FEBRUARY | 2012
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Vol. 9, No. 02 2012
Cover Story 8
The 6 C’s of StoryBranding
Departments 6 7 11 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28
publisher’s letter contributors: who’s who in the industry insight: Cox eLearning Consultants predicts… strategies: creating a positive personal brand through social media outside the box: gen c is out to change the world… branding: the art of asking the right questions perspective: how to use technology to redefine today’s economy travel: brilliant results start with brilliant… solutions: irate customers exhibit: create a meaningful and memorable trade show pitch… ideas: sell more with persuasive presentations advice: life got your goat?
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Brilliant Publishing LLC 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown, PA 17036 Ph: 717.571.9233 Fax: 717.566.5431
PUBLISHER / ADVERTISING Maureen Williams firstname.lastname@example.org 717-608-5869
Direction… We all need a little help every now and then with the who, what, where and why of it all. Our new “social world” is changing the game for brands big and small. Not to mention our very own lives where the world is constantly looking and never shutting off; making being “on” 24 / 7 an often daunting task… especially on those “off” days when you just want to scream and shut everyone out. I recently read a brilliant quote that sums the problem up perfectly, “Think will this matter a year from now? Quite possibly because in the ether of the
EDITORIAL Editor in Chief MaryAnne Morrill
Style Editor Charity Plata
electronic world words stay in the ‘clouds’ permanently. Making sleeping on it before you hit send-post-tweet something worth considering.” I believe this issue will provide a brilliant map for you to follow. We have a template to follow on creating your story brand and another on creating a positive personal brand through social media. There is much more in these pages for you as well. I hope we have given you food for thought. As always thank you for your time and reading the issue. Hope your 24 / 7 day is Brilliant!
Asst. Editor Molly Anika
Daniel Burrus, Dan Cox, Donna Farrugia, Dr. Barton Goldsmith, Martin Lindstrom, Ed Rigsbee, CSP, Jim Signorelli, Barry Siskind, Dr. Peter Tarlow, John Tschohl
PRODUCTION / DESIGN Art Director
Make it so!
Brilliant Results is published monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC,
Maureen Williams Publisher email@example.com 717-608-5869
9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown PA 17036 (717) 608-5869; Fax# (717) 566-5431. Copyright © 2012 Brilliant Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising or editorial material. Advertisers, and/or their agents, assume the responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on the advertisement. Editorial contributors assume responsibility for their published works and assume responsibility for any claims against the publisher based on published work. No part of this publication can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher. All items submitted to Brilliant Results become the sole property of Brilliant Publishing LLC. Editorial content does not reflect the views of the publisher. The imprints, logos, trademarks or trade names (Collectively the “Marks”) displayed on
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the products featured in Brilliant Results are for illustrative purposes only and are not available for sale. The marks do not represent the implied or actual endorsement by the owners of the Marks of the product on which they appear. All of the Marks are the property of the respective owners and is not the property of either the advertisers using the Marks or Brilliant Results.
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• January 2012
is one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists. The author of six books, including the highly acclaimed Technotrends, he is the founder and CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends. Daniel’s client list encompasses a wide range of industries, and includes many Fortune 500 companies.
Dan Cox is founder and CEO of Cox eLearning Consultants, LLC, the leading marketing consulting firm in the industries of corporate education, elearning and HR technologies. Over his 34-year career, Dan’s work has been concentrated in a combination of high technology and education. Dan is a national speaker on a wide range of topics associated with education, technology and business operation performance.
Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design, marketing,
advertising and public relations professionals with a variety of firms. For more information, visit creativegroup.com.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. His columns appear in over 500 publications. He may be contacted through his web site www.BartonGoldsmith.com.
e Martin Lindstrom, a respected branding and marketing expert, was selected as one of the world’s 100 most influential people by TIME magazine. The founder, CEO and Chairman of the LINDSTROM company (Sydney), Martin speaks to a global audience of approximately one million people every year. His latest book; Buyology – Truth and Lies About Why We Buy – a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book has been translated into 37 languages and is on almost all major best-seller lists worldwide.
Jim Signorelli is the founder and CEO of ESW Partners, a Chicago-based marketing firm. Over the years, he has worked for a number of national consumer and business brands including Citibank, Kraft Foods, Burger King, Toshiba, Emerson Electric, and The American Marketing Association. Inc. Magazine has cited Signorelli’s agency as one of the fastest growing independent companies in the U.S. for three years running and, in 2010, he was the recipient of the “Smart Leader” award given by Smart Business Magazine and U.S. Bank. For more information, please visit www.eswpartners.com.
Barry Siskind is an internationally recognized trade and consumer show expert. He is the author of six bestselling business books including Powerful Exhibit Marketing. Read his newest book, Selling from the Inside Out for an in depth guide to a successful sales career. Visit Barry at www.siskindtraining.com.
Dr. Peter Tarlow is the founder and president of Tourism & More Inc. Dr. Tarlow has appeared on Nationally televised programs such as Dateline: NBC and on CNBC. Dr. Tarlow organizes conferences around the world dealing with visitor safety and security issues and with the economic importance of tourism and tourism marketing. For additional information visit www.tourismandmore.com
j John Tschohl, the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as a “customer service guru,” he has written several books on customer service and has developed more than 26 customer-service training programs that have been distributed throughout the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online.
d e f
g i j
Ed Rigsbee, CSP is the author of PartnerShift, Developing Strategic Alliances and The Art of Partnering. Additionally, he has over 1,500 published articles to his credit. Ed travels internationally to deliver strategic alliance keynotes and workshops. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rigsbee.com.
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The 6 C’ s of Story Branding By: Jim Signorelli
Since the beginning
of language, stories have helped us understand human nature. By helping us identify with characters during their quests to achieve certain goals, stories teach us important lessons about who we are and what lies within our own potential. But this teaching is done through implication, not explanation. Stories don’t tell us how to think or what to value. Rather, they provide a welcomed freedom to self-select the truths we read into them. This is why they can be immensely powerful. In many ways, stories provide a great example for brands to follow. Brands, like stories, also contain truths. But whose truth is it, the brand’s or ours? It is one thing for brands to push their meanings on us, and quite another to help us to our own conclusions. Too much advertising tells us how to see things or what we should believe is important. As a result, we are often inundated with facts that can be argued, and opinions that are self-serving. It is hard to form a willing relationship with anyone, let alone a brand, that tries too hard to convince us of its own importance.
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What is a story? In simplest terms, a story is made up of a character (or characters) dealing with obstacles to achieve certain goals. The extent to which stories help us connect with our own truths is a function of how well we can identify with the values, beliefs and feelings experienced by its character. To help brands become more story-like, the StoryBranding process provides a template to aid communications planning. The brand is substituted for the main character that is described as having functional capabilities and is additionally infused with values and beliefs that resonate with audiences. In all cases, the brand’s ultimate goal, apart from increasing sales and profits, is to influence a relationship with the prospect. It is assumed that sales and profit growth are a function of this relationship. Attempts to force a relationship impede progress. Once the relationship is formed, it becomes the foundation for an enduring loyalty that the customer proudly subscribes to. Achieving this goal is sometimes evidenced by customers who proudly display the brand’s logo on apparel, car bumper stickers or, in extreme cases, body tattoos. As is the case with stories, there are obstacles in the brand’s path towards its goal. These must be identified and dealt with before the desired relationship is achieved. Working with this model, there are six steps that should be taken to apply its usefulness to a particular brand. They are called the 6 C’s. Following is a brief explanation of each step and how to apply it to your own brand.
Step 1: Collect the Back Story We start by digging up the back-story. In traditional marketing parlance, this is often referred to as the situation analysis. This provides the background necessary to explain the problem that must be solved for the brand. Every back-story is different but usually consists of any and all information relevant to the story about to be written. This includes an assessment of the brand’s culture as well as problems and opportunities it faces in the marketplace.
Step 2: Characterize the Brand One of the key challenges of the StoryBranding planning process is to identify the brand’s persona. Traditional planning methods start by focusing on the prospect. In contrast, the StoryBranding process starts
with an investigation of the brand first and with the help of management. Specifically, it starts with a thorough understanding of the brand’s value and belief system. Since this is sometimes difficult for management to articulate, we use a number of techniques, including archetypal analysis, to help everyone see the brand more as a person than a thing. While looking for belief markers, it is equally important to determine if the brand is evidencing what it stands for. Is there proof that what the brand wants to stand for is authentic and not just lip service? Besides trying to understand the brand’s strengths, it is equally important to understand the brand’s limitations. Too often, we see brands trying to take advantage of opportunities that are far outside the realm of what is believable and consistent with consumer expectations. At other times, we see brands upholding values that their
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products and/or operational behaviors can’t possibly support. Imagine for example, White Castle suddenly adopting a position around healthful eating or Motel 6 trying to associate itself with the value of luxury. These are extreme examples of reaching outside the realm of the prospect’s expectations. But the point is that brand identities, once formed, have certain guard rails. Go outside these guard rails and the risk of failure increases.
Step 3: Characterize the Prospect Once the brand is fully explored, we then characterize the most likely prospects. Specifically, we look to see what functional and emotional needs are being left unfulfilled. Then we set out to discover the extent to which any of these needs present an opportunity for the brand in question. In story parlance, this is referred to as the dramatic issue. It consists of the problem that propels the main character’s journey. That issue might be about finding redemption, love, or a life purpose. While constructing the brand story, we are similarly looking for something that would propel the prospect’s movement toward a fulfilled relationship with the brand. More often than not, fulfillment results from a belief that is shared with the brand and one that the prospect feels is important to his or her identity.
Step 4: Connect the Characters
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Our model requires a definition of the communication obstacles standing in the way of the brand/prospect relationship. Typically these fall into four categories: awareness, comprehension, confidence and affinity. The extent to which any of these obstacles must be overcome sets up the plot. Besides identifying the big rocks that are in the way, we prioritize them in order of which have to be moved first to achieve the brand’s ultimate relationship goal.
Whether the brand is sold B2B or B2C, the StoryBranding process can move a brand closer to connecting with its prospects on an emotional level and in all cases, the principle of implication over explanation if relevant and applicable.
At this stage, we start to play matchmaker. Now that we understand our two story characters, the brand and the prospect, we look for the fit between them. Short term, we are interested in knowing how the brand satisfies a functional need through its product features and benefits. Additionally however, we need to know that there is something that can spark a long-term relationship, one that is founded on shared values and beliefs.
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Step 5: Confront the Obstacles
Step 6: Complete the StoryBrief Unlike the traditional creative brief, the StoryBrief outlines the entire brand story in ways that further an empathetic understanding of the brand and prospect personas. One of the main functions of the StoryBrief is to identify what we call the outer and inner layers of both the brand and the prospect. Outer layers have to do with functions performed by the brand and desired by the prospect. Inner Layers have to do with values and beliefs that are subscribed to by both of the characters. To help, we craft what we refer to as I AM statements for each character. These take the form of first-person autobiographical sketches as opposed to factual descriptions that are common to most traditional briefs. These stimulate empathy and identification, which is something we believe, is missing from most traditional creative input documents. Additionally, the StoryBrief provides a summary and prioritization of the communication obstacles that the brand must overcome to establish a relationship with the prospect.
Whether the brand is sold B2B or B2C, the StoryBranding process can move a brand closer to connecting with its prospects on an emotional level and in all cases, the principle of implication over explanation if relevant and applicable.
insight By: Dan Cox
Cox eLearning Consultants Predicts Industry-wide Launch of
Mobile Learning Cox eLearning Consultants
recently released a groundbreaking report on buying plans and trends for the elearning solutions industry. Based on a worldwide research study of organizations in 55 countries, the report is an industry first. Founded in 2005, Cox eLearning Consultants (COX) is the premier marketing services and consulting firm in corporate training, elearning and human resources technologies. COX, based in Livermore, California, studies industry trends and advises organizations about new and innovative training and human resources solutions. “Learning Industry Buying Plans & Trends for 2012” summarizes the results of a custom research study tracking the buying intentions of organizations for elearning solutions, such as mobile learning, authoring tools, and learning management systems. PREDICTION: In 2012, the elearning solutions industry will use more contractors instead of employees as it migrates to a virtual work force. Key Findings The industry is on the cusp of a revolution where learning will be customized to the user and delivered to wherever he or she is located. 2012 will be the first year that mobile learning launches. Most organizations cited mobile learning as their top priority for implementation; nearly 15% plan to implement in 2012. 46% of respondents said ease of use was the most important feature in a learning management system (LMS), far outranking other robust features, like multiple language availability. 30% of organizations said they would use video to train endusers and channel partners, in addition to employees.
The report includes 11 predictions for 2012. “There will be large growth in learning systems that have interfaces similar to that of Twitter or Facebook,” said Dan Cox, president and CEO of Cox eLearning Consultants. “Those interfaces are so common that learners expect the education environment to perform the same way.” Corporate training department budgets, slashed in recent years, will receive greater funding for employee education programs. Cox also explained, “consolidation of vendors will continue among medium- and large-sized companies in the industry. Executives must represent their training operations as revenuecentric, rather than as a cost center, in order to survive.” For more information please visit http://www.coxec.com. www.brilliantpublishing.com
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strategies By: Donna Farrugia, The Creative Group
Creating a Positive Personal Brand Through Social Media
You may be
visiting social media sites like Facebook all the time, but have you ever stopped to think about the impression you’re making through your activity? If you’re blending your work and personal lives through a mix of online contacts, it’s particularly critical to follow proper social media etiquette. Why? Your postings can play a role in your career prospects – for better or for worse: They can shape the way colleagues, peers, and even current and prospective employers and clients perceive you. And they are spending time on popular social media sites: In a survey by The Creative Group, more than half (56 percent) of advertising and marketing executives said Facebook would be their social media site of choice if they were limited to using just one, over LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. Here are some key considerations when developing your personal brand through Facebook or other social media networks: 12 Brilliant Results
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Avoid aliases. A moniker like “Nmbr1 GiantsFan” may be fun to use and resonate with your close circle of friends, but valuable business contacts (like potential clients or hiring managers) will have a difficult time locating you. Silly or strange usernames also may cause others to question your professionalism. It’s best to choose something that supports your personal brand – like your first and last name.
Keep your profile current. Nearly three in 10 executives surveyed by The Creative Group said not keeping content fresh is the most common mistake creatives make in their professional online profiles. If you don’t stay active and engaged online, there’s little incentive for people to follow your social media feeds. The big challenge is striking a balance between your normal workload and online activity. One way to make sure www.brilliantpublishing.com
you’re maintaining a regular presence through social media is to set up reminders on a calendaring system. For example, you might check your accounts each morning, reviewing updates, commenting on news articles and sharing content, when appropriate. Making it part of your daily routine will ensure your profile doesn’t become stale. One note of caution, however: Be careful not to become glued to sites like Facebook during work time. You don’t want to build positive personal brand recognition online at the expense of your professional reputation at the office. Also review your basic profile information to make sure it paints a positive and complete picture of you. Use a professional profile photo and limit access to personal pictures you may be sharing online. List your work history and highlight key skills and accomplishments, quantifying results when possible. If you’re job-hunting, use common industry terms so prospective employers are more likely to find you.
Respect job- hunting etiquette.
Social media can be a huge asset when searching for a new job, but make sure you’re using it appropriately. To start, don’t suddenly appear out of nowhere, asking old connections for help. The same rules that apply to in-person networking apply here: Stay in contact with people over time, so when you do need assistance, they’re more likely to lend a hand. In addition, it’s unwise to track down strangers through Facebook solely for the purpose of getting job leads. It’s always better to Recognize that no matter see if you have a shared connection and ask for personal introductions. how fascinating you are Then, take a softer approach and online, people won’t take you mention that you’re interested in their employer and ask for seriously if feedback on what it’s like to your posts work for the company. Aim to build a professional relationship are hard rather than to find someone to read. who will immediately send your resume to the right contact.
According to the latest study by the Pew Center’s Internet and American Life Project, the average Facebook user has 245 friends. That’s a lot of people you’re potentially competing with for attention. You can increase the likelihood that others will see (or seek out) your information by posting quality content that your online contacts will find interesting. For example, you can post links to interesting news articles or industry events in your area, or videos and photos that you find inspiring or informative. Be sure to also comment on and share information that your contacts post to show support and encourage dialogue within the online community.
Proofread. Recognize that no matter how fascinating you are online, people won’t take you seriously if your posts are hard to read. People don’t want to wade through a sea of typos, run-on sentences or grammatical errors. They also don’t want to spend time trying to decipher complicated acronyms or text-speak. Before you publish anything online, slow down and make the effort to proofread. Even one quick review before posting can help ensure you’re conveying yourself effectively.
Be tactful. Building a positive personal brand online isn’t just about what you say; equally important is what you don’t say. While you may watch your words when using social media, www.brilliantpublishing.com
colleagues and other professional contacts may not. If, for example, you see a coworker fume about a team member or client online, resist the temptation to add fuel to the fire by “liking” the post or commenting beneath it. Remember that anything you do can be seen by your online networks, even if you aren’t the one who originally posted the content.
Monitor your brand. Maintaining a positive online image also means you must track what information has been posted about you. An easy starting point is typing your first and last name into popular search engines and seeing what pops up. Also take advantage of alerts through Google and tracking services like Technorati or BlogPulse to learn when new content is published that is connected with your name. If something arises that you want taken down, contact the person who posted the information or the website administrator. Untag yourself from any inappropriate photos, as well. Also check your privacy settings to limit what you share online. Create different groups or circles of friends so that professional connections have access only to postings you specifically share with them. Social media sites like Facebook can be a great way to bolster your reputation in the creative field. However, you can’t just make a quick appearance and expect to see results. To build recognition and enhance your standing, you must commit to being an active player. By taking the right steps, you can develop an online presence that helps further your career. February 2012 • Brilliant Results 13
Outside the box By: Steve Woodburn
As American veterans returned from World
War II, they were eager to settle down and make their place in the world. The world was changed and would change even more as the Baby Boom generation came into being. Born between 1946 and 1964, these 72 million Americans would create a population bulge that holds the most affluence of any generation to date. From the Boomers came Gen X, born in the mid-60’s to approximately 1982 followed by Generation Y, called the Internet generation or the Millennials, generally born between 1982 and the mid-90’s. Those coming of age now are sometimes called Generation Z (born early 90’s to the present) or Gen C for “connected.” By 2020 this group will make up 40% of the population and because of their connectivity are already changing the way we communicate and connect to the world. From Facebook to Twitter to texting and instant messaging, this generation is the first to not understand a world that wasn’t connected 24/7. As a result, how we live, purchase, connect, do business and communicate worldwide will transform over the next decade and here’s just a glimpse of what that transformation could mean:
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The traditional 9-5 day will become blurred as more and more people work from home. Connected 24/7: By 2020 it’s predicted 6 billion people, or 80% of the world’s population will have a Smartphone or mobile device to which they can connect to the grid day and night. Communication with friends and others in our individual sphere of influence will be instant. According to a report by Booz & Company, “The Rise of Generation C – Implications for the World of 2020”, our days will become a seamless online mix of work, commuting, shopping, socializing and entertaining and off-line time will become rarer and more valued. In the Cloud: The world of computing is moving from information being stored on individual devices (i.e. desktops and laptops) to being stored on servers “in the cloud.” Smartphones, iPads and tablets are leading the way with smaller internal storage, but apps to work with services and data stored online. This means data will be accessible from a variety of devices anywhere in the world where there is connectivity. As privacy and security become less of a concern with more sophisticated networks, people will feel more comfortable sharing their personal data. Viral marketing and peer reviews (like Yelp) will become benchmarks for businesses to either flourish or die and traditional marketing will become less and less effective with Generation C. Work Life: As Gen C moves into the workforce, the way companies interact with employees will shift. More and more people will work from virtual offices located worldwide and develop virtual teams that will work on projects geared to bring products and services to non-Western countries where many of these virtual workers reside. The traditional 9-5 day will become blurred as more and more people work from home. A recent Booz & Co. survey of CIO’s showed
By: Martin Lindstrom
half believe within three to five years employees will use their own computers at work. Technology and connectivity are growing in developing countries as well and will not only bring more consumers into the marketplace for businesses to reach online, but will create more entrepreneurs with new ideas to bring to the marketplace in their own countries. So what does all this mean for us? Based on numerous studies and research it looks like Generation C will connect the world in a way never seen before. “It’s a small world” will become their mantra as they make friends and do business on a truly global basis. Businesses will need to be nimble in learning new technologies and how best to incorporate them into their websites and social media sites. Mobile-enabled technology will not be an option, it will be the standard and tools such as augmented reality will make it easier than ever to see how products you like look in your home or, in the case of clothes, on you. What’s coming in the next decade will change the world in the same way the industrial revolution did, but much more quickly; and as hard, and expensive, as it may be at times it’s imperative we keep up with this ever-increasing speed of change. Technology is to Gen C what machines were to Henry Ford and others of his generation and the speed of change over the next decade will make the last 10 years look glacial. Don’t be the person Stewart Brand was talking about when he said; “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”
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branding By: Martin Lindstrom
The Art of Asking the Right questions A couple of
weeks ago, when I was driving a bit too fast, I came upon two different police department signs. The first told me what I already knew… that driving too fast would earn me a fine. No surprises there! But the second sign made me think twice. It didn’t offer any threats or make any warnings. It simply asked me one question: “How fast are you driving now?” In response, I glanced at the speedometer and noticed I was, in fact, driving far too fast. Evidently, my attention had been monopolized by the music I was playing, the talk I was having with my buddy, and the good weather.
contrast, the two messages from AT&T made me think. They asked, “Have you called home today?” and “Have you called your office today?”
I never really thought much of this until I was at Heathrow Airport recently. I noticed three different pieces of signage on a telephone booth. One was from British Telecom and two were from AT&T. The British Telecom sign read, “Use British Telecom next time you’re calling.” Not the most imaginative message I’ve seen to date. In
Unfortunately, I don’t have any statistics or reference books with documentary backup for the assertion I’m about to make. But my personal experience certainly tells me a message that addresses the reader directly, by asking a question or making an actionable suggestion, is more capable of eliciting a positive response than
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My reception of these messages mirrored my experience with the policing signs. While one message met the impenetrability of my personal advertising filter, others made me stop and think. Both times, I encountered a short message that suggested some action on my part, and both times these messages were positioned near a point at which I could act on those suggestions.
the old-fashioned imperatives -- “Buy me!” and “Hear me!” If this is correct, it offers a key insight to Internet marketers whose sites often depend on some sort of instant consumer action. Often we attempt to elicit action by presenting statements like, “Fill out this form to be covered for damage on your home contents.” This example would hardly persuade you to do any such thing. Your mental advertising filter would flick it off effortlessly. The statement’s a hackneyed reflection of a non-consumer-centered approach, and we’re all immune to such monologues. But consider something like, “Are you covered if your house burns down? If not, fill out this form.” At least this example might make you think, even for a second or two. It might prompt you to think about your situation, might even prompt you to act. The trick with this technique is to be prudent. Select your message locations carefully. Put your brand’s voice in places where the suggestions it makes can be acted upon. And turn your statements into questions. Address your reader in a timely and relevant fashion. This way your brand’s voice isn’t muffled by cliché and clutter. It
should make your customers think and prompt them into a new behavior. We live in a world in which people are losing the skill of being good and active listeners. We’re accustomed to receiving information passively through monologues that issue from TV and radio. These media channels can only offer one-way communication. They talk at the consumer and are incapable of listening. Unfortunately, most potentially interactive media -or what I call dialogue-based media -- have adopted the habit of monologue. Internet practitioners seem to have forgotten their big advantage is in interactivity. The medium has the potential to listen and respond relevantly and personally. The art of good communication lies in asking the right questions. Your first step toward proficiency in the art is to identify the questions. Then expose them advantageously on your site, in your advertising, and in your consumer dialogue. When you’ve reached this stage, your next challenge will be to introduce listening behaviors to the rest of your site. Listening? That’s what comes after you ask the right question: You respond to the answer you receive. But that’s another story.
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perspective By: Daniel Burrus
How to Use Technology to Redefine Today’s Economy
Today we’re in
an era of technology-driven transformation. That means you can attain higher profits when you use technology to redefine your products, your services, and/or how the industry in general works. Unfortunately, most companies are using technology only one way – to lower costs and become more efficient. They view technology as a way to “do more with less,” “streamline the workflow,” and “trim expenses.” Sound familiar? While that is certainly one good use of technology, you can also use it to redefine the marketplace as well as your products and services. In this case, technology becomes a tool of creation. You can create new products, new services, and entire new markets, which then creates new jobs and careers. Why is this important? Currently the United States is digging out of the worst recession since the 1930s, and the global economy is suffering its worst setback in decades. The key to recovering is all about jobs and how to create 18 Brilliant Results
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them. You don’t create jobs by increasing productivity; you create jobs by creating new products, services, and markets. So even though we have a statistical recovery, we have a human recession. As such, recovery can’t be jobless. The bottom line is that we can use technology to eliminate jobs or create them. It’s time for businesses to focus on redefining as a tool for job creation. If you’re ready to start redefining your company so you can grow your business and stay profitable as you create jobs for years to come, consider the following guidelines.
Know Where You’re Going Look at your product, service, or industry and see how you can use technology to redefine it. The classic example is Amazon.com. When they first started the business, they used technology to redefine how people sell books. But they didn’t stop there. They then expanded to other products and www.brilliantpublishing.com
redefined how nearly everything is sold. Then they redefined again. They developed a large IT, logistics, and warehouse system and they now rent out their enterprise IT platform and warehousing space to other companies. So they are not only redefining an industry; they’re also redefining themselves. Another example is Apple. Back in early 2000, before they launched the iPod and iPhone, most people thought Apple was quickly going out of business. That’s when the company redefined themselves around music. Later they redefined again with the iPhone, which is telecommunications. Now they’re doing it again with the iPad, which will launch another revolution as they redefine ebook readers and media players. Like Amazon.com, Apple has redefined themselves as well as their industry. So when it comes to your company and your industry, ask yourself some key questions, such as: What is growing and what is shrinking? Where is the direction of the future going based on technology? (For example, getting more energy efficient and going green are both long-term trends. Virtual marketing and social networking also represent long-term trends.) Based on where your customers and your industry are going, is there a way to use technology to create new opportunities?
Understand How Technology is Affecting Your Customers Look at how technology is affecting your customers in your industry right now. But don’t just look at productivity. Look at the overall customer experience as well as who is buying your offerings. For example, in the late 1970s, when ultra light aviation was born, the first ultra light aircrafts were basically hang-gliders with engines. The FAA decided, due to the size and weight of the plane, people didn’t need a pilot’s license to fly an ultra light aircraft. As a result, the first ultra light manufacturers targeted that demographic – people who wanted to fly but who didn’t have the time or money to get a pilot’s license. One company, UltraSports, thought they could attract a better customer, so they asked, “Why not redefine the product, the customer, and the market?” Rather than target those who wanted to fly but didn’t have a license or the income to afford buying an aircraft, UltraSports decided to target commercial jet pilots and flight instructors for their ultra light aircrafts. After all, these pilots were the best pilots, they loved to fly and they had money; however, because of their jobs, flying had become more automated and less fun. Then UltraSports went one step further and redefined the ultra light aircraft itself by adding a stick and rudder and instrument controls. They www.brilliantpublishing.com
made the ultra light fly like an airplane rather than a hangglider, which better appealed to their new target market. UltraSports went on to become a national leader in their first year, all because they redefined who their customer was and then made product changes accordingly. So when it comes to your customers, ask yourself some key questions, such as: Is there a better customer? For example, maybe you’re selling to a customer who can only afford low-margin products and services. Who is your ideal customer? Is there a customer you don’t have but should have? Could you redefine your product and attract that customer? Is there a way to use technology to enhance your product or service in some way that opens up a market or creates a new market for you…and thus new jobs?
Take Competition Seriously Look at the specific ways in which you compete in the marketplace as well as what makes you unique. Then decide how technology can redefine the way you compete. For example, when was the last time you bought something from the Polaroid Company? At one time, it was the king of instant photography. But then technology and digital photography changed their industry, and the way they competed (instant photography) changed…but Polaroid didn’t change with it. Instead, they made the mistake many businesses do: they used technology to get more efficient and lower their costs. So when it comes to competing in a technology-driven age, ask yourself some key questions, such as: Is there a way you can use technology to redefine how you compete? Is there a way you can use technology to change your product or how you service people? Is there a way you can use technology to redefine your customer’s experience?
A (Re)Defining Moment Staying ahead during a technology-driven transformation is indeed possible. It’s all about looking at where your customers are going rather than where they have been. It’s about looking at where technology is evolving and how it is shaping the market, not where it used to be. When you ask the right questions and take action on what the answers reveal, you can use technology to redefine your company, create new jobs, and experience higher profits than ever before. February 2012 • Brilliant Results 19
TRAVEL BY: DR. PETER TARLOW
Brilliant Results Start With Brilliant Customer Service and Great Customer Service Recovery Programs The tourism and
travel industry are based on expendable dollars. With few exceptions travel and tourism professionals are keenly aware that almost no one needs to come to their location, and that they must earn customer loyalty each and every time that a visitor comes to their location or attraction. As such, successful tourism leaders promote good service and try to minimize the damage from customer service mistakes. Certainly mistakes are committed on a regular basis, thus customer service recovery is almost as important as good customer service. Perhaps one of the great frustrations within the tourism industry is that its leadership rarely interacts with the public. Instead even with the best policies stated, frontline personnel may simply fail to implement policy. To help you get brilliant customer service results, both during
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the transaction and when something goes wrong consider some of these guidelines: Remember that frontline personnel are also human beings. Many service providers expect their frontline personnel to do three things at once and be on call for periods lasting between ten and twelve hours. Such policies tend to result in frustrated and over tired employees who simply loose interest in providing good customer service at the end of a shift. Think this through to see if some of these burdens cannot be removed by other means. For example, few hotels today ask customers to come to the front desk to check out, instead the check out process is handled by computers, in-room televisions or other such devices. www.brilliantpublishing.com
Develop a functioning sick leave policy. Having serviceproviders work while sick may seem like a way to save money but often turns into a customer service nightmare. If a person is too sick to work, then that person ought not to be in close proximity with your customers. Make sure that service providers never become defensive. Teach employees that they are not in a war in which they want to defeat the customer. An “us-againstthem” attitude is the best way to loose future business. Apologize when things go wrong and ask the customer what you can do to make it right. No matter how good your customer service is, things will go wrong. Turn a defeat into a victory by involving the customer. Ask him or her what reasonable actions you can take to fix the problem. Asking for a customer’s input does not mean that you have to accept the suggestion, but it does mean that the customer needs to know that you have heard it and have considered it. Repeat complaints and requests back to your customer. The number one complaint when it comes to customer service is that employees do not hear the problem. Making sure that the customer is heard is winning half the battle.
Allow front line personnel to be flexible or provide someone who can make out-of-the-box decisions. Remember the actual incident is only one battle in the war for customer service. Be flexible, the last thing that an angry customer wants to hear is something such as: sorry that is against policy. These types of non-flexible statements may win a pyrrhic victory but surely will loose the war. Remember that employees, who have fun at work, provide better customer service. We all do better when we enjoy our work. Getting employees to enjoy their workplace environment is one of the best motivational tools and ups the chances that the employee will provide better customer service. Show everyone, by example, that being in the public can be a fun experience. Employees who do not enjoy their work, who do not laugh and smile ought not to be in the public’s eye. You can have fun even with difficult people. When dealing with a difficult customer, think of yourself as being secretly recorded for a television program such as “Candid Camera” or in your mind imagine that you are dealing with the customer yelling at you in his or her underwear.
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solutions BY: John Tschohl
Learn How to Handle Them—And Look Like a Hero Irate customers. No matter how good you are at what you do, what business you are in, or where it is located, you will at some point find yourself facing an irate customer. Maybe a product was
flawed, a delivery was late, or a charge was inaccurate. How you deal with that customer not only will determine how he or she feels about your organization, but how you feel about yourself. When you are able to turn an irate customer into a satisfied customer, you will gain confidence in your ability to diffuse a volatile situation and to evoke a positive outcome. You also will gain the respect of your coworkers, and you will get the attention of your supervisors. And, who knows, you might even get promoted. When most people come in contact with an irate customer, their first instinct is to turn and run. Dealing with a customer who has a problem and is upset about it, can be more than a little daunting. With the proper perspective, however, you will see that the customer’s complain is actually an opportunity for you and your organization to put your best foot forward.
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Customers who have complaints are a blessing in disguise. They are letting you know where you and your organization have flaws—and providing you with the opportunity to correct them. When you do, you will realize increased customer loyalty, revenues, and profits. It’s a win/ win situation. You should be more concerned with the customers who don’t complain than with those who do. In a recent study of retail banks in the United Kingdom, conduct by J.D. Power and Associates, results showed that 25 percent of customers who have experienced a problem in the past 12 months say they definitely or probably will switch institutions in the next year. And 55 percent of customers who have had a problem or complaint were disappointed with the resolution process. That study also found that, while incentives are important in attracting new customers, customer service is key to retaining those customers. Almost 40 percent of customers left their banks because of a poor service experience, and an additional 43 percent cited poor service as a top reason for intending to leave their banks. Customer service is key to the success of any business. And dealing with irate customers and solving their problems is a critical element of that service. When dealing with an irate customer, take these steps:
Customer service is key to the success of any business.
1. Listen carefully and with interest to what the customer is telling you. 2. Apologize without laying blame, regardless of who is at fault. 3. Put yourself in the customer’s place, and respond in a way that shows you care about his or her concerns. Use phrases such as, “I understand that must be upsetting,” or “I don’t blame you for being upset; I would feel the same way.” 4. Ask pertinent questions in a caring, concerned manner, and actively listen to the answers. 5. Suggest one or more alternatives that would address the customer’s concerns. 6. Solve the problem quickly and efficiently, or find someone who can. Using these steps will quickly calm most unhappy or angry customers and allow you to address and solve their problems. Patience and tact are key. It’s important that, even if a customer is making outrageous statements and, in essence, throwing a fit, that you remain www.brilliantpublishing.com
calm. Do not take those statements personally. Apologize, take the blame, and empathize with the customer, then solve the problem. Just as important as what you should do, there are four things you should not do: Don’t directly challenge someone who has a complaint and is angry. Even if that customer is wrong, don’t attempt to prove it. Your goal is to solve the problem, not to enter into a debate on the merits of the complaint. Don’t let the conversation wander or get off the topic. Solve the crisis at hand without looking for, and finding, additional problems. Don’t participate in faultfinding. Shifting blame doesn’t help anyone. Don’t let your personal feelings get in the way. Stay cool and use courtesy and tact to diffuse the situation. When you successfully handle irate customers and their complaints, you will be rewarded with a satisfied customer— and a customer who will be loyal to you and your organization. That loyalty will have a positive impact on your organization’s bottom line—and make you look like a hero. February 2012 • Brilliant Results 23
exhibit BY: barry siskind
Create a Meaningful and Memorable Trade Show Pitch
- The Goldilocks Effect In the late nineteen seventies one of my favourite television shows was the US sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. The character I remember most was Herbert Ruggles (Herb) Tarlek Jr., played by actor Frank Bonner. Herb was the epitome of bad salesmanship characterized by his boorish and tasteless approaches to clients. To complete his baboonish portrait, he wore loud plaid suits, with a belt that matched his white shoes. Herb was the man you would never knowingly join on an elevator to face the consequences of his talking your ear off with information that you would have trouble relating to. Fast forward to the second decade of the 21st century at a typical busy trade show when without warning you are approached by a modern day Herb who, while better dressed, still feels the need to overload you with information you care little about. You have just fallen victim to the greatest of exhibition sins – the poorly thought-out and executed pitch. If you are a fan of fairy tales then surely you will remember the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” written by British author Robert Southey. It’s the story of a young girl named Goldilocks who finds herself in a bear’s home and searches for perfection as she works her way through porridge, chairs and beds before drifting off to sleep. Goldilocks teaches us that the perfect solution to things in life, like a product pitch, should not be too long, not too short, but just right. That’s the “Goldilocks Effect” that all front line staff who meet visitors at a booth should adhere to rigorously. A good presentation begins long before the exhibition. It is developed by uncovering four elements: The features and benefits of your product and service I dentifying prospects and understanding what issues are most important to them Finding your own voice Rehearse...rehearse...rehearse.
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1. The features from the benefits There is an old adage in sales that says, you don’t go shopping to purchase a 1/8th inch drill bit, what you really want is a 1/8th inch hole. What are you really selling? Make a list of all that your product (or service) provides. For example some of the features of an automobile might include, Exhaust Heat Recovery System, 2.4 Liter, 4-Cylinder, DOHC, 16-Valve, Variable Valve Timing, Tier 2 Bin 3 Emission. Next ask yourself which items bring real value to your customer. You record your answers in a second column beside the feature. For example the Exhaust Heat Recovery System generates electric current from waste heat in your automobile to improve overall engine efficiency resulting in a great potential for fuel savings. What does your customer want…an Exhaust Recovery System or fuel savings?
2. Identify your prospects and understand what issues are most important to them Your customers are not one homogeneous group of people. Each has their own perspective, interests and level of knowledge, so a one-pitch-fits-all approach is clearly not going to work. If you haven’t already done the exercise then create a profile of your customer in as much detail as possible. Your profile goes beyond a simple description of demographics. Go a bit deeper into what motivates these people. If you are unsure, then perhaps it is time to pause and conduct a bit of research. Get your front line people involved with this exercise and see if you can identify all the people they will come in contact with and identify their motivations. The next step is to compare your customer profile to the audited list of attendees provided by show management. What you will learn is that only a fraction of the potential attendees fit the profile. It also tells you that you may have many opportunities to meet people who can influence the final decision. These people may come from finance, administration, marketing, production, sales and so on. With this information in hand you can now refine your profiles to reflect all possible interactions at the show. Add this list to your list of features and benefits deciding on which benefits will be most applicable to each identified prospect. For example someone from finance may not be interested or not understand the nuances of your product’s performance capabilities but they will understand the impact of your product on the corporate bottom-line.
3.Find your own voice Have you ever listened to a professional comedian tell a joke and thought it was the funniest thing you have ever heard? But when you try to tell the same joke to your www.brilliantpublishing.com
colleagues, after the punch line they stare at you wondering what you thought was so amusing. The reason behind this is that we all have our own unique way of conveying information. Some phraseology works for some people and not for others. So the trick is to find ways of presenting information that fits your personality. You need to use words that you can say with enthusiasm, comfort and honesty. Fake it and you sound like the Monday morning comedian telling jokes that go flat. The way you find your voice is through practice.
4. Rehearse...rehearse...rehearse. Rehearsal begins before you utter a word. Begin with the list of features and benefits that are most likely to appeal to your audience. Next decide how you will be presenting information. Think of the pitch in three parts: The opening, the body and the close. The opening. At your booth you have already spent a few minutes getting to know your visitor and their perspective. Before you introduce benefits you need to ensure that you have guessed right so your opening may sound something like this: “Let me see if I understand your situation correctly. Your primary interest is to ensure that the installation of new equipment can be accomplished with a minimum amount of downtime. Is that correct?” The body. Here is where the content of the presentation is customized. If you have done your work well, and asked the right questions you should have a good idea of your visitor’s specific interests. You now relate those interests back to the exercise you did before the show where you matched features and benefits to your various visitor profiles. Remember, you are most likely not going to make a sale now and the best you can realistically hope for is to leave this visitor with a positive feeling about you and your products and services so that when a follow-up contact is made there is a better than average chance the visitor will respond. The trick is to pick and choose those issues that will most likely impress your visitor. The close. You want to make sure that the few benefits you have introduced meet the visitor’s expectations. You also want to ensure that you haven’t missed anything crucial. The solution is to summarize and ask. It sounds something like this: “So you see how our product is cost effective and will result in a minimum amount of downtime to integrate into your production line. Is there anything I’ve missed?” Making effective presentations does not come easily. It requires good planning and lots of training to ensure that the people working your booth maximize those precious few minutes they have with a visitor. So, just as Goldilocks proclaimed - not too much, not little, just the right amount will suffice. February 2012 • Brilliant Results 25
ideas By Ed Rigsbee, CSP
Sell More with Persuasive Presentations
If you, and
your sales team, desire increased sales… If you, and your sales team, want to do this without increasing call frequency… You only have one choice— excel at persuasive presentations! Recently I conducted a presentations training for a technology company. Their business is strong, and they have an experienced sales team. But, few truly understood the basic mechanics of persuasive presentations. As such, they were leaving dollars on the table at every call. Selling is simply determining another’s problem and persuading them that you have the solution to their problem. Then asking them to accept your solution—the close— it’s quite simple. Unfortunately, not enough salespeople understand the basics. here are three key elements in T persuasive presentations: An arresting opening benefit statement. Explaining benefits with features. Asking for the business. Right about now you might be thinking, “Thanks Ed, but tell me something new!” Force your sales team to practice their sales presentations in front of each other at your next gathering and you’ll most likely say, “Wow! They really do not know these basics!” Opening: The opening benefit statement is really a hook, one that catches the prospect’s interest. In reality, a salesperson is saying, “Please give me a few minutes of your life.” If the
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prospect sees no potential value, why in the world would they want to needlessly give up minutes of their life? The first thing a salesperson says either catches the prospect’s interest or it doesn’t. Grab their interest instantly with a promising opening benefit statement. Benefits: How sales people love to share features—about them, their company and about their product or service. Most prospects are thinking, “So what!” The prospect only cares about how the salesperson’s offer can make their life better—that’s it! For every feature, the logic, there also had better be a benefit, the emotion. Otherwise your salespeople are just visiting for a cup of coffee rather than solving problems and selling. Ask for it: These are the three great words that will change the lives of any salesperson that is confident enough to use them. I continually wonder why so many salespeople are afraid to ask for the business. Could it be because they have not yet sold themselves? Could it be they are afraid of being pushy? Could it be that they don’t want to deal with the rejection of a prospect saying no? The answer to the above three questions is a resounding, yes. Challenge your salespeople to a day of presenting in front of each other. Have them do at least two presentations in a day. And, if you want it to be really powerful—have all your salespeople complete feedback forms on each other. www.brilliantpublishing.com
Advice BY: Dr. BARTON GOLDSMITH
Life Got Your Goat? Take a Mental Health Day
Every now and then, life gets to be overwhelming. Perhaps you’ve worked for two weeks straight without a day off, or there is just so much to do, keeping up with the kids and the house, you haven’t had a minute to yourself. Yes, most all of us have jobs and responsibilities, no matter what our station in life. And we should be grateful for it. I know too that a number of folks are working extra hard these days to make ends meet. Even so, if your entire focus is on bringing home the bacon, the sizzle and the smell won’t be that enticing. To enjoy life, you may have to remember how to kick back and take in the waft of breakfast in the morning. If life has really got you in a bind, then at least give yourself one day off. I like to call it “a mental health day” because the idea is to give you some emotional breathing room and allow you to clear your mind of the usual stresses. This one-day can be a lifesaver. It can also give you new ideas and a whole new perspective on things. This is not a day to clean out the garage or job hunt. Use it instead to free your mind and heart of the worries and hurts that have been festering inside you. This is a day to get away from it all, whatever that means to you. We all 28 Brilliant Results
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function better after we’ve had a vacation. And this one only has to last one day. Our minds get cluttered, sometimes with serious issues and sometimes with overload. If we can’t get some clarity in some way, it becomes very hard to think straight. When you get this way, just making out the grocery list can be a major challenge. When simple things become complicated, it’s a sign that you need to give your mind a break. One of my favorite methods is to take a drive. It can be to a place you love going, or it can be somewhere you have never been. Just get in your car and go. You can also take a train or bus ride and really let yourself daydream while someone else does the driving and navigating. Once you reach your destination, get out and look around. After stretching your legs, you can do some further exploring or maybe grab a bite and put your feet up before you head home. It may not sound so exciting, but the idea here is to rest your brain, so it can start performing at its peak level once again. Taking the day off may seem like a small thing, but if you put enough of those small things together, you can create a very nice life. www.brilliantpublishing.com
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