Tag Archives: brand

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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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culture drives decisions

Culture Drives Decisions, Does Your Team Get It Right?

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It is Monday, or Tuesday, or any day of the week. You’ll make some decisions today, everything from what to eat to your next big purchase. In the workplace, you’ll make decisions too. Everything from how you’ll navigate the environment to the timeliness of your work. Culture drives decisions, are you getting them right?

Organizational Culture

Your organization has a culture. It is hard to imagine any assembled group of people who over time do not develop a way of doing things, how to interact, and what the rules are. When hiring, many organizations try to find someone with the required skills, but they must also fit their culture.

Is this a good idea? In many regards, yes it may be. However, when the organization is trying to build something, grow, develop, change, and inspire, more of the same is exactly that, the same.

It isn’t a secret. Culture, and its associated density, is driving the organization or team where you do your work. This is especially true for how you make decisions.

Your Way

You have a way you build brand, a way you schedule and hold meetings. There is a dress code (formal and informal) and a proper way to interact. There are hours of operation and expectations on how you’ll accommodate those. Organizational hierarchy is strict or loose.

You’ll manage relationships according to the flow of the culture. This is true for the customer, the vendor, and your co-workers.

All of these things and so much more guide what choices you’ll make today. They will guide the workflow, the pace, and who has the final say in any matter.

Culture Drives Decisions

Organizations often pride themselves on being unique. Unique can be interesting, diverse, and compelling.

If your organization or team is stuck, stalled, or just can’t seem to get out of its own way. You may want to check your culture. It is the way you do everything.

It is probably the most important decision that you get right.

– 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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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customer service anchors

What Customer Service Anchors Are You Using?

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I really like the metaphorical use of the word anchor. Actually, if you consult a dictionary my use may not be metaphorical. We often anchor mentally, emotionally, to data or other types of input. Our thoughts directly connect to our decisions, which connect to our actions. Do you use customer service anchors?

Have you thought about things that you anchor to personally or professionally? What anchors does your department, your team, or the organization use?

Anchors and Decisions

Anchors have a lot to do with our decisions. We may consider what we have to gain or what we risk losing. Often these decisions are connected to time or money.

When we speed on the freeway, we’re taking a risk. The risk often isn’t measured by considering safety it is measured by the consequences of time and money. We may speed because we believe we can arrive sooner, and we make the choice about the risk of receiving a ticket. The citation costs us money.

The customer service that organizations deliver is rooted deep within the internal operation. It may exist in engineering, research and development, or in the manufacturing process. In service only organizations, it exists in the timeliness, attention to detail, follow through, and client outcomes.

Organizations are often not doing well with walking the talk. They may actually believe that they have a culture of customer service, until their continued struggle for growth, or even to sustain, makes it obvious. The customer experience is never what you say it is, or even what you design it to be. Ultimately, the customer decides.

Customer Service Anchors

When you have processes and procedures that are driven by people who will make decisions and choices based on their thoughts and assessment of risk, you have to consider their anchors. What customer service anchors are affecting your operation?

Here are few possibilities to consider:

  • Mistakes. A mistake is made. Is it a big mistake or a little mistake? Does it, or will it affect the customer? Will the customer notice?
  • Quality. The produced product is close; redoing it will cost time and money. It’s not perfect, will we ship it anyway?
  • Questions. A customer may ask if it will solve their problem. The true answer is unknown. The sale is important. What will you tell the customer?

While some of these are rooted in ethics and integrity, they are all likely a product of the organizational culture. Employees often learn to anchor to the data they encounter from the environment in which they work. This is rooted inside the organization and is reflected in the reputation of the brand.

What customer service anchors are happening in your organization?

– 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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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service promises matter customer appreciative

Why Customer Service Promises Matter

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Yes, it is true, the customer typically wants to be right. Your image and brand are critically important for continued success. What is sometimes surprising is how little businesses understand why customer service promises matter.

Certainly, it isn’t everyone, but when something goes wrong many people are looking for someone else to blame. When you’ve promised something to your customer and you don’t deliver you probably will make them look bad. Who will they blame?

Your brand, your image, what people believe or understand about the transaction will have a lot to do with the outcomes. It doesn’t always mean it is the correct impression or understanding, but it might be what they understand.

Ordering a Whopper at McDonald’s might be a misunderstanding or a simple mistake, but expecting your sandwich to be warm is a promise.

Service Promises Matter

Have you thought about your customer service promises? Those that are spoken, written, or otherwise assumed by your customer to be delivered by you? Have you considered how policies, procedures, and pricing affect loyalty?

Here are a few things to consider when you ask yourself about customer loyalty and living up to brand promise:

  • Giving new customers a price break to sign on while loyal customers pay more.
  • Insisting that the warranty is the warranty even when the difference is very narrow.
  • Encouraging a buy new, never fix, approach with products or services.
  • Assume the customer is not smart enough and speak with them that way.
  • Refuse to negotiate when in the past you always have.
  • Forcing features or specifications that your customer must now pay more for.
  • Fixing software bugs and selling them as an upgrade.

This list can quickly become very long. The difference for many promises is based on emotion. It is what the customer feels—or doesn’t.

What Customers Feel

How you make your customer feel will have a lot to do with the future of your relationship. Certainly nearly every situation is unique but word travels fast and a negative word even faster.

Do you believe customer service promises matter? You should, because your customers do.

– 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 five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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