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Living with Authenticity

Last week I attended AAF-KC’s Gas Can conference, a full day of speeches meant to spark creativity. One of the featured speakers was Hailee Bland-Walsh, owner of City Gym, Hailee focused on the impact each of us can have by living authentically. Hailee always knew she was different, she didn’t know how, but she knew. She found a place where she felt she belonged in sports and when faced with finding a full-time job, a desk seemed daunting. She decided to get certified as a personal trainer, which felt manageable. Upon entering the fitness industry and meeting with various clients she realized she was hearing the same story over and over. People didn’t feel like they fit, they didn’t belong. It’s a feeling Hailee knew well, and she knew it could be different. She noted often in the fitness industry the people who need it the most feel the most unwelcome, the most uncomfortable. That is, obviously, not good and she felt like she could make a change. When Hailee opened City Gym, located in Kansas City, she knew people…

Coffee with Cart Graphic.

Star Trek gadgets could work today with an open mind

“3D printed food you can eat,” makes me think of the “replicator” in Star Trek. The Replicator seemed like a magical device with the ability to make something out of nothing. I had forgotten the Replicator used technology from the transporter. This means the replicator actually found whatever you ordered and sent it to you. Quickly.   At the end of a long day, I read the article mentioned in a recent Coffee with CART about the 3D edible food printer “Foodini”. Reading the article helped me shed my Star Trek Replicator assumptions and first off, I wasn’t impressed. I left work thinking “Big deal, somebody figured out how to fit a cookie factory into a box the size of a microwave, and it doesn’t even cook! Why would any of our retailers be interested?” It takes me 20-30 minutes to drive home from work, so I tend to relax some during this time. I started to think of factories that produce food. Basically, food goes in, it gets rearranged, and then packaged food comes out. Why do we have factories? To mass-produce. Now lets…

Photo close-up of pencil with a question mark written on paper under pencil.

What should you put in a new or redesigned website?

As a Web Designer, I would say my most difficult task is getting content from our stores. I get it. I don’t like to write either. It’s a challenge finding time to collect your thoughts and put them on paper. I struggle writing these blogs. For some inspiration I went to a meetup in downtown Kansas City. This was a WordPress meetup, which turned out to be a workshop presented by Mike Farag – “Crafting your key message to grow advocates”. What I’m attempting to do in this blog is use some of his core ideas about “Crafting your key message”, but reconfigure them into a tool retailers might use to write content for their websites. Advocates is something that deserves it’s own blog post, so I’m going to skip that for now. This is a short exercise for your next store meeting that will help jump-start this daunting task of creating content. Website content has very tall orders to fill. Try to think of this quote before starting to write. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”…

Ad from Faultless Starch tageting southern male demographic.

Brand Rejuvenation Case Study: Faultless Starch

I recently attended an AMAKC event featuring Faultless Starch and MBB+ Agency where they presented a case study of brand rejuvenation. Faced with declining starch usage due to changing fashion trends, Faultless Starch approached MBB+ agency to help them rejuvenate their brand. In a nutshell, here’s what they did. First, Faultless hired a company to research what kind of people frequently use starch for ironing. They looked up demographics (quantitative data) and opinions/ feelings of starch users (qualitative data). Research showed their audience was typically male, white-collar workers, mostly concentrated in the southern regions of the U.S. Some thoughts they heard from starch users included “When I iron, I have a sense of pride knowing I look my best”, “I feel better about myself when my clothes are starched” and “Looking well-put together gives me an edge at work.” Faultless took this research to MBB+ and asked them to develop a marketing campaign that would increase sales of Faultless Premium starch. MBB+ started by finding Faultless’s audience and crafting a message to connected with their audience. They decided to use a brand advocate – “someone who could share their…

On Thought Leadership

The world of connected consumers is a marketer’s biggest challenge and opportunity. We have more ways than ever to reach our customers but everyone in the market has the same opportunity. How does a brand get a message to resonate? To become a trusted source of information? To be a thought leader? Recently a few members of our team attended a lunch featuring Laura Ramos from Forrester, hosted by American Marketing and Business Marketers Associations of Kansas City, to discuss Thought Leadership as the Next Wave of B2B Marketing. Connected consumers are looking for more than savvy marketing, they are looking for solutions to their problems. Brands who look to meet customers needs are better able to have conversations, share insights, and exchange value are more likely to be perceived as thought leaders. For grocery retailers this can be translated in both the store and online presence. Have a large volume of afterwork customers? Consider setting easy meal solutions throughout the store and focusing promotions on them. Take a step beyond the in-store execution by sharing meal solutions online, make…

RIP, ROI.

When entering the business world, one of the earliest concepts one learns is Return on Investment (ROI). Even a child with a lemonade stand quickly learns she needs to at least make as much as she spends on creating and marketing her product. In years past, marketing ROI could be calculated with relative ease. Investment in a campaign could be tracked by channel (e.g. direct mail, in-store displays, ad pricing, commercial, etc.) against sales, but as how consumers interact with brands continues to evolve, so must the metrics by which success is measured. American Marketing Association, partnering with Epsilon, recently tackled the new metric of success: ROEE. ROEE is a measure of brand and business equity based on a function of consumer experience, engagement, and other factors. But what does that mean? Consumers’ connection with a brand now goes beyond traditional marketing channels. In the simplest terms, every single interaction a consumer has with a brand impacts their connection to it; not just what the brand says or how they advertise. The first E, Engagement, focuses on how a brand…

Gary's Foods about us photos

“About Us” on your website

Everyone loves a story. People have been telling stories since… well, since people have been around! What do campfires, drawings in the sand, music, movies and your website have in common? All of these tools can help make telling a story easier. The About Us page can attract your customers with a story they can relate to. The more your customers identify with you, the more they will trust your store. The content on this page is also good to share via links in social media. Read this About Us example >> You may not think your story is interesting, but it only seems that way to you because you lived it. You lived the long version, day by day. Believe it or not, millennials prefer the story of how a business came to be rather than having big bold SALE! messages crammed down their throats. These stories tend to be read on mobile devices during down time, like during the commercials while watching TV or waiting for a Dr. Apt. Write about the stories you hear over and over at family get…

Creating Content isn’t Recreating the Wheel.

We recently attended a lunch presentation by John Hall, of Influence & Co, hosted by Business Marketers Association of Kansas City on Building Content that Amplifies Expertise. Content creation is a critical piece of a digital strategy. How do you create good content? How do you keep the conversation fresh? How do you keep customers engaged with the content you are sharing? While this may sound daunting for a single person, content creation isn’t a one-person job. Your organization is full of experts that can help you drive a successful content strategy. Creating content can happen without recreating the wheel. Hall noted a few key things to keep in mind: You Set the Bar – Digital communication may be a new part of your strategy but the concept behind it isn’t; digital marketing is simply another avenue to show customers who you are and how you operate. You should spend time outlining your digital standards, just as you would develop standards for how your store is set and maintained. Share it with your employees and encourage them to contribute while…

Pizza Hut employee presenting at social media club

4 Golden Rules to Content Creation

This morning, I attended a Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast with Jenna Bromberg (@jennabrom), head of social and digital engagement at Pizza Hut. Jenna shared the journey of Pizza Hut’s recent rebrand, along with the challenges and opportunities social media brought to the rebranding strategy. This has been most people’s perception of Pizza Hut: The inventors of Stuffed Crust, Book It club, the big red cups for soda and the best place for millennials to eat in the 90’s. Over the past year, Pizza Hut has changed this outdated image to its new goal: bringing premium flavor to delivery pizza. The pizza looks completely different, along with the company’s marketing and advertising content. Jenna and her team were challenged with the goal of telling the world that the pizza has changed, while still maintaining relevance with millennial families (one of the company’s main segments of customers). Their #1 goal was to sell pizza, while also generating immediate millennial reengagement. With 40 percent of Pizza Hut’s orders now coming from online, Pizza Hut’s customers are not the only aspect…

CocaCola freestyle machine

Adobe’s SUMMIT – The Digital Marketing Conference

The Adobe Summit conference took place in Salt Lake City March 9-13 with the theme, “Marketing Beyond Marketing” and featured Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. One session was on Coca-Cola, a brand that has found a way to reach a new generation for 128 years. Laurie Buckingham, the Chief Development Officer from the product side of company, spoke on how Coca-Cola is using marketing beyond marketing to continue to reach consumers and create the happiness experience for all. She asks, “How can we bring that experience to everyone in the world?” Considering how every country can relate to their country’s flag, they asked people to send in their selfies during the FIFA World Cup. They then used those selfies from 150 countries to create a digital flag. People could download an image of the flag and zoom into their own photo. Laurie says you need to surprise people. They put Coca-Cola vending machines on college campuses during finals week, a stressful time for college students. The vending machines turned out to be hugging machines. A student walks up to the machine, gives…