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IDiscover Journal

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For Small Business Owners and Leaders

MAKE CONSISTENCY A CORE VALUE OF YOUR LEADERSHIP

I’ve talked with several people lately about the best ways to maximize the exposure your blog and your social media efforts get. One word that almost always comes up is “consistency”. Write, publish, and comment consistently – with a consistent “voice”. So, I got to thinking…if consistency is important in the promotional side of your business, where else might it also be important?

You may have heard the phrase that “The stock market hates uncertainty.” Well, that is true for your business also. Your customers, your employees, and your business partners appreciate consistency. They like to know what they can expect from your company and from you as a leader. How?

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THIS WEEK’S MUST READS

Hello everyone! Happy birthday America! We’re 240 years strong and counting! I hope you were able to find time to enjoy the holiday and celebrate with friends and family! As always, though, I like to take time to summarize a list of some great articles you as a business leader should’t miss:

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MISTAKES HAPPEN. IT’S HOW YOU HANDLE THEM THAT MATTERS.

Dang! Something in your business just went wrong. Someone made a mistake. AMistake 01 customer’s ticked off. Hey, it happens. People understand that. But the real downfall is that so often we see companies that do a poor job of reacting when mistakes are made. It’s not that hard, really. It takes a dose of humility and a customer-focused outlook to get it right. But instead a lot of company responses could be characterized as the “never-happened”, the “it’s-the-customer’s-fault”, or even the “we’ll-get-to-it-sometime” schools. I know you’ve seen them.

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THIS WEEK’S MUST READSTHIS WEEK’S MUST READS

Good morning guys! Happy Monday to all. I hope you are rested from the weekend and ready to start a brand new, productive week. Here is a weekly roundup of some great articles to get your brain started. (If you want them more in real-time, be sure to follow me on social media – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!)

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WHAT HAPPENED TO PREMIUM BRANDS’ PREMIUM SERVICE?

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!

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THIS WEEK’S MUST READS

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:

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MIND THE GAP

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.

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THIS WEEK’S MUST READS

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!

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BUILDING YOUR BRAND WITH A.L.T

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.

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THIS WEEK’S MUST READS

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!

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