Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Twitter & Facebook: The Way to Do Business
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NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) - Long before the first Biggby bean is ground, before the first drip drops, before Risa adds the first swirl of whipped cream, Bob Fish is patrolling his far-flung coffee empire like some virtual barista from the keyboard of his computer.
Fish is founder and CEO of Biggby Coffee, a Michigan-based chain with 115 stores nationwide, but on Twitter and Facebook he’s better known as “Biggby Bob” (@biggbybob). He is a constant presence on the social networking sites. If there is a single comment, criticism or complaint Bob will most likely respond within minutes.
“We’ll also take care of things that weren’t really our fault,” Fish tells us. “We had a woman for example had a rough day went and got her caramel marvel went home got in her garage put her cup on top of her car and it fell off. It’s nothing we did wrong but we got a hold of her right away and said we’re going to send you another drink.”
It goes back to when Bob opened his first shop fifteen years ago and actually worked behind the counter handing customers their drinks, talking to them about what they liked and didn’t like.
“What social media has done for me is allowed me to lean over that counter and continue that conversation, but with 115 stores,” says Fish.
Judging by the comments on Twitter Biggby Bob’s one-on-one touch, even from a distance, has created a loyal customer base.
“They love it!” Bob says. “They love the fact that somebody like a CEO called “Biggby Bob”, is very approachable and willing to engage with a customer.”
Go to the original PRSA Blog post
By Dan Artman, APR
During the session Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, Bob Fish, co-founder and CEO of Biggby Coffee, shared the story of the East Lansing-based company’s success, as well as its use of social media to engage current Biggby customers as well as potential customers and franchise owners.
Known to his fans and admirers as Biggby Bob, Fish said Biggby Coffee started in March 1995 in East Lansing. At the time, there were 35 coffee shops in the greater Lansing area, where Biggby sold its first franchise in 1999. In 2009, there were 111 Biggby units in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Alabama. “Success is knowing who you are and where you are going,” Fish said. The ability to communicate both internally and externally, as well as focusing on what is important, is also key.
As far as social media goes, Fish said social media is a media like any other – broadcast, outdoor, print and direct mail – and should be treated as such: impressions. He told the audience he gave up his corporate office about two years ago to spend more time in the stores, sometimes incognito. He tells the story of his travels on his blog.He said he uses social media because it is a way to tell your story to your biggest fans, and everyone else. Fish said those using several social media venues need to make sure they link to one another, not in isolation. He said “Different people use different venues and with different frequencies. They learn differently about you at each one and they have different degrees of content.”
Fish said he shares anything that supports the operating philosophy, core values, vision, mission and cultural values of the company and personal information that is relevant to the business. He said social media has two vulnerabilities: it must feel and be earnest, real and truthful; and it is always on.
Biggby’s in-store operating philosophy includes recognizing each customer as an individual and consistently producing a high-quality beverage.
He also shares his adventures on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter and the Biggby website. The B-Happy Lounge’s Flickr photostream features Biggby fans, including toddlers and dogs, from Peru to Walt Disney World in Florida, with their Biggby cups and sweatshirts.
Go to the original PRSA Blog post
Dana Corbit here. What is it about writers and coffee shops? Comedians poke fun at them in their monologues. Coffee-shop owners count on them to keep their books in the black. These laptop-toting artistic types share table space with college students, traveling salespeople and crowds of chatting moms as they sip double espressos and type furiously on their versions of the great American novel. I know a lot about these people because I happen to be one of them.
Several days a week I can be found in my favorite coffee shop, the Biggby Coffee franchise in Novi, Michigan, tapping away on my work-in-progress, making revisions or doing line edits. My double-tall skim vanilla bean latte is always within reach. In fact, I've hung around so often that the owner, Mike Waltersdorf, stocks my books now alongside his insulated coffee cups and greeting cards. I even plan a "Girls' Night Out Book Signing" at the shop each fall to hang out and share books with my friends. Are you asking if I'm there this very minute? Er...no comment.
What makes coffee shops such great places to breed creativity for so many people? For some it might be the smell of coffee, but I doubt that's what it is for me. I never even drank coffee until the last few years - until I discovered lattes. Some might get inspiration from the TV entertainment, but Mike is attached to ESPN, so I don't even pay attention to that.
Now the white noise, that's my thing. It's great having music playing and a bunch of people around me talking, especially when no one is talking to me. I love that noise. I know there are people out there who have to have total silence to work. I just can't relate to them. As a kid, I wrote all of my research papers in front of the TV. (Shhh, don't tell my daughters that.) And quiet libraries...I have about as much luck staying awake in those as I did in my college personal finance class.
The coffee shop has other pluses for me. Telemarketers can't call and try to sell me vinyl siding. The dryer buzzer can't go off to tell me that the light load is finished. My pit of a house can't announce that its annual cleaning is long overdue. All that and the place has coffee, too. They're lucky I don't just move in.
Well, I had better get back to work. The noise level is good, the music's just right, and the latte is kicking in. Ahhh! Let the creativity begin.
Go to the original Blog Post
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Why, Yes, I am the Mayor.
Not something I ever envisioned myself saying. President? Of course, but Mayor? Yet recently I found myself sitting in "my" Biggby and overheard a woman behind me say, "Kimberly M. is Mayor." When I looked, she was staring into her phone, an action that today seems as likely or more as glancing at a watch (if you still wear one).
Well this is just too good!
Apparently, the need for privacy hasn't hit me yet if this squealed exclamation, blog posts, my personal blog ... Twitter and Facebook ... and, of course, FourSquare (hence my Mayor status) are any indication.
The woman looked up and a short, awkward, game of "Strangers Say Hey" ensued.
And thus, my Biggby once again enticed me into everyday contact with a stranger despite my self-proclaimed 'loving-people-challenged' status. My Biggby ... the diabolical people pusher, gatherer of crowds, writers, students, frazzled office workers, and even more frazzled moms. My general reaction would be akin to Gossamer from that Bugs Bunny cartoon suddenly staring into the audience and shrieking, "PEEEEEEOPLE!!!!"
It's okay though. Why?
Coffee. Chocolate. The occasional hot man in a suit.
And ... why, yes, I am the Mayor.
PS a good find by David -- Regarding the reference to BUGS BUNNY
...."from that Bugs Bunny cartoon suddenly staring into the audience and shrieking, "PEEEEEEOPLE!!!!" "suggest advancing to 6 minutes and 20 if you don't want to watch the whole thing :)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Alumnae expands Biggby franchise in Ann Arbor By Josh Coudret | THE EASTERN ECHO
Added May 3, 2010 at 5:57 pm
When Eastern Michigan University graduate and Biggby Coffee franchise owner Jeannine Mickeleit first traveled to the United States from Germany, she never planned to stay longer than her planned trip.
But before long, she was living in Howell, Michigan, and enrolled at Lansing Community College. When she finished her associate’s degree, she continued her education at EMU.
Josh Coudret / THE EASTERN ECHO
EMU alum Mickeleit recently opened her second Biggby coffee shop in the area in less than a year.“I just liked the area,” Mickeleit said. “It was really similar to the area I was from. A lot of times we think it’s different, but where I’m from is actually very much the same and I felt comfortable.”
Mickeleit was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany, the country’s second-largest city with almost 2 million people. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from EMU in German Studies and a master’s from Michigan State, she is now opening her second Biggby Coffee store at 2550 W. Stadium Blvd.
The first store, which she opened last fall at 1741 Plymouth Rd. in Ann Arbor, has been a success, and her new location opens today.
“I think I am the first Biggby franchisee who opens a second store in less than a year – I think it’s been like seven months for me now,” Mickeleit said. “So [the first] store is still fairly new. I like my first location, but I always knew when I started it that one would not be the end of it for me as part of the Biggby family. So I started looking at different locations even before my first one was finished.”
Mickeleit said she doesn’t have any definite plans for expanding right now, but would like to stay in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas. She has considered opening a store near EMU.
“The site is always really important,” she said. “I think if I go to Ypsilanti I would love to have a drive through. I think that would be my wish. Right now of course, I have to focus on [the new store] a little bit.”
Mickeleit’s new Biggby location formerly housed Portofino Coffee.
“The benefit for us was that this used to be a coffee shop before,” she said. “When you walked into it, it actually looked very close to a Biggby. And so it just felt like home already at that point.”
The new store offers free wireless internet, music and plenty of room to relax and complete homework.
“As a student I was at Biggby quite a bit studying myself,” Mickeleit said. “And I always liked the product, but I also liked the philosophy. And for me, personally, I think it’s a great fit.”
Becoming a teacher was definitely on her mind while earning her first degree in German studies.
“I started teaching later on,” she said. “I took some teaching classes, but I never graduated with a teaching degree from Eastern. After I graduated from Eastern I went to Michigan State. I was offered teaching assistantship, and I also started teaching at Okemos High School. And at that point I realized I really enjoyed teaching. And that’s when I went back and got a teaching degree as well.”
Mickeleit was teaching part-time at Okemos High School for a year and working on a master’s in German at Michigan State. After more teaching and schoolwork for other degrees, she decided she wanted to enter into business.
“I used to be a financial advisor before I started with all this schooling, and I really enjoyed that,” Mickeleit said. “I really enjoyed teaching but there was also this business aspect in me that was not quite fulfilled. So teaching doesn’t have much to do with business at all. You’re basically doing what you’re told.
“And that’s when I got involved with Biggby. After I finished my MBA I was looking around at what I could do to be self-employed.”
In addition to running two Biggby coffee shops, Mickeleit is also the sponsorship chair and chair of logistics for Relay for Life of Ann Arbor and involved with the Red Cross. Her Biggby locations are selling coffee mugs to benefit the two organizations.
“We actually have a Biggby Relay for Life team, and as part of the fundraiser we are selling those mugs,” she said. “All the proceeds are going to be donated to the Relay for Life, and the same with Red Cross.
“I think Red Cross is another organization that should be important to all of us,” Mickeleit said. “We never know, it could be rather soon that we’re in need of blood, and so I decided what better way of donating to a cause like that?”
Her stores are also working with the American Cancer Society to promote Michigan’s new smoke-free law. Between May 4 and May 10 people can exchange their last pack of cigarettes for a free tall beverage.
EMU students, with a valid ID, can also go to either of her Biggby stores and receive one free grande-size beverage during the opening week.