Roy's Blog: September 2016

September 26, 2016

How staying in the boring herd will kill you

Fuelled by the Internet and technological innovation, competition in every sector is increasing with blazing speed.

You would think that in the face of relentless competitive pressure, organizations would get more proficient at carving out a differentiated position in their market, creating a value proposition that is crystal clear and unique. But it’s not happening.

In fact, the opposite is occurring. “Un-differentiation” seems to be the norm.

Business is infatuated with copying. Best in class and best of breed are targets for emulation. Benchmarking is the key driver of improvement and innovation.

Follow the leader is played with the belief that somehow a standout competitive claim will evolve and resonate with customers. It just does not happen.

Products and services end up on most organizations’ infatuation list. Me-too features and capabilities are pushed on the market with the hope and prayer that a miracle will happen and their version will end up being the winner.

Product features and benefits are stressed as the panacea to the customer’s wants and desires. What the technology can do is given the limelight over the value it creates for people.

Mass markets are catered to, driven by a one-size-fits-all marketing mentality. Individuals take second row seat to plurality. Product corners are rounded, believing that incremental changes will make the product appeal to more people. The problem is, this strategy results in the product appealing to no one.

Businesses rush to offer lower prices than their competition, believing that this price position will engender customer loyalty and gain competitive advantage. Everyone is in this game to a degree. It seems to be that the herd races to the bottom on price rather than enduring the gruelling work to race to the top on unique value creation for people.

The bottom line: the world is burning with a growing competitive flame yet organizations are not good at establishing a clear, relevant and unique claim that distinguishes them from their competitors and that makes them stand out from everyone else.

What’s the solution?

If the competitive herd is copying products and services, features and benefits, the right long-term strategy is to be different, to stand out from the herd.

How do you stand out?

By creating and delivering value that is relevant (something that people really care about) and unique - something that only you provide.
The end-game is to create an organization that consistently creates distinction, uniqueness, remarkability, gasp-worthiness, indispensability, memorability and unforgettability for the people it chooses to serve.

These are the key strategic concepts that should drive how we innovate and shape our organizations.

These are the characteristics that attract people to buy from an organization because it makes them feel good. Yes, feelings are a hard-core business concept that drive repeat purchases and long-term customer loyalty.

On the other hand, if you can’t be gasp-worthy to people, be prepared to be common, ignored, invisible, dispensable and dead (sooner or later).

Be different or be dead.

You choose.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 9.26.16 at 05:47 am by Roy Osing
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September 19, 2016

5 simple steps to get your marketing message across

Marketers today face a formidable challenge when it comes to communicating their message to the market

Never has there been so much “noise” from so many companies in so many forms of media all vying for mind share.

Here are five tips that will help you cut through the clutter and land your message successfully:

1. Be clear on who you are talking to.  Who do you want to receive your message? Too many organizations these days push their message on the masses thinking that it will resonate with someone who cares.

It’s a risky proposition. It might resonate with some but it will be ignored by many. Best to know exactly who you want to talk to before you open your mouth.

2. Speak to value and benefits. People are tired of getting stuff shoved down their throats. Companies constantly flog their products at us hoping we will tire of the bombardment and buy. But it rarely happens. Some bite, but many don’t, yielding a low return on the communications investment made.

It is far more effective to give someone a reason to buy by appealing to their wants and desires.
Stress the value you bring to the table through your product or service rather than the cool stuff your technology can do.

3. Say something special about you. You have only seconds to establish your credibility; don’t forget the shield people have up to repel the messages they are bombarded with everyday. If you’re not special in a way people care about, you will be relegated to simply another message flogger who is ignored.

And if you do have a specialness that resonates with your audience, they just might let you into their space.

4. Give them a reason to buy from you as opposed to the other choices they have. Don’t “be like Mike” with no individuality.
People like to feel like they have spent their money wisely, and what better way than buying from an organization that stands apart from others?

Spend time determining what your unique value proposition is. Look to be the ONLY ones who do what you do. If you don’t stand out, your message will be ignored.

5. Make your call to action respectful and “easy”. You can’t demand their money and make them feel stupid if they don’t capitulate to your amazing offer at incredible savings. “In your face” asks are insulting. Be honoured if they decide to do business with you. And if they don’t, be respectful and grateful that they even considered you.

And couple your ask with an easy process to complete the transaction. Making them go through hoops could force them to lose their good intentions.

The reason most organizations can’t get their message across is they are trapped in the mass marketing approach of pushing their agenda on everyone.

This approach doesn’t work in today’s “me” society where relevance and personalization are key.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 9.19.16 at 06:28 am by Roy Osing
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September 12, 2016

Why is online dating an amazing way to build an awesome brand?

I’m not suggesting that you get involved in online dating, but I do believe the process can provide valuable insights on how to effectively position oneself in a highly contested world.

The crucial element in online dating is your personal profile.

The challenge is to “paint a picture” of yourself that leaves no doubt as to who you are and what your specific interests are.

Your objective: to attract interest from people who are aligned with you; who have similar interests and like doing the same things. Your task is formidable given the internet universe you are exploring.

Bland vague profiles attract few worthwhile “hits” whereas clear, expressive, and detailed profiles, on the other hand, stand-out to people who are looking for specific characteristics.

For example, “I enjoy watching movies” falls short describing your specific interests as opposed to “I am a fan of Vin Diesel movies.” which would be more effective in
attracting people who enjoy action films.

“I am an animal lover.” communicates less valuable information than “I am crazy about golden labs.”

How can this process be applied to your career?

Consider your resume as your online profile.

The biggest issue I see in resumes is they all look the same. Most people use boilerplate templates and feed them with general information as opposed to the very special and specific attributes they posses.

My eyes glaze over when I read claims like “I’m a team player”, “I handle conflict well” or “I enjoy a creative work environment”. Everyone says this type of thing which does nothing to further someone’s individuality and why they should be listened to.

Take a page from the online dating profile book.

Get specific.

Over emphasize your attributes and specifically those that you think make you distinct from everyone else.

What do you do specifically that enables you to manage conflict well? How are your methods different than others?

You could approach it this way:

“I have a proven track record of effectively managing conflict (like a
million other people) because (add something that defines how YOU and ONLY YOU do it).”

And also apply the “so what and who cares?” test intended to catch the vague generalities and helium filled claims used by the crowd. If it’s a statement that everyone else uses, delete it and focus on what makes you special.

And don’t expect miracles overnight. You most likely will not come up with a profile that is sufficiently detailed to get the response you want, nor will it likely be crystal clear on how you are different than everyone else. Doesn’t matter. It’s a start. Work with it and revise it as you experience its impact on your intended audience.

Be patient but be resolute in your quest for granularity and uniqueness that will capture their interest, imagination (and their hearts).


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 9.12.16 at 05:11 am by Roy Osing
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September 5, 2016

9 amazing subjects that will earn you business honours

The gap between school teachings and what is REALLY needed for organizations to thrive and survive in the new markets that are unfolding is WIDE and is getting WIDER.

Approaching CHASM proportions in fact.

As an executive leader, I made it a priority to engage with business students and graduates on a regular basis. I needed to know where the talent was; who I should keep my eyes on for employment.

Not taught

Based on my experience, my conclusion is that NEWBIES AREN’T READY.

Straight out of school they are ill-prepared to add the value required to enable our organizations to be remarkable, compelling, indispensable and unforgettable.

They are not being taught the right stuff.

They are getting traditional pedagogy jammed down their throats by professors who have ZERO experience running businesses “in the real world” of aggressive competition, unpredictability and biased employees.

These principles MUST be espoused by business schools if graduates are to be relevant to business in today’s markets.

1. Execution is the key to winning - a business plan without flawless execution is worthless. It’s one thing to define WHAT has to be done, but without a detailed implementation plan and accountability, nothing happens and strategic intent remains a dream.

2. Customer learning is a competitive advantage - we need more than periodic market research to keep pace with how customers are changing; we require a continuous process of “going deep” to monitor minute by minute what people desire. Organization’s today succeed by providing what makes people happy; what they want, covet and “lust for” in their lives. Satisfying what they “need” is no longer a recipe for sustainable competitive advantage.

3. Serve people don’t service them - you service computers; you SERVE people. Amazing and remarkable organizations put the customer ahead of themselves; they exist to SERVE others. They build operations system to make engagement easy; they create policies and procedures that enable transactions not control customer behaviour.

4. Perfect solutions don’t exist - the business world is too complex to be formularized. Flawed solutions that excite people beat those that may be theoretically pristine but don’t meet the practical realities of the specific organization and the market it serves. Imperfection rules and “be imperfect fast” is the guiding mantra. The more failures with a heathy dose of learning from them = more successes. Punish failure ONLY if you want compliance, policy-pushers and order takers.

5. The frontline is the boss - people who control the customer experience are the really important people, not the executives. Build your hierarchy to serve them.

6. Screw-ups create customer loyalty - a successful WOW! service recovery from an OOPS! results in a more loyal customer than if the screw-up never happened.
And when someone is screwed over, “I’m sorry” is THE most strategic phrase ever and is the heart of a mind-blowing service recovery.

7. Erect barriers to customer exit - Ignore the competition and creating barriers to competitive entry. You can’t control the competition; if they want to attack you they will. The right strategy is to prevent customers from LEAVING and you won’t have to worry about the hordes entering.

8. Lose a sale (but keep the customer) - the immediate transaction should not be the number one priority; building a long term relationship with a client should be the ultimate mission and focus of all sales activity. So if you find yourself unable to satisfy a short term need your client has, suck it up and help them find a solution elsewhere. Be the problem solver, preserve the relationship and earn the right to sell another day.

9. Storytelling ignites the passion - every organization needs a cadre of amazing storytellers who are able to make a vision or strategy come alive for people. It makes the organization’s purpose real to employees in a way that excites them to play an active role in the chosen future.

Build a business curricula around these subjects; old school teaching gets a failing grade.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 9.5.16 at 05:26 am by Roy Osing
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