Big Getting Little

Grocery store chains across the country are consolidating or simply calling HyVee Local Produce Two it quits. Last week legendary A&P filed for bankruptcy protection...for the second time. Kroger announced they are buying Harris Teeter and one of the oldest chains, Albertson's was swallowed up. Locally, family owned Dahls threw in the towel.

Today there are only a handful of regional grocery store chains in the nation. 

The grocery industry is vastly different today than just 10 years ago because there is more competition and the changing habits of consumers. Natural, local and fresh rate high on the expectation list of consumers. So, how does a regional chain compete against the likes of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and others?

Bring on the LOCAL feel and flavor of a time gone by.


HyVee LocalA couple of years ago HyVee, a Midwest regional chain, had a pretty successful run at calling attention to locally sourced produce. (Photo at left and you can click to enlarge.) While it all worked the effort was small compared to what they've recently rolled out.

Here (above and to the right) is the new roll-out of how big can go little all in an effort to boost a little nostalgia while calling attention to the fact that they sell what comes from your neighbor. 

The entire "feel" of the brand says, "Hey, we remember what it was HyVee Local Produce Onelike...shop here for local produce!" And then they go to great lengths to tell you how "local".

We love the graphics, the look and the feel of the campaign.  Good stuff HyVee! 

Thanks for reading!

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Anger and Social Media

Over the years I've heard more than one business person tell me they Man Anger"stay out of social media" because they fear the danger of something that may cause stress to their brand and business.  However, here is proof that NOT being on social media can be worse.

The case revolves around mistaken identity and a person who, for his own reasons, made the choice to go after our company because he thought one of our staffers had written an "anti-gay" letter to the editor of the Iowa Press Citizen.  Here is the story, in podcast form, from our broadcast on The Business News Hour: 

 While social media is a fantastic method of communication and marketing there is a dark side that, when entered, can shatter reputations and brands. Had we NOT been in the social media space we may never have been able to act so quickly to repair our business name.

Have you got some thoughts?

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Working Together

Every so often we run up on a promotion that we really like, appreciate and Passport USE 2015 hope others pick up make it their own. As many of you know, July can be a slow month in the restaurant business. To boost awareness and business three independently owned fine, European Themed eateries joined together to promote their cuisine through the Gourmet Passport.

Here is how it works: Consumers go to one of the three restaurants, Baru 66 of Windsor Heights, Bistro Montage of Des Moines or The Strudl Haus of Des Moines and order the specialty priced meal designed for the Gourmet Passport. Upon leaving the restaurant your "passport" is stamped. You then make reservations at the next eatery and repeat the process until you have visited all three.

David Enosh MichaelWhen the Gourmet Passport is stamped by each restaurant the diners put
their contact information inside the front cover and leave them with the restaurant owner.  All of the completed "passports" are collected and a drawing is held with the winner receiving a free full course meal for six prepared by Chef David Baruthio, Chef Enosh Kelly and Chef Michael Leo.

Because the promotion runs the entire month of July there is plenty of time to make reservations at each establishment.

Brilliant!  And, yes...we're going! 

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Networking Groups - So You Are Hoping For....

Over the years I've been asked to become a member of several networking Networking Groupgroups and I've also had the pleasure of speaking at some.  I've declined the invitation to join because, frankly, I've wondered how effective they might be. 

Consider that the hope of a networking group is designed to do business with somebody else in that group. But, if what you are selling is valuable, responsive, established and on target...why would you join?

Last week my friend Jim Connolly posted his thoughts on Networking Groups and I pass it on to you for your consideration.

So are we right or are we all wet?  Maybe a little...damp?  

Go! 

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Marketing: B to C or B to B - Emotion Still Rules

Last week I had the opportunity to present "Five in 24" for the Iowa B to B and B to C MarketingAssociation of Business and Industry. If you want more on what "Five in 24" is and want me to come and share with your group...here's a link.

One of the segments in the presentation deals with "Creating Advertising that is Effective". It's our opinion that creating messages using emotion is far more effective than "fact based" creative. One of the attendees asked a great question: "How about business to business advertising? Your thoughts seem to pertain to business to consumer advertising."

Using emotion in B to B advertising works just as well as B to C.  Why? Because no matter what you are selling; people still (and I know this is wacky talk) buy from people.  And because that's still the way we conduct our business, building on those relationships buy using emotion works...every time.

It's how you build the creative that is important.  

While that was a great question it is also a prime example as to why internal marketing departments of corporations could use some professional outside help. Here's why: If your business is focused on how technologically superior your product is the marketing will often focus on the hard-core nuts and bolts of your "Frapinstat" and not on the human outcomes of actually using it.

Yet your "Frapinstat" might change lives, might save lives, might make work easier, might change the way people live, might alter production, might save money so that going about life is easier.

Get it?

And, this doesn't mean you scrap all the "high-tech" jargon but you should use a mix that is effective.  It doesn't mean your message has to be tearful or sappy but it should move something in the viewer that connects with the human vs. the cold, hard facts of why you think your company is...superior.

Hope that helps and thanks for reading!

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Grab the Tissues - Emotion Rules

This week I get to travel to Davenport, Iowa for the Iowa Association of Man TissuesBusiness and Industry "Taking Care of Business Conference" where I'll do a presentation of "Five in Twenty-Four - Five things a business can do in 24 hours to refresh their brand message and sell more...stuff."

One of the "Five Things" I'll share is that good creative works. And, creative messages that have an emotional appeal work much better than the campaign that simply offers "the facts".

Want proof?

Whirlpool sells cold, hard metal products.  Recently they launched a campaign that warmed the appliances. It's called "Every Day, Care" and features some tear jerking images of people caring for people with the underlying message that we do daily chores because we care for the people we love.  Here's an example.

 

The result?  Whirlpool's sales have risen 6.6% in the first six months after the campaign started vs. the year-ago period, four points ahead of the appliance industry. The brand's positive social-media sentiment has risen more than six fold. Purchase intent scores are up 10% from pre-campaign levels, which has translated into a comparable lift in market share.

So, if Whirlpool can warm cold steel appliances and that drives sales what can your business do to appeal to the emotions of the consumer?  Think about it because...it works.

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Made The Way You - Hills Pet Food

We get it. We also do design work for our clients.  From packaging to direct Hills Flyer June 2015 mail to billboards to flyers.  And, yes, we've made an error or two in the years that we've been at it. (Once we failed to spell an ingredient correctly in on a tiny list on the back of a bag.) So, yes...we understand that mistakes happen and not only to small advertising agencies like ours or maybe even in your business.

The image here is from a direct mail piece that came in the Sunday Des Moines Register. If you look at it carefully you're left with a question: "Made the way you...would what?"

This happens when text boxes are left out of the final design and print run. So, how do you make sure something like this doesn't happen, even if you don't have a staff?  Some tips:

  • Pass It Around - Often the person who writes the copy is expected to proof the copy. Big mistake because often writers may "think" they included the information and on proofing just don't see it.  Pass the piece around to others to review;
  • Print Run - We nearly always demand that if the printing is done locally that somebody from here is at the print run to check color, layout, bleeds, etc. It takes some extra time but worth it;
  • Create a Mock-Up - What we see on a computer screen often just isn't the same as holding the actual print piece. So before it goes to press create a mock-up so you can handle, circle changes, etc.
  • One More Time - We've even gone so far as to take a technical item out of the office for a review from another technical writer.  Again, it might take some time but perhaps he/she might find a goof.

Speaking of Goofs - Before writing this we posted the image on our Facebook Page and asked folks to see if they "noticed anything odd". Many didn't but, once it was pointed out it was, to some, a "brand ding". A negative impact of the brand seemed a little harsh but, for some folks...that may be all it takes. 

Take a little extra time...and thanks for reading!

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Ad Blocking Technolgy

We know you LOVE it when your surfing the net and up pop ads, music and Stop Figuremore. Now that there is AdBlock many consumers (about 300 million) have opted to block the advertising that has become so pervasive. And, recently, AdBlock announced that it will also offer a blocking application for mobile. And, yes, it works on ads for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as well.

What does all of this mean?

In simple terms it means that your digital advertising plans just took a hit and that it is more important than ever to grow your marketing organically. 

How do you do that?  We think you'll have to turn to creating content that matches the interest of your target market rather than relying on automation to shout at people. However, and I've shared this many times before, that takes WORK on your part. It takes effort to think through your marketing plan.  It takes work to create thoughtful and helpful blogs. It takes work to build a podcast network. It takes work to understand and engage by using Twitter.

Television and radio broadcasters have had to deal with these issues for years as consumer turn to alternative outlets for viewing and music. However if your content and your message is solid the listeners, viewers and your target market consumer will be there.

But...it takes work!

A huge Hat-Tip to our friend Katie Moen who is an intern at the Kreamer Law Firm of West Des Moines for the thought starter!  Well done Katie!

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"I Made a Mistake."

I was sitting with a client last week talking with him about his marketing Man Choicesplan, his website, social media and traditional media. About fifteen minutes into the conversation, after I suggested he contact his web developer to make sure his contact information was correct, he looked at me and said, "You do it. I know my business but I don't know marketing.  I made a mistake in my former business by not hiring professionals to help me with what I don't do well. That's not happening this time."

That admission is unique. I've been doing this work for a very long time and the biggest hurdle for many small business owners is the belief they can do...everything.  The business person who knows his or her craft and has that for a primary focus while leaving "the other stuff" to those of us who are attorneys, accountants or advertising professionals wins.

It's what we do.  It's our craft and our business. It's like we wrote some weeks ago, "You do what you do and let us do that Voodoo."

Thanks for reading!

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Email Marketing - Don't Let Them Guess

Each Monday before Noon we send out an email update for our business IOB Newsletter Clicks Usebroadcast that targets over 500 business people in and around the Des Moines Metro.  We use My Emma and our open rate runs about 30%.

Several weeks ago I was troubled by the lack of "click-through" numbers for the various highlights in the body of the message. And, then it dawned on me that we were not giving good direction to the viewer.  In other words, the links were there but we were not calling out that fact often enough.  So we upped our game and, several times throughout the body of the message, we remind the viewer they can click to hear a podcast, check out an sponsor, make contact with our advertising agency and more.

The result was a dramatic increase in the click numbers.  We learned something:

Don't make people guess what you want them to do.  Point it out...over and over.  And, then, do it again.  "One and Done" doesn't cut it.

The image you see has the highlighted clicks for the most recent mailing. Studying these over the past several months lets us know what our audience is interested in and can help us better program the Business News Hour and our mailing efforts.

Hope this helps in your efforts!

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