Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Sixth Gretzky

Every year I designate the Gretzky award to an individual or company that is skating to where the puck is going to be.  This year’s award is special.  The winner is Andrew Shakman, leader of a food waste prevention company that is making a significant difference in our country, LeanPath.  

Read On:
If you follow my blog, you know that I am appalledby the amount of food wasted in our country.  There is no one solution.  However, Andrew Shakman, co-founder/CEO of LeanPath has been on a mission to reduce food waste since he conceived the company (headquartered in Portland, Oregon) back in 1994.  LeanPath via technology has built tracking systems that assist foodservice operators to monitor and reduce food waste.  The outcome of LeanPath’s tools/services is noteworthy.

·         Their clients cut food waste in half and save 2-6 % on food purchases.

·         LeanPath’s tools steps up an operation’s efforts beyond composting by tracking and reducing pre-guest waste (overproduction, expired items, trimmings, etc.).

·         In the process, LeanPath helps food operators create a waste reduction culture.

Earlier I stated that this year’s award is special.  I first met Andrew back in 2007 at a conference.  Since then he has evolved from an industry connection into a personal friend.  However, what I find really special is how hard Andrew has worked at delivering his message and building LeanPath.  Candidly, to me he is as passionate today as when I first met him back in Washington D.C.

Andrew, congratulations on your vision!  LeanPath is definitely making a difference and skating to where the puck is going to be – a significant reduction in America’s food waste!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wooing Millennials

Last month I went on holiday; spent two weeks offline to break my daily exercise of aggregating information online.  Candidly, I also wanted to take a break from constantly reading about marketers’ coveted target market, Millennials (18-to-34-year-olds).  No such luck! 

Read On:
While on holiday I stayed connected to the world by reading the International New York Times (print version).  Day one I opened the business section and the lead article was Brands Woo Millennials with Apps and Emojis.  OMG!  I cannot catch a break from reading at least a few times a day about the Millennials, the first generation that grew up on the internet.  The gist of this article was about the shift in Millennials’ media habits.  They do not watch as much traditional TV or read print newspapers/magazines.  Most block ads on their web browsers and smartphones.  Overall they are a tricky target to reach via advertising.  Advertisers are beginning to find success utilizing emojis and apps.  The Cassandra Report published by Deep Focus Agency revealed that 4 out of 10 Millennials indicated they prefer to communicate with pictures over words.

Okay I get it.  Marketers are salivating over capitalizing on tapping into the discretionary income of Millennials.  I also have studied the following statistics:

·         Millennials spend 41 percent of their time on mobile devices.  Adults ages 35 to 54 spend 34 percent of their time on mobile device while adults 55 and older spend only 16 percent of their time (source: comScore).   

·         Younger Millennials 18-to-24-year-olds spend an average of 91 hours a month on smartphone apps, about 18 hours more than people who are 35 to 44 and 33 hours more than 45-to 54-year olds (source: comScore). 

·         The population of the United States is 320 million (as of last week). Millennials account for approximately 83 million, thus there are 237 million other people that are not 18-to-34-years old.

I recognize that Millennials are influencing the future of consumerism.  However, I really do think it is time for marketers to better understand that there are other target markets with potentially equal discretionary income.  

Marketers, balance your future target marketing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

RTE (Real Time Engagement)?

Before Web 2.0, we would meet people and partake in live conversations.  Since the advent of Web 2.0, we connect with people online and engage.  With some Web 2.0 tools like Twitter we even enjoy RTE (Real Time Engagement).  Or do we?

Read On:
Last week I was reminded of the real-time nature of Twitter when its leader, Jack Dorsey was in New York to hype Twitter’s new advertising features/products to better compete with Facebook and Google.  According to Dorsey, Twitter still is the public square where people gather to discuss live events like presidential debates, entertainment awards, social movements, etc. – RTE (Real Time Engagement). 

What about Twitter day to day?  Based on all my participation since 2009, I have concluded there is a whole a lot of broadcasting and very little listening.  Why?  My hypothesis: Dashboard management tools like Hootsuite have reduced engagement.  They allow people to load up their tweets (24/7), broadcast and not have to worry about engaging live.  I can count on one hand the number of people in my Tribe that I engage with daily since they are online at the same time or via some form of acknowledgement utilizing Twitter etiquette (e.g., retweets). 

My point: Engagement is all about a two way conversation where people communicate and exchange information.  Sometimes asking that second or third question is a great way to enhance engagement compared to hitting a social media like button that has become standard procedure.  Why did you like my comment?  My conclusion: There is no substitute when it comes to RTE (Real Time Engagement) to have a live, offline conversation with someone you know or a stranger you are sharing the same physical space with.

Rediscover the pleasure of RTE (Real Time Engagement).

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Juking the Brand

In 2010 I wrote Juking the Stats.  The term was coined on the popular HBO series, The Wire where people manipulate the system to make whatever they are doing appear right to achieve their goals.  Volkswagen is a classic example.  They just validated my original term, Juking the Brand

Read On:
One of the big news items while I was on holiday this past month was Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal.  In their quest to become the leading global automobile company, they installed faulty software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide that lowered emissions to legal standards during testing, but discharged pollutants into our environment the rest of the time.  Juking the stats to deceive regulators?  How about deceiving their consumers about the benefits of diesel cars?  They claimed diesel cars were as clean and powerful as gasoline cars while delivering better mileage. 

One transparent aspect of branding is all about the creditability of a company consistently delivering its products or services over a passage of time.  The emissions scandal will result in Volkswagen Juking the Brand.  They sabotaged their integrity!   

Volkswagen, what were you scheming?