Published on: June 1, 2015
I was enthusiastic the other day about the decision by Price Chopper to sponsor a Pandora radio station - House of BBQ, which I happen to love - which allows it to gain a different sort of visibility to existing and potential customers. My only quibble was that it seemed a little un-targeted - since I was getting the station and don't have a Price Chopper anywhere near me.
One MNB user offered the following explanation:Kevin, Pandora allows the advertiser to target geographically.
When individuals open a Pandora account, they are required to provide their birth year, zip code and gender to create an account. So advertisers can easily target an age, geographic area and gender.
Of course, whether the listener pays attention to an ad is an entirely different question, but that's true for any radio station as well as all media. I have several clients who use Pandora, and we now include Pandora on our list of responses to the question "where do you recall hearing their advertising."
Good. Though, to be fair, I'm still getting the station and don't have a Price Chopper anywhere near me. (But maybe I'll get lucky and this presages a decision by Price Chopper to move deeper into Connecticut....?)
Regarding the new Sesame Street cookbook for kids, one MNB user wrote:I do wonder if it would be a bit confusing for kids to see animal characters encouraging them to eat… animals. Or maybe they left Big Bird out and kept in only the inedible monsters.
I think only adults ponder this stuff.
I got an email from MNB user about the decision by one employer to commit to paying college tuitions for all the children of employees who have helped him start the company:Will be curious to hear more details on this, but my immediate reaction is what is his plan for employees without kids? How will their reaction be to this and if nothing is offered to them does it actually become demotivating?
Forgive me, but it seems to me that this email is illustrative of one of the things that is wrong with America. (Okay, I may be painting with a broad brush here, but hear me out...)
If I were an employee without children at a company where they offered this kind of benefit, I think there would be something seriously wrong with me if I found this benefit to be "demotivating," or if I wondered when I'm going to get mine.
I'd like to think that I'd believe that this policy says something really positive about the place where I work, that it reflects a willingness to invest in employees rather than treat them as costs, and that the health and sustainability of a company has to be measured in big ideas, not small-minded thinking.
From MNB reader Jeanette Coulson:It’s interesting that companies are offering this again. It was a standard perk for a long time for employees of colleges or hospitals connected to an R&D department of a college but several did away with it to ‘save’ money a few years back. I know there are still some smaller colleges who offer it, not sure about hospitals but based on the cost of tuition, this would be a very big benefit to not consider it when determining who you work for.
I think it’s awesome!
Me, too. I'd like to think that companies may start doing these forward-looking things again as they look to differentiate themselves in the marketplace as premium and preferred employers.
It has been interesting to read some of the political coverage recently and see that the cost of college may become a point of contention in the coming presidential contest. I know that there are some who seem to believe that everybody ought to have the right to a free college education, and I suppose that it is worth developing a higher education system where that option is available.
But it also seems to me that one of the things that we ought to do - and can do, immediately - is make it possible for any American to write off the cost of a college education (and graduate school) on their taxes, and also write off the interest and principal on college loans. This would open up higher education possibilities for a lot of people, and stop the vicious cycle in which we find ourselves, in which people get out of college with such crushing debt that they are unable to buy houses, invest, raise families, and do all the other things that help drive the economy.
Regarding the apparent trend moving away from "big food," one MNB user wrote:I think the change away from mass produced food has been stimulated by increased information about the chemicals involved, the Long lists of ingredients with unpronounceable names on many mass produced foods, the chagrin we experience when we try to find "real" ingredients we expect in foods (just try to fine a oil and vinegar salad dressing with Olive Oil in it), but mostly because we all seem to know someone with an autoimmune disorder which no one seems to know the causes of at this point.
I am in my sixties, and I never heard of autoimmune diseases until about twenty years ago. Now I know numerous folks who suffer from a variety of them. And after the cigarette fiasco, who trusts a major company when they tout the safety of their products?
To use the Latin proverb I often quote here, "Trust, like the soul, never returns once it goes."
This is something that more businesses need to think about as they make critical ethical decisions.
And, on another subject, from MNB reader Tom Herman:I know I pick on you probably too much, but you seem to hit on my pet peeves. One is setting up an imaginary straw man and then coming in as the only adult in the room to smack it down. It goes something like this, “some Democrats say that government is the only solution to our problems”, I say that there is a place for a lighter approach from government by empowering the people through choices and freedom. It sounds so reasonable, but the fact is no one has ever heard a Democratic leader say that. This trick is used by Obama as an art form. “Some say the only solution to Iran is war”, for example. No one has said that. You did it yourself in the paragraph below. I read a lot of information on the minimum wage and haven’t heard that standard line being used against the minimum wage. You may have heard the straw man, but not the actual quote. Still love ya though!
Some will say that better paid employees do not necessarily translate into more motivated and productive employees. (This is a standard line used to argue against an increased minimum wage.) That's true ... but creating a dedicated, motivated and productive workforce doesn't stop with a bigger paycheck ... it just starts there. Employees want to feel they have some skin in the game, that their opinions are valued, and even that they have a sense of ownership.
Point taken. And I'm not a big fan of straw men, either.
But ... the thing is, I've gotten emails from people who have questioned my frequent assertion that better paid, better appreciated employees will result in more motivated and productive employees. They think I'm smoking something, that the responsibility of businesses is to get as much out of their employees for as little compensation as possible. In short, they think I'm a flamin' liberal for suggesting any such thing.
Well, they can think anything they want. But in the George Bailey-Henry Potter debate, I'll go with George Bailey. Every time.
That's no straw man. It is, in fact, a debate that probably dates back to the beginning of employer-employee relationships.
And I still love you too.