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In Praise Of The Ordinary

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

We devote a lot of resources to creating the momentous. Dressing the window for the big sales event, crafting the sales pitch for a product launch, planning the grand family celebration—those orchestrated events to remember, where we can shine. The truth is we have the potential to make the most impact in more ordinary moments. Those times when we do the human, unexpected thing without a script because we care, not because it’s expected or people are watching.

Your customers will rave about the little thing you didn’t have to do, more than the specifications you met. Your team will be talking about how you reacted when they missed a sales target, long after they’ve forgotten what you said in your speech on launch day. And your child will remember the weight of your arm on his shoulder when he fails, more vividly than the balloons and candles at his birthday party.

Thoughtful, human acts carried out without applause are worth more than grand gestures made under bright lights. The ordinary is underrated.

Image by Kathy

Meeting, Managing And Exceeding Expectations

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

If a brand is a promise, then the expectations people have of the brand are created by the promises we make. Meeting expectations is about the alignment of words and deeds.

Disappointment occurs when we don’t do what we say we’re going to do. When we promise more than we can deliver or pretend to be something we’re not. Ironically, we are the ones who are most disappointed when we don’t meet the standards we set. We have the power to change this, by prioritising building trust over making an impression and only setting the expectations we’re willing to live up to.

Easy to say. Harder to do. That’s why it’s worth the effort.

Image by Bert Heymans

 

The False Promise Of Shortcuts

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

The promise of a shortcut is the most powerful marketing tool you can wield. That’s why we see it used so often and effectively. Diet shakes have done little to make a dent in the obesity crisis, and yet they are part of a thriving multi-billion dollar industry. We all know what works is regular and stepwise progress, choosing the salad and putting on our running shoes more often than we reach for the chocolate cake and the TV remote.

And so it goes for whatever we’re endeavouring to do.

It’s not just what you do that counts, but the way you choose to do it. When in doubt take the stairs.

Image by Philippe Woolgar

You Don’t Need To Compete When You Know Who You Are

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

Before globalisation, marketing, hair straighteners and the bullworker, our tribal ancestors and village businesses stood out by excelling at their craft. They became known for doing the thing other people in the village couldn’t or wouldn’t do. They were beloved for the way they went about their work. Not much has changed about how loyalty is earned, and a brand is built—except for our ideas about how to get noticed and gain traction. Now we look for the magic formula. We try to stand out by doing a little of what everyone else is doing.

The irony is, the people we admire and the brands we aspire to emulate, gain our respect because they are original. Mimicry is futile. You stand out by understanding what makes you unique—not what gets you noticed. Taking a stand that only you can take is underrated.

You don’t need to compete when you know who you are.

Image by Scooter Loweriemore

Choose Delight Over Satisfaction

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

When a flight is delayed why are the passengers who quietly accept their fate and meal vouchers never the ones who get priority on the next available flight? Our instinct is to acknowledge and take care of the customer who complains the loudest. We work hardest to get the dissatisfied, those unlikely to become raving fans, to the point of satisfaction. This strategy leaves fewer resources to delight our satisfied customers. It’s easy to take the contented regular for granted.

It’s hard to ignore the noisy bell. But focusing on the people who don’t feel they have a voice is the most important work we can do. Who are you taking for granted and how can you make them happier?

Image by Scott Ableman

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