Creative Strategy

strategy and management research

November 2020

MainStroll: Digitally Advancing Our Access to Main Street in the wake of COVID-19

There’s a predicted $355 billion drop in tourism spending to the US due to the Coronavirus and according to a national poll, 60% of our Main Street businesses had zero online sales component and for those who did, it only represented 0-25% of their overall revenue. So while giant retailers such as Amazon and Walmart continue to have their biggest quarters yet, revenue on Main Street has decreased by more than 75%. As the virus continues to surge in the US and consumers avoid shopping and spending in-store, this issue only grows. How can we provide the digital infrastructure to support our Main Street communities and brick-and-mortar businesses as if we were there, touring in-person?

MainStroll is a shopping aggregator and informational site designed to digitally advance the way we explore, shop, and access our Main Street communities across the country. Our platform develops virtual “Strolls” designed after your real-life Main Street and serves as a fully interactive resource and search engine.

Contents:

  1. Our Vision
  2. The Problem Today
    1. COVID-19 and Main Street
    2. Main Street and Our Local Economy
  3. MainStroll Solution
    1. Prototype – Neighborhood Tour
    2. Retailer Portals
  4. Industry Opportunity
    1. Retail eCommerce
    2. Online Marketplaces
    3. Small Business Development
    4. Main Street Economic Development
  5. Revenue Model
    1. Market Share
    2. Projections
  6. Competitive Analysis
  7. Go-To-Market Strategy
  8. First Round Goals

December 2019

Case Study: Crane Stationery An Old-Fashioned Product for a New Generation

After being in existence and family-owned for well over 200 years, Crane has been going through more changes than the company had ever seen in only the last ten years. The Berkshire-based company’s last family member left, it broke off into two separate companies and the employees bought one of them. Now, just in the last nine months after facing financial instability, they were recently acquired by Mohawk Fine Papers who will put in massive resources to help the old-fashioned company that’s been stuck in their ways to breathe new life. While Crane has spent many years as the choice in stationery for presidents and world leaders, celebrities, and luxury brands, it has been having serious trouble attracting a younger demographic for years.

In an area where weddings used to be a large part of its custom stationery business, this is a concern for the future of the company. Bart Robinson, chief revenue officer at Crane expressed frustration about Crane’s current standing, “We really think there’s a great opportunity to expand. We have a rich history, but we’ve been doing the same thing for a long, long time, and we’ve been put in a box.” Chief product officer, Paul Thorogood echoed a similar statement, “In 1801, it was a disrupter … why can’t we go back to that? Why can’t we shake off the chains that we’ve put around ourselves?” Although Crane has an incredibly strong product, its disruption should come in the form of a strong luxury marketing strategy in a place where it can no longer rest on its laurels.

Contents:

  1. Crane’s Early All-American History
    1. Early Innovation
    2. Entrance into Fine Stationery
    3. Currency Grows as Stationery Declines
    4. The Last Ten Years: Separations, Acquitions and Buyouts
  2. Brand Strategy
    1. Product Assortment
    2. Print and Production Procceses
    3. Pricing, Boxed and Custom Orders
    4. Communications & Advertising
  3. Competitive Environment
    1. Perception
  4. My Recommendations
    1. Selling Timelessness
    2. Heritage and Sustainability
    3. Digital Marketing Strategy
    4. Strategic Sales and Social Groups
    5. Predictions

April 2019

Main Street Strategy: Project Management Transformation and Productivity

Rugg Road Paper Company (“Rugg Road”) is undergoing a transition after its recent purchase by Geraldine O’Hagan in May 2018 from Amy Madanick and Cassandra McIntyre, who opened the brick-and-mortar shop 25 years ago in Boston’s famous Beacon Hill neighborhood. Over the years, Rugg Road has established itself as one of Boston’s leading fine stationers, acquiring several awards in various categories such as best wedding stationery, best paper store, and best social stationery. The new transition in ownership has left the shop with organizational issues regarding their custom print services and management, including several pricing mistakes made by current staff. As a result, the store risks losing its long-standing history and credibility with loyal customers, most of them residing in Boston and New England. In addition, they’re facing declining sales as the retail paper market and card shop decreases. Rugg Road relies heavily on the residents of the neighborhood and surrounding areas who spend thousands annually on custom print services with them.

With a small team of four, including O’Hagan and Madanick, I propose that Rugg Road transform its internal systems by implementing new software solutions. These solutions are designed to reduce their time spent on repetitive tasks to improve customer experience and avoid pricing and file management mistakes. To help transform their systems, I propose technological updates and semi-automated systems to help Rugg Road focus on what matters most to them and their customers. This will be essential to helping Rugg Road achieve success, retain clients, and increase productivity, giving the staff more time to focus on product knowledge to better serve their customers and community.

Contents:

  1. Background on Products and Organization at Rugg Road
    1. The Market in Retail Card Shops, Wedding and Printing
  2. Proposed Solutions
    1. Custom Print Order Workflow
    2. Proof Approvals and Production
    3. Quality Control and Closeout
  3. Timeline and Investment
  4. Conclusions and Recommendations
May 2018

Customer Project Management and Acquisition in Online Stationery Sales

In the greeting cards and stationery industry, a stationery store places itself to not only act as a retail store but a design company that handles many different aspects of guest communications. This document focuses on those efforts from the needs and viewpoints of the customers who will have to actively use collaboration tools that are new to them while building a system that allows employees to navigate client projects and stages internally. With limited time to teach users how to operate these project management tools, an intuitive and simple interface that offers the necessary features to communicate with the company is critical.

In regard to acquiring and retaining customers, social media network marketing plays a huge role in targeting core demographics. A variety of strategies is recommended including individual listening, social customer relationship management, and personalized information broadcasting to appeal to core demographic and customers. These strategies will play a role in implementing successful earned and paid social media promotions as well as word-of-mouth marketing plans.

Contents:

  1. Understanding and Attracting Customers
    1. Individual Listening Using Social Media
    2. Lead Forms as Engaging, Collaborative Content
  2. Virtual Project Management for E-Commerce
    1. Virtual Collaboration Tools for Establishing Relationships
    2. Project Management Dashboards for Customers
  3. Customer Retention
    1. Social Customer Relationship Management and Information Broadcasting
  4. Summary
March 2018

Enterprise Collaboration & Communication Strategy in Financial Services

Financial Services Company with international operations in the United States and in Europe that is faced with implementing an IT Upgrade to maintain Regulatory FINRA compliance with new requirements for the industry. Rather than purchase an out-of-the-box solution, we explore building a strategy that brings together Information Technology, Operations, Legal, and Compliance Teams to collaborate on developing and implementing a comprehensive communication and productivity solution. The organization has little room to deviate from rigid requirements and we must overcome any barriers on the project by collaborating virtually. This document analyzes and recommends several tools for a variety of communication and collaboration needs including group and meeting tools, virtual collaboration, knowledge resources, information sharing, information broadcasting, and an internal enterprise social media network.