Roy's Blog: Marketing

March 8, 2013

BE DiFFERENT or be dead: Your Business Survival Guide

Never has it been more important for your business to be distinctive—to be different—in the marketplace than it is today.

Consumers are spending fewer discretionary dollars. Competition is intense as businesses jockey for the winning formula to attract customers, remain profitable and survive in this challenging environment. Those that don’t face this reality slowly wither and eventually fail. 

In BE DiFFERENT or be dead:Your Business Survival Guide, Roy Osing explains how businesses can navigate the turbulent waters of the contemporary economy.  Drawing on his distinguished career as a business executive, entrepreneur and leader in the telecommunications industry, and as a business consultant, Osing gives you the real deal: performance enhancement and survival ideas based on solid business principals that he has successfully implemented in the real world.

Osing focuses on strategies that he has personally developed and executed: things you can do today to immunize your organization against performance decline and business failure tomorrow.

Strategies that work.

For business strategy executives, marketing and sales executives, customer service executives and business owners and entrepreneurs alike, BE DiFFERENT or be dead is an invaluable resource for any leader looking to create a competitive edge for their organization and build long term success.

What my Readers say…

‘I had trouble putting this book down. In these challenging times this is exactly what business leaders need to weather the storm. BE DiFFERENT or be dead by Roy Osing is bang on for sales people, marketing executives, entrepreneurs and owner operators. Learn from Roy…I did!’
Dr. Peter Legge, OBC, LL.D (HON), CEO/Chairman/Publisher Canada Wide Media Limited

“The business book market is awash in ‘how to’ manuals on a myriad of topics. Some are better than others, most simply a recapitulation of material that is all too familiar. Most make grandiose promises but few deliver. Few are truly different. This book is.”
Brian Canfield, Director and Chairman of the Board, TELUS Corp

“BE DiFFERENT or be dead is one of the top business books in the U.S.”
Soundview Executive Book Summaries, Concordville, USA

For business strategy executives, marketing and sales executives, customer service executives and business owners and entrepreneurs alike, BE DiFFERENT or be dead: Your Business Survival Guide is an invaluable resource for any leader looking to create a competitive edge for their organization and build long term success.

Hardcover on Amazon

Hardcover and eBook on Granville Island Publishing

Hardcover on COPIA

eBook for Kindle

  • Posted 3.8.13 at 12:37 pm by Roy Osing
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February 25, 2013

Raining down “the right things”

Kicking Horse Coffee, a business that was created in the small BC community of Invermere, was profiled recently.

I lifted the following content directly from the article to highlight for others some of the clues to success. My commentary immediately follows each point.

“The way Rosenfeld tells it, Kicking Horse’s growth is a tale of good timing, strong branding, naivet? and focus. It’s really a tale of doing the right things.

Rosenfeld said. “We discovered there was no good coffee in the grocery stores and we thought, that’s going to be our area of focus.” Kicking Horse became the first in Canada with whole bean, organic, fair trade coffee. Find a vacant niche and exploit it by being the ONLY one operating in the space.

While competitors have size on their side, Kicking Horse priced their coffee as a premium product with good margins and counted on building a loyal, engaged following. When you have something that is unique, price it up. And focus on building a string Fan base to carry your word.

“I remember my mom telling me that Estee Lauder told her ‘Always give samples,’ ” Rosenfeld said. And Rosenfeld did. She sponsored running, biking and other events. “The impact was huge,” she said. “Give them a bag or a can of coffee. It can be cheaper than advertising or more expensive, but it’s tactile. It’s product in hand.” FREE is an excellent way to build a following and earn the right to make a future sale. Mass market advertising is a bad investment.


Nonetheless, Rosenfeld believes naivet? helped her forge ahead. “I never really paid attention to what competition was doing. We just focused on what we were doing. What if they are going to a smaller package or raising their price or lowering the price? You just keep make sure your relationship with the buyers and stores are strong.” Focus on the customer. Do the right thing for them and you won’t have to worry about “the bad guys”. Build barriers to Customer EXIT as opposed to worrying about stuff you can’t control like competitive behavior.

“We’re the underdog in the coffee world. We provided what we said we were going to provide. It’s just a lot of good will.” Deliver what you promise.

“Of course, it was not always smooth sailing. A tea line bombed. “We were just not focusing ... We didn’t brand it properly” Stick to your strengths. Don’t get diluted in your efforts. Winning needs focus and concentration>

“You can’t do everything and you can’t be swayed by other people’s deals and wishes and directions.” Create your Pan and execute it. Learn from execution, not from the anecdotal views of those around you.

Swander brings broad access to the U.S. market, but Kicking Horse will proceed cautiously, Rosenfeld said. Going into Walmart and other giant chains won’t work, Rosenfeld said. “Our brand is not mature enough.” Instead, she’ll seek slow, organic growth through smaller chains. Large supermarkets offer too much choice and are “not as intimate an environment. I don’t think consumers get as engaged,” she said. Seek markets where customers want to engage with you and help build your brand. Slow and steady beats fast and nowhere any day. Build organically on the backs of loyal customers.

She will also steer away from traditional advertising, which she said is better suited to mature brands and will continue the way she started, sponsoring targeted events such as the Banff Mountain Film Festival where she typically hands out 90,000 samples.”Focus on your Fans. Give Free stuff. Let your Fans carry you and grow your business.

A great story of someone who is travelling the BE DiFFERENT journey and getting it right.

Well done Elana…


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 2.25.13 at 09:46 am by Roy Osing
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January 14, 2013

If you know your customer’s “secrets” you’re ahead of the pack

Customer “Secrets” are the power of the standout organization.

A “Secret” is a strand of your customer’s DNA that defines their Uniqueness. A characteristic that makes them Special. It could be about family. About their names. About where they go to school. About vacations. About where they live. About what they like. About what they dislike. About how they spend their spare time. About where they vacation. About their wants and desires.

The point is, a Secret is a hidden piece of information on a person that is critical in engaging them in a business relationship.

Secrets are critical for two reasons:

1. They fuel the marketing process. If you know someone’s secrets, you are in a great position to create value for them.

2. Secrets power the service recovery process . What do you do when you have a service blunder? Simple formula: Fix it + do the unexpected. To do the unexpected - to surprise someone - you have to know a secret about them.

It is extremely important to build a repository on the secrets you discover otherwise you will most likely forget them and will therefore not be able to capitalize on them.


As a way of getting started, create a “secrets manual” on your top customers, the fans that care about you and what you do. Make notes about what you learn about them. And, make sure that others in your organization are aware of what you have learned.

Have fun with the idea. How about a secret agent award to honor the person who discovers the coolest secrets every month?

Or an annual recognition award of someone who excels at continually maintaining and sharing their secrets manual?

Do whatever it takes to instill secret gathering as a core competency in your organization.

They will definitely separate you from your competition.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 1.14.13 at 10:26 am by Roy Osing
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January 12, 2013

If your ONLY isn’t relevant it’s worthless

“We are the ONLY ones that .... “ is the claim that will distinguish your organization from everyone else. It’s not about being the best or number 1.

It’s about being the ONLY one that does what you do.

But your ONLY must be Relevant (it must address something your fans CARE about) AND it must be true (you must deliver it consistently, all day, every day)

A local radio station in Vancouver proudly states the following as their ONLY Statement.

“CKWX is the ONLY radio station offering traffic and weather every 10 minutes on the 1’s.”

Interpretation: every 10 minutes they update their listeners on local traffic and weather conditions.

Lets test it. Is it TRUE? Yes it is. They deliver updates every 10 minutes as they claim.

Is it RELEVANT? This is where I have an issue. Another radio station in the area provides continuous traffic and weather information. AM730 only provides traffic and weather. They do nothing else.

Why claim uniqueness on something that is clearly inferior to what someone else does? People who care about getting traffic updates, for example, WHEN they need it wouldn’t value waiting for “the 1’s” to get it on CKWX when they can tune in to AM730 and get it instantly.

Lesson: make sure your ONLY talks to a capability that you have, a product or service you deliver that really matters to people. Getting a traffic update every 10 minutes when I can get updates all the time clearly is inferior and lacks the “highly relevant” criteria of being a good ONLY.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other ONLY Articles You Might Like
ONLY Will Separate You From The Herd
ONLY Is a Journey
5 Steps to Create The ONLY

  • Posted 1.12.13 at 10:32 am by Roy Osing
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