Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Our Top 5 Blog Posts of 2018

Tuesdays With Coleman

Radio loves a good countdown.

WMCA-FM in New York was counting down the hottest singles all the way back in the 1950s.

WMCA-FM Countdown

Casey Kasem took the countdown format coast-to-coast with the debut of American Top 40 in July 1970 (on just seven stations!)

Countdowns have stood the test of time, from syndicated programming to the local “Most Requested,” Top 8 at 8 or Hot 9 at 9.

2018 marks the first full year of our Tuesdays With Coleman blog, providing tips and insights on branding, content and research strategy every Tuesday.

As we get ready to say farewell to 2018, it seems only fitting to highlight our five most-read blogs of the year in honor of the great radio countdowns of past and present.

With the assistance of Google Analytics, we’ve got the facts and figures and the list below (counted down, of course, from number five to number one.) Now, on with the countdown.

 

#5           Should I Play That Song on my Radio Station?  By Jon Coleman

In this blog, originally posted on September 25, 2018, Founder Jon Coleman explains that deciding which songs to play on your radio station isn’t always as clear as it seems. Jon describes how our Brand-Content MatrixSM and Acceptance-Fit Matrix can assist with your evaluation strategy, and reveals when it makes sense to take some extra risks.

Acceptance Fit Matrix

 

#4           Why Radio Stations Are Like Toy Stores  By Jay Nachlis

Associate Consultant Jay Nachlis wrote this blog on September 4, 2018, after FAO Schwarz announced the iconic toy brand would reopen in New York.

By revisiting his thoughts on why Toys R Us closed earlier in the year and examining new plans by FAO Schwarz, Jay discovers that the things that make toy stores appealing are strikingly similar to what makes radio stations appealing.

FAO Schwarz reopening

 

#3           The Branding Genius of Trader Joe’s  By Sam Milkman

While just about every Tuesdays With Coleman blog covers brand strategy, not all focus entirely on radio. This April 3, 2018 entry from Executive Vice President/Senior Consultant Sam Milkman highlights four reasons why Trader Joe’s has succeeded in the hugely competitive grocery space.

If you do work at a radio station, you’ll discover ways to carve out your own market position using lessons from Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe's Hawaiian Shirts

#2           The 90s Music Research Conundrum  By John Boyne

Executive Vice President/Senior Consultant John Boyne reveals the reason why Adult Contemporary and Classic Hits radio stations are playing such small percentages of 90s music, despite the fact that much of the target demographic grew up listening to it.

Madonna

The center lane of Pop music, driven by artists like Madonna, began to fragment in the 90s

#1           10 PPM Tips for Program Directors: 10 Years Later  By Jon Coleman

10 years after Arbitron rolled out the Portable People Meter to the Top 10 US markets, Jon revisits a dos and don’ts list he wrote for radio program directors in the early days of PPM.

This blog republishes the 10 tips, with brand new commentary from Jon looking back at the advice through a 2018 lens.

Arbitron Nielsen Portable People Meter PPM

An early version of Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM)

All of us at Coleman Insights wish you a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year! If you haven’t yet subscribed for Tuesdays With Coleman, click here and you won’t miss a single post in 2019.

“Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.” – Casey Kasem

 

 

 

 

The Branding Genius Of Trader Joe’s

Tuesdays With Coleman

Trader Joe’s has a distinct and defined image in a very crowded, competitive grocery space. While most grocery market chains struggle to eke out very small margins, Trader Joe’s profits soar.

How do they do it? Let me count the ways.

IT’S FUN.

A grocery store? Fun?

Trader Joe's Hawaiian Shirts

It’s true, it’s hard not to smile in Trader Joe’s. There’s the quirky music selection playing overhead (think “More Bounce to the Ounce” by Zapp and Roger into “Alive and Kicking” by Simple Minds). The freshly cooked free samples at the back of the store no matter what time you’re there. The employee walking around with the wacky giant question mark available to answer questions. The Hawaiian shirts. The stuffed animal always hidden somewhere in the store for kids to find.

IT’S SMALL.

Read: focused. Far easier to navigate than most supermarkets, yet vastly wider selections than your typical small grocery store. We’ve blogged a few times on the tyranny of choice. Rather than presenting a benefit to the consumer, too much choice and selection often creates nothing more than stress. At Trader Joe’s, you know where everything is and can generally get in and out quickly.

IT’S SYNONYMOUS WITH QUALITY.

I don’t usually buy generic brands. I like Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard and Vlassic pickles. In the typical grocery store, I completely ignore the generic brands for products like these. Piggly Wiggly ketchup? No thank you. I wouldn’t even want to think about where it may have come from.

But Trader Joe’s brands? A totally different story. You trust them—they did their homework and found a better pickle. Trader Joe’s made their generic brands cool, because they made their brand cool.

Trader Joe's Ketchup-Mustard-Relish

THEY READ RIES & TROUT’S MARKETING WARFARE AND LEARNED TO PLAY GOOD OFFENSE.

Rather than being just like Whole Foods, the leader in the healthy, gourmet grocery category, Trader Joe’s found the “weakness in their strength” and attacked it.  Where Whole Foods takes itself very seriously to the point of being stuffy, Trader Joe’s is fun and whimsical. Whole Foods is expensive. Trader Joe’s is gourmet on the cheap. Whole Foods’ color is green. Trader Joe’s is red. As marketing/positioning experts Al Ries and Jack Trout might say, Whole Foods as the category leader is playing a perfect game of defense, while Trader Joe’s as a challenger is playing a perfect game of offense—which isn’t being better than the category leader, it’s taking a different approach than the category leader.

Trader Joe’s isn’t that different from Whole Foods when it comes to the products it stocks. No Trader Joe’s branded products have high fructose corn syrup or GMOs, and their seafood comes from sustainable sources. It’s just that everything else around it is the opposite.

Radio stations find themselves in battles with format competitors every day. It is easy to get caught up in thinking only in granular terms. We both play 80s music, but we’ll do it better than them. We both have big ensemble morning shows, but ours will be funnier than theirs. We both have big contests, but we’ll give away more money or tickets to hotter shows.

The Trader Joe’s lesson is that you beat a leader not by being better. You win by finding the inherent weakness in their strength and creating your points of differentiation. Some of the most successful brands are categories in and of themselves.

Do your research. Find your lane. Define your base position, then create brand depth.

Just don’t wear Hawaiian shirts and ring bells. That position’s already taken.