Friday, October 31, 2014

What do you make time for?

We meet with a fair bit of prospects wanting to pursue the tedious process of branding. They know a strong brand brings lots of benefits to their business. One key challenge for these people is that they do not invest time into the process. Just as you invest time into operations and logistics and finance and everything of a business concern, you need to allocate time for branding. When branding is a by the way activity, you get a stunted brand. 

Park time aside for branding just like you park time aside for other aspects of your business.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What are the assumptions you make that are no longer true?

You must have some. Come up with a list.

That should guide your decision making and make some crucial turning points.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why don’t you strip?

Because too much too early leaves the Agency hungry.

Sorry, we don’t give things away for free.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Did you say “thank you”?

Say “thank you”. It’s the easiest way to show gratitude. Say it sincerely every time someone makes it convenient for you to accomplish your task. No matter how small the task is.

Even if you paid them to do something, say thank you when they did a good job. Because you know money isn’t everything.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Can you corner the market?

Of course you can. But first, make sure there is a market for the better mouse trap that you have. You can create the ONLY product in its category and you may think, this is going to corner the market, but it doesn't happen like that. That’s why many people who have launched wonderful gadgets fail. 

To corner the market, first make sure there is a market for your mouse trap.

Creating something that the market doesn't want leaves you in a corner.

What do you have in your head?

Friday, October 24, 2014

What did you do for the rest of the day?

If you engaged a personal trainer at the gym with the objective of helping you lose weight and at the end of the program you have not lost any weight, what do you do? Most people would blame the trainer or the program.

Perhaps, the few almost extinct objective humans would sit back and say, “I workout 2 days a week for 1 hour with the trainer but for the rest of the 23 hours I eat crap, sleep late, down fermented hops drink that are laden with empty calories, surely it is not the program or the trainer’s fault.”

So, now you got yourself a brand consultant. You have bought a few hours of their time. They gave you a program; they taught you how to do it. But for the rest of the 23 hours, you did not sort out your price, your distribution, you crappy sales team, your uncooperative operations director and your ill-educated marketing team.

How much weight do you want to lose?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Is traditional media or social media better?

The right tool for the right job is the answer. The right tool is the one that will complete the task in the most effective and most efficient manner. 

Look at the campaign you are running, the objective you want to achieve, the budget you have, then consider the human resources that you can dispense. 

Even before all these, as a manager your question should be are you good with the fundamentals of these media? Unless you know what tool is best for which job, you will never know which tool is better. 

Because answering which tool is better depends on what job needs to be done and who is doing the job.

Who’s the one doing the job?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How many choices do you have?

The more variety you have, the more you should focus. Variety is seductive. It takes your eyes off the basic stuff that works. Too many varieties can mean losing focus.

Focus on the fundamentals. They bring results. That’s why they are called fundamentals.

What are the fundamentals?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Who screwed up?

We all did. All of us, one time or another. There is no need to be too upset. Some learn best by screwing up. Others need multiple screw-ups to learn.

Just remind yourself, screw-ups are lessons. For you, for them, for everyone.

It’s OK to make mistakes. Just make it a valuable lesson.

Who learned something?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Do you have a marketing team?

A non-exhaustive list but you can start with these. A good marketing team should at the very least understand and apply these concepts:
  • The brand, the process of branding, the business the company is in, the role a brand plays.
  • The marketing 4Ps. Just four. I know there are a gazillion other Ps others will convince you is important. Let’s start with four; the rest will fall in place. We can add the QRSTUV...later.
  • The category and what makes it tick. Key sales divers, key motivators of the consumers.
  • The consumers and their various segments. What makes them buy this category of products you sell?
  • The principles of communication.
  • The role of the various mediums, what it can do, what it can’t and when to use what?
If they don’t know all these, replace them. Yes, fire them. Or get someone who at least knows these things. Otherwise you are wasting your money.

Is branding for you?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is it time to let go?

When you can’t pull them up, sometimes it is best to let go. You may risk letting them pull you down.

How firmly are they holding on?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Who did you offend today?

This in my experience is true, in most organizations where branding is a new thing, which means investing talent, money and time behind the brand, there will be a group of Neanderthal business people within the organization who will remind you how they built a business without this branding crap.

That much is true. They built a business. But in all certainty, they did not build a brand. If you are the guy in the company championing the need to brand and conduct branding building activities, ignore these buggers. They will find you offensive. Offend them anyway. 

They will say you are wasting money. Spend to invest anyway. When they fail to discourage you, they might even sabotage you and your campaign. March on, anyway.

Because it is the right thing to do. Because you believe in branding and what it can do for your company. Your belief has a price.

How much stamina do you have?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

When is the next service due?

"It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary." - Richard Whately

Why wait till it is broken?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Are you the fittest?

The term “survival of the fittest” was used by Herbert Spencer to explain Darwin’s concept of “natural selection.” But to Darwin the term “fittest” means "better adapted for immediate, local environment”, and not what we understand as “in good physical shape.” 

So when you apply it to business, it doesn't mean it is the survival of the best financial shape, although that would help. But it is more of the survival of the companies that can best adapt.

Friday, October 10, 2014

How long will it take?

Spend big. Master marketing. Perfect social media skills. That seems to be what people are telling you if you are to be good with branding these days. Of course these are useful. But if you are small, then start small. Having all those does not mean you won’t fail. Knowing all these does not guarantee success. 

But if you start and not be afraid to spend even when you feel it hurts. Then that’s a good start. Treat it as an investment into the brand. Start understanding the basics of marketing and the consumer. Get a good grounding into your consumer and the media they consume. All these do not have to be intimidating.

Small steps. Build on the learning. There is no need to do everything in a day.

Is there such a thing as instant success?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

What will work?

Have you ever written down all the things that has worked for you in your business? Well, you should. Keep a marketing journal. No, not the kind that says what you bought at the supermarket. The kind that says this is what I did for my marketing plan this month, this is what worked and why. This is what could have been better.

Teach yourself. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

What can you do?

You can do a lot. The magic is in starting. What is in motion usually gains momentum.

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What is the price of ignorance?

You won’t know when you are ignorant. It’s only when you get wiser and more experience that you see your own ignorance and the price you paid. Some people call that “school fees”.

You then warn the others about their ignorance. But they won’t listen because they are ignorant. Everyone has to pay their dues. Some will pay more, some will pay less. Some don’t have to pay. But that’s few and far between. You should aim to be the rare few.

How much have you paid?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014