Monday, October 14, 2013

IS YOUR PRODUCT LABEL A CALL TO ACTION?...A story regarding label disclosure

Just picked up a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Peppermint Soap and noticed the label appeared different from what I was used to seeing. The label is an editorial to lobby for a YES vote on Bill I-522 in Washington State on Nov 5th. Bill I-522 has to do with labeling for genetically engineered foods. The front of the bottle features a prominent headline for a YES VOTE. The back of the bottle is a full feature editorial on the rights of consumers to “know if our food is genetically engineered” and how a label disclosure victory in Washington State will affect other states’ legislature going forward. The label also provides a history of labeling requirements in regard to health issues. One section even identifies two global companies by name that the Dr. Bronner organization sees as culprits in engineering resistance in food crops. There are also instructions on how to educate, donate and/or volunteer to the cause.

I have never seen a company deliver a political message, much less one so strong in its positioning, on its product label before. Has anyone ever seen a campaign of this type on a consumer package before?

Friday, July 26, 2013


 I believe it is a process of education. Specifically, the role of procurement is to manage a process that ensures efficiency, cost reduction and/or value creation. In short, to develop a value/function blueprint. Marketing's role is to manage strategy to build business. If marketing can provide a better understanding to procurement how the components of communications is bought and sold, and the circumstances that can affect pricing, procurement will have a larger opportunity to define that value/function relationship in a more realistic and genuine way. This is a critical step when one considers the fact that marketing, unlike raw materials for example, deals with long term benefits, competitive positioning and opportunity.

Monday, April 8, 2013


There is an old saying: "He who buys based only on price, is legal prey for anyone who sells based on price." Someone will always find a way to come in lower...but (and this is a big but) at what ultimate cost to the buyer? I've worked with business service companies that will respond to a requested price quote just to stay in the game, when in fact the game was over from the get go. I've also worked for companies that would simply have thanked the buyer for his/her interest and clarified that they are not bidders because bidding in and of itself does allow the seller to differentiate its service, quality and overall resources. One solution to a price only mentality is to say OK, I'll send in a quote, however, I need to better understand the criteria of the decision making...what weight does the organization place on each component of the deliverable? In short, the seller needs to attack the idea of defining value from the buyer's perspective at the very start with a goal of building a relationship, not closing a deal. Sometimes the best deal is the one you are willing to walk away from.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I would say it's a continual refinement of a company's culture that allows it to succeed. This takes a committed and dedicated leadership, one that runs its ship as a meritocracy, works hard to build enduring relationships internally and externally and has a balance of compassion, reason, purpose, integrity and drive so that each employee feels and acts as a stakeholder in each customer engagement. Companies that have and keep leadership positions in their categories seem to be those that know when and how to integrate new products, services and benefits into their offerings without taking its eye off the core business or qualitative deliverables. These organizations know they don't make money making stuff, only selling stuff, and therefore, build cultures focused on sales, service, value creation and again, building evergreen relationships with its customers.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Micromangement is a form of insecurity, a lack of trust or the need to manage up. As such, the micromanager, realizing it or maybe not, is making the job about themselves. One way to put micromanagement in check (at least to an extent) is hold fewer meetings, streamline reporting protocols, reduce redundancy and build better, more interpersonal relationships with team members. Building trust and confidence in team members is critical. Managing down allows the manager to better understand that individuals often have their own success formulas that will not interfere or delay the desired results or take away from achieving the manager's goals for the team. Micromanagement is a habit and like other less than desirable habits can be fixed.

Ideally, the organization seeks an individual with experience (and/or potential) based on the job description, a proven work ethic and a personality that would fit into the organization's culture. All good. Equally as important should be the character traits that cannot be taught: an individual's written and verbal communications skills, their ability to develop meaningful relationships internally and externally, positive attitude regarding mentoring, and, have a balance in their life that reflects a sense of fair play, compassion and integrity.

Just read an article focused on the death of marketing. Marketing, IMO, is far from dead. In fact, the “art” of marketing is just experiencing a new beginning. Marketing is a continually evolving mechanism to help a sales initiative and outflank competition. As economic and technology landscapes grow, so do the channels of communication. At the end of the day the marketing plan needs to meet specific business objectives. It may be better to think in terms of managing a communications (marketing) strategy to help build your business. The rationale for the selection of media and communications vehicles will be based on a number of things: efficiency, creative strategy, budgets, timing, etc. As data gathering becomes more and more sophisticated, so will sales strategies to reach high performance consumers and build enduring relationships with those consumers. It will be the role of marketing to manage those strategies.