Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Christmas Tips for Retailers

December 13, 2017

Tips for Retailing at Christmas

Writing a piece about retailing at Christmas should be quite straight forward you would imagine, but writing a piece that it is really helpful for retailers that have been through so many of them at this stage is a little daunting I must admit!

With a backdrop of online shopping deals, getting customers parting with their hard earned cash will be more challenging than ever but presents must be bought so let’s roll up our sleeves.

As part of the preparation for this article I decided I should ask my good buddy Mr Google for a little help and see what extra nuggets I could find that would definitely impress the experienced retailers out there.

If you Google “Tips for retailing at Christmas” you will be quite surprised with what you will find!

My search actually took me to a website called www.christmastipsforretailers.com – can you imagine a website designated to just that topic!

In a way it’s not at all surprising seeing as the Christmas period accounts for a huge % of peoples revenue as well as a huge % of footfall. Even more important the festive period will bring a large number of “new” visitors who could well be trying out your store for the first time – what an incredible opportunity if you really think about it.

I will look at the tips under four broad headings:

Attract the customers into your store

Customer loyalty is as a result of the good work you have done throughout the year and will determine where customers will do their shopping when it comes to Christmas. However you have to do your utmost to attract them in and compete for their attention.

Database Promotions – this is where you use your databases, your invite lists, and your Facebook page for special offers, special customer nights and even Christmas cards as gentle reminders that you are open for business.

Wow Window displays – Christmas windows are really special and if possible push the boat out and really build attractive displays that grab customer attention. (I always get blown away by the window displays in London at this time)

While having an attractive window display is critical, remember that people need complete “solutions” with either their outfits or their gifts – be sure to put your best foot forward at all times with your most attractive and available stock.

Fresh – Have new merchandise arrive throughout the whole festive period keeping your store fresh and if not refresh and rotate the key displays so that the store feels new and vibrant.

Offers – Make sure your promotions are well displayed but in a tasteful way and in keeping with the overall store look and feel.

Clean and tidy store – Allow extra staff time each evening for cleaning, tidying and rearranging so that the store is looking the best as much as possible.

Look after the customer really well when they get there

Research has shown that at Christmas 60% of purchasing decisions are made within the store – once they come in your door make sure that happens.

Christmas is a Floor Show – One of the sites I visited referred to retailing at Christmas as being a “Floor Show”.

The game is won and lost on the sales floor and this is where the staff and managers should be spending their time looking after customers, making sure that the part time staff knows what they are doing, spotting trends and sorting out issues – plenty time for the office work in the New Year!

Happy Team – Keep your team motivated and upbeat. Christmas is a happy time and cheery staff are vital for the business. It is your responsibility to keep them happy, plan a Christmas party, bring them coffee and treats and make sure you rotate them so that they don’t get too jaded as this will result in lost business.

Happy Customers – Make sure there is a good atmosphere in the store with nice scents and festive but not “too” typical music. Offering a festive drink or some sweets or treats can put the shopper in a very good mood.

Give yourself every chance of selling to customers and as much as possible

Once you have done the hard job of attracting people into your store you want them to do a lot more than browse and say thank you!

Make it easy – Shoppers want to maximise their time and minimise their decision making so make it easy for them by bundling and coordinating products, labelling them clearly and having relevant accessories within easy access.

Have a Top 10 or Favourites rail – Display the popular lines prominently making it easy for the customer to purchase with confidence.

Show people what to buy – Create displays with the specific solutions in mind such as mother’s gifts, party wear etc

The right staff – You need the right quantity of good staff to maximise your income at this time. Bring part-time staff in during the lead up to Christmas in plenty of time so they are sufficiently up to speed for the rush.

Speedy Gonzales – Have your quickest people on the tills and on wrapping duty – remember Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) in the store in the movie Love Actually!

Exchange policy and vouchers – make it as easy as possible for customers to buy by removing obstacles such as “What if they don’t like it?” objections.

Gift wrap – for the guys this is an absolute must as long as it doesn’t take too long and interferes with sales. Pre-wrap fast selling items where possible.

Entice them to return in the New Year

This is the one area that for some reason wasn’t covered in any of the websites, which really surprised me.

Accepting that many new customers visit your store in the Christmas period and many of the other shoppers may just be customers for special occasions, give them a special reason for returning earlier than expected.

New Year Initiatives such as invitations to a special VIP Customer “sale day” or a unique voucher that can be redeemed with purchases in the New Year might achieve this. Brainstorm ideas with your staff to encourage early New Year visits for customers.

Running competitions can be another clever way of building a fresh customer database at this time as long as it doesn’t create delays at the till!

I hope the Christmas tips have been helpful and serve you well into next year when we have to do it all over again, Merry Christmas!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Making sure that ‘Great Taste’ is never lost

August 3, 2017

The Great Taste awards, described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world are organised by the Guild of Fine Food.

They are the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink, and when a consumer sees the Great Taste logo on an item it is a sign that they will be buying a great tasting product.

This year (2017) Food and drink producers entered 12,300 products with 4,347 earning 3, 2 and 1 star ratings of which 444 originated from Ireland.

Overall just 165 products earned a 3 Star rating and 1,011 a 2 star rating with Irish products well represented in both of these categories.

PatWhelan, james Whelan Butchers - Great Taste Awards

The Golden Forks (the big winners) will be announced at a celebration dinner at the International Park Lane Hotel, London on the 4 September.

Great Taste, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is gin, biscuits, sausages or coffee being judged, all products are removed from their packaging, wrapper, jar, box or bottle before being tasted. Furthermore the judges have no idea the price that these products normally retail at.

It’s all about the taste!

The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1, 2, or 3 star award.

As you can imagine the judging panel is very illustrious and this year it included; chef, food writer and author, Gill Meller, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, author and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, baker, Tom Herbert, and food writer and baking columnist, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners and will finally agree on the 2017 Top 50 Foods, which will be announced in August, with the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2017 Supreme Champion unveiled on the 4th September.

Just Taste!

Judging the food and drink products on their taste seems very fair and as you would expect – the packaging and branding is removed so that the judges are able to experience the products in their pure, true state, without any interference or bias.

Sunnes Stores - Sticky Toffee Pudding

When do we ever, truly taste anything?

The minute that award winning cake goes into a wrapper, it changes the taste for the consumer.

  • Once we see the packaging, the colours, the type of paper and the visuals, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see the brand name, it changes the taste.
  • Once we read where the product is made and we see the ingredients, it changes the taste.
  • Once the product is placed in a retail outlet, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see where it is placed in the store, it changes the taste.
  • Once we see some POS and the product displayed on a promotional stand, it changes the taste.
  • Once a price is put on the product, it changes the taste.
  • When the product is on special offer, it changes the taste.
  • When a well dressed sampling person invites you to taste a thumbnail of the product, it changes the taste.
  • When we see that the brand is endorsed by a well known personality, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a newspaper, it changes the taste.
  • When we see adverts for the product in a glossy magazine, it changes the taste
  • When a respected food journalist tells you the product is superb, it changes the taste.
  • When we open the pack at home and we are in a great mood, it changes the taste.

Today’s consumer is influenced by everything they see, hear and taste. We are also influenced by a lifetime of experiences, good and bad, by our peers and we all carry with us a lorry load of biases.

With great products our job and the job of everyone else in the chain that brings the product to the consumer, is to make sure that person can actually ‘taste’ the product.

The Great Taste Awards and that big round logo that you will see on products will also help!

Congratulations to two of our clients, James Whelan Butchers and Simply Better by Dunnes Stores who scooped up Great Taste Awards, once again this year.

James Whelan Butchers are Great Taste 3-star winners with their Pork Lard, a natural and clear lard made from slowly rendered back fat, with a “fabulous long lasting and clean pork flavour” – it’s all about taste!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Did you hear the one about the “Kerry” man?

July 24, 2017

Kerry

Did you hear the one about the ‘Kerry’ man?” was the joke that we heard often years ago.

We don’t hear that joke being told too much these days and maybe, that’s because “Kerry” has become worthy of respect for so many reasons including prowess on the sporting field, the most beautiful of places, links golf courses, fantastic hospitality, success in business with huge companies such as Kerry Group and FEXCO and even politicians that should never be underestimated!

There is something very special about Kerry and this is recognised in Ireland and internationally.

There is something so special about ‘Kerry’ that a huge legal dispute has been rumbling for the last few years between the food giants, Kerry Group and Ornua.

Kerry Group introduced their Kerrymaid butter product into the Spanish market a few years back and Ornua, the makers of Kerrygold have legally challenged their right to do so.

While this case is complex it looks like Kerry Group have won this battle (according to the European Court of Justice) as:

  • both have been selling in the EU already, for quite a while alongside each other (in Ireland and the UK) and
  • the word ‘Kerry’ is okay to use as it is an indication of geographical origin as long as this is true and honest

I read the legal jargon about the case and there are many subtleties to each of these points but this was the gist of it (please read the case in detail if this is an important issue for you).

Kerry!

In a way this opens up a huge can of worms for both of these brands as it implies that if you are in Kerry and you produce a product then you can use the word ‘Kerry’ as part of the name.

Kerry is obviously a fantastic brand right now with many positive attributes – there are no right or wrong answers here as the brand attributes are what each of us believes them to be.

When I think of Kerry I think of positive things such as nature, beauty, the coast, agriculture, hospitality, quality, sport, literature, music, business success, resilience but I also do think of negative things such as poor roads, too many American tourists, cute politicians and a few rough towns.

This is my version of  ‘Kerry’ but for others it will be quite different and we all carry things in our heads that make up what the brand is for us.

If Kerry suffered from a major incident such as a gigantic oil spill that contaminated the whole coastline then maybe the use of the name on products may not be as positive as it is today – while this is hard to imagine, having your brand attached to name that is largely out of your control could be risky.

Kerry – is it good for the butter?

While Kerrygold is a very successful brand, is it because it carries the name ‘Kerry’ or is it because it is a great product with great packaging and marketed really well? – I’m sure all of these elements contribute to the success.

Kerrygold and KerrymaidIn the case of the ‘butter wars’ I suspect that one part of the argument is about the ability to use the word ‘Kerry’ as it borrows all of the positive attributes of the place but for others who may not be as familiar with the place, a different argument could be that they are borrowing the positive attributes of the other product.

Would the Spanish know enough about the Kerry region to now the attributes of the location?

The Reverse Argument

In this particular case one could make a strong case against any company being able to use the name of a place in their brand and not actually producing it in that location – is this an even more serious issue for another day?

Place of Origin Branding

When we incorporate the name of a place in our brand or company name, we do automatically benefit from the positive attributes but, most importantly, if we are to use that place name, we also have a responsibility to uphold that name and not damage it in any way.

Did you hear the one about the Kerryman who thought he could sell his butter in Spain – he was right!  

If you need to chat about your brand, give us a call!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Branding  services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Some eggs are gold

July 11, 2017

Golden opportunity

Do you serve any eggs?” my buddy asked

Were they even serving food I wondered at this stage? It was 3:30 in the afternoon but he was starving and needed something before he hopped in the car to drive to Dublin.

I had recommended the place so I hoped he would be looked after.

The waitress in the bar/restaurant assured us that the kitchen was still open and handed us the menu.

We can’t do eggs, you can only order from the menu” she explained.

Oh no I thought – here was a golden opportunity for the outlet to shine, go on grab it.

My buddy glanced through the menu and I reckon for dietary reasons he didn’t want to order anything that was on offer.

I suggested that he ordered a steak sandwich – he didn’t want the fries that came with it so he asked could he get the steak sandwich with an egg?

No sorry, you can only order what’s on the menu” she emphasised again.

Hmmm, the place was really quiet. There was a chef on duty – how difficult could it be to put on an egg to go with the steak?

It was clear that there was no flexibility so the steak sandwich was ordered. It duly arrived with the chips that he didn’t want, which he pushed towards me to eat – they were really tasty and he scoffed down his steak sambo.

What was so difficult about doing an egg?

– were there no eggs in the kitchen?
– is the chef only able to make what’s on the menu?
– is there no button on the till to handle a deviation from the menu?
– was any deviation just too much for the staff to handle?
– could the team that were working that day just not care
– was there a fear that if you actually gave the customer what they wanted, they could be asking for anything next??!!

Whatever the motivation for the lack of flexibility the result was really poor for the outlet.

My buddy won’t be back there and while I like the place I won’t be back there in a hurry either as my recommendation left me a little red faced.

A simple egg and the outlet would have had two happy customers.

That was a very costly egg…

Are you rigid with your product and service offering to the extent that it is costing you customers?

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Writing cheques to make yourself look bad

May 14, 2017

James Bond Museum

I was doing a review of the marketing activities with a new home improvement client a few years back.

In the previous year, they had spent €15,000 on Google Adwords in the UK bringing the right search traffic to the website of their UK operation.

They weren’t convinced about how successful this investment was and they asked me to review the campaign.

The lack of success was simple to figure out because the €15,000 was being used to drive traffic to their website, which was outdated and made them look like an old fashioned, backwards operation. You could easily understand how this traffic was not converting because, like me, I am fairly sure that the people who looked at the website were not inclined to do business.

Not only were they wasting money but they were damaging their brand – an important and very simple SEO tip is to make sure you have a website that makes people want to do business with you!

My simple recommendation to them was to stop the campaign immediately, upgrade the website and then, and only then, start up the Google campaign again.

I was told that there was no budget for a new website and instead they decided to increase their Google Adwords budget in the hope that bringing, even more traffic would somehow improve the results they were getting from the previous campaign.

Whether it is..

– Advertising when your store is a mess
– Putting a cheap sign over your premises
– Paying for an advert and not designing it properly
– Getting cheap business cards
– Bringing traffic to an outdated website

..the message is always the same.

Never, ever, write a cheque to make yourself look bad.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full-service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Incite or Insight?

April 19, 2017

Ena Kenny and Donald Trump, Patrick's Day

Enda Kenny’s St.Patrick Days trip to the U.S. costs the taxpayer €35,000” read the headline in this newspaper article I read at the weekend.

The article documented blow by blow how and where these costs were accumulated as well as the costs of the other Ministers who travelled overseas for our national festival, that day when the whole world acknowledges and celebrates our little country.

St.Patrick would be a great Marketing/PR trick for Ireland if we had planned it!!

The article was designed to incite the reader in a way that we are seeing all too frequently – It is supposed to get us thinking…

This is a total disgrace

What a waste of money

Typical politicians, on a jolly while the rest of us are paying for it

Why does it cost so much, you can fly to the States and back for €500?

Rage, rage and more rage – thanks for exposing this abomination!!

In my humble view, Enda Kenny’s U.S. trip was well worth every cent and much more as he flew a flag for illegal Irish immigrants and our continued trade in the very delicate Trump era. This simple visit will help to preserve our special relationship with an economy that is more than vital to us.

In terms of the cost of the trip do we really expect the leader of our country to travel Economy, take public transport and book into 3-star hotels?!!

Come on guys, less of the headlines that are designed to incite the typical anger and let’s focus on the insights.

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service agency that offers Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

MAGA and simple messages

September 28, 2016

Donald Trump

What in the name of God is MAGA?

Of course it is an acronym for “Make America Great Again” used for hashtag purposes by Donald Trump with his social media posts.

This phrase is that one thing, that tag line if you will, which his whole campaign is built around – it is that one message that he keeps pumping out over and over, in every speech and now in every social media post.

Functionally when he uses #MAGA or any hashtag it pops out at you as it appears in a different colour and when you click on it you will see a listing of all of the social media posts where that was used. This makes it easy to track all of the posts.

People are bewildered about the success of this brash, uncouth, abrasive and insulting man who is now dangerously within touching distance of being the “Leader of the Free World“.

How is this possible?

While it is unbelievable I have a simple theory that I think partly explains the Trump pheonomena.

Here goes …

In this fast paced internet age where we are being assaulted 24/7 by messages and news via many media platforms it is very difficult to focus one’s attention properly.

As a result our attention spans are tiny and if you have a message that you want people to grasp then you must have one simple, clear message that is memorable and used consistently over and over.

This can be really effective because most people do not have the time or the inclination to dig deeper, to do their own research and properly inform themselves of all the facts about issues that are important such as who becomes the next President of the United States.

This key message should become your tagline and if possible it should be capable of being used as a hashtag in your social media posts.

BREXIT - We want our country back

For example in the recent BREXIT campaign the ‘leave’ campaigners put out a consistent campaign about “getting our country back“.

This simple message was pumped out over and over resulting in a majority of voters opting for ‘leave‘. What was clear afterwards was that many of these voters admitted that they had no idea about the consequences of their vote.

The ‘stay’ campaign had no clarity about their message so they made it easy for the opposition.

A key learning for all of us in this ‘short attention span era‘ is that a simple clear message that connects with your audience used consistently will win.

Does Hillary Clinton have a clear message?

I’m worried ….

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR, Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Customer Loyalty – Who is rewarding who?

September 20, 2016

champagne

You can see it all starting to change – things are getting better and inevitably the prices are starting to creep up and the special deals are disappearing. The free glass of wine or soft drink with your lunch is gone – the bill has crept up €5 per person.

We use a particular hotel (our second home!!) on a regular basis in Dublin. In the depths of the recession they were glad of the business introducing keen rates for Corporate clients and a loyalty card system that rewarded you with free nights every time you stayed 10 times.

The room rate has crept up and 10 times has crept up to 13 times and the free upgrades to the better rooms don’t happen anymore – the reward for loyalty is less than it was because they don’t need this ‘loyalty’ as much anymore.

Recently we rang to make our usual booking and it happened to fall during the Dublin Horse Show week.

We have vacancies but we can’t give you the corporate rate. That rate doesn’t apply at busy times” the reservations person explained.

Excuse me. The hotel isn’t full, the event is happening and you have vacancies. We stay with you in the depths of winter when the place is half empty” Logic wasn’t winning as we tried to make our point.

Sorry, we have a new policy

We resorted to jumping over that person’s head and having a quiet word with the manager who we have got to know quite well and he negotiated a rate closer to what we normally pay. We shouldn’t have had to make any phone call but as I already said, things are changing.

Initially we were angry and frustrated. You think about finding a new place to stay but this hotel is close to the office and its convenient and in truth we all just have to ‘suck it up’ and realise that things improving means that your custom just won’t be as valued as it once was.

However, we now feel different about that place and if there was a better option we would definitely have switched to it at that point.

If you are increasing your prices and squeezing up those deals try to do it in such a way that doesn’t let your ‘loyal’ customers feel like their loyalty was pointless – you’ll want them in January!

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR, GraphicDesign services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

Without some “wow” its difficult to see how!

July 10, 2016

Products with nothing specialI arrived there in torrential rain and entered a premises that lacked personality, that lacked anything. No pictures, no branding, no product displays…nothing.

There was a display on the wall with Certificates of Incorporation and some certs confirming a legal change from one company name to another.

I was politely ushered into a room and three people joined the meeting.

The new product was produced and placed centre stage on the board room table. The bland, quite generic packaging was the first thing I noticed.

Where was the product made, what’s special about it, what has the journey been, what is the wow, what is the  “story“?

I probed, I dug deep and I asked this crew why they developed this product, why it was in front of me on the table and why they brought it to market?

I was hoping to discover a unique (I hate that word) insight, I was hoping to hear some personal story, I wanted something that would help us to bring this “thing” to life in a genuine and authentic way that would connect with their target audience.

What I got was very profound – “it’s just a product that we think we can make money from

This won’t work…

Greg Canty 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork

Raising your head above the Parapet

June 27, 2016

Head above the parapet

My buddy Jonathan tipped me off that a particular guy on Twitter was having a right ‘pop’ at the “Power You”, Advanced Social Media Programme that I had recently put together and was promoting.

This guy was careful enough not to name or mention me so I didn’t spot his post initially but eventually I found it as well as the reaction some of his followers had towards it and his interaction with them – he loves me!

My new “friend” was having great fun – he was obviously quite curious about the peer to peer advanced programme that I had put together, which is targeting ambitious individuals who don’t want another social media course but one that can potentially elevate them (they can do it with my help) to the point whereby they could become a ‘Digital Influencer‘ in their field.

Power You - Advanced Social Media ProgrammeThis guy took a pop about the price (it’s 10 sessions, one to one mentoring and delivered in a small group), he challenged my qualifications to deliver such a course (I have been delivering training and consultancy in this area since the earliest days of social), he claimed I was using words I didn’t even understand to an audience who would not understand either (I am trying to achieve something quite different through this programme), he wondered about what big clients and campaigns I had worked on to justify my ‘status’ to deliver such a programme (unlike him I’m guessing)…and there was lots more!

I obviously stood on a sore toe with this fella and Power You upset him for some big reason – was he sorry he wasn’t running a programme like this himself (he works in the area) or maybe he thought what I was doing was pure rubbish!!

I was hurt and angry to see someone having a right go at me and my creation. I put a lot of time and attention into this and from my experience there is a real training gap in the social media market, which no one is addressing.

I was about to put on the boxing gloves and jump into the ring ..come on, “lets be having ya, Mr Smart Ass“..bang, bang, wallop..take that!! I felt like it, I promise you..

Before pressing ‘fire‘ I took a deep breath..

Do I ever criticise things that I don’t agree with? ..Yes.

Do I ever criticise new initiatives that I think are silly..Probably?

Do I criticise in a personal, nasty way – I hope not, but any criticism of you ends up feeling personal.

I put my head above the parapet with Power You but I have to accept that when any of us do that it is fair game.

When you do something new it will be judged, it will be criticised, those who compete against you will take a “pop” but then again some will hopefully like it and buy into what you are trying to do. Some might even buy!

This “new thing” of yours may or may not work but it’s important that you keep trying, keep doing new things and let yourself open to that criticism – it’s all part of it so don’t be getting upset!

And most importantly keep “Raising your head above the Parapet

The Power You Programme is starting in Dublin in the middle of July – click here for details!

p.s. This blog is for Daragh – Instead of boxing gloves I tweeted him “Thanks for giving my programme a plug

Thank you for reading!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland