Category Archives: business

Market Basket as The Epitome of Hive-Mind Community Destruction

Image of Market Basket Protests
(AP Photo)

With the ongoing saga of Market Basket protests still in full swing – and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick now entering the fray -, it may be time to remind Arthur T. Demoulas and his supporters of what Spock said to Captain Kirk as he sacrificed himself to save the USS Enterprise in Star Trek II: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few….” To which Kirk replies: “Or the one.”

It was a quaint idea when it first began: Employees supporting the founder of their company following his ouster. Good. Great, even. I applaud that, I really do. However, if their willful abandonment of their job duties as a form of protest costs them their employment, then that is THEIR choice and theirs alone. They, in their masses, made the decision to start this protest but, what they either do not realize or do not seem to care about is the impact their actions is having on the tens of thousands of people who relied upon a thriving Market Basket chain for their livelihood. Truck drivers, grocery suppliers and their employees, small-town produce suppliers and their families, taxi drivers, the list goes on and on.

The number one problem with the Market Basket situation – and the reason it must end immediately – is that entire communities are now being adversely affected thanks to the selfish actions of both the Board AND the employees. New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has indicated that many Market Basket employees in the state may be eligible for unemployment compensation. She also made it clear that this would most likely negatively impact our state budget. Folks, that money comes from us, the people! Out of our already-strained pockets! It does not come from some magical, never-ending pot of gold. Whether it be through employment insurance fees paid by companies (and then passed to customers through higher prices) or through straight-up taxation, we, the people, are now on the hook for effectively bailing out the WILLFUL unemployment of these protesters.

Additionally, other businesses that share building space with Market Basket stores are being hit hard. Look at the very sad example of Aubuchon Hardware in Warner, NH. Situated right next to a deserted Market Basket, the store has had to lay off several workers and predicts having to lay off more in the coming days. This tragedy hits a small town like Warner (population only 2,700) very hard. And their story is not unique during this saga.

What started out as a strong employee reaction to the firing of company founder, Arthur T. Demoulas, has snowballed into a catastrophe that is now affecting entire local economies outside the Market Basket family – and it is time that it STOPPED. Our entire economic system is based on rules that are remarkably similar to those that constitutionally govern our personal lives; i.e. the right to make decisions as we see fit for the betterment of our business. Boardrooms are marriages. When the marriage isn’t working, it enters into divorce. In divorce someone almost always wins and someone almost always loses. Such is the nature of these things. However, if somebody came to you during your divorce and told you that you do not have the right to divest yourself of your spouse but that they (this 3rd party) were going to take away all of your assets, anyways, you would consider yourself to have been unduly violated and illegally taken advantage of. Well, oversimplified though the analogy may be, this is exactly what is occurring with Market Basket. Look, it doesn’t matter if the Board’s business objectives are divergent from the company’s prior mission. The fact remains, a company’s governing body is free to do as it wishes within the bounds of the law and who is ANYBODY to say otherwise while saying with a straight face that they are not then being hypocritical?

Here’s the reality: Many of those Market Basket employees – and nearly ALL of those non-employees who have jumped on the hive-mind social media bandwagon – have never personally met Arthur T. Demoulas nor do they actually know a thing about the man beyond what someone they DO know has told them to think. Yes, he made personal visits to stores. Yes, there are some long-term employees who do have the benefit of knowing the man. But do you really believe that the thousands of young high-school kids working as baggers and cashiers in these stores actually have a vested interest in Mr. DeMoulas beyond the “cool factor” of belonging to a social trend? Yes, that’s a bold statement, and, yes, I will receive plenty of hate mail for it. But when the haters calm down and look back through clearer eyes, it will be seen as truth. For those adults who DO have a vested interest in their employment at Market Basket, how much leadership are you displaying by encouraging these young employees, so new to the workforce, to voluntarily commit financial suicide?

And, as for the people who jumped on the social media trend and boycotted the stores in their OWN communities, well…you may still have a job and the money to buy food at another store, but what have you done to those who relied on Market Basket? Those are YOUR neighbors. YOUR friends and/or family. But, now, they are OUR financial burden. Hive-mind community destruction. Please end this saga, now.

(Ed. note: It has been brought to our attention that Arthur T. DeMoulas is actually the son of the chain’s founder, and not the founder, himself, as stated in the piece. Our apologies for the error.)

About the Author: is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.

It’s Alive!!!

Much like the mechanic who does so well fixing everybody else’s vehicles but never has time to work on his own, we have finally put some effort into our own digital presence….

Introducing the NEW 603 Media Group online experience! Featuring updated content, an all new photography portfolio powered by Zenfolio, integrated WordPress blog (hint: you’re reading it!), dynamic images and so much more, we are pleased to finally have a digital experience our clients can take confidence in.

So, what are you waiting for? Explore!

Is Your Business Rockin’ Google’s Search Results?

With all the focus put into SEO these days, one of the expectations is that a properly-managed SEO campaign will automatically take care of your actual presence within the search results (i.e. how dynamic those results are). Unfortunately, however, this is not an assumption any business owner should make lightly and there is still some back-end work you should be doing to give your customers the most complete information about your business in the most direct way.

Working within Google for this example, let’s take a walk through what a customer sees when they search for our business, 603 Media Group:

As you can see above, there are a number of elements that are represented within these results. Each of these elements is controllable and configurable by you and your search engine optimizer.

The first listing you should see when doing a direct search for your business name is your OWN website – not a social media page, referral link site or business listings aggregating site. After all, you don’t want a customer to look for your business and then lose that potential conversion to a competitor because the result they click on gave them – ack! – choices….

Underneath your website listing, assuming that your website has been properly coded using the “title” and “description” tags, you will see neatly listed and described summaries of different pages of your site. This is especially useful to potential clients because it allows them the opportunity to jump right to the product or service they are seeking without having to first navigate through your site. Remember, design for quick conversions and short attention spans!

The next thing you want your customers to see is your Google Places information. Now, you’re a business owner so, of course, you’ve already created a Google account, uploaded and updated all of your information, added photos, hours, services offered, etc…right? Right? If not, we would strongly encourage you to talk to your optimizer and get the ball rolling on that.

One of the things that Google has been very clear about this year is the importance of using their social media platform, Google+, if you want to improve your rankings within their search algorithms. Their goal is to seamlessly integrate all of your Google-based activity into one comprehensive user experience. So take advantage of that! In this example, you can see a snippet of the last blog we published and shared on our Google+ account just a few hours before this screenshot was taken. We’ve accomplished two things with this: Our search results now contain dynamic content that engages our customers before they even leave the results page and we are turning that engagement into increased traffic towards our blog. Win-win!

Finally, the next several results that you want to see under a direct search for your business is as many of your social media channels as possible. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, Instagram, etc. With frequent use of your social media channels, you can improve the ranking of content that is directly related to YOU, thereby providing customers with a better and more engaging search experience and hopefully turning those searches into sales.

As you can see, with the right application of time and effort, you can ensure that your customer engagement within Google’s search results page is as dynamic as possible. And, if you need a little help…give us a call! It’s kinda’ what we do.

About the Author: Jeremy Jones is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his ten-year-old son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.

Open For Business: The Other Side of Holiday Commerce



With the holiday season in full swing, I see an unusually vocal opposition this year to the decision by many businesses to open their doors during the “family time” of the holidays. This is an unfortunate stance taken by those who are so fortunate that they are unable to see the other side of the coin.

American holidays are heavily centered on family, food and relaxing down-time. We pride ourselves on our tradition of taking time off, gathering in big family get-togethers, cooking magnificent meals and sharing the day with football and pies of many varieties. What we often fail to see, however, is that this is not how a great multitude of Americans spend the holidays. 21st century America is populated with record numbers of single parents, folks with little or no immediate family, and families and individuals who are living paycheck to paycheck and working hard for every dollar they earn. For these workers, the opportunity to earn wages on any day is a blessing. If a company offers holiday pay plus overtime for working during the holiday, well that’s even better. For them, the opportunity to work, provide services to customers and earn the money that keeps food on their table is a welcome gift. Although some may feel strongly that it is just “wrong” for a business to be open on a holiday, who are they to so vocally decry the right of an individual to provide for themselves and their family?

From another perspective, many holiday workers are folks who simply have nothing better to do. Maybe they have no immediate family. Perhaps they have simply made the decision not to travel to see family this year. Or they are single parents whose children are with the other parent for the holiday. There are a multitude of legitimate reasons why people voluntarily choose to accept holiday working hours if they are so offered.

At some point, we as a society are going to have to accept the fact that America has changed. Pining for the traditions of old will not bring those traditions back. Many young folks do not return home for holidays and welcome the hours of wage-earning that are offered by their employers. Additionally, the economy is in trouble. People are hungry. Bills must be paid. And, frankly, spending money to travel, buy tons of food or host a big gathering is simply not in the cards for those who need every dollar they earn just to survive.

In short, the next time you feel compelled to rage against businesses who open their doors on a holiday with the assistance of voluntary staff, take a moment to look around, be thankful for what you have, and consider that you are blessed in a way that those who choose to work on a holiday may not be.

Facebook rolls out Pages Feed. How will it help businesses?

Another month, another Facebook Pages flop….

As anyone who has been on Facebook for more than a day will know, many, many business pages are re-posting that viral statement about how “only 10% of our audience is seeing our posts”, etc, etc. Following a heavy dose of negative press on the issue from some of the more influential social media bloggers out there, Facebook appears to have come up with a solution. Or, shall we say, a convolution?

Introducing Facebook Pages Feed. On the left-hand side of your News Feed, buried amongst all the other links you never look at – below your Favorites, perhaps above your Groups, somewhere near your Apps – there is a new link titled “Pages Feed”. Clicking this link will bring you to a news feed that is dedicated to all the Pages that you follow. Unfortunately, this page is not organized chronologically and the jury is still out about the completeness of the posting history of your Liked Pages that is represented here.

I’m guessing that Facebook probably views this option as an olive branch to business page owners who have been negatively affected by the mass reduction in views of their posts. But, in reality, this is more like the branch that your hiking partner pushes out of the way only to let it snap back and slap you in the face. Does anybody at Facebook HQ not remember “Interest Lists” and the mass success failure of that little initiative?

There are several points to make about this whole Facebook conundrum:

    1. If you are using Facebook as your primary content delivery system, you are putting yourself at the mercy of the social media giant’s whims and fancies.

    2. Due to the recent changes, you are already missing out on a ton of potential user engagement due to Facebook’s ever-changing EdgeRank algorithm and the myriad variables involved in optimizing your position within your fans’ News Feeds.

    3. Speaking of EdgeRank…Google it. Learn it. Make it work for you or risk sinking into the News Feed abyss.

    4. For those fans who made the effort to select your page to view in their normal News Feed, this will not affect their ability to still do so.

    5. EdgeRank continues to be a fluid, evolving algorithm that, like it or not, you are going to have to figure out how to work with. That means tracking your key indicators, making notes of what types of posts track well with your audience and altering your posting habits to make the most out of these factors.

Facebook is an excellent example of evolutionary formatting from a service-provider standpoint. Unfortunately, they tend to light fires before making sure there’s enough water to put them out and their response to obvious formatting mistakes has been historically slow. This puts Facebook business users in the position of needing to really spend more time on page management which potentially detracts from other essential business time. After all, which is more likely? That you will spend more time trying to get your content in front of your fans or that they will spend more time trying to reach your content amidst the plethora of other posts, comments, likes, photos and sponsored posts that are also being tossed at them every minute of the day?

About the Author: Jeremy Jones is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his nine-year-old son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.

Best brand advocates? Your own employees!

Walmart has an image problem. I know that’s not much of a newsflash but the point remains. Lately, the most vocal group of Walmart haters has not been the anti-China crowd or the anti-shuttering of Mom and Pop stores crowd or any of the myriad other normal detractors. No. Lately, it is Walmart’s own employees who are slamming the mega-chain’s mere existence. So united are they in their negative feelings of the company that thousands of employees are threatening a national strike on Black Friday.

In the marketing world, we talk often and loudly about “brand advocates” – that is, those happy customers who are so smitten with your product or service that they tell everyone they meet about you and your organization. We court them, we cater to them, we bribe them with baubles (admit it, you do) and we pray that they will speak on our behalf to all who will listen.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to an old friend about his work. He never really talks much about what he does. His Facebook profile isn’t saturated with each minute detail of his exciting days at work as so many of my other “friends”‘ pages are, and his eyebrows get this particular furrow whenever the subject comes up. On this particular day, however, I pressed him on the issue.

“Man,” he said, “I hate that company. They suck. I wouldn’t wish that place on my worst enemy. Don’t ever buy from them.”

I was shocked. I always thought he loved his job. Was the product bad? Nope. Were the services sub-par? Never. Were shipments to customers routinely delayed? Not at all. Well, what was it that made this company so bad that his strongest advice to me was to not ever buy from them?

He didn’t like the way he was treated.

Word of mouth from customers is vital to growing brand awareness, to be sure. But in your search for advocates, don’t forget the one group of people who can be particularly powerful in both positive and negative ways – your employees.

I’ve had service personnel come out to manufacturing facilities where I’ve worked to repair equipment. These are workers who are sent out into the field to represent their company to their clients and yet, for some reason, as soon as they have an ear to bend, they unload about how awful their employer is, how little their engineering department knows, etc. Always kinda’ leaves me scratching my head wondering why I’m hiring this company and its personnel if they’re really as inept as their own employee says they are….

On the other hand, I’ve had site visits from personnel who can’t talk enough about their employer – in good ways! Now, I consider myself to be pretty in tune with the particularly odiferous presence of a fresh load of you-know-what. So I can usually tell when someone is blowing sunshine just to keep me happy or is genuinely in love with their work. And when you have someone in front of you who is elbows-deep in ink and grease repairing a busted drive union on a 30-year-old printing press while raving about his company and the work he does, well…that’s just bomber (as my 9-year-old would say). And, the next time an employee puts a wrench through a pair of impressed cylinders, I’ll be darn sure to call that same company back to repair the damage.

Not every organization needs to worry about their employees’ personal feelings making the headline news. However, understanding that sometimes employees are just stuck in the whole “grass is greener” mindset, it still cannot be denied that your workers are your first line of ambassadors when it comes to your organization’s image, brand and reputation. Court them. Cater to them. Find a culture that respects their efforts, rewards their successes and fosters personal investment in the organization and you’ll have your own personal team of brand advocates doing your marketing work for you. Win-win for all!

About the Author: Jeremy Jones is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his nine-year-old son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.

Copyrights – No Big Deal?

One of the biggest problems the advent of technology and the fully-integrated, networked and inter-linked world has created is a tremendous misunderstanding of copyright laws. Through simple “Select All > Copy > Paste” functions, the bodies of work created by one person become the un-paid-for expressions of another. To some, this cavalier use of intellectual property is no big deal. After all, they figure, if you’re putting it out on the web, you must be okay with it being used, right? Wrong.

Photography, especially, has fallen severe victim to this dilemma. Most photographers want to be able to put their work on their online portfolio for all to see without the distraction of watermarks or logos branded into the image. Right-click disabling software is not effective either as those who know how can easily bypass such measures. But it is not the photographs or the method of acquiring them that are the real problem in today’s technologically evolved world – it is the mindset of the general populace that is to blame.

The ease of capturing and re-using digital images or text has fostered a general impression in our society that it’s simply okay to do so. As professional photographers, we have seen this in so many different areas over the years. We have had people see a photo of ours on Facebook that they like and state publicly that they are printing it out and blowing it up for their walls with never a thought of compensation to the owner of the photo (us). We have had commercial clients balk at the “Usage Rights” fee in our commercial contracts because they don’t understand that they are not purchasing a photo – they are purchasing the rights to USE that photo. It becomes difficult sometimes to explain that this is not a new concept. Usage rights have been around since the birth of copyright law.

Perhaps the worst offense we have endured, though, is the taking of photos from our public profiles for use in news publications – either digital or print. You would think that a news organization, in particular, would understand the value of copyright. Surprisingly, some do not. Perhaps the cause of this is the very sneaky brainchild of organizations like CNN who, several years ago, realized they could get their news photography for free by simply offering photo credit to the photographer. Suddenly, every Joe and Jane with a camera who just wanted to see their name in print was offering up all their photos to the news outlets for nothing. As a result, some news organizations now expect you to provide photography for free.

I am aware how much of a rant all of this must sound like. Maybe even a bit whiny. I get it. But, to those of us whose income relies heavily on our craft, it is no small matter. Architects get paid. Caterers get paid. Seamstresses get paid. Photographers have every right to expect the same. So the next time you see something really wonderful and you have the urge to press that right-side mouse button, please stop for a moment and consider what you do for a living…and ask if you would be okay with me copying and using your work for free.

About the Author: is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his nine-year-old son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.