The Marketing Stir Podcast with Katie Shire-Engleman, Aired 04/12/2022

Announcer: Maybe big data has gotten too big. Whether you’re a B2B marketer or a consumer brand, your data needs to be viable, relevant, and accessible, so that Stirista can help you retain customers, acquire customers and make it personal.

Vin: Welcome to The Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you’re going to put in your ear. I’m Vin, the associate producer here at Stirista. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders and get their take on the current challenges in the market. And we’ll have a little fun along the way. In today’s episode, Vincent and Ajay chat with Katie Shire- Engleman, VP of marketing at Giant Eagle. She talks about how her team is experimenting with digital out- of- home now that a lot of the public is opening up, as well as how important customer feedback is for the company. Vincent looks forward to a trip to San Antonio this month and Ajay is going through Vincent withdrawals. Give it a listen.

Vincent: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of The Marketing Stir. I feel like it’s been so long since I’ve talked to our amazing loyal and growing listeners. Thank you so much. It is actually fun now, it’s weird having listeners to a podcast because we go to conferences… Conferences are back, ladies and gentlemen. We’ll talk about that. And how cool is it that people are listening. And they come up to me at these conferences, they’re like,” Hey, I love you and Ajay. What a good team.” Or they have opinions on what we should be doing differently. I’m not a big fan of those interactions however, but I appreciate people listening. Ladies and gentlemen, who are we? Again, we are Stirista. I’m the vice-president of B2B products and your co- host. Stirista, who are we? Let’s pause for station identification. That’s not real, I just like to say that. We are a marketing technology company. We own our own data, business to business, business to consumer. We help companies utilize that data to get new customers. Want those? We could help. We own our own DSP. We help you with connected TV display. Email me, vincent@stirista.com. That is how confident I am of we can help. I just gave you my email address. My phone number is… I won’t tell you that. Just kidding. Confident there. Confident in my co- host, ladies and gentlemen. I feel like I haven’t talked to him in so long, but of course I have. He’s my CEO, we talk all the time. But you know what I mean? Ladies and gentlemen, live from San Antonio, Ajay Gupta. What’s going on, Ajay?

Ajay: Hey, Vincent. I’ve been going through some Vincent withdrawals; it’s been so long.

Vincent: It has been, I know. I was like,” I haven’t seen Ajay.” But we are taking care of that, Ajay. We are taking care of that. I will be in San Antonio. You will be in New York. That’s the rumor. The rumor mill is New York, you’re coming back up here to visit me, amazing New York City. We love when you’re in New York City. The people love when you’re here. But yes, I too am going through withdrawal. What’s good with you?

Ajay: And you know what, Refinery Rooftop loves us too.

Vincent: They love you. They like you more than me because some people have said some things to me that are more in your favor. We met some people and they said,” You know what? Ajay, you seem more naturally funny than Vincent”, which is ridiculous. But-

Ajay: Hey, I don’t bring up that kind of stuff. You brought it up, probably is a defense mechanism.

Vincent: And the recent thing… Maybe I shouldn’t go out with you that often, because every time I go out with you, someone says something mean to me. Remember when I shook, it was a nice young lady’s hand. And she said,” Wow, your grip isn’t strong at all.” Who says that to someone? I have a strong grip. Now that we can shake hands again, ladies and gentlemen, let’s shake hands. I’ll prove it. And right into the podcast to prove that I have a great handshake. What a weird conversation, I know. But we’re happy that you’re coming up.

Ajay: Yeah. I think you’ll come out of the pandemic strong and remember how to do a strong handshake. The funny part you can work on.

Vincent: Well, yeah, barely. I’m not naturally funny. I did break my arm for six months, so that might have something to do with it. Actually, this was before I broke my arm, so no excuse. You’re right. But what’s new with you? Speaking of ailments, Ajay, how is your… People who listen to the podcast, they ask me,” How’s Ajay?” Because they love tennis as well. They’re like,” How’s his knee? How’s his wrist?” What’s happening?

Ajay: Getting back to normal. So, I have done some intense physical therapy, but I started playing tennis again. So, it’s coming along nicely. It’s not a 100%, but that could be age factor, getting closer to your age.

Vincent: Yeah, the age is a factor. I think he’s full of them today, ladies and gentlemen. But enough about us, our ailments, our age, my weak handshake. Let’s get into the nitty gritty. I am so excited to have this next guest, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s a different aspect that we’ve taken on the podcast. We’ve had a variety of different organizations on and franchises and companies. Got a nice, great one for you today. Ladies and gentlemen from Giant Eagle, please, a warm Marketing Stir welcome, the vice-president of marketing at Giant Eagle, Katie Shire- Engleman. What’s going on Katie?

Katie Shire-Engleman: Hi, Vincent. So excited to be here with you and Ajay today. Thank you so much for having me. And for what it’s worth, I think you’re both very funny.

Vincent: Thank you. Thank you. But who’s more naturally… Now, nevermind. I won’t get into that. I won’t get into that now. That’s a whole another-

Ajay: She’s just trying to be nice to you, Vincent. You should take the compliment.

Vincent: I know. She’s nice. She’s a nice person that’s why we have her… what we have on for her knowledge and her marketing sense, but she’s also a nice person. That helps. Katie, welcome to the podcast. We are so happy to have you. We like to get right into it. For those people out there, who are not familiar with Giant Eagle, talk to us about that.

Katie Shire-Engleman: Before I joined Giant Eagle, I wasn’t familiar with Giant Eagle either. So totally understand. Giant Eagle is a regional grocery and convenience store chain. We’ve got about 500 locations across the Midwest, mainly in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. I’m actually based in the San Francisco Bay area. And before I took this job, I had never been to Pennsylvania or Ohio. So, I’ve been on quite the journey, and I’ve learned so much. My role is end- to- end marketing strategy. My team is very, very much like the in- house agency for the organization. So, we do everything from campaign strategy to channel activation. We’ve even built out our own programmatic media buying team. So, a lot of knowledge in- house with us now around various DSPs, and channels, and whatnot. So, it’s been quite the journey, but was not as close to what… The first time I heard Giant Eagle, I thought we were talking about a very large bird, so…

Vincent: Exactly. I know. It’s Ajay’s nickname. I call him the Giant Eagle has landed when he comes into New York. But Giant Eagle, that’s why I was so intrigued about it because we haven’t had a grocery chain on the podcast. I live in New York city; we don’t have a Giant Eagle there. But I’m familiar with it because my wife is from Pennsylvania. You haven’t been there in rural Pennsylvania; you’re not missing much. I tell you, I’m not a fan of my wife’s town. But anyway, that’s all another story. Katie, talk to us about your role as the VP of marketing. And then we always love to ask this question. It’s one of our two signature questions, how you got into marketing in the first place? Because it’s not always a direct journey. So, talk to us about what you’re doing as the VP of marketing, as well as your journey.

Katie Shire-Engleman: Absolutely. Today I oversee a team of about 60 and we truly own marketing end- to- end. When I first got to Giant Eagle, our CEO, Laura… who is absolutely amazing… was very clear. She wanted to transform marketing. She wanted marketing to be cutting edge and modernized, and a strength of ours. And we had a lot to learn. I had a lot to learn. But we started at a place where the organization was very dependent on agencies and traditional media. So, for me right now being able to go on this journey with Giant Eagle has been really incredible to just have the opportunity to grow and scale this from the beginning. My personal journey is one that I did not originally start down the marketing route. I actually went to school to be a dentist, who clearly didn’t pan out. I got my undergraduate degree in applied microbiology and biotechnology. And luckily for me, very early on, I had that epiphany that if I had the kind of job where people hated seeing me every day, I would just be miserable. So did not become a dentist. I was really fortunate to have an amazing advisor who recommended that if I like being around people, maybe I should explore a slightly different career path. And soon after graduation, I found a job at Thermo Fisher scientific that allowed me to go into life sciences marketing. So, I took my hard science skill and my love of just connecting with people and brought that together. And I started out in the product marketing space for the biotech industry. And then I moved into marketing communications for the organization. And while I was doing that, I said,” Heck, why not also go get my MBA?” So was working full time, going to school on nights and weekends. And when I finished my graduate degree, I said,” Let’s throw the playbook out the window again and see what else I can do.” So, put myself out there and Walmart decided to take a chance on me. And so had the opportunity to join Walmart’s e- commerce team, leading email marketing for their online grocery business. And that was my first foray into the direct- to- consumer food e- commerce space. And I have just never looked back. I think it’s just the most fun, dynamic industry. I mean, I can’t think of any other high-volume consumable that tells you so much about a person. I mean, we eat at least 21 times a week. Not my household, it’s like we’re eating 50 times a week. Like it’s just snack- a- palooza right now, especially during the pandemic. So, you learn a lot about a person based off of what buy, how they buy it, what kinds of foods they like, they don’t like. Food really runs your life. So had a few different roles in the food industry. But was more recently at a startup called Munchery. They did on demand food delivery, and that’s really how I came to Giant eagle through an acqui- hire. So, it’s been quite the journey for me.

Ajay: Katie, what kind of… I know you mentioned you guys do a lot of in- house things. What are some of the marketing strategies that are working for you and what are some of the channels that you really focus on?

Katie Shire-Engleman: That’s a great question. And I challenge my team every day, how can we optimize our mix? How do we continue to test and learn and iterate? What we’re doing today should not be what we’re doing to months from now, three months from now. We should constantly be challenging ourselves. And the biggest thing we’ve really embraced is the idea that we need to modernize our mix to create a seamless user experience and a customer journey. And so, we’ve been having a lot of fun with just testing new mediums. I think some of the things that really stand out to me, we’ve really been experimenting with digital out- of- home recently. For a while, everything was shut down. But now that things are starting to open up, we’re doing things like we’re advertising in gyms, capturing those device IDs and then retargeting customers with that contextualized and cohesive message because the way consumers are ingesting media, you really just have to be everywhere. And so, we’ve been very, very focused on how we broaden our mix to really account for that. But then of course, if you don’t bring it in- house, you’re spending a ton on those overages. And so having that direct access to that automated media buying internally has allowed us to really, really prioritize working media.

Ajay: And how’s it been… You’ve worked at a few different places with much larger teams and smaller startups… What’s the transition like and what are the differences?

Katie Shire-Engleman: It’s been quite the journey. I will never forget my first trip to Pittsburgh. And I’m used to the San Francisco startup environment where like got a lot of hoodies and sweatshirts and like Lululemon going on. And I walked into someone’s office, and I kid you not, this individual literally put their jacket and tie on for the meeting. And I went,” Okay, this is a whole other world.” I’m used to like,” Hey, this person showed up on time.” And” Oh, thank goodness they’re wearing the same shoes.” So, it was just a very, very corporate and professional environment, but in a good way. And what I’ve loved is that I’ve been able to experience some of that from Giant Eagle, and more of that, I guess what I call grown up culture. And then of course, bring some of that more laid-back approach that we were able to really embrace in a startup environment. And so, merging those two things, it definitely has been a little bit of culture shock. The first time the executive team came to visit us out in San Francisco, they walked into our office, and they were just totally shocked. We don’t have offices; we just have an open space concept and coordinators sit next to vice- presidents. And everyone just talks to each other. And it totally blew their minds. But now, we’ve all kind of embraced the best of both worlds. We actually launched a tech annex in Pittsburgh that is an open space concept to really encourage more communication. And the principles and the standard operating procedures that Giant Eagle has, are things that we’ve gotten more stringent about as well on the marketing side, because you can’t really scale if you aren’t really being thoughtful about how to do everything.

Vincent: Katie, I would love to understand because grocery stores, convenience stores were so vital during the pandemic. They’re vital every day, but just during the pandemic this necessary business, essential business of course, during that time, did your marketing change at all? Did it have to change? Was it one of those scenarios where like,” Well, do I even need to do marketing right now because everyone is coming into the stores?” I’d love to hear more about that.

Katie Shire-Engleman: That is such a great question. And you are spot on where we had a moment where we’re like,” We got to slow down.” I mean, I will never forget it was March 12th, 2020. It was like the zombie apocalypse hit. I mean, we didn’t know what was going to be in the stores. We were pulling corporate employees off of their day jobs to go stock shelves, ring registers. Totally, totally insane. It’s like the entire country was thrust into this online grocery ordering experiment. And let’s just say that the infrastructure wasn’t quite there to support all the demand overnight. But yeah, we absolutely had to pivot. I mean, we didn’t need to do, I guess what you would say our typical marketing approach because people were lining up to get into our stores. They were driving an hour out of their way for online grocery pickup time slot. So, playbook completely thrown out the window. But we did recognize that some of the principles that we have in marketing on agile communication and reaching millions of people quickly were fundamentals that we had to embrace, because it was a really scary time. Nobody knew what was going on. Nobody knew who had what. Never seen so many people posting on social media about toilet paper. It was totally insane. So, one of the first things we did was set up an agile text workflow to be able to text our customers when we were making operational changes, whether there were store hours, or senior hours, or if we were going to have to make some limitations around key items. But it was also a way to give a little bit of the power back to the customer. There was definitely a sense of helplessness, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what information to get.” And so, we were doing little things like text this word to us, and we’ll send you the link you need to be able to book a slot online or to connect with customer care. Like just make it a little bit easier to get the information that they were really, really looking for. One of the other things that we did was we launched our online response center that was just full of content around our sanitization practices, what we were doing to just support the community. And so, while it wasn’t what I’d call traditional marketing, it was very, very much about owning the message and streamlining communications to the customer so that they could rely on us because the community really had to trust us during this tough time. So, all around, first I want to say 45 days, we were more of a communications and response team than a marketing team. But it then turned into part of our marketing strategy, and we really, really focused on health and safety as a key message to our customers. And it’s showing in our perception, in our brand value, in the retention of our households. People feel comfortable shopping with us now.

Vincent: Yeah. And we talked to a lot of people throughout the pandemic. We have had a lot of different brands on, a lot of different technology companies. You talked about that transformation, that digital transformation a lot of stores that didn’t have a way to communicate with their customers. People were like,” Oh no, I don’t have a digital menu. They’ll just find me.” Well, you need to pivot. Was there something, Katie, that you had to do at Giant Eagle, or the company had to do, during that time where,” Okay, we need to now do this to offer our customers.” And what was the biggest shock there that you had to implement so quickly? What was the hardest part of it? Online shopping, orders, curbside… We’d love to learn more about that.

Katie Shire-Engleman: All of it. All of it. I mean, so it was a little crazy. And one of the things that we had been working on… Part of the Acqui- hire that I was a part of, included a software developer team in San Francisco. And they were building a native solution for online ordering. And we weren’t quite ready to go. We were pretty close, but we were probably in the final stages of rolling this out. We had this amazing rollout plan and we’re like,” These are the milestones, and this is the market we’re going to test it in.” And then COVID hit. And the license solution that we had started failing. Customers couldn’t log in, couldn’t handle the demand or the order volumes. And so, over the course of four days, basically we routed all of our traffic from the old solution to the new solution and we just turned the sucker on. And we were like,” Let it rip.” And then we basically quadrupled our paid search budgets and we just let the demand come to us from there. But let’s just say we completely torched the rollout and go- to- market plan for our online ordering platform and we just went for it.

Ajay: Katie, what has been kind of the personalizing shopping experience strategy at Giant Eagle?

Katie Shire-Engleman: That’s a great question. And we’ve taken a few approaches. I think one of my favorite things that we you’ve launched has been our gamification at scale. We have an amazing loyalty program at Giant Eagle. It’s something that we’re really known for. And one of the things we wanted to do was just make it more fun, digitize it a bit more and create more personalized experiences. And so, we very much mimic the approach that Starbucks has taken with their star challenges. And so, what we have are perk challenges and they’re individualized to the customer. So, no two customers will get the same exact challenge or reward opportunity at the same time. But the way it works is, it works across our ecosystem. So, we’ve got gift card, we’ve got supermarkets, we’ve got fuel convenience store chain locations, and each person gets an individualized challenge. So, let’s say I live near a store where a competitor has recently opened. I would likely get a personalized challenge encouraging me to shop multiple times in a row so that I don’t break my habit and go to that competitor across the street. Whereas somebody else where maybe they’ve more recently started shopping with us, we have the data that shows us,” Hey, if you start shopping more of these categories, or across the store, you’re more likely to be inaudible.” Or if you start shopping across formats, you’re more likely to be loyal to the brand. So, we might give you a challenge to say,” If you spend$ 40 at Giant Eagle and you go to a GetGo, which is our fuel stations, within this timeframe, you’ll get a 100 extra bonus points.” So, we really personalize the challenge and it’s all in our mobile app. So, it also encourages the customer to download, engage with us digitally. And it’s fun. It’s fun for people. When you complete a challenge, there’s a little celebration. So, we’ve really looked at how to personalize the experience, but in a very enjoyable way.

Ajay: And Katie, sounds like you have a pretty robust loyalty program, but is there marketing components to that? Is there frequent emails and digital ads to existing customers as well?

Katie Shire-Engleman: Of course. You can’t have a loyalty program without constantly engaging with the customer. You got to stay top of mind. And so, we’ve really intertwined these two things where we’ve got push notifications, mobile communications, emails when you hit key milestones or to educate you on new features that we’re rolling out. We’ve actually really looked long and hard at our loyalty program during the pandemic to think through what’s working, what maybe isn’t working for people. Part of our journey has been transformation in a completely honest way. In fact, we had this discussion as a leadership team yesterday, you don’t innovate, you die. And if you’re stagnant, you’re not going anywhere. So, we took the opportunity during the pandemic to really think about what might need to change about our loyalty program. And we listen to our customers, and we listen to their pain points, and we discovered that our loyalty program followed the 80:20 rule where 80% of the benefit was only going to 20% of our shoppers. So, we had to really rethink like,” Okay, what is missing or what are those gaps we need to fill? How do we make this better for more of our customers? And how do we make this better for our future customers to start to fill the funnel as well as part of our growth. And so, we recently launched an optional or opt- in version of our new loyalty program that is a lot more agile, a lot more digitally friendly. And really allows us to bring personalization into it a bit more and appeals to a very digitally savvy customer.

Vincent: Katie, I wanted to focus on one or two things. You mentioned some great things, you mentioned the loyalty program you mentioned, and how you had to pivot so quickly. I love it, you just turned it on and let it ride. I love that. But at your time thus far at Giant Eagle, are there any other programs, campaigns that you did that really stood out for you, that you were really proud of?” Oh, we did this one, or we did something around Thanksgiving, or we did this new…” Love to hear more about that.

Katie Shire-Engleman: I think my absolute favorite campaign we’ve launched at Giant Eagle last summer. So, we all remember going into the summer thinking we were coming out of COVID. And the country was ready to party, right?

Vincent: Yeah.

Katie Shire-Engleman: And it was an opportunity for us to really think about how is the customer feeling? We knew they were sick of masks. We knew they were sick of COVID. They didn’t want to talk about it anymore. They just wanted life to go back to normal. But it was also, coming out of this, we lost a lot of people along the way. And it was a little bit of like a somber moment. And so, we really thought long and hard about how do we just do something fun and appreciative to the community. And so, we launched what we called our Keep on Smiling Giant Eagle Ice Cream Truck. Around the same time, we also relaunched our own brand ice cream. So, we branded a truck and we put our top four flavors in it. And then we just decided to start surprising and delighting the community. So, we were going to stores, we were going to first responder locations. We were going to community parks, and we were just handing out free scoops of ice cream to people. And the smiles and just the thank you’s that we got, because just like we had some tired team members, but the community was tired as well. And we wanted to thank them for trusting us with their groceries, with their essentials during that timeframe. And a big part of that was our team members who just… They stepped up. It was so tough to be on the front-line day in and day out like that. So, we served up a lot of free scoops of ice cream as basically a community- wide appreciation event. And we also layered in an opportunity for people to download our app or opt in for digital communications to give them a coupon for more free ice cream. So, it was also a digital activation play. But overall, hands down my favorite campaign that we’ve so far.

Vincent: That’s amazing. It brings a smile to my face, and I didn’t even have the ice cream. And maybe you already answered this question with that particular campaign, surprising people, community. And maybe that is in fact the difference. But Katie, if you had to sum it in some words, what makes Giant Eagle different from other grocery stores? There’s, oh, this one’s all organic, or this one’s the pricing, and… I’m just curious in your mind, in your own words, what you think is a differentiator?

Katie Shire-Engleman: That is such a great question. And to be honest, it was something that when I got to Giant Eagle, I don’t know if we really knew. We really had to look ourselves in the mirror and say,” Who are we and who do we want to be?” And it was a tough moment for us because we were trying to be everything for everyone. We were trying to compete on pricing. But then we wanted to have everything for everyone. It wasn’t clear. And we did a lot of research and we really thought about it. And we recognized that we just need to embrace our positioning as a regional gem. We are your local hometown neighborhood grocer. Early on in the pandemic, we rallied, and we gave our team members T- shirts that said,” Proud to be your neighbor”, on it. And they really meant it. They care about the people. They care about the community. A lot of our retail team members are neighbors with those that walk into the store. And so rather than trying to be a national chain, we said,” No, we’re local and we’re here. And we’re in it with you. And this is our neighborhood.” And that service component really stands out for us. We also pride ourselves on the quality of what we put on the floor. And so, when you combine the quality of what we serve or what we put in our guest mouths, the service that they get with us. Then of course, the loyalty program that our customers really love, that’s the special or secret sauce, I guess, you could say. That’s what makes us different.

Ajay: Katie, I always like asking this question to somebody as cheerful as you, but I’m sure there’s something that annoys you. So, our staple question is around kind of unsolicited emails or LinkedIn messages, what is one that really annoys you? And then what’s one that gets your attention and gets the response from you?

Katie Shire-Engleman: I love that question. And so, I’m going to start with the one that annoys me because that’s what’s top of my mind.

Vincent: Everyone does. Everyone does.

Katie Shire-Engleman: I would say nothing is annoys me more than when I get a cold call about a personalization platform or some kind of cutting-edge technology, I must have that’s been going to be game changing for personalization, and my name is wrong. I’m like,” Really? You’re so personalized, yet you couldn’t address me by my name?” And the details really matter. And so, when someone copies and paste… And you can tell where they’ve copied and pasted… and they’ve got your name wrong, I don’t even bother reading it. So, I’ve got a lot of unread LinkedIn messages. So, if you try to reach me on LinkedIn, please have my name right. I would say, once they get my attention… I saw this one the other day about… That was just funny from an associate at Attentive. They’re an SMS organization. And this person wrote SMS is not the best marketing tool. I went.” Huh.” And then I opened, and it said,” April fools. Just kidding. Of course, it is.” Like,” Read this…” It was just short and silly and sweet and not serious at all. And while I love LinkedIn, I think some people get really serious on that platform. And like, let’s just have a conversation. Let’s lighten it up a little bit. Let’s learn from each other.

Ajay: Yeah. I think in my experience, the only real shortcoming LinkedIn has is the messaging system, because it’s so hard to actually to delete messages and remove messages. So, if they could improve on that, it could be a much better and effective prospecting tool.

Vincent: Well, and Ajay, you’ll send us some that work because you are being a CEO, you get solicited all the time. And you’ll oftentimes send us… Like you just mentioned there, Katie, one or two that get the attention.

Ajay: Yeah. Although I think I’ve been misclassified in some database because I’ve been getting a lot of,” As you are in the insurance industry…” And I’ve gotten about six or seven of them in the last month. So, it’s got to be some database that thinks Stirista is selling life insurance policies.

Vincent: Yeah, I got that too. We must be marked somewhere as being in the insurance business. They’re like,” As an insurance agent…” I’m like,” What? Do I come across as an insurance agent? I’m doomed, if that’s the case.” Anyway, sorry, go ahead.

Ajay: Katie, would love to get to know you on a personal side as well because at Marketing Stirs, a lot of it is about marketing, but also about the stories behind people’s lives. So, I’d love to know what you like to do in your free time when you’re not dreaming up new marketing ideas.

Katie Shire-Engleman: Yeah. Well, I love to cook. I love to bake. I made it my own personal mission during the pandemic to try to perfect a banana bread recipe, like I think the rest of the world did. But when I’m not in the kitchen, I really enjoy hiking. And my husband and I love to travel, and we love to go to the theater. We actually just go back from a visit in New York City. And just really excited to see that Broadway is back. I just think there’s something so amazing about seeing a show live and in- person. Spent a lot of time streaming things and it’s not the same.

Vincent: Nope, definitely isn’t. What did you see here in New York?

Katie Shire-Engleman: We saw Six. That was so much fun.

Vincent: The Henry VIII’s six wives, right?

Katie Shire-Engleman: Yeah.

Vincent: I heard that was that was great. I got to give back to me living here in New York. Well, prior to children, I must have gone to like 30 of them total because it was just like,” Oh, Tuesday night, what do we do? Let’s just go to a Broadway show. What do you have TKTS?” And they were like,” Oh we have this for 75% off. That’s awesome.” Yeah, but I heard Six-

Katie Shire-Engleman: That’s fun. Yeah.

Vincent: I heard Six was awesome. I’m so happy that New York City is coming back. There was, like you said, that summer when it’s like we’re back and you could shake people’s hands for four days. I was like,” I’m out of here. I’m going to Vegas with some friends.” And that was a fun time, but-

Announcer: Except for your handshake, but yes.

Vincent: Except my handshake. But so, we want to also ask you a few questions, Katie, what’s coming out with giant Eagle that you’re proud of? You guys just did a new logo. Is that a new whole logo that you did? Talk to me about that.

Katie Shire-Engleman: I mean, in a pandemic, why not roll out a new loyalty program and migrate a website in four days, and also launch a new logo. This was something that we’d been working on for a little while and we’d really been… Our former logo, if you’ve seen, the text is in all caps. There’s this like bright red shield. It’s a very, I guess, aggressive logo you could say. And it doesn’t really convey that approach of we are your friendly neighborhood grocer. I mean, literally the shield in some ways looks almost like a stop sign. So, you’re like,” Okay, this is not what we’re going for.” So, we spent a lot of time iterating, we spent a lot of time tweaking, trying to find something that was a little warmer, a little more inviting. And we thought we had it. And so, we said,” Okay, let’s just do some quick testing with our consumers.” And we said,” All right, let’s just change the logo on our Facebook page and see what happens.” We got absolutely crushed by our customers. They hated it. They were like,” We don’t like this. What have you done? Bring back the shield. Oh my God.” So boy, am I glad that we tested that before we started installing permanent decor and things. And the feedback that we got was fantastic. Those unfiltered responses were just so authentic. And I know we wouldn’t have gotten to the logo we have today without really hearing from our consumers what they thought. And so, what we’ve landed on is, it’s more interesting. It’s softer got this fun lowercase font, but it’s got this beautiful leaf on top, which really represents our commitment to freshness. So, it was a little bit of a bumpy road, but we ended up where we needed it to be. And that consumer feedback was really important to get there.

Vincent: Yeah, that is nice to get feedback. Now that’s something that years ago you couldn’t do, so social media does have its benefits. And you start with the red in there that kind of had with the original. Katie, our last question is advice to your younger self. You’re younger than me. As Ajay pointed out that I’m the old guy here. But your slightly younger self, closing thoughts, any advice? Would love to hear it.

Katie Shire-Engleman: I love this question and I’m so glad you asked it because that reflection is really important to me. And I think if I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to speak out more. Don’t be afraid to ask that question. I think early on in my career and sometimes in the classroom, I’d be a little reserved and I didn’t always want to be that person that would ask the question. So, I’d write it down in my notebook and I’d follow- up with someone after. And I was far too worried about like,” Is this a stupid question? Am I going to say the wrong thing?” And what I’ve learned as I’ve grown in my career is that while there are such things as stupid questions, it’s okay to ask them because we’re learning together. And if I have a question, there’s a good chance someone else might have that question. Or perhaps I could bring a different perspective to the conversation. So, I would tell 23-year-old Katie, talk more, speak up more. Ask the question more. It’s a good thing.

Vincent: I love it. I love it. That is great advice from a great guest, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Katie. We really appreciate it. That is Katie Shire- Engleman, the vice-president of marketing at Giant Eagle. Go check out Giant Eagle. Check out Katie, but don’t get her name wrong. This has been another episode of Stirista’s The Marketing Stir. I am Vincent. That’s Ajay. She’s Katie. Thank you so much and have a great day.

Vin: Thanks for listening to The Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista. Please like, rate and subscribe. If you’re interested in being a guest on the podcast, please email us at themarketingstir@stirista.0com. And thanks for listening.

Listen to the Marketing Stir Podcast with Katie Shire-Engleman