Monday, September 30, 2013

Whole Foods grows up

I was surprised when I recently saw a story by Brian Gaar of the Austin American-Statesman about
whole foods
the public relations stumbles that Whole Foods Market Inc. has been encountering as it becomes an international brand.

I already considered Whole Foods a big corporation, not some small start-up out of Austin, Texas. After all, Whole Foods has more than 350 stores, including six in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Whole Foods has traded publicly since January 1992 (I would have had a 3,882.84% gain on the stock if I bought a share back then!). Heck, Whole Foods even ranks #232 on the Fortune 500.

Having public relations issues just comes with becoming a bigger company -- you also become a bigger target. Here are the incidents that were mentioned in the article:
  • A few months ago, Whole Foods "faced fallout over allegations that it punished two Hispanic employees in New Mexico for objecting to a policy restricting the use of Spanish at work." The company subsequently revised its language guidelines.
  • Whole Foods opened a new store in June in Detroit and was criticized for having too high of prices for lower-income residents. I could see how Whole Foods is considered catering to an affluent population. After all, two of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area stores are in the high-end suburbs Edina and Minnetonka.
  • "In 2009, company co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey made national news -- and sparked scattered boycotts -- after he wrote an op-ed piece criticizing President Obama's health care plan." (Yeah, people associate the views of a CEO with his/her employer. See Chick-fil-A and Barilla Group).
Welcome to the major leagues, Whole Foods.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What to do if "The Lookout" shows up

One of my favorite shows on TV is ABC's "The Lookout." If you're not familiar with it, ABC describes "The Lookout " as "a survival guide to the modern consumer jungle, offering a mix of compelling undercover investigations and lively dispatches about how you spend your money."

When it comes to ambush journalism, some people just fail -- while others make it through relatively unscathed.

Take a look at the clip from "The Lookout" about cars impacted by Superstorm Sandy that were subsequently sold without flood titles:

Think anyone who has seen the above clip is going to buy a car from D&D Auto Sales in Old Bridge, N.J.? Probably not.

On the other hand, after seeing the interview with Kevin J. Bergner of USAA, one gets the impression that the organization wants to do right by its members. USAA's reputation is probably intact.

It reminds me of the clip from Michael Moore's "The Big One" that featured Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike:

What made USAA and Nike successful in those interviews? For starters, they met with the interviewers. TV can be really sensational when people are running away from the camera. Both Bergner and Knight took the time to share their positions.

Second, if something wasn't right, they offered to look into it. In USAA's case, Bergner said that it was "unsatisfactory" that vehicles were sold through USAA without the appropriate branded flood titles.

Third, they followed through. Nike did look into the minimum age issue of its Indonesian workers and eventually raised the minimum age to 18. It's too early to tell if USAA is following through, but I'm guessing that the organization will because it has a strong reputation to uphold.

Finally, the organizations made their highest-ranking person available. Bergner is the president of USAA Property and Casualty Insurance Group, and Knight is the co-founder and chairman of Nike.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mumford & Who?

mumford and sons
Mumford & Sons
OK, I'm only slightly joking about the headline. . .I do know who Mumford & Sons are. However, I was a bit surprised last week when my Facebook stream became flooded with photos from the Mumford & Sons concert at Xcel Energy Center.

How did it get to be this way, with a band that I've hardly heard of selling out the X?

I think it's a combination of age (mine) and technology. I turned 42 this year, and I find myself listening to my favorite music on my iPod. I only occasionally listen to music on the radio. When I do, I don't usually hear songs from Mumford & Sons, but I sure hear a lot of P!nk and fun. For a lot of people, music evokes memories, and they listen to bands that were popular when they were growing up. Some people, however, are constantly listening to new music (I definitely used to be one of those people, having seen Pearl Jam at First Avenue on their first tour.). Perhaps I'm now "out of touch." (See accompanying video by Hall & Oates below.)

Technology has changed what we listen to, though. Using iTunes or Google, I can choose to be alerted only when new releases come out from my favorite groups. And Netflix, in providing recommendations, only suggests more of the same genre. For instance, fans of "Doctor Who" are provided "Torchwood" as a recommendation. Thanks to technology, we can just go deeper and deeper into the artists and genres that we like.

So to the Mumford & Sons fans out there, beware: as you get older, you still may be listening to Mumford & Sons instead of some hot new group because of the memories Mumford & Sons brought you today.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Most popular simultaneous device combinations

I always find it interesting when television shows have hashtags on the screen, like #TheSimpsons or
smartphone internet
#bones. How many people are using another device while watching television? Quite a few, according to these statistics from Google Think Insights. (Take a look at the custom infographic.)
  • TV no longer commands our full attention. 77% of television viewers use another device at the same time.
  • We use an average of three different screen combinations a day. 81% use smartphone and television; 66% use computer and smartphone; and 66% use computer and television.
  • More than 75% of simultaneous usage is multitasking. Within this list of multitasking users, 92% use computer and smartphone; 92% use television and computer; 90% use television and smartphone; and 89% use television and tablet.
  • On the other hand, 22% of simultaneous usage is complementary. Within the group of complementary device users, 40% use television and tablet; 36% use computer and smartphone; 35% use television and smartphone; and 32% use television and computer.
I'm often multitasking using my computer and smartphone, while I use the television and smartphone in a complementary fashion because I am interested in the tweets that are going on related to the show I'm watching. (Seeing the tweets related to the finale of "The Bachelorette" while watching the show was a guilty pleasure!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...