Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Market research firm NPD earlier this year reported that carried-from-home breakfasts are on the rise.  Last year a Technomic survey found that breakfast sandwiches on chain restaurant menus increased 8.1 percent; one-third of consumers eat a breakfast sandwich at least once a week.  Breakfast is on the move! 

Read On:
We all know that breakfast is our first meal after rising from a night’s sleep, often eaten in the morning.  A quick Google search yielded that the word breakfast first came into play in the written English language back in the 15th century.  It described a morning meal, which literally meant to break the fasting period of the prior night.  Because of our 24/7 lifestyles, sometimes breakfast is now being eaten at different times of the day, especially by Vampires.

Opposed to a sit down breakfast usually consisting of fruit juice, cereals (hot or cold), eggs, toast, etc., carried-from-home breakfasts typically include grab-and-go items like fruit, coffee, snack bars and yogurt.  NPD revealed there were 3.3 billion carried-from-home breakfast meals in 2013, an eating behavior that shows signs of our increasing hunger for portable meals.  In the above blink, I referenced breakfast sandwiches menued by chain restaurants; however, I also researched hand-held item sales from C-stores for this post.  Nutritional bars units sales in 2013 increased 13.8%, while frozen breakfast handheld products unit sales increased 2.0% over the prior year (source: IRI).

Convenience is definitely the driving factor that is changing the breakfast daypart as Americans are racing off to work, thus eating more portable breakfasts on the fly!  Maybe it is time we rearrange the word order for our first meal after rising from a night’s sleep.

What did you have for Fastbreak?

Thursday, February 13, 2014


As a classically trained marketer, I value the discipline of conducting a formal S.W.O.T. analysis during the strategic planning process.  However, recently I am beginning to realize, due to our turbulent world, even when companies conduct their homework, they need to learn to deal with unexpected curveballs.

Read On:
For those readers not familiar with the marketing acronym S.W.O.T., it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  It is a marketing analysis most companies conduct on a regular basis during their annual strategic planning process or whenever they are embarking on a new business venture.  

Last month I read a friend’s blog post about Rémy Cointreau.  Despite all their thorough planning identifying the business potential of the Chinese spirits market which also included reformulating Rémy Martin cognac making it sweeter to accommodate Chinese taste preferences, they were thrown a major league curveball.  Chinese President Xi Jimping decided to crackdown on pervasive corruption.  His anti-corruption movement opposed extravagant perks like gifts and parties.  Rémy Martin cognac was the branded alcoholic beverage of choice among government officials and wealthy businessmen.  Consequently their sales and profits pummeled.  So did Rémy Cointreau’s S.W.O.T analysis.

Has your company experienced any curveballs lately?  

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Conductor – An Update

Recently I went to listen to the Philadelphia Orchestra.  The scheduled guest conductor had canceled due to a personal family emergency.  The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Associate Conductor Cristian Măcelaru masterly filled in.  As I sat there, he validated to me that all great movements, musical or social need a strong conductor.

Read On:
I first introduced the concept of a social media conductor back in March 2011At the time, I indicated that companies were weighing the pros and cons of gearing up to implement a social media movement.  Regardless of what resources they were planning, internal or external, I advocated that all successful social media movements would need a conductor.  I went on to identify what I believed were five character traits of a strong conductor.  At the risk of being repetitive, below are the sound bytes; click here if you would like to read in detail:

·         Strategic Thinker
·         Leadership
·         Analytical
·         Intellectual Curiosity
·         Improvises

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to be retained by several companies to be their social media conductor.  Consequently I have been able to validate and understand the role of a conductor.  It has not been easy given that the collaborative world of Web 2.0 keeps evolving.  However, Cristian’s performance confirmed to me the value of patience and fortitude.  As the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Associate Conductor, I realize that he works with the orchestra every day preparing them for all their concerts either with special guest conductors or their current musical director Yannick Nézet –Séguin.  He has to familiarize himself with a large body of work and then, at a moment’s notice, be prepared to step center stage.

Do you have a social media conductor?