There’s an outstanding independent retailer in the Midwest. They are superb operators. They opened two new stores and a new retail support center in 2012 and acquired three additional locations last year. They’ve added a store loyalty program, hired dieticians to their staff, developed gasoline partnerships and continue to expand their private label product portfolio. Their commitment of time, management and resources is remarkable. And their growth is impressive. So what is missing from this success story? Often times as companies grow, add stores and new product and service offerings they neglect to integrate those offerings in a cohesive, holistic manner that enhance and embrace the overall store brand. It’s like adding a freestanding GPS unit to the dashboard of your car. The standalone unit gets the job done, but it pales in comparison to a system tailored to your car. A well-designed system is a pleasure to use and often disappears from notice entirely, as it seamlessly integrates with the car’s driving experience.It can be a worthwhile project to get an outside perspective on the interconnectedness of your brand activities. A brand is more powerful and more difficult to compete against when the activities are tightly linked and carefully integrated.Contact DW Green Company for a free brand assessment today.
Last May Supermarket News ran an excellent story about Wegmans. In the article entitled Wegmans 101, Robert Wegman was quoted from his “I Am a Merchant’ Speech.”“I am a merchant, and I have therefore my own philosophy about merchandising: That is, to do something that no one else is doing, and to be able to offer the customer a choice she doesn’t have at the moment. This is the only reason for being in business. To my own way of thinking, this is the only way it should be. “I think that uniqueness gives one an opportunity to profit. If you are doing the same thing that everyone else is doing, your opportunity for a substantial profit is materially reduced because of the price ceiling your competition will impose. Thus, good merchandising resolves itself into rendering a service in such a way as to be difficult for your competitors to emulate. This is the basic premise of the way we at Wegmans operate.”Mr. Wegman’s words represent a brilliant and well-expressed business creed. I believe there is a powerful distinction between being a merchant and being a retailer. A merchant mindset goes beyond selling products to consumers for a profit. The merchant mentality involves the totality of the consumer shopping experience. From product merchandising to signage, story telling, product assortment, service and services…all store activities presented within a cohesive brand style.Merchants merchandise to stimulate interest and entice c...read more
I took a field trip to Whole Foods last week. I was surprised at the excellent job they did promoting “local”. They presented the local theme in an authentic and believable way. It’s discouraging when a national chain expresses a local attribute so much better than their local counterpart.“I’m A Local” signs were used in varying sizes and shapes throughout the store to identify local products and growers. They printed the number of local items available in each aisle on individual aisle markers. They had a sign in the front of the store detailing the dollar amount of local purchases. Whole Foods “Made Right Here” labels, stickers and strip signs were used to identify products produced in the store. All in all the overall local theme was very well done.Local is a big deal and can be a competitive advantage. Generally most consumers prefer to shop local stores and purchase local products. What can you do to bring your local expertise and knowledge alive in your stores? We’d love the opportunity to assist your team in developing a meaningful and thoughtful approach to marketing local.
One of our clients jumped into the Cyber Monday fray with their store brand gift card email offer. Projections ranged from 500 to 1,000 gift card sales. Even with some website clichés, they sold over 5,000 cards (maximum 4 card purchase per customer order) totaling more than $500,000.00 in sales! $100 cards were discounted $25 and $50 cards cost consumers $40.00. Considering the generous markdown, a half million dollar in sales is not a bad sales day for a six-store chain in a 24-hour period. It’s important to note that this retailer is an exceptional operator where customer loyalty and satisfaction run deep.Digital marketing is a powerful and inexpensive platform to use to connect with consumers. It is wise to have an integrated promotional plan that encompasses all marketing platforms. A plan that takes advantage of the unique strengths of the array of distinct, marketing platforms. Many retailers are discovering that the cost of traditional print media can be greatly reduced, even eliminated, by employing more digital and social media marketing.Well, it’s time to finish up our ...read more
Today is a wonderful day to be grateful, to express all the gratitude that is in our heart. The more we practice gratitude, the more we see how much there is to be grateful for, and our life becomes an ongoing celebration of joy and happiness. When we master gratitude, we perceive God in everything, and our reaction is love and gratitude for the greatest gift, which is life.To live with gratitude is to enjoy every moment of this precious gift that comes from God. Gratitude is one of the greatest expressions of love. To express what is in our hearts is to be truly alive. Just saying thank you will open all the doors to an abundance of life’s blessings from all directions, but especially an abundance of love.Since Thanksgiving is the “official” day to express thankfulness for our blessings, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for clients and staff, past and present, who have provided me with so much joy, knowledge, wisdom and happiness.Thank you all very much and Happy Thanksgiving.DW...read more
I was looking at supermarket Thanksgiving ads in the newspaper today. Generally items and price points are similar from one week to the next, but particularly so on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the one week of the year where most of the items and price points are very much the same.So if it’s not a specific item(s) or lower price(s) what makes a consumer choose one retailer over another? I belive it’s the look and feel of the ad and the brand messaging. Design counts. Design is what connects the store brand to the consumer. When the design is clean and easy to read, and clearly communicates brand attributes and benefits, consumers are more likely to choose your store. Attracting a larger percentage of ad shoppers can be the difference between a good week and a great week of sales.Given the expense of advertising it’s a shame when ads, and websites and email promotions lack good design and fail to communicate the benefits of shopping a particular store. Design is a subjective area for sure, but it’s important to trust good designers!...read more
“They’re beginning to get on my nerves. Who are those guys?” Butch Cassidy asked the Sundance Kid.Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s and Walgreens recently transformed their brands. Wendy’s has passed Burger King and is number two in market share. And Walgreens is now re-inventing the drugstore experience. Why not your company? I wholeheartedly believe that every food retailer has a unique opportunity to reimagine and transform its brand and own a distinct market position. If we have learned anything from alternative formats, it’s been lost sales and the fact that retailers must be different enough from their competitors to gain an advantage. In the long run, investing resources to develop a meaningful brand is much more powerful than promotional games and gimmicks that might boost short-term sales. The Fresh Market is a great example. Once a regional niche player they are now expanding nationwide. The Fresh Market is a purpose driven brand that connects emotionally with consumers with its own blend of customer service and great food experience.There is a great book, The Primes, by Chris McGoff, that distinguishes change from transformation. (www.theprimes.com/) According to McGoff, change is about fixing or improving the past while transformation creates the future. “In change mode, the desire to improve the past directs what we do. Change is about making the system better. In transformation mode the future directs our actions. Transformation is about caus...read more
Since professional football teams are kicking off a new season perhaps another sports to business analogy is in order. Or perhaps not, but here’s one just the same. Winning teams exemplify qualities like preparation, teamwork, execution, heart, wholeheartedness, determination, courage, purpose, tenacity, talent, passion and self-confidence. From a brand perspective, the ultimate value of a professional sports team is in the emotional connection it creates with its fans. Enduring franchises, like the Packers, Cowboys and Steelers, consistently provide their fans with a reason to believe in their team. Whether it’s a championship season or a mediocre one, the fans remain faithful to their team. This team loyalty isn’t based on superficial marketing or slick advertising. It’s rooted in the hearts of the fans, in their love, in their passion for the team, and in their community.Our brand foundation work has similar roots. On the surface many retailers tell us they are about quality products, value pricing and exceptional service. Some retailers insist they’re only about offering low prices. Our brand foundation process is an exploration into the deeper meaning and purpose of an organization and how it can connect with all its stakeholders. The process requires hard work, collaboration, open mindedness, and creative thinking.We believe that all independent retailers who are good at what they do, have the mettle to prosper and grow and to build an enduring emotional b...read more
We have to first identify and articulate the purpose of a company to have a meaningful starting point to build the brand. What does your company have that consumer’s want that the competition can’t deliver? What is the difference your company is trying to make in the world? Lets figure out what really matters to people and develop marketing solutions accordingly. Sometimes the best way to improve perceptions might be to update the retail experience, enhance in-store signage, redesign the web site or whatever shows up. A purpose driven process transforms integration from an exercise in consistency to an exercise in creation—it’s about looking at everything as an opportunity to deliver another dimension of your purpose! How much more powerful would your brand be if everything you were putting out in the world was attempting to fulfill the promise of your purpose in some new and exciting way? Purpose is the great uniter. If your marketing efforts aren’t being developed with the overall purpose of your company in mind, you’re likely to have a whole lot of messages resulting in a whole lot of nothing in the market. We want to co-create ideas that are so intriguing, so entertaining, so persuasive and relevant to consumers that you are invited into their lives with open arms. And when you connect with consumer...read more
In the world of similes and metaphors, a mixed metaphor is a combination of images that do not work well together. “The fullback was a locomotive, running up and down the field like a ninja.” Only Ali could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee; this football locomotive can’t move like a ninja! In today’s rich world of marketing channels, mixing traditional advertising mediums inside new digital ones is like the metaphor above, it doesn’t work very well.The weekly print ad has an important role to play in the overall marketing and communications plan. But its effectiveness and influence has decreased with the advent of new digital marketing channels. In the last three quarters of 2009 mobile and internet advertising grew by 18.1% and 9.2% respectively, and older media advertising saw declines: −10.1% (TV), −11.7% (radio), −14.8% (magazines) and −18.7% (newspapers). And most certainly these trends will continue.Newspaper print ads do not translate well in websites or mobile devices. Desktop websites do not translate well in mobile devices. Print pdf’s are not user friendly on websites nor are desktop websites user friendly with the mobile experience. So why then do so many supermarkets present their weekly ad offerings in new media channels with non-digital material? Or why do they expect their desktop website to satisfy the mobile user experience?The beauty of new technology is its ability to connect to changing demographics and generational pr...read more