Kel Kelly

Hey, thanks for swinging by my blog.

Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to [email protected].

Peace out.

Archive for June, 2010

Dunkin Donuts: Good or Evil?

Jun. 30th 2010

I have a place in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. For those of you not familiar with the area, Wellfleet is a quaint coastal community in lower Cape Cod. Thanks to President Kennedy, from a development perspective, not much has changed in the lower Cape since 1961 when he signed a bill creating the Cape Cod National Seashore. In essence, the bill ensured land that was not developed at the time would remain untouched and so it has. Wellfleet’s business ecosystem had been made up of local businesses and until recently, there wasn’t a chain store in the town. That all changed a week ago when a Dunkin Donuts opened.

Who knew donuts and coffee could be the center of a raging controversy? Many locals and visitors are up in arms at having a DD in Wellfleet. They equate the chain with evil. They worry about the impact it will have on other local businesses. Many see DD as a “gateway drug” that will lead to an invasion of even bigger chains. I totally understand and respect their perspective, but I have a different one.

I don’t see DD as evil. I also don’t see chain stores as black and white. There is a lot of grey. The first Dunkin Donuts was opened as a Mom & Pop shop in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1950. It has since grown into a successful brand that is loved around the world. DD serves 2.7 million customers a day. Clearly they are doing something right and are valued by many people. Their customers are mostly blue collar workers. I think they offer a great cup of coffee at a fair price and have consistent quality. Unlike many local coffee shops, Dunkin Donuts offers its employees full medical and dental benefits, something many lower Cape residents desperately need. The employees at the Wellfleet shop are welcoming locals who appear happy to be employed by the chain.

I think Dunkin Donuts did a nice job maintaining the brand while integrating into the quaintness of the town. The best thing they did was upgrade a fugly, deserted building that had been an eye sore in the town since the A&P supermarket closed back in the seventies (I think). They put in a bunch of landscaped islands filled with ornamental grass throughout the parking lot that made the vastness of the empty lot more visually appealing. They also added visual enhancements to a building that for too long looked like an out of place, abandoned strip mall.

Although I now get my coffee at DD, I still buy local 99% of the time when I am in Wellfleet. I buy my produce at Hatches produce stand and get my fish next door at Hatch’s Fish Market (yes, they spell the names differently). I only eat at local restaurants when on the Cape. My three oldest kids work in restaurants, so I tip generously because I understand restaurant staff live and die by their tips. Every other commerce transaction I have in Wellfleet is with a local business. I honestly don’t believe going to DD is a bad thing and believe you can still support local businesses while occasionally frequenting a chain.

Dunkin Donuts good or evil? My vote is for good! What’s your vote and why?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 33 Comments »

The Memorial Day Brand

Jun. 1st 2010

I started yesterday morning by sitting in silence and reflecting on the soldiers who have died while serving our country. The loss of lives is beyond comprehension. My thoughts moved to how the mothers of all these brave men and women manage to to get through any day — never mind this holiday — without being overwhelmed with emotion. As the mom of four children, I think I speak for most moms when I say that one of our biggest fears is that we will outlive our children. To lose a child so tragically, as they bravely put the interest of their country ahead of their own safety, must come with such mixed emotions of pride and sadness.

During this time of reflection, it dawned on me that Memorial Day as a brand has lost some of its true meaning. To many Americans, Memorial Day signifies the start of the summer rather than a day to pay homage to our fallen soldiers. Often times, the mention of Memorial Day invokes thoughts of BBQs, beaches and a day off from work. Many American companies leverage the Memorial Day holiday as an opportunity to have a sale. From car manufacturers to mattress sellers, we have all been on the receiving end of “blowout prices” to celebrate Memorial Day. I don’t think any American or any company has deliberately pushed fallen soldiers to the background, but unfortunately, I think the day, from a brand perspective, has evolved into something far different than what was originally intended.

So here’s the question — who owns the Memorial Day brand to ensure the brand association to the fallen soldier is not lost? The American people? American companies? The US government? I think in the end, we all do. I believe it is our responsibility to ensure that remembering fallen soldiers is the primary association to this important day. How do we make that happen? I don’t have all the answers but here are some thought starters. As Americans, I think it is important that on Memorial Day, we take the time to do at least one thing to honor fallen soldiers. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the cemetery — although that is certainly a great option. It can be as simple as a donation to the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund, a college fundraiser for kids of fallen soldiers. Honestly, what if 1,000 people donated a dollar? It would be a wonderful way to positively impact the lives of children who have lost a mom or dad in the line of duty.

I also think American Companies have a big responsibility and should realign their Memorial Day promotions so there is some benefit to the fallen soldiers’ families. There are thousands of causes that do just that. Car manufacturers could make a donation to one of these causes for every car sold during its Memorial Day sales event. I’m sure ad agencies would love the opportunity to come up with fantastic, unprecedented ideas to ensure that fallen soldiers are front and center in any Memorial Day promotion. Let me be clear, I don’t think companies should leverage fallen soldiers to drive sales. I am only suggesting they stop leveraging Memorial Day for pure self promotion and bring it back to the holiday’s true intent.

Finally, I gotta give props to the media for its Herculean effort in reminding us all of the true meaning of Memorial Day. Across the board, I think media outlets do a superb job in illuminating the day through real-world stories about our military. I find the tributes incredibly moving and find it impossible to get through them without shedding many, many tears. So in spite of all the pig piling that goes on when it comes to the media in general, I think we all need to acknowledge their unwavering commitment to ensuring the memory of fallen soldiers takes priority overs BBQs and beach outings.

What else can we do to realign the Memorial Day brand?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »