fake it." See creative here and here, created by Euro RSCG New York.

"Journey of Football" is the latest in Puma's LOVE=FOOTBALL campaign leading up to the World Cup in South Africa. The spot pays tribute to the soul of the game of football. Fans paint their faces with country colors; kids and teenagers play football in the streets; players and fans erupt with country pride and team happiness when a goal is scored. Set to the tune of "Going On" by Gnarls Barkley, the spot features PUMA players Samuel Eto'o, Gervinho, Emmanuel Eboue and Mohammed Zidan. Watch the ad here, created by Syrup.

The Kia Sorento must be one cozy vehicle. Passengers can "feel at home in any environment," according to the ad. A family drives through a forest in "Home." A hot bath is running, books and a cuckoo clock are hung on a tree, and a dozen family picture frames adorn another tree. Once the forest becomes dark and desolate, a chandelier lights the way. See the ad here, created by David&Goliath Canada.

Volkswagen launched a pair of TV spots, running during CBS's coverage of the NCAA Tournament. Continuing with the Punch Dub theme of previous Volkswagen ads, "Reveal" begins with two security guards watching over a parking garage. "Silver one," says one guard as he punches his cohort, who's convinced the car is not a VW. The duo watches the car on screen, as they await a closer look. The car is a Volkswagen CC, meaning two extra punches for the doubting guard. Watch it here. "Vroom" promotes the speedy Tiguan, equipped with a turbo-charged engine. It's so peppy that by the time a person punches a companion, the car is out of sight, leaving the punchee to wonder if there ever was a Volkswagen nearby. See it here. Deutsch Los Angeles created the campaign.

I absolutely love "Deep Fryer," the latest TV spot for The spot sticks with puppets reenacting an actual phone call between a Zappos representative and customer, this time acting out a product exchange. A woman calls Zappos to return Nike workout gear for another product. Turns out, that product is a deep fryer, much to the surprise of the customer rep. "Yeah. I'm going in another direction," says the customer. Watch the ad here. Mullen created the campaign and mediahub handled the media buy.

Luxury shoe brand Taryn Rose ran a print campaign in Elle and Vogue using the theme "Comfortably sexy." A high-heeled shoe is smoking smoke from the heel, with underlying copy stating, "hot over heels." Two pairs of high heels are flipped upside down to resemble buildings. "New York's most comfortable high-rise," says the ad. The final ad shows a flat shoe that's "flat-out sexy." See the ads here, here and here, created by Brouillard.

Random iPhone App of the week: Waterford launched "Clink-Clink," an app that allows iPhone users to make toasts year-round. Users can select one of any five styles of Waterford glassware to toast their friends. Each style has a different clink sound, and users can write friends their own unique toast, or choose one of Waterford's pre-written selections. The app uses a nifty technology for friends/iPhone owners to bump phones, allowing the toast to be shared and posted on a person's Facebook wall. The bump technology also enables users to exchange contact info post-toast. Gotham and Beam Interactive created the free app, available at the App Store.

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No Foolin'

from Art Sobczak:

This Week:
What Avoidance Behavior is Holding You Back?


Picture the sales rep who spends two prime hours
every day online, and reading trade journals,
the Wall Street Journal, and more, "so he can be
well-versed, just in case someone asks questions."

And the rep who feels obligated to assume
ownership of all minuscule customer service
situations--ones easily delegated--because she
wants to be certain they're handled correctly.
And her call productivity suffers as a result.

Or, the salesperson who is always fixated on
one "big deal" devoting tons of time--at the
expense of placing other calls--working on the

Know anyone like these people?

ARE you one of these people?

If so, you are flat out avoiding something.

And probably denying it.

There are all kinds of avoidance behaviors.
Whenever I get particularly ambitious around the
house...tightening things, replacing filters,
(by the way, I'm the most un-Home Depot
guy in the history of males) it is a sure sign
I should be parked in front of a computer,
preparing for a training program or writing articles.

What non-sales activities do you engage in that
steal from your productive selling time?

Or, what call behaviors do you practice that are
not as effective as what you should do?

For example, some reps insist on just asking a
few questions during a first call, "touching base"
on a second call, then phoning a few more times
before finally getting into the meat of selling.
They rationalize that they're building a relationship.
Bull. They're constructing a fat follow-up file.

Sure they're busy, but it's like running on a treadmill.
Lots of sweat, but no forward progress. Oh, but they're
building "relationships." Not so much.

Here's one way to deal with avoidance behavior.

1. Make a commitment to improve. If you don't have
that "want to," read no further.

2. Pinpoint what you know you should do, but
don't, or don't do it often enough.

3. Identify the activity or behavior that you
rationalize as important, but deep down you know
it's a mask.
This is where you need to be brutally
honest with yourself.

4. Determine what activity or behavior you will
replace it with.
For example, calling higher in an
organization, asking for the bigger sale earlier,
sending out fewer proposals to only the more highly
qualified prospects, or spending less time internally
chasing down answers to questions
and delegating more instead.

5. Set specific, quantifiable, time-sensitive goals.
Write them out. Any time is a great time to start,
especially as we approach the new year.

6. Take action.
Track your progress.

7. Reward yourself! What gets rewarded gets repeated.

It's not rocket surgery (just heard that term the other day...
pretty funny, I thought). Most worthwhile things aren't.
They just require effort.

So why wait? Don't avoid it any longer. Take some action,
any action right now that you've been avoiding. You'll
be glad you did.


Continue Having Your Best Week Ever!


"I believe half the unhappiness in life comes from people
being afraid to go straight at things."

William J. Lock

Contact: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

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