Archives For January 2014

Ten years ago Dove set out to widen the definition of beauty. In 2004 Dove commissioned a research study called “The Real Truth About Beauty” to more deeply understand the relationship of women, beauty and well-being. The results of the study were very surprising. Only two percent of women interviewed considered themselves to be beautiful, while the majority placed themselves in the average or below average category. The study found that women felt disconnected from the way culture describes beauty. The study found that women held different criteria for beauty than popular culture. Women see emotional qualities, character and individuality as equally expressive of beauty as the narrow physical aspects of beauty that currently dominate popular culture.

In 2004, Dove launched the “Campaign For Real Beauty”. The campaign was designed to change the conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty. This campaign has had a positive impact on women, changed the conversation and generated strong sales increases. Dove produced one of the best ads of 2013 in “Real Beauty Sketches”. 

Last week Dove premiered “Selfie” an eight minute film that challenges young women through social media to take an honest selfie and to encourage their mothers to do so, too. “Selfie” premiered at the Sundance Institute in Park City, Utah. This marked the 10th anniversary of Dove’s “Campaign For Real Beauty”.

Selfie is directed by Oscar Winning Documentarian Cynthia Wade and produced by Sharon Liese. “Selfie” captures the journey of multiple generations of girls and their mothers in the western Massachusetts town of Great Barrington as they create a new type of selfie that celebrates their unique beauty. In the film, the girls admit that they adopted many of the insecurities that their mothers also felt. The girls are seen getting together with their moms to create a new type of selfie that features what they perceive as their least desirable physical features.  

A decade later, Dove has uncovered through a major study in the U.S. that 62% of women feel they are responsible for influencing their own definition of beauty, nearly triple the number from ten years ago. Women believe the definition of beauty has evolved to become more inclusive and have taken on the role of defining the standard for themselves and each other.

Social media has emerged as one of the most powerful influencing factors in how women define beauty. Social media offers women the opportunity to create their own media, personalize beauty and influence the conversation. More than half (55%) of women believe social media is playing a larger role in influencing the beauty conversation than traditional media.

“Selfie” is an excellent short film. Dove has done a great job promoting self esteem. As a father of teen age girls and a husband, I applaud what Dove has done. Once again they have redefined the notion of beauty. Dove has stayed true to their brand purpose of celebrating women’s unique beauty.

What do you think of Dove’s short film “Selfie”?

Marriott was founded by J. Willard Marriott and his wife Alice in 1927. They originally opened a nine stool A&W Root Beer Shop in Washington D.C. as a place to get a cool drink during the hot and humid summers. As the first summer drew to a close, the Marriott’s looked for additional ways to attract customers. Bill secured permission from A&W to serve food items and Alice learned to make tamales and chili con carne from the cook at the Mexican Embassy. The “Hot Shoppes” concept was born. Local residents flocked to “Hot Shoppes” for its combination of good food, low prices and great service. The Marriott’s quickly opened additional locations. In 1957, they opened the first Marriott Hotel “Twin Bridges” in Arlington, Virginia.

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Today Marriott operates more than 3,500 hotel properties worldwide under a portfolio of brands. In many ways, they are the Proctor and Gamble of the hospitality industry. They have grown organically and through strategic acquisitions. Their portfolio of brands target different segments of the market. They target the following tiers:

  • Luxury – The Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott, BVLGARI
  • Lifestyle – Edition, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance, AC Hotels
  • Signature – Marriott Hotels and Resorts
  • Select Service – Courtyard by Marriott, Springhill Suites Marriott, Fairfield Inn and Suites Marriott, Moxy Hotels
  • Extended Stay – Residence Inn Marriott, Towne Place Suites Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments
  • Destination Entertainment – Gaylord Hotels

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Marriott has always focused on being a great place to work, delivering an excellent customer experience and building unique brands. There philosophy is summed up by the following quote. “Take care of your associates, and they will take care of your customers, who will keep coming back.”

I believe that Marriott has done an excellent of staying true to their purpose, vision and values and serving the needs of multiple stakeholders. These elements are critical to building a successful brand and ensuring a great customer experience. Listed below are their purpose, vision and values.

Purpose: We open doors to a world of opportunity for:

  • People – personal and professional growth
  • Customers – rewarding travel experiences
  • Communities – a more sustainable future in the places where we live and work
  • Owners and Franchisees – profitable investments
  • Investors – Financial Achievement
  • Business Alliances – Collaboration with suppliers and other key relationships

Vision: To be the number one consumer hospitality company in the world.

Values:

  • Put people first
  • Pursue excellence
  • Embrace change
  • Act with integrity
  • Serve our world

Marriott has received many awards. Marriott has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for. Ethisphere recognized Marriott as one of the most ethical companies in the world.

Marriott Rewards is the best loyalty program in the hospitality industry. Membership is a must for frequent business ravelers. I have been a member for many years. It has helped fund many of my family vacations. The program started in 1983 as a grassroots program by hotel employees to recognize their loyal customers. This was a significant innovation at the time. In 2013, US News and World Reports named Marriott the number one hotel loyalty program.

I am currently staying at Residence Inn. While not, perfect I have always enjoyed my experiences at Marriott properties. A line from their recent advertising campaign hit home. “It’s not only about where you’re staying, it’s about where you’re going.

 

Are you a member of the Marriott Rewards Program?

 
 

I am always on the look out for new and emerging brands that have unique stories. I also keep my eyes open for brands that also have the potential to be good investments. A couple of nights ago I was watching Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money” and he did a comparison of the investment potential of two recent Initial Public Offerings, The Container Store (tcs) http://wp.me/p2zj1x-D9 and Zulily (zu). I was intrigued by his comments on Zulily and thought that I would do some of my own research to better understand their story and value proposition.

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Zulily was founded in 2009 by Darrell Cavens and Mark Vadon. It is headquartered in Seattle and has offices in London, Columbus, Ohio and Reno, Nevada. Zulily is an online shopping destination for moms. Zulily offers daily deals for moms, babies and kids. Each morning Zulily offers a fresh selection of hand-picked quality children’s apparel, women’s apparel, toys, infant gear and home décor—all at an average savings of 50%. The flash sales include over 4,500 items and typically last 72 hours. It creates an impulse-driven shopping experience while helping move excess inventory sourced from a variety of vendors.

Moms are a highly lucrative market. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 39 million U.S. households have children under the age of 18.  Women manage most household spending and account for almost two-thirds of all online shopping. Zulily has over 2.6 million active customers who have purchased at least once in the last 12 months. There is tremendous potential for future growth. 83% of orders were placed by repeat customers

Zulily has created a proprietary system that delivers 10 million daily emails to consumers who have opted in to receive notices of 72-hour sales.

Zulily went public on November 15th at an initial offering price of $22. On Friday the stock closed at $41.02 up 86% in less than two months. For investors it is a very unique and fast growing company.

In the first nine months of this year, sales more than doubled to $438.7 million from $202.8 million. Another unique aspect of their business model is that Zulily doesn’t purchase a product from a supplier until a customer places the order. This help boost cash flow. Everything in its warehouse has been paid for. There is little inventory risk.

It has stocked its flash-sales with product from “smaller boutique vendors” and “emerging” companies—12,000 different sources in all. This allows Zulily to offer unique merchandise not featured at “Big Box” retailers. Zulily has also focused on creating an enjoyable online shopping experience.

Do you think Zulily will continue to grow at a fast pace?