How brand history can grow your business


History can grow business (photo-Rob Melnychuk)


Traditionally, consumers like what they know and understand. The more a potential customer can relate to a product and service, the more likely they are going to see its value in their lives. With so many small businesses looking for a way to stand out among the competition, one idea is to maximize the history of your product or service.

If you are a second or third generation owner of a business and you are looking to rejuvenate your sales, consider sharing the details of how your company began.

For instance, Moravian cookies are not only loved but are well-known by the history of the product. One company proving this case is Mrs. Hanes’ Moravian Cookies, dating back to the 1920s. The history or longevity of a product shows the product’s ability to sustain the test of time and appreciation by generations of customers.

Though you may feature this information online, have you considered using your product’s history as a marketing tool in your advertisement or public relations efforts?

Take the supermarket and restaurant industries. Think of the many grocery shoppers who spend time reviewing nutritional labels and those looking for menu items that are labeled heart-healthy.

Springwise.com has researched ten food brands that give consumers access to information on the origins of their products’ ingredients. While these efforts are baby steps toward true traceability — and critics are somewhat justified in their assertion that images of verdant fields and smiling farmers are little more than marketing tools — smart brands are nonetheless moving in the direction of increased transparency.

1. Stone-Buhr — Buyers of Stone-Buhr’s All Purpose Flour can type in a lot code on the company’s website to see which family farms grew the grain. Stone-Buhr’s emphasis is on spotlighting the family-owned farms in the Northwest who supply it with certified sustainable wheat.
Website: http://www.findthefarmer.com

2. Coca-Cola — In the UK, Coca-Cola launched a web app that allows consumers to trace the origin of their can or bottle of Coke. Instead of divulging the sources of ingredients, Coca-Cola focuses on manufacturing locations, distribution and environmental impact. It estimates the carbon footprint of a drink, and shows the address of the factory it was made in.
Website: www.coca-cola.co.uk/environment/trace-your-coke.html

3. Askinosie — Missouri-based chocolate maker Askinosie invites customers to enter a ‘Choc-O-Lot’ number to view the chocolate’s geographical origin, as well as information about the farmers who grew the cocoa beans. The tool highlights the company’s commitment both to quality and to a fair deal for farmers. Askinosie buys directly from farmers in Mexico, Phillipines, Tanzania and Ecuador, and doesn’t purchase beans until they’ve met the farmers in person.
Website: www.askinosie.com

4. Dole Organic — Dole lets consumers “travel to the origin of each organic product”. By typing in a fruit sticker’s three-digit code on Dole Organic’s website, customers can find the story behind their banana or pineapple. Each farm’s section on the website includes background info, shows photos of the crops and workers and tells consumers more about the origin of Dole’s organic products.
Website: www.doleorganic.com

5. Chippindale Foods — Chippindale Foods supplies free range eggs to supermarkets in northern England. The company created wheresyoursfrom.com to allow consumers to find out where their eggs were laid. After entering the code printed on an egg carton, people can view pictures of ‘their’ farmer and hens, and read a history of the farm.
Website: www.wheresyoursfrom.com

6. Frito-Lay — Another big brand that’s embracing traceability is Frito-Lay. Its Chip Tracker lets consumers trace where a particular bag of chips was made, by entering their ZIP code along with the first three digits of the bag’s product code. The site returns a specific location along with its annual output. An associated map, meanwhile, highlights both growing and production facilities.
Website: www.fritolay.com/lays/chip-tracker.html

7. Fresh Express — A subsidiary of Chiquita Brands and purveyor of washed and packaged salad greens, Fresh Express allows consumers to find the origin of their salad through a ‘Leaf Locator’ on the company’s website. Fresh Express sources leafy greens from five US states and Mexico, and includes details on a location’s climate, growing season and agricultural history.
Website: www.freshexpress.com

8. Crop to Cup — Through Crop to Cup’s website, consumers can trace their coffee back to the farmers who produced it. Drinkers of Uganda Bugisu coffee, for example, can read a profile of Peter Guimuii, who is married, has six children and approximately 5,000 coffee trees. The detailed personal information provided underscores Crop to Cup’s goal of improving farmers’ livelihoods.
Website: www.croptocup.com

9. Domino’s Pizza — Pizza lovers don’t enter product codes on ‘Behind the Pizza’, which was created by Domino’s to give consumers more information on how their pizza ingredients are made. While the site does show manufacturing plants and farms it works with, the focus here is more on edutainment than targeted transparency.
Website: more.dominos.com/behindthepizza

10. Iglo — First featured on Springwise in 2008, ‘Woher kommt Ihr Spinat’ is still going strong. Created by Iglo, a European market leader in the frozen foods segment, the program gives consumers access to details on where their spinach came from. Offsetting its Big Brand reputation, Iglo displays pictures of the spinach grower and his or her family, alongside information about the farm.
Website: www.iglo.de

Want to grow your brand’s awareness and increase sales? Consider going back in time to capture your products’ history to re-introduce the value of your offerings to consumers anywhere.

Performance Evaluations: Eliminate the Stress Before It Takes a Bite Out of Your Bottom Line


Whether you’re a business owner, a supervisor or manager, more than likely you have people who report to you and look to you for leadership, direction and continuous communication on what is expected on the job. One very effective and common method of maintaining a healthy dialogue between employees and their supervisors/managers is a performance evaluation conducted by you and each employee you oversee on a one-on-one basis at least once a year but hopefully two or more times a year. Employees often become anxious prior to such a performance evaluation.

Generally, emotions such as anxiety and stress come from past negative experiences or by fear of the unknown. And if you are in charge of communicating to these employees, it is your responsibility to significantly reduce, or better yet eliminate employee stress and anxiety through clear communication between you and each staff member you oversee on a regular basis. Otherwise, employee stress and anxiety can negatively impact the quality of products and services your company produces. And if all you can serve is lower quality products, expect to see your hearty bottom line dwindle away before your eyes.

To Eliminate Stress & Anxiety: Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Management has the ability to maintain and even improve the quality of products and services produced by informing employees about the following areas of business that are relevant to employees’ daily work and overall employment with the company:
-Business goals
-Significant company milestones
-New business victories
-Ongoing customer feedback
-Continuous employee performance communication

Sad But True Examples of Poor Communication:
1) An ad agency going through some growth spurts was building its new business database while also continuing to offer quality service to its current client base. The owner of the company was very pleased to share several testimonials from current satisfied customers. However, when I asked one of the company’s art directors what a client thought about some work she had recently completed, she said she had no idea. She told me she never knew what the clients said. It was just her job to design.

2) Working on a global internal communications campaign, I was privy to sales figures and heard directly from top management that overall, the continued growth in sales in certain product categories was making a meaningful difference to the company’s bottom line. So, when I met with a few hundred employees responsible for the quality of the product produced, I was floored when not one of these employees knew what exactly the products did, what companies purchased the products and who the end users were. Amazingly, the products improved the quality of life in millions of people’s lives.

Click here to provide your senior management team with a course on:
Effective Communication: From Business Goals to Employee Evaluations