Sunday, January 31, 2010

How To Keep A Secret & Increase Sales!

A key strategy in branding is differentiation.

All businesses think they are different from the other fellow, but the fact is; most businesses follow - they do not lead. If you're comfortable in this slot, then chances are your business is lost in a sea of sameness. You are only one of many and chances are good that you are competing solely on price. It takes a confident leader to step out from the crowd and boldly proclaim their difference which in some creative cases is in a fact a company secret.

In most cases companies try to keep attention away from these secrets not realizing the missed opportunity of intrigue. I'm telling you to use your secrets as you main selling point. Your brand can be wrapped in secrecy that becomes top of mind in
your consumer base.

If you're wondering how something "we can't talk about" can effectively be used as a differentiator try guessing the brands behind these statements?

A: "Secret blend of 11 herbs and spices"

B: "Soft drink secret recipe"

C: "Two all beef patties - special sauce..."

D: "Which computer maker is obsessed with secrecy in launching products?"

Answers: A: KFC, B: Coca Cola, C: McDonalds and D: Apple.

My guess is that you probably had no problems naming all four brands. Identifying them reinforces their brand power with you. If what you sell involves a recipe of some sort then you have the beginnings of a juicy little secret that you can leverage as a point of differentiation. If your product is a cosmetic, then an active ingredient can be spun into a great adventure, involving all sorts of mystic tales. People are by nature curious. The fact that you won't tell them something can be very compelling.

Secrets also make great PR. There are websites dedicated to discovering product secrets. New car models, the newest Apple product and recipe sites where things like McDonalds' special sauce are attempted. Long story short- make your secret your differentiator. Don't be shy about it either, take every opportunity to intrigue your audience. Get them asking questions, make it the greatest thing since sliced bread.

You can wrap promotions around a secret. Use the 2 and 3D bar codes I mention in my Dec. 29/09 blog arcticle to draw customers to your website to figure out your secret, (of course they never do)! Taking your brand seriously can be very invigorating. Don't just take a traditional advertising approach and bring your brand to life. Leveraging a secret can enhance relationships and that is what makes you stand out! It's not spin it's reality.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Guest Posting Reel's 'em In.

I've probably said it a thousand times that blogging is a great way to build your "Personal Brand". Expressing your opinion to a vast audience and providing information that they can use right now is priceless. For me, it's a great way to market my expertise.

One key aspect of blogging is to build your audience. It is not enough to just build it, you have to work at getting them to come. One very effective way to accomplish this is to go out into the blogosphere and find blogs within your industry that have built a considerable audience and offer to write content for them.

Once your posts are read, the reader has the opportunity to follow your author links back to your website and/or blog. This is how you reel in traffic and potentially land some new business.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How Rude! (GUEST POST)

For most of us obligated to attend business meetings and/or workshops, these events can be looked on as somewhat unproductive, lengthy, wordy and generally boring, but in this age of technology we are now able to add another negative aspect to these meetings/workshops… the rudeness of ‘Texting.’

How many times have you sat with people whose heads are down, thumbs going a mile a minute, mobile devices beeping and giving off light or vibrations and not knowing what is happening around them. Not only do these people have no idea what is being discussed, they provide a distraction for those who are trying to concentrate on the matters at hand. It is blatantly bad business etiquette and ‘How Rude!’

So turn off the phones, blackberries and notebooks! Listen, communicate with others, be creative and have a positive and fruitful interaction with everyone around you. Who knows you might just be productive and get back to work without sore thumbs.

Maureen Sutherland
Image and Business Etiquette Coach
Class Act Concepts.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Survey Your Team

Now is a great time to take a closer look at your team to see where your brand lies in their eyes.

By team I mean stakeholders such as employees, suppliers and customers. Survey each of these three groups and see if they understand exactly what it is that your company does and if they concur with your brand values.

Getting a good read on your team allows you the opportunity to correct any deficiencies. The most important thing is not to be afraid of negative responses but to see these responses as opportunities to improve. The results can be a terrific spring-board to a positioning strategy that differentiates you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Going Mobile in 2010

If you've been watching the business news lately you will notice that a lot of companies are shifting to the mobile platform. Apple recently purchased a mobile ad network, Google is launching their own smart phone, and the app world is growing enormously. You would be smart to latch on to your .mobi domain and formulate a mobile strategy. A few tips ago I mentioned the 2D barcode and smartphones - this is all part of the same direction.

Some items to consider as part of your mobile strategy would be:
• Newsletter
• Blog
• Mobile site
• 2 and 3D barcoding
• Twitter
• Facebook
• Linkedin
• Payment tool

Don't wait until your competition harnesses this high ground - lead don't follow!
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