Benchmark Business Group

Business Owner Newsletter - Page 32

Is Your Business Ready for an Oscar Moment?

During the 2014 Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres joked about ordering pizza for the famous crowd. Shortly after a man delivering pizza was brought onto the stage and started handing out slices to the stars. After the show it was discovered that this wasn't an act, but a moment for a small business to shine. The pizza delivery came from a local franchise, Big Mama's Pizza, and according to interviews given to the Los Angeles Times, the business had no advanced knowledge that it would be delivering to the Oscars let alone on live TV.  Click here to watch a clip of this moment. 


While most businesses won't be handed a free five minute commercial during the Oscar's, it got us thinking. You never know when an opportunity to shine will come for your business.   This month we'll be taking a look at what Big Mama's got right and how you can do the same in your business!


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Epic Fails: Failing to React

In the past month, we've looked at three recent epic fails in the world of business.  We looked at the outrage McDonalds faced when their employee tips didn't add up.  We looked at how JCPenny's customers deserted the company when they tried to shake up the retail world.  And finally we looked at how the media had a field day with the hashtag #SochiProblems during the winter Olympics.

With each Epic Fail, you might have noticed that what created an EPIC fail rather than just a failure was the failure to react.  McDonald's had three ill-advised tips go out and a lot of negative press before pulling the plug on McResources.  JCPenny's watched sales plummet for months before changing it's strategy.   And Sochi Problems went viral for days before a response was attempted.

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Epic Fail #3: When Social Media Goes Wrong

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have been billed as the legacy for President Putin as he promised these games were a showcase of what the Russian people can do.  In case you missed it, the first week of tweets, comments, and reports were focused largely on the hotel issues that many members of the media encountered.  These issues ranged from uncompleted rooms, to missing doorhandles, to missing reservations.  The media took to social media using the hash tag #sochiproblems, which went viral.  It was certainly not the message the Games organizers were wanting to spread.  Even the Huffington Post got in on the action with this headline, Sochi Olympics 2014: 15 Epic Hotel Fail In The 'Russian Riviera.'

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Epic Fail #2: Re-branding Gone Wrong

J.C. Penney, the once proud department store, had been wallowing in a tough economic and retail time so they made a bold move in 2011 and brought in Ron Johnson from Apple, as CEO, where he has been credited with creating the Apple Store. Given free reign to bring respectability and profitability back to the retail chain, Mr. Johnson embarked on a bold plan to re-brand and refashion both the name and the locations.  


Very confident in what he had proclaimed, "the department store system is broken" Mr. Johnson did what many would consider a 180 degree change from what the company had been doing. This was done without testing on a smaller scale; when asked about testing, Mr. Johnson said, "we didn't test at Apple." Doing away with most sales, coupons, and highly popular customer incentives --- sales dropped further. On April 8th, 2013 Ron Johnson was fired from J.C. Penney's; the re-branding and refashioning was an Epic Fail!

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Epic Business Fails

Many a business has attempted to do something "new," "different," or "improved" and found that what they believed was a good idea, maybe even a great idea, was truly a failure. Again, and we stress this, it is not because they believed what they were doing was a bad idea, as a matter of fact, they so believed in their ideas that they willingly risked their companies. This month, we are going to look at a few of these failures and explore what could be done to avoid such Epic Fails.


One definition that has for epic is: of unusually great size or extent. They also have the following for one definition for fail: to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved. Combining these two words defines epic fails as modern slang that means: a spectacularly embarrassing or humorous mistake, humiliating situation, etc., that is subject to ridicule and given a greatly exaggerated importance.


During the month of March we will be exploring three Epic Fails, The McDonald's McResource program, JC Penney's re-branding efforts by Ron Johnson, and the Sochi Olympics preparation issues. This week we will dig deeper into the McResource program.

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After an Event

This month we have been looking at planning and executing a successful marketing plan for a booth at an event or expo. We've followed Jon's story and have discussed the action that will help to mitigate those same results. You are not done yet. The event isn't truly over until you capture the gathered information and follow up on your promotional promise. Ideally, you will have already planned out how to ensure you finish the event strong!

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During an Event

During an Event

 Jon’s planning for the event should not have stopped at pre-event activities. To be comfortable with the portrait Jon was painting of his business, Jon should have planned what would happen during the event. Granted, not every possibility can be planned for but Jon could have planned for what he has control over. This includes the Message, the Staff, and the Game.

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Event Marketing

Before an Event

The stage before an event is all about painting a picture. What is the purpose behind your company's involvement in the event? What is it that your company hopes to gain? It could be exposure to other suppliers, lead generation for your product or service, or it could be that having a presence at the event is worth more and does far less damage than not showing up at all. All are viable results. Are they your desired results? Your desired results should include:

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Attributes of a Great Leader

Great Leadership Series

Perhaps the part of leadership that makes it so tricky to master is that there is no one way to be a great leader.  What works well for one leader is a miserable experience for others.  Leadership is a patchwork of traits that you have to learn to adapt and blend in with your own unique personality.  Our Great Leadership Series focuses on three leaders and the qualities that they have displayed that drives the results.   We challenge you this month to pay attention to your own leadership traits and be prepared to ask yourself some tough questions on how your leadership skills need to change/develop based on the results you want to create.


There are many leaders and many of us have our favorites. Each of us could share what attributes resonate with us as to why those that are our favorites are great leaders. Though there may not be a tried and true "these are the attributes of all great leaders" list, three attributes seem to rise to the top with the leaders highlighted in this month's Great Leaders Series.

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