In Defense of the Supermarket

It’s expected that by 2022, 20% of all grocery sales will come from online shoppers. And with 70% of consumers purchasing some of their groceries on the web, I’m definitely in the minority, having never ordered groceries online myself.

I’m not opposed to online shopping or curbside delivery. They’re great options for those with kids, those who have lost their patience dealing with always-full parking lots, or those without access to reliable transportation. We could all benefit from wider aisles and shorter checkout lines. Time is an important resource, and most of us feel like we don’t have enough of it.

Call me a traditionalist, but I like going to the grocery store. It makes more sense for me, whether I’m grabbing a few things or doing a week’s worth of pantry stocking. With brick-and-mortar, I can also avoid navigating the world of memberships and high delivery costs. While I make my shopping list in advance, the endless products I see as I browse the aisles can serve as meal inspiration. The unmissable “sale” stickers help, too. Also, like many others who shy away from online delivery, I like to pick out my own produce. Fifty-nine percent of complaints against online grocery services revolve around receiving undesirable or mishandled produce.

The art of the grocery store

While many grocery stores still have room for improvement, a massive amount of psychology and planning goes into getting consumers to spend more, from the store’s scent to the sugary cereals. Everything’s been thought out and tested by science, like the fact that supermarkets make it hard to find a clock or a window, so you lose track of time and keep shopping. We’re still debating what is the ideal soundtrack for grocery shopping, and if there’s an ideal genre we can all agree on.

Did you know that spraying water on produce serves only to make it look fresher? The most expensive items are at eye-level, and products geared toward children are placed lower. Dairy products are kept as far from the entrance as possible, so shoppers have to pass by more items on their way to essentials. Supermarkets have been so strategically planned to keep shoppers within their doors and spending more that it’s almost a shame not to be the subject of their mind games.

A changing industry

For those who haven’t stepped foot in a grocery store lately, it might be time for a visit. With the use of a mobile phone, it’s easier for shoppers to look up where items are, or receive promotional items as they walk down a specific aisle. In addition to location-based benefits, mobile devices have also helped with checkout, which has served as a major pain point for decades. A 2015 study found that 88% of consumers want retail checkout to be faster, and with self-scanning technology, it’s now becoming common to avoid the checkout process altogether. Hopefully, hands-free shopping carts will be the next mainstream innovation. Clunky carts with one rusty wheel are so 20th century.

I’m fiercely loyal to shopping at my grocery store (America’s third favorite), and it helps that they’re starting to address the pain points that made consumers turn to online shopping in the first place. But more than just addressing current issues, brick-and-mortar grocery stores should also offer their own unique in-store benefits, to ensure shoppers like me are visiting. It all goes back to how we all want our time to be spent efficiently, and grocery retailers should strive to ensure that brick-and-mortar shopping is worth it.

A New Mom’s Take on Amazon

Almost two weeks have passed since Amazon’s most successful Prime Day yet, and between then and now, you’ve likely seen a good deal (no pun intended) of recaps. The purpose of writing this blog is not to provide another analysis of the retail event, but rather to share my Amazon perspective as a new mom.

But before I jump in, here are some highlights from Prime Day:

  • A record-setting 100 million products were sold for an estimated $4.2 billion. (Chain Store Age)
  • Early website difficulties cost the retailer an estimated $72 million in potential sales. (Internet Retailer)
  • Retail Leader breaks down all the numbers you could ever hope to know about Amazon Prime Day here.
  • I enjoyed Retail Dive’s discussion on their podcast, “Conversational Commerce.” Have a listen: Amazon Prime Day cues up the holidays.

Our Amazon spending analysis 

Did you know you can download a report of your complete Amazon spending history? Caution: it may be eye-opening! I spotted the tip in an article and was curious to know just how much money we’ve spent over the years.

My husband and I jumped on the Prime bandwagon early in our marriage, lured by the free shipping. In 2015, we placed a mere 13 orders from Amazon – probably just breaking “even” if you compare the average cost of shipping against the annual membership price. By the next year, that number jumped to 76, as we used e-commerce more and more to fulfill our personal and household needs.

Drumroll please… in 2017, my husband and I spent more than $3,500 on Amazon. Seeing a dollar amount that included a comma was a bit shocking, but I felt more at ease when I evaluated the nature of these purchases: we weren’t just buying impulsively when we saw a good deal. The 124 orders made last year for the Reeds will tell you a lot about our stage of life. In addition to pantry staples, toiletries, and dog food, we also bought: everything to “complete” our Amazon baby registry; gifts for Christmas and birthdays; and a significant amount of diapers and wipes.

Another status check

We’re more than halfway through 2018, and the Reed family is on track to surpass the number of orders placed on Amazon last year – 79 so far! And I’ll tell you what – not much has changed.

  • After my maternity leave, I splurged for a robot vacuum cleaner to make keeping up with chores easier on this working mama.
  • As our daughter became more mobile, our shopping cart was full of baby gates to try and items to “baby proof” our home.
  • When we threw our daughter’s first birthday party last month, I turned to Amazon for everything from her outfit to balloons.
  • What’s that? My daughter needs a Disney-themed outfit for a dress-up day at daycare? Thanks, Amazon! And clothes for me too, please. I don’t have time to shop in-store, and Amazon returns are just so dang easy.

I would be lying if I said our Amazon purchasing habits aren’t instinctual. It’s a habit now – we have a need, and we turn to Amazon first. We even purchased Dash Buttons for laundry detergent and dog treats. Amazon deliveries grace our doorstep weekly. We ‘Prime Now’ – is that a verb? – groceries when we’re in a pinch. We’ve taken advantage of the expanded streaming benefits, most recently binging “Downton Abbey” on Prime Video. As our family grows, and the demands on our time do too, I can’t imagine our Amazon activity slowing down.

I’m in good company

After my deep dive into the spreadsheet of our spending, I was curious to know how my Amazon lifestyle compared to friends. So, I created a simple Survey Monkey questionnaire, shared the link via Facebook, and watched the responses roll in…

“I tend to purchase on Amazon out of convenience, even if an item is more expensive.”

“I set up Amazon subscriptions for things I want to or tend to forget about – toothbrushes, air vent filters… I know when they are delivered, it’s time for me to change them out.”

“I use Amazon even more now that they have same-day, one-day and Prime Now shipping speeds.”

“I buy as much as I can online to save myself from making trips to the store.” 

“Amazon makes my life easier!”

Other insights:

  • More than 50 friends participated, and all but two said that the price increase ($99/year to $119) would not affect their decision to renew their Prime Membership. Yes, it was a large jump, percentage-wise, but the pros of “being Prime” still outweighed the cons.
  • The amount of money my friends spent in 2017 varied greatly, ranging from $400 to as much as $8,000.
  • Most friends were on-track in 2018 to spend the same as they did last year or more.

As much as I love a good bargain… 

You may be thinking, “So Amanda, what did you buy on Prime Day?” And the answer, my friends? Coincidentally, not a thing. I love Amazon as much as my friends do, apparently, but I’m more excited about the day-to-day convenience and experience than I am about a 36-hour promotional event.

International House of Branding

IHOP is changing its name. Last week, the company tweeted (from its updated handle), “For 60 pancakin’ years, we’ve been IHOP. Now, we’re flippin’ our name to IHOb.”

In the week between the initial tweet and the official announcement, social media responded. The news definitely sparked my attention, and I haven’t stepped foot in an IHOP in over 10 years.

Many expressed outrage while others offered up guesses of what the “b” could stand for, and the IHOb account responded creatively to tease out the news and keep people guessing. Some notable predictions included breakfast, bacon, and even the right answer: burgers.

While the social media interaction was fun and sparked life into the brand, the big buildup to yesterday’s underwhelming announcement landed as flat as a pancake, in my opinion. I considered it misleading, as the company implied that the name change would be permanent, and instead it’s just a temporary ad campaign.

However, the PR stunt brought up a good point. It demonstrates how crucial branding and identity is to legacy brands. It also begs another relevant question…

When should you rebrand?

Rebranding makes sense when a company is shifting its services or has already made that shift – for example, offering more breakfast options than just pancakes. Apple Computers renamed to Apple, Inc. as they began to expand its product lines and sell more than computers. This was a natural move and made sense as the major brand identifier – Apple – was kept in the rebrand.

On a more personal level, this year yours truly changed our name from Ketner Group PR + Marketing to Ketner Group Communications. We’ve always been more than just public relations and marketing, offering services in social media, content development, and more, but we found it was time to change our name and logo to reflect that. But are we in the same boat as IHOP? Probably not.

Many food and retail brands never undertake such a public (or even private) rebrand, as the company name is the identifier for consumers. If they do, it’s a result of an acquisition, or done before they expand, like Starbucks did in its early years, originally named Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice. A smarter move for food and retail brands is a subtle logo change. And just a few years ago, IHOP did reveal a new logo. Last month, Best Buy redesigned its logo after 30 years. The font and colors are similar, and the yellow tag is still included to represent the company’s history. By changing its logo, Best Buy didn’t change its identity, but subtly alluded to how it’s adapting to an evolving retail environment.

IHOb is an example of how drastically changing one’s image, values or services can be met with hype, but also intense criticism. When undergoing a new logo design or rebranding – or in this case, just a burger campaign – brands should ensure that its essence is kept in the name.

Finding a Home in Today’s Digital World – A Digital Nomad’s Diary

In my 30s this kind of travel was nearly impossible. You are quite lucky to be able to stay connected no matter where you go. This is why I had to wait until retirement to travel,” an elderly British man said to me as we sat on the top deck of a fast boat on the way from Bali to Gili Trawangan.

This past month, with Ketner Group’s blessing, I was able to cross off one of the top items on my life bucket list and travel to Bali, Indonesia, for an entire month. I’ve gotten to explore the beautiful beaches and scenery, unique culture, great food and, most of all, see how the other half of the world lives – literally. And yes, while it was a lot of PLAY, there was definitely some work still involved in my travels, as I promised my KG family that I’d work throughout to ensure we did not skip a beat with our clients.

As the man on the boat reminded me, this past month I’ve felt extremely lucky to be living in an age where my work can be part of my carry-on luggage no matter where I go – as long as there is a strong WiFi connection. And, while I won’t bore with you my many pictures of radiant white sand and crystal clear blue waters on this blog (follow me on the Strings app for more on that!), I can offer some insight and best practices on what I learned from being a digital nomad this past month.

Digital Nomad Rule #1

Plan for it. For this rule, I don’t necessarily mean you have to find the right time to travel and work in order to succeed as a digital nomad – sometimes you have to put “timing” aside and just go for it and see how it turns out!

What I mean is, before you set out on your digital nomad journey, take the time to review your workload, and consider the time difference between where you will be and where the rest of your team and/or clients are. From there, set a schedule that outlines the times you will be online, how you will communicate with your team, and what your projects and assignments will be while you are away. Team work makes the dream work, especially in a fully digital world, so to keep everyone at ease, be sure to communicate with your team and stick to your plan while working remotely. Whether you are 13 hours ahead or just one hour behind, a plan matters.

Digital Nomad Rule #2

Find a digital home. As I mentioned earlier, a strong WiFi connection is a must! As I traveled throughout this past month, I was pleasantly surprised and very underwhelmed by the WiFi offered at my different stays. However, no matter where I went throughout Bali, finding a digital café or even a digital workspace that catered specifically to digital nomads was extremely easy. In fact, during my five-day stay in Canggu Beach, I posted up at a members-only workspace called The Dojo, that offered some of the speediest WiFi on the island 24/7, as well as conference call rooms, food, free coffee and water, and a pool in case you needed to take a break to dip in and relax from your workday. So, no matter where you go, make sure you find a digital home for the day to get your work done, and maybe take a swim while you’re at it!

Digital Nomad Rule #3

Find inspiration from your digital community. As I sat in The Dojo, I couldn’t help but overhear the different conversations people around me were having. I met a variety of people, from editorial and marketing directors, to business entrepreneurs and customer service agents. This communal workspace offered the opportunity to not only come face-to-face with all walks of life, but to also easily ask a question if I was interested in learning about a new topic. The Dojo offered additional networking hours where you could come together as a digital community and talk about everything from productivity hacks to brewing the perfect cup of coffee. This space not only offered several opportunities for inspiration, but also a sense of “home” and belonging in a digital world.

Last but not least, remember the key ingredient: “you are lucky” to be able to do this in today’s day and age, so take advantage of it. Call me a typical millennial but the phrase “you only live once” is quite ingrained in my brain. As they constantly say here in Bali, “you only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Thanks to today’s technology, the four walls of the office cubicle can now be broken down and substituted for ocean waves crashing in the background.

Giving Tuesday lasts all year at Ketner Group

Ketner Group believes that in the office isn’t the only place we can make a difference. Our team is involved in charities and organizations across Austin and Nashville. This Giving Tuesday we wanted to share how Ketner is giving back to the community that gives us so much, and encourage you to get involved with organizations that can impact so many!

Aidan Griffin, who hails from Boston and whose blood runs green, is involved in a number of organizations in the Austin area that promote Irish culture and heritage. He currently serves the Public Relations Officer for the Irish Network of Austin, the local chapter of Irish Network USA – a business, cultural and social network for friends of Ireland in Central Texas. In his role as Public Relations Officer, Aidan is responsible for managing the public persona of the chapter through social media management, event promotion and coordination with local organizations, government entities and businesses. He is also a member of the Austin Celtic Cowboys, the Gaelic Football club in town, where he helps manage media relations and supports public outreach to grow the game in the area among the American community.

Kirsty Hughan, our lone ranger in Nashville, is the co-founder and recently appointed Advisory Board Member of Mod, a community organization that helps women personally and professionally. Through Mod’s monthly events, Kirsty works with Nashville women to better understand and achieve what they want through networking, conversation and education. She is also involved in the small business organization in Nashville and is a member of the Nashville Independent Business Alliance, or Indie Nash.

Heavily involved with Texas Exes Austin Chapter as a past board member and current young alumni committee member, Adrienne Newcomb also volunteers her time and resources with Community First! Village. Community First! Village is a 27-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas. A development of Mobile Loaves & Fishes, this transformative residential program exists to love and serve our neighbors who have been living on the streets, while also empowering the surrounding community into a lifestyle of service with the homeless.

Kathleen See works with various non-profit and community focused organizations across the Austin community. She’s been involved with the Thinkery, Austin’s children’s museum, volunteering for their annual Imaginarium gala. Most recently, she has begun donating her time to Young Texans Against Cancer. She first became involved through their annual Powderpuff football game, but has become impassioned with their mission to raise funds and awareness for local cancer research and support organizations, becoming the sponsorship chair for their 5th annual Powderpuff Football Game and assisting with fundraising for the 7th annual Spice for Life Chili Cookoff.

Each year Ketner Group sponsors a family in need during the holidays and provides school supplies to underserved children in our area. We also regularly participate in and support our local PRSA chapter. In addition, Ketner Group actively gives back to the organizations our team members are involved with, just another way KG shows its love for our team and community. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to see how we’re giving back in Austin!

Not Every Trick is a Treat: Branding in a Competitive Environment

im-a-mouse-duh-mean-girlsBeing the talk of the town on Halloween requires going beyond the cliché and finding an outside-the-box costume that people will also be able to understand and enjoy. Whether scrambling last minute and slapping a mask or a witch hat on or becoming a Goodwill regular hunting for the perfect accessory, Halloween revelers take advantage of Halloween to borrow a persona that extends far beyond their everyday personality. Done right, a Halloween costume can earn you some serious kudos.

This isn’t dissimilar to retail marketers developing campaigns this holiday season. As the nights get longer and mornings get colder, they are looking for ways to cozy up to shoppers in unique ways. The ‘go viral’ mentality has led to a lot of good and bad ideas, but brands and retailers know they can’t just discount themselves into oblivion anymore. They need to find innovative marketing campaigns and brand messaging that puts a new spin on traditional tactics. Like knowing what it takes to win the office Halloween costume contest, there are a few foundational elements Halloween shares with holiday marketing.

Creativity

In the age of data-driven marketing, it can be hard to remember that people can’t give feedback – positive or negative – on something they haven’t seen yet. Numbers can tell you anything you want to know about your customers, and on a macro-level, you can determine what sort of marketing those people respond to best. That is undoubtedly important when creating your brand, full stop. But when looking to stand out in an extra busy time, those numbers can be so restricting that you never find the best answer.

Riddle me this: which costume do you prefer – the store-bought ‘princess’ costume or the one that took someone a week to make after visiting four stores, busting out the sewing machine and coming up with an original costume you hadn’t seen before? Ask Google what’s more popular and you’ll see that lots of people were princesses, so you know that’s a safe way to go, but I promise you’d be more excited to have trick-or-treaters come to your door as the latter.

Numbers and data and research can lie, even if it’s by accident. They’ll tell you what isn’t the wrong move, but they can’t prove what is the right move – not in this instance and not when trying to develop a viral or even just plain compelling marketing campaign.

Relatability

stranger-things-costume
That’s me. I’m ‘dead Barb’ from Stranger Things. People liked my sign.

Creativity is great, but if people are left scratching their heads and whispering to their friends that they have no idea what’s going on, it’s useless. Some of my favorite costumes are when people dress up as characters from kids’ movies I haven’t thought about in years. These costumes establish a sense of belonging and an inside-joke mentality to the holiday. These costumes aren’t cliché, but they rely on a shared connection that most people have, and takes advantage of that feeling to create a positive reaction. Many of the movies I haven’t seen or barely remember are well-established, so I don’t have to know exactly what the character did in the movie or what their most quotable lines are in order to appreciate it.

Retailers can leverage their knowledge of their customers here to find unique connections they have with each other. No matter what you sell, your customers have other interests. Find the connections that fly under the radar and exploit them without alienating those who aren’t in on the joke, and you have a pretty good recipe for success. 

Funny

One thing that is sure to get people to like your costume even when they don’t know you is to have a funny costume. Costumes that take a second to figure out because they’re based on wordplay or costumes that shake the stuffiness and self-consciousness of daily life are always a big hit. They’re creative; people understand that it’s a joke and not who you really are, and they can easily join in the fun with you. The barriers to friendship, conversation or just a moment of laughter with each other when you get the joke is what it’s all about. Don’t take yourself too seriously, whether in costume or in business at the holidays, and you’ll be on the track to a successful holiday.

Halloween marks the holiday season’s earnest launch. The competition for best costume, just like the competition for holiday consumers, is tough to win. But, if retail marketers think about their holiday strategies the same way they think about putting together a good costume, they’ll be swapping out the fun size treats for king size in no time.

The Inescapability of the Word ‘Millennial’

millennialsThis blog was written by our intern, Kamilla Rahman.

If you’ve ever surfed the web for more than 10 minutes, you’ve definitely come across the word millennial at least five times. People are constantly talking about millennials, what they’re doing, what they want, what they will be doing, how they react and how to resonate with them. Even the KG team has been known to write about millennials on behalf of our clients from time to time – here is a recent example.

According to Investopedia, “a millennial is the given name to the generation born between 1982 and 2004…this generation is often associated with technology and social media.” In the last couple of years, there has been a more specific consensus. A millennial is basically someone in their 20’s or 30’s.

The world is infatuated with millennials, and as a millennial, I honestly don’t get it. I was flipping through a few articles the other day and almost every article referenced the millennial generation. I do understand millennials are important, especially when regarding technology and retail. We’re a different generation, we’re nontraditional, we’re viewed as more independent, we have different expectations and we are more technologically advanced than our parents and grandparents with a tremendous amount of buying power.

But why the obsession?

Some of the headlines read:

Though all of these articles are extremely insightful, as a millennial, I don’t understand why all of these brands and companies are constantly trying to appeal to us. The word is everywhere. It’s basically inescapable and everyone seems to think that appealing to a millennial is the magic key to all things holy and great.

My brother and I are both millennials. He was born in 1985 and I was born in 1995. Throughout most of our lives, our purchasing habits, interests and even technological awareness have been different. Though they are closer today than they have ever been, they’re still completely different.

He’s 31, he goes to work, has meetings all day, buys suits and dress pants, goes to CrossFit, has nice dinners with his beloved girlfriend, just bought a house, gets a beer with his buds, checks his iPad for emails, pretty much knows what he’s doing with his life and occasionally has a late night out. I, on the other hand, am 21. I’m about to start my senior year of college, I intern, I’m an avid online shopper, I go out with my friends almost every weekend, I study, am always on the move and suffer withdrawal symptoms when I don’t have my phone for more than 45 minutes.

The only things we really have in common are that we stay busy and know technology. I may be wrong here, but that just doesn’t seem like the proper way to target consumers, especially in retail. The word millennial is too broad. It encompasses people that are in completely different stages of their lives. To me, focusing efforts around millennials is just an over-followed trend.

Don’t get me wrong; appealing to millennials has definitely shifted the way marketers appeal to consumers. It has become intuitive, personal and brands have figured out how to market in a way that is additive to peoples’ lives. But if you think about it, don’t generations older and younger want that as well?

In retail and technology, a new goal is personalization; so my question is why do these industries continue to obsess over a market that appears to be so diverse and vague?

Gifs: Redefining Interpersonal Communication

A “gif” is defined as “a computer file format for the compression and storage of digital video images.” (Thanks, Merriam-Webster.) But most recently the term has come to define the looped video used in reaction to a situation or to add “color commentary” to an ongoing conversation between groups of people or to one’s social media post.

Suffice it to say, I am a BIG fan of them.

Since Slack announced its integration with GIPHY two years ago, Ketner Group’s inter-office /giphy tags have provided comedic relief to pretty much any situation we find ourselves in or in one-off conversations we may be having with other team members. I even find myself having entire conversations via /giphy. (Personally I’m partial to Game of Thrones and Beyoncé gifs. Given the recent release of the new season of GoT and LEMONADE, I’m pleased I’ll have a lot more content to work with.)

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Gifs really are the new expression of emotion or reactions through a two-dimensional medium, be it in interoffice messages or texts with friends. Some might argue that emojis are the current “it” thing, and while I appreciate a good emoji conversation, nothing really says “I-just-secured-awesome-coverage-for-my-client-and-didn’t-break-a-sweat” like Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2.


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Or when receiving an unexpected complement, I look to a children’s classic.


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Many brands and companies have introduced their own branded gif keyboards, including Kik with their partnership program, Starbucks with their Frappuccino featured keyboard and Mississippi State’s athletics focused keyboard, to increase their reach with consumers.

With these brands creating their own keyboards and countless others in development, it’s generating a whole new vehicle for us to engage with those brands and use those brands as a means of self-expression, much like we would clothes or accessories. This integrates brands further into our everyday lives, blurring the distinction between marketing and organic content, including GIPHY’s head of business development.

As my parting gift, I’ll leave you with the hilarious fail gifs and let you see if you can figure out which ones are branded.


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It’s an Amazon world, we’re just living in it

If you know anything about the retail industry you’ve probably heard a thing or two (or a million) about Amazon. Amazon, an ecommerce giant, provides thousands, if not millions of items to consumers from all over the world delivered to your door step within days. Retailers, physical and digital, find themselves competing with Amazon constantly. It’s hard to beat impeccably cheap prices, two-day free shipping and same-day delivery in some cities for Prime members. But now there’s something else to compete with. Amazon announced that it would be launching Prime Day, an event to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Amazon boasts that it will have deals that are much bigger than those on black Friday. Of course the purpose of this is to drive sales, but how can other retailers beat such a heavy promise?

Walmart, for one, is taking a big stab at competing with Amazon. Walmart’s CEO Fernando Medeira posted a blog titled “Why Every Day is Low Price Day at Walmart,” in which he announced they would reduce the minimum free shipping for online purchases from $50 to $35 and reduce prices on thousands of online items. “We’ve heard some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale,” Medeira stated in the post. “But the idea of asking consumers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn’t add up for us.” A point well made by Walmart, which was clearly taking a punch at Amazon’s Prime Day event. A few days later Walmart increased the competition a bit more with their new promotion called “Dare to Compare,” in which they guarantee that they will offer lower prices than Amazon and invite consumers to compare the prices themselves.

Though two of the biggest retailers in the world are going head to head in competing for market share based on low prices, they are not the only ones. Food Lion has also jumped on the price lowering bandwagon. They announced they would be lowering prices on thousands of items that are most important to consumers based on extensive research and frequently purchased items. To ensure that consumers are aware of the price cuts, Food Lion is using three signed deal offers including, “WOW: Lower prices on thousands of items that matter most to customers, offered for longer periods of time,” which also alludes to Amazon’s brief one-day event.

As the highly anticipated Prime Day is in full swing, many consumers are anything but impressed. Many consumers went to social media to criticize the event for its unexciting items and for the fact that there are waitlists for those items. Though Prime Day isn’t what people expected, the event still sparked a lot of competition from other retailers and interest from the media and consumers alike. The fact that other retailers created promotions in response to Prime Day deals shows just how significant Amazon’s influence is in the retail industry.

 

The Most Buzzworthy PR Successes June 2015

Public relations is such a diverse and expansive field and there is a constant stream of notable PR successes to praise. With the impactful changes that have been made across all kinds of industries this past month, there are most definitely a few PR successes to celebrate.

A big win for Apple and Taylor Swift

There is no doubt Taylor Swift is aware of her influence and is no stranger to speaking her mind. A few weeks ago, Swift released a letter to her fans, peers in the music industry and to Apple voicing her opinion on their new free streaming trial. Swift explained that Apple hadn’t planned on paying artists during this free three-month trial. Swift explained that fortunately this was not a big deal for her, but it was a huge deal for upcoming and new artists who have recently released music and depend on income and recognition to continue pursuing their music. After Swift’s argument went viral, Apple changed their terms to pay the artists during the trial. Some speculate that it was Apple’s plan all along to have someone high profile to speak out against these terms to draw attention to their new service. True or not, both artists and fans are praising Swift; plus, everyone now knows about Apple’s free trial. Read more here.

Etsy, Amazon, Walmart and other retailers remove the Confederate flag

In light of recent events fueled by racism, controversy around the prevalence and meaning of the Confederate flag has heightened. The church shooting in Charleston that left nine dead was strongly associated with the Confederate flag. Many people were disturbed by the fact that the Confederate flag, which has historical significance involving racism and violence, still flies over the South Carolina State Capitol. Despite differing opinions, the flag is causing uproar. In fact, the South Carolina legislature is deciding today whether or not to keep the flag at the Capitol. The flag’s removal has passed through the Senate, and is now in the House. Many retailers have taken an initiative to remove items with the Confederate flag from their stores. Regardless of your opinion on the Confederate flag, it is a tactful move by many retailers, as it prevents the potential for future controversy. Read more here.

Obama’s approval rating is above 50%

Also, if you happen to have internet, watch TV, or interact with other humans you are probably aware of a few successes in the last couple of weeks for the Obama Administration. One being that The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act. The second: The Supreme Court ruling that the constitution guarantees gay marriage, making it the law of the land. Whether or not you support these rulings, they have led to a boost to 50% approval rating of the Obama Administration for the first time since the very beginning of his presidency. Read more here.

Brands show their support for marriage equality

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, and many brands have used this historic event as an opportunity to show their support of the decision. A number of brands used Twitter and Instagram, but one company in particular went above and beyond to celebrate. Ben & Jerry’s, who has publicly supported gay rights for quite some time, renamed their chocolate chip cookie dough flavor to “I Dough, I Dough.” The flavor is available all summer at participating stores nationwide and online through the Human Rights Campaign. Regardless of the different views on marriage equality, brands have used this ruling as an opportunity to connect with current and potential consumers in a heart-felt way. Read more here.

It’s safe to say that June was a memorable month that kept the PR world busy. Stay tuned to find out what July has in store for PR professionals.