Strategies for Some Corporations in These Troubled Times

Let’s get right to it.

Home Depot: In terms of customer service, the word is not too good out there for you these days. Your stores always seem in a mess, and following any advice from a sales person (if you can find one) would be like betting on black or red (or even green!). A crap shoot.

Time to get back to the original concept: Contractors working for you that can better help the customers. I'm sure there are some out there that need some work right now.

And straighten up the isles. Or I have one word for you: Grossman’s

Kmart: Speaking of original concepts, it seems to me that Sam Walton used to be pretty enthusiastic about the 'Buy American' philosophy in his Wal-Mart stores. But he's gone now and Wal-mart, in seeming to have the corner marketed on 'cheap', is probably going to fair pretty well in this economic storm. But with unemployment on the rise it is probably a good time for a competitor, like Kmart, to pick up the 'Buy American' mantle.

It would be hard to do quickly, I imagine. A lot of deals already made and inventories of foreign products already in the pipelines, but an immediate solution could be an advertising campaign in where the CEO talks directly to the people, Sam Walton style, and commits the company to go, say, 80% American by the end of 2010 or so.

Starbucks: Two words: Free wi-fi. Sure, your couches and comfy chairs are nice, and I dig the indie alternative music, and the well dressed good looking people coming and going are a great plus, but guess what, for the price of a Grande I can get a large coffee and two bacon cheeseburgers down the street at McDonalds.
And the coffee doesn't taste so bad, and the plastic doesn't feel so hard, once I get into surfing the net for free.
Another plus is that I can sit in the corner for fours hours’ blogging and nobody cares. And if it's not McDonalds, there's always the local coffee shop that also has lightly restricted free wi-fi.
No need to sign up for a 'rewards' program. Just flip the lid and type. Get with it Starbucks!

Wendy's: It's probably too late, but bring back the commercials with the people in the big plastic Wendy wigs. Word has it that the upper management didn't like those ads even though they were positively received in test markets. The reason for the disapproval was that they didn't represent the traditional Wendy's image created by Dave Thomas. Two lessons to be learned by this:

Times Change, learn to change with them, and Get Over Yourself, it's not about you but about the customer.

It's a burger joint!

Tim Horton’s (A coffee chain in Canada making its way into the northeast): Highlight your inexpensive but good sandwiches and the fact that in house patrons get a nice old school coffee mug, not some behemoth piece of Styrofoam (also highlight the fact that you don't use Styrofoam, but paper cups). I imagine most of the business is take out, but a few inside visits will generate a few more drive thru's later.
Corporate America, here are your great ideas.
You are welcome!

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