Brand Inside:Brand Outside

November 24, 2005

As Tom writes in Re-imagine! “Branding is ultimately … about passion … what you care about. It’s about what’s inside—what’s inside you, what’s inside your company … We persist in seeing a brand as the external image of a company, or of a product or service. Instead we must learn that branding goes straight to the heart of an enterprise. Bottom line: Effective Branding is in fact more INTERNAL than EXTERNAL.?

Brand Inside:Brand Outside is a service the Tom Peters Company provides to organizations to ensure the alignment of the internal and external brand. What is at “the heart of an enterprise? is the mission, vision, and values of the organization. We need to be connected to that heart. Who we are on the inside must be consistent with who we are on the outside and consistent with what we are communicating to our customers. Without that connection our brand lacks integrity and wholeness.

Who we are “on the inside? as individuals and as organizations should be:

* Uniquely valuable
* “Saleably distinct?
* Self-packaged but client-defined
* Design-savvy
* Talent-focused
* Project-driven

Brand Inside:Brand Outside is an intervention that is highly customized for each individual client. We have a variety of tools and services to support organizations in creating brand alignment—including an initial assessment (a “BIBO? scorecard), Brand You training programs, and follow-up consulting services. Our aim is always to unleash the full commitment and capability of the workforce to communicate the brand promise to their customers. The results are increased market share, enhanced customer experience, and improved stakeholder value.

Success means never letting the competition define you. Instead you have to define yourself based on a point of view you care deeply about.
— Tom Chappell

All business processes should be aligned with the Brand/Value Promise. Think…Brand Driven Systems!
— Jesper Kunde

Branding your Self.

November 24, 2005

Why has branding become such a big deal?
We live in a world that is super saturated with products, services, and experiences. A lot of it — perhaps most of it — is of pretty good quality. And it is also quite similar. We are surrounded today with an abundance of high-quality, similar products and services where differentiation is increasingly difficult for consumers to spot and for companies to create. To be known and remembered is critical, of course, but it is getting harder and harder to rise above the crowd of similar brands and be genuinely distinct. Confronted with myriad choices, consumers look for shortcuts and quick reassurances which “guarantee” that the choices they make will be the correct ones for them. And this is where brands come in.

Brands differentiate
Increasingly, consumers make their final purchasing decisions based on belief or emotion rather than completely judging a product on its qualitative features only. Consumers, in other words, choose brands. A strong brand enables a company to communicate their difference, express their value, and essentially tell their unique story in a clear, concise manner. This is not easy to do. In fact it is quite difficult and does not happen by accident. Firms invest heavily in the development and management of their brands (or brand). The well developed and maintained brand serves as the foundation for the firm’s PR and integrated communications. Without a strong, differentiated brand, all the communications, PR, and marketing will be of little use. Brands help companies create a strong visual and memorable presence in the market and can serve as the foundation for long-term consumer loyalty.

Branding is long-term
Branding is not tactical, it is strategic. And good strategy, obviously, must be formed with a long-term view. Attributes of a good brand may sometimes change a bit over time. For example, in the late ’90s, Apple did away with the multicolored, striped Apple logo which had become dated. But the Apple brand itself did not change. A hallmark of a good brand is consistency over time, over a very long time. Therefore, a brand is not something that is developed over night or even within a few weeks or months. It can take quite a long time and careful thought to identify your core strengths and just what you’re are all about and how what you have to offer the world is different and better than anyone else. So, do not confuse branding with marketing campaigns, promotions, or selling. Selling, for example, often has very short-sighted goals (per quarter or per year).

Branding inside
If you’re going to develop a great brand like an Apple, Body Shop, or Harley Davidson, etc., you’ve got to be committed to branding inside your company. The brand is what a company stands for, it is their reason for existence. Every aspect of the firm is “the brand” so it is critical that the people (employees) within the company be the biggest evangelist of the brand. Employees — especially frontline employees — must believe deep down in the brand’s promise. This is not achieved easily. Great companies invest in their people and communicate clearly what the brand is all about and how they fit in. All the advertising in the world will not be effective if customers have to deal with employees who “don’t get” the brand promise or who undermine the brand promise due to unhappiness on the job or a feeling of lack of appreciation on the part of management. A brand is a promise, and that promise starts inside with the employees.

A brand is a promise
In the spring of 2004, I attended a small dinner party and presentation held in the presidential suite of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Before dinner, the General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton gave a wonderful presentation on what makes the Ritz-Carlton brand so special. The GM was asked “what is a brand?” The GM’s response? “A brand is a promise,” he said. I agree. This was not the first time I had heard this, but I think it is the simplest way to define what a brand is at its very core. In the case of the Ritz-Carlton, the brand is to me a promise of professional, friendly (yet dignified) attention by the hotel staff to my needs.

The Ritz-Carlton is famous for its anticipation of customer needs, which is something that makes guests feel special. Recently, I had an appointment to meet a friend in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. After the appointment, I was set to travel to Tokyo for a few days, so I was pulling a small suitcase behind me at the time I approached the hotel. About 50 meters from the entrance of the hotel, one of the Ritz-Carlton staff spotted me approaching (suitcase in tow) and jogged out to greet me with a warm smile and a “welcome to the Ritz-Carlton, sir…may I take your bag?” I told him I was not a guest but was just meeting a friend here. No matter. He took my bag and suggested I leave my bag with them while I have my meeting. He gave me the claim check and said, “have a good meeting, sir, your bag will be here waiting for you anytime.” Wow! I was not even a guest in the hotel and they treated me like a big shot, making me feel special and respected.

Brands are personal
The greatest brands of all — that is, the greatest brands to you — are much like a trusted friend. In a sense, we judge brands by asking ourselves the same kind of questions we would ask about people we know or are thinking of doing business with. For example, we might ask: Is he authentic? Is he reliable? Is he honest? Can I trust him? Does he make me feel better about myself? The bonds we have with our most trusted friends, are bonds based on a promise. Our relationships with brands are not (usually) as strong as those with people, of course, but if a brand breaks a promise, you can bet that customers will feel betrayed, anger, and take their business elsewhere. Great brands have distinct personalities and people choose brands, more or less, that match their own unique personalities.

Brand identity
A fundamental mistake people often make when talking about branding is confusing the brand identity with the brand. What’s the difference? In a nut shell, the brand is intangible, has a more visceral appeal, and targets our emotions. The brand is who you are and what you stand for, remember. A brand is a promise, that is perhaps the clearest definition of brand. But a promise is not something you can touch or see really is it? Brand identity is that external part of the brand that we can see, touch, hear, smell, etc. Examples of items that make up one’s brand identity portfolio are business cards, the website, your slide presentations, brochures, TV commercials, print advertising, your store interior design, and of course, your logo. A brand is not a logo, but a brand’s logo may indeed be the single most important identifying marker there is. A logo is the brand’s mark of distinction which distinguishes them and identifies them instantly.

Managing Growth for Small Business

November 24, 2005

Hire people in batches
It is much more efficient to hire several people at once. Systematically evaluate hiring needs, write up job descriptions, place help-wanted ads, sort through candidates, conduct interviews, execute the hirings, and provide new employee orientation for a group of people at one time. This allows existing managers to expend energy on the hiring process for a limited amount of time. If this rule isnt followed, especially in a fast-growth business, hiring will become an endless procedure that seriously infringes on time better spent on running the business.

* Establish credit lines that grow
Whenever possible, try to establish credit lines that will grow along with the business. For example, in setting up a credit line with your bank, try to get a credit line based on a percentage of your receivables, rather than a constant, static amount. Chances are your credit line will be reviewed by your bank annually and will be subject to ceilings and restrictions, but try to build as much flexibility into your borrowing relationships as you can. This will leave you better equipped to finance fast growth. Also try to establish credit lines with your trade suppliers that grow along with your business as well.

* Add systems and procedures
As your business grows, you wont be able to spend as much time personally checking over details as you did initially. So, set up systems and procedures that will help you be sure that management and staff are continually making checks in the same manner you would have. Maybe, for example, you need to set specific product quality control standards. Or maybe you need to set up purchasing procedures. The more your day-to-day business operations rely on systems and procedures, the more growth you will be able to effectively achieve.

* Watch nonfinancial limits
Because money, or rather the lack of it, is such an overwhelming impediment to growth, it is easy to overlook other issues that may limit your ability to grow. You might feel that some people on your staff, your computer system, your facilities, or some other component of your business is being overtaxed by continuous growth. If so, don�t hesitate to slow down the pace of growth for a while until you feel that that component of your operations is running smoothly again. It takes a wise, disciplined manager to hold back on unbridled growth to ensure that the company can continue to deliver quality products in a professional manner.

* Use ROI criteria to determine which investments to pursue

Because a fast-growing business often has more profitable options to pursue than it has money, a decision must be made as to which options should be pursued. One way to determine which options offer the best opportunities for success is to select those with the highest return on investment (ROI). A simplified example is that of a store trying to decide which of two different product lines with equal profit margins to carry. Using ROI criteria, the store may decide to carry the product line that sells faster because its money or investment will be tied up for a shorter period of time, giving a higher return on the investment.

Big Tricks For Small Budget Marketing!

November 24, 2005

Small start-up businesses don�t usually have the resources to launch huge advertising blitzes in multiple media formats. In fact, even if you are already in business, chances are you don�t have an extensive cash allocation earmarked for promotion, or you�ve tried many different advertising approaches and vehicles and haven�t hit on a really successful campaign yet. You aren�t alone!Advertising is extremely expensive. Despite adequate funding, even large national companies often find it difficult to develop successful advertising campaigns. And, with an increasing number of companies advertising through every imaginable communication avenue, it is becoming increasingly hard to attract the attention of consumers.

However, there are non-advertising approaches to promotion. They generally require less money to implement and are often more effective. The only catch is that they require time and creativity to develop.

You don�t have to distribute coupons in print advertising or in big direct mail campaigns. You can hand them out on the street corner, at trade shows, or just about anyplace else. You can send a few to your best customers, or you can include �next purchase� coupons in customer orders.

Coupons can be �quick and dirty� to design and print because their selling point is price, not image. To assure your chances of getting an additional sale or establishing an ongoing relationship with your customers, make your coupon offer exceedingly generous.

People love contests. They even love to see other people win! Just witness the phenomenal success of game shows on television. If you choose to develop a promotional contest, in-fuse it with fun, make it silly, and don�t forget to really talk it up. If your contest is wacky and crazy enough, you should be able to get good media coverage�and remember, this is essentially free advertising!

People love to receive something for free, even if they have to pay a premium price for a more expensive item to get the freebie. Don�t ask why! It may not make sense, but it doesn�t have to, as long as you make money. While this technique has been used most successfully in the beauty and cosmetics industry, it can be used in almost any business endeavor. It isn�t unheard of to see deals such as a free computer desktop with the purchase of a higher-priced notebook computer or, even a free subcompact car with the purchase of a full-price luxury sedan!

Frequent buyers
Frequent-buyer programs can be very powerful tools for building loyal clientele for both retail and service businesses. The more common approach is to give customers a card that is marked after each purchase and results in a free or reduced-price product or service offering after a specified number of regular-priced purchases. For example, ten haircuts may net one free haircut. Another approach is to give regular customers a discount on purchases upon presentation of their �Frequent Buyer� discount card.

Some businesses charge a small fee for their frequent-buyer cards. Others tie freebies or discount levels to purchase volume. For example, after spending $100 at a computer store you might receive a free subscription to their newsletter or 5 percent off your next purchase of $25 or more. After spending $250 you might receive a free storage disk or 10 percent off your next purchase of $25 or more.

Frequent buyer programs are also often implemented by independent retailers trying to survive the onslaught of superstores that offer their customers super-low prices.

Exclusive offerings
Offering exclusive purchases or previews of new merchandise to existing customers is a great way to inspire a feeling of excitement and loyalty. To enhance participation, you may wish to offer a discount. If the exclusive offering is in itself extremely attractive, the discount can be small.

Hosting a special event in your business establishment, such as a celebrity appearance or a charity fundraiser, is a terrific way to introduce people to your business or maintain contact with existing customers. It also will create an aura of excitement and goodwill. You may even obtain media coverage!

You don�t have to be a movie producer or own an international fast-food chain to cross-promote your product with another business. You might consider offering free tickets to the local theater with each purchase of a particular item or price level. Another great business-to-business cross-promotion might be to offer free tickets to a ball game to any business willing to invest fifteen minutes of time just to listen to your sales pitch.

Ever notice the ads for car washes on taxi roofs? Car washes don�t pay cash for these advertisements! They get the exposure in exchange for cleaning the taxis periodically. If you are absolutely sold on developing an advertising campaign, remember that smaller media outfits will sometimes accept products in lieu of payment.

You�re probably wondering how you can make money if you give away product! Well, it�s a lot easier and less expensive than advertising. In fact, giveaways have their place in just about any type of business.

Selling business-to-business, you can generate goodwill with the people you choose�your best customers or a select roster of potential clientele�by occasionally giving them a small gift when you call on them. The giveaway should not be so expensive that a feeling of bribery is conveyed, but nice enough that it doesn�t end up trashed the minute you leave.

For consumer service businesses, you may want to offer your product for free trial periods, or offer free estimates if you are in a service-oriented business.

Retail businesses may hand out balloons or other novelty items to build traffic or retain customer interest.

New customer offers
Attracting new customers is one of the most difficult marketing challenges to achieve even with powerful advertising or a dedicated sales force. That�s why different businesses�national greeting card manufacturers to local oil delivery services�offer incentive pricing, freebies, or extra advertising allowances for new customers. Even lawyers customarily offer a free first consultation.

November 24, 2005

Hello world!

November 24, 2005

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