Lessons in Cereal

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal addresses the many changes currently taking place in the cereal business.  Sales are flat or trending downward among major cereal companies, and consumer consumption patterns are on the decline.  The article states that more and more people are opting for other breakfast choices due to circumstances such as a desire to eat on-the-go and diets centered around more protein-rich foods earlier in the day.

The cereal industry is NOT responding to this trend by trying to get more people to eat cereal for breakfast seven days a week.  Instead, industry leaders are focusing their efforts on promoting cereal in new ways, such as a useful ingredient in other foods or a wholesome afternoon snack.  Other strategies focus on getting consumers to view cereal as at least an occasional breakfast food, if not something to eat every day.  One General Mills executive explained that, “If I can get just one more morning out of a month back to eating cereal, that’s all I need.”  This positions cereal for new niches in the market rather than trying to change developing behavioral patterns.

We can all take a lesson from the cereal companies.  How many times have we all said, “If only I could get sales back to where they were before the Recession!” or “Why aren’t the Millennials buying our products like their parents did?”  Times change, consumer preferences change, and we have to change with them.

This article is especially relevant to OrangeBoy’s work with public libraries.  Libraries are no longer the only game in town.  People have choice.  The future depends on how we shape library services as interests and behaviors shift.  Maybe Mary downloads her eBooks from Amazon, watches movies and television shows on Netflix, and reads newspapers from her tablet on the train.  She can still have a library card and a strong affiliation with the library, even though she does not use it the same way she did five years ago.  How can the library keep Mary engaged while understanding that she is not going to bring all that business back through the library’s front door?  Since she likes to read online, maybe the library can fill a void with digital magazine access through products such as Zinio.  Perhaps the library has developed a local music collection she can download from the library’s mobile-friendly website.  Or maybe she would enjoy participating in a community reading activity or attending author visits.

So talk to your customers.  You just might be pleasantly surprised with what they have to say.


Opting in to Consumer-Driven Strategy


How Disney Changes the Theme Park Business

By: Nickie Harber-Frankart

A new year brings new opportunities. For our clients, that means a new level of understanding of how consumers’ desires for convenience and personalization continually drive business strategy. A recent New York Times article about Disney’s new MyMagic+ technology is a perfect example of this.


MyMagic+ utilizes radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology embedded in rubber bracelets (called MagicBands), which when worn by park visitors simplifies the daunting task of keeping track of paper tickets, fumbling with credit cards, and tracking room keys, while watching small children in a theme park. Customers (at their own discretion) can also encode personal data on the bands which park employees can access. This makes it possible for me or my sister to opt in and personalize my niece’s first visit to Walt Disney World where Minnie Mouse greets her saying, “Nice to meet you, Hailey!”

For a place that brings fairy tales to life, the adoption of MyMagic+ not only delivers convenience and personalization, but also brings Disney one step closer to its mission and brand promise to make “Dreams come true.”

As a consumer and business person, I can appreciate all of the possibilities. Sure, it raises the hot debate about collecting personal data, but it really is a win-win for both the customer and the organization. For instance, it not only enhances the customer experience leading to greater customer satisfaction, but also allows the organization to gain valuable insight into consumption habits to streamline processes and enhance productivity.

I believe 2013 is the year for both consumers and company leaders to truly embrace the opportunities that technology and data bring. There are numerous possibilities to satisfy our convenience-driven culture, and several ways our organizations and customers benefit—one of which is the option to opt out entirely.

©OrangeBoy, Inc. 2013

Photo from wired.com

Voodoo Doughnut and Branding

By: Nickie Harber-Frankart

OrangeBoy President Sandy Swanson visited the Portland office this week. Wanting to share something uniquely Portland with her, I took her to Voodoo Doughnut, a Portland doughnut shop made famous by its odd flavor combinations and shapes. For example, the voodoo doll doughnut filled with red raspberry jelly and a pretzel stake through the chest; the Mango Tango doughnut filled with mango filling topped orange Tang; or my personal favorite, the Maple Bacon Bar with maple-flavored frosting topped with two strips of bacon.

Voodoo Doughnut truly embraces the culture of Portland and the City’s slogan: “Keep Portland Weird.” It is no wonder then that Portland named Voodoo Doughnut’s Portland Crème the official doughnut of the City in 2008.

The doughnuts have become so popular locally and nationally that it is common to see a constant stream of people (sometimes with long lines flowing outside the door), waiting to order doughnuts morning, noon or even in the middle of the night.

Talk about building a successful brand.

Pink boxes, doughnut-filled wooden coffins, and a ghoulish logo are just a few things that illustrate this one-of-a-kind brand. Beyond that, the experience is quirky (pink everywhere, coffin-shaped seating, and even a place to hold weddings), creating interest from the moment the customer walks in the door.

A successful brand and customer experience, such as the one created by Voodoo Doughnut, stems from the vision of the company’s leaders. Owners Tres and Cat Daddy recognized the need for a doughnut shop in Portland, so they set out to create one—one so unique that it would eventually reinvent the doughnut industry. Who ever thought that would be possible? (Just think about the last time you were at a grocery store. Did you see a cereal-covered doughnut? Well, that was because of Voodoo Doughnut.)

Great brands demonstrate to customers what a company does or can do better than any other company can. The overall experience and everything about the brand defines how a company delivers on that promise. Voodoo Doughnut, for example, promises customers, “Good things come in pink boxes.” Every time a customer opens a Voodoo Doughnut box, they can expect the same quality and good doughnuts. And, every time they walk in the door, they can expect the same quirky experience. I think any brand that delivers that level of consistency and drives awareness and loyalty like Voodoo Doughnut is a success. Check them out the next time you are in Portland.

©OrangeBoy, Inc. 2012