“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi


In a time when corporate America is so heavily criticized, there are still some companies that can give us all hope. More and more for – profit business are using a “one for one” model in order to donate goods to developing countries.

This “One for One” attitude is becoming considerably popular as companies are looking to connect with consumers on another level and spread some good throughout the world. Two specific examples that are my personal favorites are Toms and Warby Parker. Not only are both successful because of their unique style, brand equity and quality – but they both give back to those in need.

Warby Parker’s: “buy a pair, give a pair” philosophy aims to help people in the world who don’t have access to proper vision care. For every pair a consumer buys online, the company gives a free pair to someone in need. They partner with non-for-profit Vision Spring, and are sensitive to the impact that their donations make on the local economy. Not only do they give glasses, but they provide low income local entrepreneurs guidance to start their own businesses selling glasses at affordable prices. Toms is similar in that a pair of shoes is donated to a child in need, for every pair bought by a consumer with this “one for one” attitude. As conscious consumers the first step we can make to a better world is to educate ourselves on these issues, and see what we can do to help make a change – no matter how small.

So, next time you are about to make a purchase, give it some thought – could you B helping someone in need? (Look at the link below B Corp. to see how you can “B the change”)

Check it out for yourself

B the change: http://www.bcorporation.net/
Examples of other companies with this mentality: http://mashable.com/2010/11/07/buy-one-give-one/
By one, get one model article: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2011/1222/Warby-Parker-may-have-a-better-buy-one-give-one-model
Warby Parker: https://www.warbyparker.com/buy-a-pair-give-a-pair
Toms: http://www.toms.com/static/www/content/en_US/update_browser.html


Moments of Magic Vs. Moments of Misery



It only takes a moment to win or lose a customer, and in today’s competitive business climate retaining them is becoming more critical than ever.

The other day in class, my professor brought up the idea of “moments of magic vs. moments of misery,” inspired by Shep Hyken’s book. This is referring to the opportunities that companies are presented with when a customer has a problem or issue. How companies choose to handle these instances speak volumes about the brand and their culture.

We have all had our share of experiences with companies that have left us feeling extremely happy, or considerably angry. I recently had an experience with Groupon that opened my eyes to how powerful this concept can really be.

I purchased a Groupon for a nail service (from a reputable salon in Rochester, NY) and ended up being very dissatisfied with the quality of my mani and pedi. On instinct I sent out a tweet to Groupon expressing my dissatisfaction, and they commented back in a timely manner. In less than an hour, they provided me with a number to call, stating that they would be happy to help.

The customer service representative was extremely accommodating, friendly, and apologetic for my dissatisfaction. Without hassle she looked up my account and after apologizing again, credited my Groupon account for the exact amount I had spent on my service. Because I was extremely satisfied with this experience, I decided to tweet Groupon again and express my feelings. They pulled up my customer service rep and rewarded her for making my “moment of magic” a reality. Talk about an employee incentive program that really works. Not only did they help me resolve my problems, they restored my faith in the brand. 

However, this could have ended another way. If the customer service rep had been rude, or done nothing to address my concerns, you better believe I would have expressed my opinions. Negative word of mouth can be detrimental to a brand. Think about it, I guarantee the number of people you told about your negative experience with a brand was a lot more than on the flip side. With social media conveniently at our fingertips (across various platforms), companies really should think before they act in regards with customer service. The opportunity is there to make things right, and if they consider the repercussions of their actions, a lot more moments of magic could be happening. 

At the end of the day, the power lays in the companies hands. It really is up to them whether that critical moment ends in misery, or magic. 





A sweeter way for brands to connect with consumers.

Branded baked goods.

Three words merged together to form a super sweet sentence. Who would have thought? What better way to connect a consumer with a brand? I certainly cannot think of one.

Over time marketers have picked their brains for savvy ways to connect with their consumers. The ultimate goals being to build and foster relationships, gain recognition or just figure out a creative way to get into people’s consideration sets. Although it’s always a challenge, I would be willing to bet that the perfect execution of these tasty treats may just allow brands to successfully “break through the clutter”.

Now I’m sure that branding baked goods as a concept is nowhere near new, but it still seems like firms have not gotten a firm grasp on how exactly to do, it in order maximize ROI-ROA (return on investment, & return on advertising). If done correctly however, I firmly believe that these sweet snacks have the ability to connect consumers to brands on a new level… that’s right by consumption. Nothing can physically bring the consumer-brand relationship closer.

I was shopping at the grand opening event at a local Vera Bradley store when I discovered a pile of cookies sitting on the table. But these were not just your typical cookies… they were branded cookies. Perfectly wrapped sugar cookies, with an edible print of the Vera Bradley pattern Jazzy Blooms on top. What could be better… not only can I purchase one of my favorite brands, now I can actually eat it. And let me tell you, it was one of the best cookies I have ever had. The quality of the cookie, matched what I would expect from Vera Bradley as a brand. Talk about consistency.

Now Vera Bradley is not the only brand picking up on this trend, my favorite bakery in NYC Magnolias, recently released Stanley Cup cupcakes, with edible Chicago Blackhawks logos on them. What a way to celebrate, and show everyone your favorite sports brand. These cupcakes are surely going to create some buzz and spark a conversation.

Aside from edible image cupcakes, Magnolias also released special edition Dexter branded cupcakes, red velvet with “blood” and edible sugar “glass” to make this creation more realistic. (I have attached the link below, so check it out!). Consumers get excited when they see their favorite brands released to the public in a new unexpected way, and let’s be honest… who doesn’t enjoy baked goods? It seems like a home run. Now all company’s need to focus on is execution. Who knows, someday soon we may be eating our favorite brands, alongside wearing/carrying/watching them.
Branded baked goods may be the new way for firms reach their consumers… and all I’m saying is, I don’t hate it.

Link to Magnolias story: http://www.nydailynews.com/magnolia-bakery-introduces-dexter-cupcake-article-1.1381354?pmSlide=0

Magnolias Twitter w/ several examples of branded baked goods: https://twitter.com/magnoliabakery

Vera Bradley branded cookie


What can a brand do for you?

This is a little something I originally wrote back in October 2011, but my feelings about brands remain the same, if not stronger now in 2013. I know we can all relate to this somehow or another, even if its a different brand other then Starbucks…

Does having a specific brand make you feel superior to your peers? Come on, you know that when you get something new and expensive for yourself you always feel like you have one up on your friends. Now I’m not talking about the newest Rolex or Chanel bag; I’m speaking strictly coffee.

Take Starbucks, for example. It’s twin-tailed siren logo makes its way onto every cup, fostering a delicious beverage that comes across the counter to you, the consumer. Most of us sip on our drinks, not giving a second thought to the green mermaid who holds our cup of Joe. However, for some this sea creature represents the power and image of the well-known brand Starbucks.

Now I agree that not everyone is going to fall for the idea of a three-dollar designer latte, but when you see that siren, you know you’re getting what you pay for. People often associate the logo with superiority, like for some reason your coffee is suddenly better than the person’s across the hall that brought theirs from home in some dinky silver mug. You have the green siren on your cup; therefore, yours is better.

Could this possibly be the frame of mind that consumers get when they have Starbucks, or the driving force behind their purchases? My coffee is better than yours; therefore, hey, I’m better than you! Perhaps. Consumer behavior is a strange thing that still cannot be fully understood. But it often seems that way, doesn’t it? The way people present themselves when they are holding a cup of Starbucks often seems more educated, sophisticated, modern, and conceivably cool.

Is it possible for brand image to be so strong that we don’t even necessarily care about the product anymore as long as it gives us status? Not to say that Starbucks beverages are not quality, after all that’s why I am an avid drinker (Peppermint Mocha and Carmel Frapp, preferably). However, I would bet money that there are people out there that are drawn to the powerful mystique that the green mermaid holds. But whether the driving force behind the purchase is for the brand, or the coffee, Starbucks is winning.

So next time you decide to go get a cup of coffee, where will you go? Maybe the fact that people will perceive you differently based on your coffee brand will make you think twice.