Sunday, November 27, 2011

Time Marches On

I imagine you're like me and are amazed that Christmas is right around the corner. In the past year have you been able to raise your brand awareness? Has you brand gotten stronger? I look back and can see clearly how my brand has grown. The new year brings promise and further opportunities. I'm not much for resolutions - I don't see the point as I have ongoing goals.

I enjoy what I do for small to medium size businesses very much. It is so much fun meeting new people and seeing how together we can make their brand stronger. Throughout the year I do numerous speaking engagements where the goal is to enlighten and share valuable information that a company can use right now. Are you looking forward to the coming year?

I'm going into my 7th year blogging - a terrific way to build leads. It is also they year that will se my 100th newsletter edition. Pretty cool I think.

What are you up to?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Are Values The Foundation Or The Roof?

I am in the middle of a discussion among branding professionals on the subject of brand values and when they should be established. My belief is that they must begin any branding initiative. The opposing view was that they follow the development of the differentiator.

I believe that the differentiator must be based on your existing brand values. Not contrived to match the differentiator. For instance when I facilitate a session, we use the values and personality of the brand to validate the differentiator. If it doesn't stand up then it (the differentiator) won't last because the company has to walk the walk. the brand has to be genuine. To do the differentiator first then come up with values to match it, tears down exactly what the values are supposed to represent. When based on what makes them different, can it really survive during tough times when the temptation to compromise values is at its peak.

When the values are based on stakeholder's beliefs at the very start of the process - then this I believe is the true character of the business and what they stand for. They are the foundation of the brand. Values should span the test of time, not change when ever the differentiator is up-dated to match it. 

So for my process, values are bottom up - not top down.

As for corporate brand and product brands being the same, I must also respectfully disagree. A brand is the perception on the street, and that perception of the individual is your brand in their eyes. Take Apple for instance. From a corporate perspective their brand is huge. But when the Newton came out its brand was less than stellar. It never lived up to its expectation. That product's brand was poor compared to Apple's corporate brand. Every company has hits and misses - how could both brands be the same in light of this?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Slim Down For Success!

When your company goes to market are you doing it with messaging that spells out all the many services you perform? Is your marketing the king of the bullet point? I admit it certainly is tempting to add as much as possible. You feel as though this strategy tells of the vast scope of the brand. You may possibly be right in that assumption but to your consumer it can be so much static. Their eyes blur over and worse they assume things. Things like, "if it isn't listed here, they must not do it." Ouch, imagine if you left something out in error. There's a better way.

Focus your offering to the most profitable service that will resonate with your customer. Use this service as your door opener. Do this one thing very well - much better than your competitors. Be the leader in this service and your brand takes the high ground. It becomes your differentiator. Once through the door, sales can update your customer on other services they can take advantage of. Focusing on one thing is much more cost effective and powerful. Consolidate your passion and rule your category. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is Your Business Leary Of Facebook?

I'll admit it - I'm not  a fan of Facebook for business. I'd much rather Linkedin. At Linkedin, it "thinks" like a business environment. Everything is geared to making that connection and sale. Facebook, is way too personal for me. I really don't need to know that my potential customer is boating tonight, or is joining his son's family for a barbecue. It's frankly - none of my business.

I can't tell you the number of times I've tried to start a "focused" conversation only to have it high-jacked by a well meaning friend or brother or sister, turning it into an entirely conversation than what was intended. For some businesses it works great for awareness and drawing people to an issue. I guess I'm just saying it's not a fit YET for me. Some of my peers have great success with it. 

I enjoy Oreo cookies business page on Facebook. When I do figure out my fir there, I think it will follow their model.

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