Happy Easter Week

If you ever thought it would be fun to travel to a significant place for Easter, here are some ideas.

If you happen to be in Jerusalem or decide to travel there, they have two “World’s Most Impressive Easter Services” according to an April 15, 2017 mentalfloss.com article. One of them is at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which is where Jesus was crucified. The other is at the Garden Tomb, considered to be the tomb of Jesus.

Then there’s Lourdes France, known for its healing presence after a young girl named Bernadette reported she saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, according to a March 16, 2014 article in express.co.uk. Every day at 8:45 p.m. people march through the grounds with torches. For Easter, they have Mass at Basilica of St Pius X. They offer dips in baths free of charge which are filled with water from the area. 

The same article lists Patmos, Greece as the place most believe St. John had visions of Christ and wrote the book of Revelations. They have Easter events at the Monastery of St. John.

Still more, the express article states that Rome is popular for Easter for their displays of color and events with the Pope leading the procession.

Most likely, however, you are here in the states. The mental floss article lists the Lincoln Memorial Sunrise service in Washington, D.C. as one of the “12 Most Impressive Easter Services.”

The more realistic option is to make a virtual visit to some of the more grand displays. According to a vogue.com article from April 11, 2020, when the pandemic was raging, this was most people’s only option. Depending on your persuasion, you can virtually attend Easter Mass with Pope Francis or tune into Joel Osteen’s megachurch service.

Then again, there’s always your local church where you probably know a few of your neighbors, or if not check out one that interests you. Happy Easter.


Last Day For Easter Effort

Just in case you missed the earlier posts. Today is the deadline for our See’s Candy Campaign effort for Easter. 
It’s a win-win. We’ve set up an online See’s Candy campaign to earn money to purchase candy and baskets for needy kids at Easter. The win for you is by purchasing See’s candy for all your friends and clients–you get the picture–you help us earn dollars for the outreach.

So here goes. Here’s the link. Click here. When you order online the delivery goes directly to you or your friend. Please help by forwarding this blog post to anyone you think might be interested. We have a deadline of today, March 24. A Big Thank You for your support. We hope you will have a wonderful Easter season.


Easter is April 9

So, Easter will be here before you know it and so that you don’t wait until the last minute, here’s an encouragement to order gifts for Easter for your clients and friends and family. We’re working with See’s Candy again this Easter to give kids Easter boxes filled with treats.

It’s a win-win. We’ve set up an online See’s Candy campaign to earn money to purchase candy and boxes for the kids. The win for you is by purchasing See’s candy for all your friends and family, co-workers, bosses, church friends, neighbors–you get the picture–you help us earn dollars for the outreach.

So here goes. Here’s the link. Click here. When you order online the delivery goes directly to you. Please help by forwarding this post to anyone you think might be interested. We have a deadline of March 24. A Big Thank You for your support. We hope you will have a wonderful Easter season.

So why do we like See’s Candy? See’s started in California in 1921 and is still going strong today. Their motto is Quality Without Compromise so they gotta be doing something right.

What is ChatGPT and Why You Should Care, Or Not

With so many emails from media insiders coming into my inbox about ChatGpt, I had to ask myself What is ChatGPT and Why Should I or You Care, Or Not? 

Mostly I’ve been ignoring the articles because, honestly anything that has to do with Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially the Artificial part, makes me cringe. I know I’m risking sounding too old school, but I admit I am old school. It just seems like one more thing that I have to know about in my busy day of just trying to get through the to-do list.

So, if you are sort of wondering what it is, but are too busy just doing your job, I thought I’d do the research for you. That way, the next time you’re at a networking thing you won’t have to pretend to know. And, well, maybe you do already know and I’m being repetitive or taking too long to catch on–but well, like I said, I try to ignore artificial things in general. I’d rather have live plants than fake plants–you get the idea.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica, Britannica.com, ChatGPT is software, “that allows a user to ask it questions using conversational, or natural, language. It was released on November 30, 2022, by the American company OpenAI.” 

According to the reference source, academics, journalists and other people were worried that it would be hard to tell the difference between human writing and ChatGPT writing. The software was launched with an offer for a free account and helps with writing essays and tests. According to Britannica, it is not always accurate and many professors are concerned students will use it as a way to cheat on homework and exams. It appears, according to some articles, that this is already happening.

Online creators are using the software to automatically write emails on Microsoft, Salesforce and TikTok. I guess with all the focus on social media and getting your word out, it would help to cut down on the work involved with creating content. But, I ask, don’t we already have enough content out there and is this just another way to spam our inboxes? 

Like I said, I’m not a big advocate on anything artificial. I’d rather have the genuine article and that includes talking to a real live human being. This might be another step into the Star Wars, Star Trek future some are trying to create, but is this the right or wrong direction? What do you think?

Are you looking for a business credit card? I’ve been using Capital One since pretty much the start of my business. I get rewards points which come in handy at Christmas and other holidays. Check it out here.


Should your business start a frequent shopper loyalty program?

OK, So it’s confession time. How many of you have used a frequent shopper card this past week? Nowadays it’s pretty easy. Just plug in your phone number at the grocery, or while buying another latte you show your app or punch card to get the next one free. Is it worth the trouble to start one for your business?

According to a January 3, 2023 article on explodingtopics.com , the “average American consumer belongs to 16.7 customer loyalty programs.”

It further explains that the rewards plans most used are “credit cards, high-frequency retail, mid-frequency retail, travel and dining.” 

The report mentions the programs used often are because consumers want to “maximize points earnings.” It seems points are “effective in driving customers toward spending on brands,” and people with more money use these rewards cards more. The stated blog post says that 62% of consumers spend more money on their choice places after signing up for a paid loyalty program.

So, it sounds like a good idea to start one.

Further according to a Forbes post “It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.” You probably already see this pattern playing out in your business. So it would make sense to encourage new customers to become repeat customers.

In a Mention Me’s 2021 Customer Advocacy Report, it states that 40% of customers are likely to buy again from brands that reward loyalty.

The businesses that offer rewards for frequent purchases are encouraging customers to repeatedly buy.

Rewards benefits can improve customer retention, and gain loyal customers while building strong relationships with them. They can also increase customer satisfaction, make you stand out from your competitors and build more revenue.

As explained in an Accenture post, customers spend on average about 12% to 18% more when engaged with these programs.

From these articles it sounds like a loyalty points program might be the way to go, but don’t make the reward level too high or difficult to achieve, and start giving rewards right away to encourage visits. A good example of this is a recent campaign with Einstein Bagels for their Shmear Society Rewards program. New loyalty members receive a free bagel and smear just for signing up.

To get started with your new rewards program, you’ll need to spend some time doing research, or hire a person to help you get started. There are many software platforms to consider.

From Fit Small Business the best small business loyalty program software programs are LoyaltyLion, TapMango, Yotpo, Annex Cloud, Zinrelo and Smile.io.

Other websites mention Salesforce Experience Cloud, Kangaroo, Tango Card, Preferred Patron Loyalty, Glue, Jay and FiveStars. Since there are a plethora of platforms, spend time asking some of your business contacts what they use if they have a program in place. 

It appears most big businesses build their own platforms. For example, Starbucks recently launched Starbucks Odyssey in September 2022. In a TechCrunch.com post they say it’s their “first foray into building with web3 technology.”

If you don’t have a lot of time or money to get going on a program, you can always start with a printed punch card. You’ll find a lot of small coffee shops using this type.

The following are some good examples of loyalty programs in place. You could model yours based on ones that are working and recognizable. You might have your own opinions based on your personal preferences so this is not an all inclusive list, just some suggested examples. These were pulled from Businessinsider.com and Emarsys.com

Amazon Rewards Visa card (Free) Sign up and get approved for a credit card to use the Amazon loyalty program. Shoppers get 3% or 5% back on every dollar spent on Amazon and Whole Foods Market.

Barnes & Noble B&N Rewards (Free) You get stamps every time you shop, one stamp for every $10. Ten stamps earns a $5 reward.

Baskin Robbins (Free)Upon sign up members receive a free scoop of ice cream on their birthday. They also send offers and updates.

Bloomingdale’s The Loyalist program (Free) Earn a point for every dollar spent. They offer free shipping every day. They have exclusive offers and you can earn triple points on personal days. If you have a Bloomingdale’s credit card you get triple points. Use points for gift cards.There are extra points for achieving a higher level.

CVS ExtraCare (Free) The program rewards customers with ExtraBucks to pay for their next shopping trip.

Dick’s Sporting Goods (Free) The ScoreCard gives 1 point for every dollar spent. When you reach 300 Points you get a $10 Reward. If you spend more or have a credit card, you go up a tier.

Disney (Various levels of fixed annual fees) Magic Keys is a tiered, card-based loyalty program to encourage repeat visits.

DSW VIP (Free)This is a points based loyalty program that gives members 1 point for every $1 spent, and $5 reward for every $100 spent. You also get $5 off for your birthday, free shipping on every purchase, and more points for donating nearly new shoes to someone in need. They have three tiers with more offers the more is spent.

Ikea Family (Free) They offer free in-store coffee and tea to members, savings on delivery, 5% back on some in-store items, members-only offers, surprise rewards, free workshops and more.

Kohl’s Rewards (Free) Members receive a free birthday gift and 5% rewards on every purchase, every day. Rewards are issued each month.

Lancome Elite Rewards (Free) You earn points for dollars spent and receive a birthday gift. Connecting on social media and giving them information about yourself gives you more points. They have different tiers based on how many points are earned.

Michael Kors KORSVIP (Free) They have a tiered loyalty program where members earn points, free standard shipping, including surprise gifts, private events, and special services. According to some, their gifts are generous. The higher the level, the more you get.

Nordstrom Nordy Club (Free) Earn one point for every dollar spent at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and TrunkClub. Points can be cashed for store credit. Nordstrom credit card holders earn points two times faster. You also get “Insider Access” to stuff like style workshops, curb side pick-up.

Office Depot Rewards (Free) You get 2% back in rewards, members-only savings, $2 back in recycling and $2 back for reviews.

PetSmart (Free)Members receive points for every $1 spent in store and online, a surprise on the pet’s birthday, plus points are earned for grooming, training, donating to their charity and purchases.

Reebok Unlocked (Free) Gives 15% off on their welcome offer, free shipping, returns and exchanges on all orders, $10 off a purchase on your birthday and exclusive offers.

REI Co-Op program (Pay $30 once and receive membership for a lifetime) They have a no questions asked return policy even without a receipt because purchases are logged through membership. Members get 10% back on purchases, members-only specials, access to the REI community with classes, events and REI Adventures. They also have REI Garage sale events.

Sears Shop Your Way (Free) Members get coupons, 1% cash back in points for every $1 spent and surprise points offers.

Sephora Beauty Insider Program (Free) Earn one point for every dollar spent and you can also earn products and sets. In addition they have access to beauty classes, seasonal promos, and curated sets. They have three credit cards for more exclusive perks.

Starbucks (Free) They suggest using their app to maximize benefits. Every day there are bonus stars to elect to participate in. You get one star for every dollar that can be used to pay for items and sometimes you get free refills and other perks.

Target REDcard (Free to sign up) It takes a little extra time to set up but worth it if you shop here often. You sign up for their credit, debit or Reloadable card to save 5% on every purchase. You get free shipping for online orders and an additional 30 days for returns with no annual fee.

Tarte Cosmetics Tarte Rewards (Free) Members earn ten points for every $1 spent and can redeem points for exclusive offers.

Williams Sonoma The Key (Free) Members get 2% back in rewards, members-only offers, and early access. The membership is good for all of their brands including 3% back on Pottery Barn, West Elm and Mark and Graham.

Walgreens MyWalgreens (Free) Loyalists get automatic sale prices, 1% cash rewards per $1 spent, 5% earning on Walgreens branded products, only for you deals and more. If you sign up for their credit card you get even more rewards.

Ulta’s Ultimate Rewards (Free) Earn a point for each dollar spent, two points with the Ultimate Rewards Credit Card. Some select products earn even more awards. There’s also a gift on the member’s birthday and more points earnings in birthday month. Higher spending levels unlock more rewards.

Keep looking at how other marketers are doing things right here. More research. Get started today to earn more loyalty with your customers.


Which Ad Will Win the Super Bowl LVII?

Most know that the Super Bowl not only comes with an exciting football game and half time show, but it’s probably one of the few times when people actually want to watch ads.

With all the online video viewing options, a lot of advertisers are launching their spots early. Here are a few links to some of the ads, but isn’t the game day viewing still the most exciting?



If you haven’t been following along, the NFL teams playing in Super Bowl 2023 are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. They will be playing the game at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale Arizona on February 12, 2023. Kickoff will be at 3:30 p.m. pst and 6:30 p.m. est.

How To Watch The Game

The game will be airing on Fox TV.  If you have cable you’ll be able to watch it that way. If you want to stream the Super Bowl you can catch it on YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu+ and fuboTV.

According to Si.com, the football game is expected to be a close one with both teams having a 14-3 record in the regular season. The Chiefs are attending the Super Bowl for the third time in five years. They have a 1-1 record. The Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018.

How Much Does A Super Bowl Ad Cost?

You’re probably wondering how much all these Super Bowl ads cost. Well, they aren’t cheap. You’ll find estimated national rates on Statista.com, but a lot of times there are negotiations behind the scenes so it’s really hard to say unless you’re actually considering buying ads. And, there are all kinds of ways to make the cost cheaper like buying in a local market, online, or other creative ways. So, if you’ve considered being a part of the Super bowl ad game, don’t discount it if you don’t have millions of dollars to spend. In some cases, being last minute might be a good thing. If the networks or local stations still have ad space they need to fill you could still possibly find a good buy. So, you might have a shot despite it all.


Iconic Celebrity Brands

Dolly Parton Baking Products

Continuing with last week’s theme of long-term brands that “Evolve with the Times” this week’s post focuses on celebrity brands that have sustained through the decades. This past week, it was announced that Dolly Parton launched a line of baking products with Duncan Hines and Martha Stewart collaborated with Oreos.

Dolly Parton

Probably everyone in the family from first grader Johnny to Molly the great grandma has heard of Dolly Parton. Born in 1946 and from Tennessee, she is most known for her country music. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Only recently, it appears, more press has focused on her songwriting abilities with the Whitney Houston hit I Will Always Love You being lyrics that Parton wrote. The new movie Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody, references Parton and those lyrics.

But let’s start from the beginning. At just ten years old she was featured in a TV variety show. A few years later, at thirteen, she was on the Grand Ole Opry. Her first “recorded single” was at age sixteen. She moved to Nashville after high school graduation. By 1971 she had a number one hit, Joshua. Then later, more hits with Jolene, Love is Like a Butterfly and I Will Always Love You. She’s had so many musical accolades that it would take a whole article to list them all. Go to country music hall of fame to learn more.

So how has she evolved with the times to become an icon? After her musical hits she ventured into Hollywood. She appeared on TV talk shows, specials and movies–9 to 5 was one of the notable ones. She also collaborated with other singers like Linda Ronstadt, Wille Nelson and Kenny Rogers. Then later created her own theme park Dollywood. She added philanthropist to her resume with Imagination Library, a program that gives a free book a month to kids from birth to five years old.

She became a living legend in 2004 when the Library of Congress gave her the Living Legend Award. She was also granted the National Medal of Arts and is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In addition she has a Lifetime Achievement Award and so many other awards. But, even with all those honors she is still evolving with the recent Dolly Parton Baking Collection from Duncan Hines that is now on store shelves. She also wrote and produced a new song for her 77th birthday based on a dream she had. Dolly Parton is a Celebrity Brand for the long-term.

Sources: Country Music Hall of Fame

Martha Stewart

This week Martha Stewart seems to be evolving with the times by joining a Metaverse launch to promote the new The Most Oreo Oreo. The product will be on store shelves on January 30. The cookie packages have a QR code that lets buyers play online games and gives them chances to win prizes in the Oreoverse. Go to Oreoverse.oreo.com for more information.

She is literally a household name and most would probably know her just by her first name, Martha. She was born in New Jersey in 1941. At age 13 she started to model. The seed of her lifestyle brand was after she helped restore a 19th century Federal-style farmhouse and she learned gourmet cooking by reading Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. In 1976 she began a catering business which brought her attention. Then a handful of years later her first book Entertaining came out. She continued to write books thorough the 1980’s and in 1990 published a magazine, Martha Stewart Living. In the 90’s she started a syndicated television show that ran through 2004. She then ventured into products with her Martha Stewart Everyday line. Her previous work as a stockbroker may have helped in listing her multi-channel media and marketing firm, Omnimedia, on the New York Stock Exchange in 1999. Accusations of insider trading and jail time involving a stock sale didn’t stop her from continuing her business and efforts. In 2005 she starred as herself in the daytime show Martha which ran through 2012. She continues to be on TV with Martha Bakes, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Party Challenge and Bakeaway Camp with Martha Stewart. She has produced numerous other articles, books, TV shows, and products and has collaborated with celebrities like Mark Burnett and Donald Trump.

Martha Stewart is another celebrity brand that has proven longevity.

Sources: Britannica, CNN, Biography


Building a Brand For The Long-Term

What do businesses like Macy’s, Colgate and Dr. Pepper have in common? To start, they all began in the 1800’s. In an article from 2016 on the site Leadership Review the author Steve Olenski of Forbes writes that brands like Macy’s, Colgate and Dr Pepper share similar traits in their longevity.

In short, he believes, these are the ways they have stood the test of time.

  1. They make promises and keep them. Customers can trust that their experience with the brand will be consistent.
  2. They connect with customers emotionally.
  3. They evolve with the times but their values and promises stay the same.
  4. They continue to stand out.
  5. They ignore negatives.
  6. They know the right places to reach their customers.


According to the site Storebrands, Macy’s is known for a “Broad selection of private brand products…in apparel and home and housewares.” Based on this description we can guess that their promise is to offer customers a wide selection and that they’ve kept that promise throughout the centuries. According to recent articles, Macy’s is currently “evolving with the times” by creating a private brand strategy to capture more millennial shoppers. In what ways do you think they connect emotionally to their consumers? How are they standing out from the competition?


According to an article on the site IIDE, Colgate is known for “high quality oral hygiene…at fair and affordable prices.” The brand makes toothbrushes, toothpaste and oral hygiene products. They focus primarily on their toothpaste product and watch pricing of competitors closely. They are “evolving with the times” by continually expanding their product line. Colgate stands out in the minds of consumers for their red packaging. They have used celebrities in their advertising to create a connection. Are these brand habits keeping with the longevity traits mentioned above?


An online article on mapandfire.com shared some of Dr. Pepper’s Brand Strategy. The story hints at their promise to customers in their mention that the soft drink has a “Primary Need (Job To Be Done) to get a soft drink that breaks away from standard flavor profiles.” The brands “evolving with the times” is shown through an article on MBA Skool, which states that “they keep coming up with new taste and utility product(s) according to the needs and demands of customers.” They have reached out to consumers through motion pictures and football and have a heavy presence on social media. That sounds like they know where their customers are at.

So, which of these six traits does your brand or business share with these long-term products? Why not incorporate some of these strategies into your campaign? Will your brand still be around in a hundred years?


Wishing You All The Best


Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

December 19 marked the first day of Hanukkah. To celebrate I tried to make Challah bread, but being in the mountains I didn’t take into account that there might be some issues with baking, so it didn’t turn out as well as I wanted but it was still edible.

High elevation challah bread

So, if you’re baking from a box, make sure to check the directions for higher elevations. If you’re trying your favorite recipe in the mountains, you’ll probably need to make some adjustments.

I found some websites that address this issue. It seems like most of them mention that liquids evaporate faster so you probably need to consider that. They also said that doughs rise faster in higher elevations. Still more, you may need to make revisions to the amount of flour, sugar and baking powder and soda.

An article on Epicurious seemed to explain it the best. Check the link here.

There are some other helpful articles. Click here for one on Betty Crocker’s website.

King Arthur baking.com also has an article here.

And, tomorrow is Christmas Day. So Merry Christmas. May it bring all the delights of the season that you imagine.