by DW Green — June 22, 2010In the end it is employees who make the difference. No amount of merchandising or advertising can be successful over the long run without a dedicated, knowledgeable staff. If employees don’t support your market position or advertising claims, your efforts will be undermined.To build a company that is profitable, enduring, and able to hold its own against major competitors, managers need to foster a sense of community among employees. Above all, employees must share common values. This means recruits should be judged as much on the basis of their fit with the company’s values and principles as they are on the basis of their ability to fulfill the technical requirements of the job.People should be hired into your company with the understanding that they are there to develop their potential. You must ensure that processes are in place to assess individual potential, ensure adequate training and development, evaluate performance, and provide graceful exits from the company. If employees don’t pull their weight or share the company’s values, they must move on. At a certain point, managers must be prepared to pass the baton, as well, so the company can continue to renew itself.Employee training and development is critical if your company is to remain a leading contender in the market. After all, competitors can copy prices and programs, but they cannot clone people. The costs of recruiting, training and developing the right people are high. But the co...read more
by DW Green — June 9, 2010Last October I attended the Heart of Leadership workshop in Seattle. One of the exercises was stand taking. What do I stand for? What is the commitment I am? (for myself, my organization, my company, my co-workers, my customers, my family, or any area of concern in my life) The power of stand taking happens when you announce out loud to others, what you stand for. I suspect blogging about one’s stands can be as powerful. Here are a few of my stands:• I stand for love and personal growth in my shared spaces.• I stand for creating a powerful, empowering, collaborative workplace based on love, mutual respect and accountability where team members are encouraged to be themselves and make a difference in their world.• I stand for creating innovative products and services that genuinely differentiate our clients in their market space…products and services that benefit their financial bottom line.• I stand for business relationships that are based on trust, mutual respect, collaboration and meaningful dialogue.Stand taking is an ongoing process. Stand taking helps bring our inner and outer lives together. I stand for writing interesting blogs....read more
by DW Green — May 26, 2010I was humbled to participate in a tribute to one of our clients last week. Among others, I was interviewed, on video no less, on their behalf. I was presented with a list of questions to address by the interviewer ahead of time. As I was preparing my responses, I realized, from my perspective, what the essence of my clients company truly is.To me, our client is a humanistic company. It is a company with a soul. And from the depths of their soul, the will to give uncommon service to all stakeholders flows. This company is imbued with the joy of service, to the community, to society, to the environment, to customers, and to associates.Their leadership believes in purpose and in meaning and the well being of its stakeholders—employees, customers, suppliers, business partners, and society. They facilitate, encourage, reward, recognize, and celebrate their employees for being of service to each other, to customers and to the communities in which they serve because it’s the right thing to do.In an extremely difficult low price focused, low margin industry, with fierce competition, our client is the ultimate value creator: they create emotional value, experiential value, social value, and of course financial value.This client is an inspiration to me. My intention is to become a company of purpose, and of meaning. And like our client, a company with a soul....read more
by DW Green — May 17, 2010I sent an email to a business prospect last week. I thought the content of the email would make a good blog post. An edited version of the email follows.One morning last week after finishing a golf lesson, I was standing in the golf course parking lot pondering Melissa McLean Jory. Melissa is a high school classmate I connected with on facebook last year. Melissa is a nutrition expert, specializing in Celiac disease. Because of her deep knowledge and wonderful personality we hired her to speak about blogging and Celiac disease at our GPS (Green Positioning Summit) workshop last year. Melissa writes an excellent blog, and her facebook posts are very well written. Her voice, her tone, her language is positive, upbeat, informative, happy, humorous, and insightful. It resonates with me; the language makes me smile and demands my attention. Kudos Melissa! So, in this parking lot pondering moment I realized how really important voice, tone and language are to advertising and marketing communication.I then remembered a series of TV spots that we recently were asked to review. The company’s owner was the spokesperson. The spots were excellent and much like Melissa, the owner’s personality and language resonated with me. “Gee”, I thought as I was watching the spots, “I’d love to shop at ________, that’s my kind of store!” Kudos, unnamed supermarket retailer!Do your marketing pieces suppo...read more
by DW Green — May 10, 2010Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future. Skilled leaders accomplish great things and inspire others to grow in responsibility and skills. I believe that growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. Leaders give their best in whatever job they’re doing. Any of us can take on leadership roles and qualities just by doing our jobs in a dependable way and encouraging others to share in and help us in attaining a worthwhile vision. The following leadership quotes emphasize the importance of perseverance, service, and reliability.JOHN QUINCY ADAMS:If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.KENNETH BLANCHARD:The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.RALPH NADER:I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.JOHN WELCH:Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.JAMES BUCHANAN:The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.I hope these leadership quotes have given you some important insights....read more
by DW Green — May 6, 2010I have always been a proponent of using themes for the cover page of weekly ads. In my view, the purpose of the weekly ad is to attract new ad readers and new customers to the store. The purpose of attracting new customers is an important distinction, since most consumers who read weekly ads; tend to read only those of their primary food store. Theme cover pages lend themselves to strong, compelling headlines and storytelling, two important factors for attracting new ad readers and new customers. Additionally, theme ads differentiate retailers print advertising from competitors, create complementary product sales and provide in-store merchandising opportunities. Conventional wisdom suggest otherwise. Many national and regional retailers take the “laundry list” approach to cover page ads. This modus operandi involves featuring a dozen or so items, normally one item from each store department, presented in a value hierarchy from the top to the bottom of the page. This strategy may help with a value perception but it rarely helps differentiate the store or attract a new reader or new shopper unless the price of the feature item is considerably less than the competition. In Phoenix, where I live, the local supermarket ads all look the same. The items and the prices are nearly identical, only the company logo is different. Rarely do I see a food store ad that grabs my attention or provides me with a good reason to shop somewhere else. ...read more
by DW Green — April 29, 2010“To thine own self be true” writes William Shakespeare in Hamlet. “Let your conscience be your guide” the Blue Fairy tells Pinocchio and then asks Jiminy Cricket to serve as Pinocchio’s conscience.Integrity is an important and powerful quality. To be referred to as a person of integrity is the ultimate compliment. I have come to realize that my life experience is about the journey toward wholeness, and to seek wholeness, is to live from a place of integrity. To me, conscience is the psychic energy of awareness. Conscience is the alarm that goes off when integrity is at risk, when wholeness is splintered.“The meeting of our inner and outer lives is called integrity, and the health of our integrity often determines our inner strength and resilience in meeting the outer world. This is the purpose of integrity, to balance the outer forces of existence with the inner forces of spirit,” Mark Nepo, The Exquisite Risk. One of the most useful definitions of integrity comes from Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man: Integrity is the ability to listen to a place inside oneself that doesn’t change, even though the life that carries it may change.So living from integrity is when our actions, our outer life are in sync with our inner life; our heart, our soul, the essence of our being. Businesses too must live from integrity. When the actions of a business are incongruent with their beliefs and values and essence, crises will inevitably arise. The conscious of a company is the collec...read more
by DW Green — April 5, 2010The supermarket industry’s marketing and advertising activities deal almost exclusively with what works today and almost never with what’s going to work tomorrow.Too few companies run research to determine what their entire market place will be like in three years? In five years? And very few are committed to a vision that basically says, “We truly believe we know where this industry is going. We know what the leader will look like, sound like, think like, and be like in five years, and we know something else. We’re going to be that leader!Precious few can say, “That’s us. That’s our store.” And to those precious few, chances are they will, in fact, be that leader. Because they’re the only ones who know where they’re going…as for the rest of us… as Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”If you look at today’s strengths and are satisfied with building on those strengths because they suffice today, chances are you’ll not be competitive in a few years because your competition is going to be very, very different in those few years. In other words, those aspects of your operation which you identify with strengths today, in a different competitive market my not be viewed as strengths at all. And the one certainty we all face, once again, is that it’s going to be a different competitive market in the very near futu...read more
by DW Green — March 23, 2010
High market share and high profit share result from high activity share.High activity is a sequence of related smaller activities aimed at positioning your store as the best in the areas you select. Strategic Positioning means performing different activities from rivals or performing similar activities in different ways. Differentiation arises from both the choice of activities and how they are performed. Activities, then, are the basic units of competitive advantage. Overall advantage or disadvantage results from all of a company’s activities, not only a few.
Activities Have Cumulative ValueActivities don’t have an ending date. They continue even though your store(s) may overlap them with other activities. The more you are able to do—and the more effectively you do it—the better they work.Small day-to-day achievements grow into momentum. Once established, momentum is easier to sustain than it is to start again once it is lost. The key is to keep developing and executing activities that are consistent with the long-term mission and objectives of your company.Once momentum is established, work becomes fun, which makes both customers and employees more excited about your store(s). Once the momentum builds, employees gain confidence and develop new ideas to widen the gap between the performance of you and your competitors. Customers tell other people about your store, and the momentum feeds on itself.
Developing a Highly Active Store...read more
by DW Green — March 16, 2010Everything, everywhere is in a constant flux of change. I like this quote from Bruce Barton, author, advertising executive and politician, “When you are through changing, you are through.”Way back in 1970, I read Future Shock, a great book by Alvin Toffler. Future Shock was about change, and the affect that the accelerated rate of technological and social change had on society. From an historic perspective the speed of change from the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 18th century to the “super-industrial society” of the 1970’s was mind-boggling and it has only intensified thousands-fold since then.The supermarket business too has gone through radical changes and its rapid transformation continues. Remember only you can control your reaction to changes in your business. Everyone filters information through his or her personal background, wants, needs, fears, hopes, prejudices and beliefs. The result is often the development of urban “myths” about change. Let’s explore some of those myths—and the reality of business.Myth: This will go away.
Reality: Change is here to stay.Myth: It will help if I get upset with this.