June 2013

How Should a Retail Brand Best Use Social Media?

2013-06-11T10:07:06+00:00 Categories: Crackerjack Marketer, SandBlog, think|Tags: , , , , , |

POINT: Paul Williams

First, it is most important to remember that social media tools are tactics that support a word of mouth marketing strategy. So much excitement lately, how easily companies and customers can directly connect to each other, we forget that social media is a tactic, not an objective. (more…)

July 2010

Gain Out-Of-This-World Marketing Advice From Galaxy Coffee

2017-03-01T11:56:10+00:00 Categories: grow, think|Tags: , , , , , , |

John Moore, the marketing medic at Brand Autopsy, has written another book that offers succinct marketing and branding advice inspired by working at Starbucks Coffee Company.

It is called: Tough Love: Scripting the Drive, Drama, and Decline Of Galaxy Coffee.”

Although… I’m wrong to call it a book… It is a screenplay disguised as a book. It wasn’t written to be turned into a movie, rather it is John’s remarkable way of offering a novel novel. It works.

TOUGH LOVE… is actually a screenplay masquerading as a business book. It reads just like a Hollywood screenplay with standard script format, seven main characters, and two plot lines that tell the story of how a rags-to-riches entrepreneur finds success building a company (Galaxy Coffee) to be bigger only to realize, the hard way, that smaller is better.

Inserted throughout the TOUGH LOVE script are breakout business lessons and thought-provoking business advice geared towards entrepreneurs and small business owners.

In addition to loads of valuable, bite-sized, actionable marketing lessons, it tells an interesting story pretty close to what it was like working within the Starbucks marketing department at the turn of the century.

Starbucks lovers and haters will find the read equally interesting.

Behind the scenes

Many of the character names are amalgamations of Starbucks marketers… Including (I’m honored to write) me! I’m disguised as Denny Williams. (That’s a combination of Paul Williams and Lisa Denny. Lisa was one of our favorite, and smartest bosses at Starbucks). John’s use of similarity to actual people make the read more realistic.

I highly recommend downloading a copy of John’s marketing screenplay At $9.99 it is a steal! While you’re at it, check out John’s first book…Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed From The Grounds Of Starbucks Corporate Culture. too!

February 2010

Debunking Word Of Mouth, (and Social Media) Bunk

2017-03-01T11:56:17+00:00 Categories: grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

John Moore (from Brand Autopsy) and I were invited to talk with Jay Ehret of The Marketing Spot. As part of his work to help small businesses, Jay asked John and I questions surrounding all the hubbub regarding Word of Mouth (WOM) and Social Media.


You’ll find some helpful stuff. John is the WOM expert who speaks and writes for the official Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).

Oh, and I toss a few ideas in there as well…

Here’s the podcast audio link:

Power To the Small Business #48
“Debunking Word-of-Mouth Bunk”

Getting “word of mouth” simply means your brand, company, products/services are worth talking about… that you’re worth remarking about… that you’re literally remarkable.

And, creating word of mouth means doing things that make you remarkable, make you different than the competition.

You should also check out the series of articles I wrote on how to be different. The lessons from these great writers will help you be remarkable and create word of mouth.

Thank you Jay for asking for my thoughts!

Finally, in preparation for the interview I prepared notes. I’ll share those thoughts this week in a series of articles. I welcome you to stop by tomorrow.

June 2007

“Greatest Promotion” Wouldn’t Scale

2017-03-01T11:57:04+00:00 Categories: grow|Tags: , , , , |

Washington DC-area California Tortilla restaurants offered a $1-off your purchase if you beat the cashier playing Rock, Paper, Scissors.

A really cool idea.

I just heard about this from John Moore (from Brand Autopsy), who saw it on the website of Seth Godin, who read about it on the Freakonomics blog, who spotted it on the DCist blog, a site about all things Washington DC… Whoosh!

I agree this is a buzz-worthy promotion. Just look at the path it took to get posted here!

At his site, Seth comments that this idea showcases the front line worker. Makes them “part of the deal.” He adds how great it is to allow them judgment. Perhaps even build enthusiasm among employees who are typically gears in the business machine.

Seth then suggests… What if you could get a free biscotti if you told a great joke to your Starbucks barista? Or what if the customer service team could give a prize to the nicest person who calls in that day?

A neat idea… but not at all realistic for a large company.

The California Tortilla idea works because they don’t have very many locations. Smaller businesses can get away with bigger ideas like this because there is less ‘exposure’ to risk. What California Tortilla hoped was that enough people will talk about it… and visit the stores… and the $1-off discount offer would be offset by increased traffic for the day.

I’m sure that California Tortilla is prepared to give EVERYONE walking through their door on that day a dollar off. So, for them… the extra 100 customers who visit each of their 10? locations? That’s a discount budget of $1,000. Not too risky.

While I like Seth’s sentiment… Could you imagine if Wal*Mart or Starbucks actually tried this same promotion? It wouldn’t work.

  • They’d have to be prepared to give away hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • I’m certain that the “rock” of the Rock Paper Scissors, would be used as what it really is – a fist – and someone would get hurt.

So often, the marketing tactics of small, fast growing companies are admired… But doing it while small isn’t the same as when you’re big.

The hotshots we were watching a few years ago… Build-A-Bear Workshop, Krispy Kreme, and Whole Foods were the darlings other companies wanted to be like. We were scrambling… benchmarking and doing store tours of these guys… How can we be more like them?

I’ve always argued, it is easy to do “cool” things when they had 5, 10… even 50 locations… Wait until they have more locations. It isn’t the same. It isn’t easy. And now, each of these businesses has growing pains…

  • Krispy-Kreme has had financial problems.
  • Build-A-Bear has gone public and now watered down their concept by offering pre-made stuffed animals in the toy aisle of Target.
  • Whole Foods is in a whole lot of hubbub in trying to get bigger.

So, realistically… what ideas would work for the big guys? What could a 7-Eleven, Starbucks, or Subway sandwich shop do? Anyone?