Marketers and retailers have long capitalized on holidays and special events to tie into their promotions.  You have seen the “Special Black Friday Sale” or “Back to School Savings” in addition to ads for the actual holidays.

It seems now that we have moved beyond just events as companies try to capitalize on flavors and scents.  The latest trend: pumpkin. 

Starbucks was a leader in this craze.  Their Pumpkin Spice Latte has been the subject of over 29,000 tweets with #pumpkinspice and over 200 million PSL drinks sold to date.  

Americans spent $308 million on pumpkin-flavored products last year (up 14% from 2012), so others are now trying to cash in on the mania.  Among other things, you can buy cream cheese, M&Ms, marshmallows, Pop-tarts, Jello pudding and Extra gum in the pumpkin spice flavor.  

What does this mean for you?  Most likely you aren’t going to start selling a pumpkin-flavored item, but can you acknowledge that the flavor is attractive to people?  Have a pumpkin-scented candle in your waiting room.  Do your promotion in orange and feature pumpkins as part of the graphics.  Decorate your office for Fall.  Serve pumpkin-flavored treats or have flavored cream cheese on the bagels at your meeting or serve pumpkin spice cake as the dessert at a meal.  Buy flavored coffee or creamer for the office. 

You don’t have to go overboard, but don’t be oblivious to the trends around you either.  See if you can’t spice up your organization by paying attention to what is popular.

— beth triplett

Roundup: Spice up your life in Time, September 29, 2014, p. 58

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