Effetti Growth





Monday, May 26, 2008

What is a Brand: part 4 of 6

Start With The Customer

"What is a Brand?" by Steven Brown

A brand is formed by having a crystal clear idea of your customer, their needs, the benefits and value you provide, how your offering is unique versus their alternatives, and the capabilities or services that deliver those benefits and value. This seems so obvious, so why is it so hard?

Because it requires you to slow down and think critically. But more so, it requires you to be disciplined to define customers that you won’t serve. This is very difficult, and probably the most challenging part of building a brand. Often times early customer and sales successes aren’t necessarily situations you can profitably serve repeatedly. You made money from hustle and value. Likely not by identifying the characteristics of customers you want to repeatedly serve, and those you need to avoid.

Next entry: From Customer to Brand

Brand Review - Johnson Controls...

by David Bookout

The tag line next to the logo on the van said "Innovation Welcome".

A "tag line" is a "phrase or catchword that becomes identified or associated with a person, group, product, etc., through repetition" according to Dictionary.com.

But why? Was I reading this right? What was someone at Johnson Controls thinking when they declared a corporate void in innovation, and essentially launched a perpetual request for help?

Here are a few simple rules for tag line development in your company:

First, a tag line should represent a company's essence, it's core promise.

Next, stay away from sentences, these are jingles. The tag should be short, perhaps one, two, three, or four words.

Finally, and particularly if your company, or product name isn't literal it should bring clarity to the offer.

Monday, May 19, 2008

What is a Brand: part 3 of 6

Your Brand Sales Person

"What is a Brand?", by Steven Brown

At its core a brand is like a sales person who constantly whispers in the ear of your customer and your entire company – the ideal sales person that says exactly the right thing at the right time. You want your Brand Sales Person (BSP) to tell the customer their needs will be met by the product or service. The BSP assures them they will receive fair value for what they pay. Whether they should expect a transactional sales experience or a long term customer relationship. And you want your entire team to act in concert with that BSP – to leverage the expectations set in the mind of the customer.

Effort is required to train the BSP to say the right things to the customer at the right time. And your sales team needs to know what the brand is saying to the customer so they can close. How do you equip the BSP properly? How do you control them and stay connected to their customer interactions? How do you build your brand and work with the brand? Most importantly, how do you listen to your customer’s feedback about you and your brand when your BSP is doing all the talking?

Next entry: Start With The Customer

Because you can...

... doesn't always mean that you should !...
by David Bookout

Humans seem to naturally want to put their "fingerprints" on things, personalize them, let others know that they have made a "difference".

From a brand perspective, this is exactly what you DO NOT want to do. Brands are built on boring consistency, a promise fulfilled over, and over, and over again.

From this perspective, desktop publishing and now the internet are providing an incredible opportunity for companies of all sizes to stand out amongst the crowd, effectively "branding" themselves with a; clear, concise, compelling and memorable identity, message and positioning.

But are these incredible opportunities being taken advantage of?

In our assessment, not only is the advantage NOT being capitalized on, but companies are often doing damage to their “identity”, as well as considerably lengthening and even short circuiting their sales process.

We frequently see three big mistakes: First, is the use of a myriad of; font styles, colors and formatting options along with every conceivable feature / benefit jammed into a single message platform. People seem to do this because they can. The computer and internet tools, now available on a mass scale, have reduced one barrier while at the same time created a much bigger communication obstacle by adding a significant amount of "noise" and "clutter". Second, is the absence of "customer". People seem to design, both graphically and linguistically for themselves, which isn't a bad thing, but how many companies could survive by simply buying their own products and services in a net zero gain? Third, are critical assessments relative to creative design fulfillment that are often dis-connected, or mis-connected from the essential strategic narratives that a company needs to successfully “communicate” and “connect” with the desired audience. For example, is a beautiful image of desert pyramids consistent with eye care and eye comfort?

To correct this, here are four essential guides:

1) Design Matters - this has been proven for over 1,000,000 years. Humans are biologically "wired" to respond to beauty. We are also wired to repel from things that are not so beautiful. The busier we get, the faster we choose what we resonate with.

2) Customer Perception Matters - this seems simple. But, you would be surprised by how many client conversations miss this key point. If your not rigorously asking; "what" would the customer think "really", and "why" does this product / service offer matter "really", your not focused here.

3) Less Is More - again, this seems simple. But, again, you would be surprised. Effective narratives are NOT delivered via "shotgun". Instead, they are delivered via a sharpshooter's rifle, with the choice for each shot being specifically designed and implemented.

4) Strategy Matters - we all have assessments about things and our assessments are all valid. However, our assessments may, or may NOT be powerful relative to a specific "strategy", narrative, or sequence of events we might choose to have un-fold in the future.

These guides, when used rigorously in the design and implementation of a company’s strategy. Particularly; Marketing, Brand and Communication strategies can go along way in helping a company instill it’s core promise in the heart(s) and mind(s) of customers.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

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The article "Because you can !...", the subtitle "... doesn't always mean that you should !..." and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.

Management Intellectual Property: an Oxymoron?

In this article I broached the topic of applying the concepts of reuse of intellectual property to the domain of management knowledge. As a Director of Marketing my work surrounds a product category that integrates the artistry of electronics design and verification with the notions of process management and team leadership. I've long been interested in leadership, and the differences from management approaches.

I find it fascinating that executives pour large investments into teams, and don't demand more accountability for the sizeable risk they are taking. There are rapid changes evolving in the industry and too often the focus on keeping costs under control undermine their ability to control costs. There are solutions to applying management techniques, most notably in simply capturing and measuring metrics.

The article talks about capturing management metrics that can be reused to predict projects next time around. There are some interesting companies who are offering metrics capture processes, and even databases from elsewhere in the industry. One such company is Chip Estimate, focused on the physical and manufacturing aspects of electronics.

The main benefit sought by the industry is to automate the interaction of the management and technology domains. The worlds of leadership and management, and engineering.

Next section: Management IP and Sales

Monday, May 12, 2008

Strategy, tactics & why they matter...

by David Bookout

Imagine that you need to get to New York, but you live in San Francisco.

Does it matter how you get there? It does if your strategy is to get there fast.

Google Maps indicates that a trip from the Transamerica Building in San Francisco to the Empire State Building in New York takes in 2,907 miles and would encompass 43 hours, presumably at regulated highway speeds.

But what if you only had a pair of roller blades, wouldn't that be a tactic that would effect your strategy? Perhaps not if you wore them on a supersonic jet.

Strategy is a narrative about the future that incorporates specific goals. Tactics are the interim steps used to reach those goals.

So, if our strategy is to get to New York, and the Empire State Building fast, faster than 43 hours, then our tactics might be to rollerblade through the heavy traffic we might encounter to and from the airport, and our ride on the supersonic jet.

In our simple example it is not hard to see that strategy and tactics must be connected in a way that supports the specific strategic goals, in this case speed. But in business tactics are often confused for strategy, and it can be difficult to see the long range effect our tactics have relative to leadership's strategic narratives and goals.

We put this strategic matrix together to illustrate how strategy and tactics connect with essential business concerns like product development and operations, each with their own strategies and supporting tactics, yet connected, and always supporting of the business strategy.

What is a Brand: part 2 of 6

Definition of a Brand

"What is a Brand?", by Steven Brown

Not everyone decides that a brand investment is the answer to their goals. But most entrepreneurs do know that they need to brand themselves to be successful. What most do not realize is the importance of reinforcing the brand in every contract, with every customer, every fulfilled order, and every customer-facing situation. Their success to date has included a certain brilliance in seeing business opportunity and marketing themselves, but their very adaptability often times undermines their efforts to build a brand through consistency. To scale their business beyond the limits of their own time and energy they need to build a brand and an operation that delivers to that brand consistently. But how do they do this? And what is a brand anyways?

A brand is an assumption, an impression, a reputation, a clarity of the ideal customer and their needs, and the product or service provided to that customer. The goal of a brand is to help the ideal customer come very close to making the sale on their own. To precondition them to the criteria that describes their needs and is uniquely served by your product or service. It helps a potential as well as repeat customers anticipate the kind of pre and post sales service they should expect.

Next Entry: Your Brand Sales Person

Monday, May 5, 2008

Chaotic Structures and Success ( II )...

by David Bookout

To follow up on our last installment of Chaotic Structures and Success we promised to focus on the effects of the behaviors represented in Scenario C.

The functional leaders whom have been focusing on other areas of the business, unless their areas are running at peak efficiency, are in effect neglecting fundamental promises of accountability for productivity and effectiveness within their own operational domains.

The C.E.O., by allowing the functional leaders to present plans for the development of other functional areas, and not holding these leaders to the basic promises and accountabilities for improvement of their own areas first, is destroying trust, and the new teams ability to effectively collaborate and coordinate to grow the business. In addition, his forgetfulness relative to his own failed promises for revenue generation and overall commitment to an agreed upon strategy put him at risk with his board.

The Marketing V.P. has failed to establish leadership in his own functional area by not moving soon enough to understand the interpretations and needs of the new managers, as well as failing to move effectively with the C.E.O.

In our next installment I'll contrast this with Scenario E.

What is a Brand: part 1 of 6

What is a Brand?
by Steven Brown

You’ve caught the fever, the brand fever. You’re printing business cards, networking for business, or working with customers. You need to get more leads for your sales team. Your revenue or profits aren’t growing as you need. You just completed a business seminar and you are filled with new ideas for your business. What you want is more excitement about your product or service, a more enthusiastic response from your sales team when you demand growth, and definitely more customers. But what do you do?

What leadership do you exhibit to your team? What kind of marketing campaign do you design? What is the message you want to convey to your customer about why they should buy from you? Should you use the internet or print? Will you design it yourself, or hire a marketing firm to analyze your business and come up with a new brand, maybe something you believe you could have done yourself? Should you rebuild your sales process or incentives? Yikes – these options all seem quite risky or expensive!

Next entry: Definition of a Brand

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