Why Are You Buying That?

In some industry’s I would argue brand loyalty does not exist for the vast majority of people. For these products price is the main reason of choice. In the grocery store I have too many options in front of me, so like any other confused male in their twenty’s in a grocery store, I begin to compare prices and inevitably many of my choices are dictated on which is the cheapest. But a product can look good enough that you will pay a premium just because you perceive it to have more value (this happens a lot).  Many products in the grocery store are sold because of implied value, which creates brand loyalty. Marketing has aided this effort for years, making products seem better than they actually are, just so people would buy.

Alright so you buy Kraft over the no name salad dressing, and you buy Bicks because No Name pickles taste funny (when in fact they taste fine).  Marketing has done a great job building trusted brands for us but I don’t agree with buying a name brand products just so a multi-national company can keep marketing it.  Presidents Choice Cola tastes strikingly similar to Coke Cola but you don’t want to be known as the guy who buys PC brand Cola do you?  Well why not?  It’s cheaper and it tastes like the real thing.

One could argue that the more informed shopper will purchase the generic brands more than big name brands because they understand that the extra cost supports marketing efforts not improving the product.

The next time you’re going for groceries ask yourself, “why am I buying the name brand product.”

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Old Ladies are the Cutest!

When a cab driver goes out of his or her way to make the trip more enjoyable do you tell them how much you appreciated it?  When someone holds the door for you, do you say “gee, thanks a lot!”

Too many times we have positive experiences at the expense of someone else and we never tell them. Why?  Maybe we’re scared, maybe we think it will mean nothing, maybe it has never been brought to your attention until now.

I had teacher in grade eleven that told us;

“If someone ever does something nice for you, you should always tell them thank you, otherwise they may not know how they made you feel and may not ever do it again.”

We all like to be appreciated so why not show others when we are appreciative?  Even a small compliment on someone’s hair can go a long way, but generally speaking, our society doesn’t hand out compliments very easily.  But why not?

So how do you start?  The next person you see with a bright pair of shoes on or a finely tailored suit, walk up to them and say, “Wow! I sure like those shoes, they look wonderful!”  Then just walk away.  You  can be sure you just made their day.  My favorite is the little old ladies, I think they are just the cutest when you give them a compliment. So go on try it out, and let me know how it goes.

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Chicken Legs: $1.19 /lb

I drove by Sobey’s today and a large magnetic sign out front said “Chicken legs, $1.19 /lb”.  It struck me as odd because I would assume that sign should entice me to come in.  I know what you’re thinking, that some people did go to Sobey’s because the sale on chicken legs, you’re probably right.  But couldn’t they come up with something better than chicken legs?

This got me thinking and led me to look up the four big grocer’s in Regina, those being Sobey’s, Safeway, Superstore, and Co-op. Click on any of these stores and it will take you to their flyer page.  All four have a sound online presence except Co-op, their flyer is in PDF form and is 5.8 Mb in size, but I guess if you’re looking up the Co-op flyer you have ten minutes to wait for it to download. Safeway is the only one on Twitter and all they tweet is feel good sayings and nothing that’s going to convince me to shop there*.

In the past people were loyal to a grocer, my Mom was a devout Superstore customer, she’d never set foot in a Safeway.  Our generation is different, we like convenience and a good deal.  I prefer Superstore over the rest because I think it is cheaper but the fact of the matter is I will go to where is most convenient.

A useful site would be a real time comparison of the deals offered by the big four, break it down, give me a reason to shop at your store.  Get on Twitter and tweet your unbelievable sale items (by unbelievable I mean the ones that will entice me to come in because you know I’m not only buying Chicken legs when I shop). I would love to check UberTwitter on my phone for deals at Sobey’s if I’m near by.

I feel this industry is behind technology wise because they have to cater to the baby-boomers who do the majority of shopping.  When the purchasing power shifts from baby-boomer to generation Y prepare for a change.  We will not only expect change to occur, we will demand it.

Have you recently thought about how your customer is/will be changing?  Or are you just putting up magnetic signs telling everyone about your chicken legs on sale?

*-Looking at Safeway’s Twitter feed I found a online promotion for a free box of Tangerines for their Twitter followers with purchase of $25 or more.  Limit 25,000 Followers 305 including myself.  Hey it’s a start!

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To Wrap, or not to Wrap?

Vehicle wraps are quickly becoming a great alternative to billboards and other awareness type mediums and for good reason. The vehicle is seen in many different places, depending on how much it is driven, and it works because it is different.

This post isn’t to decide if the car wraps themselves are effective but more importantly the car behind the wrap, and what message it’s portraying.

Do you want your brand to be displayed on a luxury car to give your business a “high-end” type feel?  Or do you wrap an entry level vehicle to show the world you are frugal and manage money well? A GM to support the automakers? Or a foreign car that’s going to be reliable for years?  Some vehicles are for functionality, others are to stand out, and some need to be able to hold an entertainment centre in the rear so an SUV is the obvious choice.

My gut says I like the luxury car but there’s something to say about companies that purchase an economy line.
Is there a perfect choice? Probably a Prius to show your company has a small carbon footprint. On that note, what do you think about everyone jumping on the Hummer band wagon a few years back?  What kind of impression of your company are you making?

It’s growing in popularity so it would be nice to come to a conclusion on which is better, luxury or economy, what do you think? (click the links for some examples)

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Do You Want To Be Smarter?

I was heading to the mountains this past weekend and I didn’t want to listen to music the entire time so I was going to download some podcasts.  But where do you look for interesting podcasts?  Doing a Google  search, the seventh or eighth down the list caught my eye, none other than Seth Godin recommended a site. If he likes it I’ll probably love it.

When I first went to Radio Lab I didn’t know what to think, but if Seth liked it then I’m sure there’s something here worth listening to.  I downloaded a few FREE podcasts, put them on my iPod and never thought of it until we put it on in the car.  Wow, this was different, not your regular podcast.  They asked weird questions, provided entertaining commentary, and you learned in the short time it took to listen to them.

Listening to educational podcasts can seem quite geeky but I assure you it’s not (I keep telling myself it isn’t).  Try an audio book in the car or for you lovers of education, iTunes offers a free podcast downloading centre called iTunes U.  Here’s a list of the top 100 podcasts from the most prestigious schools in the World.

If you hate reading then listening to books and podcasts is a great option.  In the car makes sense because you were just going to listen to music anyway.  And the last one is at the gym, why not give your mind a workout while giving your body one? Boom.

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How Do You Save a Neighborhood?

In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, he talks about how New York reduced it’s crime rate by a substantial amount in the 1990’s by implementing some simple yet very powerful tactics.  One of those was to keep the Subways clean.  Based on the concept developed by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling in a 1982 article titled Broken Windows, by eliminating the small offenses (such as a broken window) it is much more difficult to commit the larger more serious ones.

In January of 2007 Maclean’s magazine wrote an article titled Canada’s Worst Neighborhood which described the North Central Regina neighborhood.  Since then many changes have come about for the better but there is still much work to be done.  Here’s my thought experiment for the day, it’s now your job to let me know if it’s feasible or not.

  1. High school kids are looking for jobs
  2. Neighborhoods need work to be done but the majority of home owners can not afford to pay professionals
  3. Considering the broken window theory, if we made neighborhoods look good they would be less prone to serious crime

If someone started a non-profit organization supported by the city or donations, these low skilled laborers could learn to paint, fix fencing, basic landscaping, simple carpentry, and gardening.  Having these teams of workers going from yard to yard throughout the central area for the two summer months could help immensely in the long run.  Ensuring the work was of a certain standard these mobile work camps would provide jobs, teach teens new skills, and help our communities where they need it most.  The only thing missing is someone to start and run this program.  Thoughts?

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