December 12, 2017

Five Key Lessons Shared Between Non-Profits and Franchise Businesses

Recently, I’ve had some very honest and candid chats with some national non-profit leaders about the future of fundraising. Simultaneously, I’ve been talking with local franchise owners about the greatest challenges they face — regarding everything from communications to operations.
As it turns out, their challenges and struggles echoed each other. Be it easing cultural tensions, improving communication, encouraging mission alignment, or fostering consistency, many of the same issues keep them up at night. Between the two segments, I’ve distilled some parallels and will outline here five key lessons that local franchise owners can learn from national non-profit leaders.
1. Everyone can fund raise, but not everyone is a fundraiser.
To be a skilled fundraiser takes training and practice. Just because someone has the desire to go out and raise money, does not ensure they will be successful. Even if they are successful, it doesn’t guarantee that the success will be sustainable. Instead, train your people for the skills you need. Training should happen every time someone joins, but should also be on-going. Teaching the skills needed enables both success and sustainability.
2. It’s critical to connect people to your mission.
For non-profits, connecting people to their mission is the key to keeping the lights on. When individuals and corporations believe what you’re doing matters, then they show their support through donations and gifts. However, as more and more non-profits develop and ask for donations, the mission becomes a critical differentiator between them and their competition. Likewise, as the number of businesses increase and therefor competition, why you do what you do becomes as important as how you do it or what you offer. Know your mission, live your mission, and clearly communicate your mission so others can align with you.
3. Plan on people making it personal.
The more people invest in something, the more it matters to them. This investment could be time, money or both. Whether it’s the woman who dedicates hours volunteering for a cause because she or a family member is affected by a disease, or the husband and wife team who poured their retirement savings into buying into a franchise store. When it matters, it becomes personal. Channeling this passion can be an organization’s greatest challenge. To do so, give people a chance to express themselves. Listen as they express their concerns or share their ideas. Empower people to use their passions and motivations in creative ways. Give them a platform and the support needed to plan their Do-It-Yourself fundraiser, or design their own local marketing outreach. Yet, be clear and direct in policies and procedures so they know where the boundaries are.
4. Think global, act local.
The best executives always remember that for both non-profits and franchises, many of the most critical decisions happen quickly and at the local level. It’s easy to fall back on the national name recognition and forget about how stressful the small business environment can be. It’s tough! But, always remember to prioritize your goals, and work toward reaching one goal before moving on to the rest.
5. Incentivize initiative and show your appreciation.
Above all else, remember to say thank you. Be it volunteers or franchisees, expressing your gratitude matters. And it’s usually the little things that mean the most. A coffee mug filled with chocolates, a t-shirt with a note, these small things let the individual know that their hard work is noticed and appreciated. You can even set incentive levels to reward good work along the way. However, be weary of saying thanks with things. If you go too far and give someone too nice of a gift, it makes the whole experience transactional, cheapens it, and demotivates. Instead to motivate employees, thank then sincerely and frequently with small, appropriately sized gifts.
Though I never recognized it, the similarities between the national non-profit and the franchise business models are striking. Both have a national brand supported by local factions, yet, though connected by name, these chapters or stores often operate independently. So, it makes sense that they share similar struggles. All of these listed takeaways represent real organizational challenges for both non-profits and franchise businesses. They are all primarily people concerns and every organization will benefit from realizing it’s living, breathing, human value.
Jane Broadbent
Senior Strategist

November 21, 2017

Lottery Scratchers Aren’t for Playing, but for Giving

Like every other retail brand that ever was or will be, the holidays are traditionally a peak sales time for the Virginia Lottery. Of course, Lottery loyalists will be buying holiday-themed Scratchers and raffle tickets with a $1 million payout, but the gift-giving nature of the season presents an opportunity to gain interest from new players who want to get in on the fun.
This year’s holiday campaign for the Virginia Lottery aims to drive both loyal and new player segments to try Lottery Holiday games. So, with our knowledge of traditional player habits and holiday shopping behaviors, we zeroed in on appealing to gift givers. And we did so by positioning Scratchers as the ultimate holiday gift, not to receive or play, but to give.
Our “Win the Holidays” campaign for the Virginia Lottery is all about the feeling you get when you give someone Scratchers. The campaign title itself refers to the idea that you “win the holidays” by giving Scratchers, not by playing them.
This focus on giving allowed us to deviate from the usual comedic tone of the television spots we produce (and totally enjoy producing) for the Lottery, and inspired us to create a narrative that’s more emotionally charged.
The campaign’s two television spots and one digital video feature people of different backgrounds in different scenarios “giving the gift of joy” by giving holiday Scratchers. Scratchers are shown tied to dog bones and mistletoe, left on doormats and office desks, and passed out to family members, parking attendants, hairstylists, etc. Every scenario captures a moment of joy from the giver and receiver.
The spot also features a cameo appearance by actor Jason Kypros of Norfolk, also known as the Virginia Lottery’s Game Guy.

We know a lottery Scratcher isn’t an Apple watch or tickets to Hamilton, but that’s part of their charm. “Win the Holidays” celebrates the idea that a Scratcher can make people feel good by simply acting as a symbol of appreciation.
This campaign does a lot of hard work for the Lottery brand, almost acting as a holiday brand anthem. It positions the Virginia Lottery in a feel-good, emotional light that we think will cut through the holiday clutter and, of course, sell Lottery Scratchers.
Profits from holiday sales, like all Lottery games, benefit K-12 public education in Virginia – another thing we can all feel good about.
See our complete Giving the Gift of Joy holiday campaign for the Virginia Lottery, here.

May 23, 2017

Location, Location, Location-Based Marketing in Retail

The “Location-Based Marketing in Retail Roundup” was published by eMarketer in April. You can request a copy of it here. If you are not already a subscriber you'll have to provide some contact info.
The research in this “roundup" marks a continuation of the industry trends we’ve seen over the past couple of years and validates a lot of the forecasts we’ve been tracking as well.

What are the major components of mobile and location-based marketing in 2017?

A Mobile-First Customer Strategy:
This goes far beyond a mobile-friendly design of websites and email. Those things must be taken for granted at this point. We are seeing a mobile majority online.
Understand the Customer’s In-Store Needs:
These can be tied to the mobile device in the form of personalization, mobile pay, order ahead, in-store pickup and location-based offers.
Relevant and Useful Public Information:
Location-based marketing in the form of current and clear public information in maps, listings, reviews, search and social can put your brand in a prominent position while the customer is researching away from your store or your people. You have to convince them you are able to address their need before you ever have an opportunity to actually address that need.
Some Early Trends to Watch:
Retailers that have ironed out their mobile customer culture are looking to new ideas and finding opportunity with beacons for store perimeter marketing. At this phase, they are still “marginally valuable to the customer.” So if the rest of the mobile marketing house is not in order, they are not a practical focus of attention.
In-store augmented reality falls into this bucket as well. The roundup describes how Bloomingdale’s invented a SnapChat treasure hunt following the Pokémon Go craze that was an unbridled success. When you’re doing so much else correctly, you are free to be brilliant. But these trends should not be an operational focus if there are more systemic issues to be addressed.

Barber Martin’s POV

The major conclusion is that physical stores are important and can be a significant competitive advantage at retail, despite what we’re seeing with struggling brick-and-mortar brands and the fading “indoor mall” location strategy. It seems logical that a variety of stores all right next to each other would simplify shopping and facilitate fairly quick comparison buying. But the physical store is totally optional for the research-shopping experience today. And relative to online research, it’s inefficient. This phase of purchase consideration has largely been extricated from the physical world.
However, people are still going to stores and prefer them across a variety of categories when it comes time to make the purchase.
This means that when customers show up at the store, they’re much more ready to convert and they’ve already made a lot of decisions, narrowing their consideration to a very limited set of options. A customer that walks in the door is a much better informed consumer and a much more intentional shopper. Sales staff is not likely to add significant value beyond a point of view to the in-store offerings and locating the items.
One survey in the eMarketer roundup said that by 2020 most shoppers will say they want to be totally left alone to do their own thing while in the store.
In-store purchasing dominates by large margins for high dollar items like cars, appliances and jewelry. The preference for in-store transaction still beats digital purchasing across all categories except books, toys and games and entertainment. This is surprising given how apparent the rise of ecommerce and mobile marketing has become.
The clear variance comes when the same questions are asked to customers segmented by age. Only those over 60 said they preferred in-store shopping. All other age groups prefer the shopping experience online, just short of buying. Only those in the youngest segment, ages 18-29, said they prefer to do the majority of their shopping online, and of that set, only those age 21-29 said they preferred shopping on a mobile device.
Keeping an eye on these industry trends over the past many years allows us to distill a few clear observations:
1. It is apparent that location is still crucial to the purchase experience across all channels – even with the most digitally inclined consumers.
2. The trends that favor new behaviors and emerging technology accelerate younger, and what younger people do today informs what older people are more likely to do tomorrow.
So if location strategy can be a significant advantage at retail and almost all of the pre-transaction homework is done on a whim across a variety of connected devices, we can safely conclude that we should no longer speak of “brick and mortar vs. ecommerce” but will more reasonably see things in terms of the reorganization and total integration of online and offline into one consumer experience.
This realization points to the rise of mobile payment and shopping lists as well as store location floor maps to allow the customer to manage the shopping experience via mobile device, preserving total customer control of the whole process.
Brands may have fewer locations or more minimized real estate, but the sales per square foot will be a leading metric and the locations must perform. We’re likely seeing the sun set on terms like “mobile customer” and “digital marketing.” It’s just customers and marketing because these things are embedded into the total experience.
If all of these elements are well designed, the purchase process matures before the customer visits the store. They may order ahead, knowing they can pick up at the counter and in turn use the time they are saving to browse or try new things in store. The store visit is now a lower funnel process with opportunity to upsell or increase cart size, only after winning the right to transact in the first place!
This means that the impulse shopping and the consideration mindset is back, but only if the store has earned it by meeting the prioritized need and supporting the easy purchase. By providing that value, the store has drawn the customer’s casual interest and increased the likelihood of a larger cart by saving or even creating time for the customer to “shop” in the more traditional sense.
By delivering a good mobile strategy for an integrated experience in store, the retailer is now driving traffic again, because more customers will come to that store for a better experience while the competition suffers and wonders why. There will always be niche exceptions, but retail brands with strong brick and mortar will have to earn consideration and capture purchase intention online to succeed.
Jeff Smack
Director of Interactive Media

April 20, 2017

The Big Pig Project is this Saturday, April 22!

The Big Pig Project is this spring's premier block party in Scott's Addition. Co-hosted by Lunch & Supper and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond, it's a BBQ festival of delicious food, country music and community at Lunch & Supper on Summit Avenue. Throughout the day, a queue of one-of-a-kind hand-painted concrete pigs will be auctioned off benefitting the Ronald McDonald House.

Barber Martin contributed a pig for auction, and we are a sponsor of the event and have been partnering with the Ronald McDonald House for five years. Now that we've set the level on all of that, we'd like to unveil our beautiful pig and tell you a bit about it.

This work of art is a true collaboration of many artists. We zoned off different neighborhoods and each one was claimed by a different Barber Martin artist from across all disciplines of the agency. Accounts, accounting, media, creative, get the idea. Everybody got involved in some way to bring her to life.

We hope to see you in Scott's Addition on Saturday.

Event details can be found on this page of the Ronald McDonald House website or over here on the Facebook event page.


April 6, 2017

Barber Martin Loves Virginia

A new LOVE sign was unveiled this past Tuesday morning at Virginia's Weight of the State conference. And Barber Martin Agency designed and produced it!
We loved the opportunity of creating the sign. It started with sketches and a lot of phone calls and then took off. Thanks to sculptors Eric Stepp, Ian Gamble and Jessica Dodd for bringing the idea to life!
The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth presented the sign to the First Lady and the Governor of Virginia as a gesture of thanks for everything they do to help bridge the nutritional divide and end childhood hunger in our state.

The sign will travel the state making appearances to bring awareness for children's health through increased access to healthy foods and promote Virginia-grown agriculture.
Check out our instagram feed for another shot. And visit the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth's Facebook to see more photos from the conference and the unveiling.


February 27, 2017

Specialty Retailers — Tap Into the "Network Effect"

Why turn to Amazon instead of ordering products from specialty brands you love? Trust. By now, you probably trust Amazon. While they don’t sell everything, they very likely sell something close at a few different price points. Amazon has found a way to be at the front of the consumer’s mind before they even consider the next purchase. Not to mention the convenience of research experience and fast, cheap (or free) shipping.
These factors contribute to the surprising fact that 58% of people make the majority of their purchases with Amazon.* So what is a specialty retailer to do?
Adrien Nussenbaum, the U.S. CEO of Mirakl, digs into this for an article on Chain Store Age. He reminds us of ways that specialty brands with physical stores can gain an edge with their customers against the giant, Amazon.
Specialty brands should remember the importance of leveraging brick-and-mortar as an asset for opportunity, instead of a liability of overhead.
Brands need to be inventive to establish stores as a destination. They can do this by offering the customer a bigger reason to visit that doesn't hinge on simple "product for price" transaction. Nussenbaum explains that tying this approach to location to online community of people with lifestyles relating closely to the brand can create a “network effect.” Customers connect with each other at the store and share a connection with the brand. This leads to brand loyalty and involvement among individuals but also anchors a community.
Specialty brands are much better positioned to connect to passionate and interested people in niche communities. Open-minded leaders in niche retail must find the right mix of resources and strategy using location and experiences to connect with customers. And more importantly to connect customers to each other through the brand.
Here are a few examples of specialty, niche or hyperlocal brands making it work:
Lululemon offers their customers in-store yoga flow classes on Savasana Sunday.
REI encourages their people to "Opt Outside" and offers a variety of “skills classes."
Sur La Table offers cooking classes that are searchable by location and culinary styles
• Richmond’s own Carytown Bikes offers community rides every week at two different levels of intensity.
All of these examples allow customers some flexibility to join an event that fits their life and connect with the community and the expertise of the brands.
*Mintel — Online And Mobile Shopping, US
Emily Mondloch
Market Research & Insights
Jeff Smack
Director of Interactive Media

October 10, 2016

Zappos Builds Community Through Local Art

While many retailers are shifting to be more locally minded, Zappos goes further by investing in community through corporate values and creative expression.

Partnering with Beautify Earth, Zappos has launched a multi-city mural project. Local artists were commissioned to interpret one of the company's ten core values and translate it into a sizable mural.

Zappos is no stranger to innovation. However, neighborhood revitalization through art is a new approach for them. Bringing beauty into communities can stimulate local economies through an increase in community pride and participation in the project.

Murals were created in areas with the most enthusiastic Zappos shoppers. Some of the communities included Miami, Baltimore, Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, NYC, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The murals tie into a larger mission, the "Downtown Project" which was designed to restore the community culture in Zappos’ hometown, Las Vegas.

Engaging local communities through shared experience is a growing trend in retail. Brands are creating community hubs for socialization through events and through comfortable spaces that promote interaction. BUT standing up for communities and bringing them alive through art and creative culture is truly genuine, serving business and marketing goals in the margins.

Displaying values over product is something Zappos has termed an “experimental strategy”. They hope to build brand by showing heart. This smart retail authenticity is becoming more of the expectation from the younger market base.

Zappos' goal is to be viewed as more than a company that sells shoes. Creatively shaking things up may allow them to bolster a very human element of the brand.

Note: Respecting rights to photography and art, the image that heads this post is a stock image. Please check out Beautify Earth or #zapposart on Instagram to see more of the project.

Andrea Neudecker
BMA Millennial Marketer

September 1, 2016

Apple Makes Changes, Emphasizes Local

Apple, a company that is synonymous with “cult” following and total lifestyle integration, is taking steps to still further emphasize experience is an offering and strengthen their customer relationships.

The brand is dropping "Store" from "Apple Store." This adjustment aligns with a shift in the retail focus from "stores" as a shopping experience to "Apple" as a community hub for exploring, learning, sharing, and yes, shopping.

The minor phrase change hints at bigger changes coming. While dropping the “Store”, they are adding the location name (i.e. Apple Short Pump, or Apple Union Station). This change is intended to emphasize a ubiquitous brand with a local community focus.

Changes to the flow and atmosphere are in the works as well. Adding more seating and ditching the standard genius bar, will allow people to hang out and comfortably spend more time in the space. Microsoft and Apple (stores) are looking pretty similar these days, possibly part of the trigger for Apple to pivot with this new  locally focused brand tweak.

In addition to the nuance of the brand considerations and the reduction of wordcount, this change also makes a ton of sense in light of the increasing significance of online business listings and the importance of local results and maps in online search.

Facebook quietly rolled out an early iteration of their own local business “Services” search a few months ago and in doing so will be autogenerating listings based on existing location data. Google autogenerates listing pages for businesses as well. It’s then up to the business to claim, correct and streamline the information across locations.

As mobile traffic continues to dominate, location listings become more important. A user on a mobile device doesn’t want to learn about pizza. They want to order one from somewhere nearby.

Apple positions itself really well for a streamlined brand vocabulary between mobile customers and search engines with this change. We haven’t found anything that points to this as a reason for the semantic shift but it does seem to foresee that additional value to brand experience.

Andrea Neudecker
BMA Millennial Marketer

Jeff Smack
Digital Communications Director

June 16, 2016

Think Small – Big Brands Can Connect Locally

In a hyper-connected world, life can become very impersonal.

That’s why big brands are starting to think locally, providing a smaller, more personal experience.

Small local shops and big brands each have their own strengths, typically in different areas, making competition between the two difficult.

Local stores are often more intrinsically connected to an area, carrying more credibility and a genuine awareness.

Big brands, on the other hand, have a greater scale, a defined process and more equity.

But, can’t a business have both a high level of personal connectivity and large scale? Some big businesses seem to think so, and they’re doing it quite well.

Most Lululemon locations engage customers by pushing product aside and offering a free “sweat with us” option. Whether it’s free yoga, meditation, or a circuit training class, they provide an experience. They build brand, putting relationships first in a very customer-centric way. REI and Starbucks take this experiential approach as well.

Some Chick-fil-A locations around Virginia offer free balloon animals and face painting for kids on a monthly basis. This earns repeat visits on those days from young families. In turn, the experience creates a tiny bit of community in an otherwise mass-scale, quick-serve environment.

Large or small, retailers are learning to provide greater connection through better experiences. Incorporating the local store sensibility by bringing a more personal feel to the business makes a big brand more human. Higher levels of engagement help brands become a living part of that community and a bigger part of customers’ lives.

November 23, 2015

"Amazon Prime Now" is live in Richmond

The online mega retailer has kicked off their quick and local delivery service, Amazon Prime Now, in a handful of markets. Most recently Richmond Virginia and Nashville Tennessee were added to the list. This model takes “Amazon Same-Day” shipping to the next level with a more limited product offering, 2 hour delivery, scheduled drop-offs, or 1-hour delivery at a premium.

This past weekend was its first in about 50 Richmond area zip codes, delivering everything from groceries, to electronics, to pet supplies.

Amazon’s evolution seems paradoxical at times. Earlier this month they launched brick and mortar bookstores, targeting millennials. However, the retail mammoth continues to unlock business opportunity by understanding customer needs and defining user experiences.

How will this venture impact the local retail ecosystem in Prime Now markets? Can local retail offer more in terms of experience to compete with the convenience?

While many stores will close shop for the day, Prime Now will operate on Thanksgiving. And as Amazon vies for more mindshare with the shopping public going into the holidays, might this localized expansion serve to grease the wheels of more early online shopping with Amazon?

We’ll continue to observe with interest and would love to know your thoughts on the subject.

bma_2.2 colored badges wide-01



1408a Roseneath Road
Richmond, Virginia 23230



Smiley faceSmiley faceSmiley faceSmiley face