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Category Archives: branding

Meeting unmet customer needs, creates market leadership

By | branding, small business marketing | One Comment

Chip Conley in his book Peak uses Maslow to define how companies should be reviewing their marketing strategy.



Basically he asks a couple of key questions. One taken from Peter Drucker is for companies to ask:

What business are we in? And what are the unrecognised needs of our customers? Conley then gives some great examples how companies have moved up the pyramid to delight and surprise customers by doing some creative thinking and mind reading to exceed their expectations and gain a brand passion.

He talks about Apple and Target as examples of how to use the Maslow framework to understand customers and their desires.

It might be an idea to put your company into the framework and see if you are more enlightened by this exercise.

How to write great customer success stories

By | branding, small business marketing | 2 Comments
customer service

image source: www.getentrepreneurial.com

A customer success story can be a great marketing tool. It immediately creates credibility with your target market. It gives the prospect a taste of what you are about and what to expect, and it can be the tipping point turning a prospect into a customer in their decision-making process.

Firstly some best practices for customer success stories:The purpose of a customer success story is to impact the buying decision. To create a compelling testimonial that prospects will identify with and decide to contact you or if provided as part of a proposal convince them that they are making the right decision.
  1. Are you focusing on the right customers?
  2. Are you writing the best stories?
  3. Can your sales team and its prospects find the most relevant stories on your website? Can they search by industry, business need, segment etc

Marketing role
  1. You must match your customer success stories to your target markets.
  2. Does your sales team have the references needed to support your key services and products?
  3. Industry – do you have the reference sites in the industries you are focused on?
  4. Are the success stories targeting the same size business?
  5. Do they reference the geography you are targeting?
  6. What audience are you targeting, business or technical – who is the ideal customer reading these stories?
  7. Use compelling headlines that resonate with your target market.
  8. Use your staff quotes on the experience as well as the customers.

Profiling your ideal customer

By | branding, Marketing training, Sales skills, small business marketing | 2 Comments

Surely a starting point for any small business is to profile their ideal customer. I mean have a clear vision of who they are. More than just a vague idea. The clearer you are able to describe your ideal customer, the greatest chance of you being able to attract them, maintain them and have them as devoted customers for the long term.

Here are some questions that will help you with this process.
The ideal customer exercise
Work through this simple exercise to get to know the needs of your ideal customer. I know what you’re thinking: “I’m not going to do this exercise! I’ll just skim past it. I already know this stuff.” I’ll bet you haven’t really thought through all the details of what your ideal customer’s life is like, and what he really needs, but if you do, you’ll be much more able to assist him, to answer his needs, to attract his attention with your marketing messages.

Your ideal customer is the one who not only buys your product or service, but who buys it and uses it with passion. Your ideal customer is the one who really wants what you have to offer. The ideal customer doesn’t just use your product, she/he loves your product. She doesn’t just purchase your service; she feels that she couldn’t live without it.

Our Ideal Customer Fill in the blanks below for your one individual ideal customer.
Age                                       Gender

Married                                  Single                                Kids

Job description

Income level:

Car he/she drives
Where he/she shops
Favorite song:
Likes/ dislikes:
Books/magazines he/she reads:
Pressures/stresses he/she has:
Business/career goals he/she has:
Personal goals he/she has:
Needs he/she has that relate to your organization’s product or service:
What is he/ she worried about? What are their greatest challenges or points of pain?
Who do they trust?
Exactly what do they want from us?
Preferred method of communication?



http://www.thomasnet.com

http://www.thomasnet.com

Understanding your ideal customer even if this means paying a consultant to run a workshop can be the best marketing expenditure you ever do. Make your marketing effort work by focusing on more of the right customers and less on the wrong ones.

Know where they shop, what they read, how they like to communicate and then tailor your marketing mix accordingly. Yes, it is that easy!

Rain Today have a great podcast on identifying a universal lead to find ideal clients. Have a listen.

Your personal Brand – do you know your core value proposition?

By | branding, small business marketing | 6 Comments

fish

The other day a work colleague asked me for some feedback on their personal value proposition or personal brand. It struck me as a really good idea. Just like a corporate brand it is what others say and how they perceive you that amounts to your personal brand, not what you think necessarily. However, knowing yourself is very important when establishing your personal brand. Your authentic self should shine through and this allows you to be the best you can be.

What is a brand from Wikipedia: Some people distinguish the psychological aspect of a brand from the experiential aspect. The experiential aspect consists of the sum of all points of contact with the brand and is known as the brand experience. The psychological aspect, sometimes referred to as the brand image, is a symbolic construct created within the minds of people and consists of all the information and expectations associated with a product or service or personality.

Why do we need to do this?

•Establish yourself as an expert in your chosen field. It establishes your expertise, authority and value.

•Build a solid reputation within your industry.

•Increase your notoriety and improve your perceived value in the marketplace.

•It sets you apart from your competitors.

•It reflects your core values, personality, talent and skill set.

•It increases your credibility, especially if you can harness the power of the media.

• It creates a success spiral that can boost your health, wealth and career.

How do we do this?

We need to know who we are and what our strengths and weaknesses are.

•Your values

•Skills

•Talents

•Leadership style

There are lots of tools and resources out there to help you accomplish this. Myer Briggs tool : •http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

www.aboutpeople.com

www.aboutpeople.com

Feedback – candid feedback from your friends, staff and peers You can do a 360 profile that provides feedback depending on your role or just ask for it continually.

The http://www.greenlightcommunity.com/ is a group that can help develop your sense of self. Having a mentor or as Keith Ferrazzi states: ” isn’t about changing who you are. It’s about enlisting others to help you become the best you can be”.Keith’s philosophy is all about creating an inner circle of “lifeline relationships” – deep, close relationships with a few key trusted individuals who will offer the encouragement, feedback, and generous mutual support that every one of us needs to reach our full potential.

To build a personal brand based on credibility the formula is: Competence + Character + Consistency = Credibility What is your area of competence? What is your character? How are you consistently true to these things? Once you understand what you stand for and what you personal value proposition is the you need to market it.

Marketing your personal brand can be as simple as knowing you are and being transparent about it or can involve a marketing plan for yourself to establish your credibility with the audience you are targetting.

Resources:

Personal branding blog

Marcus Buckingham

Mashable: Personal Branding 101.

Personal Brand vid

Luke Harvey Palmer – personal branding blog

Small Business Big Marketing podcast

Increase profitability with employee engagement

By | branding, small business marketing | No Comments
http://www.ddiworld.com

http://www.ddiworld.com

12: The  elements of great managers by Rodd Wagner and JK Harter talks about how to harness employee engagement and how this engagement can increase profitability. They quote the Gallup research on employee opinion. After years of study the following areas became evident. Employees said if you do these things for us, we will do what the company needs.

The 12 elements of great managing include:

1. I know what is expected of me at work

2. I have the right materials and equipment to do my work right.

3. I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

4.  In the last seven days I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

5. My superior or someone at work cares about me.

6. There is someone at work that encourages my development.

7. At work opinions seem to count.

8. The mission or purpose of the company makes me feel that my work is important.

9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

10. I have a best friend at work.

11. I the last 6 months someone has talked to me about my progress at work.

12. This last year I have had opportunities to grow and learn.

It might be a great idea to see if you are providing the above for your employees and then maybe send out a survey of yes/no on these elements to see where you actually are.

The results of this survey draw a road map to better managing but also reveal insights into your companies culture. This culture is part of your brand and by understand this you can enhance and realign where you need to go. High performing companies consider the productivity on eachf  person’s engagement by optimising each person’s contribution.

Employee Engagement survey based on the 12 elements. Only do this survey if you intend to act on the results.

A whitepaper byDDI. Employee Engagement: The Key to revealing the competitive advantage.

pdf on 12: The elements of great managers.

Designing your brand – 4 Steps for a small business to follow.

By | branding, small business marketing | One Comment

Listen to this blog as a podcast.

Alina Wheeler is an expert in branding. Her book Designing your brand identity. Key messages from this book gives small business a great starting point when approaching marketing.

authenticity

Four questions we should ask.

1.Who are you?

2.Who needs to know?

3.How will they find out?

4. Why should they care?

1. Who are you? What is import to you, why are you unique? Why should customers should customers choose you over others? What are your values, mission and vision.  why do you do what you do? What is your story, your passion, why do you love it? What problems to you solve? How are you different. This uniqueness and passion is part of your value system and this the core of your brand identity. This is a great starting point. Often my clients want to start with the tangible part of the brand, the logo and really until we have covered who they are and what customer problems they solve then their is no point. What will people say when they talk about you? Jay Ehert from the marketing spot says it well “Branding is really about discovery. It’s about uncovering that thing deep inside you that creates unique value for your customers. Your brand is your soul. Every business owner has a unique brand hidden beneath a layer of marketing fluff. And that’s the tough part.” Your brand personality and what you stand for is what you are aiming at here.

stakeholders

2. Who needs to know? Who are the people that effect your success. Who are your stake-holders? Your customers first, community, your vendors, the media. Now everyone can be your brand champion. All the people in your universe that effects your success.  Make a list and then identify the top 3 audiences that need to know first. Ceasing every opportunity to tell your story. It is the opportunity to retain and attract customers.

brandtouchpoints

3. How will they find out? How do we tell our story? What are the different touchpoints to communicate to our stakeholders? There are hundreds of ways to do this from your website to your email tag to your receptionist and voicemail. Each business has different touchpoints, which ones are the most important for you. Is it your website or blog? Is it face to face? Take an inventory and then analyse where your best business comes from our your best customers comes from.

4. Why should they care? Is your business fufilling a real customer need? Do you know who your customer is? Do you know their aspirations? Do you give them a great customer experience? Have you lived inside of their shoes? What is the unmet meet that you serve. If  you have customers that care about the service or product then you will be a provider of choice. This goes to your values. How you treat your customers, and the experience you provide. If your customers care they will come back and refer you.

The brand identity process can be summarized in this pdf. How are you distiguishing your brand personality?

My personality is all about delighting my customers with the marketing information and expertise I provide. I hope this resource is useful.


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