ice cream

Did You Know: July is National Ice Cream Month

Every summer we get excited for the month of July, as it celebrates one of our favorite desserts: ice cream!  President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984, and specifically, the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day… so this year, National Ice Cream Day is Sunday, July 16.

In his proclamation, President Regan called for everyone in the United States to observe the month with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”  We interpret that as taking the opportunity to partake in at least one delicious frozen treat.  And there is more than one option… beyond ice cream, this is the chance to try gelato, soft serve, ice pops, FroYo, frozen custard or water ice!  Check out the guide below for some helpful information and fun facts:

(Click image to enlarge)

Let us know in the comments what your favorite is… since we are located in Center City Philadelphia, we at The Melior Group love our water ice!

define a brand

The 5 Aspects That Define A Brand

In our work with brand development and tracking of branding effectiveness, we have to accommodate the five aspects that define a brand.  We conduct research to understand whether there is congruity between what the brand is – and says it is – and the perceptions of the various targeted market segments.  This research can be conducted with both internal stakeholders (employees, board members, “friends,” professionals) and external stakeholders (customers, consumers, opinion leaders, other professionals).

The 5 aspects are:

  1. Brand promise: what consumers will actually get interacting with you and the feelings they will have in the “relationship” with you.
  2. Brand elements: the tangible and the intangible components that work together to clearly and consistently communicate the aspects of your brand.
  3. Brand persona: how consumers judge and evaluate you before doing business with you and, subsequently, establishing a relationship.
  4. Brand perceptions: how consumers comprehend your brand… and does it actually reflect/represent what you want it to.
  5. Brand expectations: every interaction with the brand matters, and must be what consumers expect.

We believe that a brand must be clear, reliable, consistent and believable to both internal and external constituencies.  The branding research that we conduct explores these aspects with that in mind; we then make recommendations for minor and major shifts based on the perceptions of all types of stakeholders, and work with clients to refine and/or refresh the brand.


For more information, contact Linda McAleer at lmcaleer@meliorgroup.com or 215-545-0054 x104.

Rooster Soup Company

Melior Group People of the Moment, Rooster Soup Owners, Open Restaurant

A year ago we heard about Rooster Soup Company, which was clearly going to be more than just a new restaurant opening in Center City. The newest venture of esteemed chefs and restaurateurs Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook aimed to turn the unused parts of the whole chickens purchased by their restaurant Federal Donuts to make chicken stock for a variety of soups to be sold at Rooster Soup Company. Not only do perfectly good chicken parts no longer go to waste, but 100% of Rooster Soup Company’s net profits go to generating revenue for Philadelphia’s Broad Street Ministry, which provides vulnerable Philadelphians with meals and services such as a mailing address, access to free medical care, personal care items, and clothing.

Rooster Soup Company opened today at 1526 Sansom Street. Check out our original blog post to learn more about this exciting new restaurant, and visit the Rooster Soup Company website to peruse the delicious offerings on the menu. We encourage you to try out a meal there, and let us know what you think!

 

 

Hallmarks of a Good Brand

What are the Top 5 Hallmarks of a Good Brand?

The concept of a “brand” has been evolving over time.  The word has been used as the name of a product or service, kind of like a “trademark.”  But, in the past 20 or so years, a “brand” has become something that encompasses all that the product or service means to those engaging with or simply observing it; as David Ogilvy, the advertising master guru said:  It’s “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”

Jerry McLaughlin said in a Forbes blog post (12/21/2011), “your ‘brand’ is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your brand offering – both factual and emotional.  Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it.  It’s fixed.  But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.”

So, as good market researchers, we began looking at assuring that brands are based on perceptions… the perceptions held by those stakeholders who brand owners believe represent their customers and prospects.

In the research we’ve conducted to develop the attributes of a good brand and to measure how these brands reflect what is good, we’ve come up with our (in no particular order) TOP 5:  THE HALLMARKS OF A GOOD BRAND.

  • Memorability – It goes without saying that people need to know your name; and more than that, they need to know what you do/provide, and think of you when looking for your product or service. This does not necessarily mean you have to have a long history, but it does mean that you have to remind people you’re there and what you do.
  • Comprehension – You’ve spent a good deal of time creating a vision for your brand, a set of attributes and/or promises that define it. Or, at least, you think you have.  Do your customers and prospects actually understand what it is you offer, what the benefits are of your products or services, why they should choose you over others?
  • Trustworthiness – While some brands lose their way through no fault of their own –or because of errors and flaws, the good brands know how to “make good” on mistakes, own up to them, and value their customers and the customer experience more than anything else.
  • Timeliness – Consumers today are quick to change. When they value a brand, they want that brand to adapt to today’s challenges and opportunities, while recognizing that it must be true to itself.  We might add to “timeliness” some sub-concepts, and they are “relevance” today or “adaptability” without forgoing the brand’s value.
  • Consistency – This might be the most difficult, as it is based on expectation and belief… that the brand will live up what people want from it, anticipate it will provide. Consistency allows for changes and shifts, but the overarching need is for customers to know they can recommend the product or service for what it is/stands for – without question.

Does your brand stand up to these five standards?  If you don’t know – or if they don’t – it’s time to recognize the importance of measurement to assure your brand is not just a name or a logo, but a true brand.  We can help with our brand measurement tools.


For more information, contact Linda McAleer at lmcaleer@meliorgroup.com or 215-545-0054 x104.

Linda McAleer

Blast from the Past: Philadelphia Business Journal CEO File on Linda McAleer

While going through our press clippings, we found a fun blast from the past that we wanted to share. A few years ago our President, Linda McAleer, was selected to be featured in the Philadelphia Business Journal as part of their ongoing CEO File series.

In addition to expressing her business philosophy and Melior’s accomplishments, Linda shared some fun facts about herself. We think this profile truly encapsulates the spirit of Linda both personally and professionally.

Here are some of the highlights from the article that define Linda’s leadership and personality:

  • Essential business philosophy: Conventional wisdom is not wisdom.
  • Best decision: Starting The Melior Group and recognizing early on that physical exercise is critical for health.
  • Word that best describes you: Ultimate networker.
  • First choice for a new career: Commissioner of the National Football League.
  • Person most interested in meeting: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When she accepted the nomination to the Supreme Court, she paid tribute to her mother in her remarks … “I pray that I may be all that she would have been, had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.”
  • The most important lesson you’ve learned: Nothing is constant but change.

To read the full profile of our fearless leader, you can visit the page on Philadelphia Business Journal’s website here.

focus group

Let’s Focus Group It

I’ve been designing and moderating focus groups for three decades.  What an amazing idea:  put 10 of your best customer prospects in a room or 10 of your target “personas” in a room or 10 of the people you hope will vote for you or buy your product or service… and have them discuss why your product or service is best, how it could be improved, what it means to them to have it, what your competitors are doing better than you, how they hope your product or service will change their lives.

I used to resent the use of the title phrase “let’s focus group it,” determining that it demeaned the science and value of the group dynamic.  But, I’ve changed my mind.  Keeping “focus groups” front and center to help organizations understand “consumer” behavior is what I hope for.

This blog post came to mind when I saw this charming comic (I love comics!) about focus grouping in the 16th Century.

focus group

Six Chix comic by Isabella Bannerman, published in The Philadelphia Inquirer

But, from the point of view of the experienced moderator (me), I say this:  let’s not misuse these great tools and presume that they are quantitative survey samples or polls.  Focus groups work best when you need to hear the “whys” behind the numbers or the choices, when you want to learn what will really impact people choosing your product or service.  And, you need a moderator who knows how and when to ask the “whys” and help people consider their choices… because understanding that contributes to design of effective marketing communications, strategies, product concepts, and reasons-to-choose/benefits.

Let’s talk more about how we design and moderate focus groups for optimal results.


For more information, contact Linda McAleer at lmcaleer@meliorgroup.com or 215-545-0054 x104.

Career Wardrobe Named Melior Group People of the Moment

Career Wardrobe, a Philadelphia nonprofit, calls for people to “imagine a place where every woman in transition can obtain the confidence she needs in order to achieve the next level of gainful employment.”

During its inaugural year in 1995, the then-named “Working Wardrobe” passed out 938 donated suits to women starting their professional journeys. By 2008, the group celebrated its 50,000th client – proving that women across Philadelphia workplaces have felt the organization’s impact. Now in its 21st year, Career Wardrobe continues to build on its mission of helping women break out of the cycle of poverty by providing support that encourages employment and personal responsibility.

This month’s Melior People of the Moment are the staff and volunteers of Career Wardrobe. We at The Melior Group feel a special kinship with the organization as our President and founder, Linda McAleer, currently serves as a Board Member.

Career Wardrobe has helped Philadelphia-area residents for the past two decades through a comprehensive list of services, including:

  • The Boutique
  • Dress and Image Consultation Program
  • Gateway to Success Job Readiness and Blitz Basic Courses
  • Professional Development Certificate
  • Career Coaching
  • Computer Lab for Job Searching and Networking

Through the years, the organization has continually sought to understand the needs of the community and has adapted to meet those needs. For example, just last year Career Wardrobe launched Make it Work for Men, which expands the dressing services to men in transition. A population as diverse as Philadelphia requires different types of programs to achieve a common goal of professional and career advancement.

career wardrobeCareer Wardrobe’s results speak for themselves: In 2014, 67% of women responding to Career Wardrobe’s follow-up surveys within six months of their appointments reported gaining employment and discontinuing their reliance on cash assistance. The impact on Philadelphia’s economy is significant: a $19 million savings for taxpayers in public assistance for benefits alone.

In our view from Walnut Street, Career Wardrobe is providing Philadelphia citizens, workers, and employers with a vital service. As a women-owned business, we are particularly proud to support Career Wardrobe’s mission and empower women in their professional journeys.

Career Wardrobe now has locations in Philadelphia and Bucks and Delaware Counties, and also partners with organizations in Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties. As the organization expands, so will its beneficial impact through the Greater Philadelphia area.


For more information, contact Linda McAleer at lmcaleer@meliorgroup.com or 215-545-0054 x104 or Contact Us.

Melior sign

Have you checked out our new website?

Our new website is here and we’ve been receiving positive feedback! After 33 years in business, we knew it was time to refresh our brand. The new look of our website now reflects our business: professional, sophisticated, thoughtful and rich in content.

The Melior Group is a strategic consultancy with extensive industry experience and deep roots in research. With this in mind, we created a new tagline: “Information. Intelligence. Insights.” We think this tagline fits us perfectly, and as you can see, it is part of our new logo.

We hope you take some time and explore our website, learning more about our work, and how we utilize insightful market research to help you transform questions into answers and strategic decisions. But before you leave our blog page – if you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up on the right-hand side to get regular updates from us.

We hope you enjoy our new & improved website!


For more information about The Melior Group, contact Elizabeth Foley at efoley@meliorgroup.com / 215-545-0054 x111

Introducing: Judy Browngoehl, Research Associate!

The Melior Group has hired Judy Browngoehl as a Research Associate!

If you know us at all, you know that The Melior Group has long-lasting, loyal consultants who are influential, intelligent and incredibly thoughtful.

It’s not often that we have occasion to bring a new person on board (we’re awfully selective).  Therefore it certainly warrants a blog post when we hire someone new.

 

We’re delighted to welcome Judy Browngoehl to the cadre of Melior professionals!

 

Ms. Browngoehl comes to us from University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts where she worked on the marketing team and from Hollister Creative where she served as a content marketing specialist.  An English major at Swarthmore, she also attended Drexel for her Master’s in Communications where she honed her skills in writing clearly, concisely, and correctly.  (We’ve yet to determine where she falls on the great Oxford Comma debate.)

We’re taking advantage of her awesome skills by charging her with twin responsibilities:  managing our marketing efforts (including this very blog and website, where she’ll be mistress of our domain) and joining various project teams to handle day-to-day project tasks with the goal of keeping us on time and on budget.  We need a Judy in our lives, each and every one of us.

We knew she was smart and sophisticated when we hired her…and we’ve recently learned that she gets our sense of humor, so we know she’ll fit right in for years to come.

See our latest News post about our new hire.

Check out Judy’s Bio:  Judy Browngoehl

Judy Browngoehl

Judy Browngoehl


For more information about The Melior Group, contact Elizabeth Foley who is incredibly regretful about this late blog post.  She is happy to announce that her addiction to the Summer Olympics has been satisfied for the time being and her red, white, and blue paraphernalia is in storage.  (USA! USA!)

Melior sign

We’re Hiring a Research Associate!

We have an immediate opening for a research and marketing associate at Melior!  Feel free to share this post.

 

Position:         Research / Marketing Associate at The Melior Group, a leading client-focused strategic marketing research consulting firm in Center City Philadelphia.

Location:        Center City Philadelphia; convenient to public transportation.

Skills:              Should be curious, detail-oriented, able to juggle projects/people, thrive on challenge, care about learning, enjoy writing, and interested in marketing research as a career.  Extensive knowledge of MS Office Applications mandatory (Word, Excel and PowerPoint); Access a plus.

Duties:            Assist project teams with all aspects of marketing research projects including:  proposal writing and development, database management, field operations, client relations, report development and production, and secondary market research.  Assist senior level marketing executives with executing strategic marketing plan for the firm, including content production, blog editing, and web site maintenance.

Education:     College degree required; recent college graduates are encouraged to apply.  The Melior Group is an equal opportunity employer.

Benefits:         Health (shared costs); commuter benefits; paid holiday, vacation, sick time

Start Date:      As soon as possible.

 

Please e-mail resume with cover letter as soon as possible to: 

Elizabeth M. Foley, Vice President – efoley@meliorgroup.com

 

Appropriate candidates will be contacted for phone and/or in-person interviews.

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