Emotional Branding: 4 Critical Questions, and Stupidity

Emotional Branding: 4 Critical Questions, and Stupidity

Be Sociable, Share! TweetWe all believe that getting your message right will resonate with potential buyers, improve your brand’s positioning and increase your sales. By reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of a valuable tool – emotional branding – to improve how you communicate with your market. If you sell your products or services based on features, functionality or price, you’re an incredible idiot, and ridiculously stupid. So how dd that make you feel? The words “idiot” and  “stupid” are pretty emotional words that evoke a fairly strong feeling in most people. And how do you physically describe that feeling? It’s pretty tough to describe, isn’t it? You’re actually not stupid, and you’re not an idiot. You can definitely be successful selling based on these foundations, and the majority of products and services on the market are sold in this fashion. When you walk into a pharmacy, which medication will you buy? You’ll compare your symptoms to the products on the shelf and then buy the one that best meets your needs. Very factual. Very easy. But what if the packaging said “We’ll get rid of your stuffy nose, and we’ll also put a smile on your face while improving your relationship with your significant other. We make you happy”.  How cool would that be? An over the counter cold medicine that makes you happy! But, in reality, most cold medicine does usually make you happier. It gets rid of nasal congestion, lets you breathe easier, and helps you get a better night’s sleep. Yes, the alcohol in it might act as a mild depressant, but the good effects tend to outweigh the bad (I’m...
Disruption, Comfort Zones and Dying

Disruption, Comfort Zones and Dying

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Let’s talk about disruption. Newspapers and magazines always felt that when the Internet came around they could continue to survive on print editions. Wrong. Journalism lives, but the printed word on paper continues to decline as more and more periodicals move to an online-only approach. Trickle down? I wouldn’t be buying stock in press, ink and newsprint companies. Local movie rental companies felt that people would still want to go to the store, even when online streaming and movies by mail started out. In April, Washington D.C.’s last video store closed their doors. We’re always going to want to burn our pictures and music to CDs. The recordable media industry is going to grow. How many different MP3 players and cloud photo systems are available now? Nothing can beat going to the local book store to buy the latest hardcover. eBooks now make up 30% of all book sales. The number of independent book stores has halved in the last 20 years, and less than 10% of all books sold are done through the remaining ones.  Barnes & Noble is closing 20 stores a year. The US has the best manufacturing capabilities in the world so there’s no worry about a decline in job availability. Wrong. (Although we are starting to see the return of some jobs to the US due to the rising “cost of doing business” in other countries). Travel agents. Insurance agents. Bank tellers. Taxi drivers. Photo finishers. News stands. In the last 20 years there has been mass disruption of individual jobs and entire industries as people move towards wanting self-service...
How do you Reduce Your International Sales Risk to Almost ZERO?

How do you Reduce Your International Sales Risk to Almost ZERO?

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Many a USA based small business has received a request to sell their products to a foreign company. Often they are reluctant to do so because they are afraid of not getting paid. To mitigate the risk they invariably ask the buyer to pay up front. But, with a Letter of Credit you can change the rules. There is a better way. Better than getting paid up front? Well in a sense yes. A buyer paying up front is tying up capital and may purchase less or seek a seller offering payment terms (like Net 30). But you can prevent this by offering to sell your goods and allowing the buyer to supply a letter of credit for the transaction. The way it works is thus: The buyer asks their bank to issue a letter of credit (a commitment to pay on their customer’s behalf) with the seller as beneficiary.  The issuing bank issues the letter of credit electronically to the seller’s bank.  The seller then ships the goods to the customer, and sends a copy of the shipping documents to their bank.  The buyer’s bank forwards the shipping docs (which are legal title to the goods) to the buyer’s bank.  Once received, the buyer’s bank notifies the buyer and makes payment on their behalf to the seller’s bank (electronically or by wire) and delivers the documents to the buyer so they can pick up the goods when they arrive.  Most often, the documents arrive well ahead of the product and the seller has been paid before the goods have been received by the buyer....
It’s Time to STOP

It’s Time to STOP

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet This post is going to be short and simple. One of the most overused quotes on the Internet – maybe in general – is by Albert Einstein. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” There’s a reason it’s overused. It’s because people still constantly do the same thing and expect different results. Here’s my response. “Duh.” There’s another quote. “Fail fast.” I’m not sure who said it first, so I’ll leave it unattributed. My response? “Bravo” And herein lies the problem. People are resistant to change and are usually afraid to pull the plug on something that’s failing. They’ll keep doing it and they’ll expect it to start working at some point. They’ll pump time and money into it without thinking about how that time and money could be better spent. That leads me to my next quote. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Now, I don’t fully believe in this one. For example, how do you quantify creativity? But it’s right – so right – on many levels. If you can’t quantify something, it’s near impossible to know whether it’s working. So let me create a new quote that, perhaps, brings all of this together. “If you don’t define success, you’ll never know if you have it. The same goes for failure.” When was the last time you took an “outside looking in” view of everything your company does? How about the ways that you do things? Sales, marketing, websites and social media. Customer service, product and service delivery and support. Human resources, management and...
How to Sell Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to your CEO

How to Sell Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to your CEO

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Wow. My last post about search engine optimization from a CEO’s perspective must have struck a chord. I’ve never had such a wonderful response, so I’m guessing that looking at SEO from a CEO perspective must be of interest. With that in mind, I thought I’d focus this post on how to convince a CEO to invest in search engine optimization. There’s a lot of information here that relates to more than just selling SEO to your upper management. I’d recommend reading through the article to gain insight on tasks you should accomplish no matter what when you are looking to invest in SEO. I did some research on this topic before deciding to write it. There are numerous articles on how to convince your boss to invest in SEO, but very few on how to get the CEO to buy in. The few articles I found had some amusing suggestions on approaches to take: “Everyone else is doing it.” “Search engine marketing is the future of marketing and sales.” “SEO won’t add more work for you.” “Show Graphs, Numbers, Charts & Visuals.” In a small businesses, most decisions to spend more than a few hundred dollars are still floated by the CEO. So it’s important to put together your strategy before you walk through their door. How Does a CEO Think? Let’s talk about the CEO of a business that has 15-100 people. A CEO’s day is generally filled with wall to wall meetings, with some time for e-mail responses, telephone calls and impromptu person to person conversations crammed in between them. The more people...
Buying Your Own Office – Should I Purchase Real Estate?

Buying Your Own Office – Should I Purchase Real Estate?

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet As a banker, a great many of the loans I do are for those looking to purchase real estate – their own office building, warehouse or industrial facility for example. The most common question is whether they can afford it, not whether it makes good financial sense to purchase it. Why Purchase Real Estate? One owner may feel a building location is ideal and wants to remain there with no possibility of being evicted. Having a customer base that is familiar with your location is a big plus. Other owners want to modify the building to suit their needs, and they don’t want to make those expensive improvements without owning the property. And of course a building often appreciates in value and allows the owner to build equity. All of which sounds great – but is it? Sometimes it Makes Sense, Sometimes it Doesn’t Well, the short answer is that it depends. If the building is one that is particularly well suited for the company that will occupy it, then it might make sense. I have a customer now who produces granite countertops for kitchens and baths. They need enough space to store the stone slabs, and an overhead crane to move them, an entry for a forklift, and a showroom. Getting all of that in one space is difficult. Once they have it, they don’t want to lose it, hence the desire to purchase. It helps that the mortgage payments, if they stay in budget, will be significantly less than rent. This is a great reason to buy. However, even if mortgage payments are less...
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