The Year of Alignment - Part Two

The Year of Alignment - Part Two

by John Kennedy

As we move into the marketing magic of the year, driving focus and attention to our garden centers, which in turn drives foot traffic and the return of new found “fan-demics” (I just made that up) as well as our existing client-base, I thought it might be nice to take a good long look in the marketing mirror.

Each morning before coffee, I take seven steps to the WC to throw some water on my face, brush my teeth, and take a good long look at the drain and damage 56 years of being me has brought to my face--wrinkles from smiles and sun damage, baggy eyes from the six hours of sleep, and a blank stare into the possibilities the day will bring as I slowly kick the cobwebs to the curb, and embrace a deep and spiritual sense of gratitude that I am on the right side of the grass today.

In this instance, the cover does not match the book. I have never been more engaged in life than I am today. Covid has given birth to multiple, innovative business solutions for my clients (my wife, Souny has been invaluable to that effort) and we are living our best lives together each day…my face and body just haven’t gotten the memo!!

With nearly 25 years on the road (sans 2020) and just returning from a great garden center visit in Austin, Texas, I am reminded of two simple things—"Keep Austin Weird”, and does the cover match the book?

As a rabid avid reader, one of my favorite authors is Tim Dorsey. He’s a Florida-based writer who delivers knock out punches of comedic brilliance in every book he writes. He is by far, the most underappreciated genius writers of today (think Dave Barry meets Carl Hiaasen).

The front of his books always exactly depicts the chaotic story that will be told just on the other side of the colorful paperback cover (similar to Hiaasen). In essence, you know what you are getting into when the cover and the book align!! You are in for Serge A. Storms and his maniacal escapades up and down the state of Florida, usually ending in the Keys for some convergence of criminality, hilarity, and good old-fashioned zany fun.

As we begin (or continue if you are doing it right) your marketing efforts with Facebook posts of smiling fans and Instagram pics of happy staff unloading colorful blooming plants with all of garden tools and topics that support the green-thumbed consumer of your stories, does the cover match the book?

A few questions to ponder as you think on this:

 *Is the story you are telling in pictures and posts truly reflective of the experiences being delivered each and every day by your staff?  

*Do you have core values for your team to embrace and deliver to your customers?

*Do you have “Five Star Standards” that are able to be met and measured on Yelp or Google?

 *Do you have daily goals that are driving engagement and teamwork?

*Do you have a continued and consistent effort to ensure that what we say we do and what we deliver are in ALIGNMENT?

*Do your communicate this each day in your huddle gathered around your WIP Board?

In short…do you have Brand Integrity.

There is one simple misstep or mistake that creates a disengaged customer.

“What I was promised was not delivered!”

A good practice to consider each and every day is to make sure the team knows what is being promised to the customer--Marketing ads that are out, radio spots that are being heard, FB/IG posts that are being sent into the cyberspace, and the core values of the business that are being espoused.

Jay Meadows and his team at Meadows Farms have sharpened this strategy in 2019/2020 and are delivering it each and every day to all 18 locations within the family of garden centers in the Mid-Atlantic region in 2021.

Their values of Attitude, Communication and Trust are one part of the “Fun and Funky” culture Jay and his team have been driving for over 40 years. With their Five Star Standards and Great Game of Business driving engagement to both the customer and the team, they are poised to have another amazing year in 2021. Congrats to Jay and the entire Meadows Farms team!

The simple phrase from Meadows Farms, “Plant a Little Happiness,” goes a long way in the effort to align all 18 locations under one simple promise.
What you see is what you get, and the team is leaning in and delivering on that promise each and every day.    Brand Alignment!

As we continue with this year’s theme of alignment, the answers to the questions above are essential to your success. And as we look to next month’s Group Talk Live presentation with Thomas Nettesheim from Constant Contact, ensuring that the promises you are sending to your customers are delivered by your team the moment that arrive at your doorstep.  So much money is invested in getting your customers to arrive at your garden centers…how much is being invested in the team that is expected to deliver on those promises? 

Think upon this. And let’s make sure the book and the cover tell the same story.

And don’t ever underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep, a good cup of coffee, and an attitude of gratitude as you look in the mirror every morning.

An amazing spouse also helps...

Have a great Spring Kick Off Y’all!



Want to discuss a Team-Building opportunity with John Kennedy? Call or email him!

John Kennedy
[email protected]
Cell: ‭443-605-7095

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as John Kennedy, Robert Hendrickson, Steve Bailey, Sid Raisch and Jean Seawright, are included in your retainer!

John Kennedy is a speaker, author and strategist and resides in Northern Virginia with his wife Souny.  John is a Service Provider to The Garden Center Group focusing on strategic planning, accelerating sales teams, and creating a customer service culture.

John and Souny have created a new platform called   
Take it for a test drive and follow them and @lifesdetour

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