Associate a Strong Feeling to your Brand

Can increased heartbeat from a Shaky Bridge be good for your brand?
Can increased heartbeat from a Shaky Bridge be good for your brand?

Excitement can add liking to your brand.  So how can you generate more excitement and liking for your brand?  Let’s start with a little background study first.

An experiment was done on two groups of people.  For the first group, the participants had to cross a normal, stable bridge to get to the other side.  At the other side of the bridge is a decent looking female researcher who gives out her phone number freely to all participants.  Similarly, the second group is made to go through a bridge also, but this time, the bridge is a shaky, rickety one.

So what were the results?  The second group had far more participants who called the lady after crossing the bridge.  The guys mistook the excitement they had in crossing the bridge to liking the girl.  Their heartbeat increased when they saw the girl, so that mistakenly implied that they must have liked the girl then.  This caused a lot of them to call the girl up after the experiment.

When the car Scion was launched in America, they invited young people to a cool concert with famous pop singers.  The excitement they had at the concert was passed on to the car brand, and a lot of them ended up liking the car after the event.  Something you can do for your brand too?

5 Tips on How to Better Manage Product Life Cycles

5 Tips, on How to, Better Manage, Product Life Cycles
Caterpillars goes through different life cycles. So do products, and each stage requires a different management.

Products are born, and then they evolve, and some just die after a few years.  As marketers, we know that we are under consistent pressure to grow our sales year after year.  How do you keep brands growing continuously?  Here are 5 tips:

1) Continue to improve the product.  If you have the best lawnmower version 1.0, produce an even better version 2.0 in 2 years time.  This way your competitors are kept far away from your pot of gold always.

2) Produce line extensions.  They help to leverage on existing brand power to sell more products, and gain more sales.  One note of caution, don’t over line extend to stuffs that don’t share brand equities with the parent brand.

3) Promote awareness when the products are newly launched.  Then, focus on differentiating them vs. other competitors.  Bring out your unique benefits and USPs.

4) Grow your ‘question mark’ products (BCG Matrix) to Stars, with fast growth in market shares.  Once you are the dominant player, you can ease a little on your investments, and reap the profits with your cash cows.

5) Divest off products that are not making money.  These are usually products in non-growing categories, or where competitors fight fiercely with price wars.  You are also facing slow market shares growth despite large advertising expenditures.

3 Most Neglected Advertising Truths

3 Most Neglected Advertising Truths
Make a fashion statement. Guaranteed to bring out the sweet you.

Marketers advertise on a regular basis.  Often, it is just communicating the benefits of the products or services to your target consumers.  In the next campaign, you may impart a new creative twist to the communication.  Rinse and repeat.  In doing these, what do common marketers miss?

1) Advertising needs to build brand equities for the product.  First, rank the important attributes of the product category for your target consumers.  In soap, it may be fragrance and sudsiness.  In beer, the taste and how fast it fills you up.  In clothing, it may be expressing your unique self.  Out of the top few attributes, select one that your product has the potential to own.  Then, advertise in the direction to own it over time.

2) Advertising needs to evolve with changing product life cycle.  If your product is new, then awareness is key.  Give more information about the benefits, and reinforce a consistent brand image.  Then when the product matures, you may need to tell your consumers why your product is better vs. existing and new competitors.  Finally, as time progresses further, you need to remind your consumers that your product is still around, and is still one of the better choices.

3) Advertising may not build sales directly.  Advertising can be about creating awareness, but it may not be persuasive enough yet.  It may not have gained the critical mass, or acceptance by the masses.  Huge advertising costs initially may interest only the early adopters and innovators, but not the critical masses.  After some time, word of mouth and testimonials will increase your sales.  It also depends on the category growth and size.  If you have 70% market share, your growth may slow down despite the massive advertising that you do.

Definition of Marketing

First task of marketing: Identify your Target Customers First
First task of marketing: Identify your Target Customers First

If you have worked as a marketer for many years, it is often good to re-visit the definition and purpose of marketing.  It helps to ground us in the important fundamentals of marketing.

Marketing has 3 components to it.

First, find out who your customers are, and their needs or wants.  This is marketing research.

Second, produce products or services that meet those needs or wants.  This is what your company produces.

Thirdly, do the second action above for a profit.  If you don’t produce a profit consistently, you will not be able to sustain the business for long.  Sales are important, but profits are far more important.  Would you rather make $5 from selling a $10 product, or make $2 from selling a $20 product?  Profit margins and net profit is far more important in business than the sales figure alone.

7 Great Online Marketing Ideas

Online Marketing: Reach your Target Consumers with More Efficiency, Less Cost
Online Marketing: Reach your Target Consumers with More Efficiency, Less Cost

Without further ado, here’re the 7 great online marketing ideas:

1) Use Google Alert to check out your own business’s online reputation, and what competitors are doing.  You can also find out what businesses that target your consumer demographics are doing.  This provides fantastic marketing ideas that you can model after.

2) Email marketing is not dead.  With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn hogging the limelights lately, you would have thought that email marketing is dead.  Nope, it is not.  Email is like direct mail, only far cheaper.  Everybody likes to receive personalized emails, so it is still a profitable marketing tool.

3) Post videos about your niche.  If you are selling swimming pool cleaning products, create videos relevant to this topic.  Find out what your customers’ questions are, and answer them with videos that you upload to Youtube or Vimeo.  You can also have video teasers.  Upload a couple of videos, and then direct the viewers to your website for more educational videos.  And on your landing page, put a compelling sales letter to sell your products, or get leads (contacts) from the readers.

4) Get your partners, suppliers and customers to spread your name.  Offer to give them the same exposure in return.  Or promise them a gift.  They are your best salesmen!

5) Do not overlook mobile phone marketing.  Now with better technology, cell phones can access the web readily, and view pictures easily.  One caution though.  Do not buy random lists and spam those in the list.  Only do ‘opt-ins’ before you blast marketing messages to them.  People are less tolerant of short messaging spam compared to email spam.

6) Re-examine your web url names.  If you have hard to remember or hard to spell names, strongly consider changing the name to something memorable and shorter.  If you can’t change your company name, you can still use a name that reflects your niche, such as ‘bestspeaker.com’, or ‘tastiestcakes.com’.

7) Use Twitter for regular connections with your customers.  Offer to retweet often.  By using klout.com, you can find out who are the high influencers among your followers, and offer them business opportunities to tweet on your behalf.

The #1 Lesson I Learned from Apple

#1 Lesson from the #1 Brand, Apple
#1 Lesson from the #1 Brand, Apple

Apple has seen a massive revival in recent years.  Before Steve Jobs return to Apple, Apple products were very niche, and only a few of my friends used them then.  Now, most of my friends have at least an Apple product.  Apple is no longer for the few, but rather a successful mass product company.

I have experienced the Apple products for myself, and read a few books about the Apple company.  Biggest lesson?

‘Less is more’.  That’s it.  The biggest lesson of all.

Look at the first successful product under the i-series.  The i-Pod.  Simple design and simple to use.  Does the design look good?  Sure it does!  Even the box that contains Apple products are carefully designed to be easy to open.

Steve also insists that Apple focuses only on a few products at a time.  With more focus, they can create better products that delight consumers.  They make big bets, and refuse to spread the risk through launching many products.  Whatever few products they have, they invested all their effort and money to design, make and market them well.  Look at the success rate of their product launches.

Truly, less is more.

3 Tested Methods to Inspire Your Team to Change

How to influence your team for change?
How to influence your team for change?

How do you motivate your team to change for the better?  You need to touch the mind and hearts of your team mates holistically to get their buy in for change.  Here are 3 tried and tested methods to get them to do so:

1) Use communication strategies from the movies.  A lot of good movies start off by introducing a protagonist or a hero, who is likable and is someone whom the audience can relate to.  The hero encounters difficulties and obstacles.  He eventually resolved the problem, and is a changed man at the end of it all.  With this plot, you can inspire your team by telling them that they are the ‘heroes’, there is a difficulty now, and the team needs to overcome it together for a transformation to be better.

2) The second way is to use a situational analysis method.  Tell them what is the current situation.  Offer them various scenarios of what they could become if they choose a different path.  Entice them with a better future if they will embrace the changes, and motivate them with the potential rewards at the end of it all.

3) The final one is to inspire the team using an analogy referring to parts of the body.  Use logic to satisfy the head.  Use emotions to satisfy the heart.  Use humor and passion to satisfy the gut.  Use the spirit to conquer it all and be a winner.

7 Tips to Increase Brand Recall

Every marketer wants a piece of a consumer’s brain.

How do you increase brand recall in today’s era of hypercompetition?  If you are the leading brand, how do you maintain your sales lead with perpetual launches by new competitors?  How do you increase not just share of voice, but share of mind?

Here are on 7 tips on how to increase brand recall:

1) Start consumers on your products as early as possible.  Car manufacturers are seeding teenagers with car branding when they are still in high school.  There are toys branded with real life car brand names, and guess who do they reach?  The junior school kids!

2) Link your product attributes with something relevant.  If you are promoting fast cars, show striking visuals of rockets or cheetahs running next to your products.  If you want to link with ‘freshness’, show colourful pictures of fruits along with your products.

3) Make using your products a daily habit.  If you sell lip balms, educate your consumers to put on lip balm after they have applied their daily moisturizers.

4) If you suffer from a large portfolio of line extensions and products, highlight your bestsellers.  Tell your consumers the 2-3 items that are the most popular to make buying decisions faster, and your key products easier to remember.

5) Use nostalgic visual icons or ads to bring back old memories.  Old memories are just that, they don’t fade with time.  Bring back the childhood ads that your consumers have seen.  It will generate warm feelings and buzz, and that’s good for recall.

6) Celebrities may sometimes distract consumers from your products, but they generate heck of a lot of recall.  It makes your products more familiar to consumers.

7) Use word of mouth marketing.  WOM marketing apparently is able to generate more positive emotions in customers compared to normal, traditional ads.  This increases brand recall.

7 Ways to Get Attention, and Get Sales

Is this your way to get attention?  You need better!
Is this your way to get attention? You need better!

If you don’t get attention, you don’t get to perform your sales pitch.  If you don’t get to do your sales pitch, you don’t get to sell anything, no matter how good your products are.  Here are 7 ways to get more attention:

1) Share your strengths with the world.  This can be your talents, products or services.  If you want to win in the market, you need to pitch your bestsellers.  The products that people want to talk about.  Identify them and share them with the world.

2) Use PR to get attention.  Tell the media folks that you have good data to share.  Start with some interesting statistics that you have about your products or about things relevant to a common group of consumers.  Based on a good, relevant article to both parties, pitch how your products or services can help to solve a consumers’ problem.  Close by telling them how and where to get your products.

3) Create a fantastic, good looking T-shirt, with perhaps a stylish slogan that relates to something current in the local scene.  Give 5oo pieces away, or sell them at a cheap price.  Paste your logo or website on the T-shirt, and watch the sales or traffic roll in.

4) Use giant props.  Red bull has those product cars that zip around town with a large can of red bull attached to the roof of the car.  That creates buzz and certainly photo opportunity.  If you sell sushi, make a large plastic sushi with your brand on it, and place it on cars or trucks.

5) Don’t just send direct mails.  This is an era of videos and sounds.  Send them a card telling them to search for a particular video in Youtube for a surprise.  Then you have a 30s or 1 minute to wow the audience with your sales pitch.

6) Create marketing videos to flood Youtube in your particular category.  If you own a sushi restaurant, create lots of videos relating to preparing sushi, how to select the best sushi, and how sushi is being modernized.  Link all these videos back to you, so that they can find your restaurant after watching those videos.

7) Don’t just solve customers problems, but entertain them.  Look at the amount of TV people watch nowadays.  People are bored and want to be entertained.  So do not only sell, but entertain at the same time.  You are sure to get their attention.

Do Your Customers buy your Products, or buy You

Are You the One being sold?

When you deal with direct personal selling to your customers, you often have to form close relationships with the loyal or bigger ones.  Be they widgets, data or services, do your customers buy your products and services, or do they buy ‘you’?  I will say that both are equally important.  If you don’t have a good product, your customers may suffer in the long run.  However when products and prices between players in the market are quite similar, often the decisive factor is you.

How do you increase your own sellability?  The most obvious is to increase your likeability.  It is not about being fake and putting on a false front when you don’t feel like it inside.  You have to put in work to make yourself likeable, else you won’t get far in a sales job.

The first rule of likeability is authenticity.  You have to be likeable from the inside out.  Smile forth the happiness you have serving your customers.  The trick is to think happy thoughts, or something pleasant when you are with them.

Be present for your customers.  When you are with your clients, be 100% there, and not daydream about your own problems or needs.  Don’t get distracted by stuffs, but focus completely on your customers, and listen to them.

Authentically compliment them.  If you like their clothes and sense of fashion, tell them.  Ask them for their expert advice.  There are always things to compliment your clients on, you just need to be alert and sensitive.

Show respect and good manners in front of your customers.  They are the ultimate ones who pay for your salary, so show them gratitude.  As my mum always tell me when I was young, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as often as necessary.

Finally, check for self sabotage in your character and personality.  If you are impatient, restrain that.  If you have a short fuse, take an anger management therapy course.  If you are perpetually late, set your watch forward by 15 minutes.  Try all means to rein in these self sabotage factors, as they can damage your relationships with your clients, and your career ultimately.