They are the most difficult to do.
Do you like looking at advertisement?
TV commercials, newspaper and magazines ads, banner, flyers, big posters, ads on buses and taxis - anything that a business can put their advertisement on, be it online or offline.
We are bombarded with at least three to five thousands advertisements and brands every day. Some catch your attention while others go unnoticed - more of the latter. Even for those that get our attention, the memory is mostly short-lived.
We've been conditioned to shut out all form of interruptions in our lives since advertisement was invented. When TV commercial was first introduced, there was a sense of novelty and that got customers' attention and interest. But as we get accustomed to this, it is no longer interesting and became a nuisance preventing us from watching our favorite programs. And the more medias become available, the less we take notice of them.
It has become the most precious "commodity" on earth. Not just for advertisers, but for most of us. Just notice how someone's thought get drifted away while you are talking them. Or people who can't resist sending messages in a meeting.
So when I saw a news of someone sending in a photo of an advertisement to a local website, I was quite amazed. Apparently, this reader not only take noticed of the poster put up at bus-stop, she also noticed something missing - THE LOGO of the company. And then went on to say how the person in charge of this silly blunder is going to be in HOT HOT chilli soup.
True enough, I started looking for the poster at bus stops and found one exactly as what she said. The company's logo was MISSING. The next day, I passed by the bus stop with the ad and saw that it has been replaced with one that carries the company's logo.
Fast ACTION, isn't it!
This is a small oversight that could have been prevented with proper planning. And one that can be easily rectified.
But what if the lady noticed the poster because of the reason that there's no logo? And it could be possible that she might give this poster a miss if there was a logo instead? After all, we do not notice things that we are all familiar with. That's why we seldom take notice of things along the same route we travel to work every day. Maybe she saw the familiar logo and instantly switch off without paying more attention to it. It's only when she sensed that something is missing and that caught her attention to look more intently at the ad.
Marketing Tip #1 - Sometimes not putting your logo can get you more attention than putting it.
P.S. After all, the first aim of an advertisement is to get a person's attention. If you cannot get attention, you cannot get them to look at your advertisement.
And not forgetting the exposure the company gets from the mention in the news?
The questions then would be - Can you afford not to put your logo? Will your customers still be able to recognize YOU without your logo?
Having spent tons and tons of money in building up your brand, it is only logical for you to put your brand on everything you can put on. From company's letterhead to brochures, advertisements to uniforms. As what brand gurus say, get your brand out there.
Having a brand that is recognizable and strong gives your customers a sense of security when they see your logo. It builds trust especially if you are a leader in your industry and known for your high standard of quality. Without the brand logo, customers may mistake the ad from some dubious, small time, fly-by-night voodoo peddler.
Think about it.
If I show you a picture of a burger, can you recognize which fast food restaurant it comes from? If I show you a photo of a Big Mac without MacDonald's logo, how you know it's a Big Mac? If I say Mushroom Swiss and Teriyaki Chicken, can you tell me the name of the fast food restaurants selling them? If you are blind-folded and handed a glass bottle, would you be able to tell if it's a bootle of Coke or something else?
If I show you a plate of pasta, would you be able to recognize which restaurant is it from? If I describe to you "It's green with a mermaid," do you know what I'm talking about? If I show you picture of a small part of a mobile phone, can you know which brand is it? If I describe to you the experience or policy, can you tell me which company I'm talking about?
Branding is not just the logo. It is everything you do. The way you conduct your business, the shoppers' experience, be it queueing up days ahead of launches or fuss-free, the uniform, the design, the packaging, the product or service, the feel, the smell, the taste, even yourself.
Marketing Tip #2 - Everything and anything related to your business can be your brand ambassador.
P.S. Do not equate branding to having a logo.
So what can you do if you find out you've left out your brand's logo in your advertisement?
Start thinking how you can start benefitting from an advertisement without your logo.
(Photo Source : Stomp
There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; there's only uninterested
One Disgustingly Simple Thing You Can Do Immediately That Will Makes You STAND OUT From The Seas Of Competitors In Your Industry
So where's the thrill?
Beating the traffic (read here) is like playing police and thieves. It gives you the illusion that you're smart for doing something that is against the law or rules and regulations without getting caught.
Such behaviors may give your business a boost so long you're not caught. Like the example of the small eatery that turned off the exhaust fan so that the smell of their food will attract passerby. But that is not going the solve the long term problem.
People get attracted by smell of nice food - that's a fact. If you know that you need to rely on the smell of your food to attract customers and you are not allowed to do so, what else can you do? Are there other ways of attracting passerby? Do you want to consider moving to somewhere? Are there any food businesses that do not rely on smell to attract customers? How do they do it? Are there any ideas from these businesses that you can adapt to your own business?
And what do all these mean to you?
Most of us, including myself, are conditioned over the years to expect people to dress and behave a certain way in different situations, things to work according to our expectations, businesses to be run according to industry norm. Anything that goes against what we deem as normal is abnormal. And that's why we look at people with suspecting eyes if they dress and behave differently from us. And that is the part that we must change in order to stand out from the rest of the competitors.
In business, the most challenging issue for you as business owner is not having not enough sales, lack of manpower, cash flow problems, operations issues, government rules and regulations, though they do give you a headache. The most challenging problem is the mindset you have.
In talking with other business owners, how many times have you come across them telling you that this cannot be done because of this and this and this reasons? This does not apply to me as my business is different? My customers are not going to do this because they have been doing that all these years. No, you can't send out that letter, it's too unprofessional and our customers will be offended. We need to put our brand in as it's our policy.
In consulting with a business owner, I proposed a strategy which runs contrary to what they have been doing all these years. In the end, they decided to stick with what they've been doing because they just cannot accept doing something entirely different, even though the strategy offers them higher saving in costs and a departure from what most of their competitors are doing. Perhaps I've not been convincing enough to address their concerns, but the proposal includes doing a series of tests to ensure the strategy is workable and a positioning strategy to differentiate them from their competitors. I'll share with you on the outcome in the future.
Of course, changing mindset is not asking you to jump in without looking at how deep is the sea. Doing this is foolish and you'll get yourself drowned. Changing mindset gives you the freedom and opportunity to explore the endless opportunities. What if you do this? How will the customers react if we take this away? Where can we do differently from the others?
Bear in mind that while this sounds simple, it is very difficult to implement. You'll often find yourself slipping back to your lizard mind. It takes conscious effort for you to keep reminding yourself.
It's not just one way. It's one way many ways.
Share your experiences dealing with mindset.
A bus on fire.
Kid abused at childcare center.
Asiana air crash.
These are few of the BIG and widely discussed and shared news for the past few days and weeks. BIG because it never or rarely happens. Widely discussed and shared because it affects us or people we know directly or indirectly.
Take the haze for example. Although Singapore has been experiencing the haze problem for many years, they were not as bad as the recent one where the Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) hit 401.
MacDonald stopped it's delivery service temporarily and other fast food restaurants soon follow suit. Some businesses offer free face mask and some group buying websites ran sale on this item. Others were quick to capitalize on this opportunity to jack up the price due to the great demand. Some food delivery businesses use this chance to promote their delivery services. Other businesses started to provide delivery services so that their customers do not have to beat the haze going out to get their food. A marketing guru even go to the extent to teach his clients on how he has used the haze as an opportunity to spike his sales. This tactic is also being used by big corporations and celebrities.
While there's no doubt that some business owners are doing this to benefit their customers, there are others who are out to make some quick bucks or to gain publicity and increase profile.
Twelve cupcakes owners dispute with the local media over charging them for an interview was picked up and reported. Whether deliberate or not, the business gained more exposure from this single argument than any number of interviews and paid advertisement. They got a boost to their brand and sales. Of course, having celebrity owners played a part.
There was a case of a corpse found in the water tank on the roof of a block of flat some times back. Many of the residents dare not use the tap water. Some companies selling water filter immediately send their salesman knocking on the doors.
A food business used the haze as an opportunity to provide free delivery service for order above certain amount. There are endless chances for you to take advantage of events or situation to increase sales.
To put it in business term, it's call opportunistic marketing.
It's absolutely fine to find ways and means to increase sales. However, most business owners literally take these events as what the name implies - OPPORTUNITY. When you think of opportunity, you immediately think of how you can take advantage of it NOW. As the Chinese saying goes, hit the rod when it's hot.
It's very true. You have to strike when the event is to your advantage. Two weeks ago, you see people running frantically from one pharmacy to another hoping to buy face mask. They find all ways and means to track down where and when stocks are arriving and did not mind queueing hours just to get one in their hands. Now, face mask are everywhere. You can find cartons of them in supermarkets and pharmacies. You can find them just next to the cashier. But they are not moving at all.
What they do not take into consideration is that such opportunistic marketing can go the wrong way. Instead of getting more sales, higher profile and more publicity, you end up with resentful customers, higher profile and bad publicity.
For the corpse in the water tank case, do you think the residents are going to view those salespeople as people whom they can trust? Or are they just peddlers there to sell them something and take their money? These businesses have forgotten that while their salespeople can go to the residents, the residents have the option to go to other businesses. People will remember how you take advantage of them.
These business owners take it as one off event to make money one time off the customers - Hit and go. They think of the short term benefit (increase in sales) and forget about the long term damage to their brand and reputation. As a business owner, do you want a one transaction customer or a satisfied customer that will trust you for a long long time? Think of how the event is going to benefits the customers BEFORE benefitting you.
Another thing that business owners neglect is how the event ties in with their core values and what they stand for. Some companies will jump at any and every opportunity they can find to increase sales and damaging their brand and reputation in the process. Customers get confused about what these companies stand for and what is believable.
For example, instead of hitting back at the media for requesting for payment for the interview, could Twelve Cupcakes organize an event to bake 1,000 cupcakes and run a charity sale with all proceeds donated under the media's name? After all, their slogan is Handmade with Love.
Richard Branson is known for being the underdog challenging the big boys and so when he challenged British Airway's monopolistic control over the air traffic, it fits his image perfectly.
And if you are able to tie the event to a cause that you are championing, you have a winning formula.
Want to know how?
Get your copy of Richard Branson's Autobiography below.
The Singapore's government is recognized as one of the most efficient in the world.
Visitors to the island country never leave feeling impressed at how orderly and efficient the place is run. Like a precision instrument, everything is so predictable that anything that seems to run against the rule is unthinkable.
Arriving at the airport, you clear the immigration in less than 10 minutes and you'll be able to collect your luggage the moment you reach the conveyor belt. There's a queue for taxi or you can take the subway or public bus, which are all conveniently located. The journey to your hotel is a smooth ride and check in is a breeze. The government has a strategy of controlling the traffic during peak period into the city known as Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). The local people like to call it the "Ghost Gate" cos when the system is in operation, you have to pay a charge every time you pass through one.
The public services run like a well-oiled engine. Any information you need from the government, you can find it online. Responses are fast compared to other countries and prompt actions are taken to rectify the problems (though this is not always the case).
People queue orderly (except when there's a Hello Kitty Promotion in MacDonald) and obey the traffic. The cars slow down when the traffic lights turn amber and those that are speeding will jam brake to make sure they stop in time. Its citizens have been trained to follow the laws by instillation of fears. They have speed cameras installed all over the roads to capture vehicles violating the traffic laws.
Well, this is the right thing to do. Imagine the chaos and danger on the road if there's no laws. And the government is really good at catching people breaking the rules. If you are caught littering, you get fined. If you park illegally, you get fined. They have those uniformed attendants going round to places they know people always park illegally to issue summons. We like to call them the "little lambs" cos they come in little scooters (which looks harmless). People who park illegally will drive off once they spot these attendants. It's like playing police and thieves.
Thanks to social media, these drivers are now sharing information on roads that were installed with speed cameras to warn other drivers to slow down when passing by these roads. This serves as a reminder to all the drivers out there from getting fines. After all, we tend to forget about slowing down or following the speed limits especially when we are in a rush.
This beating of traffic reminds me of when we were young, we always like to play a little truant or naughty tricks when our parents or teachers have their backs turned on us. Reading comics during lessons, stealing a piece of the chocolate cookies for the birthday party when mum was not looking. Although fearful of being caught, you feel thrilled in doing what's not allowed and there's a sense of achievement when you succeed.
In your life, you are beating the traffic. In businesses, are you also beating the rules like you are beating the traffic?
If you said you have never beat the rules, you are lying. Maybe you stay open a little more late when your license only allows you to operate till 10pm. Putting chairs outside common areas that do not belong to you. I know of a small eatery turning off their exhaust fan so that the smell of their food will spread throughout the common area to attract customers. Of course, the fear of getting caught is there and may jeopardize a business. What if you're caught and your business license is terminated? But there's no thrill.
So where's the thrill?
Stay tuned for the next post. I'll be sharing ONE STRATEGY that will makes your company STAND OUT from the seas of competitors in your market.
I was going through a particular Facebook Page of a renowned entrepreneur and marketer by chance.
Judging from the names of famous business owners endorsing testimonials as his clients, getting interviewed on TV and radio programs and his self-proclaimed results he is helping his clients to get, there's no doubt he is successful in his business.
Some of the posts were repeated quotes by famous people and they were rather safe and some were standard marketing advices you've probably heard or read somewhere. While reading through articles on his personal views on marketing pieces, I became quite skeptical about the advices he was dishing out.
For example, there was an article of a company running an advertisement providing some advices to customers looking to buy their particular product. This guru said that this is a direct-response ads when there is nothing in the advertisement urging readers to contact the company. He was using three sentences meaning the same thing but phrased differently and asking for feedback from followers under the pretext of deciding what topics to include in a new ebook. It looked more like a device to help him decide what headline to be used in the ebook.
Here he is, teaching others about marketing but most of what he talked about was about himself. "I am," "I have," "I do." Talking about what went wrong with a company's branding exercise when what this company really need is to focus on their services. People attending his training courses are not allowed to share and teach what they learn. He even went to the extent of telling people that if they are not resourceful enough to afford the fee, the course is not for them.
So, be careful of gurus. And that includes me.
Read what advices you are receiving from gurus and use your own judgement whether you agree with what you read and hear. Look around to see what's happening and your own experiences. Are the advices based on timeless principles and do they make sense?
Recently, I had an opportunity of witnessing someone's appointment being postponed for three times within two days. And without knowing when the appointment will be postponed to.
Did something urgent cropped up the last minute? One time is possible, but having it happened three times is a stretch. Or she is too busy? What I could deduce from this is the other party is in no hurry to settle the issue.
You must have the same experience before. Your friend calling you to inform that she cannot make it for the dinner as her baby is sick. Your colleague postponing the meeting because the boss needs to meet an important client flying off today. Your customer rescheduling your appointment because his office needs to rush out some urgent delivery.
After all, taking care of her sick baby is more important than having dinner with you. Meeting the important client is more important as it's easier to reschedule the internal meeting. Making money is more important than meeting you, unless it's a sales opportunity.
What if you've arranged all your activities and place to accommodate the appointment only to find out the last minute that the other party cannot make it. You rescheduled the meeting this morning so that you have ample to travel to your appointment venue. You'll need to arrange your coaching session with your staff in the evening instead of the planned time. Your proposal can only be submitted tomorrow instead of today as you need to work through the night. Now you got to re-arrange everything and it's not going to be easy as others already have their plans. It's not only frustrating but also sapped the energy out of you.
And ever so common is being late for an appointment. 5 to 10 minutes is acceptable. But imagine late for a good 15 to 20 minutes or even more.
Many of us take rescheduling and postponement of appointments and being late for appointments as part and parcel of life, especially toward your customers.
There are valid reasons like the ones mentioned above. They could also be intentional. Some people are late for appointment to show that they are more important. Some people postpone appointments all the times to tell others that they are not desperate for the deal. We call that play hard to get.
For reasons that are intentional, there's nothing you can do except to stop playing along with them in their mind games. The more you accommodate their behavior, the more kick they get out of it. It is difficult to do it especially if the client is your biggest customer. But sometimes you have to put your point across there's a limit to how much you can tolerate. You have to educate your client to respect your time.
Likewise for you, keep to your appointment if you've agreed to it (bearing unforeseen circumstances). And don't be late. You have to respect the other party's time.
Tian Tian Chicken Rice.
328 Katong Laksa.
All get their excessive share of publicity.
"Wow, what a BIG fish!" I commented on my friend's Facebook's photo of his catch.
Do you like fishing? Or love fishing? A friend of mine can go fishing almost every weekend. It's almost like a ritual. Not doing it becomes an exception rather than a norm.
To those who love fishing, there's no greater joy than to fight a muscle straining and victorious battle against a gigantic creature or to find a catch that's rare. You can't wait to share your catch with all that you know. Standing with your glorious win on your hand to snap a photo has becomes common.
Whether you are an amateur or professional one, you'll always be excited and proud of your catch. And of course, there's a difference between the two. From the equipment to the tide, from the baits to the location.
Fishing is like marketing. You fish to catch fishes and marketers market to catch customers. Even if you're doing it as a leisure, there's no fun for you to go back empty-handed.
However, most business owners approach marketing like amateurs in fishing. They get the equipment and baits, find a location that's convenient and that's it. Down goes the fishing rod, up goes the spirit and there's nothing else to do except wait, wait and wait.
If you're lucky, you'll catch a fish very soon. But most of the times, it's the tiny ones. And sometimes you wonder if it's your luck or the fishes are smarter than you to steal your baits without getting hooked, if they eat your bait at all.
This reminds me of my first and only fishing experience during my army days. A group of us were at a enclosed pond in a warehouse near the river. This property belonged to my friend's uncle and no outsiders are allowed to fish there. We were told there are many fishes there and catching ten to twenty shouldn't be a problem.
Armed with our fishing rods and bread as baits, we started casting our rods. Being my first experience, I was particularly excited and have my eyes fixed intently on the rod to see if there's any slight indication of a fish getting hooked. And when I thought I caught something and pulled it up, there's nothing. Maybe the bread was too small and the fishes couldn't see in the muddy water. So I stuck a bigger piece on the hook. I was told to be patient and not to make any noise that will scare away the fishes. So I parked myself under the scorching sun in anticipation. One minute went by. Then ten minutes, twenty minutes, half and hour, one hour, two hours...
Finally, it's time for me to go home and I concluded that fishing is not for me.
The next Monday, I heard from my friend that those who went later managed to catch fishes. The reason we were not successful earlier was we used the wrong bait. The fishes in the pond don't eat bread. They eat prawn and squid.
In marketing, we often go out marketing without knowing who we want to attract and what they like. We run an advertisement and hope that someone will see and like what we are offering. Throw a stone often enough and you'll hit someone someday.
As a business owner, you have to know your prospective customers well.
- What do they like/dislike?
- What's their age?
- Where do they shop?
- What magazines do they read?
- Do they drive?
- Do they have kids?
- What's their hobbies?
- Where do they usually hang out? With who?
- How they dress?
Knowing as much as possible about your prospective customers will helps you to identify them in the crowd. In fishing, you have to know where to find the kind of fishes you want to catch. Are they living in the deep seas? Do they eat bread, prawn or worms? Do they migrate during certain seasons? When is the best time to catch them?
If you do not understand your prospective customers well enough, you'll end up like me using bread as bait to fishes that do not eat bread.
When you know your prospective customers, you can offer something to them that is irresistible to them. Time to stop wasting your money offering what you sell to everyone. That's like the company handing out flyers across the street near your office to every passerby. Offer them to those who are most likely to say yes to you.
Having the right kind of equipment is also important. If you are trying to catch fishes weighing at least 10 kg, you better make sure your fishing rod is strong enough. Even if you are only fishing for ikan bilis, you have to have the right equipment. You need a net and not a fishing rod.
In your business, you have to consider the best and most appropriate media to attract your prospective customers. Are they risk averse? Do they need a trial offer to get them started? Are they using the internet as a source of gathering information? Do they prefer to go to a retail front? If you sell health product for people over 70s with no computer knowledge, are you going to use the internet? Well, the answer depends on who is the decision maker and how he or she looks for information.
The only difference between marketing and fishing - In marketing, you can make the prospective customers come back again and again once you catch them. In fishing, it's a one time sale.
To get a customer.
To keep a customer.
To let a customer go.