Tag Archives: branding

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.



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.

After the Holidays Marketing How-To

The holiday season isn’t just an important time of year for the retail industry – it’s an excellent marketing opportunity for all businesses. Whether you’re looking to increase awareness about your brand, gain customers, or simply keep your current clients engaged – there are a few out-of-the-box ideas that can have people talking well into the summer months.

Host a holiday get together – after the holidays. Wait until the dust settles and invite clients and prospects to your office in mid- to late-January or even in February. Make it a winter themed event (think blue and silver), have a simple buffet, a few passed hors d’ oeuvres and a signature cocktail. Caterers may even be willing to work within a tighter budget to get business during an otherwise slow time of the year. The themes and possibilities are endless! Make this a relaxed social event, a networking opportunity – not a sales session. Show the customers you’ve been serving or courting all year that you appreciate them and want to continue to stay in contact through 2016 – and beyond.

Beautiful silver gift

Schedule an Account Review. A new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect on past challenges and future plans. Everyone is starting fresh after a long holiday break. Take advantage of this renewed energy and schedule an account review session with your clients!

Send “Happy New Year” cards. Holiday cards are great, but a card arriving in the first few weeks of January, wishing your clients and prospects a fruitful and successful year, won’t get overlooked in the excess of Christmas cheer. Use this vehicle to promote your brand and create awareness about what you do, all while sending best wishes for the coming year. And send real paper cards with a mailing address and a stamp!

happy new year gold

Take advantage of New Year’s resolutions. We all make them (or at least say we did) and rarely follow through. Target specific prospects with an email or phone call offering a free consultation to bring them back to discussions you had the previous year.

“So Jim, I’m thinking your New Year’s resolution should be to really get serious about your company’s outreach. Let me come in and talk to you about your marketing and public relations efforts. We can chat about updating your website and brand too, if time allows. Let’s set up 30 minutes, before the year gets away from us!”

Your goal for the New Year? Make a new marketing initiative commitment (I won’t call it a resolution) – and follow through. None of these options have to be expensive or complicated. With a little creativity and excitement you can do more than you think!