An Intelligent Way to Thank Customers

Wawa’s brilliant marketing efforts on display as it thanks customers for their loyalty by highlighting its social responsibility program.

As I’ve written several times on this blog, I am a big fan of Wawa. Over the past two years or so, I’ve been impressed by their stores and gas stations, their staff and their customer relations work. On a recent stop in to Wawa for my late morning coffee fix, I took a moment to look at the hot cup sleeve on my 20 oz. coffee.

A Wawa coffee cup

The wording on the cup reads:


Because of your loyalty and support,
we are able to give millions of dollars to
local and national charities each year.

Let’s consider the message that the cup conveys:

Wawa values our patronage: Right there in big, block letters, we can read that Wawa is grateful for us shopping at their stores. Notice the reasoning for Wawa’s gratitude: so that they can support charities. Forgetting our urge to be cynical, we can see very clearly that Wawa is deeply committed to its social responsibility program.

Wawa acknowledges our role in their social responsibility: Wawa does not put itself forward as the key actor in donating millions of dollars to charity. It clearly names its customers — us — as responsible for that. Wawa shares the credit with those who make the donations possible. That’s a humble and transparent approach.

Wawa supports the local area: Aside from employing thousands of people locally, Wawa reminds us that it is committed to the local area by donating to local charities.

Wawa remembers the customers just passing through: Not everyone who shops at a Wawa is a local. Some will be on a business trip or in town visiting family. Wawa has thought of those customers as well by thanking them for helping Wawa support charities that may be operating in their own home towns and cities.

Yet again, Wawa has proved itself savvy when it comes to marketing and building customer loyalty. No doubt I shall find myself in their stores again soon buying something, doing my bit to help local charities.

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Colin Powell’s Rules

General Powell’s Rules which he learned and developed over this 35 years of active military service

Colin Powell's autobiography

As I come to the end of Colin Powell’s autobiography, I find myself even more impressed with the man than I had been before reading his story. The son of immigrant parents of modest means, Powell worked his way up to the highest rank in the US military, eventually becoming the first African-American to serve as Secretary of State in the US.

My American Journey by Colin PowellThe first to admit that I do not agree with all of his decisions or all of his politics, I still find myself looking to the man as an example of how to work hard, think clearly and act decisively. I can learn a lot from his example.

I’d like to share General Powell’s Rules which he developed over this 35 years of active military service and which are included as an appendix to his autobiography.

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your positions falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done!
  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Powell’s rules strike me a relevant for running a small business as well. I especially like the emphasis of perpetual optimism: I try to attack each day with a glass half-full approach. Knowing that such an approach helped Powell reach the pinnacle of professional success goes a long towards convincing me of the value of that approach.

The ubiquitous Steve Jobs

A small tribute to the man whose influence on my own career flowed through my office on a daily basis.

Steve Jobs

A late convert to the wonders that are Apple products, I wanted to pay a small tribute to the man whose influence on my own career flows through my office on a daily basis.

Others will be more eloquent in their eulogies. Others will be more profound in their reflections. My own tribute to Steve Jobs is small and will definitely go unnoticed by most of the world. Yet that is a testament to the ubiquitous presence of Steve Jobs in this world — he spread design, innovation, enthusiasm and more into every corner of the world.

Photo: Shot on and emailed from an iPhone 3Gs. Edited and posted to the internet on a MacBook Pro. Says it all, doesn’t it?

Remembering the Rwandan victims

A poem about life, written by Mother Teresa, and shared here on the 17th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide.

Rwandan genocide victims

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide. On 06 April 1994, the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down as it prepared to land in Rwanda. Within hours of that, roadblocks were set up around Kigali (the capital of Rwanda) and the killings started.

Although I am not normally inclined to quote the religious on this blog, today I think it appropriate to share what may be called a credo of sorts by Mother Teresa.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realise it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is costly, care for it.
Life is wealth, keep it.
Life is love, enjoy it.
Life is mystery, know it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Live is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

To learn more about the Rwandan genocide, and more importantly, to see how you can help survivors of the genocide in their continued struggles for survival, please visit, and

The image featured in this post is © Survivors Fund (SURF) / Andrew Sutton and is used with permission. The image shows the remains of victims of the genocide at the Ntarama Memorial.

Speaking at The FSI’s Workshop 2011

I’ll be speaking on the topic of online marketing, hoping to share valuable insights on how to successfully structure and implement such strategies.

Earls Court

Although I’ve posted notice of this some weeks ago on lbdesign’s website, I suddenly thought ‘Hey! I should post something about it on my own blog as well.’ So, that’s what I am doing.

The FSI is an amazing organisation that works to support and help small UK charities as those charities grow. The FSI provides not only real-time support in a variety of areas (think accounting, marketing, fundraising and more), they also provide free training.

I’ll be speaking on the topic of online marketing, hoping to share valuable insights on how to successfully structure and implement such strategies.

(Note: The FSI’s Workshop 2011 is not actually taking place at Earls Court. I just added that for dramatic effect.)

Untold Stories

To encourage the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day, the HMD Trust has produced a powerful film trailer that features 11 survivors of different genocides.

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As part of its efforts to encourage the commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day, the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has produced a powerful film trailer that features 11 survivors of different genocides. It’s a moving piece that is well worth watching.

I invite you to learn more about Holocaust Memorial Day and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust:

Stop Unwanted Mail

Directions on how to reduce the junk mail clutter that fills our mailboxes, often with unsolicited offers for credit cards and loans.

How to reduce unwanted mail

I picked up a leaflet a few months ago in my local post office that listed a number of ways to reduce unwanted junk mail showing up in your mailbox.

Following the directions on the flyer (which you can download below as a PDF), I rang Trans Union to ask for my name to be removed from lists offering credit cards and loans. I have to admit that it worked! I now get almost no credit card offers any more. It’s wonderful.

By the way, you’ll see that on the PDF that the telephone number for Trans Union has been changed to 888-567-8688.

Anyway, in the interest of paying it forward, I am posting this information online in the hopes that it helps someone else reduce the daily arrival of clutter in their mailbox.

How to Reduce Unwanted Mail (PDF: 728KB)

An ongoing campaign from Wawa

Wawa demonstrates an on-going commitment to local charities by promoting the Susan G. Koman Race for a Cure in Philadelphia.

Wawa's hut cup sleeve for April

I wanted to post a short note to say that Wawa might always use their hot cup sleeves in support of charities. As we can see in the picture above, Wawa was supporting Susan G Komen Race for a Cure, which is a massive fundraiser for breast cancer research.