#1277 concentrated

It used to be that the big shopping day was Black Friday, but then that extended into Thanksgiving Day and pre-Black Friday specials for the week or two preceding the holiday.

Today was commonly known as Cyber Monday, but yesterday’s paper was full of flyers advertising bargains during “Cyber Week”. The bottom line: if you pay full price for something between Halloween and Christmas, you are probably paying too much.

An article in yesterday’s paper also noted that while overall spending is expected to grow, Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday sales were both down this year compared to last as the early sales have limited the impact of Black Friday specials.*

It is sad that marketers, retailers and many people in general like to take a good thing and extend it.  While that sounds good in theory, what it does is dilute the impact of the concentrated event.

Christmas magic is lost when department stores put up trees in October instead of unveiling the wonderland on the day after Thanksgiving. Back to school sales start practically before the kids are even out of school. Birthday presents spread throughout the week provide a more muted celebration than having friends and family all at one party with a pile of gifts on your special day.  

The next time you are tempted to extend something, instead ask yourself “What is the shortest timeframe in which we could do this?”  More isn’t always merrier.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


*Source: Black Friday store sales fall; more go online by Christopher S. Rugaber for the Associated Press in the Telegraph Herald, November 29, 2015, p. A2




#1276 holly

I received a free two-week subscription to Sirus XM radio, so thought I would give it a try.  I landed upon the “Holly” station and haven’t left since.

Holly is a 24 hour channel with nothing but Christmas tunes.  I am amazed at the variety and quantity of the music available in this genre when it is only played for a month or two each year.  It seems that every artist has recorded a holiday album, and they all manage to find new songs to record on it.

I wonder what makes Christmas music so popular. Is it the fact that it has limited release so we aren’t tired of hearing it over and over?  Perhaps it is because of the fond memories it engenders of holiday traditions?  Or maybe it is because we are generally in a festive mood and the music reflects that back to us?

I am unsure as to the fascination, but perhaps there is something to be learned from the carols.  Don’t overexpose your customers to your product; offer it as part of a larger experience to gain some positive transference, and link new offerings with favored artists/traditions/products to broaden the reach.

Whether you just listen or whether you learn, I hope you’ll enjoy singing along to your favorite holiday tunes as the season of celebration begins.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


#1275 food rescue

So it is the day after the day after Thanksgiving and what are you doing besides shopping? If you are like many Americans, the answer is “throwing away some turkey.”  The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that we will throw away more than 200 million pounds of edible turkey meat this Thanksgiving holiday!  What a shame.

Throwing away perfectly good food seems to be as much of an American tradition as apple pie and baseball, spawning a whole new movement called “food rescue.”  With an so many going hungry, it seems even more egregious that 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted. This is edible food being tossed!  

Many have taken on this cause, including Boston’s Ashley Stanley, a food rescue activist who started Lovin’ Spoonfuls and has saved over 3 million pounds of fresh food from the trash. It is a triple win: the needy get healthier food, the donors would rather help others than toss it, and the landfills are saved from overgrowth.

As you sit today in the land of plenty, take a minute to learn more about food rescue and commit to a role you can play in it.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


Resources:
Lovin’ Spoonful’s video

Food Waste documentary (plot summary of Just Eat It)



#1274 opt outside

So by now you have likely heard about REI, the retailer who was closed not only yesterday, but today.  They are causing quite a media stir with their decision to forgo Black Friday sales as it is quite antithetical to the strategy of most major retailers.  REI is encouraging its customers and employees to “opt outside” instead of shopping and to share their experiences on social media. 


I wonder how many of their employees will do so.  Does the day off inspire them to take advantage of Black Friday sales since this may be the only chance for them to do so?  Or do they truly want as far away from retail madness as possible and the last place they’ll be seen is near a store?

Either way, REI has garnered some great publicity and good will amongst its staff.  It was a bold move, one with unknown financial consequences, but the dollars they lost in impulse sales will likely be recouped by the free promotion it gained.  

How can you think outside of the box and look at the model differently?  Black Friday could mean frenzy, or having the store lights blacked out.  Maybe with #optoutside, REI is on to something.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

#1273 Thanksgiving blessings

I will keep today simple and share a quote from a Hallmark Thanksgiving card I received:

If your blessing is wealth, share it.

If your blessing is health, take care of it.

If your blessing is talent, use it.

If your blessings are people, love them.



Perhaps you can use this at your Thanksgiving feast, whatever form that may take, but I hope your holiday does not involve shopping!

Thanks for being a leadershipdots reader.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

#1272 influence

This week, in the spirit of the holiday, I was thinking about who is deserving of thanks.  My answer is someone who passed away in 2009, but whose legacy impacts my work everyday: Claiborne Pell.


Senator Pell represented Rhode Island from 1961-1995.  During that time, he introduced legislation to create Basic Educational Opportunity Grants to provide access to higher education for students with financial need to attend college.  The grants, later renamed Pell Grants in honor of him, now represent $67 billion in aid and have helped over 100 million students.  Many students, myself included, could not have attended college without this help.

As monumental as the Pell Grant system is, it is not Senator Pell’s only important work.  He was the main sponsor of the bill to establish the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  He also advocated for mass transportation and supported legislation which led to the formation of Amtrak.

Senator Pell was from an affluent family, attended Princeton and Columbia, and could have had many lucrative careers.  Instead he chose to serve his country in the Coast Guard, as a Foreign Service Officer and finally as Senator, and lend his stature and credibility to promoting causes that benefited the less fortunate.  

I believe America today is a better place because of him, and on this Thanksgiving Eve  I say Thank You Senator Pell for the work that influences us yet today.  

Who has left their mark on your work — and what work are you doing that will benefit the next generation?

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com

Sources:  Wikipedia, https://salve.edu/pell-center/about-sen-pell and Education Week 11-2-15

#1271 pairs

It is curious to me how some words appear so frequently with other words that the two almost become an inseparable pair.  

Fill in the blank for these words:

prolific __________

voracious ________

_________  prowess

shirk ______________


I’ll venture a guess (which could be another pairing) that odds are good you filled in the blanks with prolific writer, voracious reader (or appetite), athletic prowess and shirk responsibility.  Are these words used to describe many other things?

If word pairings can become commonplace, think of how you can use this to your advantage in your organization. Can you find a descriptor that you use over and over so that the public thinks of you when they hear that word?  Maytag did it with dependable and Volvo did it with auto safety. 

What word will your organization own?

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com