Bits & Pieces?
It’s not new news, but most of the time, even in our changing world—many advertisers still want to talk more about themselves than their consumers. In their version of the advertising strategy, features outweigh benefits in key messaging platforms. Especially with limited dollars, “more bang for the buck” comes with cramming every nook and cranny of a spot with something to say about the product. I’m not casting judgement. I get it—with the pressure to succeed, and success ever more tied to ROI, it’s tough to be a marketer. But I urge us all to still focus on the consumer. Something I think we did well (along with our client) in these recent spots for HSHS (Hospital Sisters Health System) in Green Bay.
You may have read a post here months back, on a 60 second spot we shot with Michael Prince for the brand. Well, these are the harder-hitting siblings of that spot. What we’d call the “service line” spots for cancer and orthopedics. These spots carry some pretty heavy loads—boasting that “we provide the most treatment options,” that “we beat national survival rates” and that “we are among the nation’s best” when it comes to cancer. Product features, not benefits. But notice how the facts are surrounded both visually and verbally with “life”, “hope” and “a new belief.” Things I believe every person with cancer wants as much as the latest and greatest treatment.
By identifying that what we see in a cancer patient is a path to new life, we brought context, benefit and a personal connection to what would be a list of ingredients. Kudos to the team and the client on recognizing the fine balance between logic and emotion, especially when it comes to our health.
I have to admit I was pretty excited when I heard the Fiat was coming to America. It put my “Italian-ness” in full gear (no pun intended). I couldn’t wait to see what the car looked like and, knowing that possibly within the year I would be in the market for a car, I put the Fiat at the top of my list, even sight unseen.
When I saw the car I liked it, even tough maybe it was a little tiny for my taste – but still kept it in my consideration set. There’s an inner battle that goes on when it comes to making a decision to buy a car. First, there are the real world concerns of space and gas mileage and options that you want the car you drive to have. Secondly (and maybe I’m a little shallow, but whatever) I want the car I drive to have an image that is in line with my personality. In other words, for me, the advertising matters.
VW does a great job of portraying the image and features I am interested in. So does Honda. Then I saw the Fiat commercial, and frankly I hardly noticed the car in it at all. Instead all I could see was Jennifer Lopez.
It takes everything in me to not put a question mark at the end of her name.
As celebrity endorsements go, this one is a real head scratcher. Her appearance immediately turned me off to the car, and apparently I’m not alone.
Recent reports say the 2011 sales goal of 50,000 units is way off, having only sold 16,000. Workers at the plant have been laid off because demand isn’t there. And now the commercial featuring Jennifer Lopez is under fire because it celebrates her getting back to her “roots” — implying that the streets in the commercial are that of the Bronx. But no, they were filmed in LA.
There has now been a shakeup within the top marketing brass for Fiat as well.
In the old days they used to say Fiat stood for “Fix it again, Tony,” and I can see why the car would want to steer clear of that baggage. But then again to completely ignore the Italian heritage of the car and the “cool” factor behind Fiat really stumps me. When they introduced the new VW Beetle, one of the charms of the campaign was it’s subtle nods to the car’s storied past. But the marketers behind Fiat have denied the car of it’s truly authentic self and are paying the price. Call me crazy but this Italian car has to be injected with a little bit of Italian-ness.
What do you think? Is J-Lo right for Fiat? Or is she turning you off to a car that identifies itself with a judge on American Idol?
Happy Tuesday. Here’s a fresh new batch of photography to be judged. I know you can do this before you run to your 10AM meetings, so lets try to get that traffic flowing. This week’s theme is Decay. Here are the entries:
C. Peeling Steel
D. Terracotta Warriors
This week, the American Marketing Association’s Milwaukee chapter brought in a great speaker (and, I should disclose, a good friend) – Steve Hawthorne, Green Coffee Buyer for Stone Creek Coffee here in Milwaukee.
Steve spoke about socially responsible marketing, and how Stone Creek Coffee was founded on principles of social responsibility and how they are living them. For example, the company has open dialogue with coffee suppliers about costs on both sides – including ensuring that farm workers are sufficiently paid – collaboratively arriving at a fair price for the beans. Also, Stone Creek helped build a school and a clinic on a coffee farm in Brazil. This brand is a beautiful example of living out the Humanize values that I wrote about here recently: Open. Trustworthy. Generative. Courageous.
The company was actually founded under the name Giri Corporation. Giri comes from a samurai code of honor called Bushido and means “social obligation.” Founder Eric Resch believed that a company has a responsibility to support the community that allows the business to be successful. *applauds*
Another interesting aspect of this brand is, that while they offer the highest quality coffees, scored on the Specialty Coffee Association of America protocol, they are also working very hard to differentiate their experience through service. I asked Steve some questions about this after the meeting, to get his insights into service marketing.
How do you go about teaching people the importance of excellent service to providing an experience that customers will come back for? Would you say that Stone Creek has a service culture, and what do you do to foster that?
We took a look at the “customer experience” and tried to define the key milestones of a visit to our stores. We’ve defined the visit in three components: a greeting, connection and farewell. The greeting is welcoming the customers, by name whenever it is known, as soon as possible upon entering the store. After they have been greeted, we want our staff to make some kind of connection beyond the transaction. This could be as simple as “How’s your day?” or “How was your wedding shower this weekend?” Something that lets the customer know we care about them as people. After the drink has been delivered, we give the customer a “farewell”, not simply “Here’s your large skim latte.” “Here’s your latte, Sue, thanks for stopping in.” is what you could expect to hear. We call this model our “barista culture.” It’s making the experience in our store personal. We foster it in other parts of our culture as well. For example we have a commitment to ourselves to respond to any customer email or phone call within 3 business hours in order to demonstrate our urgency to their needs. *more applause – I know we all wish more companies would live THAT.*
How much of great service comes down to making the right hires in the first place? Can great service be trained or is it part of a person’s DNA? What do you look for?
The first thing we did when considering service was to change our hiring process. Now, anyone interested in applying for a barista position is put through a fairly intensive application process. As part of a group interview, we are trying to get a glimpse into the person’s personality and see if they “have what it takes” to deliver stellar service. We also ask them to bring in a writing sample describing something they are passionate about. We’ve found that if they are passionate about something, we can teach them to be passionate about coffee and customers.
What do your customers say about your service? What are you doing differently? Have they noticed a difference? How much of a role do you think it plays in their loyalty to you?
The most common comment that I get about our stores is that we have great people. I hear this more than I hear about how great our coffee is or how great our environments are. I think this is a direct reflection on our service focus…by focusing on customer connections we are building brand loyalty. The Grand Avenue location is a great example – this is our smallest location, but has one of the highest customer counts of all our stores. The staff there is awesome at connecting with customers and their numbers show it.
Many thanks to Steve for the wonderful presentation at the AMA meeting – and the coffee! *standing ovation* – and for answering my questions. Service marketers can learn so much from this inspired brand behavior – opening up and connecting person to person.
If you’re in a service business, what do you do to behave in a way that builds trust and loyalty?
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