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The Brand Awareness Checklist

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

In a competitive, commercial environment the logic is the more people who know about your business the more successful it will be. So we prioritise making more people aware. But if ‘awareness’ is your problem then asking how to get more of it is the wrong question to begin with. The better place to start is by understanding why the right people don’t already know about your products and services.

The Brand Awareness Checklist

1. Did we make a product people want to buy and then talk about?
2. Why exactly will they want to buy it?
3. Who are our ideal customers?
4. What do they care about?
5. Where are they spending time online and offline?
6. What motivates them to buy products and services?
7. Where are they researching and shopping?
8. Are we where they are, providing the tangible and intangible value they want?
9. What’s our ‘first ten’ strategy?
10.How will we make sure those first ten come back and bring another ten?

You can only reap the rewards that come by getting beyond the last question on the checklist when you’ve successfully answered and addressed the first nine. There is no shortcut to mattering.

Image by Ivan Rigamonti.

Aligning Your Ducks

filed in Brand Strategy

The manager at the burger bar works hard to manage his costs. Part of his strategy is to pay his teen workers below minimum wage. He realises he can save on salaries by cancelling their shifts within an hour’s notice on a slow day. The thing that frustrates him the most is his high staff turnover.

The cafe owner in the park employs people who have previously found it challenging to find work. He provides training and weekly mentoring to each team member—ensuring they’re on track to meet the goals they’ve set themselves. His staff love working there, and it shows, not just because they turn up, but in every interaction with customers.

A good business strategy isn’t just about having all your ducks in a row. It’s about the care you take when choosing which ducks to include and your understanding of how each one impacts your story and success. Aligning the ducks is the easy part.

Image by Bilb.

Are You Pressing The Right Buttons?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

The guy who knocks on the door at 5 pm is armed with an iPad, a sales pitch and an assumption. He denies he’s trying to sell something. ‘It’s not a sale—it’s a reduction.’ He asks if I’ve looked at the back of my power bills lately. Tells me the prices have risen and he’s just switched a couple of neighbours in the street who wanted to avoid the increases, to his company. When I explain how happy I am with my energy provider, he presses on, mentioning price twice more as the reason people are switching. The assumption being that every person he speaks to will be motivated by price regardless of their experience—that everyone shares a similar worldview.

The salesman is doing his best within the limitations of the strategy his company has adopted. What this energy company doesn’t know about the potential customer (practically everything apart from where they live), affects their success rate. The story the company is telling today leaves it open to being easily disrupted by a new, cheaper competitor tomorrow.

If your growth strategy relies on pressing your customer’s buttons, then it pays to know which ones to press. The flipside, of course, is that if you’re just differentiating and competing on something that requires less insight and effort, then it won’t be long before someone else uses a similar strategy. The harder a story is to replicate the more valuable it is.

Image by Thomas Hawk.

The Value Of Fixing The Root Of The Problem

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy

The first step to fixing any problem is to acknowledge there is one.

If you find yourself starting every email with ‘sorry’, question why you’re constantly doing that.

If the software doesn’t work the first time, every time, dig deeper before you need to use it again.

If your projects always run over budget look for patterns that reveal the holes in your estimates.

If deadlines consistently allude you be honest about what you need to do to change that.

The simplest way to create exponential value is to make promises you intend to keep and then to keep them. You know from experience hardly anyone does this. Promises are often hastily made and casually broken. Find a way to be the exception and not the rule.

Image by Tobias Toft.

A Simple Truth About Business Growth

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

We’ve all seen what happens when a business is poorly scaled. The cult restaurant adds more tables and loses its magic. The software is ruined when too many features are added. The bespoke tourist attraction becomes tacky.

Growth doesn’t come from looking for more opportunities to expand, it’s a result of finding better ways to serve. This doesn’t mean thinking small and staying small. It means being more thoughtful about the need to go bigger, instead of going big for the sake of being big.

Image by Roberto Trobretta.