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Washington Spotlight: May Day Becomes International Day of Anger

BY Joe Kefauver

Monday's May Day demonstrations across the country and world are yet another reminder that we are in a politically precarious position in this country. The intensity of anger within our populace far outweighs the ability of our government mechanisms to address it.

Tremendous angst over the impacts of globalization on the economy and environment, or around the massive workforce disruption looming due to automation, are causing people to take to the streets. They are demanding some sort of undefined "action" to roll back the clock. And governments — whether here or abroad — have very few tools at their disposal to deflect those forces of change.

Nonetheless, in numerous cities throughout the country this week, demonstrations took place on a scale much larger than anticipated. The Chicago march, which appears to be the largest, drew over 20,000 people.

Actions also took on a decidedly more local flair than expected. Farmworkers marched in Florida protesting current immigration proposals. Janitors in Minneapolis turned their attention toward The Home Depot and Sears insisting on better wages. Climate change and LGBTQ activists protested in Los Angeles. Demonstrators marched in New York City around the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase and that’s only to name a few of the events.

Over the last century, May Day had traditionally been an opportunity to highlight the needs and contributions of workers, similar to Labor Day. And, of course the Soviet Union temporarily co-opted it to provide an international platform for their "workers paradise" of communism. Then, over the last 15 or 20 years, immigration and the needs of new immigrants have taken center stage. But now, the reason for protests are all over the board. Essentially, May Day has become the International Day of Anger and it seems to be getting bigger — and more violent.

For restaurant owners and other retail operators, the willingness to single out specific brands in specific cities with no warning should be alarming. But equally troubling is the unrest within their customer and employee base. Whether it is National Day Without Immigrants, National Day Without Women, May Day or other events on the horizon, retailers need to realize that, for the time being, this is the new normal. The “message” is less about one issue set or two, and has evolved into catch-all dragnet for any instrument of the so-called establishment, like prominent corporate brands, and dragging us into the mess is intentional.


Joe Kefauver is managing partner of Align Public Strategies, a full-service public affairs and creative firm that helps corporate brands, governments and nonprofits navigate the outside world and inform their internal decision-making. Align specializes in service sector industries.

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Facebook testing in-store QR code rewards

BY CSA STAFF

Facebook is proving social media does in fact influence brick-and-mortar sales.

The social media giant offers a feature that enables users to scan a personalized QR code to nab discounts when they buy something at specific brick-and-mortar locations, reported TechCrunch.

The Rewards feature, which is discretely tucked away under the More tab of Facebook’s mobile app, has been in test mode for a few months, according to the report.

“To help businesses continue to connect with customers where they are, we’re running a small test that enables people to use the Facebook app to collect and redeem rewards when they make a purchase at a participating store,” the social media giant told TechCrunch.

This is not Facebook’s first try at offering retail discounts. It launched “Offers” in 2012, a program that enables companies to feature downloadable coupons or discounts for online purchases. Facebook revamped the program last year, and now promotions can be redeemed online or in-store, the report said.

Click here to read more.

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Men’s grooming concept has big plans for growth

BY Marianne Wilson

A men’s grooming shop that provides hand and foot care, haircuts and shaves in a “man cave nirvana” has ambitious designs for expansion.

Hammer & Nails Grooming Shop for Guys announced plans to have 250 locations up and running by 2022. The company said it ready to ramp up growth by building on a solid foundation of smart franchise partnerships and tactical site selection. In line with those plans, Hammer & Nails is set to open 10 locations in Maryland over the next three years under the leadership of Bart Butler, with its first lease at Metro Centre in Owings Mills, Md., a brand new mixed use development. The location is slated to open within the next six months.

“The Hammer & Nails brand has truly discovered an untapped sector of the massive health-and-wellness industry – no one is delivering male-centered grooming services the way we are,” said Michael Elliot, founder and CEO of Hammer & Nails. “We’re still at the ground floor of our development in Maryland, making it an exciting expansion region for us. We’re eager to bring our concept to a diverse group of new customers in the area.”

The company will be opening its first franchise locations this year, with five slated to open by the end of this summer. After offering a franchise opportunity in 2015, the brand has awarded licenses for more than 200 shops.

Hammer & Nail shops will offer customers a low-lit and luxurious atmosphere with dark wood and steel detailing, oversized leather chairs, personal TVs and noise cancelling headphones, and complementary beverages.

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