Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What advice would you give?

If you have to give an advice today to:
  1. A student
  2. An employee
  3. A kid
  4. A businessman 
  5. Whoever else…
What would it be? Is it something from your personal experience? Something that have taught you huge expensive lesson, you would freely share with whomever that wants to hear it? Have you got it written down? 

We are all very good at dishing out advice. But when asked in a situation like this, there will be lots of “umms and ahhs”. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

What are you doing about it?

Fear and inertia are two of the biggest things that hold back most people’s decision making. How do you then overcome that?

Understand that all taken risks bring fruits. The fruits being either success or failure. If it is a failure, you risk your ego being bruised (money is usually secondary, most people rather risk losing their money than their ego being bruised). If your ego is bruised, then consider it a fee to pay for the learning. 

Realize that “Doing” is the easy part. “Thinking about it that is the hard part. And the more thinking you do, the slower you become and you build even more barriers and inertia into the decision making. You use “thinking” as an excuse for not making the decision.

So, what’s it gonna be?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Do you solemnly swear?

Not by the stars and the moon in the skies. Just simple brand promises. Meaning if you said you will not add any artificial colouring, that includes even permitted artificial colouring. No artificial colouring means no artificial colouring, permitted or otherwise. If you cannot keep a promise then don’t make it.

When you make promises you are not going to keep, it bleeds the blood of trust of your consumers. Promises are promises, there are no exceptions.

Promises with lots of conditions and premises, I think they are called contracts.

If you have a promise that has a lot of conditions attached to it, maybe it is better to think if it is worthwhile making that promise. A promise with lots of “ifs and buts” just extracts every bead of serum innate in a promise.

If your brand has a promise to the consumers, make it simple and keep it.

Will you keep it fresh?

Friday, January 20, 2012

How did they get big?

I meet with brand owners all the time. Big and small brands. Smaller brands ask this question more often. How did the bigger brands got big? 

Well, they get big on a smaller scale in smaller market segments. Then they get bigger on a bigger scale in a bigger market segment. And they repeat. In the process they invested in failure. Repeated successes. Made a few mistakes. Spent some money. Invested behind their brands. 

Yeah, sounds like hard work. 

Don’t be afraid to invest behind your brand. Oh, money that’s the hard part. But that’s how big brands got bigger. They put money in. Maybe that’s why when brands are big they have brand equity (i.e., monetary value).

How long do you plan to stand there?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Who’s the boss?

I don’t care if you are an entrepreneur or if you work in a small medium enterprise or if you work in a Fortune 500 company.

You don’t work for someone else, you work for yourself. If you think about it that way, you dictate a lot of things.

Yeah, I know. I don’t work in your company. I don’t know your clients. I should come try and work with your boss

Precisely. That's why I asked.

Who do you work for?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What resolutions?

Now that the New Year is way behind us. Just a quick question - What will you say to yourself in eleven months time? Every year, every month, every day is a chance to change and improve. Create a new habit

But you have not started. You wait for the perfect day. The perfect whatever.

I am not sure what you are waiting for or afraid of.

What will it be?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Are you the authentic brand in your category?

You probably created your brand with a preset notion in mind. Across time, you see your competitors doing well with certain criteria. And you set out to photocopy this set of criteria. 

It’s your right to do that. You are the brand owner. Anytime you try to measure yourself against a preset notion of what you are trying to create with what someone else has drawn then you lose what is authentically you. Worst, you lose the opportunity to draw the perimeter of definition for someone else.

Are people colouring along the lines you have drawn?

Monday, January 16, 2012

What are positioning statements, really?

It’s not something you write and agree upon and have everyone single mindedly do that for years and years. Well, yes, to some extent you need to do that. 

But you better not forget that positioning your brand is like walking up a moving downward escalator. Do not forget that every time you try to position yourself, someone else is also repositioning you.

Your positioning is dynamic. Alive and being thwarted daily by your competitors and consumers.

What is your stance now?

Friday, January 13, 2012

What is luxury to you?

For some people it is time with the family. For others it could be doing their Bassai-dai to perfection a 100 times without fail effortlessly. Yet others it could be as simple as sharing a mug of ramen noodles, beer and catching late night TV when the “cost-centers” (a friend calls their kids that) are in bed.

I find it interesting when people call their brands ‘luxury’, as in luxury brands and luxury products. “I am in the luxury category,” he said. “Hmmm…interesting,” is my answer.

The luxury that my friends and I know are all somewhat intangible. Perhaps we are poor sods. What do we know about luxury?

Thirty more minutes to calm your mind down and realize that your father is passing on, and say the things you want to say and have him breath his last breath in your arms. That is luxury.

I am sure you have your own idea of luxury too.

Now which brand wants to provide luxury?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What do you hate your boss for?

People forget “initiative” is to be taken. Not given. That’s why it is called “take initiative.” I read that in Seth Godin’s blog. 

Some people wait to be “given”…in which case it would not be an initiative. We have another word for it, “instruction”. When you wait to be given it is usually instruction. Then don’t complain you have no influence over things.

What else will be taken away from you?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When do you become an arrogant bitch?

Does it happen when you have a booming business, your brand is much sought after and you can’t seem to dish out your goods fast enough?

You give your customers the “take it or leave it” because you have 100 customers waiting eagerly in line to buy. What’s one to lose when you have another 100. You most definitely cannot spare your precious time to answer all the questions that a new customer has for you.

And what about your staff? Are they acting like billion-ass to help you cut down the waiting line?

Is your brand monopolising with contempt?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When do you say sorry and shut up?

When a customer writes in to state a problem they encounter, it’s because they care enough to spend the few minutes to write in. Most times, they will just bitch about it to whoever’s within earshot.

And at other times, there can the frustrations until they explode at the next intolerably disappointing service. By then it’s too late.

How should a brand respond to the first feedback served to you? The customer has just done you an invaluable service. She doesn’t want to hear why you are right and how much investment you have put into your product to make it great. She just wants to hear how you are going to make it right for the next customer.

What are you defending today?

Monday, January 9, 2012

What are you denying your brand today?

Let’s just say you’ve been diagnosed by your dentist today that your gum is badly infected. So bad that nothing you do from now on is going to save your nice set of teeth – all 32 of it! 

And you’ve had three consultations before with three different dentists. All had given you the same prognosis – you will lose all your teeth soon. Which of these actions will you take? 

  • Disregard all the dentists’ diagnosis and seek further consultations until you get to hear one that will tell you otherwise.
  • Ignore the recommended treatment by the dentist since the alternative treatment that you have been administering is making you feel better each day.
  • Forget the prognosis since you still have all your teeth right now and they are serving you just fine.
Replace this scenario with your brand. Are you denying your brand the proper treatment that it so desperately need? Are you waiting for death’s door to be visible before you would do something to save your brand right now, today?

What’s stopping you from giving what your brand really needs?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Who’s throwing cold water in your face?

I know of someone who finally woke up to her folly when the azan (call to prayer) just sounds extremely loud to her. 

Sometimes it is not what. It is who.  And it may not be divine in nature. Maybe it is better if you have a human alarm to ring you out of our behavioral slumber. Not everyone that throws cold water in your face is a bad person

Appoint someone and give the candidate a bucket. Tell them to use it when it is time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How do you find a better way?

Perhaps one way is to ask - have you considered the different options? There is more than one way to write this, ask that question, and interpret that poem. What you have is but one of the many options.

What is stopping you from finding that better option? That you have to dig deep. A few things come to mind. Laziness, arrogance and denial.

Until something hits you and your business takes a hit. Then you will have to think of a better option.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Can you take me to your leader?

Does your company thinks that change can come by just launch a plan? Perhaps it is time to think again, whether it is improving customer service or even relationships between feuding departments.

What overhauls the way a company crawls doesn’t hit it like a lighting bolt. It creeps slowly into people and forms a culture. It needs following up. It needs commitment from people we call leaders. And people who self-appoint to make sure they change for the better and leads others to do the same.

It starts with you. And if you are in a leadership position reading this. Excellent.

Would you appoint someone else?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Which is your house?

The home you grew up in? The family you spent the most time with? The books that you read? A kind teacher? What built you?

I think it’s a good question to ask when most answers fail you in times of hardship. 

What built you?