Last week the cry of “Play Ball” echoed across the nation, and baseball fans cheered. Some just louder than others. Normally, we would have released the results of our 22nd annual Brand Keys Sports Fan Loyalty Index before the first pitch. But because being a fan is such an emotional phenomenon, this year we decided to wait for fans to put just a little distance between opening day buzz and the actual fan loyalty scorecard.
The Brand Keys Sports Fan Loyalty Index provides metrics that correlate very, very highly with viewership and purchase of licensed merchandise, and via interviews with 250 self-declared fans in each team’s SMSA it provides more than just gate-count. The Sports Loyalty Index was designed to help professional sports team management identify precise fan...
I had the opportunity to present to a technology company’s advisory board, a table full of eight or nine different retailers, representing the full breadth of retail verticals and sizes. I ran through the current state of omni-channel, expecting to breeze through the first few and delve deeper into topics like the future of the store. That was not to be.
My first topic was “Who owns the customer experience in retail?” and I fully expected it to be a well-worn argument. My intention was to show that marketing is winning the battle for ownership of the customer experience, but that it’s by no means certain.
Well. I never got past that first statement without a lot of controversy and discussion. So I thought I should lay my argument out here, and see what you think....
The business press is still reporting on Sbarro's and Quiznos' Chapter-11 bankruptcy filings of two weeks ago. Both have been troubled firms for a long time. One filed Chapter 11 just two years ago in 2012, Sbarro, and the other restructured its debt to avoid Chapter 11. That was Quiznos in December 2011. There are several common denominators present in the circumstances of both companies.
Both brands avoided “customer customization” in their product development efforts to their great detriment.
Each ignored one of the great restaurant consumer developments of the 2000-2010 decade, that they should have seen coming. Sbarro served pre prepared very Americanized Italian food, kept warm in a cafeteria display, while Quiznos actually “hid” its product...
It was David Ogilvy who said, "Consumers don't say what they think and they don't do what they say." And he was right about that. At least most of the time. And in a more complex marketplace it's only gotten harder to measure what consumers really think today. Not what they say they think. Measuring that is easy. But measuring what they really think, and how they're going to behave? That's an entirely different kettle of fish.
We specialize in predictive metrics and in identifying what consumers really expect, and how they are going to engage with brands, and we've found that sometimes it's the consumers who take the lead, and sometimes it's the brands that change the paradigm, so it's nice when customer values and brand values come together....
In a federal penitentiary you get up early, eat a minimal amount of food, work hard all day at menial tasks, get paid very little and can never leave the property. Sound a lot like your hotel these days? If so, it is time to restructure your debt.
Nearly 20% of the 46,000 hotels in this country are in default of their mortgage covenants. A deep recession and overbuilding of hotel rooms have resulted in a drop of both occupancy and average daily rate.
Mortgage rates have remained constant and many hotel owners find themselves cutting operation costs to the bone, yet are still unable to make the monthly mortgage payment. Even working for free with little staff doesn't assure the bank can be paid.
The recession may have eased, but most economists think it will be a long time before the...
In my career, I have attended probably several hundred professional conferences and meetings. Some of these were local or state hospitality associations, many were brand related and others were for specialized development for my team or myself. I have spoken at a good number of conferences and listened to probably hundreds of speakers and seminar leaders. Many of these have been very good, but just as many or more have missed their mark and were disappointing.
As I look at which programs and conferences to attend, I have found it helpful to look for events that provide a forum for effective networking among peers. Trade shows can offer outstanding value, but I try to avoid the keynotes or seminars where someone is very obviously trying to "sell" something rather than to teach...
It turns out not all TV programs are right for all brands – no matter how super they are in attracting an audience. Not even if it turns out to be the Super Bowl itself. Findings from the Brand Keys 12th annual Super Bowl Engagement Survey shows that when it comes to winning, only half of this year's Super Bowl XLVIII's advertisers will score big based on their big investments.
According to Super Bowl advertiser playbooks, brands are all wishing for ads that score big: big audiences, big creative, big buzz, and big emotional engagement. Well, all advertisers can count on at least two of those wishes to come true, because the Super Bowl has long been a showcase of big creative and it always attracts big audiences. Usually around 160 million viewers. More, depending on the teams that...
For nearly 100 years Sears & Roebuck, the dynamic duo of marketing, was America’s greatest retailer and consumers loved them. Even sang love songs about them. Hard to believe today? Well here’s a bit from a 1949 song by Ray Gilbert, William Okie, and Al Gannay. The first verse of the love song went like this:
Dear Mister Sears and Roebuck:
I been sittin’ here a-thumbin’ through your book.
Page a hundred ninety-nine
Shows a stove that’s mighty fine
And a feller in an apron like a cook.
Dear Mister Sears and Roebuck:
That electric stove’s away above my class.
It’s a beauty, yes indeed,
But the thing I really need
Is that man to teach me how to cook with gas.
It ended as follows:
Don’t mean to...
As franchisees everywhere applaud the hard fought, long term and just outcome of this case, it is important that certain lessons be learned that might help prevent similar unnecessary disputes reach the stage that this case did. In my comments posted on October 22 in BlueMauMau, Avis Lawsuit Represents What's Bad in Franchising, I expressed my strong opinion that this long and very costly lawsuit never should have happened in the first place. Robert Halcro, first the victim and then the victor, upon hearing that the case was finally over and that his $19.2 million award was his, expressed his feelings that in the reality of franchising there are lessons to be learned.
Halcro commented, "The typical small operator (franchisee) probably could not fight a case like this one...
Over the past few months, the discussion regarding minimum wage increases has quickly come to the forefront. Due to the current political climate, many who have been following the news knew the argument would soon be on the agenda for multiple jurisdictions. The battles regarding these increases are common place and the impact could have a significant, if not catastrophic, effect on the same individuals that often seek higher minimum wage levels.
Let me explain this concept. Whether you frequent a small business, purchase groceries from the local supermarket, or buy breakfast from McDonalds, you will need to interact with someone who is a minimum wage employee. Unlike what seemingly is the growing standard for government, businesses must not spend more than they earn, which in layman'...