Tag Archives: Only
This is a story about a smaller restaurant chain trolling McDonald’s, Burger King, and other giants of the business. And it’s kind of brilliant. Before the details, a quick explanation.
The fast food industry is a smart and fun one to follow no matter what business you’re in, and for two big reasons.
First, there’s the pure scale. Make a menu change at McDonald’s for example, and you’re upending the routines of hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans. You can learn a lot just by watching how they develop and test new products.
But second, there’s the marketing.
Think of McDonald’s, which spends $ 2 billion a year on marketing and ads. That’s half the entire value of its much smaller competitor, Wendy’s. It’s an incredible chance just to unpack what they do, and figure out why they think that various ideas will work.
Which brings us to some shoot-the-moon marketing campaigns that can actually turn the big chains’ efforts on their heads.
The only catch? You had to place the order from a McDonald’s restaurant. (Technically, just being within 600 feet was close enough to trigger the offer.)
Of course, Burger King isn’t small; just smaller than McDonald’s. But it shows how if you’re creative, you can use a competitor’s strength–in that case the fact that there are roughly twice as many McDonald’s in the U.S. than there are Burger King locations–to your advantage.
But what if you don’t have 1.7 million Twitter followers and a full time social media marketing operation, like Burger King, to get word of your deal out.?
What if you don’t even have a mobile app (or a burning desire to get people to download your app, which is what the Burger King promotion and so many others these days are all about)?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Smoothie King.
Again: not exactly tiny, although very small compared to McDonald’s and Burger King. Smoothie King has close to 800 stores, heavily concentrated in warmer weather parts of the country.
It’s privately held, and even if you’ve never tried it, you might recognize the name from the $ 40 million naming deal it has for the NBA New Orleans Pelicans home arena (“Smoothie King Center“).
Now, like its bigger competitors, Smoothie King also has a rewards app, and it’s launched a contest to try to incentivize people to download and use it. (The “Change-a-Meal Challenge.”)
But what attracted me to this whole thing is how Smoothie King is kicking off its promotion: By letting you use any coupon from any other fast food restaurant — McDonald’s or Burger King included — at Smoothie King.
It’s good for only one day, New Year’s Eve, and regardless of the competitor’s coupon’s value, it gets you $ 2 off a smoothie at Smoothie King on December 31.
And in truth, I don’t know how many people would take advantage of it. But that doesn’t really matter in a way; what matters in this social media age is whether you can find a truthful, fun way to troll your competitors and turn their strengths to your advangage.
As a marketing strategy, I think it’s brilliant.
As for the Smoothies, well, I don’t know. I’m writing this from New Hampshire, and it looks like the nearest Smoothie King would be a three hour drive away. You’ll have to let me know in the comments.
And the advice rings true. When we focus too much on others, we can lose sight of ourselves and our own progress. Now researchers are figuring out why.
A team led by Steven Buzinksi at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has investigated how the judgments and decisions of students can be guided by their perceptions of how others like them behave. This idea was explored previously — another study, concerned with how students overestimate how much their peers drink alcohol, found that this “widespread overestimation” actually influences students to drink more themselves.
However, this Chapel Hill team wanted to see if study habits and behaviors were affected in similar ways by inaccurate perceptions.
In studying hundreds of social psychology undergraduates, researchers found that exam scores could actually take a hit when students miscalculated how much their peers studied.
Overall, students had a tendency to underestimate how much time peers spent studying for upcoming exams. Even further, how much a student studied correlated with what they perceived was a normal amount of time to study, according to what they perceived about everyone else.
However, Buzinski and his team found that students’ misconceptions about the study time of their peers were not always positive influences for actual exam performance. One would normally assume that underestimating typical study time would lead to choosing to study less, and receiving poor test grades.
But, in fact, researchers surprisingly found that those students who overestimated, not underestimated, their peers’ study time actually performed worse in the subsequent test.
The reason? Buzinski’s team speculate that anxiety and self-doubt arrived when a student felt as if his or her peers were hitting the books too hard (even though it is likely that this perception was inaccurate).
Future research will be needed “to confirm the robustness of these findings,” and it may be necessary to “directly observe how correcting misconceptions affects students’ study behavior and their confidence.”
Ultimately, it may benefit you to apply these findings to your own working life — to think about how hard others may be working may actually cause you stress and anxiety, damaging your performance. Plus, you may be wrong about how hard your peers are working — so yes, make sure to focus on you.
Americans could be forgiven for becoming numb to the swarm of stories reporting gun massacres. In the last five years, ordinary Americans have been murdered in mass shootings in a synagogue, in churches, at elementary and high schools, at a nightclub, at a bar, at a music festival, at a center for people with developmental disabilities, among countless others. After a shooting in Isla Vista, California, in 2014, The Onion wrote, “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”
The Onion got it right—at least for the “only nation” bit. The US is the only country where this keeps happening. And the US also claims the dubious distinction of being the only rich nation to see so many deaths from firearms, as the chart below shows. (We kill ourselves even more than we kill each other: Worldwide, the US ranks second only to Greenland in the rate of suicides by firearm; when you remove suicides from the equation, the US falls to number 28 worldwide for deaths from firearms, both from violent acts and accidents. But even subtracting suicides, the US’s death rate from guns remains far ahead of every single European nation and nearly every Asian one.)
Most countries that see high rates of gun violence are also economically depressed; El Salvador, for example, which claims the world’s highest rate of deaths from gun violence, has a per capita GDP of around $ 4,000—roughly 7 percent of the earnings per citizen in the US. The chart below shows that, generally, it’s the poorer countries that see high rates of violence, while rich countries—Luxembourg tops the list—tend to lose very few residents to gunfire. The US, again, stands alone for having a relatively high GDP per capita (number 8 worldwide) and a high level of gun violence (number 12 worldwide).
Rich countries that see virtually no deaths from firearms include Japan, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and South Korea, according to data from the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease survey.
Unsurprisingly, firearm deaths are correlated with firearm proliferation. American companies manufacture millions of guns each year and import many more. Domestic firearm manufacturing increased dramatically during President Barack Obama’s first term, in part because of fears that, after eight years of a Republican White House, a pro-gun-control president would take away citizens’ weapons.
That didn’t happen. By 2017 the number of handguns, shotguns, and rifles available in the United States was nearly three times higher than it was two decades earlier, according to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Today, the US boasts more firearms than residents.
Canada, for its part, may have a lot of guns as well, as the chart below shows, but its citizens don’t often die from gunfire; the country ranks 72nd in the world for deaths from firearms. Despite having one firearm per every three Canadians, the country’s death rate from gun violence is about one-tenth that of the US (though still four times that of the UK). While mass shootings have been on the rise in Canada, only 223 Canadians died from firearm violence in 2016, compared with more than 14,000 in the US. Prospective gun buyers in Canada must pass a reference check, background check, and a gun-safety course before receiving a firearm license; the country also imposes a 28-day waiting period for new gun licensees. The AR-15 rifle—which was used to kill high school students in Parkland, Florida, moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado, and worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue, among many others—is a “restricted” firearm in Canada, meaning owners must pass an additional test and obtain a special license.
If Barack Obama had succeeded in passing stronger gun laws, would it have helped save lives? Maybe. On a state-by-state basis, there’s a general correlation between stronger gun laws and lower rates of firearm deaths. A May 2018 paper in JAMA Internal Medicine that sought to evaluate whether strong gun laws resulted in fewer deaths concluded, “Strengthening state firearm policies may prevent firearm suicide and homicide, with benefits that may extend beyond state lines.” Still, a February 2018 analysis by The New York Times found that most weapons used in mass shootings had been obtained legally.
The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives the states of Alaska and Louisiana a failing grade for their gun-safety laws; those states also claim the nation’s highest per capita rate of deaths from firearms. Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey all receive higher marks for their laws and have comparatively lower death rates from guns.
But as long as it’s easy for firearms to be transported from, say, a gun-friendly state (like Nevada) to a state with strong gun laws (like California), as long as lawmakers fail to enact strong policies to restrict sales to people with mental illnesses or a history of violence, as long politicians continue to take money from the gun industry, as long as the gun lobby continues to pressure medical doctors to stop advocating for their patients with bullet wounds, and as long as a box of ammunition for an AR-15 rifle costs $ 20 for 50 rounds, the shootings will no doubt continue.
More Great WIRED Stories
The general public has a very narrow view about what it means to be creative. If you are a “creative person,” people usually assume that you’re an art director, a writer, a maker of crafts, an actor, or interior designer. But as entrepreneurs might agree, creativity is within everyone, it’s just differently applied.
This past week illustrated this point for me. I was working on a project with a brilliant engineer who swore up and down that she was not a “creative person” and yet she had built out a pretty incredible technology for online fraud detection. In order to figure out how to best stop fraud before it happens, she had to to put herself in the shoes of the fraudster – strikingly similar to the way an actor prepares for a role.
Then I watched her design the customer experience in real time as she worked out her equations on a whiteboard. The same way folks in the art department sketch out their ideas.
Creativity is so much bigger than arts and entertainment, its the driving force for business disruption.
No matter your area of expertise, you have a creative process. You know your flow, when you’re having a block to work through, and when you are undeniably on-point. And if you can tap into the formula for your most creative moments, you may start to see just what makes you tick as an entrepreneurial artist. It’s a beautiful thing.
If you want to be continuously successful, you’ll keep creating even in the toughest times.
Case in point, Pam Turkin.
Turkin, whose art happens to be baking, founded a cupcake business out of her home in 2008. By the next year, she had ten employees and over half a million in revenue. Seven short years after that, she had twenty locations, ninety employees, and over three million in revenue, making the INC List of Fastest Growing Companies.
But sadly, this company grew too fast and she lost control.
“Like anything that grows too fast, you just lose control of it,” Turkin said. “Once one domino went down, it was a chain event.”
Devastated, Turkin couldn’t dream of starting over again. “Hello Fresh was still writing to me monthly to work with them as an affiliate because they were lacking a dessert option. No longer running a business that could work with them, it felt like a cruel joke when they would reach out,” she recalls.
But as the emails kept coming, she started wondering just what the universe might be telling her because clearly, there was a gap that needed to be filled. So she researched the market and found that there was not a baking comparable to what Hello Fresh and Blue Apron do for dinner. Slowly but surely, she developed Rise Baking, a subscription service that delivers monthly “Baking Boxes” with pre-measured ingredients and instructions to make gourmet desserts.
Not only did this business encompass Turkin’s baking ability, but also her love for teaching others how to bake. “I knew from my failure at Just Baked what I ‘never wanted to do again,'” she says. “I had fallen into the trap of losing my direction there and ended up running a business not creating.”
Now that Turkin has a greater understanding of scaling a business, she’s been able to grow her new business at a much faster rate than a brick and mortar store would allow.
It’s easy to become paralyzed by failure, but really, we only ever truly fail when we stop doing what we love. As you continue on your own entrepreneurial journey, remember that the presence of failure gives you license to be more creative.
So when you do fail, fail hard and create harder.
As George R.R. Martin and HBO try to figure out which (and how many!) of the five Game of Thrones spin-offs they’re working on a small group of indie filmmaker in Belfast have taken it upon themselves to make their own prequel, titled “The Wild Wolf,” a short depicting Ned’s doomed brother Brandon Stark and Catelyn…
Last week, we heard Hugh Jackman lament that he’d probably keep playing Wolverine if he could show up in an Avengers movie. Well, turns out he’s not the only actor who’s been in a Marvel Comics movie that wants in on the success of Marvel Studios—Fantastic Four’s own villain has joined the line.
Almost all U.S. publicly traded companies face risk either from climate change itself or from the changes needed to fend it off, experts agreed Monday at the S&P Global offices in New York—but few companies have warned their investors.
Nobody saw it coming. While Apple and Google were busy trying to beat each other to the smart home with HomeKit and Nest, respectively, Amazon snuck in from nowhere with the Echo and its Alexa voice assistant and embarrassed them both.
When I reviewed it last year the Echo could only do a handful of things like play music, read the news, tell you the weather and set timers. Today, the Echo’s a full-featured, voice-activated smart home hub thanks to all the third-party devices and services that can connect to it.
The Echo’s success pushed Amazon to put Alexa in more devices and now she’s available in the Fire TV, Fire TV Stick and two new devices: the Tap (read my review here) and Echo Dot. Read more…