Branding is a process. It is a functional process. And with all functional processes, it takes time. It is also an investment. The most obvious return being your ability to price your product at a higher price (if you choose to do so.) This is true for MNCs and SMEs. Weak convictions can’t build strong brands. How weak is your brand?
Beware of slapping a bunch of activities together and calling it a brand plan. Plans that drastically change the physique of your brand calls for big basic movements and loads of effort, time and money. Doing a few ads, having a Facebook and striving for Google Page Rank while neglecting substantial spend on key mediums, good distribution and a strong sales and marketing team is like relying on bicep curls while trying to look like Arnold. A few basic movements in heavy enough loads and frequency change your body – squats, deadlift, press, rows, pull-ups. The same is for your […]
Bosses should stop complaining about “failures” from the marketing department. Stop saying “Let’s do less, it didn’t work.” Start saying, “That didn’t work, let’s try this now.” Let’s try something new?
Our recommendations are often compared to other consultants’ proposals. Or even internally concocted snake oil plans. The point to remember when comparing is that any plan can create awareness and give your sales a bump. But a good plan does that and creates meaning for your brand. It builds the base for years to come. Are you cycling a stationary bike?
We meet our fair share of prospects and clients who are thinking about investing in their brand by advertising. But the anxiety of a virginal endevour means they have a load of research to do. Exploring the “perfect” plan. They want to “learn”. The answer, if this is your first time spending (we like the word investing better) on advertising then the best learning will come when you spend. You learn the most when you start doing. You cannot learn swimming from books and the net. You have to get wet. Are you ready to jump in?
All else being equal, effectiveness is related to effort. If something is not working, perhaps effort is lacking somewhere. It could be you, you could be members of your team, it could be your boss. If someone doesn’t COMMIT you can bet your campaign effectiveness will go down. Is budget related to effort?
There is no perfect marketing communications program. Very often experts and so called experts argue with each other over a brand given the same scenario. What does this mean? It just means you need to do your homework. Learn, relearn, makes some mistakes, think hard, ask even harder questions and yes, experiment. How else would you do it?
Do something about it! 1. Grab the fire extinguisher 2. Get a second job. 3. Cut that credit card. 4. Rally the team. 5. Tell her to stop. 6. Ask him to start. We are waiting for you. It’s time already. What will you do?
Some people have a tendency to focus on one thing to the detriment of other aspects. Some people focus so much on their work that they neglect their family. Some bosses are so into production that they forget marketing. You can argue priorities or you can argue a lack of balance. When you focus on something, other aspects have to give. The magic then is in the balance. Not finding the balance is where some people fall off. Is focus such a great thing?
Someday, you will wonder what’s the point with your work and your job. Besides, of course, laying food on your table and having a shelter over your head. Perhaps, even helping define you a little. Yes, your job does that whether you like it or not. But above and beyond that, what else is there to your job? When you have no answers – perhaps consider delivering happiness and joy to the people you deal with everyday. If work takes up more than a third of your time, then your life would change remarkably if you make an effort to […]
One of the best ways to make you a better manager is to manage your own business. I know, you have a job. You need to build your career. The technology today allows you to do that. There are no excuses. Even initiating a simple content website can teach you immensely about business. If you feel the need to critique your boss, some business owners somewhere – multinational or otherwise – on how they manage their business, try managing your own one-man shop – where you call the shots. It will make you a better manager. It will make you […]
You get a new day every day. You get a new chance every day to pursue your dreams, your goals. Some people find starting tough. Starting to workout, starting to write the plan, starting to work the plan. Just starting is a challenge. Yet for most, starting isn’t the tough part. It’s the consistency. Doing what needs to be done on a daily basis to achieve that goal. Commitment – that’s the toughest part. How much are you willing to commit?
Tools are there to help you with tasks. Make it easier for you. Not rule you. Your mobile phone, cell phone or hand phone or whatever you choose to call it – is a tool. Do not let it rule you. You can apply this to any tool, technology or software or propriety process you use. You are there for a reason. Provide for the human touch, experience and wisdom. Stuff things cannot do. Be human. Be a manager. Don’t let an inanimate object run your life. Or make decisions for you. Is software doing your job?
By telling yourself that maybe not everything that happens to us is such a big deal. Things like the screw-up of a colleague, the delay in an answer, unexpected morning traffic, coffee that is too acidic for your liking. Small things need not sour everything. That’s one way to cut the drama. Do you have a secret fantasy to be a film star?
Good enough is good enough. There is no need to be great in a single leap. A lot of greatness comes from sustainable efforts of good enough. Good enough is a series of ascending stepping stones to greatness. So long as you remember that, then good enough is good enough. Go make another good enough that is better than the previous good enough. Is your greatness sustainable?
Don’t just obsess with the competition. Be obsessed with what you can do to improve yourself – whether “you” are a company or a person. If you can squeeze in a personal best every year, the compounded improvement across the years can be very significant. Where can you improve?
If your marketing plans aren’t flying after you put financial and human resources behind it, then maybe it is time to rethink. Is this a case of lots of petrol but no pilot? Someone has to drive the plans. Deploy the resources. Maybe you lack that person. Especially if you are the boss and you are doing it yourself. You are better off paying someone with the passion and skills to drive the plans. No matter how much you trust yourself. How long can you hold on?
There are so many gurus now-a-days for the myriad of fields you can conjure. Many of these gurus call themselves guru for whatever is their reason. Real gurus do not call themselves guru. It’s a title they earned from their crowd. By teaching them something of value that not many others are able to do. If you have to call yourself guru, it is likely you are not one. Where do you find gurus?
Do coaches have to be better than their players at playing the game? Whatever game. No. Then why would you expect your manager to be better than you in EVERY skill? When you start to question every skill your manager has and compare them to yours, you may be missing on what is your true role. How good are you as a player?
Increasingly I believe that when people with experience delay a decision it is not because they do not know what to do, or do not have the data. They lack guts. When courage is short in supply, decisions get delayed. What’s the brave thing to do?
Just because someone can dribble the ball around and shoot it decently doesn’t mean he is a good soccer striker. The people who end up in your marketing department by design or default may not be the best marketing candidates for their marketing positions. They need to have good marketing skills to fulfill their role professionally. If your marketing department aren’t scoring goals and top of the league table, perhaps it’s time to think about who is playing what positions? Did you play them right?
We all make mistakes including hiring the wrong candidate. What’s important is to realize the mistake early and not make a second one by keeping that candidate. More embarrassing than hiring the wrong candidate is keeping the wrong one. Can you fire too early?
If you say you have a deep understanding of a subject – say marketing or branding – I would submit to you that you need to have substantial experience, being well-read and researched on the subject. Otherwise, you cannot claim that. And if you want to argue your points, then debate it intelligently like good scientists do. Debating intelligently is a critical skill regardless of your field. If you have any respect at all for your profession, you need to up the knowledge in your subject matter, gain experience and synthesize them for your own informed point of view. How […]
Food for thought (and power) – when you swallow your own pride, it gives you limitless power. The secret to unlocking that power is only reserved for those who know how to digest it. How full of yourself are you?
There are no two ways about it. You want to grow your brand, you need to have a plan, invest your money in advertising (yes, spend some money), review your plan (yes, measure your executions), and be consistent (yes, keep doing). Sure, some people will want you to believe that you can do branding for cheap. Free, even. Sure there is a place for that as long as you measure it against your objective. If your branding efforts are cheap and free, you need to ask yourself – what can I achieve with it realistically? What is the time frame? […]
If you ever catch yourself thinking “all of a sudden” followed by some kind of success someone enjoys, then please follow up that thought with “what hard work must have gone behind it.” All of a sudden that brand is so big. All of a sudden he is so rich. All of a sudden the Berlin Wall fell. All of a sudden she is so famous. What are you willing to do?
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out. Why do you fear that when at any point in time you can only attend to one thing? If you are in constant fear of missing out, you miss out on living in the moment. Now, that is fearful. What do you have now?
Most marketers know consumers aren’t as rational as you like them to be. If they are, you would list all the benefits and features (or as an ex-client of mine says “benefeatures”) and you would sell truck loads of whatever you are selling. The product with the most features would be the best seller. Yet, knowing this some marketers still insist on fighting the “most features on my product game.” That in itself is not a very rational decision. How rational are you?
There are clients who like to do everything in-house. Cheaper they say. Doing things in-house that is not in your area of expertise is an expensive exercise. Focus your time on being the best expert in your field. Use finite time wisely. Go be the best cook. Let the designers help you with the menu design. Free yourself to do what truly matters. What is the cost of your time?
No you shouldn’t. You should listen to yourself. What you know, what you don’t know, what you think you know. These you already know. Some you may not know. My narrative merely pokes you to ask questions so you would listen to yourself. Don’t worry too much about what I tell you. Worry whether you can hear yourself. When you are deaf to your own voice, that’s when you become blind. Can you hear yourself?
I have a client who made this remark to me – in rebuttal to a case I presented to support our proposal to him, “Oh, that brand is driven by promotion.” Of course, he doesn’t know much about THAT brand I mentioned. It was through casual observation that he caught the promotions that were running. That rebuttal was just to shut the consultants up so that the plan he conceived can go ahead instead of ours. Like a wise Zen master, we shut up. THAT brand, your brand, your competitor’s brand is driven by TRUST. If the consumers do not trust your brand, […]
Especially when it becomes too thick. Leave. Same for when you work for a toxic boss. Leave. Yes, you have a choice. Just make the decision to leave. Yes, you have a choice. Stop arguing. Get some balls. Yes, you have a choice. How do you deal with the asshole?
Marketing veterans or virgins often behave like authors after a book is launched. They wait for the accolades, the recognition and the reviews. But more often than not, there is silence. No one cares except for you. So what do you do? Well, do what you do best. Start on the next campaign. Because starting the next campaign makes you get better at your art – marketing. Some campaigns do well, others don’t. Not every book is a best seller. Heck, many authors go through life without a best seller. That doesn’t make them lousy authors. As Steven Pressfield advises all authors, […]
If it is important, attend to it. Put urgency into things of importance. But don’t confuse urgency with importance. Things screaming of urgency may not be important. Learn to know the difference. What’s sapping your energy?
Business people, managers, entrepreneurs have a million small things yelling for their attention. Of course, everything is important and you only have so much time and energy to focus your time and effort. Hence, choose wisely. What you put your effort into and invest time and money will bring results. If branding is important, park time aside for it, put the right people to assist you, invest money. You, of course, already know that. What is important to you?
The challenge for managers with good experience and success is to waddle beyond the known. If you keep sticking to what you know will bring results based on previous experience, you are likely to get good results. Because that is what experience teaches you. Getting great results and better experience then depends on you getting into the unknown. Embracing the fear factor. Risking failure. Building on what you know to add new experience and better success. Don’t keep doing what you know. Add to it. What new things can you teach yourself?
When a discussion and debate about how to make your plans or brand better, welcome it sincerely. Because it is only through this that a better idea will be distilled out of the supposed chaos. The sad thing is that most people do not like debates and discussions. They think they are having a debate or a discussion but what they are really doing is talking to themselves as they rubbish off everything that the other party is saying. Learn to allow the perspective other than your own. If you truly believe in the merits of your idea or what […]
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. How much […]
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. What did you tell them?
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?