Category Archives: 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. <https://nrf.com/resources/consumer-data>.
“McDonald’s Rolling out Chocolate Shamrock Shake for First Time Ever.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 03 Feb. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/02/03/mcdonalds-rolling-out-chocolate-shamrock-shake-for-first-time-ever.html>.
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.

Small Business + Technology = Real Solutions

Growing up in a small town has given me a unique view of small business. The convenience store in the center of town (which is still there!), the neighborhood pharmacy, and the floral shop are a few examples that pop into my mind. If you had a good idea and a strong work ethic – the dream of owning your own business was yours!

I remember my best friend’s dad owning his own construction company. He had a pickup truck, some tools, and his wife typed invoices on homemade letterhead – on a typewriter. I picture a bunch of guys from my high school working a summer roofing job and sporting the best tans around thanks to baby oil and iodine. No one cared about the risks of sun exposure and no one had any clue what a huge part technology would eventually play in the construction industry.

Fast forward 20+ years and you’ll find SPF 80, smart phones, and at least a handful of tablets on most job sites. Gone are the days of hand-typed invoices, paper time cards, and magnet boards for scheduling… or are they? Would you believe there are still companies who “have a gal” who types invoices, enters time cards manually, and posts schedules on a dry erase board? No, it’s true! And while what she (or he) does is critical to the success of the company – there is a better, faster, and less expensive way to complete day-to-day operations – with technology!

messy desk
Enter: software and mobile applications for the construction industry. There are lots of companies who have out-of-the-box solutions – licenses for multiple users, programs that either provide too little or too many features. A package that cost a fee to purchase, and requires a monthly or yearly subscription. What about customizing that software so instead of doing about 60% of what you need – it does nearly 100%? How about owning the software and not paying yearly license fees? What about having a direct dial to the desk of the person who created your application – and not navigating through a huge company directory when you need help? What happens when your company grows and expands and you want to add functionality? These are just some of the benefits of having a custom program for scheduling and dispatching, time tracking, bid management, and equipment maintenance.

construction app
If some of your current challenges include sifting through complex spreadsheets (if you can find them), poor communication from the office to the field (and vice versa), and lots of paper waste on your desk (or on the dash of your vehicles) – you need to consider what technology can do for you. Don’t be afraid – embrace all that can be accomplished and made easier with a few clicks or taps!

 

 

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.

winners

 

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.

patrick-donnelly_hires

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: dreamstime.com

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.