MN AMA – Rebranding the Bachman’s Experience

Flower gift

This was one of the most entertaining and also inspiring events offered by the local chapter of AMA.  Mr. Bachman talked about brand evolution of a well-established family business (Bachman’s), which he understands better then anybody else could.  His passion for the business and honest answers to the audience’s questions made the presentation even more memorable.

At one point of continuous flat sales at Bachman’s, the situation could no longer be blamed on economy or any other outside influences.  Dissatisfied, Bachman’s decided to take a look inside and evaluate the brand.  A consulting firm was hired to do research with hope to determine areas of improvements. 

One of the most interesting research approaches: the party exercise.  
After visiting competitors and Bachman’s stores over some period of time, several alpha females (women who have tendency to dominate focus groups), were gathered together to describe six parties.  What if Mr. and Mrs. Pottery Barn had a party?  What kind of house would it be? Who would come?  What would they do?  What would they drink?  What cars would they drive?

The women described six possible parties (including Bachman’s and competitors) in intricate details.  For example, 1-800-Flowers  for some reason was not the favorite.  The party crowd was much less sophisticated than in other examples, and guests drove old cheaper cars.  Bachman’s party was nice.  The guests arrived in Cadillacs and Lincolns…, but it was over before 11.  🙂  From the brand perspective, Bachman’s still was good.  But it was not “fun.”

Flowers
After the research, the company determined that it was not in the flowers business; it was in the ambiance business.  The brand needed modernizing.

Two personas were distilled from the research:

Rose – over 50, traditional
Colleen – 30 – 40 years old, who loved what is new and considered Bachman’s “her mom’s store…”

The company changed product, packaging, merchandising, and advertising to appeal not only to Rose, but also to Colleen. 

Some of the changes:
• Improvement of style of fresh arrangements
• Addition of a girlfriend’s gifts with “Wink” section for Colleen’s needs
• Greater selection of unique items

Change in advertisement – get noticed! 
Bachman’s have utilized very innovative campaigns that are routinely picked up by the local media, used digital billboards and Internet promotions.  Interesting: Internet advertising is not effective, but the SEO is considered the most promising tool.  Bachman’s are currently working on improving their web site in SEO area.  Hopefully, home page title tags will be changed soon 🙂  The company estimates that about half of people who call to buy a flower arrangement are looking at the web site while on the phone.

Mr. Bachman invited the presentation attendees to a tour of internal areas of the business.  What a fascinating experience!  We saw designers who’s only responsibility is to create beautiful flower bouquets, we saw how flowers arrive, and we shivered walking through the refrigerated area where delicate blooms are preserved while they are processed. 

Considering that most of the audience was a mix of Roses and Colleens, we wished we could spend the rest of the day mesmerized by beauty of the flower shop.  🙂

Each of us went home (actually drove to the job) with a mum plant courtesy of Mr. Bachman.  Thank you very much!

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