Friday, December 6, 2019

Tips to Make Your Brand More Memorable

Just Do It.


Think Different.


Have You Had Your Break Today?


You Can’t Beat the Real Thing.


The 1990s brought us many of the world’s most iconic slogans, but certain companies have a corner on memorable branding.


For example, a 2015 survey of 3,000 people in the U.S. and the United Kingdom were shown logos of 100 top global brands, then asked to name and describe those they found most memorable. Nike was at the top (16% of respondents cited it), followed by Apple (at 15.6%), McDonald's (at 11.1%), and Coca-Cola (at 9.7%).


But aside from logo design or slogan, what makes a brand stick? Experts say it’s a combination of things: some which are inspired, some unusual, and some packaged in the form of contagious stories. The volume of exposure can also increase the likelihood that a brand will stand out, but not many businesses can afford to plaster their logo all over the world.


Increase the “Stickiness” of Your Brand


Use Humor


Don’t be afraid to use humor to promote your brand because humor has staying power and innate personal appeal.


Consider the Super Bowl. This event is as much about the ads as the game, and today people can remember Super Bowl ads from years ago (though they have no idea who competed or won that particular contest).


Release Personalized Content


Who writes your blogs, posts your Facebook notices, or takes your social media photos?


Technology and stock photos make content production easy, but automating the process leaves a bland taste in people’s mouths. Use personalized content whenever possible, and sign the names or signature photos of your staff to the pieces you write. Share examples of personal failures, company celebrations, or hometown references to anchor your content with a more authentic voice.


Create Interactive Communication Channels


Can your customers reach you as easily as you can reach them?


Creating an online brand community enables communication and engages your client. Whether you stick to social media pages or go for a full “gated” membership sites, online brand communities create space for Q&As, meaningful discussions, or offer valuable content that can be accessed by subscribers. This can lead to engaged customer communities, lowered service costs, and greater repeat purchasing.


Launch Giveaway Contests


Giveaways contests are a fast and effective way to build momentum.


Giveaways trigger excitement, anticipation, and a spirit of competition. Any time you can arouse emotion, you’ve been successful! Use giveaways to spark social media sharing, to boost customer engagement, to capture customer testimonials, and to enlarge your e-mail subscriber list.


On-site giveaways also offer a great chance to build excitement through banners, point-of-purchase displays, or oversized decorations. Everyone loves a party!


Memorable Branding Makes Cents


Standing out is a challenge, and small businesses need to work hard to make their voices distinct.


But memorable brands can do more advertising with a small budget because strong branding drives sales and increases customer engagement. Be interactive and have fun, and your customers will too.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Three Show-Stopping Print Ads (and How to Make Yours More Memorable)

Does your brain ever feel tired?


Some days, that’s probably due to information overload. It's been said that the average person living in the city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, experts estimate we are exposed to over 5,000 brands per day (though research suggests only three percent of ads actually make a lasting impression).


But amidst the explosion of digital advertising, industry reports remind us that print holds steady. 70% of Americans prefer to read on paper, and 67% prefer printed materials over email. Additionally, 55% of consumers say they trust print marketing more than any other advertising messages.


Want to evoke emotions with your next print masterpiece? Draw from three creative examples of print ads that recently stole the show.


Keloptic: Bringing Life Into Focus


Keloptic is an online optician that sells sunglasses and eyewear. 


Looking for a clever way to express value, Keloptic took classic impressionistic paintings and added clarity. In one example, viewers gaze at Van Gogh’s post-impressionistic self-portrait through the lens of an overlaid pair of glasses. The portrait, known for its abstract brush strokes and blurry color scheme, leaps into view as the glasses bring Vincent’s face into focus. His eyes penetrate from the page while the whiskers of his beard bring a sense of dramatic 3D texture. In contrast, Van Gogh’s body (appearing outside the eyeglass lenses) remains dull and fuzzy.


Add Your Twist: By allowing viewers to experience the difference Keloptics glasses make, the optician taps into the needs and emotions of its viewers. When crafting your ad, look to clearly reveal how your service can change a bad situation into a better one.


Jeep: See What You Want to See


Jeep is well-known for its terrain vehicles, manufacturing cars that can take you anywhere (so you can “see what you want to see”).


Jeep’s marketers used this motto to design print ads with a variety of animals shown from different viewpoints. The ad’s rugged burlap background featured taglines printed normally (but also upside down!) to alert viewers to the alternate ad angle. As the ad is rotated, vintage drawn animals morph into another species (like a giraffe transforming into a penguin, or an elephant into a tropical bird).


Add Your Twist: By matching its motto with an interactive photo, Jeep gives viewers the power to control their user experience. Play on your customer’s perceptions by using hidden pictures, adding 3D elements that leap off the page, or by using clever messages that make readers dig for deeper meaning.


Pedigree: Adopt


Images convey emotion in ways words never can.


Pedigree puts this principle to work in an ad highlighting adoption. Featuring two side-by-side photos of a man standing on an empty beach, one ad showed a man standing alone with a downcast countenance. In the next image, the man’s head is drooping for a reason: because he’s looking at his dog. The gleeful canine sports a tail in mid-wag and a big sloppy smile. The first ad contains no text, while the second says this: “A dog makes your life happier. Adopt.”


Add Your Twist: Pedigree’s ad is effective because it contrasts a need (loneliness) with a solution (a companion). Since Pedigree is selling to people WITH dogs (not those without dogs), this sentimentality directly appeals to the emotions of its best clients. When selling to the heart, use contrasting images, problem/solution narratives, and graphics that convey an immediate, obvious message.


Tactile, Memorable Print


Print is nothing if not tactile. Use this to your advantage by creating ads that are relatable, memorable, and clear.


Have fun, and make your message stick! 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Eliminate Waste with a Lean Business Model

"The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize." 


– Shigeo Shingo


When you think of "running lean," what comes to mind?


For many entrepreneurs, running lean means producing great results on a shoestring budget. Traditionally, being "lean" has meant doing more with less. Lean business models are all the rage, especially for start-ups or for small regional firms. But recently, the concept has expanded.


Today, a lean business model is a strategy that uses continuous planning and streamlined processes to address customer needs rapidly. Here is one working definition:


A lean business model is a business strategy that strives to eliminate waste in products and processes while satisfying customer wants. In doing so, the business will receive more positive customer returns (like increased sales and goodwill) while expanding profit margins.


Lean businesses are those that recognize inefficiencies, adapt quickly, and continually prototype new options to accommodate shifts in demand.


Lean Business Practices in Action


One real-life example of a lean business strategy comes from the automotive industry.


In the 1990s and 2000s, Japanese companies dominated American auto sales by becoming more customer-oriented. Responding to market demand, Japan produced several high-quality, low-cost vehicles that were assembled in the U.S. This appealed to a niche in the market while significantly reducing development time and operating costs. Sales boomed, and it took the better part of a decade for American manufacturers to regain this lost market share.


It's easy to recognize the results of a winning approach, but what does a lean business model look like in practice? Here are three parameters to guide your thinking:


1. Make strategy the heart of your plan


Lean businesses are flexible, fast, and efficient.


Adaptable companies are those that can change tactics while keeping their strategy consistent. What (or why) does your unique business connect with your target markets? Keep this strategic focus consistent with staying intimately connected to your preferred buyers.


2. Track progress and focus on what works


Since lean business models respond quickly to shifting demand, your company must have an accurate pulse on what is working.


This may involve fast cycles of surveying customers, with corresponding numbers that are specific and measurable.


The most important part of tweaking a business model plan is your data. This includes regularly updated sales projections, detailed performance tasks, or timebound concept developments.


Lean businesses often find that monthly projections are essential, but trajectories beyond one year are usually a waste of time. The goal is not guessing "right," but to generate probable results and to make course corrections as you go.


3. Revise and Review


Managing a lean business model isn't something you do once, or even once a year. Like calorie counting, the key to staying lean is regular repetition over time.


In business, this means revising and tweaking your plan consistently, including a commitment to reward experimentation and to prioritize ideas based on their output. This can be painful. It may mean abandoning concepts you championed, or sacking projects you've invested months into. But isn't that better than losing time and money in the long run?


Whether you like it or not, the only constant thing in life is change. Running a lean business requires an agile mindset, a humble attitude, and a willingness to learn as you go.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bringing Your Dream to Life

"Someone is sitting in the shade today


because someone planted a tree a long time ago." (Warren Buffet)


Dr. Julie Silver is a giant among medical practitioners.


As an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, Silver has published several award-winning books and is the Chief Editor of Books at Harvard Health Publications, the consumer health publishing brand of Harvard Medical School.


But Silver is known for more than her accomplishments, she's known as an overcomer. At age 30, Silver found herself on the other side of medicine – as a patient instead of a physician – when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her story from surgery through radiation, chemo, and rehab is now the backbone of her identity.


Through cancer recovery, Silver found herself exhausted and depleted, with few resources for getting back on her feet:


"Returning to work and caring for my young children was very difficult," Silver says of that time. "I was not given rehab care and therefore had to rehabilitate myself. If I had been a stroke survivor or been in a car accident, I would have been offered rehab treatment. But, as a cancer survivor, I was left to figure it out on my own."


Silver says this experience, combined with loads of research touting the benefits of cancer rehab, prompted her to team up with others to reshape the recovery road. She and a team of experts created STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehab) certification programs for hospitals, group practices, and individual clinicians. STAR programs have empowered post-cancer treatment centers, improved life for thousands, and given legs to Silver's dream.


Pursue a Dream


Do you need the courage to pursue a dream in your life?


You have to believe a dream before you can see it come true. Every great achievement begins in the heart of one individual who took a risk and asked, "what if?" As Walt Disney once said, "all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them."


Dreamers are people who don't let negative thinking discourage them, even when their vision is beyond their capabilities. In Silver's case, she started with a hope for better cancer rehab. But as her journey progressed, she discovered hospitals needed much more than information. They needed an entire training system.


"I quickly realized that [my colleagues] needed a lot more information and assistance than I could offer with a simple conversation," Silver said. "They needed to be educated about cancer rehabilitation and to implement protocols to deliver this care."


Share a Dream


One reason dreams die is that you never share them with others.


People who genuinely want to achieve a dream must talk about it! Frequently. Why? Sharing a dream aloud helps you believe in it more and to make necessary tweaks along the way. Sharing dreams builds momentum, inspires others to collaborate, and holds you accountable to a plan. And plans break visions into actionable steps while pushing you to gather necessary resources in realistic time frames.


Work the Dream


How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.


After you've done the necessary planning, it's time to work. When it comes down to it, cathedrals are built one brick at a time. So, the most successful dreamers aren't just people with bold ideas; they are people who follow through in ordinary moments.


Hard work isn't always fun, but success looks something like this:


Short-Term Tasks * Regular Follow-Through = Long-term Achievement


Sound difficult? Just remember, it can be hard to work the dream, but it can be even harder to work for someone else's dream. Do the work today and enjoy the results tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

How Multi-Tasking Can Tank Your Productivity

For more than a decade, Dr. Daniel Simons and his colleagues studied a form of invisibility known as inattentional blindness.


In the best-known demonstration, Simons showed a video and asked people to count how many times basketball players in white shirts passed a ball. After 30 seconds, a woman in a gorilla suit sauntered into the scene, faced the camera, thumped her chest and walked away. Half the viewers missed her. In fact, some people looked right at the gorilla and did not see it.


That video was a sensation, so a 2010 sequel again featured the gorilla (as expected). This time, viewers were so focused on watching for the gorilla that they overlooked other unexpected events like the changing background color.


How could they miss something right before their eyes? Inattentional blindness. Humans consciously see only a small subset of our visual world, and when we focus on one thing, we overlook others.


The Statistics on Multi-Tasking


Most people are unaware of the limits of their attention, which can cause dangerous situations (like texting and driving).


What about multi-tasking at work? A majority of people spend time bouncing between calls, e-mails, and creative tasks, believing that this plate-spinning approach makes them more efficient.


But studies suggest that multi-tasking is a problem, not an asset. Data shows that multi-tasking causes you to make more mistakes, retain less information, and fragment brain function. Here's why.


Any time you need to pay attention, the prefrontal cortex of your brain begins working. Focusing on a single task means both sides of your prefrontal cortex are working together in harmony, but adding secondary tasks forces the left and right sides of the brain to operate independently. Scientists from the Paris Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) found that this "brain split" caused subjects to forget details and to make three times more mistakes.


Another study found that participants who multi-tasked during cognitive tasks experienced an IQ score decline similar to those who have stayed up all night. Some of the multi-tasking men had their IQ drop 15 points, leaving them with the average IQ of an 8-year-old child. That's some jaw-dropping data!


So how can you avoid the multi-tasking "trap?" Here are four suggestions:


Place Lower Priority Projects Out Sight


When juggling assignments at work, intentionally stop and place lower priority projects out of sight.


Mute notifications from your e-mail or phone, send calls to voicemail, or put a sign on your door saying you will not be available for the next __ minutes. Give full attention to one project at a time and your creativity and efficiency will increase.


Use Time-Blocking


Rather than bouncing between tasks, map out chunks of time for each project. Twenty-minute blocks are a great way to schedule your most valuable time slots.


Turn Off Your Phone


Keep your phone off the table during meetings and turned off during peak productivity sessions.


Log Off Email


Studies show that the average professional spends about 23 percent of their day in e-mail.


But an Irvine study found when employees were cut off from e-mail for five days, heart tracking monitors revealed a decrease in stress and an increase in mental endurance. Employees who switch screens less often minimize multi-tasking and work more efficiently.


Consider limiting availability with automatic-reply settings like this: "I am not available at this time but will be checking messages again at 2 p.m. For immediate assistance, contact ________."


Just Say No


The next time you're tempted to multi-task, just say NO! You may think you're getting more done, but you're probably wrong.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Expand Sales with Responsive Customer Surveys

Airbnb is one of the most iconic names for startup success in our generation, quickly becoming one of the world's fastest-growing companies with over 80 million reservations booked per year through their service.


A considerable part of Airbnb's marketing strategy includes its responsiveness to both customers and hosts. The company regularly surveys hosts and guests and makes this a priority in their business.


Why? Here's what Airbnb says:


"At the center of everything we do is community. Our community of hosts is what delivers magical travel to our community of guests. For more than ten years, we have worked to build this community, which now includes hosts in nearly 100,000 cities."


A typical Airbnb survey invite looks something like this:


Hi ____,


Thanks for using Airbnb. We really appreciate you choosing Airbnb for your travel plans.


To help us improve, we'd like to ask you a few questions about your experience so far. It only takes 3 minutes, and your answers will help us make Airbnb even better for you and other guests.


Thanks,


The Airbnb Team


Airbnb politely asks for customers' opinions after their stay, giving them the space to decide whether they want to share their feedback or not. In fact, Airbnb has increased the number of bookings by 25% with their referral program alone.


Companies like Airbnb recognize that surveys are a powerful way to:



  • Grow new sales opportunities

  • Recognize and help dissatisfied clients before they leave

  • Create deeper relationships with VIP customers

  • Build competitive advantages for a business

Six Tips for Building a Successful Survey


When it comes to customer success and satisfaction, your team must collect feedback about your product or service.


As you assess customer needs, you increase value for your company and validate strategic decisions that your leaders make.


Want to build more sustainability and growth into your business? Here are six tips for building a successful survey.


1. Keep it short and simple.


Concentrate on the 5-10 most important questions.


2. Avoid loaded questions.


Leading questions taint your survey because you tempt people to give answers they THINK you want to hear.


3. Start with basic questions that have straightforward answers.


This increases the confidence of the customer and encourages them to continue the survey (rather than abandoning the process). If open-ended questions are important to you, use them at the end of the questionnaire.


4. Avoid compounded questions.


Avoid grouping multiple questions together in one line, like: "Did you understand what the product did? Why or why not?" This increases your likelihood of gathering unclear data.


5. Target the right people.


Don't waste your time on people who are not prospects or target customers. The RIGHT data is much more important than a plethora of unhelpful feedback!


6. Include enough people.


To know how many people to send surveys to, take your sample size (how many responses you'd like to receive) and divide it by your estimated response rate.


For example, if you want a sample of 100 customers at an estimated response rate of 10%, you would divide 100 by .10 to find that your survey should be sent to 1000 customers.


A Customer-Centric Experience


Every product or service revolves around customers and their experiences.


Well-structured survey campaigns are well worth the time and expense they involve because they allow you to assess customer needs, provide effective solutions, and increase client retention. Start with the basics and build from there. Your business will thank you later!

Friday, November 1, 2019

How to Age Gracefully at Every Stage of Life

If people can age with class, Harlene Goodrich should be considered a maestro of maturity.


Goodrich, age 81, is a former schoolteacher who lives in Seal Beach, CA. Goodrich returned to school at age 50 to get her master's degree and has since published a children's book and won several playwriting contests. Despite serious back and knee surgery in the past decade, Goodrich didn't shrink back from traveling to Washington, D.C., at age 79 to participate in a national protest march.


Goodrich says that aging well means proactively beginning the process while you're still young by engaging with stimulating people and activities. This includes a healthy dose of humor. Recently, Goodrich gathered friends ages 65 to 83 and heard them complaining about aches and pains. She stopped the discussion and suggested they go around the table to give each woman five minutes to complain. That's when everyone broke out laughing.


A Healthful Approach


No one can stop time, so it's important to remember that aging isn't something to be avoided. Instead, aging healthfully should be your goal.


This includes taking stock of your physical, social, and mental wellness, and prioritizing health as you would invest in your vehicle maintenance. Want to age healthfully? Here are some checkpoints in each category.


Physical Health


Early identification of health problems makes them easier to manage, so prioritize regular check-ups and complete the recommended health screenings for your age group. Here is a medical schedule to help you best navigate these guidelines.


Exercise is also vital. It's estimated that physical functioning peaks around age 30, and at this point, you begin to lose muscle mass and function. Sedentary individuals can lose as much as 5% of their muscle mass each decade! However, you can maintain muscle through regular exercise, specifically strength or resistance training. Resistance training also strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. 


Social Health


Aging can sometimes feel lonely, so it's important to make new friends and widen your social circles.


How can you do this? Consider new hobbies, volunteer opportunities, or even classes at a nearby college. You can also expand connections by proactively befriending younger people. Intergenerational relationships can open doors for powerful mentoring opportunities while decreasing depression and helping you navigate changes in technology and culture. 


Mental Health


Cognitively speaking, mental development continues into middle adulthood.


Later in life, your cognitive processing speeds may slow, but wisdom and experience-based problem solving will continue to increase.


It's important to feed your mind and your soul to stay sharp mentally. This includes consistent sleep patterns, building new connections, and cultivating a sense of purpose. Practical steps may consist of caring for others (to maintain a positive outward focus), tackling puzzles or strategy games, using mental arithmetic instead of defaulting to a calculator, playing an instrument, and surrounding yourself with upbeat people.


Research shows that smiling, even a fake smile, can boost your mood. When you catch your reflection in the mirror or a window, smile at yourself, and you may be surprised at how it lifts your spirits. Smile at others, too; you might make their day!


Be a Participant in Your Journey


One of the essential things about aging is to do it proactively.


Often as people age, they feel isolated or embarrassed. And in today's connected generation, there's just no reason to shrink back from others. Aging healthfully means making a plan, asking for help, and being an active participant (versus a spectator) in your own life. That's Harlene's outlook:


"No one suddenly gets old," Goodrich said. "I think we're all on the path of life. I may be old in years, but I'm the same person who's been living the same life. The key is to participate in each stage along the way."