RE-BRANDING A friend of mine recently invested in what he described as a re-branding exercise. Showing me the new logo, he asked what I thought of it. I managed to bite my tongue and not begin the diatribe that was already formulating in in the back of my mind, and simply replied, "Very pretty." It is possible that I should have just started the diatribe: he may have … [Read more...] about Re-Branding
GOOD GRAMMAR Alright, smarty pants, I know what's wrong - but how many other people do? And how many care? Just one more question: how many errors are there in total in those two short headlines? (Answer at the bottom, for anyone who isn't sure but still cares.) I was recently sent a web article from Australia, which posits the theory that sales can be halved as a … [Read more...] about Importance of Good Grammer
LUXURY BRANDS I've long taken the view that, on the whole, it's better to pay a bit more for things, on the grounds that the added value is disproportionate to the actual cost (even when it's double or even treble what you might get away with). The old adage, "Buy cheap, buy twice" has resonated with me for a long time. No doubt the cynics will say that that's easy to say … [Read more...] about Luxury Brands: Reputational Damage
SALES PROMOTION I thought this was going to be a shorter rant than usual, but it seems to have turned out the usual length. It concerns the everyday purchase of toothpaste at my local Boots. All very ordinary. It took a while to locate, being at ground level, tucked away in a side aisle, but hey - not every product can be at eye-level in a prime location. That usually costs … [Read more...] about Sales Promotion
QR CODES As a member of what some marketeers euphemistically call 3rd Age (ie old), my acceptance - not to mention use - of new technology tends to come some way after the 'Early Adopters'. And I guess you could say that QR codes are already past that point anyway. I do have a smart phone; I do have a QR reader on it (Red Laser, since you ask - and I do know how to … [Read more...] about QR Codes
WRITING A BOOK The received wisdom is that if you have a book published - even if you self-publish - it somehow enhances your credibility and standing in the business community. But is this true? I guess it depends, at least in part, on the quality of the writing, the subject matter, and the perceived usefulness of it to the average business reader. It certainly sets … [Read more...] about Self-publishing as self-promotion
THREATENING LETTERS I received a threatening letter last week. And to those of you expressing no surprise whatsoever because you were thinking of doing the same, I will say only this: bovvered? This particular one came from my friendly supplier of electricity, NPower. It alleged (having long since hit the bottom of the bin) that they had a statutory duty to inspect my … [Read more...] about The Costs of Poor Communication
WORD OF MOUTH I spent the best part of a day last week at a seminar (I know what you're thinking: surely he knows it all already, doesn't he?) Run courtesy of one of my networking groups, NRG (shameless plug), the subject was, "How To Make Word Of Mouth Really Work For You." Since most of the small businesses I talk to claim that this is their primary method of gaining … [Read more...] about Word of Mouth
TESCO OR WAITROSE When my daughter was moving to London a couple of years ago and we were discussing what area she might find somewhere to live, I vividly remember her response to one putative bolt-hole: "Oh, I can't live there." "Why not?" I enquired innocently. "There's not a Waitrose." This conversation was brought back to me last week, as I sat in the Shepherds Bush … [Read more...] about The Difference Between Waitrose and Tesco
COMMUNICATION I was at a post-networking lunch talk a month ago by Angels Den founder, Bill Morrow (g'day, Bill), in which he enumerated the five simple questions that business angels ask of early stage businesses looking for funding. Number one, which 31% fail on - a bit like falling at the first fence in a horse race - is, "What do you do?" Yes, you read that right. … [Read more...] about So What Do You Do?
REFERRALS Any of you who are on my LinkedIn network will have recently received an e-mail from me, inviting you to hook up via a referral site called "Referral Key". What prompted me to do it, other than the rather obvious new business motive? (Anyone out there not interested in new business? No, thought not.) Two things: first, and short term, I was invited to do so by … [Read more...] about Referrals: Giving and Receiving
ACTIVITY PLAN Looking at my diary for the last month, I find I have attended 10 networking events, 25 one-to-one meetings with people who may be variously as prospects, referrers or centres of influence, not to mention the client meetings. In other words, the usual mix of sales pipeline and operational activity. And lots of it. Never been so busy. That's good, isn't it? … [Read more...] about Meetings: business or just busy-ness?
BRANDING Driving round the country lanes where I live, it's impossible not to notice that there's a new farm shop opened up, not ten minutes drive away. To give them their due, they have done a sterling job in making sure that the as many people as possible in the area know they exist: flyers, press ads, direction signs on lamp-posts for miles around (probably illegally, … [Read more...] about The Basics of Branding
The Inside Advantage If you are a regular reader of this missive, you'll know I have a tendency to use it to pour scorn on the many acts of pointlessness and incompetence inflicted on us by organisations who should know better, so it is with a degree of pleasure that this month I recommend something that can only be a positive influence on your business. I frequently run … [Read more...] about Give Your Business an Inside Advantage
Customer Service I was wondering what to entertain you with this month, when I received this pearler of an e-mail from Easyjet. The background was a summarily cancelled flight back in November (yes, four months ago), which I discovered by chance - no one bothered to tell me my booking was null and void - and I asked for advice on rebooking. As it happens, a friend effected the … [Read more...] about Another Customer Service Own Goal
MARKETING MADE EASY I make no apology for returning to this theme - I have, after all, spent most of my adult life doing it for a whole succession of employers and clients. How sad is that? And I know that many people in business treat marketing as a cross between snake oil and one of the mysteries of the universe. But really, it boils down to finding the answers to four … [Read more...] about Your “Uncommon Offering”
SOCIAL MEDIA... Let's start with a confession: I'm prejudiced. I may be on FaceBook (I like to know what my kids are up to), and I may be on LinkedIn - business users rather than social apparently, though I rarely do anything positive with it: just maintain a presence. But for the life of me, I cannot get Twitter. It's not the arguments which are frequently employed in … [Read more...] about Twitter: Yes or No?
WAITING FOR THE PHONE TO RING? Talking to a small business owner the other day, I asked where most of their business came from. "Oh, you know",came the airy reply, "word of mouth mostly"."So you don't do much marketing then?" "Well no, none".All this with a cheery confidence-nonchalance even. You hear it all the time:"The phone usually rings". Except when it eventually … [Read more...] about Marketing Your Way Out Of A Recession
AUTOMATION: BOON OR BANE? I ask this because I was at a business seminar last week when someone mentioned, in suitably derogatory terms, the curse of the automated phone answering service, as routinely practised these days by big corporates the world over; and it got an unscheduled round of applause and a whole lot of “Hear, hears.”Of course, automation has helped us to … [Read more...] about The Bane of Automated Phone Systems
Every day, my inbox contains at least one, and often up to half a dozen, of these missives, all designed (natch) to persuade me what a credible operator and genuine help the sender is.I've been collecting a few gems from the plethora of the last fortnight, just to labour the point:50% of small business owners are cautious about employing young women. (No..I wonder … [Read more...] about Pointless Advice