ENT 610: Radio ads

Hello,

As I start a new semester, in Entrepreneurial Creation, I will be discussing and analyzing different media campaigns for the next six weeks. This week we will begin with radio ads.

Frank’s Red Hot

Frank’s Red Hot is a hot sauce that was acquired to strengthen the McCormick & Co. brand. It launched its new campaign back in 2017. “Frank’s Red-Hot sauce, I put that s*** on everything” was echoed by little, innocent voice, Ethel. Ethel comes off as an older woman who would not necessarily be thought of to use such language. Thus, giving the ads a comedic spin and drawing in a younger audience.

https://www.franksredhot.com/videos

After the acquisition of Frank’s Red Hot, McCormick sought out to inform its customers of its addition, while also increasing its presence amongst millennials. McCormick’s efforts are measured by its increase in millennials purchasing its product (Watrous 2017). 

Not only does the ad make aware of its acquisition, but it also urges its customers to buy more of its product. The ad eludes that the product can be placed on any food dish. Thus, allowing cooking to be easier and tastier. The value proposition is that only one product is needed to season food, thus making it attractive for more busier millennials who may, or may not know how to cook. 

Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John’s is a national gourmet sandwich shop who sets out to differentiate itself from its competitors such as Subway and Quiznos. Jimmy John’s decided to advertise its services rather than its sandwiches. They pulled this off with slight humor in a conversation between the manager and an applicant, in how great the applicant would be at the job. 

The objective of the ad campaign was to inform Jimmy John’s customers of its excellent customer services. Not only do they make fast sandwiches, but they also deliver the meals fast, and most importantly, they are polite. These objectives are attainable by disclosing the business model to its customers. 

I would foresee that the target market for Jimmy John’s ads are busy adults who would like a good meal prepared and delivered as fast as possible. The ad seems to dare the customer to test out how fast Jimmy John’s services are. Thus, the value proposition is that the consumer will benefit from a delicious meal, with excellent customer service, and fast delivery. 

Geico

Geico is an insurance company who sets out to save its consumers money. This ad starts with a family discussing a trip to an amusement park. With humor, it leads to the father turning on a shower to makeshift a water ride, at home. Thus, saving money for the family.

The objectives of the ad were to inform consumers of how inexpensive Geico policies are, thus selling more products. In my opinion, the ad campaigns aggressively and successfully show Geico’s intent to position itself in the insurance market as affordable. Thus, appealing to its target market: low to medium income families who are looking to save money. 

The ad solicits the listener to contact Geico for a free rate quote, which also entices customers by saving money. Thus, the value proposition Geico offers is affordable insurance that allows “an easier way to save.” 

Budweiser

Budweiser is a beer company that released an ad campaign for its new product line, Bud Silver. The ad hinted at being inspirational to “hard-working men.” The announcer goes into a monologue of a long laboring day that a man may have and suggests ending the day with a cold, relaxing beer. 

The objective of the ad was to make aware of a new “fuller tasting, thirst quenching” beer to Budweiser’s consumers. Its target market is the blue-collar man who wants to relax after a long day of hard work. 

The ad suggests that these men drink this beer after a long day. Drinking beer will help blue-collar men relax and feel better at the end of the day. The value proposition is that this beer offers fuller taste while being thirst quenching. 

Staples

Staples created a radio ad to showcase its low prices. The commercial plays on the emotions of scarcity. The announcer has a sense of urgency in his voice. However, he is saying that the costs will be the same now and later. In other words, the prices at Staples will always be lower and competitive, so no need to rush. 

The objective of the ad campaign is to make consumers aware of Staples everyday low prices, thus enticing consumers to shop with them. The ad seems to target bargain shoppers who are always looking for lower rates. 

The ad urges the listener to hurry, or not, to Staples to shop. If the consumers buy at Staples, they will pay “sale” prices every day. With that said, Staples’ value proposition would be everyday low prices. Which means, it takes the guesswork out of bargain hunting. 

References:

Watrous, Monica (Sept. 2017). Frank’s Red Hot helps McCormick connect with millennial consumers. Retrieved from https://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/17044-frank-s-redhot-helps-mccormick-connect-with-millennial-consumers

 

Innovation: A Game of Chess

ENT 601: Week 7 blog

As this semester is coming to an end, I hope that you have grasped the importance of innovation in any aspect of a business, from my weekly blogs. Great innovations can be the breakthrough that a start-up needs or can take a major brand to the next level. The common denominator for any advancements in a business is the ability to take risks. However, risk-taking should be calculated and looked at as a means to an end, just like playing a game of chess. With that in mind, Thomas Kelley in The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm suggests a few ways to take risks more carefully.

The planning stage of any project is the most important. It prepares those involved for what is needed to accomplish the goal. Most of the time groups put more emphasis on how to get a desired outcome in the planning stage while neglecting to analyze things that could go wrong.  Kelley suggests to never ignore worst-case scenarios (Kelley, pg. 237). Being aware of such scenarios could make or break an innovative idea being successful in the market. It is easier to maneuver to plan B than it is to start all over.

Although planning for worst-case scenarios is essential, not all outcomes can be foreseen. That is why it’s important to practice the art of taking risks. Kelley suggests learning to juggle with “beanbags” first, instead of bowling balls (Kelley, pg. 239). In other words, make risks smaller earlier on. To do this, taking the time to create prototypes and research and development efforts, can reduce the number of innovative risks, tremendously. 

Lastly, understanding what risks are earlier on, can help. Risks aren’t a guarantee that an outcome will be admirable. With risks comes success and failure. Most would prefer to escape failures. However, some sort of failure is inevitable when reaching for success. It is crucial to not give up at first sight of disappointment. Kelley suggests using failures as inspiration to better innovative pursuits (Kelley, pg. 247). As Asad Meah states, “failure is the stepping stone to success, as long as you learn from it” (Meah, 2019). 

All in all, being at the forefront of innovation is essential to a growing business. However, innovation comes with some sort of risk taking. Increasing the chances of success with innovation comes with planning for worst case scenarios, starting by taking smaller risks, and using failures as inspiration for better innovative ideas. 

Have you considered how you will maneuver through the risk-taking process of innovation with your business? If so, share any insight you make have, below.

References:

Kelley, Thomas and Littman, Johnathon (2016). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. Published by Doubleday Broadway Publishing

Meah, Asad (n.d). 35 Inspirational Quotes On Failure. Retreived on Feb. 2019 from https://awakenthegreatnesswithin.com/35-inspirational-quotes-on-failure/

Innovating with Experiences

ENT 601 Week 6 Blog

Chapter ten of The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm by Kelley Thomas goes into great details about how innovation shouldn’t revolve around just the physical aspect of an end product or service. The best innovations create experiences for consumers. Kelley says it best by stating, 

 “As you step through the innovation process, try thinking verbs not nouns. What does that mean? It means not focusing too much on the object or artifact: the new product, the big report, the latest ad campaign, the remodeled store. Everybody’s in the business of creating experiences, so focus on the verbs, the actions. The goal is not a more beautiful store. It’s a better shopping experience. And creating more value for your brand” (Kelley, pg. 200). 

With that said, I’d like to translate some examples throughout history that shows how brands have successfully innovated with creating experiences for their consumers.

One of the most popular brands that stand out to me when thinking about experiences is McDonald’s. Not only did McDonald’s create a chain of restaurants that, unlike its competitors at the time, provided fast food services, but the most captivating aspect was also the experience consumers received. After researching the story of McDonald’s, brothers Dick and Mac sought out and succeeded to create an experience of family fun and American values. That is why even if you go to another country, McDonald’s is still representative of family fun and American values. They have created an experience for even non-Americans to relish. 

Another brand that has succeeded in captivating the experience in innovation is Dicks Sporting Goods. Of Course, Dicks is a sporting goods store, which sells everything from running shoes to fishing gear. But the experience one receives when visiting a brick and mortar store would be as if the customer is in the outdoors itself. With kayaks hanging, to a short track for runners to test out running shoes. 

Lastly, a brand that shows a unique experience is Disney. At any location, the feeling of being a kid, no matter what age you are, engulfs you. Surrounded by Disney characters, staff known as cast members, and buildings and rides that reinforce Disney themes, places visitors into a whimsical experience. 

All in all, an innovative experience can be seen in brick-and-mortars, online, or even represented via stationary or telephone communications. To quote Tom Kelley, “Innovation sometimes starts with a small improvement. But a better-designed experience often comes about when you can transform a niche product to something broader that resonates with your customers” (Kelley, pg. 205).

How can you bring a unique experience to your customer base?

Reference:

Kelley, Thomas and Littman, Johnathon (2016). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. Published by Doubleday Broadway Publishing

Out With The Old. In With The New

ENT 601 Week 5 blog

In chapters eight and nine of The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm, Tom Kelley goes into great detail of some struggles and downsides of the innovation process. So much so, Kelley titles these chapters “Expect the Unexpected, and “Barrier Jumping.” Many warnings and guidance were given, but one stuck out of the crowd the most to me.

Kelley speaks about the dilemma of straying too far from tradition. Too often innovators and inventors think that the next big thing has to be so far different from the past. This way of thinking allows for the innovator to create products and services that are unique. But, are they what the people want? There have been many times when what was thought of as the newest, biggest product, turned out to be a flop in sales. Kelley suggests that these products strayed too far away from what consumers were used to. Myths, aesthetics, and habits are all factors that present barriers to change (Kelley, pg. 192).

Kelly gives examples of when the product sales were undesirable due to people’s lack of appeal to change. One example he uses is when Bayer considered taking out the cotton in its bottles (Kelley, pg. 191). Cotton had represented a form of safety to its consumers, even though cotton in the bottles added little to no extra value. I began to think of circumstances where I was reluctant to try something because of my unwillingness for change. I came across many scenarios. But one, in particular, stuck out to me the most: ginger beer. In my mind, cold beverages should not be spicy. They should range in sweetness and quench one’s thirst. Not feel like my mouth is on fire. However, after trying one particular brand, I’ve grown to like ginger beer. I’m assuming many other people have my same hesitancy, henceforth, why ginger beer isn’t sold everywhere.

So, the question arises: when to push the limits and when not to? When looking to revamp a product or service, Kelley suggests considering the pros and cons of pre-existing products or services (Kelley, pg. 189). To keep it simple, its best to offer what consumers traditionally like about the product, and try to improve the disadvantages.

All in all, innovations should add value to existing markets, not take away from them. Due to human nature, it can be difficult to convince consumers to stray away from something they are used to and what works for them. Kelley says that “good products or services are like generous hosts. They greet you at the door, offer you refreshments, and make you feel at home” (Kelley, pg. 190).

Can you recall ever feeling reluctant to try a new product or service because of your unwillingness to change?

Reference:

Kelley, Thomas and Littman, Johnathon (2016). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. Published by Doubleday Broadway Publishing

The Greenhouse

ENT 601 Week 4 blog

The process of innovation has many stages. Many will say that the first steps consist of recognizing a need for change and brainstorming on new ways to make those changes happen. Followed by continuous observation and prototyping. Prototyping is essential to testing out ideas after brainstorming. It allows the group to visualize the idea more concretely before constructing the invention. This is the stage where changes can be made that include more physical and rational reasoning. There are many ways a prototype can be executed. More commonly is through drawings, computer software, or physical 3-d form. 

The key to these first couple of stages are the people involved in the process and the environment that houses such ideas. As discussed last week, teamwork is essential to the brainstorming process. However, in order to maximize the innovation efforts, the environment has to be right. Thomas Kelley, in The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm,calls this the “Greenhouse” effect (Kelley, page 129). He states that a greenhouse for innovation is “a place where the elements are just right to foster the growth of good ideas. Where there’s heat, light, moisture, and plenty of nurturing. The greenhouse we’re talking about, of course, is the workplace, the way spaces take shape in offices and teams work together” (Kelley, page 129). He gives many examples of how different companies can foster a working area that gives way to great innovation, but there are a few aspects that is most common in any industry. 

One aspect of creating a work area that is conducive to producing innovative ideas is considering the layout of the workspace. Keeping in mind, that teamwork is essential to the innovation process, having a space that will allow teams to gather is important. Some examples of team friendly workspaces are layouts that have a central location that makes it easy for team members to congregate. Also, position offices and cubicles in a matter that will allow team members to easily join one another while maintaining personal space in situations where focus and concentration is needed. Lastly, remember that diversity is needed as many different perspectives are necessary, allowing different departments to easily access one another is just as important. 

Finally, providing work spaces that fosters creativity and functionality can help with the prototyping stage of innovation. Kelley suggests that the workspace should be simple, movable, and buildable (Kelley, 2016). He gives examples of where he used blocks, that were used for sitting and partitions, as pieces in a prototype for elevators for the company Otis (Kelley page 135). Using things that are easily accessible is common in the prototyping stage. Furnishing the workspace with things that can be used multi-functionally can drastically help in the innovation process. 

All in all, many steps are needed to facilitate a great practical idea. In order to generate the best ideas, the environment has to be one that is effective for team building, creativity and functionality. Kelley states that “being innovative and successful is more than hiring the right people and buying the best technology. You’ve got to create a culture where space matters (Kelley, page 153).

Reference:

Kelley, Thomas and Littman, Johnathon (2016). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. Published by Doubleday Broadway Publishing

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

ENT 601 Week 3 blog

The saying “team work makes the dream work” has been bellowed amongst many leaders and group organizers for years. It’s a way to simplify the importance of a team effort for a given goal. Often we say this phrase unaware of how to properly form a productive team. In chapters four and five of The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm, Tom Kelley explains how to create a productive team for the sake of producing the best innovative outcomes. 

One of the main points Kelley expounds on with a functional-innovative team, is the art of brainstorming. He suggests that having the right participants, in the right environment, and the optimal length of time, brainstorming can be a tool that brings out the best, quality, ideas. Allowing a team to openly brainstorm, without judgment or intimidation, can prove to have more benefits than rigid, inflexible settings. Alex Osborn, in Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Thinking, suggests four ways to get the most out of a team in brainstorming sessions: “don’t criticize, quantity is wanted, combine and improve suggested ideas, and say all ideas that come to mind, no matter how wild” (Sutton and Hargadon, 1996). 

Secondly, team morale allows for a team to produce the best innovative outcomes. Kelley states that “when people feel special, they’ll perform beyond your wildest dream” (Kelley, pg. 101). This can be said throughout any aspect of life. Feeling appreciated, needed, and acknowledged can boost morale, thus increasing productivity. Often in high morale environments, teammates tend to compete for excellence. This environment can produce a work culture of ambitious teammates. 

Lastly, allowing individuals to be who they are, and contributing what they are best at to the group, helps form great innovative teams. Being that many type of people offer many different things, ideas, and roles to a workgroup, differences should be sought. Kelley names a number of types of individuals that offer value to an innovative team: 

* The Visionary 

* The Troubleshooter 

* The Iconoclast 

* The Pulse Taker 

* The Craftsman 

* The Technologist 

* The Entrepreneur 

* The Cross-Dresser 

All of these “characters” perform a role in the team and should be accepted for the value that they offer (Kelley, pg. 104). 

Overall, creativity and innovation should be looked at as a team effort within a company. Ideas can be developed and brought to life with the help of others. Encouraging productive brainstorming sessions, increasing morale, and accepting a range of different individuals can tremendously construct teams that produce great innovative ideas. 

References: 

Kelley, Thomas and Littman, Johnathon (2016). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. Published by Doubleday Broadway Publishing 

Sutton, Robert I. and Hargadon, Andrew (Dec. 1996). Brainstorming Groups in Context: Effectiveness in a Product Design Firm. Retrievied by https://www.jstor.org/stable/2393872?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents 

Osborn, Alex F. (1957). Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Thinking. Published by Charles Scribner’s Sons

Innovation: Finding the Change You Need

ENT 601

Too often, we get stuck in living mundane lives, where we do things out of routine. Sometimes, not thinking of the act itself, but the result we are so use to obtaining. This type of human behavior is known as procedural memory. According to Mochizuki-Kawai, “our daily life is supported by a number of procedural memories such as those for riding bicycle, typing, reading words, etc.” (Mochizuki 2008). Continuous routine actions can allow us to overlook the processes we do throughout our everyday lives. This can hinder our ability to see issues with processes that we might have recognized when performing the act for the first time. In The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America’s Leading Design Firm, Kelley states that “so many products and services have flaws that we start to assume that’s just the way things are”, that is until a newer-better product is introduced into the marketplace (Kelley pg. 59). There are a few recommendations to be able to spot innovation opportunities amongst the routine. 

The most obvious recommendation would be to break the habit of routines. Take the time to do something new and make new experiences. Examples could be to take up local art classes down the street, take a different route home from work, or to travel for vacation on holidays. Kelley believes that “at those times, you are more open to ask the childlike “why?” and “why not?” questions that lead to innovation” (Kelley pg. 38).

Another recommendation would be to be more observant in your everyday dealings. Pay more attention during your morning routine. What parts are tedious or an inconvenience? Observe how you interact with the office environment at work. What can be improved? 

Lastly, not only observing your actions, but observing other people, as well, can inspire innovative ideas. Kelley explains that “good companies and good consultants are astute observers, of people, teams, organizations, technologies- and trends. They see quirks and patterns” (Kelley pg. 41). I must admit, I enjoy “people-watching” in my past time. While watching others, I often analyze the “why” and “how” people act the way they act. This attention to detail can be valuable when looking for innovative ideas. 

Although keeping to routines can be beneficial mentally, physically, and emotionally, a break from the norm will allow inventors and entrepreneurs to seek out new ways of development. Sometimes we may think creativity only is possessed by a few. However, Kelley challenges that mindset to step out of the daily routine and be observant of ourselves and our surroundings. He believes ideas will come naturally. Let’s try it…

References:

Mochizuki-Kawai, Hiroko, (2008, July) Neural Basis of Procedural Memory. Retrieved from https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/18646622

Kelley, Tom and Jonathan Littman  (2016). The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America’s Leading Design Firm. New York: Currency/Doubleday

The World of Innovation

It’s a new year and a great time to make our mark in this world. Currently, I’m reading a book for my Entrepreneur Innovation class: The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from Ideo, America’s Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelly and Johnathon Littman. I’m so excited to share my commentary, thoughts, and ideas from reading this book. Stay tuned…

Growing Pains: Various Stages to Maturity

Week 7 Blog

Now that the excitement has dwindled down, and the beginning steps of the startup has been accomplished, some real decisions must be made. These decisions can determine if the startup flourishes into a mature company, or not. In earlier blogs, I discussed the importance of knowing the motivations of the founders: control or wealth. As well as, knowing what the founders bring to the table: social, human, and/or financial capital. Understanding these aspects of the founders will be essential to moving into the next phase of the business.

The startup is running. You’re finally at the point to where you are considering outside financial capital. It’s much easier to ask friends and family to invest. But will they bring you the expertise and connections within the industry? Will the amount of money they can collectively invest be enough to withstand the trials of the business? Are you confident that you will return their investments with gains? More than likely, no, will be the answer to all of these questions.

What about an angel investor? They’ll bring in a little more capital than friends and family. They have a little bit more experience in investments than love ones. You won’t risk tarnishing a relationship, because you don’t know them. Even though angel investors are a better option than investments from friends and family, venture capitalists may be the best option to choose from depending on what round of investments the company is in.

Venture Capitalists offer enough funds to sustain the company between rounds. They will make sure their investments are protected. They make it their business to advise and connect the founders with essential people and resources. They even stick around longer than angel investors. But at what cost?… control! VC’s will more than likely have seats and voting rights on the Board of Directors. The more rounds they invest in, the more equity they have in the company. Sometimes having more equity than the founders. And, they have the right to replace the founder-CEO with a non-founder-CEO.

Knowing all of this, it’s important to know the motivations of the founders and what capitals they will need from investors. If the founders need experienced advisors with industry connections, a VC will be the best option. If the motivation of the founder is strictly control, it will be harder to build the value of the company with a VC. At this point, the founders have to make a choice: Is giving up some control worth gaining wealth.

Also, knowing when to exit the company is vital. Once the company has grown to a point and needs new leadership, it’s important to know when to step down and relinquish control. Unless, you’ll be forced out by the VC’s and other directors. It’s best to have an exit strategy in play before opening the business up to investors. This will allow you, the founder, to have more leverage and get the most benefit out of the exit.

Lastly, planning to partner with other companies can drastically grow the startup. Glenn Solomon explains this as “Find(ing) Your Flywheel”. He warns that “Although you need to be careful – no company is in business to help your business flourish – mutually beneficial partnerships can help propel growth for periods of time” (Glenn Solomon, 2013). Therefore, acknowledging the need and choosing partners carefully, is crucial for the growth of a business.

Investments, exit strategies, and potential market partners are all aspects of a mature or maturing business. All of these aspects will determine if the business evolves or not. That is why it’s important to plan for these things during the planning stages of the startup in order to increase success. And, it all begins with knowing the founder’s motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.

References:

Transitioning from a Startup to Growth-Stage Company”, by Glenn Solomon, February 11, 2013. http://fortune.com/2013/02/11/transitioning-from-a-startup-to-growth-stage-company/

“The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup” (Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship), 1stEdition by Noam Wasserman, March 31, 2013. Princeton University Press

 

All Star Team: Keeping Top Performers

ENT 600- Week 6 blog

In my last blog, “Timing: Hiring Dilemmas”, I wrote about recognizing who, and, when to hire the appropriate team members that will most benefit the company in its different stages. Not only is it imperative to hire the right person at the right time, it’s important to hire the best team member, A-Players, for those positions. But, most importantly, keeping, these A-Players. Eric Herrenkohl, in How to Hire A-Players: Finding the Top People for Your Team- Even If You Don’t Have a Recruiting Department, states three things to offer to keep A-Players working for you: challenges, responsibilities, and money.

Bigger Challenges. One way to keep an A-Player motivated to stay on with a company is to offer them bigger challenges. “One of (the) most valuable skills you can hone as a small business manager is the ability to engage and challenge the people you employ” (Gregory, 2018)”. It’s important to implement job rotation, set goals, promote creativity, and increase engagement (Chris Joseph).

More Responsibility. Another way to keep an A-Player motivated is to offer them more responsibility. This can come in ways of introducing new tasks or career advancements to pique their interests. Once an A-Player has shown to be capable, promotion is necessary. Staying engaged, by frequent meetings, and asking these A-Players their suggestions and where they would like to be in the company, can show them that they are valued team members.

More money. Lastly, compensating these A-Players for their job well done, can also help keep them interested in the company. “Ultimately, companies create a virtuous cycle, paying higher wages and benefits, which in turn increases loyalty and productivity, increasing revenue and making up for higher compensation costs (Helper and Noonan)“. Increase compensation can take the form of salary, equity, and/or bonuses.

It’s vital to invest time and money into A-Players. In return, they will add great value to the startup, tremendously. This can be done by recruiting a valuable Human Resource expert, contracting a consultant, or delving down and coming up with a system of your own. As Herrenkohl states, “Leaders who create great companies never do it alone” (Herrenkohl, 2010, pg. 171).

References: