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The First Rule Of Customer Creation

filed in Brand Strategy

Humans learn to develop empathy in the first year of life. We not only learn to recognise emotional reactions in others but also to understand what’s causing those reactions. One toddler will try to comfort another who is crying—not just with any toy, but with that child’s favourite toy.

We know how to stand in the shoes of others. We’re hardwired to do it. We’re good at it.
And yet, when it comes to the business of sharing or selling ideas, we forget to practice it.

Our first step to becoming the one customers choose is to be the one who chooses to see the customer.

Image by Donnie Ray Jones

How Are You Measuring Your Lead?

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

As a society, we have become obsessed with getting and staying ahead. We have become addicted to winning, and thus to comparing ourselves to others—not just in business, but in life too.

But being ahead, either materially or psychologically is a slippery slope to a mindset of never enough. A culture designed to separate us into winners and losers inevitably becomes one where we’re not winning unless someone else is losing. This limited worldview is a limiting foundation for our societies and our economies, our communities and our businesses. It’s also a poor measure of humanity and the change we are capable of creating.

Perhaps the bigger question to consider then is not how we measure our lead, but why we feel the need to compete and compare in the first place. It turns out that when we can set our own meaningful standard of success, we’ve already won by every measure.

Image by Kreg Steppe

Done Right Is Better Than Perfect

filed in Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Marketing

Last week, someone—a person with a business, a living to make and maybe mouths to feed, took time to find the contact form on my website to send me this message.

Are you an online marketer, do you own a business or businesses?

I was just looking at your website.
Do you want real visitors to your website or SEO for social marketing?

-Visitors Come From Facebook
-Real Traffic Will Come From the USA and Europe 24/7
-This Is Lifetime Traffic

==Just for reference, you can see our work here== [hyperlink removed]

Behind this message are business goals, hopes and dreams that have little chance of being realised because the sender opted to take a shortcut.

You’ve probably heard Sheryl Sandberg’s sage advice to entrepreneurs; ‘Done is better than perfect’. I think we need to qualify those words. Done right is better than perfect. If you haven’t got time to do the groundwork to tell the right story to the right person, then that’s a wasted opportunity. Your work is worthy of the effort it takes to go the long way around.

Image by US Embassy

The Difference Between Good And Great

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

The tiny Italian restaurant in Carlton is in full swing. It’s 6 pm, and a couple of experienced chefs are cranking out meals. The kitchen is a well-oiled machine, the oven is at capacity, as diners and Uber Eats drivers converge at once. The food is good. It’s just not great—unlike the food served at the Italian place we recently discovered in Auckland.

On the face of it, there’s little to differentiate the chefs in the two restaurants. Both teams work mostly silently and efficiently. They are well prepared, and everyone understands the role they play in making sure diners leave sated and satisfied. But there’s one thing the chefs in Auckland do that makes all the difference. In Carlton, nothing is tasted before it’s plated. In Auckland, the chefs taste everything without exception before they plate it. They are making a hundred micro-decisions about how to delight their customers every few minutes and adjusting as they go. That single act means they have to put themselves in the diner’s seat for a second. They have to imagine what it will feel like to experience their product. And that makes all the difference.

Good becomes great when we put the customer at the centre of everything we do.

Image by visitflanders

Attention Is A Byproduct Of Affinity.

filed in Brand Story, Marketing

The truest words ever spoken about storytelling were those of one of the greatest storytellers of our generation. J.K. Rowling once said—’No story lives unless someone wants to listen.’

As people who are anxious to change the world, what we try to do is make people listen. But there’s another equally important truth about storytelling that’s often overlooked. No person listens unless they care about what’s being said. Our job then is to tell stories that help people to care first so that they might listen later.

We can’t tell stories that resonate unless we understand the worldview of the people we’re hoping to help or change. We do better when we remember that attention is a byproduct of affinity.

Image by Dima Barsky

Victims Of Success

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

We’ve all been let down by a business we were loyal to or disappointed by a product we once loved. When we dissect what happened, it’s often possible to trace the missteps to a single source. Thriving businesses become victims of their success, and great products become mediocre when the people who built them forget how they got from there to here.

No matter how successful you become, the often intangible qualities that differentiated you in the beginning, will continue to be what keeps customers coming back.

Image by pkhamre

The Forgotten Power Of The Single Interaction

filed in Brand Strategy, Success

On a recent trip to Waiheke Island with my husband, we stopped a bus that wasn’t going our way. The driver told us to hop on anyway, and he’d take us to where we could catch a bus that would get us to where we wanted to go. Then, wait for it—he radioed ahead to the driver of that bus to let her know he had a couple of passengers on board who needed to catch her bus. She was waiting for us at the depot when we got there.

The driver of the wrong bus could simply have done his job. He could have told us to wait for the next bus that was due in twenty minutes. He could have decided that in the scheme of things this one interaction was insignificant. He chose to think otherwise.

In our globalised, digital world, as we try to hustle our way to making a bigger impact, it’s easy to forget that change doesn’t have to happen at scale. Just as a single well-placed domino in a domino run can knock all the dominos down one-by-one, we each have the power to change a day or a life in a single interaction. We don’t have to reach everyone all at once.

Image by Nina

From Average To Exceptional

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

The menu at Fumi’s restaurant is identical to every other sushi restaurant in town. The ingredients come from the same fish market, and the prices are similar. On the face of it, there’s nothing to set the restaurants apart and no reason for a diner to favour one over another. The difference is only apparent after you’ve eaten at Fumi’s place. It isn’t just what the chefs cook that creates a line out the door every lunchtime. It’s how it’s made and the way it’s served that changes everything.

It’s hard to put your finger on what makes an experience memorable, but that doesn’t stop us and marketers the world over trying to do it because we want to recreate that kind of magic for our clients and customers.

What takes something from average to exceptional is surprisingly simple and consistently hard to do. The attitude of everyone who touches the product and creates the experience is what matters most in the end. When the people who make, serve and sell things believe and act as if it’s a privilege to do the work, they can’t help but create better experiences.

We do work that matters by believing that it matters.

Image by Jeena Paradies

Who Exactly Is It For?

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

Alec has been on the road since 4 am. He’s picked up three fares all morning. The arrival of Uber has hit him and other Melbourne taxi drivers hard. According to Alec, the taxi industry has seen a 40% decline. He says he earned as much twenty years ago as he does today. He complains bitterly about the regulators and his bosses—now in his fifties, he reckons he’s too old to switch jobs.

Joey hasn’t been driving as long as Alec. But he understands why many riders prefer the convenience of Uber. He knew as soon as the ride-hailing app arrived in Australia there was no way he could compete on speed or price. So he made a conscious decision not to try being faster or cheaper than Uber, but to find and serve a group of riders he could delight instead. Joey operates a small airport transfer car service. He charges the same rate as a taxi but provides a more personal, upmarket service with the intention of attracting repeat business clients. Joey’s strategy is working. He doesn’t have to drive the city streets finding customers for his service because he’s intentionally designed a service for his customers.

The more deliberate and specific we are about who we want to serve, the better our products and services will be.

Image by Matthias Ripp

Becoming The Obvious Choice

filed in Brand Strategy, Marketing

Today you will repeatedly engage in the process of persuasion. You will try to engage with someone in a way that convinces them to change their opinions, choices or actions—their mind or their behaviour. You will aim to persuade them that you or your product are the obvious choice.

We tend to think that persuasion is simply about laying out well-reasoned arguments that help the best or most obvious choice bubble to the surface. But ‘best’ is subjective and variable because it’s dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the moment when people are invited to change or choose.

The work of psychologists like Robert Cialdini into the science of persuasion demonstrates that it’s not just what we say that counts, it’s also how and when we say it that matters. A hotel can get more guests to reuse towels by subtly changing the script on the sign in the bathroom. A waiter can increase his tips by offering mints along with the bill.

Becoming the obvious choice isn’t only about clearly laying out benefits to the prospective customer.  It’s about understanding the context in which the decision is being made.

Eliciting a choice or change isn’t only or always about making it more obvious.

Image by bassnroll

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