12 Ways Brands Get Off Track

12 Sins of Branding

Companies, like people, can go off track. A simple error compounds. The wrong attitude takes root. A poorly designed strategy is implemented. Perhaps the focus is just a bit off, sending everything off course. It happens.

What do you do if you are off track? How do you recognize the signs?

There are two branding experts that I turn to when it comes to branding and revitalizing brands: Larry Light and Joan Kiddon. They not only have the experience, but their advice is my favorite kind: practical and actionable. I’m not one for studying theories that I can’t immediately use.

I recently spoke with the authors about the troubling behaviors and attitudes that cause companies to mess up their brand. They have identified 12 ways that brands go awry. Their updated book on branding, Six Rules of Brand Revitalization, is a must-read on the subject.

 

“Arrogance leads to complacency which destroys innovation and leaves you out of date.”

 

The Arrogance of Success

How do you pull a culture out of arrogance, especially if they don’t realize it?

Often it takes a sense of urgency, a perception of an impending crisis. Change is difficult. An arrogant culture resists change until it seems that there is no option. Change or die. Dramatize the need for change. The most dangerous disease is complacency. Arrogance can lead to complacency. Complacency can keep your eyes closed to innovation and leave you out of date with your customers. The common expression, “Go back to basics,” is often used to defend resisting change. Going backwards will not guide marketers how to best go forward.

 

“Culture change is led from the top. The leader sets the tone.”

 

Culture change is led from the top. The leader sets the tone. Sometimes a leadership change is necessary. This is what happened at McDonald’s in 2002. The new leadership immediately dramatized the need for change. Jim Cantalupo, the new CEO, created a sense of urgency.

We recommend the four steps of Breaking the LOCK on Brand Troubles: Fix Leadership; then leadership can fix the Organization alignment. Cultural change is an imperative. Knowledge is a powerful force. Become a learning culture…

 

12 Branding Sins

1: The arrogance of success

2: The comfort of complacency

3: The building of organizational barriers and bureaucratic processes

4: The focus on analyst satisfaction rather than on customer satisfaction

5: The belief that what worked yesterday will work today

6: The failure to innovate

7: The lack of focus on the core customer

8: The backtracking to basics

9: The loss of relevance

10: The lack of a coherent Plan to Win

11: The lack of a balanced Brand-Business Scorecard

12: The disregard for the changing world

 

 

Is there one that is most often the culprit in brand failures?

As we say in the book, the Twelve Tendencies for Trouble are not independent of each other. These are all interconnected forces. A company that succumbs to one seems to succumb to more than one. There is no single culprit. Each of the Twelve Tendencies for Trouble must be avoided.

 

“Problem solution is the most effective way to stay relevant.”

 

Encourage a Culture of Innovation

How to Avoid the Most Common Branding Mistakes

6 Rules of Brand Revitalization

 

How do you keep a brand relevant?

 

If you are looking to develop a strong global brand, you will find two names consistently mentioned as “go-to” experts: Larry Light and Joan Kiddon. They have just released a second edition of their book on branding, Six Rules of Brand Revitalization.

If you need to revitalize a brand, or if you are looking to avoid the pitfalls others have made, this book is a blueprint to follow for building a brand.

 

“Without trust, there can be no brand loyalty.” -Light / Kiddon

 

I recently spoke with the authors about their new book and the rules of branding.

 

6 Rules of Brand Revitalization

 

1. Refocus the organization.

Where do most corporate leaders get it wrong?

They tend to believe that “refocus” can happen through tools and templates and HR seminars. Refocus is more than filling in the blanks and talking the talk. When there is a conflict between strategy and culture, culture wins. A commitment to change requires refocusing of the cultural mindset that emanates from the top down. Merely embarking on a training program to encourage a focus on new tools, templates, and techniques can distract from the need to accomplish both the behavioral and attitudinal modifications that foster culture change.

 

“Refocusing an organization around common goals is the first step for brand revitalization.” -Light / Kiddon

 

6 Rules of Brand Revitalization

Rule 1: Refocus the organization

Rule 2: Restore brand relevance

Rule 3: Reinvent the brand experience

Rule 4: Reinforce a results culture

Rule 5: Rebuild brand trust

Rule 6: Realize global alignment

 

What tip would you provide to a leadership team in the midst of this refocus?

Leaders are different from commanders. Commanders manage by telling people what to do. They create acceptors. Leaders create believers. Acceptors go through the motions complying with the new processes and behaviors. Believers have true commitment that this refocus is a better path to a successful future. Acceptors are not the same as adherents. The leader must be the one to set the tone and drive the change for all to see and emulate. Leaders must demonstrate commitment if they expect people to become believers in the new world.

 

“The leader must set the tone and drive change.” -Light / Kiddon

 

  

2. Restore brand relevance.

What are the best ways to stay on top of changing customer expectations?

Stay up-to-date with all available information. Read a variety of sources, not just in your business’ field but also across many disciplines. Include regular market research reports. But also include what is happening in the world around us. Be observant. Be informed. Be open to new ideas.

In this world of access to “big data’” there is now a focus on data analytics. Analysis can tell us about what is happening today. Analysis is about the decomposition of data. But real insight does not come from analysis. It comes from creative synthesis. Analysis is about taking data apart. Synthesis is about putting together disparate sources of information in original ways. Synthesis is about detecting patterns that others fail to see. Keeping a brand relevant will involve both analysis and synthesis. Make sure that the organization is open and conducive to creative synthesis.

 

3. Reinvent the brand experience.

How do you define a brand experience?

The total brand experience includes consideration, shopping, purchase, use, service, online, offline, brand communications, handling of customer complaints, and so on. Every touch point with the customer is a part of the total brand experience. It includes every aspect of the brand promise: functional benefits, emotional and social rewards, solutions to problems, and so forth.

 

“Every touch point with the customer is a part of the total brand experience.” -Light / Kiddon

 

How fast can a brand innovate and reinvent?

How Busy Authors Market Books In An Online World

Are you an aspiring author?

Have you written a book but need some marketing tips?

How do you get the message out about your work?

 

How to Increase Online Effectiveness

Today it’s not only about the manuscript but also about how to get the word out about your book. Online marketing and social media have upended the traditional methods to market an author. Today, your effectiveness online is crucial to the success of your book.

In my own experience in the book business, I have seen the shift to social media and the rise of the author’s platform as major marketing tools. One of the notable experts in this field is Fauzia Burke. Fauzia is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide. Fauzia has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more.

I recently asked Fauzia to share her wisdom about the best ways to market a book online.

 

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” -John F. Kennedy

 

You’ve personally witnessed online developments from inception to today’s social and mobile world. Compare and contrast today to pre-online. How is the world different for authors today?

Oh, wow. Everything has changed . . . the most significant being that there’s never been a better time to be an author. Now, for the first time in the history of publishing, authors have direct access to their readers. Social media has changed the publishing landscape. While there is more competition in the marketplace today, there are more opportunities than ever before.

The new accessibility of social media allows authors to reach their audience directly, and this makes a long-term online marketing strategy absolutely essential for authors. The key to success for authors today is to build and grow their platform long-term. If they earn the trust of their readers, they can do anything.

 

“There’s never been a better time to be an author.” –Fauzia Burke

 

Common Misconceptions

What are some of the biggest misconceptions authors have when it comes to book publicity?

Many people feel book publicity is not quantifiable. I disagree with that notion. We can absolutely quantify the effects of publicity. When book publicity works, we see an increase in sales. Today, we can also judge the value by an increase in social media visibility and more traffic to an author’s site. Unfortunately, we can’t often duplicate success or land book sales each time. How a book resonates with its audience is magic. We can’t make people buy a book, a fact that is more frustrating to us as publicists than to anyone.

The other misconception is that there is a short launch period when an author gets media hits and goes on a book tour, and then an author moves on until the next book. That is just not the case anymore. Book publicity is a marathon, not a sprint. Authors are expected to engage with their readers whether they have a book to push or not.

Josh Charles, an actor on the TV series The Good Wife said when he exited the show: “I think that the beauty of social media is the ability to stay in touch with the fans and share with them what they’re going through and let them know that I’m there and the character may be gone, but I’m still involved in the show.” Authors too start a conversation with their community that is ongoing and lasting. It can’t stop at the end of a book tour.

 

“How a book resonates with its audience is magic.” –Fauzia Burke

 

3 Must Do’s for Authors

What are the top 3 “must do’s” for an author?

  1. Work on an online marketing strategy. The few authors that have become huge bestselling successes without a digital or social strategy are anomalies. Most of us need to work on online branding every day for the success of our businesses, books and careers. I encourage authors to develop their online brands. Online marketing is not about selling; it’s about making buying easier. It’s about forming real connections.
  2. Authors need to have a professional website. Your website will be your home base for your digital marketing efforts, and it is critical to your credibility. People do judge a book by its cover and an author’s expertise and quality of their writing by the look of their website.
  3. Be patient. If you are a little overwhelmed by the rapidly changing world of online marketing, you are not alone. Remember all of us, experts and novice, are learning as we go. You don’t have to become a social media strategist to be effective. By using the most important online marketing outlets for your audience in a targeted way, your book, brand and bottom line will benefit.

 

“No matter what your pursuit, the most fulfilling part is sharing it with others.” -Eli Broad

 

Social Media Engagement is a Privilege

My perception is that, after writing the book, most authors breathe a sigh of relief and think “It’s done!” and then they learn the real work is ahead of them. Is that your experience? How do you ease them into the reality of what’s ahead?online-marketing-for-busy-authors-sidebar

Ah, yes. Of course, for every author, writing their book is a labor of love and incredibly hard work, and so understandably they exhale a sigh of relief when the book writing process is finished. It’s tough to immediately say, “Wait until you see the work that’s still ahead.” We all complain about social media because it’s time consuming, but it’s the way the world has changed, and as authors, we need to change with it. We have to adapt. Once authors embrace the need to change with the times, I tell them some good news:

  • You don’t have to do everything.
  • You don’t have to constantly switch directions to follow the next shiny thing.
  • You get an unprecedented opportunity to build a community of interested readers who want to support your success.

It’s really a privilege to be able to talk to people and form relationships with your readers. I think authors breathe a sigh of relief when they realize the best way to engage effectively online is to be authentic.

 

“It’s a privilege to be able to talk to people and form relationships with your readers.” –Fauzia Burke

 

Stand Out with a Strong Personal Brand

6 Ways to Create A Magnetic Mindset and Attract Business

Build A Magnetic Brand

 

Why do some businesses overflow with customers while others barely make it?

How do you attract customers?

What are the growth strategies that leading businesses use to gain momentum?

 

“Great work is magnetic.” -Joe Calloway

 

Joe Calloway has studied businesses that consistently create positive experiences. His new book, Magnetic: The Art Of Attracting Business, is a look behind the scenes at the strategy, the people, and the art behind becoming a magnetic business. In these organizations, growth is a result of happy customers sending more and more business and referrals. Employees are happy, helping to recruit others. And the momentum continues unabated to create even more success.

I recently talked with Joe about what it takes to become a magnetic business.

 

Become a Magnetic Business

Would you share one example of a business that is magnetic?

Pancake PantryI think that the business pictured on the first page of the book is a classic example of a magnetic business. The Pancake Pantry has a line of customers in front every morning, rain or shine, sleet or snow. This truly is what every business of any kind aspires to: to have customers so loyal to and enthusiastic about your business that they’d be willing to stand in line, in the rain, to give you their money.

Pancake Pantry excels at the basics of what a restaurant should be and have, including a great location, great food, great service.  But here’s the lesson:  there are no gimmicks.  There’s no contrived “wow” factor.  They simply offer excellent value to their customers, and those customers tell other customers.  Thus, the line out front.

 

“It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.” -Jony Ive

 

6 Factors to Creating a Magnetic Mindset

You start your book by recognizing that, “Becoming magnetic is a way of thinking.”  How do leaders develop the magnetic mindset?

I think there are a handful of basic factors at work that create a magnetic mindset:

  1. Always be focused on creating value for your customers.
  2. Simplify the way you think about your business.  Don’t overthink it.  Don’t over-complicate it.
  3. Never underestimate your competition.
  4. Be exceptionally easy to work with.
  5. Make sure that the other guy wins.
  6. Be consistently excellent.  Consistency of performance is the great brand builder.

If you let these factors guide your thinking, you’ve got a magnetic mindset.

 

Don’t Overdo Social Media

You teach and talk about the importance of social media but also about overthinking, overworking or overdoing its role relative to everything else. As I say this, what comes to mind as “magnetic advice” about social media?

Social media is vitally important in today’s marketplace and becoming more important all the time.  Of course you should participate on social media, but be selective.  You don’t have to be on everything – that would take up all your time and drive you crazy trying to keep up.  Where is your target market?  If they’re on Pintrest, be there with them.  My market is on twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so that’s where I am.

But here’s the key:  What you say about yourself on social media is insignificant in importance and impact compared to what your customers/clients say about you.  No ad campaign in the world has the positive impact of having 100 reviews of your business with almost all of them being 5 Star reviews.

The way to use social media to grow your business and attract new customers is to do such a great job on a handful of vitally important things that matter to your customers.  That’s really one of the core messages in Magnetic: The Art Of Attracting Business.

 

Nielsen: 43% of consumers more likely to buy when learning about it through social media.

 

What’s your version of win-win?

9781119147343.pdfThe Win-Win strategy is what has made me successful.  It’s the single most powerful strategy known and is the foundation of how any consistently successful business or individual relates to other people.

My version of Win-Win is to always think in terms of what kind of experience my actions will create for my clients and others.  How does doing business with me make them feel?

We all want people to love doing business with us, and if we are to create that, then we have to play Win-Win with them.

It’s the simplest and most effective relationship and business strategy known.

 

6 Factors to Create a Magnetic Mindset

 

  1. Always be focused on creating value for your customers.
  2. Simplify the way you think about your business.  Don’t overthink it.  Don’t over-complicate it.
  3. Never underestimate your competition.
  4. Be exceptionally easy to work with.
  5. Make sure that the other guy wins.
  6. Be consistently excellent.  Consistency of performance is the great brand builder.

 

“When you say no to the wrong people, it opens up the space for the right people to come in.” -Joe Calloway

Key Benefits of Internal Brand Building

This is a guest post by Simone Smith, a writer at Online Courses Australia. She believes that inspiring company culture and work-life balance are keys to success.

Internal Branding Matters

Internal branding refers to the process of providing employees with the training and education they need to support, understand, protect, and advocate for your brand’s mission. A critical part of expanding a successful business is internal branding.

In fact, internal branding should matter to companies of all sizes, from the solo professional to the Fortune 500 company. The reason for this is very basic: If you and your employees can’t fully get behind and believe in your brand, how can you expect complete strangers to become lifelong loyal customers?

 

“Strong brands are built on unshakable values and authenticity.” -Simone Smith


Here are some of the key benefits of internal branding for your company:

Develop a relationship between the brand and employees

With internal branding, you are essentially handing your employees the keys to unlocking the secret to the mystery of how they are integral to the overall company mission as well as the vision for the brand. Employees discover how the job they do affects how the brand is viewed by customers.

 

Develop better relations between coworkers

Shared goals between coworkers are a proven way to bring people together to create a cohesive team. The same can be said for sharing a powerful brand vision. When employees share a strong belief in what they are working toward, productivity and morale go way up. Employees also become more vocal advocates for the brand.

 

Improve hiring and retention

Believing in the brand’s promise and feeling passionate about being an important member of the team that helps bring that brand’s promise into reality for the customers helps employees remain loyal to the company. When a company gains a reputation for having happy, passionate employees, it is easier to keep people from leaving to explore other opportunities. Likewise, it is so much easier to attract great talent when prospective employees know they will be treated well and enjoy working in an encouraging, community-like atmosphere.

 

Internal branding builds character within an organization

Strong brands are built on unshakable values and authenticity. When a brand spreads its message and vision internally, employees are encouraged to adopt the same values the company has shown that they prize. This makes it less likely that employees will act in ways that are counter to the brand’s accepted culture and values. This promises a more consistent brand experience for every customer who buys from you.

 

“If you and your employees don’t believe in your brand, how can you expect strangers to become lifelong customers?” -Simone Smith