Ben & Jerry’s is an East-coast based ice cream company with a mission to make the best possible ice cream in the nicest possible way. Started in 1978 by two high school friends, Ben & Jerry’s has forever changed the way we enjoy this frozen concoction while also helping to eliminate social and environmental injustices.
It was in 1966 during a high school gym class that Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield realized that they despised running, but that they loved food. Fast forward to 1978, several failed jobs, and missed attempts at medical school, the dynamic duo decided to follow their food-loving passion. Armed with a $5.00 correspondence course in ice cream making and a $12,000 investment, Ben and Jerry opened up their first Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont.
Fast forward again, this time to 2012, and that small, dilapidated gas station is still there in downtown Burlington, except now there are scoop shops nationwide, and the ice cream is distributed all over the world in supermarkets, convenience stores, and even cruise ships! After 30 years of being in business, becoming a house-hold name, and having locations and flavors all over the world, it’s safe to say Ben and Jerry made the right choice.
But, the story doesn’t stop there. When Ben and Jerry decided to create the franchise we now know and love today, they wanted to operate on a socially responsible business mission. Not only did these great guys want to create delicious dishes and tasty treats, but they had a vision to improve the world. They believe that business has a responsibility to give back to the community. Ben & Jerry’s adapted their mission statement to focus on three interrelated concepts of social, economic, and product prosperity. These progressive business values are the foundation of the entire company, and have influenced every business decision that the company has made.
Ben & Jerry’s is currently involved in the biggest intensive product overhaul in the history of the company, as they are working to make all of their ice cream ingredients and flavors Fair-Trade Certified. This means that the ingredients that go into the flavors at Ben & Jerry’s are all sourced using environmentally friendly agricultural practices, and the farmers in low development countries that utilize these sustainable growing techniques are justly compensated for their hard work and their time.
“Fair Trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of fair trade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.” — Jerry Greenfield
Ben & Jerry’s is the first ice cream company to ever use Fair Trade ingredients, and they have been doing so since 2005. The company is projected to have all of its ingredients and flavors Fair-Trade Certified by 2013,which is less than a year away. So far only 20 of their nearly 100 ice cream flavors are Fair-Trade Certified. The company still has work to do in terms of online public relations for promoting their cause and their newly-improved ice cream line.
The company could learn a thing or two from author Tom Kelleher‘s book, Public Relations Online. In the book, Tom describes lasting concepts to improving various forms of online public relations. One technique that he describes is Issue-Driven Relationships. Tom says, “Issues are socially defined and normally brought to our attention by people advocating for one side or another.” He also says, “Issues most often involve disputes about fairness, security, or environmental concerns.” These beliefs are especially true when thinking of Ben & Jerry’s desire to become Fair-Trade Certified and to promote sustainable business practices that respect the Earth and the environment.
In order to get more people on board with the Fair Trade movement and the social causes that Ben & Jerry’s advocates for, Tom says that people need to move from being members of latent publics to members of active publics. People are more likely to become motivated to take action when there is (a) high problem recognition – they see an issue as a problem and become concerned, (b) low constraint recognition – they feel like they can do something about the problem, and (c) high involvement – they see the problem as relevant to their own lives. Ben & Jerry’s should follow these online public relations recommendations in order to gain more interest and publicity on their move to Fair-Trade Certified and to motivate people to take part in the Fair-Trade movement.
Plan of Attack
After reviewing the company’s current operations, along with their internal strengths and weaknesses and their external opportunities and threats, the public relations goal for Ben & Jerry’s will be to promote their newly-improved line of all Certified Fair Trade products. This can be done through a variety of means, but in order to fulfill this goal in the most efficient manner, a social media press release, partnership between a Fair Trade non-profit organization and the Ben and Jerry’s National Grassroots Grant Program, and a celebrity spokesperson will all be utilized.
- Social Media Press Release: As Ben & Jerry’s already has a prominent social media presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, the most efficient way to get the word out about their Fair-Trade improvements would be via a social media press release. This type of press release is designed to be in a format suitable for the online media world. With many journalists and news junkies receiving the majority of their information online rather than in print, a social media press release makes the most sense for an online, socially interactive company like Ben & Jerry’s.
(Supporting Document #1: Social Media Press Release)
- Non-Profit and The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Partnership: In order to fully commit to their social cause, Ben & Jerry’s should utilize their already existing National Grassroots Grant Program to partner with a non-profit organization that focuses on education and advocation for Fair-Trade practices all over the world. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation offers competitive grants to not-for-profit, grassroots community organizations throughout the United States and in Vermont, working to bring about progressive social change by addressing the underlying conditions of societal and environmental problems. This type of partnership would not only help to get the name out about the Fair-Trade products Ben & Jerry’s will soon be carrying, but to also connect their products to their activist nature while donating to a grassroots non-profit organization related to the product remodel.
(Supporting Document # 2: Press Release)
- Celebrity Spokesperson: Ben & Jerry’s is notorious for tying their products to celebrity endorsements and the social causes of those celebrities. From Jerry Garcia, Cherry Garcia, and the American Diabetes Association to Dave Matthews Band, Magic Brownies, and the Lick Global Warming campaign, Ben & Jerry’s has managed to sell a variety of different flavors of ice cream that have all benefited various charities, social causes, and company initiatives. By creating their new Fair-Trade ice creams with celebrity supporters of Fair-Trade, such as Colin Firth, Chris Martin from Coldplay, Antonio Banderas, or Alanis Morissette, the ice creams will be in even higher demand, and the proceeds could benefit the Fair-Trade non-profit organization previously discussed.
Ben & Jerry’s should utilize a Web 2.0 tool in order to faciliate conversation about their new product improvements and their socially responsible practices. A blog tool could be incorporated on the Ben & Jerry’s website under their Activism page. This blog could detail the steps for sourcing and using Fair-Trade ingredients, the contacts they’ve made with Fair-Trade farmers and advocates, the partnership between the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation and the Fair Trade Federation, along with consumer reviews of the new products and their opinions on the Fair-Trade movement. This would ultimately give consumers a first-hand view on the Fair-Trade efforts being made by the company, along with letting consumers interact directly with the company.
(Supporting document # 3: Sample Blog Post)
Ben & Jerry’s should ultimately be focusing on the best, most efficient ways to promote their all new, Certified Fair Trade line of ice cream products. As the company already has a strong stake in eliminating social, political, and environmental injustices, using the Fair Trade movement as a platform for their product overhaul will be taken well by consumers. By utilizing such public relations tactics as press releases and celebrity endorsements, along with Web 2.0 tools such as webblogging, the company will effectively promote the new line of products as well as the Fair Trade movement. Also, by partnering with their already existing grassroots Ben & Jerry’s foundation, the company will foster a philanthropic relationship among three parties: consumers, Fair-Trade advocates, and the company itself. By following these public relations recommendations, Ben & Jerry’s will surely come out on top yet again as the maker of the best possible ice cream in the nicest possible way.
A Letter From the Little
In 1929, The Little Theatre opened its doors with a mission of providing moviegoers with an intimate alternative to the Hollywood-dominated programming that was standard fare at the large downtown movie houses. Over the years, The Little has stayed true to its mission by providing Rochester with an independent spirit. We have expanded from the historical landmark Art Deco theater on East Avenue to include four more screens, a café, art exhibits, live music, film festivals, talkbacks, and educational programs.
As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, community financial support is vital to The Little’s ability to thrive. By becoming a member of The Little you support a cultural gem in our community. When you become a member of our Donor Circle, your gift will have a significant impact on ensuring the future of The Little for years to come.
We’ll see you at the movies!
The Mission (VIA thelittle.org)
“The Little Theatre Film Society provides a unique environment for the presentation of American independent and foreign films, visual arts and music for the greater Rochester community. The Little serves as a multi-cultural gathering place for affordable and accessible entertainment, screening more than 100 films per year, as well as hosting several annual community film festivals. The Little provides local artists a place to share their visions with a diverse audience and to discuss their work through educational talkbacks.
Since 1929, The Little has fulfilled a commitment to excellence in Rochester and is a strong community partner and advocate for growth. As a not-for-profit organization, The Little continues to deliver the finest in film, art and music, while expanding its education and outreach programs, and ensuring its financial integrity through individual and corporate memberships and donations.”
The Little Theater is a well known name among all Rochester natives. As an independent movie theater, the Little is competing in a niche market that how several similar competitors in the Rochester market. Between George Eastman’s House Dryden theater, which has a rare collection of archived films, and Movies 10 incredibly low prices, how can The Little stand out in the movie industry?
It is my goal to assist The Little Theater in process of spreading word and exceeding in an other wise diminishing field. The movie industry as a whole is in a state of decline. In 2011, ticket sales nationally were the lowest since 1995. The question is why? Is it lack of innovation? Ideas? Money? In all reality, that is up to the consumer. One may ask how is it realistic to believe that we at the Little can expect to succeed in this struggling market?
The answer is taking advantage of the modern technology offered to businesses today. Few businesses really grasp the concepts of social media marketing, and many of those businesses, much like the Little, can take the concepts offered in the book Public Relations Online: Lasting Concepts for Changing Media, written by Thomas Kelleher. I am going to offer tips and tricks offered by Kelleher to make The Little the exception of the rule for struggling movie distributors. The Little has a web presence, however it is my belief that it can be stronger. Between Twitter and Facebook, the social media activity of The Little appears to be more informationally based, and not as much promotional.
Extremely Loyal Customer base
- Small, but packed market
- Small name among today’s youth
- Competeing in diminishing industry
- Limited Facilities
- Limited budget
- Unique business style
- Independent films
- Freedom of advertsing
- Word of mouth
- Interpersonal Relationships
- Big business- Regal, etc..
- Smaller budget
- Limited base market
- Outdated Facilities (Good and bad)
The Little has ample opportunity to not just succeed, but EXCEED in the movie distribution market. The Little, being an independent movie theatre, has a better opportunity then others to take advantage of being “ethical” when promoting with Public Relations.
There aren’t a whole lot of INDEPENENT film providers in the area, and with that, the public is stuck with a national chain of regal cinemas. The Little being independent can help , and hurt their business. People, whether consciously or not, are ignorant towards change, and become brand loyal to big name companies. It’s no different than shopping at American Eagle for $50 jeans, instead of shopping at your local Walmart or Kohl’s for $20 jeans. Although that concept can be reversed back to the Little. There are a lot of people who find themselves brand loyal to this smaller brand of Movie theatre.
Splitting consumers however in this day in age is costing the movie industry daily. Less and less people are going to the movies, mainly because of accessibility. More and more families are taking second thoughts on that movie night out with the family, considering it would cost $40 for a family of four to go to a basic regal cinema, NOT including popcorn and drinks. It is in this struggle for ticket sales that online social media comes in handy
In the before mentioned book Public Relations Online: Lasting Concepts for Changing Media, Thomas Kelleher mentions the concept of the two-way symmetrical system of communication. This does not in my mind mean that a company just has a Facebook or Twitter, and that automatically fulfills that checklist of two-way symmetrical communication. It goes beyond that; it is that constant interaction between consumer and company that builds trust, and promotes word of mouth advertising of a company.
I mentioned before the The Little is already active on Facebook and Twitter, however they use it more for informational purposes such as listing new films coming, and movie times. It would be in The Little’s best interest to change that approach to PROMOTIONAL usage of these social outlets. For example, you will see alot of larger organizations say something like “Share this with 6 or your followers to enter yourself in the drawing for free *****”. That right there is a a great way to take advantage of word of mouth advertising among your consumers. This concept is great use of Thomas Kellehers concept of consumer-generated media. The reason it is so important for The Little to approach media outlets like these are because of the independent, personal persona they have. Especially around Rochester, board members such as Tom Proietti are so well known around the area that word of mouth advertising is not too difficult. Between checking in and foursquare, all of Tom’s 5,000 friends can see him checking into the Little. Even now with all the ways you can interlink streams within webpages, connecting your twitter or Facebook streams onto the main website is possible. There needs to be a huge movement in the way they try to connect with the younger crowd, and that all starts with Web 2.0 marketing.
Blk Water: The Dark Side Of Water
Water: No matter how many different brands you try, it all tastes the same. How can you differentiate between water when it is all the same? Well, the folks at blk beverages found a way.
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. This water is actually black. But how may you ask? It’s infused with humic and fulvic acid which makes the water turn a different color, but gives the exact same taste as water. Humic acid is produced by biodegradation of dead organic matter and fulvic acid is an element that makes nutrients absorbable.
But why hasn’t blk. taken over the water world? Could it be because there color, the one thing that sets them apart, is hurting them? Or is it the simple fact that it is not well known yet? With this White Paper we can examine how they use social networking, or the lack of, to promote their product.
Above we have a SWOT analysis of the blk. product. Now it’s time to go into greater detail…
Unique: Although the flavor isn’t anything unusual, the color is. The product will make you pick it up and think “what is this?”. Personally, I believe this product is for the more adventurous type. It is water, but the color can throw someone off. It gives people the thought that it’s flat cola or mud in a bottle.
Health Conscious: Blk. is plain water. Even with the extra minerals, there are no calories or sugar that are added.
Website: The website is very updated and easy to use. There is limited information on the actual product but gives you the ability to go to a website that allows you to purchase the product.You can share the product’s website with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
Expensive: Since blk. water is so different and contains fulvic acid, it is more expensive than regular water. For a pack of 24 plastic 16.9 oz. water bottles on amazon.com it costs $54.99 plus tax and shipping. Now is it that much better than regular water to spend an extra $20.00 on? Probably not.
Social Networking: This product does have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. They do not take full advantage of either, unfortunately. They post once-in-a-while when they should every day to keep their products name out there. If they constantly are posting updates and constantly tweeting, they will gain a larger following, which ultimately leads to higher sales.
Little Advertising: By searching on YouTube and my knowledge of TV commercials, blk. water does not currently have a TV advertisement. Yes, they are expensive, but do well for any product. Not only could they do a TV advertisement, they should also consider doing mobile marketing practices. These include advertisements on mobile applications, barcode scanners, and QR codes. Ideas for these will be discussed later on in this paper.
Color: This company is banking on the fact that they are a different color than every other water available. Unfortunately, this could be a major turn off for most. Currently in the grocery market there are not a lot of products that are the color black that are successful, especially drinks.
Product Expansion: Potentially it could be difficult for this company to expand to different products. They would have to find a mineral that would cause water to turn different colors other than black. This research wouldn’t be hard to conduct, but it may be a costly process.
Celebrity Endorsers: Currently, a few cast members of The Real Housewives of New Jersey are endorsing this product by talking about it on their Twitter and Facebook. They also make appearances at certain grocery stores to promote the product and also connect with fans. Blk. beverages should consider getting an athlete endorser since they should market more toward the health conscious.
Many Places to Sell: The number of stores that this company sell their product in is unlimited. Grocery stores and Supercenters are more of the high trafficking places to sell. If they can get their product into larger name stores, they have a bigger chance on succeeding.
Health Conscious Society: In today’s society, it is very likely to talk to someone who is 100% into their health. More and more people are jumping on the health bandwagon. Blk. beverages can advertise more on the fact they have more minerals to attract these types of people.
Differentiation: It’s very easy to tell this product apart from others due to the fact that there are none on the market like it. Blk. Beverages has a huge advantage with this and they could take the market by storm if they wanted.
More Research: When you Google “blk. water” the third article that appears is one that is bashing the product. According to http://www.self.com and Christine Gerbstadt, M.D., registered dietitian and author of Doctors Detox Diet:
1. The company boasts that blk. water contains both fulvic and humic acid (found in soil, sediment and aquatic environments). But neither fulvic acid nor humic acids are required in humans.
2. The addition of these two acids to water in no way enhances the nutritional benefits of water.
3. A plant-based diet will provide the same phytonutrients that black water claims to have, along with added soluble and insoluble fiber. Plus, plant foods will fill you up and help you shed pounds.
4. There is no quick fix or perfect food. And nothing shuttles nutrients into your body’s cells better than real food.
(Taken from http://www.self.com/health/blogs/healthyself/2011/09/black-water-dont-believe-the-h.html)
Lawsuits: With the current celebrity endorsers, blk. water has run into a little trouble. These Real Housewives have been claiming that blk. water can do certain things that they really cannot, causing uproar and even a few lawsuits. If things continue, blk. beverages will end up paying more for lawyers and court fees than what they actually are receiving from the product sales.
Throughout the semester, we have read many different articles about different public relations practices. The practice that I found most interesting was pseudo-events. A pseudo-event is a sort of event that is conducted by the company without the public knowing. We read the article Hidden History, A Flood of Pseudo Events by Daniel Boorstin explains all about this type of work. There are ways that indicate whether or not a pseudo-event is in the process. If the event doesn’t include these criteria, then it is not considered a pseudo-event:
- It is not spontaneous, but comes about because someone has planned, planted or incited it.
- It is planted primarily (not always exclusively) for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced.
- Its relation to the underlying reality of the situation is ambiguous.
- Usually it is intended to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Blk. beverages can incorporate a pseudo-event into their company. A good example of this could be blk. beverages hosting a type of marathon. Whether it be a 5k or 15k, the company could donate the profits to a sort of charity or foundation. The whole idea of a pseudo-event is to mislead or deceive the public. All of the runners would be workers or associated with blk. beverages in some way, but the public wouldn’t know it. The company will select a runner to “sponsor”. He or she would wear a blk. beverage t-shirt and drink blk. water during the whole race. This person will win because blk. beverages sponsors them and we want the public to believe that blk. water helped him get through the race. At the end of the race during interviews, he or she will explain and promote blk. beverages in a way that is very discrete.
Another interesting pseudo-event idea could be a flash mob. Flash mobs are conducted by a group of people who break out into song, dance, or actions. It is unlikely for flash mobs to be in the works of a certain company to promote a product, but it is doable. In the video below, Tic-Tac conducts a flash mob in France to promote the product.
Blk. beverages should take the Tic-Tac example and learn from it. A flash mob would cause a lot of buzz and news that could help them out in the long run. By getting people to notice their brand and product, they can increase sales almost instantly by using.
With the research that I have conducted, it seems that blk. beverages is using a word-of-mouth marketing strategy. This could be both beneficial and hurtful for the company. For example, if you have a lot people saying that this product is awesome and if you have a few people that say it’s a waste of money, this could be a problem. In word-of-mouth, the bad outweigh the good. For an unknown reason more people will listen to the negative comments than the good.
Blk. beverages should look into a different kind of marketing and advertising strategy. Currently they use Twitter and Facebook as social networking sites. The problem is that they don’t manage them separately. Any tweets that are posted, they will go directly to Facebook. If they start to manage them separately and use them to connect with fans more, they have a better chance of promoting their product in a social networking setting. Tom Kelleher stated in his book Public Relations: Online how important it is to build a relationship with fans using websites like Facebook and Twitter. Another new and exciting website is Pinterest. Blk. beverages could promote their product by putting pictures of people with blk. water or the product itself and post them onto Pinterest. Check out Maria‘s White Paper for more information about what Pinterest is. With a strong fan base and more connectivity between the company and fans, blk. beverages could do a great deal of promoting their product online.
My name is Maria Schimizzi and for this white paper I thought it would be beneficial to look into Pinterest as a company and a social networking medium using its best attributes as an exceptional marketing tool. Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social services in the world. The small company took off in March of 2010 and has grown tremendously since. The purpose of the social network is to connect people through their common interests. In the past two years, it has not only spiked the interest of millions of individuals, but businesses as well. Based upon pinterest’s unique style, creativity and set up, the company has the ability to connect with businesses across the globe and use the social network as a marketing strategy.
Tom Kelleher’s book Public Relations Online provided great insight into how Pinterest can use lasting public relation concepts to succeed not only as a social network, but as a business. It’s organized and structured to create relationships and share content with the people you love. As an online media consumer I truly believe that Pinterest could benefit from Kelleher’s lasting concepts simply because of its dramatic growth in the past year and because of its outstanding marketing capabilities for other businesses. Kelleher goes into detail about peer-to-peer relationships and commerce-driven relationships, which contributes greatly to Pinterest’s overall purpose and goal as a company. In order for Pinterest to reach their stakeholders and build stronger relationships, they need to connect better with businesses and make joint efforts to ultimately connect with the consumer. Below is a SWOT analysis of Pinterest and its marketing capabilities:
Looking at the SWOT analysis above, Pinterest has the ability to build relationships through business efforts. It is important for the company to take advantage of this and its other capabilities and use them in order to grow even further. Some of the best ways to create these strong relationships is through some of Kelleher’s lasting concepts.
PR Concepts Meets a Great Marketing Strategy
After doing research and experiencing Pinterest as a consumer myself, I began to realize that this small company could be the next “big thing.” Facebook and Twitter have grown tremendously over the past several years however, marketers still find difficulty in developing successful ways to market their businesses through these social networking sites and ultimately struggle in connecting with their consumers. Pinterest on the other hand, has developed a way for marketers to not only reach their consumers, but also increase sales and improve upon retention rates. The company is set up in a way that people are connected. Peers repin other peers pins and so on and so forth. This gives marketers a benefit simply because it drives web traffic, provides exposure to a brand and sells more products. This in turn gives Pinterest a competitive advantage over other social networks. It creates peer-to-peer relationships along with commerce-driven relationships all on its own.
According to Kelleher, peer-to-peer public relations can be broken down into either two-way asymmetrical public relations, or two-way symmetrical public relations. Two-way asymmetrical public relation efforts are typically unbalanced. Organizations look to get feedback from the public but only in order to use it in a way that ultimately influences the public even more. Two-way symmetrical PR is the organization looking at the public’s interest and finding some form of balance between the public’s interest and that of the business. In relation to Pinterest as a company, its peer-to-peer efforts are pretty evident just in how the site works. People are able to take their interests and “build their own.” The company gets feedback from the public through different pins and through its web traffic. In return, the company simply allows the users to create their own and share. Other businesses should use this as a way of getting feedback on their brand and products. They can look at the web traffic and see what people “like,” “comment” on and “repin” to gain a better understanding of what the consumer wants. This is all done by simple peer-to-peer interaction.
In terms of commerce-driven relationships, Kelleher explains how “online technologies, individual people and cultures all come into play in building and maintaining dollar-driven relationships.” Pinterest epitomizes individualism and culture through commerce driven relationships. People are influenced by travel and places, apparel, home décor, and food to the point where people are unaware and do not realize that they are being advertised to. Pinners are constantly influenced by their followers, which then creates a cultural environment through each Pinterest relationship. It almost works in the same way as the concept of word of mouth. People feed off of each other and spread content rapidly. Marketers need to understand that given Pinterest’s design, their brands and products can spread like wildfire and create stronger relationships with their consumers more so than that of Facebook or Twitter.
Pinterest already as it is uses web 2.0 as a tool based simply on its web design and overall content and layout. People are able to connect with the people they know and share content online. As a way for Pinterest to further connect with individuals and businesses alike, the company should create a way for users to communicate with the business first hand. The company already connects users and businesses to other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, but in order to take Kelleher’s lasting concepts of public relations and put it to better use, they should create a blog or Pinner for the company so that users and marketers can communicate better with them. If the company itself had a Pinterest account it could reach its users, stakeholders, and businesses through their own pins, likes, comments, and pinboards. It would be as if the company was a peer itself and could relate with the consumer on the same level. This would not only allow consumers to see what future plans Pinterest has in store for the pinning community, but it would also allow businesses to further share their input and work as one with the company.
We live in a world of technological communication. People are able to share thoughts, ideas, beliefs, cultures, photos, videos and other content to others all over the world. We have reached an age where relationships are thriving everywhere, particularly through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Much like individuals, businesses have turned to social networks as a means of marketing their brands and products, but have only found minimal success. This has all changed now with the rise of Pinterest. Businesses are not only able to market their brands and products, but create stronger relationships with their consumers. This has been done with the website’s simplicity, uniqueness, and creativity. The company has already reached great success, however, I believe that if Pinterest applied Kelleher’s lasting concepts of public relations, the company and social network could thrive even more so.
Leaving clients and guests with memories to savor and tastes to remember…
Fiddlehead Concepts Catering is a fine catering service with a kitchen located in Canandaigua, New York. They have been in business since 2004 and been steadily gaining new clients ever since. This business is co-owned by Elke Schmitt and Julie Woloson. Elke and Julie have over 15 years of experience in food preparation and service. Not only can they cook professionally, but they are great for planning events as well. What makes these two business partners a step above the rest is their passion. They are truly passionate for their jobs and love every second they spend at work. Nothing makes their job more satisfying then when they see a smile across their clients faces.
Their menu has a great variety to meet every taste, need, or want. Fiddlehead Concepts prides itself in regularly creating personalized menu selections. If you have dietary or allergy restrictions, they are more than happy to accommodate. If what you had in mind for your event is not on this list, then do not hesitate to ask because they love creating new menu selections just for specific events, it is what keeps them so creative. They offer every course of a meal starting with hors d’oeuvres to soups and salads, to entrees, side dishes, desserts, and a children’s menu.
Fiddlehead Concepts is currently a word-of-mouth company, meaning most of their clients were gained by either attending a party that Fiddleheads catered, or a friend or family member referred them. So far this has been good for their company giving them a steady client list, however, they could always use more business. Because of their word-of-mouth technique, it has given them a creative niche. They mainly cater to more affluent types of parties, whether it is a wedding of 200 hundred guests, or a dinner party at a house on the lake for 12 guests. They have a wide photo gallery in their website so all potential clients can see just how unique and beautiful their creations truly are.
See their website for more pictures!
- Creativity: They take pride in being a creative catering service.
- Love their community: They buy all the foods that they can locally, to support the community.
- Versatility: They are always willing to create whatever it may be that their client wants.
- Hours of operation: They will work seven days a week and cater events at whatever time desired.
- Location: Their kitchen is located in Canandaigua, but they that is right in the epicenter of where their events generally take place.
- Branding: Since they are primarily word-of-mouth, all of their clients have had positive experiences which means that their is no negative opinions out there.
- Size: Fiddleheads is a generally small company with only just three main workers in their kitchen, making it difficult to mass produce their products.
- Cost: Generally, the finer and less generic foods tend to be more expensive.
- Awareness: While they do have a great client list, it is not that huge, they need to expand on their awareness.
- Social Media: They have a great chance of creating awareness if they created a better website that was updated more often. Also, considering creating a Facebook page for business purposes.
- Advertisements: Since they would like to stay generally close to their niche, they could consider creating advertisements in local Rochester journals and magazines.
- They do not have any direct threats from other catering services for their niche in their area, however, more generic catering services like Wegmans have been on the rise due to the affordability.
Plan Of Action With a Web 2.0 Twist
The main idea for Fiddlehead Concepts is to increase awareness. This can be done through a few basic ideas. First they would want to consider a stronger social media presence. These days, people find it easier to research companies through social media and if a potential client sees that the company they are searching for does not have a social media page they will think there is a problem with the company. Fiddlehead Concepts has such a great reputation right now and I believe that a Facebook page could only help this reputation. It could be useful because then other people could see pictures easier of past events and see their capabilities first hand. They could also gain more popularity through this Facebook page attracting new customers. This would lead to more awareness through the internet, which can reach infinite amounts of people.
Along with a greater online presence, they have multiple opportunities throughout the community. I would love to see them create a tent of samples specifically designed for the Canandaigua Wine Walk. This would not only get their name out their but it would promote their brand by being linked to a fun and creative event. Also, it would let potential clients be able to taste what they have to offer first hand. Another event that would be great for them to tie into is the Canandaigua Arts and Music Festival that takes place in Canandaigua down on the lakefront. This also has the same type of idea as the Wine Walk but with greater opportunity for their creativity. They would be able to create their tent in a unique way that would stand out from the others and be able to cater to those who are walking by. Now I do realize that this would cost them money, but in order to make money you have to spend a little first.
Overall, these ideas will help to increase Fiddlehead Concepts awareness in a very positive light. The ideas that should be implemented will work towards spreading the message of the Fiddlehead brand which is a unique and creative service that provides their clients with a fabulous event where everyone leaves with a full stomach. Each idea reiterates the fact that Fiddleheads is already a great company with great owners, but just needs a little expansion in order to become excellent.
Fiddlehead Concepts prides itself in its attention to detail while building strong client relationships, creating unique menus that reflect each individual client, preparing exquisite homemade cuisine featuring local products, and offering more than mere food embellishments such as a floral arrangement and handmade tablecloths, all to frame the food in a unique ambiance.
Check out their Brochure!
The St. John Fisher College Student Government Association is an organization on the campus of the college whose primary goal is to represent student’s needs. Their Mission statement is as follows:
The purpose of the SGA is to represent students in all aspects of college life. It will provide programs, which will satisfy the aspirations of the students and promote better communication between the students, faculty, staff, and administration of the college. It will affiliate and recognize student organizations in an opportunity-filled environment. The SGA will provide appropriate support services for affiliated and recognized groups, in conjunction with the administration of the College. It will appropriate and administer the student activities fee. The SGA will do the utmost to provide for the best interests of students; empowering themselves as well as the student body.
Student Governments in all schools, St. John Fisher College included, are different than other offices on the college campus because they are legally their own separate entity. Because the Student Government is essentially representing the customers (students), they can legally take the college to court. While the communications department cannot sue the college, because they are the college, Student Government is more loosely affiliated with the college and can engage in a law suit against the college. Could you imagine St. John Fisher College vs. St. John Fisher College Student Government?
St. John Fisher College’s Student Government is divided into seven branches.
1. Executive Board
Purpose is to review and coordinate all aspects of the Student Government.
Can veto any other branch
Considered to be the overlying, umbrella branch of the six branches.
Purpose is to discuss, bring up ideas and advocate for the student body (customers)
3. Council of Presidents
Purpose is to give representation to every club
Determines which groups will become a St. John Fisher College Student Government recognized club.
4. Judicial Council
Purpose is to hear and resolve disputes between SGA affiliated clubs and/or members that deal specifically with Student Government and its functions.
5. Finance Committee
Purpose is to manage and allocate the Student Activity Fee.
Examples: Club Budgets, Special Case
6. Class Officers
Purpose is to represent needs and interests of their respective class.
7. Student Activities Board
Purpose is to be the primary source of programing on and off campus.
Examples: Trips, Comedians, speakers, musicians, ect.
The purpose of this White Paper is to show the St. John Fisher College Student Government that they are failing to reach students in certain aspects. This is in turn hindering the completion of their own message which is “to do the utmost to provide for the best interests of students”. The organization needs to learn from tom Kelleher’s Public Relations Online, as many of the concepts would elevate some of the disconnect between the Student Government and their public. Putting functional interactivity and contingency interactivity into action could grossly effect the organization. In addition, developing a stronger sense of face to face communication would also help their overall goal.
-Good purpose and mission for existing (Work similarly to the way that local, state and national governments work for citizens-on their behalf).
-Accomplish significant amount in regards to the duties outlined by the constitution. Some examples in include output of resolutions, the amount of activates held and fair distribution of funds.
-Lack of social media presence. While the organization has a Facebook page and Twitter account, it is used sparingly.
-Website is only a page off of a third party social media tool, which creates significant limitations.
-Organization questions how to connect with students, but knows that it should because they are representing them
-Only partially use third party collegiate link tool because getting students to use another program that they have to sign into is unlikely.
-“Employees” are not compensated for work, so only a certain amount of time can be spent on the Student Government related projects
-Students don’t have a poor view of Student Government, but simply don’t know a lot about the organization
-Develop a “like” Facebook page and a more used Twitter account
-Establish more face to face communication with students, as it is the top way to communicate.
-Apathetic students that do not have an open mind, because the budget that the organization has does not allow for a constant “big name” performers. Also, that sometimes students can’t always get what is desired.
-Uncooperative administration, that doesn’t allow for the wishes of the students to be granted
-Non-affiliated Student Government work/fun. This could include students leaving for the weekend, having homework/job, or going out to a party or a bar.
The Oswego Speedway, also known as the “Steel Palace” was built in 1951, and is located in Oswego, New York. The location used to be an old horse racing track, until its original owners Harry, George, and William Caruso turned it into an auto racing facility. At this time, the track was 3/8 of a mile long and made of dirt. In 1961, it was enlarged to 5/8 of a mile long and the entire thing was paved. Over time, the track has had many renovations and continues to make improvements today to keep it up to state-of-the-art standards. Almost every Saturday of the summer since August 1951, auto races have been held at the track and continue to be held today.
Many race fans within the city of Oswego and even those residing in surrounding cities are regulars at the track each Saturday. Steel grandstands line the front and back of the track making it available to seat 15,000 people. The track is famous for being the “Home of the Supermodifieds”, and it is the only track that runs that type of car on a weekly basis. The speedway is family owned and operated, and is a great place for a race fan to spend the Saturday night!
I chose to do my whitepaper project on this business because it means a lot to my family. My uncle races there each week and has been since he was eighteen years old, and my father has been a crew chief to a former driver there for fifteen years. I remember being a child and going to the races with my family every Saturday night of the summer to support my uncle with my mom, aunt, cousins, and grandparents. The speedway continues to play a part in my life today because I will be working there over the summer.
- Only track for supermodifieds in the area on a weekly basis
- Can seat 15,000 people at once & no assigned seating
- Personable (meet the driver night)
- Social media – have Facebook and Twitter
- Have had racing celebrities in the past
- Paired with local business for sponsors and ticket discounts (discount tickets at Price Chopper)
- Local family owned and operated
- No set price – varies per race
- Dependent on weather – all outside
- Racers need big sponsors to operate a winning car
- Upkeep – clean stands, pit area, and concessions afterward
- Concessions expensive and must be bought there – bag check does not allow any food or drink to be brought in
- Never a set end time – can never estimate how long is it going to take to clean up wrecks, etc.
- Have NASCAR racers more often (possibly one at the season opener and one at the closer, driving experiences)
- Rent the infield out during the week for other events (concerts, charities, etc)
- Concession coupons – “buy one get one free”, “spend $20 and get $5 off”
- Opportunity to move to a better seat – if fan buys a program and the number in the program is called, they can bring their family to watch the remainder of the races in the special box area with air conditioning and free food/drinks
- Other speedways running on same nights & time
- Rough economy = less tickets bought for large families
Plan of Action
“Public Relations Online” by Tom Kelleher talks about the forces that are changing within the public relations field. After reading the book and learning more about news-driven relationships, I have decided that this tactic will work well to help improve the way The Oswego Speedway handles their public relations. Kelleher says in the book that “the whole idea of publicity – getting news out – is sometimes seen as the primary task of public relations.” When it comes to getting news out about the speedway and its events, local newspapers will sometimes cover the story. I think that trying to get in with local news stations such as News 10 Now and WSYR (News Channel 9) will also help the publicity for the speedway. After high school and college sport games in the area, these news stations usually give a recap of the game, or at least give the score of the game. Every Saturday night after the races, they could also name off the drivers that finish in the top five of their feature that night. This would not only keep fans updated if they could not attend, but it also might spark the interest of other people within the area that were unaware of the speedway before. Another thing the news stations could do is cover events, like when celebrity drivers come into town. Before, they could interview one of the owners of the speedway to get more information about what exactly will be going on at the event. After, they could show footage from the event, and possibly even interview the driver that was there that night.
Another idea that could help the “Steel Palace” is for the owners to be more hands-on. They are in attendance for every race that takes place, but they could make their attendance noticed more by the fans. They could go around before and in-between races while the cars are getting lined up, asking the fans how they are doing and if they are satisfied with their experience so far. This would give them the chance to meet fans they never have before, and get a first-hand look at what they should keep or improve.
One more thing I would suggest that the speedway does to attract more attention to it is to have more celebrity drivers, such as those that drive for NASCAR. In the past, the speedway has a driver such as Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne come in every once in a while. I believe that trying to get two drivers a year would boost the interest of those within the community. Each season, they have an opening day race with an opening ceremony, and I think this would be the perfect opportunity to have a celebrity. They could speak at the ceremony and even be a “guest flagger” for the start of the race. At the end of each season, the Classic 500 (which is the largest race of the year) is held. This would also be the perfect opportunity for a celebrity to end the season off right. Before these two races begin, the celebrity drivers could even be available for a meet and greet with the fans, much of whom are regulars to the business. They could also bring in racing celebrities with driving schools owned by former drivers such as The Richard Petty Driving Experience and The Dale Jerrett Racing Adventure for a weekend. This would give fans not only the chance to meet the legends, but also give them the opportunity to buy time to have a professional drive them around in an actual race car at top speeds.
Although the Oswego Speedway is involved within the social media circle with their Facebook and Twitter pages, I feel they could also become a little more involved with the technology that is changing public relations. They could do this by creating a blog and having it available on their website. The blogs could give inside information during the races and then at the end of each race night, recap what happened. This would give fans the opportunity to become more involved in the racing experience by writing posts (saying who they think should have won, etc). According to Kelleher’s book “Public Relations Online,” a blog is “a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks…” I think a blog is the perfect way to keep the true fans involved and updated.
Wegmans is a widely popular grocery store with locations in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. With the companies focus on bringing high quality food and supreme customer service, Wegmans has becomes one of the most popular grocery stores located in upstate New York.
The store was originally founded in 1916 by the brothers Walter and John Wegman. The store quite simply began as a produce push cart and through the years expanded to include frozen foods, meats, groceries, dairy products, and baked goods. As expansion continued, the company began savings incentives for customers, opened pharmacies within the stores, offered scholarships to employees, and began donating tremendous amounts of money to the needy. Today Wegmans has over 25,000 employees and has been named to Fortune Magazine’s “Top 100 Companies To Work For” list for multiple years in a row.
The reason for this white paper is despite the many achievements and successes the company has, I believe there is still room for improvement. Wegmans would benefit from many of the concepts Tom Kelleher highlights in his book Public Relations Online. Concepts such as contingency interactivity could easily be applied to the company. Also, improvement on their commerce-driven Web page would be extremely beneficial to the company.
- Wegmans places strong emphasis on the customers wants and needs
- Regularly give back to the community by donating money and goods
- Website is up to date with current information, product prices, store locations, recipes and “how to” videos
- Have an active Twitter account which is constantly being updated
- Have an active Facebook account which is constantly being updated
- Haven’t done anything entirely unique in terms of connecting to customers. With the budget, resources, and employment numbers, this is the type of company that should be connecting differently somehow.
- The newly popular social media site Pinterest would be a perfect way for Wegmans to connect with customers on an entirely new level.
- There has been slightly controversy in regards to Pinterest and copyright laws highlighted in the media.
Plan Of Action
The first thing to do would be create a Pinterest account. Secondly, it is necessary to begin recruiting followers and following people so the content being posted does not go unseen. Then, it would be important to upload Wegmans own content and pictures of different items. Categories could be “Fruits and Veggies,” “Baked Goods,” and “Creative Recipes.” Wegmans could upload pictures of all items which could be purchased within the stores. With appealing and attractive photographs users are likely to “repin” the content to their own page. An advantage with Pinterest is if the user is interested in a particular picture they can click on it and it will link them back to the original source. This would help increase traffic to Wegmans main website.
Having a strong presence on Pinterest would also help increase awareness of Wegmans to spread across the United States instead of just the North Eastern part of the country. Pinterest users age and location range from all over the spectrum and all over the globe. Pinterest would also allow Wegmans to connect with customers on a different level because Pinterest encourages one to focus on a lifestyle, tastes, and interests rather than only pushing a product. By promoting lifestyle you promote products. It is important to not turn it into a catalog feel but rather evoke a certain feel when people view the Wegmans Pinterest page. If they add humor and life to the content they are pinning then it will maintain that Wegmans is not just a faceless money-hungry company.
Once a strong presence is established Wegmans could then take it one step further and hold a Pinterest event for an anniversary of Wegmans or even events possibly titled, “Happy Holidays,” “Splash of Summer Fun,” or “Smashing Summer Kick-off.” This virtual event would be held on a specific date for a designated amount of time. Wegmans could post content relating to the event theme. Coupons and prizes would given to those that “repinned” certain content to their pages. Wegmans could open it so users can submit their own recipes and photographs of food which has been purchased from Wegmans. One winner will be selected and their recipe will be printed in the next issue of Menu magazine. Incentives such as anyone who begins following Wegmans Pinterest page on the event day can get a special 10% off coupon of select items. This event would be advertized through other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and phone apps. The idea of the event is to create an online atmosphere for those individuals who are not regular Wegmans shoppers.
Another idea for the online events includes having customers take pictures of actual products which they have purchased from Wegmans. After they take a picture of the products they can Pin it to Pinterest. Wegmans could make it a contest which would include users creating a “Wegmans Board.” In this board they would post the pictures of their Wegmans purchased products and try and come up with a clever board title name. Whoever had the most creative and filled board could win a months worth of free groceries. This takes the interactivity with consumers to a new level. The customers are purchasing products, taking pictures, positing it online and then distributing the information.
The previously stated idea directly connects with this concept which is discussed in Kelleher’s book. Contingency interactivity is a process which involves users, media and messages. It stresses the importance of communication roles which can be interchangeable in order to maximize interactivity. The sender can become the receiver and vice versa.
By utilizing a platform such as Pinterest, Wegmans would be exhibiting the concept of contingency interactivity. On Pinterest users are able to add to the content being shared by pinning, and receiving content by repinning other peoples content. The conversational flow is in continuos motion over an extended period of time.
Web 2.0 is defined as a website that facilitates interaction, participant collaboration, and information sharing. Wegmans does a fairly good job of utilizing a Web 2.0 format. However, if Wegmans had a presence on Pinterest then their interaction, participant collaboration, and information sharing would dramatically increase. Pinterest allows communication between the company and its consumer to flourish which is great for Wegmans public relations.
Wegmans has done and continues to do an outstanding job in terms of the companies public relations department. Wegmans is aware that their customers have a voice and are interested in connecting with their audience in as many ways as possible. This is why utilizing the new social media site, Pinterest, would be extremely beneficial for the company. Pinterest would allow Wegmans to promote a lifestyle which can be achieved through the purchase of their products, connect on a personal level to the users, and converse in a more comfortable and laid back setting. Pinterest is the new spark that Wegmans needs to take their current public relations plan to the next level.
I chose to do my white paper on my brother-in-laws small side business that he decided to start. He noticed that whenever you buy an apple product, Ipad, Ipod, or Iphone, it doesn’t come with anything to clean the screen with, so he developed a micro-fiber cloth that you are able to purchase from his website ipadcleaningcloth.com. You can order the cloths individually or in bulk. Business’s are able to get their own personal logo put onto the cloths as well. SWOT Analysis
- Informative Website: His website is very easy to navigate and find what you are looking for. He developed the website and used search engine optimization so when you type anything into google about finding something to clean your screen with, his product is one of the first listed in the google search.
- Social Media: Active on Twitter and Facebook.
- Small advertisement budget
- Advertising his product through apps
- Expanding the product- different colors to meet different consumers needs. Ex.) has begun to develope neon color cloths to meet a younger consumers needs. Developing new products that go a long with the cloths like stylists pens for the screens.
- There are a lot of competitors- Toddy Gear– multimillionaire- same idea with the ipad cloths: “Brand your toddy.”Ultimate Cloth is another competitor- the product is easy to duplicate. A lot of products tend to fail and thats why its necessary for there to be something unique and special about your product.
My Plan Of Action:
Many of my thoughts on to how the use of Public Relations can help IpadCleaningCloth to make it even more successful have been influenced by the book “Public Relations Online” by Tom Keheller. I think that one of the concepts that Kelleher emphasizes in the book is “News- Driven Relationships.” I think that one of the most important things when you have a new product you’ve developed is getting a big buzz about it, and a great way to do that is through the news. Bobby actually was interviewed by YNN news when he first came up with the idea to start selling this product.
Kelleher also emphasizes consumer- generated media and how that can increase awareness through consumers. The way you do this is through blogs and rating sites. When I was talking to Bobby about his business, he mentioned wanting to start putting up blogger reviews and wanted to get something on his website where consumers could get feedback on the product right then and there. He has actually recently added video’s onto his website of professional bloggers saying comments about his product.
Other idea’s include staying interactive with his consumers. For example, things like sending $5 thank you cards to people/business’s that purchase his product can go a long way. Also developing a way to get his presence more well known among business’s since thats where the business has really begun to take off. I thought of the idea to make a cloth folded up with his business information on it so that whenever he gave someone his “business card” they were also getting one of his products.
Increase Marketability with a Celebrity:
Have a well known celebrity promote the product or make it so every time there is a cleaning cloth purchased ten cents goes to some sort of foundation to help people
For my white paper project, I picked one of my favorite organizations in the world, New Jersey radio station WFMU. They are what is called a free-form radio station, which means that the music heard on the radio station is what the DJ wants to play, rather than playing music that is selling well online or whatever happens to be hot. This makes them a unique entity on the radio dial, since you really never know what you’ll hear when you tune in. Indie and classic rock, experimental music, jazz, classical, call-in talk shows, dance music, and the list of the genres that WFMU spans goes on. One thing you will not hear on WFMU is commercials. They are completely listener-supported, and raise their entire operating funds through pledge-drives and an annual record fair, where they sell off LPs and CDs from their expansive collection when they have duplicates. All of the DJs are unpaid volunteers. WFMU has an astounding internet presence, carrying live feeds of what the main station is playing, plus another live feed that specializes in jazz, and another that specializes in world music. They communicate with Facebook and Twitter, have message boards for each show where listeners can comment in real time with the DJ while they see the playlist update, a blog, and they operate the web’s largest depository of free, copyright-free music. Although you can see they might not need suggestions that they may not need additional suggestions about using the internet to get their name further out there, the mere fact that not a lot of people have heard of WFMU means that there is more work to be done.
-WFMU makes their financial goals to operate and improve the station reliably each year.
-WFMU is critically acclaimed, and legendary artists such as Matt Groening and Lou Reed have publicly stated their love for the station.
-WFMU plays groundbreaking music around the clock and has a strong ability to get popular artists in to record a live session for the station.
-WFMU facilitates dialog with listeners and artists through numerous channels on the internet.
-WFMU is not as well known outside the New York City/North New Jersey area as it is within them.
-A lot of the music WFMU plays has very little commercial potential.
-The lack of finances to distribute to the various shows can limit production values.
-WFMU has very little name recognition as a radio station, or as an online music streaming service.
-WFMU can garner more listeners. More listeners can lead to more donations which can help the station add new web services, and better equipment.
-WFMU could add new events to raise funds for their station.
-Although they don’t believe in advertising too much, WFMU could get the word out about their station through guerilla marketing campaigns.
-Most threats to WFMU come from their competition, corporate radio, NPR stations and college radio stations.
-Companies that purchase radio station chains can be seen as a threat, as the owners and fans of WFMU like the independent listener-supported status, and would not like to see that change.
The first part of my plan for WFMU is to increase the interaction with their mobile streaming app with Facebook and Twitter. When a song someone likes appears, and the user clicks “like” or “share” it should be able to show up on their social networking site of their choice and allow a friend who views the post to be able to listen to that song also.
The app that allows users to stream the radio station and its sub-channels to listen to and comment upon the music being played could add a “player” for the giant free music archive that all users have access to. Possibly set up a light app that allows a user to shuffle, mix and download songs from the massive library to their computer or mobile device.
There are a few early morning slots when the station has no DJ present where the station broadcasts archival material. This could be replaced by a web-based script that can be accessed by the streaming mobile app also that presents a list of songs to vote on by the listeners. If there are not a significant amount of listeners listening at that hour, one single person could conceivably be the sole DJ that the rest of the world gets to listen to at that hour.