Tip: The Power of An Effective Presentation

Persuasive and powerfully delivered presentations can set the stage for corporate success. Conversely, a poImageorly executed speech can result in corporate suicide.  This two-part series looks into how to craft a successful presentation.

Effective presentations help define your Personal Brand* (see Blog MARCH 7th) and differentiate your brand – ie presentations that deliver clear, concise and persuasive messages….will drive corporate credibility.  It is generally considered a person who can speak well is organized, has poise, intelligence, and logic (note this is not always the case but directionally true.)

 But how does one do well on presentations?  The answer is actually simple.  Practice practice practice!

It is better to bleed in the dojo than to bleed in the streets

Earl Robertson, Kyoshi (7th degree Blackbelt in Karate-do)

The saying above means practice in a controlled setting.  My Sensei always said the only way to improve your fighting technique was to ‘bleed in the dojo (a controlled setting) than in the street (ie.the board room!)’. 

This sage philosophy holds true for speeches that can be ‘messy’ if stumbled, unpractised, incoherent and in front of Senior Management.  Controlled settings include – Speech Masters, taking a course(s) or practicing in a quiet room or in front of a mirror.  Practice in the VERY room you are going to present as well (check audio, feel the room temperature and how your voice carries).  

Tips:  Presentation content and understanding your target market is always essential.  We will delve deeper in a later blog.

More about Author: http://about.me/davidbartolini#services 

*Personal Brand  – consider it as your IMAGE (online or other) – this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance, online presence, etc, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.


University of Toronto Mississauga Course – Fundamentals of Retail Merchandising & Marketing

FALL 2012 UTM course details – it’s never to early to plan!


Course begins 19 Sep 2012 to 12 Dec 2012.  Enroll now (above link).

Who is this course for? 

Ideal for general interest in retail (marketers, HR, executive assistants, etc).  Focused for people with Brand/Category/Merchandising or Operational backgrounds/interests.  If you are in retail – either a huge Tier 1 company or an Entrepreneur, this course is designed for you.

What will I learn?

This is not a typical university course.  It is practical, recent and very comprehensive.  Course includes: Brand/Category/Operational topics over and above Merchandising/Marketing.  ALSO: Discussions on planograms/ACN Data analysis/Retail Ad Flyers/Executive Guest Speakers & much more. 

Student Course Rating: Outstanding.

No exams.  Team based assignments.

Fundamentals of Packaging Design: Case Study “SmartSpud”

Packaging design is the visual representation of your product or brand.  It is the interface between the consumer and your product; and therefore it is vitally important you represent your product well and accurately to the consumer.

Product design can drive impulse purchases, reinforce brand message/equity, and visually stimulate consumers (either positively or negatively).  Below, we review some packaging design fundamentals for one product, The Smart Spud – a product that today resonates well with consumers; it is a Low Carbohydrate product which is designed to be interpreted as a “healthier” option.

But before design, however, we must observe the 4 P’s (Marketing Mix) of the Smart Spud (Note: Target Market are people with higher disposable incomes who love potatoes but don’t want to feel guilty about the carbohydrates they consume):

Product – The Product is a unique and premium potato product.  Low Carb potato, a ‘lighter’ option

Place – Only “Great Food” format stores, not discount stores

Price – 25% retail $ premium to other poly bag potatoes

Promotions – not applicable

Given that the Smart Spud is a high-end, healthier potato option, it is important all 4 P’s are congruent with the “premium & healthier” message (as well as design and the type of packaging used).   If the marketing mix is conflicting (ie a premium ingredient product with a discounted price?!), it will confuse consumers and weaken equity in your brand/product.

Let’s review the DESIGN strategy of this product:

The Name: Smart Spud – reinforces and/or hints at a “smart potato option”

–          Minimalistic design is used.  Minimalistic can be interpreted as “upscale”

–          Supporting Images – usually secondary and reinforce a  “healthier” message – in this case a waist-band measurement strap at the top of the bag design is used (difficult to see on image)

–          Colour – The predominate colours used are White (which reinforces the product is not “rich or heavy” but light and airy) and Blue (Blue is the standard in Canada to connote “healthier” option ie see President’s Choice Blue Menu sub Brand).  Therefore, we are borrowing the equity of an existing sub brand which already resonates ‘healthier’ with consumers.  We don’t need to recreate another.

–          Photo – note the use of a “serving suggestion” photograph.  In this case, a “mash potato” in a premium blue bowl is used.  It is simple and can be healthy.  A baked potato could have been used, however, baked potatoes can be synonymous with a “Loaded Potato” – ie sour cream, chives, bacon, etc.  Potentially marring our image of the healthy option.

 Remember, marketing and marketing design are subjective – this means they are open to interpretation.  While some design principles used above may work for this product, they may not for all.  What is important is you have an understanding of design basics, the market, and that your message is consistent with the 4P’s of marketing.  Consistent messages drive equity in your product.

More about Author: http://about.me/davidbartolini#services

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

How do you distinguish yourself from others in the rat-race?  More specifically, how do you create a unique and professional Personal Brand*(PB)

One significant way to differentiate your PB, is to launch new products into the market – it can create such a buzz!  But the key is to work strategically with your vendors and push them to be creative and submit product concepts regularly.  In my experience do not discount smaller vendors – they are aggressive and entrepreneurial and want to grow market share.

And when something exciting is submitted, it is now where you utter: I want EXCLUSIVITY!” (refer to Blog Feb 17th before launching nationally).  

Tips to securing Exclusivity

–          Remember WIN/WIN philosophy always prevails!  The vendor needs to profit (at least in long run)

–          Create a promotion schedule with the vendor – how much will be invested? (ie you can advertise in-store  promotions  and/or distributed flyers).   Show a willingness to set the product ‘up for success’

–          Inform Vendor they will get merchandising space/planogram and that you will give promotional space in advertisements

Exclusivity will do the following for a Merchant:

–          Create brand loyalty to your category and the Company – you are the only show in town!

–          Differentiate you from colleagues and the business in general: The BUZZ factor!

–          Demonstrate your business acumen and vendor relations

Below, I include an item where Exclusivity was secured – The Smart Spud Potato (still on shelves today).  I mention it because you never know when/what category will get a unique product ideal for exclusivity – ie the Potato category was considered a boring “commodity” category and an area where creativity was looooooooong gone.

But this was launched just when the Atkinson diet was popular (low carb diets);  the vendor had exclusivity for the potato seed and in order to get exclusive rights for the Company, I negotiated to do the design and select the packaging type and support promoting it. 

Stay tuned next week – we will discuss how Merchants/Brand Managers can build equity in their products by successful product design.  I will discuss the design and methodology of this unique product. Packaging Design is key… and below is a good example we will expound upon next week.  Some vendors want to own design….but that doesn’t mean you can’t give them feedback if it is going on your shelves!


More about Author: http://about.me/davidbartolini#services

*Personal Brand  – consider it as your IMAGE (online or other) – this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance, online presence, etc, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.

Easter Preparation! Merchants and Operators

Here’s a tip on how you can maximize the number eggs in your basket!

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


A great tip to set your Operators up for success (store managers, etc) is to plan “Over and Above” programs for your stores.  Now this doesn’t mean more work for them to execute.  No!  These proactive programs help them, while simultaneously demonstrating a deeper understanding of the importance of “the day”, and how you, as a Merchant, can be a team player.  Be always excellent.

 As Merchants, it’s easy to forget that Operators are implementing our strategies and promotions on days when thousands and thousands of people are coming to shop (while many are feasting!).  Operators are working hard and we need to make their life easier.  They need to execute and maximize sales while decreasing shrink; we want them on the floor with as little stress as possible.

 One great way to support your Operators is to provide them, by department, with a FAST and SLOW moving report. 

 A Fast/Slow moving report (by department!) is essential; it includes products that are frequently consumed (or not) during the Easter Holidays .  It reviews the top and slowest moving items (20-25 items only), in any department. ie For example, Produce Department would include Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, etc on Fast report and maybe Oranges, Ethnic produce items on Slow report.    

 You can provide this data as such:

     –  Large font! (most operators can’t view the file and make sure it is on Excel they can read/open)

     –  Be able to print on one page!

     –  Summarize each sku (sku = product or stock keeping unit) and then customize the movement BY STORE – not one generic report.  Each store has unique demographics!

     –  Include daily movement by store (not just for the entire week) for each item, using history from the previous year

     –  Provide Operators with a special planogram for each Department with key and promoted items (but keep it simple they don’t want to spend labour on elaborate planograms at this time)

 If you are seeing 5% growth (or decline) from previous year, adjust and tell them your methodology.  Also, offer to help a store for a few hours on “the day” – even collecting random buggies in the parking lot is a huge help.

 Being a team player maximizes camaraderie and from such efforts, one receives the serendipitous fruit of outstanding results!  Be excellent every day.   We are we repeatedly do…so never forget, excellence is a habit.

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