Let’s say you are a professional organization where success is largely dependent on how much your clients trust you. Maybe you deal with important stuff that matters a lot to people, such as finances and investments, business counsel, legal advice or their health.
How should your organization be seen today? What is your stance? Your voice?
What makes sense and is attractive to people, given the incredibly scary period out of which we’re just starting to crawl?
Or, as we say in the marketing biz, what is your most advantageous position on the spectrum of the impressive, authoritative, big-guy answer at one end, and the friendly, approachable mom-and-pop solution at the other? Many organizations feel that now is the time to convey a solid (some would read arrogant) position. This all-knowing marketing stance, they reason, will eliminate any uncertainty or fears about their weaknesses. Continue reading
Even if you are a PC, chances are you still admire the Apple brand. It is synonymous with innovation and … something more. It’s about usability and a lot of “cool.” The iPod wasn’t the first mp3 player – but it is arguably the coolest. There is a quote from Steve Jobs that sums it all up for me: “One of the keys to Apple is that we build products that really turn us on.”
I’m not sure which of the 8 definitions (from Merriam-Webster’s Online dictionary) that Progressive used to define their brand of auto insurance, but I like #3, “moving forward or onward.”
Now, I’m a great driver. Really. I obey all traffic signals, speed limits, and I can even parallel-park, but I had a little incident on my way to a meeting earlier this week. I needed to make a left turn at the light, but I was in the middle lane. So I put my blinker on, checked my mirrors, and BOOM!, a sweet little SUV smashed into the front of my perfect, traffic-rules-obeying car*. Continue reading
I just called my financial institution, US Bank.
You know. The bank that has “Five-Star Service Guaranteed” appearing underneath their logo.
I had a question for my long time financial institution.
Upon dialing the 888 number, I heard the pleasant voice of the recorded US Bank lady say: “A fee of fifty cents will be charged to your account for using this automated service.”
Wow. How special I felt as a customer. (Is this what “five-star service” really feels like?) Continue reading
In today’s economic climate restoring credibility with the consumer is more important than ever before. People are not only losing jobs but they’re losing trust in our financial institutions, corporations, the Government… Continue reading
I have a friend who makes furniture. He makes each piece by hand in a barn behind his house. He is not a sophisticated businessman. He has
no college degree, much less an MBA. His business has not suffered in the recent downturn. I talked with him about credibility.
At first, he looked at me like he didn’t understand the question. I explained what I meant. He smiled.
“Credibility? You mean doing what you say you’re going to do?” he asked. Continue reading
All credibility is sticky. If you have it and live by it, people remember it. They associate you with it. Credibility is the Super Glue of branding. Without credibility, it doesn’t matter what your message is.
All of this is a huge duh. So why aren’t more companies concerned about credibility? Continue reading
Do you want to have a relationship with a company, or with your friends and family?
The space between the word’s “company” and “friends and family” is a thousand miles wide. It is the chasm between branding and what is happening in social networking.
All too often, businesses want to transfer their branding strategy unchanged from traditional to nontraditional. They controlled traditional branding. They paid their money and they got their space or time. It was a one way monologue. Not so in a world where people spend more time on Facebook than they do face-to-face with other humans. The conversation of the digital world means that you may not be the only one telling your story. As Arianna Huffington recently said, “We can’t use an analog map and expect to find our way in a digital world.” Continue reading
Few companies see their product as a character in a story. All of their customers see it that way, but they don’t. They see it terms of operations and org charts and marketing plans and manufacturing and distribution and they forget that all of this orchestration only works when the product or service is a character in a story that people relate to and want to make part of their own stories. Continue reading
Everyone has a story. Books and movies and songs have stories. Every company and brand has a story. Schools and universities have stories. Governments have stories. My dog has a story. Stories are more important than you might think. In tough times like these, if your story is just about low price, your story will have a sad ending. Continue reading