Roy's Blog: March 2011
March 28, 2011
Satisfy customer needs? Most people already have what they need, and to be a Needs Satisfier is a tough assignment. The better mousetrap approach usually leads to offering a lower price. Follow this route and you’re CoMMON, FoRGETTABLE and InVISIBLE.
Meet customer expectations? Where’s the juice in that? I am not blown away when someone gives me what I am expecting. Fall below my expectations and I am annoyed and I leave telling all and sundry how crumby you are. Meet my expectations and I am satisfied but no more than that (how many of you are thrilled when the flight you are on actually arrives at the correct destination?)
Exceed customer expectations? This is at least notionally the right course of action. Go beyond what I expect. Give me MORE of what you led me to believe I was getting and I might Sneeze you to others. But lets tinker with this idea just a little bit…
GIVE CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY DON’T EXPECT?. The Unexpected Strategy is effective in dazzling someone and making them devoted to you.
Here are some considerations:
- know my Secrets. Secrets represent the fuel for the Unexpected. If you knew I loved Italian red wine, you might have the ability to present me with a Caing Gift if the opportunity arose.
- opportunities flourish in any organization to deploy Secrets. Marketing - add a Secret dimension to the Value-Based Offer you create for me. Service - when a service blunder occurs and you have screwed me around, build your Recovery Action Plan around the Secrets you know about me.
- SURPRISE me and you take my breath away. Product fulfillment - take a page out of Zappos’ book and send me my order ahead of when I was told to expect it.
March 21, 2011
The conversation going on out there really defines who you are and the values you possess. It’s not about what YOU think about what you stand for; it’s about what people ‘out there’ think about you.
You don’t control the perception of your brand, your Fans do.
You know the traditional drill: define your communications objectives and strategy complete with a punchy tagline that you believe captures the benefits you create for The WHO (the customers you have chosen to serve).
Your corporate tagline may say something like: ‘Think different’ (Apple), ‘Excellence for All’ (GM Chevrolet), ‘Routinely Spectacular’ (Caesar’s Palace), ‘The Future is Friendly’ (TELUS) or ‘Together is Amazing’ (Shaw Cable). And then you go-to-market expecting brilliant results as your tagline captures the hearts and minds of all who bear witness to it.
Your intentions are clear, but how does it land on people? In response, most organizations conduct a Brand Audit Study at some point after the launch. This STUDY approach does have merit but has these disadvantages:
- you don’t get real time feedback from a periodic study;
- you have virtually no capability to respond to negative comments;
- you have ZERO ability to engage with people over who you are and what you stand for.
The LISTEN & ENGAGE method overcomes all of these issues and provides an effective framework to determine whether or not your brand claim is believable and true. LISTEN to the conversation. The conversation determines your brand. Are people telling stories about you that support your brand position or do they relate experiences with you that prove that you are not living up to your brand claim?
ENGAGE with people. Invite them to share their experiences with you. Be open to what they say. Take immediate action to remedy any negative issues they bring to your attention.
Brand work is never done. It is always a work-in-progress. It must be open to the Conversation. You must be willing and eager to change whatever has to be changed in your organization to deliver your brand promise consistently 24X7.
March 14, 2011
In BE DiFFERENT or be dead I discussed the importance of developing a brand for your sales warriors to differentiate them from the pack. The same principle applies in the case of trying to set YOU apart from everyone else in the organization.
Your personal brand defines the values that you want to be known for in your organization. When people in the organization, particularly the foxes, think of YOU, what do they see? What attributes of YOU immediately come to mind for them? What words do people inside the organization use to describe YOU?
Your brand should be consistent with your Personal ONLY Statement. If you have decided that your marketing skills and expertise address a critical organizational need and that only YOU possess them, your brand should be built around your engagement in the marketing revolution of your business.
Here is the BE DiFFERENT YOU Brand Building Process:
1. Identify WHO you want to SERVE - the foxes
2. Dissect your competition
3. Create your ONLY Statement
4. Develop your HOW to WIN strategy
5. Build your brand statement
6. Define the key elements of your brand
7. Develop and continually practise the behaviors that demonstrate each brand element
As you develop your personal brand, use the competitive analysis work that you have done on your main competitors. In addition to your own competencies, let their strengths and weaknesses guide you in your brand.
Ensure that your brand addresses the critical issue of the day for your organization by continually measuring and refreshing your only claim. If your brand doesn’t respond to a compelling and relevant need that your business has, it will simply fall on deaf ears and be perceived as merely self serving. However if it resonates with people and is consistent with a strategic imperative of the business, AND makes you the currency leader among your peers, your brand will lavish you with job satisfaction and career growth.
Develop a Communication Plan to expose your brand both internally and externally:
- Offer to do presentations on your chosen brand topic.
- Get quoted as a subject matter expert in any internal communications media your organization uses.
- Write articles for your organization and for external publications on your brand content; be the thought leader.
- Offer to talk to customers on your brand topic. Help them in any issues they have, and get known on the outside. In my case many of our customers were interested in what we were doing in the area of serving customers as well how we were transforming from a monopoly to a competitive business. I had many speaking engagements to air my brand.
- Talk to the media on your topic. Make it interesting for them. Get them calling you. Your organization’s reputation will over time be influenced by YOU.
Other BE DiFFERENT YOU! Articles
Change Leader or Change Manager?
How to Win
Dissect your Competition
The Voracious Career Learner
Discover Remarkable Mentors
Change Leaders Needed
Covet the Fox
The Context for BE DiFFERENT YOU!
March 7, 2011
A few observations on branding as it is practiced today…
First, most organizations don’t spend enough time choosing a brand name that resonates well with their customers. I don’t think these companies appreciate the opportunity at their disposal. What a great way to show their innovative and creative bent to the market. What a great chance to demonstrate their remarkability to their fans; that they get what is needed.
ACTION: Make branding a strategic exercise to demonstrate that you are a market leader, constantly innovating for your fans.
Second, Product managers are typically given the task of coming up with a brand for their new product or service. Quite frankly, I think they are too close to their work to do this effectively. I most cases, they create a name that is far too technical and merely describes what the thing does as opposed to the VALUE it creates for the customer.
ACTION: Engage folks in the branding process who are NOT traditional marketing types but rather are free thinkers with a strong customer orientation. Keep the Lawyers away. Get the “digital thinkers’ involved.
Third, not enough time is spent on what I would call “Search Engine Due Diligence”. Owning an unforgettable brand means that ONLY you have it and that it is ranked #1 on Google. If you’re NOT #1 then how can your brand BE DiFFERENT and memorable? It can’t.
ACTION: Make this THE prime critera for any new brand. First question to ask: “Where would the name ranked on Google?” Do you own the brand or don’t you?