Top of Mind Thursday

Yesterday, I walked into a Trader Joe’s store in Los Angeles to buy a few groceries.

By itself, there’s nothing unusual in that. Except that less than 3 weeks ago, this particular store had been the site of a hostage situation where an interaction between the police and the gunman resulted in the death of a Trader Joe’s employee.

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What happened in the two weeks between that event and the reopening of the store a few days ago, is what’s unusual.

The company closed the store to not just clean up the aftermath of the shooting, but to implement a long-planned upgrade to the front checkout section. In addition to grief counseling, they gave all employees additional vacation pay for the time the store was closed. On reopening day, they brought all employees back in to reacclimate, but also brought in a crew from another store to man the registers and help customers.

Today, the store looks like any other Trader Joe’s, with the exception of one small space upfront with a memorial to the murdered employee and notes of support from TJ’s stores around the country. And it’s still as difficult to get in and out of the parking lot at rush hour as ever.

In the 60 year history of the chain, Trader Joe’s had never dealt with the death of an employee onsite before. They had no playbook for this kind of event. Yet, they built on a culture of engagement and trust to do the right thing to help employees get through a horrific situation, and to strengthen the relationship between the chain and its employees, as well as its customers.

Kudos to Trader Joe’s for doing what needed to be done to get back in the saddle again.

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Top of Mind Thursday August 2, 2018: Too Hot to Handle

Top of Mind Thursday

Wildfires have become an expected hazard during the summer in California, due to extended droughts and temperatures that are at historical highs.

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The brave men and women who fight these fires for a living are well-trained and equipped with the best tools to save lives and limit property damage. But this year’s fires are confounding even the experts.

Near the northern CA town of Redding, record hot ground temperatures combined with extremely low humidity have enabled a situation where the fire creates its own weather system–almost like a tornado cloud that extends thousands of feet into the atmosphere. This means the normal strategy of fighting the fire by air isn’t possible.

It also means firefighting forces have to quickly regroup and find new ways to contain this next generation of fires. In Yosemite, for example, ancient sequoia trees are being wrapped in fireproof material to help shield them from an approaching blaze.

What these experts DON’T do is keep using techniques that aren’t working. And they never say, we can’t fight it, let’s just walk away. They keep at it, adding various approaches, until they find a way to first contain, then extinguish each blaze. Then they study the situation afterwards to learn how to incorporate best practices into future fire situations.

How many times in our businesses do we try to fight proverbial fires by throwing the same thing at the problem–even when it’s clear this has no effect, or maybe even makes things worse? How often do we give up and say, let’s just walk away, instead of digging in and trying to come up with new and creative ways to address the issue?

Take a lesson from those on the front lines in what’s now a war on wildfires. Keep focused on the goal and be creative–the alternative will leave you badly burned.

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Just a Moment for Marketing: Guilt by Association

Linda asks: With whom is your brand connected?

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Top of Mind Thursday July 26, 2018: Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat

Top of Mind Thursday

There was a time when all shampoo ads, as well as the directions on the bottle, would tell us to shampoo, rinse, repeat. And probably most people followed directions and did so.

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But as it turns out, that’s really unnecessary. The ingredients in a good bottle of shampoo are made so that they can adequately clean your hair with just a single application. Why the direction to repeat? Well, that means you use twice as much shampoo and need to repurchase the product in half the time.

 

How often in our daily lives do we follow directions or believe what we’re told, whether on a package, a website, or in social media–simply because we’re told to do so by someone who we take to be an expert?

 

The rise of fake news has consumers wondering whether or not they can believe news sources, but we need to look beyond Russian trolls and political extremists. In our every day lives, we follow directions we may have heard decades ago (“Don’t go in the water until 30 minutes after you eat”) that may have no scientific basis, or are no longer valid.

 

Rather than following directions blindly, consumers now push back, ask questions, look for confirmation from friends and colleagues. As marketers, we need to be aware of this and work carefully to build and keep customer trust. That happens by building a relationship and an ongoing dialogue.

 

Those organizations that focus solely on improving their profits without helping their customers are likely to find their business is all washed up.

 

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Limited time to devote to marketing? Check out our weekly Just a Moment for Marketing videos. They only take a minute.

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Buy now.


Let us help your business rise to the top.

linda@popky.com
(650) 281-4854
www.leverage2market.com

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