Breakthroughs in Business

The aisles of grocery are awash with water like spring, mineral, sill, sparkling, caffeinated, flavored, vitamin-enhanced and others that are called the “ultra” water. The Evian, Aquafina, Fruit2O, Dasani, Propel, Poland Spring, Vitamin Water, FIJI and Perrier brands all are wrestling for the their shelf space, can other enter in this market and survive?

1. It is difficult to find available room for new one

Tom First who is the founder of the O Beverages thinks so. He is the one Tom in “Two Toms” standing behind the prevailing juice company – Nantucket Nectars that was launched in the year 1989. And now this man aims to get to splash that is selling the sugar-free flavored water for health improvement target to the health nuts who has hawked intake their sugar however still want more in pizazz than it is found in the old H20. In other drinks, the calories always extract because of the sugar amount in fruit.

But it is too bad: he does not have the advantage of first mover. The biggest sellers in the bottled water market of the US that are PepsiCo, Nestle, Coca-cola introduced the sugarless flavored drink in 2005. They have a variety of distribution networks and marketing muscle as well. All the firepower now is chasing the fairly small market. For example in 2004 the wholesale market of flavored drink – the US was puny $170 million, while up to $47 billion for the soda beverage, $14.4 billion for juice drink and $9.2 billion for bottled water. And for growth, the sales of the flavored water did go up to $800 million in 2009.

2. Flavor is important

The gimmick of First is while the large guys use Splenda that is the artificial sugar made by Johnson & Johnson, the O uses natural ingredients in the ultra-purification technique while yielding flavored drink that, the First says, is “very healthy”. Let me back up, the “O” term in O beverages stands for zero as zero contaminants. The Nestle make the Pure Life brands as the flavorful beverage which is calorie-free, said Jane Lazgin – spokeswoman from Nestle Company, while spokesman from Coca-Cola Company said that flavored water of Dasani is very healthful to the level that beverages are healthful.

Using money earned from the Nectars success, Cadbury Schweppes did buy a company for the undisclosed amount 10 years ago. First corralled some million in the startup capital taking advantages of the likes of the celebrity chef – Ming Tsai – the host of the East Meets West program and Ming’s Quest TV show on the Food network. And Minnesota Timberwolves follows Kevin Garnett. This man also kicks in money with the significant amount – six figures!

In order to help people mount attack, First has brought Edward Slade – the previous president of the FIJI Water as well as marketer at Evian. It is a great balance with the risk taker and operator of Slade. Last fall, the two companies launched the new flavor with strawberry for going along with the mandarin orange, wild berry, lemon and lime. First says that he wanted to get formula arrive on time to carry out the project. However, the Slade needs more time to refine the labeling and the flavor.

First also leans on valuable lessons from the day he stayed at Nectars. That is the time he threw $2.5 million only in 18 months in order to try to set up the distribution network for only Nectar. In one point, the key investor issued the ultimatum that turning the business around and face with liquidation. First recalled that he had a variety of windows and his money was gone out every one of those things, and trucks crashed into buildings, the miscount of inventory occurred and the products were damaged. And he said that this experience as a $2 million MBA.

The O beverages today uses a lot of same independent distributors. At this time, it should have a better luck that means high volume in the market. While the customers like to purchase fruit drink in the larger bottle, they tend to make purchase many water in the single-servings either individual bottles or cases. The flavored water is better than juice, said First, even though he will not release the exact figures.

3. Packaging – another matter

The packaging is also matter. First uses heavy glass bottle from Nectars for the tapered plastic bottle sporting the clean-feeling, brightly colored label. The matter is that the containers are nearly impossible for labeling with high speeds since their shapes are sloped. The company sometimes has to order the custom equipment from Italy used in its factory in Pennsylvania in order to handle bottles. First said that the labeling stage delayed distribution nearly four months and pasted the date of first launch in the spring.

With the growing pain, First said that he got over hundred emails with encouragement each week from the consumers who visited the website of the company. He also received the requirements from the high schools as well as primary schools of Massachusetts, New Hampshire. Almost requests ask for sugarless beverages for the students. Each year, the revenue is about $1 million that is not a bad figure on the marketing strategy limitation that includes Slade and First driving to the in-store promotions.

The company also lands deals on national supermarket, some still are in working process. However, First does plan for expanding to Illinois, California, Florida not only being trapped in the Northeastern. If this plan goes well, First will obviously boost his budget for marketing to over 10% of the revenue each year, he said.

First says that he can be disappointed if the O will not profitable on operation in several years. And, he says, “I love being an underdog”, “the O will be the iconic brand of the drink industry”

And you see, nothing is impossible in this designer commodity world! Just think out of the box and make your brand known worldwide.


Retail Trends

This article will take the insight look of e-commerce, and mobile marketing.

The Marketing Retail Tech meeting held on Tuesday we all heard words from SapientNitro, Google, Aimia, and hot startups such as Shopify, Checkout51…They offered the greatest and latest insights on mobile marketing, e-commerce together and loyalty programs. These are 5 lessons learned from this conference:

1. Lagging happens to big retails while the smaller ones are stepping to gap

The future is, however unevenly distributed, the nimble small retailers which we are watching it first. The marketers often hear that the retailer becomes lagging under the expectations of the consumers. However marketing retail innovators clarified that only applies to institutionalized, big retail ones. The startups like as well as Indochino are carrying out all things in order to bring advancement to UK and US retailers – like payments by mobile, beacon messaging, or behavioural targeting. If the chains of big box do not start to play catch up, the result will be overtaking. The barrier entering to sell stuff gets lower today thanks to a lot of companies like Lightspeed, Shopify, Square. Such companies have enabled anyone to sell goods online or/and in real world, which are words from Mr. Antoine Azar – the founder of the Thirdshelf company. He also said that the competition is increasing more and more.

2. Mobile search is huge opportunity

Although up to 70 percent of the search activity online comes with mobile devices, the retailers still do not take whole advantage of mobile search advertising. The Google group’s retailer in Canada, Mr. Chris Hodgson said that while the Canadian retailers pay the average amount of 9 percent for mobile searching clicks higher than desktop searching clicks. The retailers pay about 46 percent less than desktop and nearly 35 percent of the retailers totally do not bid on search ads. Hodgson have told the retailers not to make excuses in the case without investment on mobile.

3. The data will provide you the access to loyalty moments

The personalization is totally the rage of shopper messaging; however it completely depends on the data. The questions are how much of data you are having? How realistic it is, and what can you do with data you get? During the past, loyalty company Aimia became a monster in data sector, and analytics VP Ducan Stewart has explained that there are always things the company can do using it. The popular example strategy of this company is that they want to share messaging consumers in the key events while their brand most unstable because they are bound to jump over your competitor, or just because they want to bail on all of you. When taking pregnancy, the new mothers seem like much more strapped for cash as well as time. And every high-end grocery may be a bit less appealing. By using the data, you obviously are able to tell which moments have been happening with the customers, as well as ensure that engagement the company with loyalty reward along with personalized promotions is kept in order to maintain customers’ satisfaction.

4. Many customers want take-out rather than delivery

The UK leaves others behind when it heads to the retail innovation. Mr. Stewart Samuel from the IGD said during the presentation he performed that collect and click should be focused on. This is a typical online portal type when the shoppers can order the groceries instead of pickup in store. The UK retailers set up the pickup lockers in metro stops, universities, gas stations, anywhere as long as there’s lots of traffic and the customers may be. Last year, number of collect and click locations has doubled nationwide in the UK. Samuel said that the big focus for everyone is that what Loblaw is doing in order to upgrade their shopper mart stores where there’s no food in them.

5. The successful offer on mobile doesn’t mean dollars over sticker price

In the marketing tech, Tony Chapman has put 3 marketing on mobile execs over the spot of how customers really benefit by using their technology innovation. Kristie Painting stands up with mobile promotions with the Checkout51 app, says that there are purchases of scanned users as well as suggested recipes which use the products along with certain mayonnaise brand. The recipe campaign of mayo firm will get shoppers to purchase products even when they are knocking cent off their prices. Mark Mandato of Rogers said that messaging services on mobile for example Rogers Alerts are not offering coupons for the customers as much as they are notifying the customers of many deals which are on in-store. In this circumstance, it is more similar to flyer rather than a coupon.

Internet Business

When you begin to commence your entrepreneurial way, it is always naturally that you will want to set your numbers. The numbers here include the amount of subject on the email list, the overall visibility, or the presence of your social media… If you gain a large number of these elements, you will get higher growth of in the entrepreneurial journey you walk in.

However, the larger numbers are not important as you have been thinking about as an entrepreneur that has a large amount of the online factors does not mean it is generating a lot of cash flow in for the business. You obviously want to ask “why???” Here in this article are five reasons you have to know. Read them, and get your answer for the question why the online entrepreneurs do not need just only the numbers, they have to look beyond them as well as focus on the factors actually creating a successful business.

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The marketing of products and equipment used for hunting is not simple. There are thousands of companies manufacturing equipment hunting now; therefore, your company has too many competitors. It is important for you to make products not only good, with beautiful design, reasonable price but also to have a talented marketer team.

In this article, we will discuss the steps the decision of a customer to buy the hunting equipment shall be made, assuming the products here are rifle scopes.
As a marketer, you’ve probably put in your mind the four steps any client shall make when purchasing, including:

  • Detecting demand
  • Search for information about the product
  • Purchasing decisions
  •  The emotions and wonder after purchasing

Mounting the steps in a specific customer, assuming he lives in the state of Montana (US), is preparing for the upcoming hunting season, and very interested in the big game. So, here’s your chance to sell your product scopes.

1. Demand

Understanding what your customers need is the first step so that you get a good business’ result in the future. Most hunter customers are very meticulous and careful, so their requirements on the products are also high. You can do a research to find out what they need. The questions on the survey must help you obtain the important information such as design, scopes quantities shall be purchased, special features,…

Most customers have demand for the scope’s duration rather than its design, this is characteristic of the scope compared to other hunting equipment. Some other clients like their rifle scope to be beautiful and to maintain features for a certain length of time. Their needs are diverse. Along with thousands of vendors having their scope sold on the market, you have to be very sensitiveto these needs and then introduce the appropriate products to your customers.

2. Searching the information about the scopes

This is the decisive step in the process of making purchase decision of the customers. If they the feed backs about products they want to buy are positive, they will make a purchase. But if they read the informationof assessment that this product is poor-quality, they will stop buying process here. So you have to be very concerned about this step by making the honest review and advice to your clients. The reviews, which are the result of the feedbackof customerswho have used the product before, may be posted on the website.

For example, a customer who loves Nikon’scope will read rifle scope reviews. If he already has Ar 15 rifle, he may like to read information about Ar 15 scopes on,…

3. Purchase decision

If the customer is satisfied with the feedbacks of the wanted product, they will make a purchase. There is one thing that you have to is to keep in mind all the time that the customer who come to this step may not make a purchase because the purchase is influenced by many other factors such as personal problems, cash flow, …

In this step, continuing to give remind of the product, attracting advertising and good reviews will stimulate the desire to purchase of the customer, which will make the customer pay money for the product. The more hesitant customers are when making a purchase, the more reduced your probability of selling the product will be.

4. Emotions and wonders of the customer after purchasing

After making a purchase, each customer will have different responses. Maybe they have concerns about the product. This must be the focus for marketers, because it is the key to create customer relationships. Just remember, selling to traditional customers saves cost compared to finding a new customer, so the customer relationship building is very important. Customer care is the key to solving this problem.

Moreover, the collection of emotional feedback from customers is very important. The good feelings about the product will be valuable sources of reviews to the new customers, the bad feelings will help you improve your product and make it better and better.

Finally, understanding the needs of the customers is the key to success for every businessman.

Calvin Klein - a person, a brand

Calvin Klein – a person, a brand

Except for an obvious truth that Calvin Klein is a talented stylist, what makes others be more impressed about him is his sharp business skills and great marketing ability in building lively subtle advertisements and in development of a company leading in the fields which are considered too hard to diversify.

However, Calvin Klein had not been renowned as outfits that bear his name. Moreover, CK also dominates the perfume market with leading products such as Obsession, One and Eternity. CK brand always pars with the world’s biggest brands, such as Pepsi, Kodak, Nike, IBM.

There’s a sure thing that none of us do not own or know someone who is using CK products.  And this is the greatest success of Calvin Klein CK in branding.
Klein is considered as a marketing genius thanks to his success of building global distribution channels, which only a few giant corporations such as new Coke could do.

Starting doing business with the Bronx, Klein began his career with designing the jacket before becoming the top jeans designer in America. Kudos came to him and then his daughter was kidnapped. That Klein accepts the amount of money according to kidnappers’ claims makes the world sided with him.

After an impressive promotional video starring Brooke Shields in the 70s, the name Calvin Klein automatically became the name of jeans fashion designs. Currently, he is also renowned for the lingerie products, perfume, and of course, he still keeps making impressive charmed advertisements. After nearly 30 years in the fashion industry, he has firmly established the top fashion designertrademark and has a huge amount of influence in that industry.

In terms of talent, no one can deny the creativity and ingenuity of Klein, he has brought to customers of all ages and genders the simple but luxurious outfits with characteristic style. He also was a brilliant businessman although he has not attended any marketing courses yet, but his knowledge about customers’ psychology is enough to make any marketing experts envious.

But everything is not always favorable to Klein. He has been gone through difficult days whenhis own business had started and was about to go bankruptcy, however, the success of a series of Bloomingdale jacket products saved his company and opened a new heyday, make Calvin Klein empire gain a revenue of about $ 5 billion / year.

In 1993, Klein was voted the top American stylist. Dozens of great actresses of Hollywood such as Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow and Helen Hunt choose he as a designer for their own costumes.

All  success of Klein began when he was a boy in the Bronx fancy designing and sewing all sorts of clothes. Then Klein won scholarships in New York High School of Art and Design, later called the Fashion Institute of Technology. In 1968, Klein and his childhood friend Barry Schwartz embarked on selling men and women jackets. With Klein’s design talent and entrepreneurship ofSchwartz, Calvin Klein Company Limited entered the conquest of the kingdom of fashion. After meeting with Bonwit Teller, Klein and Schwartz received a huge order and then the fashion world knew their names. Then, Klein began to design women’s sportswear due to the demands and encouragement from the owner of the fashion shops. By the 70s, the line of Klein’s sportswear has launched more costumes for women and ready-to wear product line.

The classical design style of Klein gave the fashion world a new wind similar to Ralph Lauren ever did. It was not until the end of the year 70-80s Klein gave a completely new concept: jeans fashion with affordable price. And from that event, the teenage model Brook Shields claimed that “there’s nothing can prevent her from using Klein dress”.

However, Klein’s talent is even more than that. In 1992, he launched Calvin Klein Underwear products, completely altering previously opinion about lingerie outfit and turned it into a true fashion items. This product gave the men the feeling that they looked as glamorous as the models of Calvin Klein Underwear such as Mark Wahlberg and Antonio SabatoJr..

Perfume is the next step, with the launch of the famous scent from the 70s for example Obsession, Contradiction, Escape, Eternity, and CK One. Moreover, he was the first person to introduce special perfumes for both genders – CK One. With the impressive advertising, Klein has driven his perfume products to the great success and become permanent brand.

Moreover, Klein really was a talented marketer, always diversifying forms of promotion. His controversial advertising campaigns began in the advertisement starring Brooke Shileds in the 80s and Kate Moss in the 90s. But,they all reinforced the reputation for Klein.

Klein’s creative efforts were rewarded with important prizes in fashion design industry such as Coty Award in 1973 and 1974, 1975 and also gained the Council of Fashion Designers of America award in 1982, in1983 and in 1986 for men’s and women’s costumes (he was the first to be awarded in both categories in that year), in 1993 he gained the CDFAAward. He also was a member of many prestigious organizations including the Association of American stylists (Council of Fashion Designers of America) and always is a reliable designer for the Hollywood’s top stars. He is also considered as the person who creates deep impact on new designers such as Miuccia Prada and Donna new Karan; the Time magazine voted him as one of 25 influential persons in the United States.

The creation, a unique design style and impressive daring ads have put Calvin Klein into the list of the typical persons of the 20th century.

The recent research shows that 60% of the online fashion shops are nearly death in the first 6 months, 20% have to stop their operation in the next 6 months … The online fashion market seems lucrative, but it is not as easy as pie that the others may think of. Here are 7 must-do steps if you decide to open a fashion store online!

Make a trip around shopping website and ads on the facebook, everyone easily to see that almost the online stores (about 50%) are selling fashion goods of a variety of design, age, origin,…

Unlike traditional stores, the opening of a online fashion boutique is much easier, especially in resolving thecapital budgeting. Not require for fixed costs such as office building, stands, decorations, mannequin,… You just need fairly small capital to buy the goods, a computer connected to the Internet and a phone.That’s all.

It all sounds easy, but the reality is not that easy, just remember this: “If you open an offline fashion shop, you just need to compete with 5 to 7 other shops on the same street. About doing business online, make sure you’re ready to compete with thousands of shops on the Internet before starting your online business.

These are 7 basic steps to open an online shop selling clothes effectively:

Step 1: Market Research and identify target customers

Market Research

Market Research

Identifying your target customers is very important step in online trading. Who are your customers? Male or female? Of what age – officer or teenager? With the middle income or high income? …

The identification of target must be detailed as much as possible so that you will understand the behavior, psychology of customers.Therefore, you will easily find the way to approach them, grasp the fashion trend they preferred, and meet their needs.

For example, a 16-20 year-old girl likes dynamic outfit but cheaper with the price from 100 to 300,000 VND. She does not pay attention to “branded goods” and is not afraid of Taobao goods (Chinese) is they are nice.

Female officers of age from 25-35, are usually online at 8-9h in the morning and from 12-13h at the lunch break. They like branded goods and prefer durable goods to Chinese goods.

If you decide to doing fashion business online, updating the fashion trend is one of the things you should do regularly. A shop owner always updating fashion trends will create goodwill with customers, be able to gain their trust in your consultation ability as well as generate your own competitive advantage. Do not forget show them off right on your business page, Website, Fanpage, Instagram … to keep the relationship with their customers and to keep them to follow-up with your new items.

Step 2: Name your online store

Name of shop

Name of shop

You can do business online without your shop name but a name whether it is unique or not will make your business more effectively. The best way to name your shop is making it short and easy to remember, your customer can put your shop in their minds and discuss about it with others.

Step 3: Find the supplier

Find Out Suppliers

Find Out Suppliers

After determining target customers, deciding the kind of goods and already having shop name, now the time for you do the next step: find the supplier. If you are unable to get suitable supplier, your business will never come true.

In fact, there are a lot of online shops that have to stop because of the sources of goods. It may be the decrease in the goods’ quality or they cannot find the appropriate suppliers.

The information of wholesaler is not difficult to search. However, you must remember that there is always more than one supplier so do not just trust in only one supplier in order to reduce risks. Furthermore, you should usually update the information of other suppliers to compare prices and quality. Hence, you choose the best suitable supplier for your shop. Diversifying the source of goods and always updating new models, comparing prices will help you maintain the advantage of source. Make sure you always stick to the plan which draws the number of items, patterns, that you can quote the price competitively. Last but not least, remember to get your own experience through each time you buy goods to reduce the inventory and enhance your capital cycle.

Step 4: Where you put the inventories?

The advantage of doing fashion business online is that you can save a lot of money on expenditure spending. But, you still need a room to store your goods. That room does not need beautiful but clean and wide enough.

In some circumstance, your customers may want to come and check the item before making purchase; so , you should find an easy-to-find place in order to avoid the case your customers are frustrated finding the place! Your storage room needs to be safe, dry, out of reach of children or animals, and, of course, be easy for delivery.

Step 5: How to sell?

To attract the customers buying goods online, you have to prepare your own “bait”, the more bait the more return. Let’s make accounts on reputable website such as chotot.v,, lamchame, webtretho,…Moreover, you should also post your items on online markets and social networks such as facebook, instagram,…

The trend creating fanpage and selling goods online on the social networks such as Facebook, Instagram is the most popular nowadays. Only with some simple steps, you already got your own fanpage of your shop. You can also use ads service the networks provide or create your event to attract more potential customers.

Step 6: Be patient to repeat the above 5 steps everyday

The online business requires your patience, which means you may not success or get a lot of customers in a short period of time. You are assured that your shop will become more popular to the public if you repeat the above 5 steps. Just enjoy the job, love the fashion and be patient.

Step 7: Create your own trading website

If your online business has gained some specific achieve, you should create a brand for your shop by creating a website. This will make you easily manage the work, and create a convenient payment gate for your customers. And, of course, your own website will increase your reputation and profession as well.

advertisingAgencies claim demands from clients let good ads down.

Hands up-are you among the 72 per cent of agency staff who think most advertising doesn’t work?

Last week. Campaign published the results of a lifestyle survey which produced this gloomy statistic. The extreme pessimists of the bunch were the planners, of whom only 17 per cent agreed with the statement: “Most advertising works.”

Jackie Boulter, the head of planning at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, admits: “Planners can be a cynical bunch. Their lack of faith in advertising may be a reaction to the fact that a lot of the ads on TV are not good, and therefore it is assumed that they can’t work. ”

Boulter is critical of the attitude of some creatives who are more concerned that their work wins awards than motivates the consumer. However, Graham Fink, a commercials director and the president of D&AD, retaliates on behalf of creatives: “A lot of ideas get watered down by research, and by the time an ad gets on air the execution is only half as good as the original concept. ”

Les Stern, the deputy chairman of Bates Dorland, and a planner by trade, dismisses this attitude. He says: “I have seen as much bad advertising that has not been researched as I have seen good advertising that has.”

In defence of their poor opinion of the effectiveness of advertising, many senior planners say that the problems arise when clients and agencies don’t discuss exactly what they expect a campaign to achieve at the outset.

The same campaign can be deemed to have succeeded or failed depending on the criteria by which it is judged. Defending a brand’s market share and maintaining, rather than building, sales, can be a huge achievement in a dramatically competitive environment. Alternatively; in certain circumstances, a product may perform sensationally despite ineffectual advertising or even without any advertising at all.

Stern explains: “At any one time, there are many factors working on a brand’s commercial performance.”

Nigel Jones, the head of account planning at BMP DDB, rejects the notion that all ads are designed to sell. He says: “Clients sometimes expect ads to affect sales directly, but a lot of advertising is strategically planned to affect other factors first.”

A recent campaign by BMP for Alliance and Leicester mortgages merely asked home buyers to visit a branch of the building society before making any decisions. It was designed specifically to change behaviour rather than directly flog mortgages.

Clients often hope advertising will be a panacea for all their marketing ills, and Simon Clemmow, the planning director of Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson, insists agencies must sometimes take the blame for exaggerating the possibilities of advertising. “Agencies can make unsupportable promises in the heat of new-business pitches,” he suggests.

Clemmow also identifies the increasing difficulty of separating advertising from the rest of the marketing mix when judging success or failure. He would like to see the introduction of marketing effectiveness awards to replace the advertising effectiveness awards.

The problem is also recognised by Stern, who says: “You only have to look at the tiny number of submissions to the advertising effectiveness awards compared with the huge number of advertised brands to see how difficult it must be to prove and isolate effective campaigns.”

Rapidly fragmenting media, plus an increased reliance on PR to maximise spend, as well as competition for budgets with direct marketing, have exacerbated the problem.

Mark Wnek, the executive creative director of Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, believes there has been an enormous change in terms of what people expect advertising to achieve. He says: “We are coming out of the world of the unique selling proposition and the single commercial channel. What we do is built around that false world, and we must come to terms with the fact that consumers are now bombarded by so much advertising, that to have an effect our work has to make an impact on the whole culture.”

Stern believes only a very brave person would claim that most advertising works. But he suspects most planners responding to the Campaign survey would assert that the majority of their own efforts are successful. “It is like asking people if they’ve been corrupted or depraved by porn. They all say that they themselves haven’t, but they know someone who has.”

Wnek is not surprised by the cynicism of his planning colleagues. He says: “Planners often work in isolation, and treat advertising as a laboratory experiment, in which case they can never have as much influence on the entire process as they would like. ”

Wnek offers the solution: “Planners should be brought out of their boxes and made more a part of the process as a whole.”

Boulter, on the other hand, suggests that disappointment in advertising’s effectiveness could be kept at bay by agreeing with the client up front, before the creative brief is written, whether a campaign should aim to work on sales, attitudes, loyal existing customers, or recruitment of new customers.

She concedes: “Sometimes an agency doesn’t want to grasp the nettle of difficult research findings, and insists on carrying on with a campaign, even when it obviously needs to be changed.”

Predictably, planners still have great faith in the powers of research. It is clients, they claim, who are more likely to test ideas to destruction. Boulter, who also has great respect for the creative idea, adds: “Planners know how careful you have to be with the idea, and that it is worth its weight in gold.”

As so often, communication is the key, and clients must con tribute by putting a stop to sloppy briefings. Clear objectives, a rigorously defined creative strategy and universally agreed criteria for effectiveness should result in ads that really work.

Stern, who works on the Safeway account at Bates, points out: “Retailers, in particular, are notoriously stringent in their cost control, yet above-the-line adspend by the major supermarkets is rocketing. So it looks like advertising must work.”

The best place to make your supermarket’s advertising decisions is the CEO’s office. If your CEO is involved, your advertising campaigns can be the key to your success.

Beyond price and item

The champion of this strategy is Ray Myers. And when Ray Myers talks, supermarket operators should listen. For many years, Myers headed the advertising departments at Lucky Stores and Eagle Food Centers, formerly a subsidiary of Lucky. Today his firm provides advertising and marketing services to clients in manufacturing and the supermarket industry. In the following conversation, Myers offers his ideas for a more creative approach to supermarket advertising:

RAPHEL: Should the advertising head report directly to the CEO? How involved should a CEO be in setting direction in advertising?

MYERS: Over the years, I’ve worked both ways and I think the CEO should be heavily involved. The advertising manager should report directly to the CEO and the CEO should have direct responsibility for the advertising. A supermarket’s advertising can and should provide a vision for the whole company.

A lot of supermarket advertising today is still price and item based. Do you think supermarkets should change the way they advertise?

Yes. Supermarkets talk to each other more than they talk to the consumer. I think that is a consequence of not really standing for anything. Supermarkets react to what the other guy is doing. Retail advertising departments are always in a state of frenzy because they are reacting and turning out ads quickly. I think in advertising you need “think time” and you need “do time.” And the “do time” is always cut so short that even if you have talented people, they are forced into grinding out formatted, simple ads.

Do consumers actually compare one store ad to another in terms of specific items?

Perhaps some do, but your customers aren’t just waiting for your ads to come out on Wednesday to see what you have on special for the week. Consumers would rather see fewer, more powerful specials and bigger, more interesting ads than a typical, overloaded grocery ad.

Is price and item advertising generated by the deals that the buyers can get from the manufacturers or is it generated by a consistent store policy?

A big percentage is generated by the deals and the amount of co-op money. But a lot of what supermarkets put on the front page of an insert are really good hot items that are going to draw traffic. When you get inside, then it is a lot of deal merchandise.

What are some other ways to advertise besides price and item?

If you are going to stand for something, if you are going to have the best meat program or the best produce program, then you have a story to tell and you can drive your business with that department or with that category. Take the EDLP program that Lucky originated in 1963 and the Miracle Price Program Eagle did in the ’60s. At the time, the programs were new. What they did was roll back prices to where there was a distinct difference to separate them from other supermarkets. Their pricing programs made them stand out in the marketplace.

Let’s talk about your Five Star program. How did that originate and how did you advertise that program?

The Five Star program was the answer to a unique image problem. Lucky’s beef program had rigid specifications for the selection of beef by the company’s buyers. Each cut of beef was bonded (guaranteed), and in the early days one of Lucky’s owners signed every bond. Over the years, bonded beef began to be perceived as a grade of beef. Research showed that the perception of quality was less than choice.

We had to upgrade Lucky’s beef image. I came up with the Five Star concept one night on a red-eye flight from California. When people think of Five Star, they think of top quality (five star movies, five star meals). The Five Star program was intended only to cover beef, but was expanded and became an umbrella for the entire meat department.

How did you launch the program?

It was a total marketing effort. We put nearly a full year of planning into the program. Lucky made a long-term commitment to the Five Star program. We had plenty of “think time.” All the details of the program were put together in guidebooks, brochures and videotapes. Every employee had to see a 45-minute videotape on the program. The Five Star campaign was launched in all of Lucky’s stores across the country on the same day.

Did you do it all based on faith that it would work or did you do any market research?

The research showed that the company had a poor meat image. Research directs you toward what you should do but can’t tell you that the creative is right. There was no testing. It was just gut instinct that it was going to work. Luckily it did. Tracking studies showed that the advertising helped enhance the image of the entire store, a residual benefit we hand’t anticipated.

What are some of the other campaigns you worked on that you thought were successful and were not price and item based?

We came up with the Eagle Kids concept. The idea was to have kids write in and tell us why they thought they were the perfect Eagle Kid. The top 10 winners appeared on a TV commercial and received a $1,500 savings bond for college. The program generated material for some memorable ads and TV spots.

How can a supermarket operator determine how much of the gross sales budget to allow for advertising?

I don’t think there is a formula. The average chain will spend anywhere from 1% to 1.5% for advertising. A lot depends on how the company dominates a market. If you have a company with a couple hundred stores concentrated in one area, you can keep the percentage way down.

Is there a mix of TV, radio, newspaper and direct mail that’s right or does it vary?

It varies. If you are an Iowa-based chain, you can dominate the market with television, not spend a heck of a lot of money and do a fine job. But if your chain is based in or near Chicago and you only have a few stores, you can’t afford to be on Chicago television, so you look for other ways to advertise. The mix is determined by your objectives and available ad dollars.