A Blog For
For Small Business Owners and Leaders
I think I can explain why Starbucks, Macy’s, Whole Foods Market, and plenty of other so-called “premium” or “luxury” brands are struggling. It’s a combination of things when, taken together, are the mass-marketing of higher-end brands. The experience has slipped away. The product mix is not as unique as it once was. The service levels have dropped from what they once were. The atmosphere has become boring, corporate, and bland. And higher-end businesses wonder why customers seek out other alternatives? Please.
If you have a higher-end brand, I have some ideas to help you differentiate your premium products and services and really stand out!
Hey everyone! I hope you all had a good and restful weekend. And for all the dads out
there…I hope your Fathers Day was great too! As always, I like to begin the week with summary of some of the best articles I’ve come across in the last week or so that I think would be interesting to business leaders. So, here is this week’s summary:
A while back I was working with a university client. I was conducting some brand-focused market research for them. The results told us that for many average citizens (a/k/a taxpayers) and alumni their brand represented some really good things – a welcoming environment, a great place for a family’s first college student, a pleasant, small-town atmosphere, etc. It also told us that their academic reputation was mediocre. There are a few programs in which they are top-notch, but all-in-all not a very strong academic school. I delivered this message to the university’s leadership and marketing department with the assumption that this really shouldn’t be big news. They should know what their reputation is. I mean, geez whiz, the rest of the world seems to. They didn’t seem shocked, but it certainly didn’t align with their marketing and recruitment process. The problem was that they were spending tons of time and money chasing lots of very gifted students. Very few ever even gave them serious consideration. One of my recommendations was for them to face up to reality. There are TONS of good students out there who would be a perfect fit at their school. Why not shift those resources to getting a solid group of those students? And they should also conduct a very targeted search for the best students for those programs in which the school excelled. Unless there was a vision and a strategy for greatly strengthening the overall academic side of the university (which there wasn’t), in my opinion that realignment would give them a better return on their investment.
Thinking of that client reminded me how important it is to truly understand your business’s strengths and emphasize those areas. Make sure your marketing and branding efforts reflect the reality of your organization. Guide your entire company from that perspective. Let me walk you through how you can go about doing this.
Well, I’m back from vacation. We had a great week in San Diego! I tried to keep up with some of my reading (and sharing some ideas and tips). Well, ok, I mixed that in with other fun stuff like the beach and the San Diego Zoo and La Jolla and…..
Anyway, here are some of the coolest things I read (and some ideas I shared) over the last week or so. Happy reading!
Watch commercials. Do you ever wonder what so many of them get wrong or why don’t we like so many of the brands we come across on television? I do. I believe that most brands are focused way too much on trying to make you know that they exist and sort of like something about them; without thinking enough about how to make you like and trust them. Mass media is often considered a numbers game – get enough people to see my ad and enough will perhaps like it and a few of those might actually consider my product or service.
In my opinion there are several levels your brand goes though on its way to market trust and customer loyalty and advocacy: A-L-T or Awareness, Likability, and Trust. You need to build through each of these levels to create a brand that speaks to your specific target market and later becomes a trusted partner with your customer. Let’s dive a little deeper into each one.
Hey everyone! The family is on vacation in San Diego this week. We’ve been hanging out at the condo at Mission Beach since Saturday. Nice! But, as always, I like to share some of the great things I’ve read (and shared) for business leaders over the last week or so. So, here’s your weekly summary. Enjoy!
In the last few weeks I’ve emailed and/or left voice mails for five local businesses with questions, appointment requests, etc. Guess how many have responded? One. My impression of the others dropped dramatically. What message does that send? Customers and prospects are unimportant. Or simply that our company just can’t seem to do some basic “blocking and tackling”; something the average person seems to be able to do in their personal and professional lives. And I’ll just that bet you’ve had similar experiences. It got me to thinking: Can simply responding to a communication actually be a competitive advantage? Believe it or not, it just might be.
Small business can be a tough business. It’s hard to win against bigger competitors. It’shard to win against competitors with deeper pockets and maybe economies of scale.It’s hard to separate yourself from other scrappy local competitors. It’s tough to stand out. But there are ways. You can make it happen. The goal is a closer, deeper, more caring relationship. Let me share a few ways you can begin to set your business apart: