Branding Information

Its Time For Some Steak

Recently, I was reviewing our website statistics. One of the sites that had a link to mine caught me by surprise. Since this is a family publication, I won't include the name of the website. But, let's just say it contains a four-letter word that people do not use in most business circles.

The Positioning of Success

Many businesses of today are often driven to compete striclty on price, quality, and features of their products and services.  Companies who prosper over the long term don't simply offer the best deals, the best quality, or the most impressive bells and whistles.  If you want to win big in today?s cutting edge world of business, you have to begin by thinking differently and by challenging the status quo.  Whether you are a new or an established business owner, these ten powerful strategies will position your company for big success.   (1) Adopt the philosophy of ?Givers Gain.?   In 2003, the members of Business Network International (BNI) passed over 2 million referrals to each other.  Founded by CEO Ivan Misner, BNI is a business and professional networking organization that offers members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and most importantly, referrals.  Misner founded BNI based on the philosophy of ?Givers Gain,? which is the belief that in order to get business, it is important to first give business.  One of the critical factors in achieving success rests in the ability to develop reciprocal relationships where two parties naturally refer business to each other on a consistent basis.  ?It?s not what you know but who you know? has never been so true as it is in today?s competitive world of business.  For more information on Ivan Misner and his philosophy of ?Giver?s Gain,? access an interview here:     (2) Focus on Soft Innovations   In today?s competitive marketplace, the old equation of spending more on advertising to increase profits it not working as it once did.  In his latest book, Free Prize Inside, author Seth Godin, makes a strong case for using soft innovations as a way to get noticed in this crowded and noisy world.   Soft innovations are the small yet insightful ideas that can take your product or service from good to remarkable.  They are often hidden, and they usually solve a problem that is ? peripheral to what your product is ostensibly about.?   At first glance, you think the soft innovation does not mean much, but once you have it in place, it becomes an essential part of your product or service.   Examples of soft innovations include Starbuck?s Cards, Dinosaur-shaped pasta for kids, and cutting its ad spend and offering free shipping with the money saved.  For more information, read an interview with Seth Godin in Today?s Coach here:   (3) Re-groove!   How do you operate when the heat is on?  How do you respond to chaos?  When new skills or new behaviors are needed, how do you respond?  Knowing what to do and how to do it is one thing but being able to respond effectively and to keep your cool under pressure and on a consistent basis is a very different ballgame.  As leaders in today?s world, it is crucial to learn how to work differently and how to be able to shift and bend to meet expectations which here one day and gone the next.  The half-life of a great idea or a new product or service has never been shorter, and it is up to you as a business owner to become masterful with reshaping strategies, adding new perks to old products, and to stay on top of your game in the face of dramatically changing circumstances.  You may find that your strength of achievement was required to get your company up and running but that same strength is now squelching the creativity of your team.  It?s time to Re-Groove!  It?s time to unlock the incredible potential that is inside of you that is required to get the job done under present day demands.    If you are dedicated to re-grooving (getting past the old worn out grooves of your past conditioning,) it is essential to work with a coach or trainer who can coach you through the new behaviors quickly and in real time.  By learning to re-groove, you will be able to create incredible opportunities for your company and for yourself.   (4) Make your brand a ?state of mind?   Are you winning when it comes to style, a smart and accessible mix of products and services, and first rate customer service?   If so, Bravo!  However, this is just a part of the equation of what it takes to truly succeed.  In order to create a brand that is truly memorable, it is crucial for you to live an inspired life and to make your brand a ?state of mind? for your customers.  This state of mind could be a feeling of trust and confidence, a sense of well being, or a state of knowing that you are buying from a company who has your best interests at heart.   This state of mind cannot develop behind the confines of the walls  of your business.   It grows and develops when you are in the middle of  your potential buyers?in restaurants, traveling, checking out the competition, playing sports, tinkering with a hobby, having fun and lots of it!  If you are living fully and in relationship with others, you will be re-energized every day and you will give your customers a vision of what an inspired life actually looks like, because you are living one!  Your brand will become much more than your will become the connection that others feel when they think of you as a valued person in their lives.   (5) Become masterful at mobilizing resources   The ability to galvanize resources, both human and monetary, and to build  effective and efficient projects with them is a critical component of success in today?s marketplace.  We are quick to look first at the monetary costs of a project and quickly get cold feet, when the reality is that we have valuable resources hidden in our personal and professional lives which may not cost a dime.  Social capital is one resource that is one of the most valuable assets available to business owners of today.  The term social capital emphasizes that very specific benefits are made available from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. The value of social capital is that people can draw on the wisdom of each other to solve common problems, especially as it relates to money, time, and resources.   (6) Buck conventional wisdom   In 1971, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher decided to start an airline that you might say?was different and a little bit quirky.  They began with one simple notion:  If you get your passengers to their destinations on time, at the lowest fare possible, and make sure they have a fantastic time doing it, people will choose you over a competing airline.  This is the story of Southwest Airlines, who chose to move beyond the status quo by offering services and a sense of style that bucked conventional wisdom.  With their focus on fun, games, and "Love Southwest Style,?  Southwest  has made its mark with its strong focus on stellar customer service and conveniences such as allowing customers to proceed to their departure gate without stopping at the ticket counter, skycap, or self-service kiosk.  Most importantly, Southwest has honed in on searching for important personal qualities in those they hire-- the perfect blend of energy, humor, team spirit, and self-confidence to match its famously offbeat culture.  Southwest was once dismissed as a maverick, as their strategies seemed strange to the ?airline powerhouses.?  These same powerhouses are now looking in awe at what this ?maverick? has built.  The strategy of originality worked?It had the sticking power required for success.     (7) Become a Talent Farm When recruiting new employees, what are you looking for? Raw talent?  Raw communication skills?  Intellect?  Athletic ability? Commitment?  Skills?  Flexbility?  What about all of this and more?  If you are a company who wants to operate at the leading edge, where change is the greatest and success is the goal, you will want to recruit the most talented group of people you can find?those people who are self- starters and who are living boldly in the world.  By developing a ?talent farm? culture, you can instill a  mindset of excellence from the top to the bottom of your organization.  This culture encompasses a deeply held belief that having high caliber people is crucial to your success.  With this ?talent farm? approach to recruiting, your company will also be required to recruit great talent every day.  Successful businesses and organizations have a strong sense of what they are looking for, and they are always on the look for new talent and ways to retain them for a lifetime. (8) Embrace your core values   What is it in life that you most value?  Do you value beauty, leadership, creativity, stability, or family?  You can choose to orient your life around your wants and needs or the list of things you feel you ?should? be doing, but if you embrace your core values and build your life around them, you will find experience inspiration and joy at a level you never thought was possible.  Whole Foods Market is one of the fastest growing supermarkets of today, because its commitment to fresh, nutritious products is a value that keeps customers coming back for more and employees happy, hard working, and committed.  When you focus your business on doing what feels right and what fulfills you, you will have no regrets, because you have been true to the very core of your being.   (9) Become a "white hot center" of influence   A ?white hot center? of influence is an organization or group that you most want your company to be aligned with tightly and in a relationship which is reciprocal. One connection into a strong center of influence can position your company to attract a stream of qualified opportunities.  (Example: You are an interior designer, and you want to be in the middle of Southern Accent or Better Homes and Gardens Magazine.)  In order to attract a ?white hot center? of influence, you have to become what you want to attract.   Be well educated, highly skilled, experienced, trained and innovative in your product development.  Fill your network with other business owners who are up to big things in the world and who are experts in their respective fields.  Attract talented people into your company, and tap each and every talent and skill available in your company.  As you begin to raise your bar in all areas of your business and enhance your network, you will eventually become a ?white hot center? that will attract others by the thousands.     (10) Just Begin!   Start where you are, and begin today to create success in your life.   Drop the excuses, reasons or people to blame, dis-empowering attitudes and behaviors and get on with the business of living the life you know you were born to live.  Do what you know you want to do, and do it with passion.  Begin today to create the tomorrow you want.  As Peter Drucker said, ?The best way to predict the future is to create it?      

The Brand Called You

The best brands always try to do the right thing, so that their reputations will remain unsullied. But beyond that they grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.We all have a personal brand with social, cultural, intellectual, and personal needs that may not necessarily be addressed in our daily work. Address these needs and you begin to improve your brand. Here is my agenda for building your brand. Join and participate in community and professional organizations Generate media coverage about your brand Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associates Let?s examine how each one improves your brand.Join and participate in professional and community organizationsThe best brands grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.Professional and community organizations provide ample opportunity to learn and grow.They provide professional development opportunities. They allow you to network with peers as well as with people you would not necessarily ever meet in the normal course of your workday.For instance, I am a member and served on the board of our local International Association of Business Communicators chapter. This allowed me to broaden my contacts in the corporate communications world, as well as form a number of friendships I probably never would have developed. I?m also a member of the North Carolina Citizens For Business and Industry. Here I meet people from all walks of life and all work disciplines. Finally, I am involved with Charlotte Reads, a local non-profit that focuses on literacy issues. This allows me to use my communication experience in support of an issue I feel very strongly about.But it?s not enough to just join groups: you must participate to benefit fully. As a participant you have the opportunity to stretch, to gain confidence in yourself. Learn to lead by involvement on the board or in a special project.If you are a communicator by trade, try being treasurer for the group to exercise the other side of your brain, or take on a special project about which you feel strongly.Generate media coverage about your brandAll that professional and community involvement will certainly lead to opportunities to leverage that involvement into news about the brand called you. And, of course, there will be promotions, new assignments, and awards at work, too. More opportunities to make headlines.Your achievements are of interest to local print, broadcast, and online media, particularly the business pages. In Charlotte, the Observer has a weekly feature called On The Move spotlighting someone in a new position. The Charlotte Business Journal has a similar feature called Moving Up. If it is a big enough move and your company won?t do it, pay the estimated $150 to place it on BusinessWire or PR Newswire. Consider it an investment in your future. Don?t forget trade publications serving your industry and alumni publications.Seek out speaking engagements and write guest articles, too. This is yet another way to publicize your brand. And don?t forget to do news releases when you make a speech or write an article. It?s all about merchandising.To stay top of mind, you might even want to develop your own monthly e-newsletter like Think, the Hoover ink publication. Keep it mostly informational and limit the commercial material.Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associatesEveryone you know can be a brand ambassador for you, so stay in touch or reach out to those you haven?t talked with for a while.Yet another reason for having a monthly newsletter that shares your expertise.The network of contacts you have built over your lifetime will be instrumental if you decide to start your own business, or change jobs.So, heed this word of advice: always deal fairly with people. One bad experience with your brand can negate 10 positive ones.Now, get out there and start branding.  

Id Buy That: Getting A Brand Mindset

Feel that? The crisp tingle in the air? It's fall. Fall ushers in the promise of eating, seeing, and getting. It's my favorite time of year. By now, kids are settled into school, sweaters set free from mothballs, and it's an amazing time to... BUY.

Are You Brand Worthy? Are You Brand Worthy? 

Branding is a one hot topic, although it is wildly misunderstood. To make things even more confusing, branding is often tossed in the same basket as marketing which makes its application to an entrepreneur or sole-practioner even more unclear.

Branding Is Not Selling Out: ITS SELLING IN

Ever see an amazing band perform and wonder why you've never heard of them before? Ever see an astonishing artist on the street and wonder why isn't their work isn¹t in a gallery?  Ever see an astounding independent film and wonder why people all over the world don't know about it?

Don?t Get Caught In the Trap: The BIG Difference Between Personal and Business Branding

When you're all alone in the privacy of your home office, surrounded by your computer, your phone and your business idea, have you ever asked yourself, "Where's the line between me in my business and the business in me"?

Too Dull? Too Sharp?

You work hard getting the right cover message and words for your brochure. Now, you want to give it a look, an image.

Notable News - The Branding Myth

How many times have you heard of seen advertising for a graphic design company that states that they do branding?

Naming Names... How to Name your Business

Sometimes the best inspiration comes from hearing about the deconstruction of other company's names. For you, I am happy to share how I came up with "Slice A Day :: your slice on marketing"... First the purpose and vision of my site was to have people volunteer some marketing stories...true case studies of business owners and how they promote business.   Then gathered the supplies for brainstorming. I had a sheet of paper, pencil and a dictionary/thesaurus.   Let the brainstorming begin!I love really clever, catchy and visual names. It comes from having a web design and creative background. The hosts a local networking event called "Brew" with the tagline "where ideas perculate". I loved it! And to mimic it's genius, here is where that spark of inspiration took me.::: Start List :::? "grill - where ideas sizzle" ? "water cooler"    ...sidenote: i thought that's where people really talk openly ? "feedbag - serving up ideas" ? "your market draw"    ...sidenote: i don't know how i got here ? "evoke"   ...sidenote: now i'm just writing words, synonyms ? "persuade"   ...sidenote: this is where the dictionary & thesaurus come in? "convince"? "share"... a few minutes pass by... a few more minutes pass by? ""    ...sidenote: visual images of pie and cake   ...sidenote: slice is a portion of a bigger piece...hmm? "Share Your Slice On Marketing"    ...sidenote: tagline that explains and supports vision ::: End Brainstorming List :::

Brand Building 201: Finding The Ideal Way

The strongest and longest lasting brands branch off of an existing category. Branching takes patience and time. There are two speeds for launching a brand, each one with its own pros and cons.

12 Ways to Reduce Postage

1. Never send a letter that weighs less than 30 gms.  Five size8-1/2x11 circulars can be mailed with a 1st class postage stamp. By using all 10 sides with a variety of offers you have agreater chance of receiving an order.

How to Write Classified Ads that Get Results Now.


How to Create Your Own Mail Order Products

Pick up almost any book or report on Mailorder Selling andinvariably you will find the same advice.  When you select amailorder product, select one which:

My First Year In Cyber Space

My first year as a Cyberpreneur was a steeplearning-curve. I was an academic beforestarting an online business, so I had a lot to learn.But even if you were in offline-business before goingonline, you may still have to learn some new skills-online business is a whole new ball-game. Here aresome of the things I learnt in my first year in CyberSpace:

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