Seasonality is an Excuse

Vail Tournament 2005, Photo Copyright Melissa Dafni, Blue Kitten Photography

I hear a lot of people say their product is seasonal and I see a lot of companies treat their products as such. But in many cases, is your product really seasonal? Or are you simply using that as an excuse?

I won’t deny it, some products are definitely seasonal. Most people don’t shop for Easter candy in June or Christmas trees in September, but outside of holiday specific products, is it truly seasonal?

Take for instance the sport of lacrosse. It has a definite seasonality, right?  After all,  lacrosse isn’t played year round. The National Lacrosse League plays from January through May. Major League Lacrosse plays from May to August.  High school and college have two seasons with girls playing in the fall and boys in the spring. Many cities and organizations hold summer tournaments.

Wait a second. That looks like lacrosse is played year round, doesn’t it? So why is it treated seasonal? Because that’s how those involved treat it. If it’s not NLL season, teams don’t tweet or update their Facebook pages and news is virtually nil outside of major events like draft day.

Does that mean fans quit looking for relevant products? In some cases, yes. You will always have a group of customers who also view your product as seasonal, either because they’re ready to move on to other things, or because they’ve been conditioned to view it that way.

Others find themselves frustrated because a product they want is no longer available. Many lacrosse blogs and news sites go dormant for the season, gear becomes hard to find unless you are lucky enough to have a lacrosse specific store nearby or shop online. Sometimes even that doesn’t help. Just ask a lacrosse playing girl whose gear, to save valuable real estate may only be stocked ahead of the season and cleared out immediately after.

Do you really believe anyone heavily involved in the sport quits thinking about it simply because it’s not lacrosse season? A lot of opportunity exists but is overlooked because lacrosse is seasonal.

So now, is your product really seasonal? Or is it only seasonal because you view and treat it as such?

Think You Can Automate Your Marketing?

With the growth of social media, many companies want to get involved, but don’t really want to divert resources to these untested areas.  Often, companies set them up and forget about it, or they try to keep it active by passively automating it.  After all, why should you pay for someone to manage your social media when you can automate it?

Screen shot of Levi's twitter page

I need to point out that I don’t believe this Twitter page is associated with the Levi’s brand as they list their twitter account as Levisguy on their home page, however, it is associating itself with the Levi’s brand and regardless of its legitimacy, provides an effective example.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Words have meaning and names have power.  ~Author Unknown

It’s old news by this point, but if you haven’t heard, Radio Shack is changing their name to The Shack.

My first thought when I started seeing this on Twitter? “Oh, I bet that’s a funny Onion article. I’ll have to read it later.”

That’s probably not the reaction they were going for, but I definitely wasn’t alone in the thought it wasn’t true.  It sounds absurd because the images it conjures doesn’t fit.  To me, The Shack sounds like a club of some kind, not an electronics store.

So what made them decide to change their name?

My assumption would be an attempt to reposition their brand.  For years, Radio Shack has been battling an image of lower quality products despite them expanding their offerings to include high end products like iPods and cellular phones.  Changing their name to The Shack however is not going to counter that image on its own.  The term shack doesn’t inspire images of quality but instead makes it sound even cheaper.

Rebranding is always difficult.  On the one hand you’re shedding the negative associations with the previous branding, but you’re also losing the good will associated with it.  You’re also essentially starting from scratch, however, instead of just trying to introduce a new brand, you’re trying to get people to understand that it’s the same brand which in many ways defeats the purpose.  As we become more and more inundated with marketing messages, consumers are even more likely to go for the brands that they’re familiar with.  After all, how often when you’re grocery shopping do you grab the items you need based on recognition?

Personally, I don’t think it was the best idea, but only time will tell.  What do you think?