Friday, January 14, 2011

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Preserve!!

The Preserve toothbrush isn’t anything special in itself.  It’s got a nice shape and the bristles are soft enough nylon, some good colors too (dark blue!) but there are so many other reasons to love about my Preserve Toothbrush.

A toothbrush, you may ask?  How can you love your toothbrush?  Well, let me state the ways.

There are many reasons why I love it but lets start with their ‘green’ sustainable packaging!!  The Preserve Toothbrush packaging that sits on-shelf at my Whole Foods is the exact packaging that, following my 3-month use, I utilize as a ‘mailer’ to send back the toothbrush to Preserve.  BACK?  Did she say, “BACK?”  Yes, I said back because the packaging that you purchase your toothbrush in is the same package that you use to return the brush to Preserve for recycling! 

Isn’t that dynamic?  Preserve Toothbrush is not only sustainable in that they are made from 100% recycled yogurt cups, they may very well be the only product that is returned for recycling via US MAIL - how cool is that?  They are leveraging the energy expended already by the US Mail, an organization that comes to each of our homes daily, to reduce the environmental impact of transportation retrieving their product for recycling!

See the 'BUSINESS REPLY LABEL'?  no postage necessary!! 

Lets recap the main reasons I love Preserve:
1.     Love that they actually recycle toothbrushes!!  They are the only toothbrushes on the market that’s recyclable!
2.     Love the ‘on-shelf/return mailer’ package!
3.     Love the use of recycled Yogurt cups!
4.     Love their utilization of transportation that’s already in use- our own US Postal service!
5.     Love that they actually use the recycled toothbrushes for park benches!

Now the minor reasons why I love Preserve:
1.     Prefer their on-shelf package to a toothbrush that has a ‘carrying case’! 
2.     I still love my Sonic-Care toothbrush too but I need to use a ‘manual’ brush to rinse anyway so Preserve is perfect for the rinse cycle!

And, one other great product benefit I forgot to mention:  My dog Taiga LOVES them and uses them to brush his teeth.  I give Taiga my toothbrush after 3 months use and he loves it!  He brushes his teeth, and then leaves the Preserve on the floor ready for me to recycle!  I’m certain the Preserve people wonder why my toothbrushes are so ‘chewed up’!!  Want to see The Taig in action with my Preserve?

Thank you Preserve.  Thanks for the great product, thanks for thinking about the environment and a big thanks from Taiga!  Ruff, ruff!!  I hope more consumer product companies follow your lead!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Starbucks are you GREEN? OR are you capitalizing on your SLIPPAGE?

Starbuck's latest mailer.
I have to admit, I have a latte problem- I just don’t feel comfortable at my desk in the morning unless I have a latte in hand.  I’m not brand loyal to coffee, but I do enjoy a good cup IF I don’t have to go out of my way.  A few weeks ago I got a $55. Parking ticket as I talked to a baby at my local coffee shop (World Grounds, Oakland) and I didn’t want that to happen again so my local Oakland shop loses so I can drive where the parking is free…Starbucks!

Knowing that I planned to go to Starbucks at least 4x a week, I signed up for their ‘Gold Card’.  Unlike their other membership card (the one I paid $25. for and liked better!!), Starbucks changed to the ‘Gold Card’ – personalized with your name- for loyal consumers like me!  The Gold Card allows me to get free soy milk, free coffee refills, a free drink on my birthday and a free drink after I’ve collected 15 stars.  Makes me happy, I think.

I’m not enamored by the ‘buy 15, get one free’ offer.  Fifteen is a LOT of lattes, but it’s Starbucks so it’s expected that the reward threshold would be high.  What really bothers me and the sole reason I’m even writing this blog post is this:  when you qualify for your FREE drink from your 15 ‘buy’s, you get a postcard in the mail.  The postcard explains that you must have this printed postcard in hand at Starbucks to get the free drink!!  AND there is an expiration date on the postcard so you must use it quick!

HUH??  Why is this?  Starbucks knows who I am, they know my name in every store, and they know what I drink everyday.  I have their App telling me my ‘Gold Card’ balance in real time, my drink recipe, locations of the closest Starbucks based on my GPS, so why do I need a printed card to redeem my free ‘reward’ drink or my free ‘birthday’ drink?  Why doesn’t Starbucks Reward program electronically add my ‘free reward’ onto my ‘Gold Card’ to make it simple and easy to redeem?  My little local Coffee shop gives you a card with a bar code that they scan to register your purchases to offer free beverages too.  They don’t send you a postcard.  They scan and then tell you your eligible.  So, why doesn’t the largest coffee company in the world offer the same customer convenience as the small mom and pop shop?  Slippage, people, slippage. 

Slippage is when retailers offer consumers something for free during a promotion but the consumer doesn’t redeem.  This is the ultimate little coup.  The company offers you benefits to purchase but if you don’t redeem the reward, the company doesn't have to pay out!  They win double!!  They got you to take advantage of their offer (purchase) but when you fail to use their ‘postcard’ to redeem, they won again.  Pretty smart, eh?

But, so what if Starbucks wins twice.  Its not the end of my world and will not alter my life, however, its not their ridiculous offer of one free latte after 15 latte purchases (that offer is almost laughable, certainly gratuitous), what really frustrates me is that Starbucks would rather print and send out thousands of these postcards just to gain slippage then go the easy, direct, most green method of reward transfer and the method I’m sure a majority of their customers prefer, electronic transfer.  I’m not happy that Starbucks prefers to cut down trees and expend energy just so they don’t have to redeem their lowly consumer offer so I took a further look at their policies. 

I visited the Starbucks website and viewed their ‘responsibility page’ where they tout their ‘goals and progress’,  On this site they claim commitment to doing business responsibly for forty years.  They even have a scorecard you can download.  They have all kinds of community involvement projects, environment stewardship and ethical sourcing.  What they don’t have and what they don’t claim, is they don’t activate minor actions that could immediately make a difference.  Things like electronic rewards instead of postcards, compostable cups, (been to NYC at 5:30?  Seen all those bags of trash?  How many bags of trash a day is Starbucks generating everyday on this planet??!!), recycling bins in all stores, to name a few.  These things seem so easy to do and if Starbucks were committed, as they claim they are, they would be doing EVERYTHING they can to be environmentally friendly.

Big changes can come from lots of small efforts.  Starbucks, stop wasting the postcards and start providing your rewards electronically.  Then, maybe, just maybe, Howard Schultz’s Great Great Great Grandchildren will have trees too!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Socialnomics is a Great Entry Book for Social Media Marketing

But don't take my word for it:

"Most people with a pulse can tell you that Facebook and Twitter are all the rage, but Socialnomics drives it home with detailed examples from organizations that have embraced social media and found huge success (Obama’s campaign detailed in Chapter 4), to companies that have missed the boat (see Hasbro’s Scrabble incident in Chapter 7).  It’s interesting stories like these that really drive home how powerful social media can be when taken seriously."

"In Socialnomics, the book, Erik goes into how social media has allowed the average person to have a say with regard to products or services he or she may be interested in, or critical of. More importantly, he goes into how businesses can use social media to become more relevant.
Businesses that do not engage their customers and ignore them online will do so at their own peril. Prior to Internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, the only way to reach potential customers were though mediums that interrupted them — billboard, radio commercials, TV, and direct mail. Consumers are not paying attention to these mediums and are giving much more credence to what other consumers are saying about products and services." writer Laura Betterly

"Erik puts it all in context in the first 3 chapters and explains how social media is not a “time suck” or an insane distraction – as some of us initially thought, myself included – but rather a more efficient and deeper way to communicate.
I found myself nodding along the whole way, and really seeing the bigger picture – outside of online business and internet marketing. How social media is changing the way we talk, shop, learn, share… and even vote." writer Lynn Terry