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  • Author: Kate Favrow

Royal Readers – A Social Success Story

When the Royals made it to the World Series in 2015 everyone was trying to get a piece of the action. Fans were scrounging for tickets, affiliated brands were putting up billboards and local organizations were loving all the attention on KC. Somewhat surprisingly, one of those groups was the Kansas City Public Library. At a recent Social Media Club of Kansas City event, Liesl Christman who was the digital content specialist during the MLB playoffs, gave a presentation about how the library succeeded in attaching their organizations social media presence to this highly visible event. The biggest takeaways from Christman’s presentation were: stick to your strengths, follow the conversation and find your allies & rivals. The majority of the publicity for the library came during the 2015 season, but the Library had actually tested the basics of the campaign in 2014. In a few posts to test the waters, they stuck to their expertise and used book titles to see how rival libraries would take the ribbing.  The response was lively and fun, garnering attention from media. Throughout those…

Venn diagram with Method in one circle and Magic in the other. Overlapping a little bit.
InKate

The Human Experience: A KCDMA recap

If the difference between Marketing, Customer Experience and User Experience are confusing to you, you aren’t alone. Historically three very distinct facets of organizations, at a recent Kansas City Direct Marketing Association lunch Susannah Sulsar presented her thoughts on how these three functions are converging to create a whole new experience: the Human Experience. This new focus on human experience merges these traditional areas, uniting them around the similar goals of creating controllable, individualized, emotional and continuous experiences that are easy, effective and emotionally engaging for consumers. Yet as Suslar noted during her presentation, it’s not enough for organizations to be better than they once were, they now have to meet the human experience expectations set by other organizations. To do this, organizations have to evolve the way they view this experience. Marketing has always been about looking at segments. Customer experience used to be customer service (think call centers). User experience dove into what customers do and why they do it. While seemingly very different components, in the merged human experience, the only way to see how these all…

Book cover of When Millennials Take Over
InKate

Watch & Learn

“Every 20 years or so, a new generation enters the workforce, and the rest of us, quite frankly, freak out about it,” read the words on page 2 of Jamie Notter & Maddie Grant’s book When Millennials Take Over. If we aren’t willing to call the last two years of incessant focus about millennials a freak out, we can at least agree that this new generation is having a profound impact on the way business is done and run. In his presentation at the Blackhawk Summit in May, Notter explained four trends that shaped millennials and how we can turn this focus from complaining about millennials to understanding and learning from them. The first inherent truth about millennials is they have been shaped by the social internet. In most millennials’ lifetimes, power in the form of information has always been at their fingertips. Instead of held in centralized institutions, it has been distributed to the general public via the internet. What this means for millennials in the workplace is they’ve always had the power to find information, thus get things…

White board with arrows and boxes with writing all over it.

How, Not If, on Social

“Even if you never post, social should be part of your communications strategy,” read Matt Staub’s opening slide at a recent Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society event. The statement elicits the given reaction of “Why?” The rest of Staub’s presentation went on to explain the usefulness of social media, and twitter specifically, in both everyday and crisis communications. Part of the magic of social media is the plethora of information it aggregates. Some people have praise, some people have criticism, sometimes it is hard to tell which is which because in comes the sentiment associated with different personalities and different perspectives. Via strategic search building through, organizations can really dive into what the general population cares about. Staub walked through a few different mechanisms for building these searches, but recommended first beginning with Twitter’s native advanced search. Incredibly useful and complex searches can render a significant benefit to the search builder if done correctly. The insights garnered from searches like this are only limited by the imagination, said Staub, and even better, the findings are all in natural language.…

Gift box with light coming out of it.

What Shoppers Want

What are they thinking? What do they want? These ever-elusive questions are the ones marketers and advertisers are asking about shoppers every day. Complete strategies are built around answering these questions in an attempt to meet bottom line objectives, but there’s another motive we should be considering according to WSLStrategic CEO & Chief Shopper Wendy Liebmann. During Liebmann’s presentation with David Plante, Sr. Group Manager – Guest, Consumer & Marketplace Insights at Target Corp. at the Shopper Marketing Summit, the question was posed “Are we making shoppers happy?” To support this line of thinking, Liebmann & Plante presented findings from an extensive consumer study asking shoppers what they want. One shoppers answer summed up the findings: “I want you to build my magic box”. With that answer, the expectation consumers have of retail entities is illuminated and while daunting, Liebmann offered that the possibilities are enormous. Before unpacking how to build that magic box, Liebmann & Plante laid out the understanding garnered from the study about a shopper’s expectations of their retail stores. Consumers expect: Affordable Faster – think Amazon…

A Journey to Online Shopping

Our Investigation into online shopping started a few weeks after I started working at AWG. I was having lunch with friend and telling him about my new job. In the midst of it, he asked “When am I going to be able to get all of my groceries online?” As AWG retailers mostly hadn’t stepped into the online shopping space, that wasn’t exactly a question I was hoping for. Then, we got a request from larger retailer for an online shopping platform. He wanted to know what we thought was the best one, which one made the most sense, which one would take him into the future? That launched us into an investigation of what was happening in the industry. As a normal tactic, I just started googling. At that point was still new to the grocery industry and didn’t know platforms. This lead me to article after article predicting the rise of online shopping in the grocery industry. Historic online shopping platforms for grocery had been around a while, but not much had changed. Challenges with user interfaces were…

Refining Rhetoric

“Getting your ideas across means knowing what to say and how to say it.” That was the lure of of a recent presentation given by Greta Perel at a Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America event. Her mission was to answer the question: “How do we create strong, persuasive messaging?” As a former public speaking teacher, Perel shared Aristotle’s 5 Canons of Rhetoric. Defining rhetoric proves helpful in this instance, as it is what marketers are trying to do each day. Rhetoric as defined by Merriam-Webster is the ability of a person to persuade or influence through writing or speaking. Content, Order, Style, Memory & Delivery help speakers and communicators alike extend messaging from to comprehension. Content can be boiled down to once singular question according to Perel. That question is “What is the most important thing?” While we often want to communicate a whole host of ideas or objectives, using that question to boil down what really matters can focus our energy and messaging. Order is only noticeable when it is done badly says Perel. If the…

Craft Your Message

Communicating with consumers isn’t easy. There are various platforms to consider and so many messages you want to get through. Plus, you’re competing against the rest of the brands out there wanting a consumer’s attention. Crafting and then communicating a powerful message needs to be done thoughtfully. At a recent Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America lunch, Greta Perel, a speechwriter and educator shared three factors to consider to create clear messages that people want to hear. These points are: Audience, Context and Persona. When considering Audience, a communicator must go deeper than simple demographics. It can be helpful to break down an audience by demographics such as gender, education, ethnicity, etc., but can be ultimately more helpful to really consider what the audience in question values. For grocery retailers, the focus has historically been on women with children, and as such, the main messaging revolves around how that consumer can feed multiple people on a small budget. But with that same value proposition in mind, the retailer could also be appealing to those in lower income brackets,…

Beware of the Hype

Beacons, mobile payment, and ecommerce are only a few of technologies retailers are seeing more and more of as the grocery industry continues to acclimate to changing consumer preferences. While big retailers continue to push the envelope with better data and better targeting, independent retailers are getting caught up in the hype that comes with any new technology. Whether it is at national trade shows or in email inboxes the onslaught of companies touting their solutions to each and every perceived consumer need that arises can be confusing. The arguments are convincing, yet rarely does the addition of one program diminish the need for another. The question really becomes then how to determine which programs and services are really needed to not only meet consumer demands, but also retailer bottom line expectations. To evaluate this, retailers must not get lost in the hype. A recent Coffee With CART session discussed hype cycles and how retailers should understand them when it comes to technology. Hype cycles according to Gartner start with a technology trigger. Whether this trigger is inspired by an…

2016 On the Shelves: Food Trends Lookout

It’s no secret that shoppers are shopping differently. Some of this is impacted by different formats of stores, more competition and a wider variety of products, but shoppers are also considering nutrition when walking the aisles of their local grocery stores. To keep up with these consumers, independent retailers must stay up with what consumers want. Guiding Stars, a program which helps identify nutritious items in stores with a simple one, two or three star indicator recently hosted a webinar to help retailers understand what food trends to look out for in 2016 and beyond. These trends are Transparency, Sustainability & Global Responsibility, Unexpected Ingredients & IT foods, Transparency Short ingredient lists with components that consumers can understand give consumers confidence in what they are putting into their body and understanding how the composition of a food helps them meet their goals. Dietitian Allison Stowell cited General Mills’ recent release about eliminating artificial flavors & colors from 75% of their product line.  Kitty Broihier also added that packaging is changing to call out issues related to exactly what is in…