Mars Australia is obviously a company which understands the ‘internal brand’. The integrity, culture and value it places on its people. For the 4th year in a row Mars Australia (the Mars Bar) has been recognised as one of Australia’s best workplaces by the BRW Great Place to Work Awards. The ‘perks’ of working at Mars include taking your pets to the office, cooking classes, wellness programs, volunteering programs and an office floor plan that encourages collaboration. Happy people = higher productivity, efficiency, product quality, customer service. An internal marketing campaign is just as important as an outward one.
Source: Manufacturers Monthly
Received a beautifully framed certificate from the organisers of the Western Sydney Awards for Business Excellence for my role as a judge. It was a real privilege to be a part of the biggest business recognition program in the West, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. WSABE is an initiative of the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce which is a very dynamic organisation. Indeed, we at the neighbouring Cumberland Business Chamber appreciate being able to “do life” with them. It was exciting to see the broad variety of entrants this year and I have to say their expertise made the marking a tough task. There wasn’t much in it between first, second, third… But there always needs to be a winner and I’m glad to see that the Childrens’ Medical Research Institute is right on top of their marketing and communication and delivering excellent ROI on their campaigns. I will definitely be putting my hand up to help again as a WSABE judge in 2016 should I receive “that phone call” again. Congratulations, to the WSABE winners and finalists and to the organisers!
Over the years I have had a number of clients who have entrusted me to represent them (at trade shows, conferences, presentations, seminars) because I have a good understanding of their business. Which is why I have a few “other brand” shirts hanging in the wardrobe. This was one such occasion, wearing the royal blue of client the Kreative Kaizen academy. Here I am with founder Andrew Church proudly promoting his two new books How To Solve Your Problems Without Being A Superhero and Architect Of Change and the field manual for HTSYP. The books are about to appear in book stores and retail outlets nationwide. I am promoting Andrew as Australia’s $60M Man because over the years he has helped companies reduce their overheads by that amazing figure.
Inject yourself into your business. Become a personality which defines your business. You don’t want to be a bland, faceless entity. Most businesses are. They are a logo… a website… a building. We are all warm blooded human beings who like to interact, have relationships, communicate. I’m not a fan of doing business with machines. They don’t think I’m special. They don’t listen to me, I have to do what they want. And, if they have a malfunction they aren’t apologetic or willing to offer me a freebie or offer to keep my loyalty. They don’t care. You don’t have to be flamboyant to be the personality of your business. A reserved, respectable, highly professional business person full of experience is a good personality. I like it when business owners put their photo on their marketing. They are exposing themselves rather than hiding in the board room. Their reputation is at stake. I like Bob Jane TMarts, Masterton Homes, Peter Warren Ford, Sir Richard Branson (Virgin). I know I’m not going to meet these people in person but they exude values and a customer-centric culture which I’m led to believe is part of their everyday culture (yes, I know, it doesn’t always work that way). They represent vision, passion, action. If the owner is too reticent to do this they can nominate a personality to take their place. I once worked with a home building company where we used a highly recognisable sports-media personality to represent them. He had reputable, professional qualities which matched those of the company. With this ‘borrowed’ personality the company raced from obscurity to market leader in just three years.
I believe that if you don’t take the initiative to tell the market place who you are they will come up with their own perception of you. And it might not be accurate. Quick example: you purchase a product and it breaks. You’re disappointed, it was a waste of money, and you need it to provide an outcome in your life. You’re going to have to look all over again. Perception: lousy product, lousy business. Don’t go there again. What if that company actively presented a persona of being supportive and caring about their customers? Here’s a real-life example from my life. I love Apple products. I like Apple stores. I’ve used the Genius Bar. All good. But no product is perfect and when my Macbook Pro crashed and then during a software upgrade iCloud lost some really important files I was obviously annoyed. But I gave them a 2nd chance because of my perception of them… which came from the perception they presented to me in the first place. They do it through careful messaging, careful choice of words, interacting, being innovative, being relevant. Make a list. What are all of the good things about your business? Now, put them into your marketing language. Into your everyday-speak when talking to staff, customers, suppliers, and so on. Into your advertising. Tell the market why you are special. Share your vision… your passion… your concern for them. Do you believe you are professional, trust worthy, stable and secure, reputable, innovative??? Well, tell the market.
How is your business different from your competition? OK, you’re there and you are knowledgeable and full of passion. But, I can’t see that when I land on your website or drive past your place. And, if your name is – for example – John Smith Engineering and three doors down is Mark Jones Engineering Services with ABC Engineers across the road and Taylor & Sons Engineering one block away how am I going to choose you? Identify your uniqueness. It might not be what you do. I mean, if every engineering workshop has CNC machine centres that cut aluminium and steel into shapes… where’s the difference? It could be that you are focused on a niche. You only make titanium 3-part widgets for the XXX market. That’s a point of difference. If you aren’t specialised you need to compare your operation to those of your competitors and find where you stand out… or create a new process-feature-benefit to make yourself stand out. Can you do everything in 24 hours? Can you handle export markets with short lead times? Can you assemble and test products as well as make them? Can you install what you make to provide a ‘complete service’? Consider value adding. Your client wants ‘A’ but you know that your ‘A’ and ‘B’ is a much better solution for them. So, while everyone else keeps pumping out ‘A’ without thinking outside the box you can differentiate yourself as the only ‘AB’ supplier.
Promise. What are you promising your customers? Not just a product or service. That other place down the road can do that. Something more. A memorable customer experience. Something that will make their life even easier. An unexpected value add. Courtesy, honesty, good advice. I’ll give you an example. I have an amazing mobile mechanic – Ricardo Raad. The first time he worked on a family car he lifted the bonnet and it was spotless inside. As clean as the day it was made. I was stunned. And, it was at no charge. I asked why and he said he was trained at Mercedes… they don’t get dirty. Look at his hands and fingernails. Not a mark of grease or grime. I don’t even ask about the price. I just know I am getting above-average care. He is someone who has worked out a promise. What other types of promises are there? Same day service. Home delivery. A courtesy car. What is it that you can promise people?
Having worked with hundreds of brands over the past 30 years I have discovered that a brand is made up of 9 parts. If you become pro-active in all 9 areas you will produce a strong hard-working brand… as opposed to the many passive, lazy brands I see every day producing very little ROI for their owners. What is a brand? Well it is definitely not the logo or name of your business. They form a part of the brand… but the true brand is EVERYTHING you do. How you answer the phone… your attitude to your customers… whether your product or service meets the customers’ needs… after sales assistance… your culture… your passion to excel… the consistent look and feel of your logo. Having said that let’s look at P #1. Personality. Create a personality which attracts people. Which makes them feel good about you and your products. Luxury car owners, luxury watch makers, Apple computers, Virgin Airlines have all mastered this. When people see your logo or hear your business name you want them to feel a certain way about you and this is influenced by personality. Selling is about emotion and logic. Appeal to peoples’ feelings. I’ll give you a quick scenario. When I say Volvo you think… safe. They’ve been building ultra-safe cars for 50 years. When I say Toyota you think… reliable. They go forever. When I say Mazda you think… quite sporty looking. When I say Kia you think… Nothing. There is a brand without a personality.
I had the honour of being a part of Andrew Church’s book launch for his first literary masterpiece, How To Solve Your Problems Without A Superhero. I sat between the Lord Mayor of Gosford and Federal MP Lucy Wicks who spoke about problem solving in sport and parliament. My spiel was about a common problem in business – not being known by enough people. I presented a simple overview from my coming “mini book”, The 9 P’s of Branding. Andrew is founder of Kreative Kaizen a private training academy which has helped companies reduce their operating costs by a total of $60,000,000. His client list reads like a Who’s Who of Australian business: Coca Cola, Arnotts Biscuits, Steggles Chicken, Nudie Juice, Hamilton Island…
The results of a study by Penn State University in the US show that online shoppers are very likely to purchase a second item even though it was not the initial reason why they went to their computer, tablet or Smartphone to make the first purchase.
To prove how people act the research team created a fictitious online music store and gave their sample group of 550 people $1.50 to go and purchase a song they liked. The music was priced at 99 cents meaning they were left with 51c change.
Once they had selected their song – and it was in the process of being downloaded – a pop up appeared with a special offer. It said that for just 50c they could make sure that the song would be safely delivered to their computer. Thing is… it had already been sent and downloaded. So, the offer was useless, it had no value.
But, guess how many of the 550 people accepted the offer and ended up making 2 purchases rather than 1?
The research team presented their audience with several versions of the pop-up and when they included the consumer’s email address in it 45.3% went ahead and made the worthless purchase. In their words,
“When a customer’s information appears it further emphasizes that they are still taking part in the primary purchase.”
If you are an online retailer you should consider presenting a 2nd offer to your customers.