Blog

Kosher Status of Starbucks a Complicated Web of Issues for Consumers

Posted on Leave a comment on Kosher Status of Starbucks a Complicated Web of Issues for Consumers

Baltimore MD…The recent pushback by the Star-K Kosher Certification agency about the kosher status of Starbucks brought to the fore the complexity of certifying a large food chain with thousands of locations all over the world. According to Rabbi Zvi Holland, Director of Special Projects for the Star-K, there was an abundance of goodwill by both the company and kashrus officials to make Starbucks products available to the thousands of kosher consumers who enjoy the pricey beverage. Indeed, many of the products sold in Starbucks stores were kosher certified. But apparently the process of filtering out the good apples from the bad apples, kashrus-wise, became too complicated for both the company and kashrus agencies. The Star-K which has been working with Starbucks for several years to address kashrus concerns and even set up a pilot kosher program in 6 stores, announced recently on its website that it can no longer recommend many of Starbucks drinks to kosher consumers, due to the coffee company’s decision to end a joint program to help kosher adherents consume the Starbucks products. “Please be advised that Starbucks Corporation has decided to end the expanded Star-K kosher information program… the Star-K can no longer vouch for the kashrut [kosher status] of items previously listed that do not bear a reliable kosher symbol,” the agency said on their website. “This includes Frappuccino’s and all flavored drinks.” A listing of kosher products appears on the Star-K website.

Rabbi Holland said that Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, the Rabbinical Supervisor of the Star-K, had come up with many creative solutions that would address the kashrus concerns. Many rabbis and agencies like the Orthodox Union were never enthusiastic about kosher consumers buying coffee and other products at Starbucks stores. Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the COO of the Kashrus Division of the Orthodox Union, explained that the stores sell many non-kosher products and that there is a great deal of comingling utensils and cookware in dishwashers. A petition on Change.org calling for Starbucks to reinstate the partnership with the Star-K is approaching nearly 10,000 signatures. Many consumers flatly predicted that while the Starbucks stores might be off limits for now, we have not yet heard the last word from both the company and ultimately from kashrus officials.

Several rabbis reached by Kosher Today say that while Starbucks is by far the largest chain of its sort, others like 711’s which sell Slurpees or Dunkin Donuts are also examples of chains that have courted the kosher consumer. Kashrus agencies like the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc) provide kosher consumers with complete listings of Slurpees kosher products. Dunkin Donuts stores, say kashrus officials, may be less problematic since they use a chemical cleaning process rather than dishwashing. Yet, some rabbis warn that when Dunkin Donuts stands are part of a multi-brand set-up, all bets may be off especially if common dishwashing is practiced. But there was some good news recently for kosher coffee users in that the LA  based Coffee Bean & Tea Company is planning a comeback in New York and other locations,  offering kosher consumers new options for kosher coffee houses.

A Little bit of Retro Can Help Marketing in 2018

Posted on Leave a comment on A Little bit of Retro Can Help Marketing in 2018

“Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater!” This may be an appropriate admonition as marketers move deeper into 2018. All predictions for this new year point to marketers increased reliance on digital marketing like never before. The question is whether this will it be at the expense of conventional marketing techniques. For example, while shopping carts might be flashing messages through new digital devices mounted on the handles or communicating through smart phones that are inserted into holders mounted on the handles, there will still be a need for point-of-purchase materials to flag the customer. In other words, let’s not be too quick to dismiss the “old and tried” marketing in favor of the “now” digital marketing. Yes, marketing in 2018 will be about targeting, perhaps better than ever before, but messaging will be extremely important. My take is that messaging should never be about you. It should be about the client and how life will be better through use of a product, idea, or an experience. As much as digital marketing will reign in 2018, the need for creative and quick content will be omnipresent. The best messaging will be “ABC is a great product because it is durable and will help you live longer.” That’s a one-two punch: We’re great because it will do x for you. Happy 2018.

Why You Need a Big Idea for Black Friday

Posted on Leave a comment on Why You Need a Big Idea for Black Friday

Black Friday is coming up and so is Cyber Monday. Some retailers count on robust sales on those days to offset slumping retail sales or to simply move merchandise. With today’s multiple marketing options, including digital marketing, it is not necessary to wait for those celebrated shopping days, but for the moment let’s focus on those two famous shopping days.. I have watched how retailers market those days and much of it is quite uninspiring. They seem to advertise specials, percentage off sales, two for one bargains, and even specials at each hour. I would like to suggest that retailers can potentially be more successful by coming up with a creative idea that is available only on that day. It has to be an idea that will motivate customers to go into the store or website. Many advertise ridiculously low specials and end up on the minus side because it turns out that the item becomes a loss rather than a loss leader. Customers tend to sniff these extraordinary deals and of course base their shopping on finding the basement bargain prices.

So what would be a big idea for Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Well, that’s the challenge but here’s one idea that I saw and liked. For every purchase that one bought for a certain price, they were given a sales certificate for a special on another day during the year. So where’s the genius here? Retaining the customer’s interest and getting the customer to come back at a future dates(s) when the store can usual use the increased business. But this is what I mean by out of the box and why it pays to consult with people who have the experience and wherewithal to move from the ordinary.

Marketers as Educators

Posted on 11 Comments on Marketers as Educators

By now, every marketer should recognize the importance of educating consumers. For example, how do you convince people used to a yellow cab or a car service to use the app friendly Uber. Imagine the mind of the consumers with such questions as “Who are the drivers?” “Are the cars safe?” “Is the ride more expensive than a yellow cab?” Well, technology is certainly making educators of marketers. But my long experience has taught me, teach a consumer how to better use their product and lo and behold sales soar! So are you ready for your role as an educator? If not, Lubicom can teach you! Even if you are we’ll give you an out-of-the box idea that is sure to generate interest.

Taking Leadership

Posted on Leave a comment on Taking Leadership

If you are an industry leader, don’t allow any daylight between you and your key competitor since you may never rebound. Take Blackberry, for example, some of their new phones like the Z 30 or the PRIV are as good or better than Apple but it may be a case of too little too late as they already lost most of their loyal base to Apple. Then there’s Nike that just came out with automatic shoelaces meaning that with a push of a button the shoe closes snugly around your foot. They are ahead of the game and certainly ahead of their key competitors like Adidas and Reebok. Often a successful brand takes its leadership so for granted that they do not take the next step, particularly in today’s rapidly moving technological age. There is a long list of iconic brands that made the mistake of being asleep at the wheel. Remember Kodak?

Marketing Tips

Posted on 1 Comment on Marketing Tips

Branding has become such an important marketing imperative that the number of failures has been staggering. No, branding is not for everyone. If you produce mediocrity in any form, the chances for successful branding are relatively slim. If you are in a competitive environment with iconic brands and do not have a special feature or message that makes you better or different, forget it. If you don’t produce perfection consistently, branding is not for you. If you do have what it takes to brand your product or service, make sure you have a strategic plan, a GPS to where you want to reach. Oh, I mean branding where people spend bundles of money to get people to remember the brand and guess what, they remember it for the wrong reasons. I strongly believe in branding but like everything else in life, it’s not for everyone.

 

Lessons in Politics

Posted on Leave a comment on Lessons in Politics

Marco Rubio faltered because he underestimated the competition, spent too much time discrediting his competitor, and not enough time perfecting his own product, himself. Big lesson here for businesses that make the same mistake. They think that by discrediting the competition that they can build themselves up. They are always looking over their shoulder at the competition  without focusing on perfecting their product and message. Marco, thanks for that lesson. It may have cost you the presidency and possibly your political career but guess what?  Your competitor said last night that you are young and that that you have a bright future. So who knows, your competitor may still be right! In any case, we at Lubicom are always here to offer strategic direction so that Black Tuesdays like yesterday can be avoided!