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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brand Review - Target...

What we can learn from a strong customer centric focus.
by David Bookout

Bravo! - Target's new TV ad campaign is VERY FOCUSED ON CONSUMER CONCERNS, while also staying focused on what the company needs to do - sell product. I'm talking about the ads that creatively feature products, such as a camping tent, while positioning them as fun things that might be on one's wish-list, such as a new family room.

I was so impressed that I thought I would highlight what I see as the opportunities such a great example offers small to medium enterprise ( SME ) owners, executives and managers, particularly in these difficult and confusing times.

These four guidelines and concluding suggestion will go along way to provide new opportunities for revenue generation:

1) Stay focused ( clear, concise and to the point ) on what the desired audience cares about.

2) Stay focused on the language ( written + verbal + imagery ) used to communicate your offer.

3) Stay focused on and speak to your desired audience's emotional concerns.

4) Stay focused on a "cost efficient", "effective" way of communicating with your audience. Not everybody needs; from a business offer promotion perspective, or from a desired audience viewing perspective, a TV Ad.

Suggestion - Watch the ad, record it if possible and see what you can design relative to your desired audience and the offer(s) your making, AND where and how your making those offers. Redesign and implement as needed.

Too often our strategic and tactical focus is based purely on what WE want. This rarely works in the free world !

Today, and particularly in these turbulent times, what we want as a provider of goods and services doesn't matter. When times are good ( money is readily available via inexpensive credit ) there are enough people that "want" things that a lack of focus on these four simple rules allows the providers to get by. When times are not so good, as they have been this past year, and particularly these past two months, this isn't the case.

Today people ( consumers & business decision makers ) aren't doing anything with, or purchasing things that don't: (a) Address fundamental needs, (b) Are clearly articulated, and (c) Connect to their emotional vision of the future they want for themselves and their business.

*The Bullseye Design is a trademark of Target Brands, Inc.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Strategy, Brand, and Go-to-Market

Why treating a job search like a product launch makes sense.
by Steven Brown

You probably opened this blog entry thinking you'd find some discussion about business planning processes for launching a product. Well, I'm not here to trick you, but there is a growing need to approach job search like a product launch. In this tough economy more and more people in my professional and social network are searching. As a product launch person I see lessons in strategy, brand, and go-to-market planning that could help them be more efficient and successful.

There are lots of job search sites on the web with materials, guides, etc. Just a few are
Monster, About, and Jobstar. There are so many websites, so many books, so much data, so much advice. It's overload, and I can easily see how people spend time on less-productive activities.

I've invested time helping many people look for work. Here is an overview of the approach I use, which you can see comes from my approach to launching products.

Strategy

The most important thing to do when formulating a job search plan is to identify your goals, the strategy you're using, and the measures of success. I always begin every project with a single slide (I use PowerPoint for everything!) containing these dimensions of a plan. Without alignment on the goals, strategy, and measures, I can't hope to develop a successful project. The same applies for a job search. The candidate needs to have a clear understanding of what they're trying to accomplish, how they're going about it, and how to measure to see if they got there. This sounds so trite. But without this structure several problems arise. First, the candidate can't judge between options of how to spend their time. If you don't know what you're doing, how can you know how to go about doing it? Second, the candidate can't communicate clearly with others they meet when they ask for help. There is nothing more frustrating than a job search candidate who asks for help, but doesn't know what they want help accomplishing. This alone eliminates well over 90% of the job search candidates that approach me.

Brand

The next dimension of a successful search is the brand of the person. Given their goals and background, it is relatively simple to create a brand description of the person. This is important for those chance encounters, networking conversations, and application emails and resume's. The brand captures the essense of the person, and the right selection of words are critical. One rule to remember: hiring managers look at candidates with an eye towards eliminating them. Poor branding gives them a reason in the first 5 seconds.

Go-to-Market

I use this category title a bit tongue in cheek. Really this might be best titled Networking. More than 90% of the high paying jobs are found through people. Not applying online. A business Go-to-Market plan identifies the target customer, the value proposition, the media/communication mechanisms, etc. These same dimensions must be purposefully addressed when searching for a job. Most people that approach me for help are using the spray-and-pray technique. Yes, networking and even Go-to-Market is somewhat unpredictable because you must create and pursue opportunities that unexpectantly arise. However, you are still dealing with your scarce time and a limited number of people to network with. If you aren't thoughtful about that you will at best miss opportunities, and in the worst case create a negative impression that will inhibit success.

Conclusion

The Effetti website provides tools for you to self-evaluate your goals, strategy, and go-to-market. There are also tools for branding, developing messaging, and more. Job search, even in a tough economy, can be made easier with thoughtful planning. Hopefully this blog has provided some useful suggestions.

Polishing up the old CV...

Successfully taking "your Self" to market.
by David Bookout

In preparation for Steve's upcoming post , which focuses on developing and marketing your own personal brand, I thought I would offer these suggestions to help you polish up your resume / curriculum vitae ( CV ):

First, what is the goal, or action you want the CV to generate? Most often I find that people say "to get a job", but this isn't really a helpful posture in terms of an effective design strategy that needs to be behind the CV itself. So, be more specific, for example:

Receive "W" job offers, at "X" company, for "Y" role, at "Z" salary & benefit level.

Second, be specific and don't be too general in respect to what you've done. Your experience is actually the "reason to believe" that you can do the job your seeking. Also, remember that it is ok to list everything you've ever done in a DRAFT, but this needs to be filtered out and focused for the role specific versions that will actually be sent.

Third, be focused. Each role specific version needs to be:
a) 1 page ( you can always bring the 3 - 4 page "leave behinds", or send them as a follow up )
b) Compelling and different. What "promises" can you make that better address what the hiring manager cares about?

Fourth, do some research on the company, or companies that you want to approach. How are they structured, what do they value, what is the culture?

In closing, it is also helpful to remember that these four points are not stand alone, but interrelated and interdependent.


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