Unlock the magic in your story now.

Get the free 20 Questions to ask before launching your Idea Workbook when you sign up for updates.

Is Your Business Reacting Or Responding?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

It was impossible to walk down any high street in June without running into a notice informing you fidget spinners were BACK IN STOCK. The fidget spinner was clearly ‘the thing’ of the moment. A month later we’re already beginning to witness its decline. Another fad bites the dust.

A fad by definition is transient. It’s success hinges on what people are talking about today and is not backed by a genuine need that will require to be fulfilled tomorrow. It takes effort and courage to respond to everyday needs instead of following the crowd that’s reacting to what’s top of mind. It’s impossible to do both—which is why a good business strategy is always intentional.

Is your business reacting to the fickle market or responding to a customer’s unmet needs?

Image by Mario Adalid

What’s Your Failure Strategy?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

Everything runs like clockwork when all staff members show up for the hectic Sunday morning shift at the cafe. Customers are greeted at the door, informed about delays and offered a drink while they wait for a table. The whole system falls apart when one team member calls in sick. Waitstaff double as greeters and coffee runners. People forget to prioritise, service is compromised, and customers get disgruntled.

Every business has a success strategy. We set targets and create plans to achieve them. We imagine how we will perform and serve customers on our best days when staff show up on time and everything is going according to plan. It’s much harder to plan for failure. We don’t devote the same time and resources to imagining our next move for those times when we have to deviate from our original plan. We’re unprepared for failure because we don’t always think about what could go wrong and what we will do when it does.

The server might crash.
The package may get lost.
The email might offend.
The salesperson could have a bad day.
The marketing campaign might not perform as you hoped.

What then?

The difference between an exceptional performer and an average one is that they prepare for their ‘off’ days. It turns out that we do our best work when we plan for failure and success in equal measure.

Image by Garry Knight

Noticed Vs. Remembered

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing, Success

For every ten things we do today to get noticed we will do one thing worthy of being remembered. The irony, of course, is what we want deep down is to do work that’s remembered—not just noticed. We only achieve that goal by redressing this imbalance—forsaking the desire for attention today, to double down on doing something that will still matter tomorrow.

Image by Ant

The Transformation Business

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

When a woman wears heels her posture shifts. How she moves and carries herself changes—not just because of the physics and her altered centre of gravity, but often because of how wearing the heels makes her feel. Both her gait and her behaviour are transformed. Similarly, once the coffee drinker pays $4 for a cup of barista coffee, he’s unlikely to see the value in the $1 cup available at the corner deli. His behaviour reinforces the story he tells himself. He makes new assumptions about quality and price. His worldview changes.

We have a limiting belief about commerce, which is commonly viewed as a series of transactional exchanges. The truth is sales and marketing are less about oiling the wheels of transactions, and much more about enabling behaviour change than we realise.

As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we’re in the transformation business. If we’re doing a good job, we’re not simply convincing people to part with money in exchange for goods and services—we’re enabling them to make sometimes imperceptible shifts in their posture. Our role is to help customers take steps towards the change they’re seeking.

Where does your customer want to go next? Who does she want to be when she gets there?

Image by Rawle C. Jackman

Four Stories Every Business Needs

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

Every marketer knows he needs to tell his customers a story about what he’s creating—one he hopes will help them buy into his idea or buy his product.

The second story is that of his existing customer and her relationship with his product or service. The best business leaders reflect on how using their product impacts customers’ lives and look for opportunities to engage, improve and build loyalty.

The third story it’s important to understand is that of the next customer he hopes to serve—her challenges, hopes, dreams and worldviews.

The fourth, and most overlooked is the story of the customer he shouldn’t serve. The potential customer who falls into his target demographic, but who doesn’t share his company’s values or is unlikely to be the kind of client who will enable him to do his best work.

Many businesses devote a disproportionate amount of time trying to woo and please people who will never become their ideal customers. It stands to reason that it’s better to devote the bulk of your resources to those you really want to matter to. And yet, we often fall into the trap of structuring our businesses to placate the naysayers instead of doubling down on delighting the believers. It pays to know which is which.

Image by Lisa Dusseault

Unlock the magic in your story now.

Get the free 20 Questions to ask before launching your Idea Workbook when you sign up for updates.