All posts by 4CTechnologies

Three Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from the Shamrock Shake

As a junior marketing student and descendant of Irish immigrants I naturally took interest in the business side of my favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. Additionally, as a consumer subject of today’s advertising campaigns, one of the major products I associate with the holiday is the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. If one takes some time to analyze what the fast food giant has done with the product, it truly is remarkable from a business perspective. Our marketing staff at 4CDesignworks has recognized these initiatives and wanted to share with you, in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, the lessons we have learned that could benefit your business.
1. Consumers can really get behind holidays: Households historically have spent big for these yearly celebrations. According to the National Retail Federation, over $790 billion was recorded in 2015 for holiday related spending. $4.4 billion of this was on St. Patrick’s Day, making it the 9th largest spending holiday of the year. Clearly households are willing to set aside some cash for these kinds of celebrations. Corporations like McDonald’s understand this and have taken the new product development steps necessary to take a slice away from this $4.4 billion dollar pie.

2. A seasonal product naturally creates anticipation and want: People want things that they can’t have, that’s simply a part of human nature. This psychological tendency in consumers helps make seasonal products so successful. McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes are only available for a limited time, which began this year on February 7th. The temporality of this product helps to build the excitement for it in each year’s annual relaunch. After doing this year after year successfully since 1970, the product has built up enough brand power to be associated with the holiday.

3. Your brand is never too big to innovate: McDonald’s is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and a leader in the fast food industry. Yet, in 2017 they are still building on product lines and innovating for the St. Patrick’s Day season. This past February McDonald’s launched 4 new variations of the Shamrock Shake, transforming the seasonal product into a seasonal product line. This year on top of the original product, consumers may now order a Chocolate Shamrock Shake, a Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappe, a Shamrock Hot Chocolate and a Shamrock Mocha. McDonald’s executives could have very easily shut down this expansion as well as the original product in 1970. However, McDonald’s has recognized the very real potential that exists in holiday and seasonal markets and has successfully transformed this potential into first quarter sales.

So how can your business get lucky this St. Patrick’s Day with these 3 lessons? First and foremost, consumers spend on holidays. If your product manager can recognize an appropriate niche, products can be transitioned into coveted seasonal sales and revenue. The most important lesson however, is to always be innovating in your business and not to be afraid of taking risks. It was innovation and new product development that lead to the launch and eventual success of the Shamrock Shake. This only happened because those at McDonald’s were bold enough to take the plunge into the holiday market.

Works Cited
“Consumer Data.” National Retail Federation. National Retail Federation, 02 Mar. 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.
“McDonald’s Rolling out Chocolate Shamrock Shake for First Time Ever.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 03 Feb. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.
Photo / Link Credit
The History of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake.

Contributed by Patrick Donnelly, Marketing and Sales Intern
Along with his work at 4C, Patrick is a full-time marketing and digital media arts student at Duquesne University. Before Patrick joined the 4C team he was employed as a sales associate at Nordstrom since April of 2015. Outside of the office and classroom Patrick enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and kicking it on the soccer field.

4CDesignWorks Maintains Excellence

The outstanding merits of the 4CDesignWorks team has made achievement the standard in the creative division of 4CTechnologies. 4CDesignWorks has yet again earned recognition from Graphic Design USA, the preeminent marketing publication and esteemed industry authority. In 2016 4CTechnologies is proud to accept the American Graphic Design Award for which it has been honored for 9 separate works produced this past year.



Out of an impressive 10,000 entries, 4C is honored to have these 9 submissions a part of the top 15% selected for recognition. We at 4CTechnologies truly believe that continually accumulating awards such as these is a genuine reflection of our superior service and the distinguished quality of work that we consistently deliver to our valued clients.


Contributed by Patrick Donnelly, Marketing and Sales Intern
Along with his work at 4C, Patrick is a full-time marketing and digital media arts student at Duquesne University. Before Patrick joined the 4C team he was employed as a sales associate at Nordstrom since April of 2015. Outside of the office and classroom Patrick enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and kicking it on the soccer field.

Growing Up with Technology: The Prepared Millennial

As Generation X inherits the managerial world from the retiring Baby Boomers, the last of the Millennials are filling up the entry level positions in our economy – and they are more prepared to do so than ever before. As technological developments continue to advance the business world and a rapidly globalizing economy, many Generation X and Baby Boomer employees are still working to develop a comprehensive knowledge of the business trends that stem from these new developments. This is not the case for Millennials. This generation of young professionals are adaptive and digitally capable, making them already well versed in the technologies and skills that they need to succeed in the entry stages of today’s working world.

Millennials have grown up in a time teeming with tech. They are the first generation to have been raised with personal computers and smartphones. They have seen the birth of social media and were the first demographic to accept and nurture them into what they are today. They have first-hand experience in media convergence and are experts in seeking out the answers to their many questions in Internet research. With technology putting the world into the palm of this generation’s hand, Millennials have been exposed to a wide array of opinions and ideas. These unique set of circumstances have equipped this group with the certain skills that make their young minds a valuable asset in any business setting.

First and foremost, Millennials are media literate and technologically inclined. Not only is this group familiar with technology, they are dependent on it. Be they in a classroom setting analyzing Excel data or checking their Facebook and Twitter feeds to stay tuned into the world, Millennials are utilizing technology regularly throughout their days. This steadfast familiarity is providing them with a key competitive advantage over older workers, who might not necessarily be as digitally domesticated as the younger generation.

Furthermore, technology has made Millennials open minded and informed. This group of young workers are critical thinkers. The information age has shown these individuals the many sides behind every political happening and business development that they have witnessed in their lifetimes. This is a group of people who can think on their own and can bring new perspectives to the table of any working environment.

Bright-eyed and digitally competent, goal oriented Millennials are ready to take the business world by storm. Their digital competencies have them ready to carry out the entry level tasks of the many markets of today’s industries. Their broad-minded nature gives their opinions credibility, making their minds valuable assets to decision makers in the business world. These qualities among many others has Millennials uniquely prepared for the workplace, perhaps more so than any other generation before. It will certainly be interesting to see where the future takes them.


by: Patrick Donnelly, Marketing and Sales Intern
Along with his work at 4C, Patrick is a full-time marketing and digital media arts student at Duquesne University. Before Patrick joined the 4C team he was employed as a sales associate at Nordstrom since April of 2015. Outside of the office and classroom Patrick enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and kicking it on the soccer field.

Policy Awareness: Your Smartest Choice

Contributed by Director of Strategic Planning & Development, Kathy Olek Donatelli

A clear and concise social media policy seems pretty sensible for every business. But how many of you can lay your hands on one? If so, do you know what it says?  What about a corporate ethics policy?  A communication policy?

As the lines between “personal and professional” as well as “home and office” continue to blur, many companies are revamping their corporate guidelines across the board to reflect today’s electronically active and collaborative workforce. Yet another reason for this recent focus is mobile access and the ability to work from home. As employees are increasingly using their own mobile devices at work, as well as working from home and in the field, companies need to find a way to guide and focus communications activities. And although words like policy, compliance, and guidelines may sound limiting and daunting to some, many of these documents exist to protect both the employee and the company alike. More than anything else, policies help to set expectations and provide examples of what is and what is not acceptable. They are your first point of reference if there is ever any question about your actions.

millennials-in-charge-640x302Photo credit: Insperity

And if the entire electronic communication conundrum is not difficult enough, now we have an entirely new generation of tech savvy multi-taskers. Enter stage right the Millennials, making up the majority of our workforce now and into the future. They were born with a smart phone in their hand and as a generation, they move fast, they love change and they are ready for any pop-up or crowd sourced opportunity. Now more than ever, corporate policies need to be in place to manage expectations and set standards among the greenest employees in the workforce.

Most formal policies address issues that may be perceived as unlawful and/or unethical, as well as those that undermine company, brand, employee, shareholder, vendor or and customer trust. Issues typically addressed in these policies include:

  • Conflicts of Interest or Opinion
  • Protection of Company Assets and Resources
  • Criminal Conduct
  • Protection of Confidential and Proprietary Information
  • Intellectual Property
  • Interaction with the Media and other Public Parties
  • Compliance and Disciplinary Actions

The bottom line? Questions about social media, corporate ethics and communications policies should find their way into the interview process if you are just beginning with a new company.  And if you are already working, a current copy of company policy is most likely available in the human resources department. These policies may not address (or provide final answers to) every possible issue or situation. General questions or issues you have about your company’s policies should be directed to your manager or Human Resources Department.

policiesPhoto credit:

Don’t be surprised if, as a requirement for continued employment, you will be required to resign and re-certify every two years, in writing, your statement of compliance with corporate policies. And make sure you fully understand the stated violations, disciplinary implications and resulting consequences so that your actions don’t come back to bite you in the butt. The bottom line? Be proactive and do your homework.

Take the “Work” Out of Networking

Contributed by Business Development Manager, Joe Gastony

Sometimes, it’s not what you know it’s WHO you know. These words have never been truer than for those in business development and sales positions. And this is why I network. I want to discuss the importance of networking in a day and age where we are all glued to our smartphones, and social networks have taken the human contact out of daily life. Sure LinkedIn, emails and blog posts are important – but if you are trying to grow your book of business, and increase industry knowledge, networking is crucial.


For many people, networking can be challenging… even frightening. But fear not because networking events are all about people meeting new people and trying to find ways to HELP one another. With this in mind networking is way less intimidating!

Here are the top 4 reasons why I network:

Build CONFIDENCE! Pushing yourself to talk to people you don’t know increases confidence.

Build FRIENDSHIPS! People like to do business with people they like. Go ahead make some friends at your next networking event.

Increase OPPORTUNITIES! All sales people know the key to a successful business is a large sales funnel. Networking is a great way to increase sales opportunities. Also the more people who know about you and what you do, the more likely they are to refer you to others.

Increase KNOWLEDGE! Sometimes it is not WHO you know it’s WHAT you know. I recommend industry specific networking if you can. People in specific industries respect others that care and are knowledgeable about their industry. Increase your knowledge and you increase your credibility.


Think about these tips the next time you find yourself entering a room where you don’t know anyone… and leave with some new connections, and maybe even some new friends.