Bog header

 
            

Authors

Ira Koretsky
(click for all of Ira's posts)
Duane Bailey
(click for all of Duane's posts)
Guest Bloggers
(click for all of our posts from guest authors)

 

Archive

« September 2017 »
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

According to a recent study by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association (“The CMO Survey”, September 6, 2011), CMOs in the U.S. are focusing less on financial metrics and more on the measurement of customer relationship-based activities.

Metrics like site visits and page views, the number of followers or friends and buzz indicators (or web mentions) have all seen noticeable increases in popularity over the last year.  During the same period, fewer CMOs reported using financial metrics like sales levels, revenue per customer and profits per customer. The noticeable exception, however, is in the percentage of CMOs who still view customer acquisition costs as an important metric.

What, then, might this mean to your marketing strategy? Are there any takeaways you can bring to your organization?

I’ve compiled my list of the top 5:
• For starters, more CMOs now believe the customer is king and managing those relationships well can be a key differentiator.
• Customers and prospects want a relationship with your brand that transcends the initial sale.
• Strong and enduring customer relationships result when relevant content is shared through a mix of traditional and social media.
• Providing customers and prospects with a rich customer experience that enables self-education and word-of-mouth advertising is one way to reduce customer acquisition costs.
• Your story (i.e., answer to “What do you do?”) and your brand positioning need to be consistent across multiple touch points (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, website, sales, marketing collateral, customer service, billing, etc.).  

How does the customer rate in your organization?

Yesterday I came across an interesting blog posting "The Pull of Narrative – In Search of Persistent Context." It was an interesting and thought provoking piece on the concept of narrative and why it is better than storytelling. This excerpt does a pretty good job of capturing John Hagel's sentiment. Below the excerpt is my comment.

Excerpt:  Stories and narratives are often used interchangeably, as synonyms.  But here I will draw a crucial distinction between the two.  Narratives, at least in the way I will be using them, are stories that do not end – they persist indefinitely. They invite, even demand, action by participants and they reach out to embrace as many participants as possible. They are continuously unfolding, being shaped and filled in by the participants.  In this way, they amplify the dynamic component of stories, both in terms of time and scope of participation. Stories are about plots and action while narratives are about people and potential.

-------------------------

John,

Just came across your posting. Your article is interesting and thought provoking. After reading it, I do not agree that narrative is different from storytelling.

My focus is storytelling as part of making your professional and personal communications unforgettable. Every single thing you say, write, or post online is a story. 

For this to work, the "effect" of the story has to persist long after the story is read or heard.

It is funny for me to say this, when I was in college, I was repeatedly told that the soft skills were less important…I came to believe it. How shortsighted that thinking was. And unfortunately, it is ubiquitous worldwide.

It is an easy laugh to say public speaking is the number one fear. There are more than 20 phobias associated with communicating. Life in and of itself is not the best teacher for communication. Most students who graduate high school, college, and to some extent graduate school are not truly prepared for the professional world in terms of communication. They have the skills to be excellent in his/her profession. 

I learned from working in a hospital years ago a nursing adage:  see one, do one, teach one.Rather than redefine or move people to rethink narrative over story, I'd strongly suggest providing people with the know-how (e.g., tools, templates, examples, and case studies) to be great storytellers--to be great communicators. 


Ira Koretsky
The Chief Storyteller
www.TheChiefStoryteller.com/blog
Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Road to Best-in-Class

Name the best in your industry, profession or sport. What are they doing now?

Practicing. Preparing for the next campaign, interview or game.

Somewhere right now, someone is competing with you for the top spot.  They’re honing their strategies, perfecting basic skills and learning new techniques. 

If you or your organization is looking to become the best in your industry, profession or sport, you need to make sure you and your team members are all-in. In short, everyone needs to be personally invested in your success. And that means practice and preparation.

Practice can make a positive impact in almost every functional area of an organization.  In the area of marketing communications, for example, team members from best-in-class organizations tend to exhibit these attributes:
• A well-rehearsed elevator speech (answer to “What do you do?). Everyone should be able to internalize and deliver the same 30-second pitch.
• Presentations with purpose. Prepare for and rehearse your customer presentations so you start and end on time and follow a customer-focused agenda.
• A clear and consistent message.  Every message you share verbally, in print and online should be consistent with your desired brand perception.
• The right tools and resources. Choose your resources wisely. Use tools like white papers, email, direct mail, websites, testimonials and social media that demonstrate a record of quantifiable success.
• A relentless pursuit of excellence. Strive to exceed your customer’s expectations. Outperform your competitors.

Thirty speakers. Sixty minutes. One challenge. This is how an upcoming web seminar is describing itself. You have to do the math to appreciate the impact. Each speaker has two minutes to present his/her topic. Just two minutes.

I'm verrrry curious and intrigued to watch and evaluate the messages. I use a variety of workshop program evaluators, some of which are complementary and similar. I'll be looking to see if the program was: 

1. Valuable:  Did the suggestions, resources, references, etc. offer unique ideas I can't find elsewhere?

2. Simple:  Did I quickly understand the messages, supporting facts, and suggestions?

3. Useable:  Could I see myself, partners, staff, clients using the information? (Complementary to #4)

4. Actionable:  Could I use some of the information today, immediately? I always suggest ~80% today and ~20% tomorrow (strategic) content for educational programs (Complementary to #3)

5. Practical:  Were the suggestions, ideas, questions, and exercises appropriate for the intended audience in terms of prior-knowledge and expectations?

6. As Expected:  Did the speakers deliver the "Expected Experience." I was inspired to act, entertained to keep my attention, and educated to learn ensuring I left knowing more than before.

7. Described Well:  Were the program objectives easy to understand and was the write-up compelling?

8. Interactive:  Did the speakers include exercises, thought-provoking questions, and/or thought-provoking imagery?

9. Pacing:  Did the speakers talk at a conversational, easy-to-follow pace?

10. Amount:  Did the speakers cram too much information into the program or was the amount of information just right?

 

Here's the write-up from the site. Register here.

As a marketing decision-maker, your job becomes more complex–and challenging–each day. New channels and platforms emerge continuously. So, what are the most effective ways to plan and launch an integrated, multi-channel marketing campaign today?

Join us as we bring together 30 marketing leaders to each share their best ideas for leveraging email, mobile, social, paid media, analytics, and more to build your brand and business. In just 60 minutes, you’ll hear from leaders like Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis, and brands including IBM, American Express, Pandora, Coca-Cola, Kayak, and more.

It all starts on July 28 at 1pm ET (10am PT/6pm BST). You’ll discover the story of Sarah DeLash, our fictional senior marketer who’s endeavoring to transform her company from an outdated, industrial-era corporation to a modern, relevant, socially conscious brand.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips for Winning at Sales

As I reflect back on my experience in large commercial Information Technology (IT) sales, the one constant that keeps coming to mind is the presence of formidable competition on virtually every deal.

Since my price was rarely, if ever, the lowest, I learned to work harder and smarter than my competition to win deals. I learned to sell beyond price.

Here are 5 helpful tips for winning at sales:
1. Get to know your customer.
 Understand why your customer is buying and how you can help him or her to be successful. Position yourself as a consultant. Strive to become their trusted advisor.

2. Focus on your positive attributes.
 If you are a small company competing against a larger one, emphasize the higher level of personal service your customers will receive. Conversely, if you are a large company competing against a smaller one, focus on the resources that are available to support your customer.

3. Get in front of your decision makers.
 Show your decision maker(s) through personalized service and tactful persistence you are interested in earning their business. Find reasons to engage them in conversation often – over the phone or in person.

4. Introduce your team early.
 Help your customer feel comfortable with the people who will be working with him or her after the sale. Introduce your team members early in the sales process and showcase their expertise.

5. Provide a list of satisfied customers.
 Have a list of enthusiastic customers who are willing to share their positive experience with you and your company. Be sure they can speak to the tangible results they’ve realized by implementing the product or service you are selling.

For more tips on how to win at sales, please see:
• B2B Sales Tip: Friend Your Customer
• Are Your Salespeople Unforgettable?
• Trusted Advisor or Vendor: How to Tell the Difference

Join NBPCI and The Chief Storyteller for a roll-up-your-sleeves workshop to make your three most important documents unforgettable to prospective government clients. They are your elevator speech, capability statement, and capability presentation. Turn your Big 3 into memorable, powerful packages inspiring prospects to say, “We need you.” 

The event is Tue, July 26, 8:30 - 11:30, Fairview Park Marriott Hotel, 3111 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA 22042.

*** We have secured a special rate just for friends of the The Chief Storyteller. Register today.

Detailed information is below...

The Big 3:  How to Grow Your Revenue with a Compelling Elevator Speech, Capabilities Statement, and Capabilities Presentation

Learn how to develop high impact messages with supporting talking points, content, and win themes through easy-to-follow processes. Your program is rich with practical ideas and thought-provoking exercises you can implement immediately.

Bring hardcopies of your Big 3 documents and your laptop, as you’ll be making changes to your documents during the program.

* Special Offer:  For 30 days following the workshop, you are eligible for a free review of one of your Big 3 documents. Each review includes personalized suggestions.

Benefits of Attending
- Learn a powerful, internationally-taught process for developing compelling and engaging sales messages
- Make changes in real-time to each of your core sales tools
- Be inspired with proven, fresh ideas to convert prospects into clients

Your Program Includes:
- 30-page workbook filled with exercises, examples, how-to’s, processes, and templates
- Three, multi-page tip guides
- Free access to over 700 thought-provoking articles, ideas, and tips
- Copy of the presentation in PDF
- A 3-hour hands-on workshop, along with a specific action plan for improving your Big 3

We have secured a special rate just for friends of the The Chief Storyteller. Register today.

About Your Presenter, Ira Koretsky, The Chief Storyteller ®
Ira has been helping companies like yours develop strategic messaging and content management frameworks for over 23 years. He knows how to help you turn your Big 3 into documents getting prospects to say, “We need you.” Ira has delighted audiences around the world turning business stories into revenue. He is a sought-after speaker, consultant, columnist, and trainer. Be inspired with his mantra, “Think deliberately and differently.” Stay engaged with insightful exercises and actionable ideas you can implement immediately.
The Chief Storyteller helped IntelliDyne win a $94 million contract with the Federal government, TCIG quadruple its contracting revenue in six months, professionals at the EPA develop clear and compelling mission statements, and the CDC develop a complete outreach program for an important community health initiative.

Complete biography chiefstoryteller_pdf

Ever wonder which of your customer touch points is the most important?

Common answers I hear when I ask this question include the following: a direct mail piece or radio spot, website, the salesperson or ticket agent, a customer service representative, the invoice or perhaps the one who greets customers as they arrive.

Depending on the number and order of touch points your customer experiences, each of these may be right. For me, it’s the last one I touch. Why?

A friend of mine works as a gate attendant at a performing arts center. His job is to greet the patrons as they arrive and to collect their tickets. As they are exiting the venue after the show, he can typically be found at the same gate.

What amazes him is the number of patrons each night who tell him how much they enjoyed the show. Many of them will even thank him for a wonderful evening. To these patrons, he has become the face of his employer.

As their last touch point before or after the show, how he treats them has a lasting impact on their experience that evening. If his interaction with them is positive, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle that comes with navigating a large crowd, patrons will recall their experience as a positive one and will be more inclined to return.

Now think of how many touch points your customers experience when they interact with your business. Of the ones I mentioned above, which do you think is making the greatest impression?

At 6:17 am I was awoken by a loud banging noise. Well, more of a knocking noise. There is absolutely nothing in our bedroom that could make the noise!

Perhaps it was a crew roofing a neighbor's home. The thought of that premise made me just a tad upset...6am is just too early. I looked outside. Nope!

I just couldn't imagine what it was...I got dressed and went out back. Lo and behold, there was a woodpecker furiously pecking away at the wood just below the roof line, above our bedroom window.

"What did I do?" you ask.

Well, I did what every normal communications professional would do...I asked nicely.

She looked a bit startled. And then she promptly flew away (she based on my limited research. the bird was either a Hairy Woodpecker [Picoides villosus] or Downy Woodpecker, [Picoides pubescen])

It got me thinking. I could have selected any number of negative actions to rid myself of the woodpecker. Instead, I went the way of kindness--an important mantra of mine that I live by and offer in my programs.

What can you do to make an uncomfortable, inconvient, unpleaseant, etc. situation better? What positive steps can you take to diffuse a situation. My dad always said, "kindness first."

A friend of mine received this email yesterday as he was finalizing plans for a breakfast meeting.

This is the word-for-word email he received in response. I only changed the name of the woman to protect the guilty party.

"Sounds great, thanks! Did you have a place in mind? If possible I will bring Carol (my attractive colleague, I believe you met) along as well."

I wonder what Carol would think and say to the guy who authored this email?

Join NBPCI and The Chief Storyteller for a roll-up-your-sleeves workshop to make your three most important documents unforgettable to prospective government clients. They are your elevator speech, capability statement, and capability presentation. Turn your Big 3 into memorable, powerful packages inspiring prospects to say, “We need you.” 

The event is Tue, July 26, 8:30 - 11:30, Fairview Park Marriott Hotel, 3111 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA 22042.

*** We have secured a special rate just for friends of the The Chief Storyteller. Register today.

Detailed information is below...

The Big 3:  How to Grow Your Revenue with a Compelling Elevator Speech, Capabilities Statement, and Capabilities Presentation

Learn how to develop high impact messages with supporting talking points, content, and win themes through easy-to-follow processes. Your program is rich with practical ideas and thought-provoking exercises you can implement immediately.

Bring hardcopies of your Big 3 documents and your laptop, as you’ll be making changes to your documents during the program.

* Special Offer:  For 30 days following the workshop, you are eligible for a free review of one of your Big 3 documents. Each review includes personalized suggestions.

Benefits of Attending
- Learn a powerful, internationally-taught process for developing compelling and engaging sales messages
- Make changes in real-time to each of your core sales tools
- Be inspired with proven, fresh ideas to convert prospects into clients

Your Program Includes:
- 30-page workbook filled with exercises, examples, how-to’s, processes, and templates
- Three, multi-page tip guides
- Free access to over 700 thought-provoking articles, ideas, and tips
- Copy of the presentation in PDF
- A 3-hour hands-on workshop, along with a specific action plan for improving your Big 3

We have secured a special rate just for friends of the The Chief Storyteller. Register today.

About Your Presenter, Ira Koretsky, The Chief Storyteller ®
Ira has been helping companies like yours develop strategic messaging and content management frameworks for over 23 years. He knows how to help you turn your Big 3 into documents getting prospects to say, “We need you.” Ira has delighted audiences around the world turning business stories into revenue. He is a sought-after speaker, consultant, columnist, and trainer. Be inspired with his mantra, “Think deliberately and differently.” Stay engaged with insightful exercises and actionable ideas you can implement immediately.
The Chief Storyteller helped IntelliDyne win a $94 million contract with the Federal government, TCIG quadruple its contracting revenue in six months, professionals at the EPA develop clear and compelling mission statements, and the CDC develop a complete outreach program for an important community health initiative.

Complete biography chiefstoryteller_pdf

True or false? Social media conversations influence purchases.

True. A May 2010 chart from Internet market researcher eMarketer identified the sources that most influence purchases by social media users. Here are some of the findings:
• Friends – 55%
• People like them – 55%
• Brands – 38%
• Retailers – 35%
• Influential Bloggers – 26%

If you subscribe to the view that the majority of Internet users regularly use a social network, odds are the next purchase your prospects (and your customers) will make is being influenced by a social media conversation somewhere…even as you read this post.

If your business is not engaged in these conversations, your story is being told by someone else. It could be your competition. Or it could be someone who is contributing to a less than positive perception of your brand. In either case, it’s not likely those conversations will influence anyone to purchase your products and services.

Why not join the conversation and engage your customers?

Over the past month I received quite a few questions around Tweeting effectively. I thought I'd share the Tip of the Week in our blog...

Did you know the maximum length of a tweet is 140 characters? Most Tweeters know this. What most people do not know is there are three reasons to keep your tweet length to 100 characters or less.

Adding (1) Hashtags, (2) Mentions of Twitter user names, and (3) Website links reduces the actual length of a tweet by ~30%.

1) Hashtags:  Are on average, eight to 10 characters. See example below.

At board retreat w/ Engineers Canada. At dinner, president intro'd > 50 people by name & province. Impressive! #leadership #engineering
- Characters:  135
- Hashtags:  #leadership #engineering

2) Twitter usernames:  Are a max of 15 characters. If you include someone's username, it appears in the tweet as something like @chiefstorytellr. See example below. According to Twitter,

"Your username can contain up to 15 characters. Why no more? Because we append your username to your 140 characters on outgoing SMS updates and IM messages. If your name is longer than 15 characters, your message would be too long to send in a single text message."

article-new one written 4 job hunters @MENGonline "Write a Resume Summary that Gets Interviews" http://bit.ly/9b0mv9
- Characters:  102
- Username:  @MENGonline (11 characters)
- Website link:  http://bit.ly/9b0mv9 (20 characters)

3) Website links:  Links are on average 20 characters if you use a site that shortens like bit.ly. See example below.

blog-50 Business Storytelling Mantras to Live By-what would you add? http://bit.ly/hHqKyo #storytelling
- Characters:  135
- Hashtags:  #storytelling
- Website link: http://bit.ly/hHqKyo (20 characters)

It's time to embrace the copywriter in you. Think of your tweets as long headlines or long email subject lines. Having only 100 characters makes communicating to your target audiences even more challenging in simultaneously developing the message and providing value.

This morning I attended a breakfast discussion on mobile technologies hosted by AFCEA Bethesda, "Mobile Technologies – Info on the Go."  While the focus was on technology, one of my conversation partners asked my opinion on what has changed with regard to messaging and mobile.

Without hesitation, I told her, "it hasn't."

Advertising and messaging has ALWAYS been about using the right words to attract the right audiences. Mobile is just another means of connecting to and with audiences.

Think about the common attributes of successful advertising campaign. Some of the top attributes include:

- Unified message. This message brings everything together in a short and succinct phrase. Think newspaper or magazine headline.  And the message is unified through all communications used by the organization.

- Unforgettable message. The message is memorable and understandable. Effective word-of-mouth relies on these very principles. One of the best examples are the commercials during the US Super Bowl. Can you name another televised event where consumers truly look forward to the commercials?

- Story. Advertising needs a story the listener/reader can immediately relate to. Great advertising is all about the shared experience. The advertising has to deliver on making tomorrow better, in some way. Otherwise, why would anyone buy it?

- Specific target audience. Specific campaigns to specific audiences yield better results time and time again over broad appeal campaigns.

- Integrated approach. Organizations use the right communication channels to reach the right audiences. Today, we have the traditional channels of magazines, newspapers, billboards, television, and radio. The newer channels include mobile, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, banners, and videos (Note:  We've identified over 450 communication elements today...so there are lots more I could add).

- Measurement system.  Marketing must evaluate continuously what is working and what is not working. Think A|B testing or more complex approaches with A|B|C|D|X testing, surveys, couponing, and polls.

Additional Resources:

- AdAge.com, Top 100 Advertising Campaigns
- Define Yourself in a Way That’s Relevant to Your Target Audience
- Advertising is the Same Worldwide

I recently became a fan of Das Auto, a phrase Volkswagen aptly uses to describe the attitude of its brand. Das Auto is all those little things that go into making a Volkswagen. In its English language translation, it simply means the car. For me, Das Auto is more than just a car. It's a Volkswagen Jetta and the good clean fun it delivers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2011 Jetta as a”Top Safety Pick”, with good performance in front, side, rollover, and rear crash tests. That means I can sleep better on those nights when one of my family members is out with the car. And that's a good thing for any parent of a teen-age driver.

My Jetta includes a turbocharged clean diesel engine. An impressive fuel consumption rate of 42 miles per gallon on the highway and a 90% reduction in emissions from earlier diesel engines make this car good for my wallet...and the planet. I can feel good while driving, knowing that in some small way I am doing my part for cleaner air.

And did I mention it’s fun to drive? With its low profile and six-speed manual transmission, it reminds me of the NASCAR driving experience I had a few years ago, particularly when I’m accelerating on the straight open road.

alt

Good. Clean. Fun. Brand with an attitude. That’s how I perceive Volkswagen. How do your customers perceive your brand?

To read more unforgettable stories about cars and branding, please see:
• Building Brand Loyalty One Generation at a Time
• Maximum Fun Meets Minimal Impact
• Chrysler TV Commercials Are a Winner

Looking for a way to inspire greater employee loyalty? Boost overall morale? Or make your employee experience unforgettable?

Celebrate your employees. Share good news. Engage them in the conversation.

A friend of mine was recently promoted. Promoting from within is good news, whenever it happens. It’s even better news in organizations where a majority of the newly created positions are filled from outside. And it’s really great news in an economy suffering from an unemployment rate of about 9%.

I was fascinated with the story of what happened when her employer released an organizational notice announcing her promotion. Almost immediately, congratulatory emails began pouring in. People whose names she couldn’t recall congratulated her as they passed in the hallway. Well-wishers came by her desk and offered kudos. Everyone was smiling.

The news of her promotion had become a celebration of sorts. It is a story that speaks to the hopes and desires we all aspire to in our careers. It is a story that makes people feel good about the organization they work for. And it is an unforgettable story that will be told to job applicants and candidates for months to come.

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” When you’re looking to drive improved business results, one of the greatest joys can be truly understanding your target audience – their wants, their needs, and their motivations.

In conjunction with the national effort by the same name, I recently organized a Bike to Work Day event for my friends and colleagues at the office. I was looking to increase our participation rate from last year’s event (myself and one other) to something more significant. Before I even announced my plan, I started asking people I knew some very basic questions:
  • What would motivate you to ride your bike ten miles to work on a Friday in May?
  • Is there anything in particular you would want to happen before, during, or after the event?
  • Is there anything in particular you would need to make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable?

The list of responses included some basic things like a place to shower and change, a healthy snack, a safe place to store their bikes, pleasant weather conditions, and a chance to win a prize. Armed with this information, I proceeded to organize an event that would deliver on as many of these needs and wants as possible.

What followed was a 200% year-over-year increase in participation. I went from 2 to 6 participants simply by understanding and addressing the wants, needs, and motivations of my target audience.

If you’re looking to drive improved results in your business, make the effort to understand your target audience. Use that understanding to deliver elements of perceived value that will compel them to act.

Over the weekend, I took the family to one of our favorite restaurants. As we were leaving, I noticed the van and how busy it was in regard to the various messaging elements (over 20).

The "Cool prices ... Warm Service!" phrase stood out--it was memorable, short, and playful.  It prompted me to find them on the Internet.

The home page is simple, and I was glad to see the slogan unified with the website messaging (MBS Mechanical website). 

Have you ever used playful messages in your communications? 

I met Colin, the CEO of E Group at a regional government contractors conference. After a great conversation, we exchanged business cards. As per my norm, I looked at the card front and then back.

Lo and behold, I was compelled to read the back. I discovered Colin's personal statement (see images below).

I excitedly peppered him with all sorts of messaging-related questions. As the CEO, Colin shared everyone in the company has his/her own customized card (as a second example, see Frank's card below).  

In all of my 25 plus years of professional networking and personal events attended...in meeting thousands and thousands of people, I can without hesitation say this is truly a unique card. The other unique card comes from Superhero cards (read Mere Mortal or Superhero? and I Love Being a Superhero).

What are you doing to stand out and be unforgettable?

I just stumbled upon Volkswagen's contest initiative called TheFunTheory.com, established around 2009. The "site is dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better."

There are four videos available, including the winner, "Speed Camera Lottery."

The video I first found was called "Piano Stairs," filmed in Odenplan, Stockholm. Its theme is "Can we get more people to choose the stairs by making it fun to do?"

Talk about creative ideas!

Additional Resources:
- Facebook
- FunTheory Website

 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Simple Sells When Going Green

In my previous post, I mentioned Baja Fresh had found a simple and compelling way to promote an offer for a reusable plastic drink cup. Before I tell you what it is, let me give you two versions of the same message.  I’m going to ask you to pick the one you think Baja Fresh chose.

To help you decide, I want you to evaluate how well each of the messages I've provided answers these 3 questions:
1. Does the offer make sense to the consumer?
2. Does the offer communicate a clear benefit to the consumer?
3. Do the key sales points stand out?

Let’s start with the first hypothetical message, which could have been written by a pricing manager:

Get refills at 3.3¢ per fluid ounce, plus applicable sales tax, every time you present this 30-ounce cup at participating Baja Fresh locations.

Now consider the second message, which could have been written by a member of the marketing department:

REFILLS 99¢ FOREVER

Both messages essentially say the same thing. One is easier to understand, implies a clearer consumer benefit, and stands out more. Which do you think Baja Fresh chose? 

You guessed it, they chose the second one: “REFILLS 99¢ FOREVER”.  Take a closer look at the image I included in Tuesday’s post, and you’ll see it toward the bottom of the cup. If you look closely, you might even see a call-to-action immediately under the offer description: “Save a cup every time you refill this one.”

A message so simple, it has compelled my 8th and 10th graders to make repeated visits to the local Baja Fresh… cups in hand, $1.04 (the cost of the refill including sales tax) in their pockets, and smiles on their faces.  I can only imagine the number of cups they are saving.

You can still catch the first part of this story here:
- A FRESH Approach to Going Green

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A FRESH Approach to Going Green

I’m always fascinated when my 8th and 10th graders find an offer they are passionate about. Take the recent Baja Fresh in-store promotion, which asks consumers to save the Earth one cup at a time by refilling a reusable drink cup each time they visit.

Why would two teen-aged boys who aren’t overly passionate about the environment want to do this, I wondered, when clearly it would be easier for them to get their drinks in a disposable paper cup?

The creative on one side of the cup features a prominent headline, “Doing Our Part for Global Cooling,” between two images of birds and leafy green trees. In an interesting play on words, Baja Fresh has taken a negative consequence of pollution (e.g., global warming) and magically transformed it into a positive outcome (e.g., global cooling) their customers could experience firsthand…literally.

So Baja Fresh is a company that cares about our environment, or at least that’s my perception of the brand. Their main message seems to be they are doing their part to help the environment and with a little effort, I can do my part, too. I can do my part every time I refill the reusable cup. Sounds simple enough, right?

I asked my boys if this is what made them buy the cup.  No, came the answer. It was something much more basic and personal than that – it was the benefit Baja Fresh was offering to consumers like us who participate. And it made sense to them... every time I do my part, I get a large drink for half price.

By offering consumers a FRESH way to save money and the Earth, Baja Fresh succeeded in motivating two teenagers to do their part. Again… and again.

Read my next post, Simple Sells When Going Green, for more on the compelling offer description that inspired my teenagers to do their part.

On Thursday last week, LinkedIn launched a brand new service called "LinkedIn today." Liz Reaves Walker on the LI blog made the announcement. She wrote,

Staying on top of industry news is something we think matters for any professional whose success depends on being well informed.  With all the news websites, blogs, tweets and newsletters out there, staying in-the-know can be time consuming and it’s increasingly hard to figure out what matters most when reading news across multiple sources.

We’re very excited to announce the launch of LinkedIn Today, which delivers the day’s top news, tailored to you based on what your connections and industry peers are reading and sharing. If you only have five minutes to catch up on news, LinkedIn Today can help you cut through all the clutter, so you can discover the top headlines you need to read to be better informed everyday.
News from your connections and peers in the industry

LinkedIn Today is unique because it gives you three social views of professional news that don’t exist together in one place anywhere else on the web. We can deliver news that matter to your connections, your industry peers, and the wider professional audience.

LinkedIn today offers:

1. What your connections and coworkers – people you know – are sharing.
2. What your industry peers are sharing
3. What stories are interesting to a wider audience, outside of your industry:
4. Deeper insights into who’s sharing & discussing the news
5. Customized News on the Go

And it's going to be on the LinkedIn app as well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blogging for Higher Sales

If the success of your business, not-for-profit, or government agency rests upon how well you sell your ideas, products, or services and you’re not currently blogging, you may want to reconsider. You may be selling yourself short by overlooking this influential medium.

Technorati, the leading blog search engine and directory, recently released its annual “State of the Blogosphere” report for 2010. As I thumbed through the report, I was struck by the increasing influence of blogs in driving consumer recommendations and purchases. When asked about the likelihood of recommending or purchasing a brand, product, or service from a variety of information sources, over 40% of the consumers surveyed chose blogs. In fact, more consumers chose blogs than those who chose Twitter and most Facebook sources.

Now, that’s not to suggest Twitter and Facebook no longer have a role in generating consumer recommendations and purchases. What it does suggest, as the Technorati report concludes, is that the blogosphere is converging with social media. As my own experience with The Chief Storyteller® illustrates, bloggers are increasingly sharing their blog posts through one or both of these social networks.

Turn your communications into results. Consider the impact blogging might have on your sales results.

I have always loved video games. Anyone that plays or follows the industry knows how realistic they are becoming. Sounds, dialogue, scenery, locations and geography, and much more.

It's no surprise Jeep Wrangler has partnered with one of the top grossing video games, Call of Duty: Black Ops. Jeep has produced a special version call the Black Ops Edition.  

Visit the website and you'll be greeted to this home page along with battle sound effects. I really like the tagline of "The Only Vehicle Tough Enough to Play in this World."

A few suggestions to add media and consumer attention:  
>- Run a contest for game owners to win a Jeep
- Offer an in-game cheat you only can get from an authorized Jeep dealer
- Use social media like Twitter for a short-time to create additional buzz

* click on the image to view larger size

* Click on the image below to visit the Jeep site. While on the Jeep web site, click on the small image on the bottom of the screen to view the 30 second commercial

One of our mantras here at The Chief Storyteller® is to know your audience. When you are defining yourself to your target audience, be sure to do it in a way that’s relevant to them. It’s one of the best ways to drive the results you are looking for.

Let’s assume you are introducing your brand, yourself, or even your website to a highly mobile audience. In a simple and compelling way, you want to quickly tell the story about you and how you can be of value to them (i.e., What do you do?). The question then becomes how best to accomplish this.

In an age where increasingly large numbers of mobile workers are carrying Smartphones and where you have less than 30 seconds to make a first and lasting impression, an image can be worth a thousand words.

One way to reach a target audience with these characteristics is to include a Quick Response (QR) or other two-dimensional code in your marketing and advertising, your business cards, or even your social networking sites. When a prospect scans or reads a QR code with an iPhone, Android, or other camera-enabled Smartphone, he or she is given immediate access to the multimedia digital content of your choice. Within seconds, you can direct your target audience members to a homepage, a mobile landing page, a social media site like Facebook, or other web portal.

In the example below, I’ve provided the QR code to our home page.

 

Take out your Smartphone and give it a try (your Smartphone will need to be enabled with a QR code reader app). You might just find the right image really is worth a thousand words.

Let’s assume you’ve done your homework. You know why you should invest in social media (e.g., engage with your customers). You have a good idea of what you’re hoping to gain (e.g., increased brand loyalty). And everyone on your senior management team agrees on how you will measure success (e.g., a larger network of influencers compiled from your most loyal followers).

So now what? How do you build your brand’s network of influence with social media?

Here are five tips for making the most out of your brand’s social media investment:
• Make your content relevant, interesting, and unique.
• Listen more than you speak – the best relationships are built on a healthy respect for other people’s opinions.
• Participate frequently and regularly to show you are dependable.
• Share other people’s great ideas and be sure to give credit where credit is due.
• Measure and evaluate your success...continuously.

For more information on making the most of your brand's social media investment, please see:
Extend Your Brand’s Reach with Twitter
Social Media Playground Rules – Are You a Giver or a Taker?
Business Storytelling for Social Media
Social Media – Are You Connected?
Content is King in Social Media

What kind of experience do you provide for your employees? Why does it matter?

Fortune magazine’s 2011 list of “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” hit the newsstands the other day. I was glad to see one of my personal favorites, Wegman’s Food Markets, on the list for the 14th consecutive year.

While I’ve never worked for Wegman’s, I have been a big fan ever since they opened a store near my home a few years ago. I frequently shop there and enjoy eating in the dining area that overlooks the Bakery and Market Cafe areas. From this vantage point, it’s easy to catch a glimpse of why their employee experience continues to be recognized by Fortune and why it matters.

On any given day, you’ll notice there are Wegman’s employees everywhere – behind the counters, on the selling floor mingling with customers, restocking merchandise, and at the cash registers. You’ll almost always see one or more managers, along with one of the store’s in-house chefs, on the selling floor. Everywhere you look, their employees are on the move and are eager to interact with their customers. Most noticeable – and this is what makes Wegman’s unique – is how virtually all of them greet one another and their customers with a smile.

This is clearly a place where people are special and like coming to work. Consequently, it’s a fun place to be – for their employees and their customers. By providing their employees with a positive experience, Wegman’s is making it easy for them to do the same for their customers. And that’s what compels customers like me and so many others to keep coming back.

For more on outstanding employee experiences and their impact on customers, please see:
Fortune’s 100 Best Companies: What Words Describe You?
Be Different – Thank Your Customers
How Great Customer Service Turned Ordinary Take-Out Into Something Remarkable

Like most of you, I receive a large number of email marketing messages. In about 3 seconds or less, I typically decide whether I will open or delete each email. What typically grabs my attention and compels me to act are the words in the subject line.

So when I received an email the other day from my wireless provider that said, “Exclusive customer invitation,” it grabbed my attention. I had to open it.

The email was an exclusive customer invitation to purchase an iPhone 4 before everyone else. Although it was a little copy heavy and included far too many links, I was captivated by its single message – exclusive customer invitation. It made me feel special. It was personal and it offered me an immediate benefit (e.g., the opportunity to get the iPhone 4 first). And, it actually compelled me to click-through some of the links in the email to learn more.

As an email marketer, there are some techniques you can use when writing your emails to help ensure they are opened and acted upon. One of those is to use a compelling subject line.  The subject line is one of the first things your readers will see after receiving your email. You want your subject line to scream, “Read Me!” You have fewer than 50 characters or less than ten words to write the most important part of your message. Make your headlines personal and offer a benefit. Grab the heart first, then the brain.

Last month I attended another great event from the local Meeting Planners International (MPI) Potomac Chapter.  Carolyn Kepcher was the luncheon keynote speaker. You may know Carolyn as one of the original judges on Donald Trump's The Apprentice. Now she is running an advice and self-help site geared toward women called Work Her Way.

When it was time for us to move from networking to lunch, we were greeted by a card leave-behind at our seats as you can see in the picture below.  The card front and back are very well done from branding, messaging, and call-to-action perspectives.

All too often we forget that every single communication item tells your business story. 



About a year ago I came across these very clever commercials from Ally Bank. Blog Entry 1 has the first commmercial and Blog Entry 2 has three more commercials.

Here are links to three more. Watch them at least twice. While the commercials are humorous, they are negative. They do have very strong messages.

What do you think? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments...

 

Ice cream (YouTube video link here)

Egg Management Fee (YouTube video link here)

No Run Around (YouTube video link here)




<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>
Page 8 of 18