That amazing array of honey products got me thinking about personal brand. We are all at a fair of sorts. Whether the marketplace or in your social circles, there are many others competing for time, for opportunity. How do YOU differentiate YOU?
Most of us don’t think about a conscious plan for standing out. We have learned to blend in. But great leaders stand out. Work that is extraordinary captures our attention. If you fail to stand out, you will be passed over at promotion time. Overlooked in the marketplace. Ignored for the most important opportunities.
Some work stands out so much that it generates that viral buzz that the media savors. If it makes you uncomfortable just thinking about that type of attention, I have good news. It often is tiny differences that make the big difference. Success often happens at the margin. If your work is only slightly better, you have an enormous advantage. Often we look with interest at the shocking or spectacular, but settle for purchasing or consuming something closer to our version of normal. The choice we make, however, is usually one that is just ahead of the competition.
Are you a leader? Leaders do not blend in. They don’t hide their unique qualities.
“Be the one to stand out in the crowd.” –Joel Osteen
It’s a honey festival. What would you expect? Honey! And honey is a commodity, right? It’s all the same. If you want honey for a recipe, or to add to some hot tea, you pick up some honey at the store.
My view of honey completely changed when I attended the Lithopolis Honey Festival last year. I left not only with new information about honey, but also with observations on how to make nearly any business stand out.
Arriving at the festival, I see the streets have been closed to allow for tents to fill the streets. People are everywhere, crowding the vendors. With so many people milling about, how do the honey manufacturers attract customers?
As my family walks down the street, we stop to visit each table. I begin to notice how wrong I am about honey. There are innumerable ways that each company is different.
Don’t sell a product. Entertain the audience. Crowds gather around to see “Bee Beard.” That’s where a man of perhaps questionable sanity has somehow managed to create a beard made of hundreds of bees, extending down his body and circling his head. From the number of people crowding around, it’s clear that this team is successful. It’s hard not to stop and take a look.
Use personality to develop loyalty. Some honey producers were present in the aisles with a friendly smile. They were not accosting or overly aggressive. These savvy customer service honey sellers met us in an engaging way, answering questions. Somehow in the first minute, we know the history of the business and the family. You don’t need an academic study to know that you are more likely to buy from someone you know.
Create unexpected flavor. Did you know that honey could come in cinnamon or raspberry? Resisting the chance to try various flavors is futile, so we stop and taste a few. Now we are comparing notes, sharing tastes. Engaging with a product in this way increases the sale opportunity.
“Are you ready for the best cab ride of your life?”
When the door slammed shut, Scott McKain wasn’t only taking a cab ride to his hotel. He was embarking on one of the greatest customer experiences he could imagine. Not only would Scott enjoy a memorable cab ride, he would exit that taxi with lessons that can make a difference in every business.
Research: 73% of customers will do business with you because of friendly employees.
The taxi driver, Taxi Terry, didn’t know that he had just picked up my friend, bestselling author, extraordinary professional speaker, and customer service expert Scott McKain. Of all the people in the world to pick up at the airport, Taxi Terry picked up a global expert in standing out, in the art of distinction. In fact, he is the Chairman of the Distinction Institute.
7 Tenets of Taxi Terry
Set high expectations and then exceed them.
Delivering what helps the customer helps you.
Customers are people, so personalize their experience.
Think logically and then act creatively and consistently.
Make the customer the star of your show.
Help your customers come back for more.
Creating joy for your customer will make your work–and life–more joyful.
That simple, enthusiastic question, directed to an exhausted traveler one night was the beginning of a customer experience that tens of thousands of people have learned from. Scott has presented the lessons he learned to audiences around the world. And the lessons are now available in a new book, one that will inspire you. 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry is sure to be one of the enduring business books that will come up in conversations everywhere (yes, even in a cab!).
“If you want your business to get better, the first step is for you to get better.” –Scott McKain
If you think branding is a logo or an advertising campaign, think again. You may think you don’t “do” branding, but then you will miss learning some incredibly important business ideas—because corporate branding means more, and all of us have a personal brand.
Denise, when most people think of branding, they think of a television commercial, an internet ad or a new logo. It’s ironic to me that branding itself is not branded properly. Your book completely redefines what great branding is. Why do most people have the wrong impression about branding?
Branding actually refers to the practice of putting a symbol on a thing – ranchers used to brand their cattle with a unique mark to indicate their ownership. The practice was then adopted by companies selling products. They developed logos to put on their products to distinguish them and to signal which companies made them. Over time these symbols became cues of product quality and meaning – people would assume a product from a particular company had a level of quality consistent with the company’s past or other products, and they would attribute some meaning to it when they associated the logo with it. Marketers worked hard to develop compelling logos and strong positive associations with them.
So technically the understanding of branding as a business practice is still correct, but it’s clear that the value of branding has diminished. It’s no longer enough to develop a creative logo or to launch clever marketing campaigns to express what your brand stands for. Companies must execute on their brand identities too. Today’s savvy customers can see through a branding veneer, so a company must translate its brand vision into customer reality.
Let’s touch on a few of your branding principles to give a flavor for your unique approach to brand-building. The first is great brands start inside—with culture. Why is organizational culture the starting point?
Culture is the necessary first step when you want to define or re-define your brand because culture is what ensures your employees understand and embrace what your brand stands for and understand their roles in interpreting and reinforcing your brand. So great brands rally their people around common cultural values and use their brands to focus, align, and optimize the inner workings of their organizations.