10 Thoughts About the Unicorn Frappuccino®

Love them or hate them, you have to admit Starbucks is a marketing genius. They were back at it again with the new Unicorn Frappuccino®, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on the coveted drink before they sold out. The Starbucks website describes it as changing colors and flavors that “start off sweet and fruity transforming to pleasantly sour” ¹ . Here are my thoughts before, during, and after my experience

1. OK I NEED THIS

Not one cell in my body cared what this drink would taste like because I am Starbucks’ dream consumer. I was there for the Pink Drink, I obsess over when the holiday cups drop, and I take limited edition drinks VERY seriously. The minute I saw this on Instagram, all other priorities shifted.

2. Mango?

Upon placing my order the barista informed me that they were out of mango syrup so they would be making my drink with raspberry instead. I was slightly confused as to why a pink and blue drink would even be mango flavored in the first place. IT IS PINK. RASPBERRIES ARE ALSO PINK. MANGOES ARE YELLOW.

3. GRANDE OR VENTI

I planned the release of this drink perfectly so that I could use a reward to get a free one. 9/10 times I will get a venti sized drink because it’s free, pretty much a no brainer. However, I had a strange feeling with this one. While I was extremely excited for this drink, 24 oz. of this sugar slurry would be too much.

4. Guilt

I have never felt bad for a drink that I ordered. I am usually a simple customer without any crazy requests. But this was different. After placing my order and watching the baristas at work, I truly felt like I had committed a crime. They were running around frantically, with a literal assembly line of these drinks.

5. Was it worth it?

It took forever to get my drink. I have no problem waiting, and I was not upset with the baristas at all. I was more upset with myself for choosing something that was so time-consuming. I watched as they made the base, added the extra pink powder, blended it, then carefully swirled the cup with the blue syrup, filled the drink, topped with whip, and then covered it in the special sprinkles.

6.It is time

After standing in line for about 5 minutes, my drink was ready. I walked over to the receiving area, excited, and scared that one of the nearby teens would swoop in and take it.

7. The moment of truth

Eh. The first sip was essentially a raspberry Frappuccino®. Nothing special, and something that people get all the time. I pushed my straw towards the blue swirl and was able to get a bit of the sourness.

8.The point where I almost die

As with any frappuccino, I like to get in on the whip action pretty early. My friend had said the topping was pretty sour but I figured she was overreacting. I was sorely mistaken. The whipped cream is essentially covered in atomic sour dust. My jaw actually locked up at one point. I could not believe they were serving this without a waiver. I decided to stir the whole drink together to disperse the sourness.

9.I’m literally going to die

About 3/4 of the way through my drink, I got up to use the restroom. When I stood up my stomach instantly told me this was a horrible mistake. It probably did not help that my stomach was empty until I had consumed the 59 grams of sugar.¹

10. Never again

The drink was not bad by any means. Once you stir it all up it has a pleasant sourness, but it was nothing I was eager to get the next day. At the end of the day, it would have made a good Instagram pic, but I didn’t even accomplish that.

In conclusion, I would give this a 5 out of 10. It was an obvious success because the next day they had already run out of most of the ingredients. Starbucks could add pink dye to water and people would buy it. I’m just wondering when the S’mores Frappuccino® is coming back,

1.Unicorn Frappuccino® Blended Crème. (2017). Starbucks. Retrieved from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/unicorn-frappuccino-blended-cr%C3%A8me#size=11076714&milk=67&whip=125

Kroger Advertising Through SEO

The Kroger Co. already utilizes a variety of advertising media channels from traditional billboards and TV commercials, to new techniques like social media. One new media channel for them to explore could be search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the practice of designing a website in such a way that the architecture, content, and links that make up the website help it rank better in search engine results (Rapp, 2010). For a company like Kroger, a grocery store, this would be beneficial whenever someone performs a search query for certain ingredients, grocery store locations, or special services that Kroger provides like, a bakery or florist.

There are several research steps that go into creating a successful SEO campaign. Research is what allows the brand to elevate their message, assess the industry and competition, and identify the target market (Fletcher, 2013). These are the most crucial factors to consider when determining a keyword campaign for successful SEO. The first steps are to analyze the current website and consumer behavior.

Kroger will have to use analytical tools to explore what consumers are searching. These keywords help segment the market into desired targets and determine what content is placed on the website (Rapp, 2010). Once Kroger analyses what keywords are most influential they may create specific web pages that give those campaigns the best opportunity for growth.

Implementing successful SEO is a matter of trial and error. Kroger will need to use diagnostic tools to measure the effectiveness of their web design. Tools like Google Analytics allows brand to track their website traffic and most searched keywords (Rapp, 2010). If Kroger notices their website is not receiving an increase in visits, they may use diagnostic tools to see what is preventing search engine spiders from navigating their page (Rapp, 2010). It may be that the site architecture does not flow well, content is not coded correctly, or elements like flash animations are blocking content (Rapp, 2010). Kroger can take this data and go back to the drawing board to build a better website.

 

 

References
Fletcher, B. (2013, April 25). Five Reasons Why Market Research Matters (and Five Tips for Using It). MarketingProfs. Retrieved from                                                                          http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2013/23874/five-reasons-why- market-research-matters-and-five-tips-for-using-it
Rapp, S. (2010). Reinventing Interactive and Direct Marketing: Leading Experts Show How to Maximize Digital ROI with iDirect and iBranding Imperatives. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill

The ROI of Social Media

Social media campaigns need to be treated just like any traditional marketing campaign. Measuring the return on investment is the only way to know whether or not it is effective. Return on investment is more than just tracking how many followers a brand has gained. While follows, likes, and mentions are great, a ROI based on actual dollars is important to measure the usefulness of the campaign.

Social media ROI is no different than regular ROI, except that it may be more challenging to assign dollar values to some resources. Any resources used to execute the social media campaign are measured, then subtracted from the financial outcomes and calculated into a ratio (Tuten & Solomon, 2015).

Social media advertising takes up more time than before, so it is a cost for any company. Managers will expect social media marketers to provide a thorough return on investment analysis in order to prove that the campaign is worth making its ways into the budget.

While there are several ways to measure social media ROI, there is a general process to follow. Dag Holmboe describes a three-step process that includes defining a social media goal, defining a social media return, and defining how hard dollars will be tied to the return (2011). While sales may seem like the go-to way of measuring ROI, it can also be measured by customer insights, website traffic, or customer support.

For example, social media campaigns may be used to replace customer support calls, as they are cheaper and more efficient. A company can calculate how much a traditional call would cost them, verses how much it costs to conduct support on Twitter. The money saved is the return, and can be calculated as a ratio to the investment in those running the Twitter support team.

Social media is great because it has all the properties of traditional marketing, like building a positive brand image and driving customers to the brand, but add a level of engagement that brands cannot get elsewhere. However there are so many different levels of engagement, that brands must be precise in defining their objectives, and what metrics they use to measure their ROI. They must chose if they include early-stage engagements such as simply seeing, or rating a product, or want to only capture serious engagements such as purchases and recommendations.

 

References
Holmboe, D. (2011, October 12). How to Estimate Your Social Media Return on Investment. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-estimate-your-social-media-return-on-investment/
Tuten, T. L., & Solomon, M. R. (2015). Social Media Marketing. Boston, MA: Pearson.

H&M’s Social Responsibility

A company that I regularly shop at, and had believed to be very socially responsible, is H&M. H&M is a popular clothing retailer that operates across the globe, and online. Their website even has a page titled “Sustainability” with the tagline “look good, do good, feel good” (H&M, 2017). The website outlines H&M’s actions towards sustainable supply chains, recycling textiles, labor regulations, and animal welfare. While H&M may seem very responsible on the surface, they have had their downfalls in the past.

H&M claims that they are able to offer quality clothes at an affordable price by choosing the most sustainable, yet cheapest strategies throughout the supply chain. For example, H&M uses ships to transport merchandise. This is not only cheaper than aircraft, but causes less air pollution. H&M also does their own audits on suppliers to ensure they are compliant with certain environmental standards, such as wastewater treatment, and restrictions on certain chemicals (H&M, 2017).

H&M encourages customers to bring in old clothing, rather than throwing it out. The customer receives a discount on their next purchase, and the fabrics are recycled into new textiles, instead of ending up in a landfill. H&M says they have collected over 32,000 tons of fabric since 2013, which is the equivalent to 100 million t-shirts (H&M, 2017).

In recent years though, it was revealed that some of the producers of H&M’s clothes were not operating under the  guidelines that H&M claimed they enforced. H&M had initiated a project called the Fair Wage Method in 2013, pledging to help workers earn a living wage. Wages were not meeting industry medians, and in some cases, not even the garment sector’s minimum wage of $140 per month (Clean Clothes, 2016).

A report released by the Cambodian NGO Center for Alliance of Labor & Human Rights Cambodian NGO Center for Alliance of Labor & Human Rights also stated that H&M suppliers were leaving workers in vulnerable positions with short-term contracts. Workers who had been with the factories for two years and earned the right to permanent contract, were being denied that right (Clean Clothes, 2016).

I believe H&M may be pulling the wool over the eyes of some consumers who believe they are green for the environment. While they do choose more environmentally friendly options for their supply chain, these options are also the cheapest for them , so it may make their true motives unclear.

They also try to cut corners when it comes to labor, making up for any lost profits they may incur from other green initiatives. I think the main source of this problem is that H&M conducts their audits themselves (H&M, 2017). This would allow them to manipulate audits and overlook issues that violate their own standards.

References
Clean Clothes Campaign. (2016, September 23). Labour Rights Violations in H&M’s “Best in Class” Supplier Factories in Cambodia. Retrieved from https://cleanclothes.org/news/press-releases/2016/09/22/labour-rights-violations-in-h-ms-best-in-class-supplier-factories-in-cambodia
H&M. (2017). FAQ: Our Responsibility . Retrieved from https://www.hm.com/us/customer-service/faq/our-responsibility

 

 

P&G’s Place in Natural Oral Care

Procter & Gamble (P&G) credits its long history to being able to change everything except their core values, in order to better serve customers, and create value for their shareholders. One of their current goals is to increase value creation through margin improvement, asset efficiency, and sales growth. P&G also hopes to transform their portfolio, and continue to grow in each of their ten product categories, foster more innovation, and become a more sustainable company (Procter & Gamble, 2017).

One thing missing from Procter & Gamble’s oral care products is an all-natural toothpaste. I strongly believe that introducing a product like this under one of their powerful brand names, like Crest, would help them make progress in all of objectives mentioned above.

Value Creation

Looking at the Crest website, I was immediately overwhelmed by the number of offerings there are in terms of toothpaste varieties. I counted 10+ different Crest products that all claimed to be whitening toothpastes. P&G could look at eliminating some of the less profitable varieties, and replacing them with a new product that would attract a completely different market. Some of these are so similar, that it can’t be profitable to market all of them against each other.

Portfolio

Adding an all-natural toothpaste would diversify P&G’s oral-product portfolio, as they currently do not offer something like this. Their main competitor, Colgate-Palmolive, currently owns Tom’s of Maine, the leading natural toothpaste brand. P&G has launched natural products in other categories, like their Tide Pureclean laundry detergent, which is free of dyes, chlorine, and phosphates (Tide, 2017). It is likely that the same people in the market for natural cleaning products would be very interested in natural oral-care products.

Innovation

P&G is a leader in innovation, and is increasing their R&D budget even more, to enhance their new-product pipeline. They are also investing in how to increase go-to market capabilities (P&G Outlines, 2013). While the concept of an all-natural toothpaste is not new, P&G will be able to do it better, more efficiently, and reach markets better than anyone else. Taking advantage of the growing natural-items industry is a great opportunity for P&G to showcase their innovation prowess.

Challenges

One drawback is that P&G may be slightly behind the competition. The natural health care industry is rapidly growing and there are already a number of smaller brands, as well as competitors like Colgate’s Tom’s of Maine. The idea is that the natural toothpaste is stripped of anything extra, so it is difficult to offer something new, that provides additional benefits. P&G will have to really invest in their marketing, production process, and brand image if the want to be the best in this industry.

The marketing strategy is not going to stray far from what P&G is accustomed to with its oral-care products. More thought will have to be put into marketing a natural item. There will be certain guidelines enforced by regulators, like the FDA, that will need to be met. With any healthcare item, any promises that are made regarding its effects must be backed up with proof. The effectiveness, and safety of the product will need to be proven and communicated to the target.

One limitation that I noticed with my research, is that there are just too many types of toothpaste. There are ones for whitening, enamel protection, sensitive teeth, etc. With such a large base of users, and so many specific needs, it may be challenging to get them in to the natural toothpaste purchase funnel.

 

References
P&G Company Strategy. (2017). Retrieved from                                                                                                                               http://www.pginvestor.com/Company-    Strategy/Index?KeyGenPage=208821
P&G Outlines Four Key Goals. (2013, November 20). Retrieved from                                                                                        https://www.warc.com/LatestNews/News/PG_outlines_four_key_goals.news?ID=3    2232
Tide Shop Products. (2017). Retrieved from http://tide.com/en-us/shop

Brand Sentiment and Strength

As I am starting this blog, I am sitting in Starbucks so I figured I would analyze their profile on Social Searcher. According to the sentiment overview, the majority of social media mentions are neutral, with 65% of the total posts. There are much more positive posts than negative ones, with 27% being positive, and 8% negative (Social Searcher). However, I noticed that these could be misleading as Social Searcher’s system may misidentify some posts.

For example, one of the neutral posts I viewed was a user attacking Starbucks for their newly announced refugee-employment goal. This seemed very negative in nature but may have been categorized differently due to certain keywords. The large portion of neutral posts may be attributed to people simply looking for information rather than commenting on an experience. Some of the more popular topics searched were about Starbucks jobs and whether or not certain products were available.

Tweets were the most popular type of post, with most of them occurring on Sunday and Monday. The most common type of post overall, was a photo. This makes sense, as a lot of people post pictures of their Starbucks cup with their name written on it. I once heard that it was an actual marketing technique for baristas to misspell names on purpose, thus the customer is more likely to post a picture of the cup.

Starbucks’s social media mentions spike whenever they release something new. Earlier this week, the molten chocolate drink was announced to correspond with Valentine’s Day. I think one reason their online presence is so strong is because Starbucks actively engages with their audience. If you make a post with a question, comment, or suggestion they will most likely respond with a personal, sometimes witty message.

References
Social Searcher. “Starbucks”. (2017). Retrieved on February 11, 2017 from https://www.social-    searcher.com/social-  buzz/?wblng=&ntw=&psttyp=&searchid=&period=&value=&fbpage=&q5=starbucks

Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi

The Top Dog

As the market leader, Coca-Cola’s strategy should include preventing change. The market leader is successful for a reason, and the success will breed more success, given constant market conditions. The market leader aims to convince customers that they can depend on their product, and do not need to switch brands (Kardes, Cronley, & Cline, 2012).

Coca-Cola has mastered this strategy by staking themselves as a fundamental part of the American family. Coke’s strategy is to create a brand that instantly creates an emotional attachment. Their campaigns focus on diversity, happiness, and family. (Johnson, 2011). They promote kindness too, like in their Share A Coke campaign.

Coca-Cola recently reestablished their brand by introducing the glass shaped bottle both into the shape of their packaging, and logo. This builds on the emotional brand strategy that connects with those who have a nostalgic feeling about Coke. They grew up with the classic glass bottles, and perhaps have an extensive collection of Coke memorabilia.

The Underdog

While Pepsi is considered the underdog in this rivalry, the race has always been tight. As the follower, Pepsi has had to try and disrupt the status quo, and change the direction of the market in their favor (Kardes, Cronley, & Cline, 2012).

One way Pepsi may have done this in the past was in the 1940’s. Pepsi adopted their red, white, and blue design as a sign of patriotism during WWII (Johnson, 2011). This was in irrelevant attribute, as it did not affect the product at all, but maybe lead the consumer to believe they were American for supporting Pepsi.

Pepsi also tries to increase ambiguity by addressing a different market in their advertisements. Pepsi ads are target more towards younger audiences, and appeal to their interests in sports, fun activities, and musical entertainment. Pepsi endorsements like Britney Spear, and Katy Perry help create a brand that is more edgy than Coke.

Their more recent take on Coca-Cola’s Share A Coke campaign involved placing cartoon emoticons on their bottles. This, coupled with a sweeter taste than Coke creates a more kid-friendly brand image.

Taking on the Top Dog

One way Pepsi could challenge Coke for the top dog spot is to go directly after the consumers, and offer the comparison information between Coke and Pepsi. Holding a blind taste test allows the consumer to try a product with out bias, and then associated the higher quality with that brand.

Pepsi also needs to take after Coca-Cola and try to unify their brand. Coke has adapted a One Brand strategy. They use almost identical bottles and cans to package their four varieties of Coke. Each drink has the traditional Coke logo, and red disk, with an accompanying color for each variety (Brown, 2016). Something like Pepsi’s emoticon bottles creates so much distraction when looking at a display, that the constant brand image may be lost.

Pepsi could also change their brand strategy by marketing towards the family as a whole. While young audiences may be more exposed to advertising, the adults in the family are the ones ultimately doing the shopping. Instead of single celebrity endorsements, advertisements could feature entire celebrity families enjoying Pepsi. Branding the drink as something for the entire family to enjoy would make it a part of the household.

Conclusion

I believe Coca-Cola is the top dog because it has stuck to the basics. It originated back to a simpler logo, and continues to push the emotional side of its brand. Coke spreads a message of diversity and togetherness in its advertisements that really resonates with people in an increasingly divisive world.

However, I am not one to judge either of these because I am not a cola drinker. I enjoy Mountain Dew, so technically I support the Pepsi brand. I will say that I remember Coke’s brand image more though. I see it when I go to the movies, I think of it when I see a polar bear, and you can bet I stood in line to get my own name on a Share A Coke can.

 

References

Brown, E. (2016, April 28). #CreativeBranding – Coca Cola’s “One Brand” Strategy –                          Branding for a Reason. Retrieved from https://www.designmantic.com/blog/coca-                cola-one-brand-strategy/

Kardes, F. R., Cline, T. W., & Cronley, M. L. (2012). Consumer Behavior (2nd ed.). Stamford,             CT: Cengage.

Johnson, J. (2011, March 24). Pepsi vs Coke: The Power of a Brand. Retrieved from                               https://designshack.net/articles/graphics/pepsi-vs-coke-the-power-of-a-brand/

 

 

Source: copyblogger.com Written by Brian Clark Everyone’s creating all this online content, but does it matter? More importantly, are you accomplishing your goals with the content you deliver, or are you simply spinning your wheels? Well, if you’re doing it right, your content is highly effective and tightly tied to your ultimate business objectives. Otherwise, […]

via Are You Creating Meaningful Content? — Nicole Jones Development – Huntsville, AL

The Zero Moment Of Truth

Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) is a completely new term to me. Upon first hearing it, I first thought that it sounded like the newest primetime TV drama. However, after reading about the marketing phenomenon, I realized I was actually a poster-child for ZMOT. I am that person you try to maneuver around in the grocery store, as stand with phone in hand.

I just spent $5 on a single drink at Starbucks, but now I frantically scan my Kroger app to find the cheapest toothpaste possible- millennials are weird like that. You say, “Excuse me” for the third or fourth time and I finally look up in bewilderment as you give me that look of disapproval. You assume I am just caught up in my social media profile or trying to take a good selfie, but no; I am actually trying to make a very informed purchased decision.

ZMOT is the research that takes place over the Internet before customers make a purchase decision. It happens before the marketer even gets a chance to make an impression on the customer. ZMOT can occur anywhere and at anytime, as long as you have a connection to Google, social media, etc. It may be asking Siri to search for 5 Star hotels in your area, or doing a Twitter search to see what people are saying about the latest movie release. Social media marketers must learn how to wrangle in consumers who are taking part in ZMOT, because the consumer is already ahead of the game.

Marketers should focus on getting their trusted consumers who already know and love the product, to start talking about it on the Internet. Reviews, blog posts, and social media mentions boost search engine results for both B2C and B2B businesses. This generated buzz acts as a virtual billboard; just waiting to pop up once a prospective consumer hits the “search” button. Usually, the search engine can suggest a product before the user even finishes typing.

ZMOT is a never-ending cycle and must be thought about throughout the entire purchase cycle. Once a customer buys a product and uses it, they are entering the second and third moments of truth. They then go online and leave a review or endorse it on their social media profiles, thus creating a potential ZMOT for a brand new customer. This is why it’s important for marketers have dedicated social media teams that are constantly monitoring online activity and engaging with customers online. Browsing the very same content that the customers use will give marketers an idea of their company is being perceived and how effective they are in a ZMOT scenario.