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A Thousand Times

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

The young mother explains the dangers of running across the road to her toddler for what seems like the thousandth time. The Japanese furniture maker begins sanding the chair his customer in Sydney ordered six months ago. The app developer reads every review of his beta looking for ways to make it better. The barista pulls his thousandth shot of the week as it if were his first.

What do you care enough about to do it for the thousandth time?

This is my 1000th blog post. Thank you a thousand times for giving me a reason to write.

Image by Jonathan Grado

Keeping Score

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

Kill rivals, don’t collaborate. That’s what “fire-in-the-belly visionaries” do. The recent article in the Financial Review was reporting remarks from a speaker at their innovation summit. In his opinion, Australian businesses are too friendly. If we are to survive, we need to behave more like Amazon and Uber—”hyper-competitive, Darwinian killing machines.”

A reminder of how far astray the way we keep score has led us. Yes, our species survived because we gained physical advantages over our predecessors. But we thrived because of our ability to cooperate within our tribe. We would never have become what we are today if we hadn’t built camps and begun living and collaborating in clans. We evolved as a species to both survive and belong. We succeed when we strive to become better and look out for each other—when we find purpose and meaning without always keeping score.

What kind of world do you want to wake up in tomorrow? Because that’s the world, you’ll create with the intention you set today. You can obsess over your competition or focus on creating the future you want to see.

Image by Zona

The Value Of An Internal Brand Narrative

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

In a commercial world, we use stories tactically to convince and convert prospective customers. We work hard to change minds and capture hearts, with persuasive words and evocative images in an attempt to make an emotional connection with the people we want to reach. The stories we tell our customers form our external narrative.

We’re less aware of how the stories we tell ourselves shape our sense of meaning, purpose and agency about the journey we’re on. Our internal narrative creates value by helping us to make sense of the difference we’re here to create. It develops our brand’s identity, influences our behaviour and ultimately helps us to differentiate and realise our potential.

It’s easy to describe features and benefits and far harder to demonstrate what you stand for and why. Your goal should never be to invite a like-for-like comparison. It should always be to affirm the truth about what makes your brand incomparable and worthy of the customers you hope to serve.

Image by Arjun. V

Marketing Discernment

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

Much of our marketing is designed to convince or convert a customer in the moment. A particular colour applied to a ‘buy now’ button, the timely Instagram post or product placement at the checkout—tactics to get the lukewarm prospect over the line.

Our customer’s path to her decision is convoluted. It’s influenced by the story she tells herself. Her choices are shaped by regrets about the past, her challenges in the present and fears for the future. And yet, we market to her like she’s only considering the merits of what’s right in front of her eyes this second.

We mistakenly believe we always have the power to manipulate the decision to our advantage with a tactical nudge, forgetting that sometimes the factors influencing the decision are in motion long before we encounter the customer.

You will win some and lose some. Sometimes the losses happen long before you show up. The job of your marketing isn’t simply to help people to make up their minds. It’s to discern which people you can genuinely help.

Image by Thomas Hawk

Choosing The Customers You Want

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

More cafes in Melbourne have begun offering a 10% discount to customers who bring a reusable cup. It’s an intentional choice that says something about their values and those of their customers. Theses cafes are attracting the kind of customers they want to serve.

The clothing store manager gets disgruntled when people rarely buy full priced items, forgetting she conditioned her customers to look for red sale stickers by consistently offering discounts on Fridays to entice weekend shoppers. Sustainability stories and premium pricing are deliberate strategies designed to attract the kind of customers a particular business wants to serve.

We get the customers we want by speaking to the customers we want. You’re choosing your customers and clients, partners and employees by telling the story you tell. You might as well tell a story that gets you the right ones.

Image by Angel Ganev

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