Tag Archives: Surprising

Got a McDonald's or Burger King Coupon? Here's the Smart, Surprising Thing to Do With It. (You Only Have 3 Days)
December 29, 2018 6:01 am|Comments (0)

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.

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1 Surprising Sign in a Job Interview the Hiring Manager's a Narcissist
September 1, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

So, you applied to a great job and got a call from the recruiter. Thirty minutes later, you nailed the phone screen and he’s setting up an in-person interview with the hiring manager. You’re a huge fan of the company and have high hopes for the job. Until…

How Nice Is Too Nice?

You arrive 15 minutes early and the receptionist tells you the hiring manager is running late. Forty minutes later, she finally strolls out to get you. No apology, but she’s all smiles and gushes about your outfit. She ushers you to her office and the interview begins. She’s full of compliments. Every answer you give is met with praise. She uses the word “love” multiple times, “I love that answer!” and, “I love how you handled that situation at your old employer. That’s EXACTLY what I need here.” The interview continues and the hiring manager is treating you like a long lost friend. When it’s your turn to ask questions, she says she’s blown away by your preparedness. You leave the interview convinced the job is yours. She practically said it was. That’s when you should start to worry. Here’s why…

Don’t Get Seduced By Happy Language

According to studies of narcissists, a good way to spot one is to evaluate their choice of words. It’s important to watch for both extremely positive and extremely negative words, about you or others.

“Extremely positive (seductive) words include: I love you, you’re so wonderful! I’ve never met someone as great as you are! You’re so much better than all the others. You’re the center of my life! I will give you everything you deserve. No one has treated you as good as I will treat you. The person you were with before was a real loser. I have this great idea that will make me really famous someday. Let me tell you about it. (Notice that much of this is very comparative–that’s a warning sign that you will compare negatively later on.)”

In short, studies of narcissists show anyone that nice has the ability to swing to the other extreme – and, likely will.

The Best Managers Use Their Ears More Than Their Mouths in Job Interviews

The best way to tell if a hiring manager will be good to work for is to consider how much he or she listened in the interview. Did they need to monopolize the conversation? Or, did they sit back and give you plenty of time to answer their questions. A good interview should feel like a meaningful conversation, full of two-way dialog that digs into the job requirements and how you can best serve the hiring manager’s needs. Be wary of any job interview that feels light in discussion around your capacity to do the work. If you feel like you didn’t talk enough about your skills and abilities, you should be concerned. Especially, if the conversation was driven (and centered!) around the hiring manager. Ask anyone who has ever worked for a narcissist and they’ll tell you it’s not worth it!

Published on: Aug 31, 2018

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The Surprising Economic Benefits of Clean Energy
June 18, 2018 6:04 pm|Comments (0)

It seems to be a common misconception that environmentalism and economic growth are opposed, but nothing could be further from the truth. The economic power of the green movement is most visibly on display in the clean energy industry, which is rapidly growing and innovating daily.

Clean energy impacts residential, commercial, and industrial properties, so how it is supported and implemented is key to how it impacts both the planet and the economy. Here’s a look at programs that support the development and expansion of clean energy, as well as how clean energy is being integrated with our infrastructure today.

How clean energy impacts businesses

Clean energy might not seem, on its surface, like a business issue for anyone outside of the renewables industry. However, on the contrary, it is a powerful cost-cutting measure that carries with it a huge branding opportunity. Not only can businesses save money by harnessing the power of sun, air, or sea, but they can also demonstrate to a consumer base eager for corporate social responsibility that they care about their environmental impact.

Those benefits are driving adoption by more companies. In 2017, companies acquired more than 4 gigawatts of clean energy, the most of any year on record. And already in 2018 companies have acquired nearly three quarters of last year’s total, putting them on pace to easily surpass 2017’s record-breaking acquisitions of clean energy.

Adoption rates also mean that the branding advantage presented by the opportunity to shift to clean energy will soon turn into an imperative. Changing now means companies are responsible kids on the block, but waiting until later means they run the risk of looking like a lackadaisical polluter. As clean energy becomes more ubiquitous, it will be expected, rather than applauded. Large adopters are clearing the way for smaller companies, and clean energy is moving toward something that feels more like mass adoption.

Regulatory support for clean energy

In 2015, the White House established new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) guidelines through the Federal Housing Administration that should help scale up adoption of clean energy. PACE enables low-cost, long-term financing for a variety of energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, storm protection, and seismic improvements. PACE financing is repaid as a special assessment or tax on the property’s regular tax bill and is processed the same way as other local public benefit assessments like sidewalks and sewers.

Depending on where you live, PACE financing can be used for improvements on commercial, residential, nonprofit, light industrial and agricultural properties. PACE is designed to lower utility bills for homeowners, create jobs and help local governments achieve important environmental goals (although it hasn’t been without its opponents).

Real world implementation of clean energy

Technological development and theory are great things, but they are nothing without real action. How we implement clean energy and the market conditions surrounding it are the most important aspects of transforming the way we obtain our energy.

A number of companies use earth-friendly practices and products to provide the homeowner with energy saving solutions, offering qualifiable PACE improvements and upgrades that can be made to a home or business. Many work with financing companies like Renew Financial, a clean-energy finance company led by CEO Cisco DeVries, the innovator of the PACE finance model, to provide solutions that aim to keep the immediate environment clean and reduce energy waste and costs.

Environmental resiliency is certainly an issue across the country. In Florida in particular, homeowners are concerned due to the risks of flooding, hurricanes, and extreme heat.

One company, Evergreen Homes, says it’s seeing an increase in requests for critical property upgrades such as roofing, wind-resistant windows and other energy-efficiency improvements. CEO Ido Stern says it provides customers with a number of options “to make much-needed weatherization and energy improvements that make their properties hurricane safe, and comparable with new construction, while at the same time saving them money and increasing their property values.”

Every dollar saved by the implementation of green solutions and clean, renewable energies is a dollar that can be used in the local economy, boosting growth and improving the business environment. In this way, economic growth and environmental progress go hand in hand. So, the next time someone says you have to degrade the environment to make money, remember that a large sector of the American economy is driven by finding business solutions to critical environmental problems.

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4 Surprising Side Effects of Electric Autonomous Vehicles
June 3, 2018 6:03 am|Comments (0)

, From Chicago, I write about green technology, energy, environment. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

LAS VEGAS, NV – The Nissan IMx, an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometers, is on display during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center earlier this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

First of two parts

Electric autonomous vehicles are expected to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, parking demand, insurance costs and traffic fatalities. They’ll eliminate the 90 percent of traffic accidents attributed to human error.

Those effects are well celebrated. But they will likely have some equally startling side effects, once the three trends of electric drive, connectivity and autonomy converge.

“Those three items collectively will lead to a big change in the way we travel,” said Edward J. Regan, senior vice president of the consulting firm CDM Smith. “The convergence of these things will have a big impact, and it’s going to affect people’s decisions on how they travel and if they choose to own a car.”

The big trigger point will come when vehicles achieve level-five autonomy, Regan said, operating completely driverless without geographic restrictions. When that happens, according to Regan and other experts at the Transport Chicago Conference in Chicago Friday, we’ll see side effects like these:

1 Cars Will Last Longer

Because they have fewer moving parts and don’t rely on explosive heat, electric vehicles are expected to last longer than internal combustion vehicles. According to Regan, they could last almost five times longer.

Page 1 / 3

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4 Surprising Side Effects of Electric Autonomous Vehicles
June 3, 2018 6:03 am|Comments (0)

, From Chicago, I write about green technology, energy, environment. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

LAS VEGAS, NV – The Nissan IMx, an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometers, is on display during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center earlier this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

First of two parts

Electric autonomous vehicles are expected to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, parking demand, insurance costs and traffic fatalities. They’ll eliminate the 90 percent of traffic accidents attributed to human error.

Those effects are well celebrated. But they will likely have some equally startling side effects, once the three trends of electric drive, connectivity and autonomy converge.

“Those three items collectively will lead to a big change in the way we travel,” said Edward J. Regan, senior vice president of the consulting firm CDM Smith. “The convergence of these things will have a big impact, and it’s going to affect people’s decisions on how they travel and if they choose to own a car.”

The big trigger point will come when vehicles achieve level-five autonomy, Regan said, operating completely driverless without geographic restrictions. When that happens, according to Regan and other experts at the Transport Chicago Conference in Chicago Friday, we’ll see side effects like these:

1 Cars Will Last Longer

Because they have fewer moving parts and don’t rely on explosive heat, electric vehicles are expected to last longer than internal combustion vehicles. According to Regan, they could last almost five times longer.

Page 1 / 3

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Firefox opts for Google as default search in U.S., surprising Yahoo
November 15, 2017 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google reclaimed on Tuesday its spot as the default search engine on Mozilla Corp’s Firefox Internet browser in the United States and other regions as the browser maker stunned Verizon Communication Inc’s (VZ.N) Yahoo by canceling their deal.

FILE PHOTO – The Google logo is pictured atop an office building in Irvine, California, U.S. August 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Google confirmed the move but declined, along with Mozilla, to disclose revenue-sharing terms of the multiyear agreement. Google’s growing spending to be the primary search provider on apps and devices such as Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) iPhone has been a major investor concern.

Google will be Firefox’s default search provider on desktop and mobile in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said Mozilla spokewoman Erica Jostedt.

Yahoo had been the default in the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Firefox did not have an official partner in Canada.

Verizon said Mozilla terminating the Yahoo agreement caught it off guard.

“We are surprised that Mozilla has decided to take another path, and we are in discussions with them regarding the terms of our agreement,” said Charles Stewart, a spokesman for Verizon’s Oath unit, which oversees Yahoo.

For a decade until 2014, Google had been Firefox’s worldwide search provider. Google then remained the default in Europe while regional rivals such as Yahoo, Russia’s Yandex (YNDX.O) and China’s Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) replaced it elsewhere.

Former Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer won a five-year contract with Mozilla in 2014 when Firefox and Google’s Chrome browser were battling for users. (reut.rs/2hsYZQo)

Chrome’s U.S. market share has since doubled to about 60 percent, according to data from analytics provider StatCounter, with Mozilla, Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) browsers capturing the rest.

Yahoo paid Mozilla $ 375 million in 2015 and said that it would pay at least the same amount annually through 2019, according to regulatory filings.

Denelle Dixon, Mozilla’s chief business and legal officer, said in a statement that the company had “exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo based on a number of factors including doing what’s best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search and the broader content experience for our users.”

She continued, “We believe there are opportunities to work with Oath and Verizon outside of search.”

Yahoo and Google aim to recoup placement fees by selling ads alongside search results and collecting valuable user data. Google said in October that contract changes drove a 54 percent increase in such fees to $ 2.4 billion in the third quarter.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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