Subway Posts

@Subway: Marketing through song is as good as it gets

When ‘selling’ a product, isn’t it all about how you tell it?

Here are two approaches for a fictional razor company:

Close Shave Razor gives you a close shave with no nicks and scratches, smooth, fresh skin, and long-lasting, high-performance blades.

Or how about a song?

It’s a shave that you crave.
It’s a shave that you’ll rave.
It’s a shave that you’ll save.
It’s Close Shave Razor.

When companies tickle the ivories to sway our emotions, they are very persuasive.

If I were a betting man, I’d say the song would be more effective at selling razors. It’s more memorable, unique, distinguishable. Anyone can rattle off benefit statements. Ideas happen when you set your product or service above the pack.

Companies have used songs to sell products for years.

I’ve been a believer in this approach. A random Friday night in Waco, Texas made me an even firmer believer.

The place: A subway restaurant just a short armadillo’s walk from frenzied IH-35.

The scenario: I enter the store, which is connected to a crowded gas station, and get in line with 10 other patrons. A mother and son scan the menu while I try to get my bearings after a congested scramble on the roadway.

As I eye the Turkey Breast (my favorite) I hear:

“Five Dollar. Five Dollar. Five Dollar Foot LOOOOONNNNNG.”
“Five Dollar. Five Dollar. Five Dollar Foot LOOOOONNNNNG.”

I look skyward to find a loudspeaker probably piping in this recognizable jingle. As the song begins anew again, I realize that the jumpy youngster in front of me is singing the song in perfect pitch.

Mom tries to redirect her son to the menu of choices, but he is smitten with joy of what is to come: a succulent sandwich piled high with fresh meats, crunchy lettuce, juicy tomato.

As I entered the race back on IH-35, and crunched into my first bite of the Turkey Breast, a song entered into my head, and it wasn’t the one playing on the radio.

The power of the jingle is alive and well to sell product.

What are your favorite product jingles?

Naden’s Corner wants to know.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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3 ways that convenience stores can get better

The convenience store industry is BIG business.

From its first iteration in Dallas, Texas in 1927, the average convenience store now has annual sales of about $2 million with a total footprint of 145,000 stores nationwide. That’s a bevy of 7-Elevens, CircleKs, QuikStops, and Stuckey’s.

I am fascinated by the ‘impulse/convenience’ market. When visiting a convenience store, it’s usually to pump gas, not purchase the pricey items inside. On the occasion when I do make it inside (it is usually to pick up a receipt from a gas purchase), I often think about:

What improvements can be made to the convenience store experience? (What can stores do to move me from a store visitor to a consistent shopper?)

1. No more long lines. Let’s attack the long line problem first. There’s just something wrong about waiting in a line at a convenience store. I equate it to a lengthy delay for ‘fast food’. The solution: How about ‘testing’ a self-serve model at a convenience store? Why not let people electronically swipe their items, pay with cash or credit, and depart? Similar to Home Depot or your local grocer, there could be someone on call to assist with the ‘first-timers’. Make it fast and easy – remove the hassle and frustration.

2. Clean it up. Yes, it is probably difficult to keep staff at a convenience store. I would imagine that turnover is rampant. Instill a sense of pride in the employees to keep the place looking neat and tidy – not a haven for rodents. If McDonald’s can do it, the local 7-Eleven can follow its lead. I just don’t feel like spending money when health code violations are lurking.

3. Bring the quality. When I think convenience store food, I still see microwaved burritos or hot dogs rotating on a ‘heat lamp ferris wheel’. Not exactly a culinary delight. I like the trend of ‘food brands’ (Subway, Burger King) snaring some of the convenience store real estate and offering their ‘trusted’ food choices alongside the gas pumps. Let the convenience store stick to the predictable: lottery tickets, Gatorade, and beef jerky. Bring in the experts for the real food.

Convenience stores allow Americans to save time out of our busy lives. There are still simple steps, however, to make this business even better. Who knows? If convenience stores implement these ideas, I might even buy a Gatorade and Snickers during my in-store visit.

Until next time,

Dan

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Panera Bread: Escape from Grease Burgers

The family and I recently had a pleasant experience at Panera Bread. Easily forgotten compared to Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway, and Quiznos, Panera Bread could easily establish itself with a healthy, hearty menus of sandwiches, salads, and soups.

This chain, established in 1993 as the former Au Bon Pain Co., sits itself apart from the litany of ‘fast-food’ joints in the following ways:
· Healthy: a 2008 Health magazine study named Panera Bread America’s healthy fast food restaurant.
· Convenient: There are only a couple of Panera Bread location in my market (Austin, Texas), but there are over 1,266 throughout the US and Canada. A big win: Free Wi-fi makes Panera more of a hang-out place compared to like-minded competitors.
· Store layout: At the location I visited, the majority of the seating is purposely ‘away’ from the order, pick-up and drink stations. The usual commotion around those activities are a restaurant is pleasantly irrelevant at Panera Bread.

One area of concern: Despite the nice atmosphere and tasty food, I thought the portion size could have been a bit more generous.

Check it out and let me know what you think.
Until next time,

Dan Naden
Naden’s Corner
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