Trade Shows, Conferences, Summits, Oh My!

We’re starting off the new year by attending many trade shows across the United States and we want to take you along on the journey! Our ultimate goal as an industry leader with over 50 years of experience is to ensure that a brand’s story is accurately told across the widest range of channels. Advertising our services, expanding our relationship network, and maintaining our strong relationships are all essential to providing our clients with the best solutions. Trade shows and conferences are a preferred method of finding new industry opportunities and meeting prospective clients. These are just a few of the trade shows that we will be attending in the next few months. We hope to see you there!


Natural Products Expo:

Natural Products Expo

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Calling all foodies! This expo is all about nutrition and healthy eating! We will be attending the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA from March 9th to March 12th. The event will showcase products from the Natural & Organic Industry. This expo is packed with events and workshops about brand awareness, marketing techniques, and more. It is one of the most highly anticipated trade shows of the year, hosting over 70,000 attendees and 3,000 companies from all over the world. Being able to communicate with international retailers and suppliers gives every company the ability to learn about the industry’s rapid development and its global impact. Follow the hashtag #ExpoWest on Twitter during the expo to see what we’re up to!


National Restaurant Association:

NRA Show 2016

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This year the National Restaurant Association Show will take place at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, Il from March 20th to March 23rd. This event showcases products like bakery items, kitchen tools, table ware, food service technology, snacks, etc. in the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering industry. Around 1,800 exhibitors will advertise their products and services at this event, allowing many new retailer relationships to form. The National Restaurant Association is dedicated to teaching companies about engaging in exceptional customer service, new business models and advanced technology within the foodservice space. The show will include specialty areas and pavilions grouped by top trends, products, and emerging tech along with educational sessions all across the floor. These stations allow us to learn about each of the problems retailers may face and how we can solve them in the future. Many attendees look forward to this show every year. One attendee from last year’s show stated, “What’s exciting for me are the educational components and to connect with this great network of vendors and operators that I can learn from and share my stories with” (Horst 2016).




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Shoptalk is the new blockbuster retail and eCommerce event. It covers the rapid evolution of how consumers discover, shop and buy—from new technologies and business models to changes in consumer preferences and expectations. ShopTalk is expected to host over 5,000 employees, 500 CEO’s, and 2,000 different companies this year! It will take place in Aria, Las Vegas from March 19th to March 22nd. Shoptalk provides an unprecedented platform for large retailers and brands to come together with startups, analysts, and tech companies in an open and friendly environment to learn about the latest trends in business. ShopTalk also provides retailers with the ability to interact with potential investors.With all the changes happening in retail and eCommerce, now is a critical time to be engaged with investors, collaborate in new ways, forge innovative partnerships and fund groundbreaking initiatives. Shoptalk presents an incredible opportunity for retailers to engage with senior decision makers, build brand awareness, and launch new products to the industry and media. Overall, Shoptalk is a can’t miss event! Everyone benefits from the rich, in-person interactions spanning three days packed with incredible content, wide-ranging exhibitors and meaningful networking opportunities.


Shopper Marketing Summit:

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The Shopper Marketing Summit is a vital event for top retailers and suppliers to attend. We will be in attendance from March 27th to March 29th in New York City along with a few of our clients. This Summit has “an established and well-respected educational program that includes symposiums, general sessions, and breakout seminars that focus on actionable strategies, insights, and solutions to influence shoppers along the path to purchase” (Shopper Summit, 2016). Experienced vendors and retailers will give insight to their shopper-centric thinking and brand development strategies. Promotion Agencies and Suppliers will also talk about enhancing consumer loyalty, how to make the most of new technology, and display designs that will attract consumers. All companies rely on these insights to connect with clients.



We are excited to attend these events and apply our findings to our services. Don’t forget to follow Kwikee on Twitter @Kwikee_sgsco and like us on Facebook at to see our latest updates. If you attend any of the above expos, be sure to stop by our booths and say hello!



Horst, J. (2016). What Attendees Are Saying. Retrieved from:

Shopper Summit. (2016) Why Attend. Retrieved from:

ShopTalk. (2016) Overview. Retrieved from:

How Snapchat & Instagram Are Taking the Business World By Storm

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As we begin the last quarter of 2016, the shift towards a highly digital world continues to be evident. eCommerce is on the rise as popular consumer apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have taken on a new role. Businesses are now using these applications to reach larger audiences in a shorter amount of time. Buying into consumer trends has given businesses the perfect advertising space. While many companies have already hopped on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagons, other social media giant’s like Instagram and Snapchat are the new platforms businesses are giving a try.




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Snapchat has more than 150 million users all around the world so it’s no wonder that companies are using this app. In a study of 2,223 U.S. Consumers,  “47 percent of Snapchatters have sent a snap—a post in the app’s parlance—to friends while in stores” and three-fourths of Snapchat users “have been informed or influenced by Snapchat during a shopping trip” (Heine, 2016). Snapchat uses face-detection photo filters that allow companies to place advertisements directly on the filters themselves, which companies like Walmart, Macy’s and Michael Kors have already bought into. (Heine 2016). NBCUniversal has taken a different approach to it as they are teaming up with Snapchat to release a five-episode series of the popular TV Hit, “The Voice” on their app before the show airs on live television (Swant, 2016). Being able to adapt to the new generation allows companies to get their name to such a wide audience and make their products relevant.




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Another social media platform that has gained popularity with businesses recently is Instagram. While this app has been around for six years now, businesses are beginning to use it to their advantage by paying for sponsored advertisements to show up on the user’s home page. Instagram has an even larger audience than Snapchat with more than 500 million users around the world–making it one of the largest mobile social media platforms (Instagram for Business, 2016). Being able to share pictures with an audience personalizes the shopping experience and pulls consumers in before they even step foot into the store.  Instagram advertisements can be bought in terms of one single picture, a carousel of pictures, or a video. Next to their post, is a button that is linked to the sponsor’s website. This allows consumers to engage with the picture they are looking at and it also gives them the option to go directly to their site and buy what they see on Instagram. Another added bonus to advertising on Instagram: it’s not going anywhere. “according to a study by eMarketer, by 2017 Instagram’s global mobile ad revenues will grow to more than two and a half billion dollars [. . .] (Rothstein, 2016). This mobile app has no plans of leaving any time soon, making it a great platform for social media marketing.


Whether it’s Snapchat or Instagram, companies are taking advantage of Generation Y’s social media addiction. Businesses are adapting to the fact that an advertisement on a mobile app is more impactful than an advertisement in a newspaper. Being able to reach such vast audiences has helped companies make a presence more than just locally. Today, a company’s existence on social media is one of the key factors of success.



Heine, C. (2016, Aug. 7). While Some Retailers Ignore Snapchat, Others Are Killing It With Lens and Geofilter Ads. Retrieved from

Instagram for Business (2016). Advertising on Instagram. Retrieved from

Rothstein, T. (2015, Mar. 14). 10 Must-Follow Tips for Instant Instagram Advertising Success. Retrieved from

Swant, M. (2016 Aug. 8). NBCUniversal Is Bringing Its Biggest Shows to Snapchat. Retrieved from

Kwikee at NACDS Total Store Expo 2016


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This weekend nearly 800 retailers and exhibitors came together for the annual National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Total Store Expo. This year, the event is being held in Boston, Massachusetts at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center where an estimated 6,000 people are gathering August 7-9.  Aside from showcasing their products, the top retailers are there learning about the most up-to-date market trends and business developments, as well as meeting with current clients, and finding ways to improve their marketing tactics. “The NACDS Total Store Expo highlights the state of the industry as well as the direction of the industry — because the industry itself is NACDS’ guide” (Anderson, 2015).  With this expo being the largest one in its field, big names like Walgreens, CVS Health, and Walmart are in attendance.


Benefits of Attending the Conference


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The opportunities that are presented at this conference are endless. Every aspect of the NACDS Total Store Expo has been“validated by NACDS members as truly valuable program elements. In many ways, this show is crafted for the industry, by the industry” (Anderson, 2015).  Another huge benefit of this expo is that “The show enables business partners to innovate together across departments and functions with an eye toward the total store experience” (Supermarket News, 2016). Being able to communicate with the manufacturer, retailer, and consumer all in one place gives companies the ability to create unity across all fields.


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Can’t Miss Events

This year, forty-seven speakers are presenting at the 2016 conference. They will be discussing issues within the industry that are happening both locally and around the world.

Vision 2026 will be back again! This booth provides a glimpse into what’s next for the health and pharmaceutical industry. Attendees are able to see what the projected trends are for things like displays and interactive media. “From ads that splash across LCD screens on cooler doors to apps that allow customers to see how makeup would look on them without having to try any on, the technologies are viewed as potential game-changers” (Sealover, 2015). Being able to see these predictions allows companies to stay one step ahead and adequately plan for the future.

One of the highly anticipated elements of this expo is the “Meet the Market” appointments. “Participating exhibitors present their company and products to retailers through a series of ten-minute appointments arranged by NACDS[. . . ]” (Total Store Expo, 2016). This gives exhibitors the opportunity to showcase who they are and what their product can do to a number of interested people in such a personalized environment. It is beneficial to both sides because it’s a great way to get in touch with the right people at such a large conference. 


To follow along with all Total Store Expo news, check out the official expo hashtag on Twitter at #NACDSTSE.


As always, don’t forget to follow Kwikee on Twitter @Kwikee_sgsco and like us on Facebook at to stay up to date with what we’ve been up to at the expo. If you’re in Boston, be sure to stop by our booth #571!



Anderson, S. (2015, Aug. 21). Total Store Expo built to reflect retail innovation. Retrieved from

Sealover, E. (2015, Aug. 25). The drug store of the future is on display now at Denver convention (Slideshow). Retrieved from

Supermarket News. (2016). NACDS Total Store Expo. Retrieved from

Total Store Expo (2016). Advancing Health and Wellness. Retrieved from

Total Store Expo (2016). Meet the Market: Retailers. Retrieved from

A Bunch of Munching

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As more and more consumers find their fingers fumbling for a mid-morning (or afternoon and evening) pick-me up, the days of Brady Bunch-style sit down meals might be coming to a close. According to a Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking, “91% of consumers polled say they snack at least once a day” (Horovitz, 2014). With all that snacking, consumers are less hungry for actual meals, leading to a change in the snacking industry, which is expected to grow to $375 billion industry worldwide (Fromm, 2015). Marketers are quickly trying to make their products more snack time-friendly.

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Who’s snacking?

It might be surprising, but Millennials are not the biggest mid-day munchers. The NPD Group, a marketing research company, discovered that baby boomers “indulge most often between meals […] 20 percent more often than Millennials” (Progressive Grocer, 2016). For Boomers, snacking is a way to avoid preparing a big meal or eating alone. Boredom might also be at play as 23% of all snacking results from a lack of things to do (Pacyniak, 2014). While Boomers are the biggest snackers, Millennials are responsible for the changing mindset towards snacking as they help shape future generations’ eating habits. A Forbes article states that “76% of Millennial parents […] discuss decisions, small and large, with the whole family” (Fromm, 2015). Purchase decisions and food choices therefore become a family consensus, reinforcing snacking habits in younger generations.

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What are they noshing on?

Millennials and Boomers are in agreement when it comes to favorite snack time treats. Fruit, chocolate/candy and potato chips are both groups’ top three picks (Progressive Grocer, 2016). However, the development of tastier healthy snacks and snack-size meals such as 200 calorie Chef Boyardee lasagna cups are helping to convert snacking into an alternative to the daily 3 meal plan. The Wall Street Journal interviewed Marisa Moore of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and found that “there isn’t scientific consensus on whether it is healthier to eat three full meals a day or consume more frequent snacks. Snacking can be risky because it takes discipline” (Esterl, 2014).

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Industry Response

Across the industry, brands have been trying to repackage, reinvent, and remarket their products as snack-able. Mondelez has introduced GoodThins crackers, made with “unconventional snack ingredients” that appeal to consumers’ desire for healthy food sources (Strom, 2016).  PepsiCo introduced Near East multigrain chips made with couscous, quinoa, and lentils.  However, not all product changes involve a new health focus. Sometimes, marketing a product as snack-able is as simple as a new campaign and product packaging. Kellogg’s certainly holds this view as their new campaign markets their cereal as the perfect nighttime snack. Recipes for Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Flakes remain unchanged as Kellogg’s hopes consumer’s nostalgia for favorite childhood cereals combined with new snack-sized, mess-less disposable containers will help Americans to once again proclaim their cereal “GREEAT!” Whether it be by simple tweaks to product packaging or drastic changes to ingredients, the food industry is responding to the snacking craze.



Esterl, M. (2014, July 2). Forget Dinner. It’s Always Snack Time in America. Retrieved from

Fromm, J. (2015, Sept. 9). Snacking Habits of Millennial Parents Are Shaping the Category for Future Generations. Retrieved from

Giammona, C (2016, Mar. 30). Can Kellogg Save Cereal by Selling it as a Snack Food? Retrieved from

Horovitz, B. (2014, Sept. 29). Americans Snack Differently Than Other Nations. Retrieved from

Pacyniak, B. (2014, Aug. 6). Snacking Gone Wild: Nielsen looks at snacking trends. Retrieved from

Progressive Grocer (2016, March 8). Boomers Snack 20% More Often Than Millennials: NPD Retrieved from

Strom, S. (2016, Mar. 6). To Reinvigorate Sales, Mondelez Reimagines the Snack. Retrieved from

Increase In-Store Sales Using Movie Product Placement

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Product placement is often heralded as one of the best ways to expose consumers to a brand since moviegoers are less critical of ads while immersed in the movie’s world. Unlike TV commercials that can be skipped or pop-up ads which often frustrate, product placement is an incredibly valuable tool in reaching consumers. That’s why advertisers spent $5 billion on product placement last year alone.  (O’Reilly, 2015)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding Windex

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The best product placement isn’t paid to be placed but organically grows out of a character’s quirks. Nia Vardalos, writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding talks about the truth of character-product relationships as she reflects on real life product relationships: “I based the father character on my own dad, who truly believes in the power of Windex products, and that even the word itself is Greek,” (Baar, 2016).


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No matter what form it takes, product placement is powerful and can be leveraged at the retail level to increase sales. One grocery store strategically placed a copy of “The Martian” in front of the potato display. Angela Natividad explains, “
People who’ve seen the movie, or read the book, will get it: One trial of protagonist Mark Watney is his effort to grow potatoes in hostile Martian soil. So, this is a smart, in-the-know play—the kind of thing that’s random at best to people who don’t get it, and explosively awesome for those who do” (2016). Creatively incorporating pop culture references like this make consumers smile…and reach for an extra potato or two.  


Gilmore Girls Coffee

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Having an awareness of current pop culture, movie, or TV trends can help further sales. Store owners might place references to the popular Gilmore Girls TV show in the coffee aisle in acknowledgement of the recent hype about a show reunion. Or they could market to moms with kids by placing Jungle Book references next to the pears and the “prickly pears” in the fruit and produce section. By staying up to date on current trends and helping consumers connect products with warm feelings about their favorite movies and characters, you can maximize your potential sales.




Baar, A. (2016, Mar. 20). It’s all Greek (again) to Windex. Retrieved from


Natividad, A. (2016, Feb. 16). How The Martian is helping to sell actual potatoes (Astronaut poop not included). Retrieved from
O’Reilly, T. (2015, Aug. 4). Show me the money: The world of product placement. Retrieved from

What Happened to the Jingle?

For years, jingles were a staple of a successful advertising campaign, and for good reason! When Coca-Cola’s famous “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” commercial aired in 1971, radio listeners called the station, requesting to hear the commercial like it was a hit song (Ryan, 2012). Between that time and now, the advertising industry seems to have condemned jingles as outdated, unsophisticated, and ineffective. But are they really? If so, why do five year olds run around sassily insisting “I’m a big kid now!” (Huggies), and making their parents want to say “Give me a break! [gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar!]” Thing is, jingles are just as effective today as they were 40 years ago.

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Meet the Earworms

Our brains are extremely sensitive to music-we’re drawn to it and many times, helpless against it. Neurologists studying short-term memory and audio processing fondly came up with the term ‘earworm’ to explain what happens when our short term memory latches on to a tune and continually loops the information. These metaphorical little ‘earworms’ love repetition, alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds), and unusual tempos (Julius, 2012). When these components are present, the brain gets excited and repeats the jingle constantly, buying you, the advertiser, free air time in the consumer’s head.

Bring Back the Jingles!

Just like artistic movements, ads have their own trends which go in and out of style. Art lovers wouldn’t expect every new painting to be an imitation of Monet’s impressionist water lilies, and in the same way, every brand doesn’t have to have a 1960s knockoff jingle. Consumers have changed but their love of music hasn’t! Martin Murphy advocates for the modern jingle saying he wants “an evolved version of the jingle, enhanced by what we know today about advertising and consumers: make the jingle authentic, make it involving, make it contemporary, make it short enough for our minimal attention spans… but keep the subliminal stickiness and brand linkage!”  (2011). This ‘stickiness’ is what Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO and chief creative officer of the Kaplan Thaler Group ad agency is talking about when she says “A jingle is not successful if you listen to it once and like it. You have to listen to it and want to sing it.”

And do we ever. Check out just a couple of our favorite catchy jingles below.

Oscar Mayer Wiener 1965

Alka Seltzer-Plop Plop Fizz Fizz 1976

Kit Kat- Gimme a Break 1988

Oreo-Wonderfilled 2013


Companies Eliminate Product Artificiality to Make Way for Clean Eating


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It’s no secret that consumers are more concerned than ever about the content of the foods they’re eating. From kale to quinoa, a slew of healthy alternatives have made their way onto supermarket shelves and consumers’ kitchens. Almost everyone, it seems, is watching what they eat. Many companies find themselves responding, making their own New Year’s resolutions to axe artificiality in their products and help give consumers what they want: clean eating.  Here are just a few of the companies working towards improving their products.


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Campbell-Chicken Noodle Soup

In early November of 2015, Campbell’s Soup announced that it would be changing its Chicken Noodle Soup recipe to try to eliminate artificial ingredients. The new recipe cut 10 ingredients such as potassium chloride and monosodium glutamate. Dietitian Keri Gans commented “Eliminating ingredients that provide little if no health benefits is always a step in the right direction” (Hanna, L., 2015). However, many were left questioning why celery and onions were also cut from the ingredient list. Anna Burr, the director of communication for Campbell America responded saying “Any changes we make to our food is always done with great care. We carefully tested these new recipes with our toughest critics, kids, and they loved them,”  (Lamagna, M., 2015). Helping kids to love healthier products, even if a few ingredients have to be sacrificed, seems to be worth it to chief executive Denise M. Morrison who talks about the changing mindset at Campbell. For Ms. Morrison, the soup has ceased to be just a business endeavor. She says, “Before, when we talked about our business, we talked about how many cases we shipped. Today, we’re talking about our food–what’s in it, where it comes from and what impact it has on the environment,” (Strom, S. 2015).


Hershey-Kisses and Chocolate Bar

Hershey's Kisses Global VIS Assets Hershey's Kisses Global VIS Guidelines Kisses VIS Kiss VIS Hershey's Kisses Logo Stacked

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With the current health-craze, chocolate can be a bit of  a hard sell. Which is part of the reason why Hershey’s decided to make their product as all-natural as possible. While the company never used high-fructose corn syrup in the chocolate, up until June 2015, they had been using Vanillin, an artificial vanilla substitute and PGPR, an emulsifying agent, for years. The company’s biggest challenge in the shift to all-natural was maintaining consistent product quality since PGPR helps keep the fat and water from separating and real vanilla’s taste varies per batch. (Lorenzetti, L., 2015) Bags of the new Kisses hit the shelves in November and so far, consumers can’t tell any difference in quality. Megan Zander, a blogger for SheKnows, found herself enjoying the new formula more than the old. She writes, “ The texture of the new, simpler-formula chocolate is still silky smooth and melts in your mouth […] I think the new recipe with simpler ingredients has a slightly stronger chocolate flavor, which was a very good thing” (2015).




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In mid-December of 2015, PepsiCo announced that in 2016, their sports drink Gatorade would become organic. Currently Gatorade is made with sucralose and artificial coloring as well as flavoring. However, the company has yet to issue a statement saying which ingredients will change to make the drink “organic.” (Huehnergath, N., 2015) While the details are still in the works, a new QR code scanning system called SmartLabels will soon make changes like these more necessary for companies who want to stay on top. By giving consumers access to detailed product information such as the source of the product ingredients and if it is non-GMO, product selection in the store is about to get much more complicated and conscientious. Already 30 major companies have implemented SmartLabels on their products and by 2021, it is expected that 80% of all products will use SmartLabels. (Troy,M., 2015) As more and more companies make the shift towards all-natural ingredients, the message becomes clearer: become healthy or be left behind.



Hanna, L. (2015). Campbell’s changes classic chicken noodle soup recipe for a new generation. Retrieved from: chicken-soup-recipe-article-1.2430694

Huehnergath, N. (2015) PepsiCo’s launch of organic Gatorade is a fit of  ‘good for you’madness. Retrieved from pepsico-to-debut-organic-gatorade-in-a-fit-of-good-for-you-madness/?utm_campaign=Forbes&utm_source =TWITTER&utm_medium=social&utm_channel=Business&linkId=19648516

Lamagna, M. (2015). Why changing the chicken-noodle soup recipe could put Campbell in hot water. Retrieved from -noodle-soup-recipe-could-put-campbell-in-hot-water-2015-11-11

Lorenzetti, L. (2015), The beloved Hershey’s bar is getting an overhaul. Retrieved from: http://

Strom, S. (2015) Campbell rethinks its soup recipe as consumer tastes change. Retrieved from

Troy, M. (2015) Virtual product labels arriving on store shelves. Retrieved from

Zander, M. (2015). Taste test: How Hershey’s new natural chocolate compares to the original. Retrieved from: -new-chocolate-taste-test


Jack Daniel’s Pays Tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes

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With Frank Sinatra’s would-be 100th birthday celebration tomorrow, social media is buzzing. Jack Daniel’s has created a campaign to pay tribute to the icon and engage a new generation of loyal Jack drinkers through a social media contest that’s nothing short of brilliant. The contest invites participants to toast Frank and share on Instagram using #ToastSinatraContest. Winners receive a weekend in L.A. and Las Vegas for themselves and four friends (Gianatasio, 2015).  Here’s why we think it works:


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  • Thanks to the rise of the hipster culture, the past has once again become relevant, causing iconic figures such as Sinatra to become more compelling than ever. From 2009 to 2015 vinyl sales increased 260% (Brandle, 2015). As new generations rediscover vinyl, Sinatra’s music might be getting another listen as LP-thirsty millennials comb record stores in search of that perfect old sound. So while your grandparents and parents might have danced to Sinatra, odds are, millennials have too.
  • It might be surprising, but fewer and fewer Millennials are identifying beer as their drink of choice. Hard liquors such as whiskey are on the rise. There isn’t a definitive reason why millennials are turning away from beers, but Roberto Ferdman from the Washington Post suggests that “young people are rebelling against the tastes of the generation before them.” Ferdman cites Spiros Malandrakis, an industry analyst, in saying “Believe it or not, we tend to drink what our grandparents drank, not what our parents drank.” (Ferdman, 2015). For most Millennials, whose grandparents were alive during Sinatra’s heyday, the drink of choice was liquor.

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  • The contest has a strong continuity between the message, the medium, and the audience as each part reinforces the other parts. In his life, Sinatra was a well-known Jack drinker and was said to carry a case with him whenever he traveled (Gianatasio, 2015) he is therefore a natural spokesperson for the brand. His life was very well photographed, which increased his popularity during his lifetime and helped him remain relevant. Moreover, his well-documented life ties him to the selfie culture of today and makes the Jack Daniel’s Instagram contest a natural fit.  
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  • We’ve all heard it before; Millennials want experiences. The parameters of the contest make for an experience themselves as the contest asks participants to put on their most spiffy attire and document themselves doing one of Frank’s iconic actions. Whether that be getting a shoe shine, raising a glass with friends at the local watering hole or singing happy birthday on their next flight, the contest promises an out of the ordinary experience.  Winners receive yet another experience as they travel to Sinatra’s favorite places on an elegant trip back in time.


Brandle, L. (2015). U.S. vinyl album sales up by 53% in Q1. Retrieved from http://www.

Ferdman, R. (2014). The great beer abandonment: America’s young drinkers are drinking wine and hard alcohol instead. Retrieved from news/wonk/ wp/2014/12/03/the-great-beer-abandonment-americas-young-drinkers-are-increasingly-drinking-wine-and-hard-alcohol-instead/

Gianatasio, D. (2015) Jack Daniel’s toasts Frank Sinatra on Instagram and hopes you will too: Social contest for singer’s centennial. Retrieved from adfreak/jack-daniels-toasts-frank-sinatra-instagram-and-hopes-you-will-too-167895


How to Make Your Store More Than a Showroom


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Showrooming is on the rise. Despite the many advantages of online and mobile, most consumers still can’t shake the need for a tangible certainty. About how big? How sturdy? What texture? Does it look cheap in person? Consumers flock to stores to feel and touch the year’s hottest trends. However, many consumers leave stores without ever going through the checkout line. After seeing if the product is what they want, consumers often go back home and order online for less. According to Business Insider, 62% of shoppers participate in showrooming (Helgeson, H., 2013). And while it’s easy to forget about this practice with Black Friday’s retail extravaganza of in-store deals right around the corner, what should retailers do during the rest of the year?

Fight Technology with Technology


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The world is becoming more tech-centered and stores who can’t keep up won’t be around for long. Before doing anything else, stores should make sure that their online and mobile websites are easy to use and up-to date. 69% of shoppers participate in webrooming, or looking online before going to the store to purchase. (Khan, H., 2014). If your website isn’t user-friendly, you could be missing out on a lot of potential sales!

Up your social media content and interaction. Scientist Matthew Lieberman says that “our need to connect is as fundamental as our need for food and water,” (Cook, G., 2013).  Social media is one way a large store can connect with an individual consumer. By crafting your brand image, consumers will identify with your store more, increasing brand loyalty and decreasing showrooming. Apps such as Foursquare and Shopkick can also be helpful in driving customers into your store by targeting shoppers who are already nearby. If you offer mobile coupons for the product the consumer is looking for, odds are they’ll purchase from you.

Optimize on Impatience

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The nearer the holiday draws, the more consumers want to be done with shopping. Their excitement has dissipated, leaving exhaustion behind. Most consumers reach a point where they want to get in, get the product, and get out as quickly as possible. They might be willing to spend a little more for their own peace of mind. However, when an item is out of stock, nothing is more frustrating than waiting in a long line to call and see if any other stores have the item. Consider creating call stations or kiosks where consumers can quickly and easily find the product nearby. They’re more likely to buy if it is easy. Also make sure your online sites show products’ in-store availability to help consumers get where they need to be.

Offer an experience

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We’ve all heard it said — the new generation is about experiences. However, those experiences don’t have to be showy, budget-breaking displays. They can be as simple as knowledgeable salespeople and an engaging store environment. Stores like IKEA have thrived on these kinds of experiences. Whenever they open a new branch, hundreds of people line up to shop with Black Friday-like fervor. Think about that for a moment: people wait hours to look at furniture. Why? Authors B. Edvardsson and B. Enquist write that IKEA’s “experience rooms” are responsible since they lead to high consumer involvement. “Customers use the furniture and discuss how this relates to their own home, in addition to consulting IKEA staff. They also have access to a large database, which contains information about sizes, colors, and so on.” (Edvardsson, B. & Enquist, B., 2012, p. 260).  IKEA’s ability to create a positive store experience has led to their overwhelming success as the company generates $33.2 billion in revenue in the US every year. (IKEA, 2015). Look for ways to create an atmosphere of experience in your store and you’ll be well on your way to combatting showrooming.

Works Cited

Cook, G.  (2013). Why we are wired to connect. Retrieved from

Edvardsson, B. & Enquist, B. (2012). Service management: The new paradigm in retailing. New York: Springer.

Helgeson, H. (2013). The best weapon that merchants have to combat ‘showrooming.’ Retrieved from 

IKEA (2015). IKEA company statistics. Retrieved from statistics/

Khan, H. (2014). Consumers are showrooming and webrooming your business, here’s what that means and what you can do about it. Retrieved from 


3 Tips to Increase Customer Satisfaction During the Holidays

miracle on 34th street

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Remember the scene from Miracle on 34th Street when Santa starts advising Macy’s shoppers to find their perfect Christmas gifts elsewhere? Though store managers are initially outraged, he’s eventually lauded as the spirit of Christmas and Macy’s earns a reputation as a “store with heart.” We might not be proposing anything that extreme, but with these three tips, you can help your customers shake off stress and get into the spirit.


Mix Up the Music

christmas music

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Holiday music can be comforting in the right setting–beneath the hazy glow of Christmas tree lights in a darkened room on Christmas Eve, drinking cocoa in front of the fire, or wafting through the kitchen and mingling with the smell of freshly-baked cookies. However, many times store-sung carols are anything but relaxing. Instead of creating an atmosphere of holiday cheer, they often alienate customers who view the music as a thinly veiled attempt to convince them to buy more in a crowd of others doing the same. In this atmosphere,  Jingle Bells quickly turns into a stampeding  chorus of “dashing through the store with a one-wheel-won’t-work-cart, down the aisles we go, when did Christmas lose its heart?”

Playing Christmas carols has been found to actually decrease sales. Forbes cites a 2005 study which found “shoppers reported being 20% less likely to shop at a store when Christmas music was playing in the background,” (Friedman, R., 2013). Though it probably wouldn’t be wise to completely banish holiday music from your store, add some variety to satisfy everyone this Christmas and prevent shoppers’ wear out.


Decisions are difficult, avoid overwhelming choices


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While it might be tempting to cram everything you can into your designated square footage of store, studies show that too many choices are bad for consumers. In 1995, two psychologists conducted a Jam Study where they alternated between having passersby sample 24 flavors and 6 flavors of jam. Of those who were only offered 6 flavors were 30% made a jam purchase. Of the individuals offered 24 flavors, only 3% purchased jam (Tugend, A., 2010).  

Instead of freeing customers to find what they really want, the plethora of choices overwhelms them, creating feelings of stress and doubt. Customers become afraid of choosing the wrong option and instead don’t choose any at all. A decision is much easier to make between 6 items than 24. While having more choices might draw more people, the number of purchases will actually decrease as the choices increase.


Remember: Positive Brand Experiences Don’t Get Returned

holiday returns

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It’s hard to know what to buy people–especially people you only see around the holidays. Not surprisingly, more than 20% of holiday purchases are returned. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s roughly $60 billion in merchandise (Stevens, L., 2014). This holiday season, try to enforce a policy of caring among store associates. Even if the customer is buying for someone who will ultimately return the gift, the impression your brand makes will last much longer. Customers are more likely to return to a store where they received individualized attention and during such a hectic time of year, they’ll remember the stores that treat them with patience. What you might lose in return sales, you’ll make up for in brand loyalty.


Works Cited:

Friedman, R. (2013). Does Christmas music make us buy less? Forbes. Retrieved from onmarketing/ 2013/12/19/does-christmas-music-make-us-buy-less/

Stevens, L. (2014). With Christmas over, millions of gift returns begin. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.

Tugend, A. (2010). Too many choices: A problem that can paralyze. The New York Times. Retrieved from