Tag Archives: brand

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remember endings

Remember Endings Follow Beginnings

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Excitement for the beginning is great. It unleashes the energy and gets things rolling. Every customer order, every project, and even your career has a beginning and an end. Remember endings have just as much importance as the beginning.

When things start, it is often hard to keep in mind that things will end. The optimism and excitement of the beginning often gets everyone engaged in the flow. Flow means momentum and momentum is hard to stop.

After the Beginning

Your latest personal technology device is super cool on the first day or week. Eighteen short months later and it has often lost some of its luster.

It is similar for a new outfit, a pair of shoes, and a car. Awesome at first, but later not so much.

Certainly, it is similar for your job or your career. Even the greatest start is followed by an ending.

Unless it is the finale of something great, like a fireworks display, the end is often not desirable or attractive. In fact, it is a distraction.

At the same time having the foresight and recognition that often even the best things come to end is important for your career.

Remember Endings

Endings follow starts.

Starts are important, so are first impressions. Yet across time impressions and opinions often change.

How you navigate between the beginning and the end will continue to shape your reputation and your personal brand.

How you end will be remembered.

While you’re navigating your day keep in mind that what you do becomes part of the reputation that follows you. The beginning, the journey, the end.

It’s true for this day, and every day thereafter.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Trusted connections

Trusted Connections In a New Age

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Are you apprehensive about taking the call, accepting a friend request from someone you don’t know, or opening an email message from an unknown sender? Trusted connections are more important now than ever before.

In a New Age

Occasionally I will take a call from an unknown, no caller identification, inbound telephone call. It is always a moment of risk and uncertainty.

Absolutely, I won’t know who is calling until there is a form of introduction on the call. I’m often listening for the connecting click, a familiar sound that means I’m being routed to telemarketing agent.

Sometimes as a voice begins speaking, I’m uncertain if it is a real person or a bot.

For pictures or social media, there are apps that apply filters, enhancing lighting, and change our appearance.

We have to be careful of fake products, imitations, and illegally cloned merchandise. Is the Louis Vuitton real, or a very cleverly produced imitation?

Even our food is becoming different. Is the Impossible Burger really possible?

Technology is writing a new script. People call it AI, or perhaps machine learning. Some experts will advise that those are two completely different concepts, yet socially people toss around the words synonymously.

Trusted Connections

Today your brand, your image, and your reputation will matter more than ever before. Trust is becoming more nebulous and at the same time more important.

In the workplace, we often consider the trusted advisor, the political currents around the office, and the latest message about benefits or policy from human resources. Are these trusted connections?

Marketing programs test the limits, shift your thinking, and make you wonder if there is a disclaimer in the fine print. Are these real users, or only a paid actor? We know the answer, but only when we pause to think it through.

If one thing is going to matter more tomorrow, it may begin with trust. The suggestion is that connections and community represent our future.

Who will you trust?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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customer service authority

Customer Service Authority, Do You Have It?

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Nearly every business will tell you that they are in business because of the customer. Whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer, people often believe it is true. However, customer service authority may be missing. Have you found this to be true?

Most organizations are built on the premise of growth. They seek the wealth and riches of a thriving customer base and strong reputation. They are building their brand.

Many mission statements include a mention of the customer. The question is, “What happens when the relationship is tested?”

Service Focus

I’ve heard so many stories of customer service strategy. Including stories of a hands-off strategy that insists the more attention you pay to a customer in crisis, the more they’ll ask for, so don’t pay so much attention. Indeed, that is seeing things through a different lens.

What really happens when your brand is tested? Do your CSR’s (customer service representatives) have the authority to manage the crisis?

Customer service is often referred to, or culturally thought of as a department or work group within the organization. In a literal sense, it may be truth, in a cultural sense, it shouldn’t be true.

Things are often great if the system is never tested. People can rave about the quality, craftsmanship, or attention to detail. They can insist that the service is, the best!

What happens when it is tested?

Customer Service Authority

Everything may be fine until tested. Everyone may agree that the organization cares, has their back, and stands behind their product or service. Until they don’t.

The service your organization provides is about cultural attributes, not a department. Your CSR’s represent all that the organization is, and does. Pretending doesn’t work, talk is cheap, and promises are sometimes broken.

The organization that grants high authority to the people who directly serve the customer, especially the customer in crisis, will have better service. If they don’t have the authority, perhaps the culture is missing its mark.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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marketing promises

Are You Living Up To Marketing Promises?

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People grow tired of being fooled. It is easier to not respond than to interact with someone determined to alter your desired direction. Advertisements make marketing promises and that creates expectation.

When we call for technical or customer support, we expect to get it. Instead, we sometimes get a sales pitch.

If the resume or performance evaluation reads, “Exceeds expectations,” it sets the tone for everything that happens next.

When the mission statement suggests that the organization is successful because the employee teams care, we expect to feel the proof.

Expectations are Created

Are the marketing teams creating expectations that can’t be met? What about when Betty is having a bad day? What if Travis decides it is just good enough? Not good, but good enough, and then ships?

At the high-priced hotel, the luxury resort, or a five-star restaurant, we don’t care that much about the condition of the staff’s job. We have our own set of expectations. Exceed them, or we’ll tell everyone with a photo and a hashtag.

Does the sign at the hospital really mean emergency care, or does it mean you don’t need an appointment? When I visit the barber shop, I don’t need an appointment, I wait my turn. Is that an emergency? What are the marketing promises?

Marketing Promises

The truth of it is that every person and every organization run on emotion and human interaction. Sure bots are emerging, but because they lack the caring emotion, it may only mean more frustration.

A promise is a promise.

The technical support team solves my technical problem without trying to sell me anything. The parcel carrier puts the package on the porch, beneath the roof, especially when it is raining. A five-star restaurant has exceptional staff, and if they are having a bad day, I would never know it.

Why? Because you promised.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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deteriorating image

The Value of a Deteriorating Image

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If you are in marketing or advertising you have a keen sense of brand value. If you run a business, lead a department or team, or are building a career, you should care about brand. Do you have a deteriorating image or brand?

Building your brand sometimes happens without realizing it. In some circles we may label this an image. What is your image? Have you thought about this lately?

Image Builders

If you’ve watched a few minutes of American Pickers on the History channel you may have heard Mike Wolfe talk about rusty gold. He likes old things. Things that have been used, worn, and maybe with a little rust.

Not so long ago, denim blue jeans with holes were popular. Stone-washed was, or is, the popular label for jeans that appear to have heavy wear.

A new expensive car is nice. Is there any value to one that appears to be in decent operating condition yet notably old or with heavy wear?

Is brand really about taste? Our preference for something that defines an image?

Deteriorating Image

Winter months in the Northeastern United States can be brutally damaging to our homes and vehicles. My vehicles are an integral part of how I do business.

I drive a rusty twenty-year-old Tahoe in the winter, yet, I have a nice car that is mostly only driven in fair weather. Showing up at a 5-star hotel for an event and tossing the keys of a rusty old Tahoe to the valet probably doesn’t have the image of success.

Should it matter? Well, that may be a good question. The brutal truth is, it does.

Regarding your business, your workplace department, or even your personal brand, image matters. Your brand success will depend largely on the feeling you create with those you are trying to attract.

It may be that there is a certain appeal to rusty gold, stone-washed, or old school.

Sometimes a hard-used image creates appreciation and value. It is the alternative to hardly used.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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personal marketing

Personal Marketing, Are You Marketing or Advertising?

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Your personal brand is important. It is important for the people and teams that you engage with, the committees, the meetings, and especially for demonstrating leadership. Are you doing personal marketing?

Yes, you are. If you arrive and are present, perhaps even if you only arrive, you are marketing.

Advertising, conceptually is more about content and campaign dollars. Marketing is generally accepted as inclusive of advertising and so much more.

Everyone Watches

In the workplace, all eyes are on you. This is especially true if you are a supervisor, manager, or other designated leader. What you do and how you perform is marketing.

In the committee meeting you have a voice. Even if you choose silence, that is part of your personal marketing.

That Facebook or Twitter post, marketing. Instagram, yup, marketing.

When you apply for the new job or the promotion, marketing.

Standing nearby the coffee pot chatting about politics, religion, or the best place to buy shoes. Yes, more marketing.

Believe it or not you have a voice in nearly everything that happens.

The committee bickers and argues. Social media threads go on for days, may ignite anger, and tarnish opportunities for something constructive. All of this is marketing.

One of the challenges is understanding what is being seen or heard. What are the impacts?

Personal Marketing

Every day you have an opportunity to improve your marketing. You can self-monitor, fact-check, and adjust for harmony instead of destruction.

Occasionally, someone will tell me that they hate marketing. Too much work, too much psychology, and too hard to track the results.

A small business may claim, “We don’t do much marketing.” What they probably mean is they don’t spend a lot of money on advertising. Yet, they are always marketing.

The same is true for your personal brand. You’re always marketing. Even when you aren’t spending much money.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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brand consistency

Brand Consistency Should Mean Authenticity

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Choose a consumer of any product or service and you may find what they value the most is brand consistency. Have you been turned off, made a different choice, or selected a new vendor because of a lack of consistency?

Ask yourself this question, “What do buying choices, customer satisfaction, and job promotions have in common?”

In Good Taste

In high school, I had some friends’ who loved the boxed macaroni and cheese. The kind that comes in a small box, complete with macaroni, some powdery or sauce type cheese, and on the side of the box are the cooking directions.

I’m working from memory here. As I recall, you boil some water, add in the macaroni, simmer for a while, and then ultimately mix the concoction together with the cheese and maybe some butter or margarine.

My friends’ mother was the shopper and often bought the bargain boxes of the generic macaroni and cheese. Until one day, she had a coupon for the real stuff, the Kraft brand, Mac & Cheese.

The mother happily prepared the Kraft brand and proudly served it. My friends’, her children, were appalled. They thought it was the worst macaroni and cheese they ever tasted.

It was different.

Brand Consistency

Consistency is not about being like someone else, consistency is about being unique. The important part is that you are unique in the same way each and every time.

There is a pizza shop just a few miles from my home. They always appear to be busy. When you go in the shop there is a sense of urgency and hustle. It is a nice success.

I don’t go there as much as I would if their pizza was consistent. Depending on who makes the pizza, it is different. It’s disappointing.

Authentically Consistent

Is the business or organization you work for consistent? Are the products and services consistent with the brand reputation?

What about your own personal work? The time, emotional labor, and outputs, are they consistent?

Buying choices, customer satisfaction, and job promotions do have something in common. They are often based on the expectation of being authentically consistent.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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high call volume

Experiencing Unexpectedly High Call Volume

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Call volume can be a problem. It can also be a lie. Certainly it can be both. Have you ever called for support and heard, “We are experiencing unexpectedly high call volume, please be patient.”

The next indicator of the big lie is to promote the URL that will get you to frequently asked questions or an English as a second language untrained chat support team.

Of course, as I reread my last few sentences I must consider if I am placing guilt without a fair trial.

This could prompt another question. Does your service provider or product support team have unexpectedly high call volume for months and months? I hope this signals a point well made.

Sign Up Here

This probably isn’t the service you signed up for. It is the surprise behind the brand. It is the hope and the guess of the company you’re dealing with that this call, your call, will never occur.

In the 1990’s I managed a group that provided both technical and customer support for a variety of technology products. It was a good team, but burnout was often problematic.

Humans who work support lines (telephone or even email) have one commanding issue. Nearly all, that means 99.9% of the calls they take, are someone with a problem not kudos. It is demanding work and I tip my hat.

High Call Volume

You can understand why the call center may want to stretch the truth but it may be the slipperiest of slopes. Once the process starts, it seems like a good idea to continue. Continuance often leads to expansion. Expansion leads to a bigger lie.

Their forecast is often driven down to answering one question. What is the minimum requirement for retention? What will the customer tolerate instead of how will we delight our customers?

There is a solution to this madness. Tell the truth. Start at the beginning. Create a truthful brand and live up to expectations. Provide alternatives and be sure they work well.

A staff of one may be all that is needed for a few calls a day. A staff of ten that can’t handle another call is likely not unexpected, it is the sign of an untrustworthy brand.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+



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big promises

Big Promises and Buying a Solution

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People are fascinating by media. They watch traditional television, surf their phone, and spend hours on YouTube. Are advertisers making big promises that they cannot possibly keep? Do buyers really care?

Advertisements Move Us

We see the commercial for the franchise restaurant and the food looks delicious. When we order it in the restaurant it looks like something is a little different.

There is the promise that the new automobile will make our family happy, the dog enjoys the ride, and haul all our goodies without any trouble, all while achieving better exceptional gas mileage. Does it do all those things?

We can’t forget about the diet supplements, the meal plans, and why we should buy gold. Are the implied promises kept?

Perhaps one of the most important points about all the things that are pitched to us is understanding who owns the responsibility for what works. Looking at it another way, who owns the responsibility for what doesn’t work?

“Just eat the meals and lose the weight.” may sound familiar. Are you buying the meals, or are you buying the idea that for some reason you’ll change your eating habits?

We can’t forget about the prescription drug advertisements. How does that work? We tell our doctor we want what the television is advertising? She then prescribes what we want?

Big Promises

Most people are buying something based on big promises. Promises that the advertisers probably can’t keep. Don’t blame them though, you didn’t do exactly as described. You didn’t eat the meals, so you didn’t lose the weight.

Perhaps the best way to get to where you want to go is to make the big promises to yourself. Most advertisers leave you with the feeling of finally finding a solution and that buying their product is just that, a solution.

In many of these cases people aren’t buying a solution, they are buying the hope of creating change. How much will you pay for hope? What about discipline, persistence, and motivation?

Really it is all still up to you.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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