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The Cost of Creativity

The Cost of Creativity

With Comments from Robert and Danny

[Robert] "Danny called me last Monday and asked about my Super Bowl commercial review. Old news now, so a quick response. For once, the game was way better than any commercial. Other than the extended spot the NFL ran at the beginning, then maybe the Bill Murray Groundhog Day one since it was groundhog day, there was nothing super about any commercial this year."

[Danny] In case you missed the one ad Robert mentions above, simply click on the image here to see it. Robert's top-pick of JEEP's replay of Bill Murray in Groundhog Day is actually the winner of USA Today's Ad Meter - See details here.

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When a Writer Calls...

When a Writer Calls...

by Danny Summers

This past fall I received an introduction email and then a call from a writer who was assigned the task of creating a story for Better Homes & Garden magazine. The subject started out as:

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The Value of Creativity

The Value of Creativity

by Danny Summers

 

It is amazing to see what creativity can do. Whether it is displays in-store, signage, or your marketing message, real creativity is priceless. We have seen and heard how big corporations spend millions producing major ads for product launches or even special events like The Super Bowl which we will see in a few weeks. Most fail to make a big splash or impact. Only a few rise to the top and even onward to the award-winning archives such as ones we remember from long ago. This include Budweiser's Puppy Love from 2014, Apple's original Mac launch in 1984, or Coke's Mean Joe Green and Kid ad in 1980 (Revisit these in our February 11, 2019 GROUPtalk HERE). Or you may even remember Coke's "We'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" in 1971. These are etched into the hearts and minds of millions and are at top of marketing history.

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The New Garden Center Customer - Part 2

The New Garden Center Customer - Part 2

By Danny Summers

 

In Part 1 we reviewed how we are now in a transition of sorts where in 2019, "Baby Boomers" are projected to start a slow decline in numbers over the coming ears and where "Millennials" are projected to have overtaken Boomers in the top spot as percentage of population. Let's explore this further together...

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The New Garden Center Customer - Part 1

The New Garden Center Customer - Part 1

by Danny Summers

This is a time of transition, a time of change.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy said, "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

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The Benefit of Community to Grow Your Business-Part 1

The Benefit of Community to Grow Your Business - Part 1

by Danny Summers

COMMUNITY: The idea for this message has been developing in my mind over recent months. As I have talked with Retailers, both inside and outside The Group some observations have come together to support these ideas. I will share these observations in several segments in the coming weeks. Here's Part 1.

Earlier this year I received a call from a veteran garden retailer whom I have known and respected for a number of years. During the conversation, he talked about all the opportunities he had through the many years to meet and interact with fellow retailers at industry events and develop life-long relationships that have helped him be successful. He added that many of those events were no longer in existence today. He went on to tell me one of his sons was coming back into the business and he expressed his concern about how his son would develop business relationships, like he did. He went on to say he sees The Group as one of the very best opportunities today to network with fellow garden retailers, share great level of details, and build connections and relationships that could help his son to be successful.

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Connect+ by Proven Winners

Connect+ by Proven Winners®

New Promotional Support Program for 2020

[Danny] This past week, while we were at the Farwest Show, Proven Winners' Jessica DeGraaf shared with me a new promotional support program they are introducing for 2020. You may remember they offered a special program this past spring where our centers could participate in a customized video series by Garden Answer's Laura and Aaron LeBoutillier. The program produced a series of videos each participating center could use on their website and in social media. The program was very reasonable and gave a wonderful message and a number of you participated. This new expanded program for 2020 brings together a number of offerings and is called Connect+. I asked Jessica to give us some commentary on the program and she sent us the following details.

While we discussed each tier of options to Connect+, we discussed the real value of just a couple of the elements such as the Facebook or Pandora pieces, it was obvious it would cost a center much more than the total cost of this offer and therefore what a great value this could be for our centers. Obviously you need to consider what Proven Winners® programs you will be carrying, what they can offer that matches up with those products and how you can implement in your center. If the product mix matches what you can sell, the value of this offer is pretty amazing. At a time of increasing effort is needed to handle all the promotional tools a center is utilizing today, this type of support can bring some needed relief. Be sure to also follow the link at the bottom to see the simple chart showing the four levels of promotional support.

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Peaks & Valleys

Peaks and Valleys

by Danny Summers

Twelve Weeks
The majority of a garden center's income happens in a 12-week period in spring. Exactly when the 12 weeks begin fluctuates of course, dependent upon location (climate zone) and seasonal weather breaks. The balance of the year the center is trying to hang onto the profit dollars by working on building income and keeping costs as low as possible.

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What's Your Image?

What's Your Image?

by Danny Summers

I am writing this at or near the end of the spring season and certainly there is a place for specials and clearance sales at this time, but that is not what I am thinking about here. Instead, it is a general question.

Throughout the year, what is your center's image to your audience?

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How Important is Consistency?

How Important is Consistency?

by Danny Summers

consistency

 noun
con·​sis·​ten·​cy |  \ kən-ˈsi-stən(t)-sē

definition: an agreement or harmony of parts, features or service to one another or a whole

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Finding Your Balance

Finding Your Balance

by Danny Summers

Let's face it. Spring is a marathon and you and your entire staff are exhausted near the end. It's Week 23 and the energy level is waning. I thought this would be a good time to make suggestion. How can you and your team find your balance in the next few weeks?

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Developing Your Most Valuable Asset

Developing Your Most Value Asset

by Danny Summers

As a Garden Center Owner or Manager, I challenge you with this question: What is your business' most valuable asset?

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It's Time!

It's Time!

by Danny Summers

Time is Very Important! We begin with the same amount of it every day. What we do with it can make a world of difference. At the same time, I hear from many of you time management is increasingly more difficult (and more important).

This is why we have decided "It's Time" will be our over-aching theme for The Fall Event 2019. It's Time can take a number of meanings for each of us. Take a minute to think about the following statement and how you would (or should) finish the sentence:

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A Tale of Two Sears and "A Road Not Taken"

A Tale of Two Sears and "A Road Not Taken"

by Danny Summers

 

This past week in the WDR, Steve Bailey spotlighted recent announcements by Sears Holdings they will shrink and streamline their produce offering in the coming months as they try to reorganize AGAIN. Steve's parallel here was a challenge to Group Centers to be vigilant about the products you are offering. He has recently told me he often sees centers getting lazy on controlling inventory (and turns) when sales are strong and times are good and therefore not maximizing their profitability.

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Telling the Story - the Standard of the Superbowls Past

Telling the Story - the Standard of the Superbowls Past

by Danny Summers

Robert is always pushing us to "tell a story". He says every ad needs to tell a story. Looking back at some of the best of previous Superbowl ads, it seems there are a few common threads the very best share that come to mid... puppies and kids of course. And there are others that really just tell an inspiring story.

Before we step back in time, I want to share just one from this crop of Superbowl ads. It is the Kia 2 minute spot. It begins with a young boy in a cowboy hat telling the story about a small town in west Georgia. It really is a true story of a small town of "unknowns" creating something special.



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Simplify

Simplify (one word says it all)

by Danny Summers

simplify [sim-pluh-fahy]
verb (used with object), sim·pli·fied, sim·pli·fy·ing.
    •    to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier

It is a very basic, two syllable word but the process of simplifying something is not always easy. Building on what I started at the top of this GROUPtalk (One-Man-Band), I want to share some thoughts on this challenge. For many of our centers today the above graphic could easily represent a flow-chart of operations. Adding complexities throughout time just piles on layers of things to do. These are things you most likely feel are important and are "must-do's. At the same time the graphic also could represent your job responsibilities.

If you are an owner or manager, you have the power and ability to change this picture. Some months back I reminded you of the ultimate "Gatekeeper" and I showed you a picture. Do you remember who is was? It was The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Remember anyone wanting to enter Oz had to come through him. That's the position I see many of our center's owners or managers in today. This has to change. It is called Team-Building and Delegation!



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Trends - an interesting observation.

Trends - an interesting observation.

by Danny Summers

Recently I participated in a webinar covering a collection of "trends" across the globe. It was produced by an international company in the business of collecting a tremendous amount of data and trying to put a sense of order to what they see. At first glance, it appeared to be all over the board. Of course, there were lots of modern, high tech gadgets and activities and some trends you recognize as "way-out-there," but one observation began to appear throughout that we should appreciate and leverage in your business. The first comment that led me into this path of thought was:

"We're the same old humans with the same old human needs."

Wow! That, in the middle of a bunch of high-tech, "way-out-there" trends, grabs you and brings you right back down to earth. As you see so many weird new trends, this type of very basic statement brings a sense of grounding. It's a very organic statement if you think about it.

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We Sell Fresh Air!

We Sell Fresh Air!

Observations by Danny Summers

I recently subscribed to a publication devoted entirely to Visual Merchandising and Store Designs for retail (actually its name and acronym is VMSD) and in its December issue that arrived last week, the cover story's headline was "FRESH AIR." You can see the front cover below right.

At first glance you have to ask yourself... "Are they selling plants or other things?"

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Making the Emotional Connection

Making the "Emotional Connection"

by Danny Summers

Robert Hendrickson has pushed The Group for years now on some of the very best ways to tell your story and build that unique, emotional connection with the customer. This is the extreme opposite of selling by price and certainly much more effective than selling by the old standard of "feature and benefit" marketing.

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Peer-to-Peer (P2P) - Group Learning at its best!

The Fall Event 2018
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) - Group Learning at its best!

by Danny Summers

We have the schedule set, speakers and sessions are in place, our hotel is ready for your reservations, and we have our registration now open and ready for you!

New for 2018: We have taken what we learned the last several years about Group peer-sharing and combined it with each presentation. We are calling it Peer-to-Peer (P2P). Each major session will follow this pattern. First the featured speaker will share his or her presentation. Then, we will have P2P Tabletalks on the subject, followed with the best ideas of P2P as well as Q&A with the speaker for collaboration and inspiration.


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