Archive for the 'Marketing Mistakes To Avoid' Category

Exponential Marketing 101

Today’s topic is the example of a good idea that could have been great. First, have a look at this IT workshop Money Back Guarantee proposition… Don’t get me wrong, it’s different and will probably resonate quite well with the target audience, but can you pick up the sub-optimal presupposition?

Money Back Guarantee, Pricing For Value, Optional Pricing, Pay For Value

It’s not obvious… Re-read it again.

Continue reading ‘Exponential Marketing 101′

Top Blog Posts Of 2014

Here are my picks for my top 10 blog posts of 2014.

  1. Top-10-Blog-Posts-2014There is nothing more powerful than 20/20 Foresight to know what’s coming in 2015…
  2. This is my favourite YouTube video of the year – brilliant – Word Crimes are committed by too many people’s.
  3. Antimimeticisomorphism is easier said than done – this example is priceless – poo pourri.
  4. The privacy pirates are still at it in 2014, maybe this guy’s one step ahead of them with his amazing mind reading skills!
  5. We all love our iPads… Who knew they are this versatile and useful?
  6. A metaphor can be the difference life and death, success or failure. This is one of my all-time favourites.
  7. This cute video says a lot about teamwork – Together Everyone Achieves More.
  8. Looks do matter – even if you’re a shark.
  9. I hope your calendar doesn’t look this this! Notice the caribou? Another great metaphor!
  10. Somethings are better left unsaid.

Bonus Blog Posts:

An Oscar Award Winning Speech worthy of its own Oscar!

If Noah was alive today

Enjoy the best of 2014 and may 2015 bring you all the wealth, health and happiness you deserve!

Project Pitfalls

Project Planning Pitfalls Doc ThumbnailWe all want to avoid mistakes, which is easier said than done.

That’s why this collection of Project Planning Pitfalls and Management Mistakes sponsored by Nebo Engineering is so funny and so true!

Click on the image to download the collection from Nebo Engineering‘s website.

This document is just another Exponential Marketing Strategy aimed at having fun as we help you grow your business or advance your career.

 

 

Marketing Mistakes To Avoid – Hitler Billboard

What were they (not) thinking?!?
Hitler Billboard

Unfortunately most of the marketing mistakes people make are not this blatantly obvious.

I say unfortunately because if they are not obvious, then they are not recognised for the true blunders they are. These are silent killers that erode a company’s profits often to the complete ignorance of the business owner.

Ignorance is simply NOT KNOWING.

NOT KNOWING is no longer an excuse in this day and age of “Exponential Mindset Thinking” – It’s why MasterMind Groups were invented, work so well and are used by all super successful business people and the ultra wealthy.

You can’t be smarter than a group of your peers and you can’t outperform a group of your peers who are focused on your success…

It always baffles me when I hear and see people “going it alone” in business…

 

Digging yourself into a hole

I just came back from a trip to North America where I met some very smart and ambitious business people.

In contrast, upon my return to Australia, I came across a 19-year old squash player who wants to make it on to the professional tour who said “I don’t have a coach, I prefer to do things on my own, see what’s out there and do it my way.”

I was gobsmacked. His fate is sealed – he is already YEARS behind his peers. We have local players here in Sydney who at the national level are already YEARS ahead of him.

So what does this have to do with business?

Dig Yourself Into A Hole - The Exponential Growth Strategist

 

In as much as today’s example is squash related, the same is true in business. I see it all the time. Business people who have dug themselves into a hole and want to get out. In many cases, the hole is too deep and as a mentor, I simply walk away. The reason I do that is because as Einstein said “The thinking that created the problem is not the thinking that will solve it.”

As The Exponential Growth Strategist, I decided a long time ago to work with the elite in business, those who know what they want and are willing to invest in themselves to get it.

One of the key principles is the quote above. AVOIDING problems and MINIMISING mistakes is a necessary part of success.

One of the most valuable aspects of what I do for my clients is help them AVOID mistakes – prevent them from picking up that shovel in the first place.

A common and all-too-popular hole people are digging themselves into is with social media, another is poor quality copywriting.

The next time you get yourself into a hole – ask yourself this simple question: “How could I have avoided picking up the shovel in the first place?”

If you can do that, you will reduce the number of holes you dig for yourself moving forward.

What you can learn from watching ‘Breaking Bad’

I just recently purchased the first two seasons of Breaking Bad on DVD. I rarely watch TV and when I do, it’s when it suits me. Time shifting is one of the many personal productivity principles I teach.

Breaking Bad is the ideal example of what happens when you adopt an emergent strategy approach without the skills to handle it. In our 1-Day MBA program and the more extensive 4-day residential version, we cover this approach in the course curriculum. From now on, I will include this as one of my “don’t do” slide examples!

Emergent Strategy, Strategic Planning, Poor Planning

Often, the most valuable business advice I can give is how to avoid mistakes that most people make – usually unknowingly. Contact us if you want to avoid the most common mistakes made by business owners and executives.

The power of a story – video

There are many concepts, strategies, techniques and approaches that make Exponential Marketing so effective, efficient and economical. One of the foundational building blocks is what I call Killer Kopywriting. It’s more than just words that sell, it’s a system that teaches you how to establish Killer Konversations that Kreate Killer Kampaigns to Konvert more Klients.

OK, enough with the branding nomenclature, you get the point.

The video below is an example of the power of a story. In this instance the context is funny, but in business, the better you become at crafting corporate stories, the more effective you will become, not just to attract more clients, but also reduce your sales cycle and improve your conversions.

Easier said than done. Writing great copy is a science and an art that is beyond the reach of most business people. The point is not to turn you into a professional copywriter, but to develop within you, the skills to appreciate the value of great copy, manage contract copywriters and enhance your existing corporate communications.

It is without a doubt one of the most powerful skills and attributes you can develop that will propel your sales forward. Ignore its importance is not an option – especially when it comes to the Internet and Search Engine Optimisation that sorts and ranks how good or bad your copy is.

There is a direct relationship between the traffic to your website and the quality of your written content. The problem is that unless you know the ins and outs of how to write Killer Kopy, you will never fully optimise your traffic and web lead generation.

Message getting lost in the crowd?

Do you feel like no matter what you do, no one is getting your message?

Persona - Message- Exponential Programs dot com

Getting noticed is not about being provocative or sensationalistic, but without extreme measures these days, it IS harder than ever to get noticed and have your message reach your intended audience.

There is however a tried and tested way to do this, methodically, systematically and repeatedly whilst maintaining your sincerity, authenticity and integrity. It’s one of the foundational principles we teach our most elite, ambitious entrepreneurial clients in our Platinum Program.

For a limited time, if you contact us, we’ll send you an introductory video presentation that highlights all the key elements of the strategy so you can start to get your message across persuasively and effectively.

Sorry, it’s not a free giveaway. It’s much too valuable.

Just imagine if prospects sought you ought instead of you chasing them down… How different would your life be?

Think about it, because when you deploy this strategy to its fullest, that is exactly what will happen.

You will have people contacting you, calling you, emailing you wanting to do business with you – I know that sounds outrageous and unbelievable, but it’s true and it’s possible… for people and companies who create a professional persona that transcends the noise that is in the marketplace…

Otherwise you just get lost with everyone else in the rubble pile of broken dreams.

Why Smart Business People Fail

In a previous blog post, I touched on several foundational concepts that can help you to go from establishing motivation to creating momentum. Today, I want to focus on the catalyst, the initial trigger(s) that can help you start the process. First and foremost, to get moving, you need to overcome inertia. Inertia is defined as “the predisposition for a body to remain in the state that’s it’s in.” That means if you are NOT moving, you want to remain still. If, however, you ARE moving, then you want to remain IN MOTION. Therein lies the first reward for taking action.

Once you GET moving, it’s easier to STAY moving.

 I know, I know… “Easier said than done”. Especially in the morning when you are lying in a warm, comfortable bed and the last thing you want to do is get up and go for a run, do exercise or get a head start on your day.

You have seen it first hand at the playground with a merry-go-round. The first pull is really hard, and then it’s effortless to keep it spinning. Success is just like that – it gets easier as you become (more) successful.

merry-go-round- first pullInertia is one simplistic answer that pop psychology likes to hone in on. I prefer to look a little deeper than the superficial factors that don’t provide much insight nor contribute to providing practical solutions.

One of the primary reasons people don’t do what they KNOW they should do is because of prior (negative) experiences. Yes, the psychological literature addresses a person’s predisposition towards positive affect (seeing the glass half full), self-efficacy (you think you can complete a task successfully) and self esteem, but those are all quite superficial and of marginal practical value.

Dont Look Back QuotePast failures are the #1 contributor to most people’s inability to take action on projects and opportunities that are (blatantly) beneficial to them. One of the most valuable lessons champions learn is that the past does not equal the future and past performance is NOT a predictor of future success.

Once again, and I apologise for repeating myself – “easier said than done.”

We need to fail to learn the difference between what works and what doesn’t. The quicker we fail, the quicker we learn the lessons and the faster we are able to turn our REASONS for not achieving into the RESULTS that we seek.

Simply stated:

We are reasons or we are results.

When you face the harsh reality of life, and really think about it, you’ll agree that when you don’t achieve a RESULT, there are REASONS. The more REASONS there are, the better. That is because there are MORE sources to solve the problem so you can achieve the desired RESULT.

Negative MindBut and there usually is a but involved – most people don’t want to face the truth and therefore kid themselves ignoring the REAL REASONS that deny them from achieving the RESULTS they seek and desire.

This is where self awareness becomes a key ingredient of extra-ordinary success.

A true champion (a super successful person) addresses these issues, one by one, removing the REASONS so the RESULTS can emerge, as if by magic.

But most people get discouraged with failures and shortcomings, get down on themselves and lose faith. The reason that it is so pervasive is that without the proper coaching, mentoring or assistance, more (wrongly directed) effort is futile.

Here is a new twist to the glass half empty or full question that I thought would be appropriate to introduce to you.

 

How heavy is this glass?

At first glance, you might guess 200 to 500 grams and you’d probably be right – technically. But if the question is metaphorical, it depends… glass-half-full

  • If you hold the glass for a minute there is nothing to be concerned about.
  • If you hold it up for an hour, then your arm will be very sore.
  • If you hold it up for a whole day, then the pain will be excrutiating.

And yet the weight of the glass did not change, but its heaviness certainly did.

The metaphor is simple: if you carry your past (negative baggage) with you, the longer you hold on to it, the heavier it gets and the more pain it causes you…

Think about it…

Flat TireThis compounding effect is devastating to the person who just does not know any better. The great thing about living in a developed country is that the tools for success are within EVERYONE’S reach.

For example, I have published over 4,000 pages of FREE content on my blogs.

Anyone with an Internet connection can access business building, career advancement and personal development tips, tricks and techniques at NO COST.

Of course, the Internet is filled with priceless and timeless data and information. But without a framework, it remains impotent – neutral, often useless.

You need a framework, a strategic intent that first creates a catalyst or trigger to get things going and growing and then an approach to maintain and build the momentum.

But and there’s that much hated word again – but… without a DECISION, nothing happens.

There is a saying that it is in our moments of decision that our destiny is shaped, however I, without meaning to be cynical, think it’s more a case of:

 

“It is in our moments of indecision that are dreams are destroyed” – Dr Marc Dussault

 

I have seen too many people hesitate, procrastinate and essentially self-sabotage their careers and business outcomes due to fear of making a decision. Fear of taking a stand. Fear of raising the bar. Fear of taking a chance (on themselves). Fear of creating the potential outcome that is within their reach – their ultimate destiny.

Take-The-First-StepOne of the key reasons is a concept called “perfect information”. If you Google it, you’ll end up on Wikipedia with the Game Theory explanation “perfect information describes the situation when a player has available the same information to determine all of the possible games (all combinations of legal moves) as would be available at the end of the game.”

Real life never provides “perfect information” so expecting it is a recipe for certain disaster and disappointment. Perfectionists and procrastinators seek this “perfect information” and get caught in the analysis paralysis paradox, a self-fulfilling vortex with no way out.

So where does that leave most people?

STUCK.

Stuck in the predicament they are in. Stuck in their mindset. Stuck in their current reality.

STUCK.

Without the desire, drive and determination to get UNSTUCK, they repeat the patterns of the past, over and over and over again.

The ONLY solution is to BREAK THAT PATTERN.

Here are easy ways to get UNSTUCK:

  1. Accept that perfect information does not exist and start moving forward WITHOUT knowing what the second step is. The first step will reveal it to you, but only once you’ve taken it. Break the vicious circle by taking the first step.
  2. You do not need to know ALL the steps to a destination to get there. You just need to know you WANT to get there and take the first step.
  3. Get advice from people who have achieved what you want to accomplish. You wouldn’t ask your car mechanic to cut your hair, so be careful WHO YOU TAKE ADVICE FROM!
  4. Remain committed to your outcome, or change it (your outcome or goal) if you must. Nothing worth achieving will come easy. Accept that otherwise don’t waste your time.
  5. Recognise that momentum, once created, is easy to maintain and build upon. You have seen it first hand at the playground with the merry-go-round. The first pull is really hard, and then it’s effortless to keep it spinning. Success is just like that – it gets easier as you become (more) successful.

For all of this to ‘happen’ – you need a BIG REASON to do ‘it’. You need something bigger than yourself, more important than “just making money”. You need to pick something that means something to you, resonates within you. Pick something that once achieved, will change your life and/or the lives of others you care about. You need a purpose.

When you find that “purpose” you will have the fire in the belly to get started. With that initial motivation and enthusiasm you will create the catalyst for change and the momentum will build from there to help you achieve your dream(s).

Without that “purpose”, you are impotent, stagnant, inert, blasé, bland, indifferent, STUCK.

Create the catalyst and you will soar to greater heights than you ever previously imagined… and you will embrace pushing yourself…

I’ve already published an extensive post on Victims and Martyrs that you can refer to.

Without being too much of an idealist, I believe that (almost) everyone can achieve their ultimate destiny – but – the number one thing that prevents that from happening is their inability to resolve the REASONS that prevent them from achieving the RESULTS they desire.

It really is as simple as that.

Don't look backSuccess is really not complicated, it comes down to wanting it bad enough for a reason important enough and then doing whatever it takes to make it happen.

Of course there is a HARD way and an EASY (Exponential) way…

It’s your decision…

MAKE IT.

Killer Kopywriting

Whenever I teach Killer Kopywriting – using words that sell – I make sure to emphasise that there is always a balance between what is said and is meant.

Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes it’s lost in translation… ;-)

Online and offline advertising: The Double Whammy

Does combining offline and online mean double the costs or double the profits?

That’s a perplexing question that baffles many small business owners and independent retailers.

What works for multinational corporations with deep pockets doesn’t work for small businesses with shoe-string budgets.

Even though today’s empowered consumers expect to interact with brands across a wide range of touch points, that means a strategy that integrates both an off- and online approach is becoming increasingly important. A recent Google/Ipsos study indicates shoppers are feeling increasingly comfortable hitting the “Buy Now” button using their mobile devices, but the wise retail marketer knows the best way to make a sale is by integrating their message across both the “old” and the new media channels. Print and digital campaigns are now tightly intertwined.

The Internet has undoubtedly changed the world of advertising forever and a successful advertising campaign must embrace this medium in order to be successful.  Yet one may think that a purely online approach is the answer, however it’s also important to remember that physical promotional items (and advertising) still reach people that online advertising can’t.

Plus, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having information that prospective buyers can take with them to analyse and review at their convenience and discretion. That’s why niche magazines remain popular and why print is far from being “dead”.

Most businesses and brands realise that a balance of online content and physical information is necessary, but many are not sure how to achieve this balance.  More often than not, the answer comes down to budget and desired outcomes.

One thing is for sure: combining online and offline media is now a must.

Even though social media has played a large role in toppling foreign state political regimes, I am not a fan of social media marketing for small businesses who need to produce tangible sales results.

Instead of wasting time, money and effort on something that is marginal, why not direct it to something tried and tested?

Offline media like print advertising is PROVEN to work – especially in specialised, highly targeted niche markets.

But print won’t work on its own anymore. Print needs an online component to facilitate and enhance the conversation that needs to take place. Without the web, that conversation now falls on deaf ears. With a fully developed online presence, print advertisers can direct their offline leads into fully automated online systems that create a much more fluent, enjoyable and valuable customer experience.

Yet, without print or physical media, often, the catalyst doesn’t exist and “nothing happens”.

Therein lies the conundrum – in many instances, the fastest, easiest and most economical path to prospects is print. Physical (niche) publications have distribution networks that reach people in pockets of interest that are well established. These networks are entrenched geographically, culturally and economically. They have been around for years or even decades, reinforced across generations.

Therein lies the power of the PHYSICAL REAL WORLD network.

But that power remains impotent without the Internet as its new ‘enabler’.

Traditional media such as print, radio and television advertising often has better brand recall than digital media which suffers from source credibility syndrome.

The challenge for small business is focusing on what works to produce measurable outcomes versus and not be tricked by the smoke and mirrors evangelised by the providers of the new media services who keep referring to deep pocket campaigns that the lone Aussie Battler simply can’t afford.

We have solutions for all budgets – contact us and we’ll help you get results within the next week that you can measure. No smoke. No Mirrors.

Is Print Dead?

Is Print Dead, Print Media, Print AdvertisingI recently blogged that print media is alive and well, but there are still some skeptics out there who don’t fully understand why that’s the case.

First, let me deal with the obvious issue – print IS declining. There is no question that it has peaked and it’s decreasing quickly, but it’s far from dead as I explain below.

Second, death is over stating the demise of print and traditional media.

Print advertising makes a comeback in the digital age

I know it may seem counter-intuitive, but the latest research reveals that print (and direct mail) are far from dead! In fact, even though we live in a highly, and ever-increasingly digital world, we are still human and as such still rely on print to make purchasing decisions.

We can all acknowledge that we struggle to sift through all our emails, websites, blogs, social media and other online channels. The number of online messages and ads has increased explosively to record levels, overwhelming most consumers. That means advertisers have an increasingly smaller segment of a highly fragmented online presence that gets costlier by the day.

That’s why there has been a “return to print” as well as (physical) direct mail. Sure we all enjoy the practicality of online access, but we also still love the feel of a magazine between our fingers as we flip the pages revealing colourful images, interesting fonts and great content.

As consumers, we’ve come to appreciate the need for advertising – especially in niche market publications like this one. That’s why it still continues to perform exceptionally well for small businesses with tiny marketing budgets who need to reach their target audience economically, without the costly, scattergun approach associated with daily or community newspapers.

In this day and age, print media, especially NICHE and LOCAL PUBLICATIONS still reign supreme – especially when they’re integrated with an online presence, the topic of an future blog post.

Need more proof?

I thought so. Here it is.

STATISTICS ON TRADITIONAL PRINT ADVERTISING

Continue reading ‘Is Print Dead?’

Are you playing your instrument in the wrong place?

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk away.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Here is my Exponential Mindset Thinking Twist:

If you are Joshua Bell in your industry or marketplace, are you playing YOUR instrument in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Hmmm…. Something to think about the next time you spend time. money and effort on your next sales and marketing promotion.

Muddled Messages

Marketing Communications, Copywriting, Writing Copy, Marketing Message

Muddled Marketing Messages

I recently blogged and asked if your clients understand you. Today’s photo of the week is a great reminder of the need to avoid muddled messages.

In marketing and sales, the clarity of the message is a key component of success.

That being said, all too often, messages get muddled by the time they reach their audience.

Want to test it for yourself?

If you have staff, ask a handful of them what your USP (Unique Selling  Proposition), mission/vision statement or key competitive advantage is.

If you don’t have enough staff to make the test statistically significant, ask your existing clients.

See what happens.

Chances are you’ll get a muddled message, maybe even totally different and/or conflicting themes.

Give that some serious thought…

How much more (cost) effective and (time) efficient would your marketing be if you had a CLEAR MESSAGE?

Hmmm…

Contact us and we’ll help you get YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS, clearly and succinctly.

BTW, the photo was sent to us by Successful Endeavours in Melbourne – have a look at their website – you’ll see their message CLEARLY STATED on their home page:

“We make electronics and embedded software work the way they should,
saving you up to 2 out of every 3 dollars you otherwise would have wasted,
so you can manufacture your market leading product in Australia at a profit.”

“NOICE!”

Benefits Versus Features

We all know how effective Apple’s commercials and advertising are, but why are they so persuasive?

In this instance it’s the singular focus on benefits rather than features. In our Killer Kopywriting System, we explain this in full detail, but for today’s blog post ‘exercise’, just watch this video and see if you can do the same for ONE of your products and/or services.

You’ll quickly realise that you revert to FEATURES rather than benefits, which is one of the reasons why Apple outsells its competitors. The other is because their products are way, way better!\

Here’s the thing you really need to fully grasp – people BUY BENEFITS – NOT features. If you want to sell more, you simply need to translate the technical merits of your product or service into “What’s in it for me?”

Easier said than done, but well worth the investment. It’s the single most effective way to increase sales.

Do your clients really understand you?

Sometimes you might think you’re being understood when the exact opposite is true. In business, the art and science of clear communication is the key to success in sales and marketing.

Writing good copy is easier said than done, which is why we developed a system to teach you the most important elements of writing copy that sells – we call it Killer Kopywriting.

Even if you don’t end up writing all your sales copy, at least you’ll avoid the most damaging blunders that can cost you thousands of dollars in lost sales and new leads…

Copy Writing Copywriting, Writing That Sells, Copy That Sells, CopyWriting Tips

Verbal Vomit

Being exponential, I am always fascinated by how people abuse jargon and terminology to confuse and muddle their messages.

Jargon consists of technical terminology that makes perfect sense to your colleagues and co-workers but is annoying, useless and even confusing to outsiders like your clients, prospects and suspects.

The #1 culprits are politicians who babble forever never saying anything and technical “consultants” who use big words to sound self-important.

Many doctors, engineers, bankers and retailers have great ideas but struggle to make them ‘sell’ simply because their language is saturated with buzz words and jargon.

If you want to close more sales and attract more business then stick to plain English that a typical customer with an average IQ and without a dictionary can easily understand.

What’s interesting is the research involved Dr Daniel Oppenheimer, from New Jersey’s Princeton University, who found that students rated the intelligence of authors who used simple language and easy-to-read fonts as higher than those who over-egged the prose.
Words To Avoid, Buzzwords, Jargon, TLAs, Acronyms


Here is a list of useful tips to help you communicate more effectively…

  • Get clear on your outcome.What do you want the other person to do as a result of your email, letter or discussion? Clarity means making it easy for them to do what you want them to.
  • Communicate your thoughts in simple, digestive ways. Put your thoughts forward using simple and clear language, ideally in short sentences while avoiding the use of buzzwords and clichés.
  • Focus on your listener.Focus on what the listener needs to hear to buy your idea or get on your side.

Like seriously, The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion like has released its annual list of like the most annoying words of 2011 after conducting a public survey. Whatever.

Avoid annoying words and phrases like: Continue reading ‘Verbal Vomit’

Copywriting: Art And Science

Killer Kopywriting is one of the most potent business skills an entrepreneur or business executive can learn to grow a business. There is no substitute for literary precision and artistry when it comes to selling products and services.

That being said, sometimes contrast is needed to fully grasp the power of words to communicate a message, as these explains illustrate so clearly.

In an office:
TOILET OUT OF ORDER…… PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW

In a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT

In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

Continue reading ‘Copywriting: Art And Science’

Don’t Feed Rumours

As a recent Economist Magazine article explains, denial is useless. Spread happy truths instead.

“A lie gets halfway around the world
before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. ”

Winston Churchill‬

IF YOU Google the phrase “Middle East rumours”, the first link that pops up is not, as you might expect, a website propagating conspiracy theories. It is Coca-Cola’s website. For several years now the company has struggled to rebut ridiculous rumours about its products.

For example, some people believe that if you read Coke’s Arabic logo backwards, it says: “No Muhammad, No Mecca”. Others insist that the company is owned by Jews, or that it bankrolls Israel. These rumours are one reason why Coke does worse than Pepsi in Arab countries. Yet they are all false, as Coke’s website explains in painstaking detail.

Such rebuttals are unwise, argue Derek Rucker and David Dubois, of the Kellogg School of Management, and Zakary Tormala, of Stanford business school, three psychologists.

By restating the rumours, Coke helps to propagate them.

Its web page is a magnet for search engines. And people who read rebuttals tend to forget the denial and remember only the rumour, says Mr Rucker.

The reason is because as information is passed around, important qualifiers are lost.

A rumour may start as “I’m not sure if this is true, but I heard that…” Then it evolves into: “I heard that…” Finally it becomes: “Did you know that…?” Even when no one intends to spread falsehoods, they spread.

In several experiments, Mr Rucker and Mr Dubois planted rumours among undergraduates. They found that with each repetition, scepticism diminished. The rumours themselves did not change; only the likelihood that the students would believe them.

Instead of denying false rumours, a company should put out a stream of positive messages about itself, reckon Mr Rucker and Mr Dubois. This deprives myths of oxygen and also nudges people to doubt nasty things they may hear about the company in question.

Other companies could learn from this. McDonald’s hamburgers have been said to contain worm meat, Procter and Gamble is reputed to have Satanic links and Facebook is rumoured to be shutting down so that its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, can have his life back. All these rumours are utterly false, but the firms in question would be well advised not to bother denying them.

This problem is exacerbated with the Internet and it’s indexing methodology – giving weight to the number of referenced pages, not their quality, thus making a bad situation worse.

Are You A Cost Or A Benefit?

Corporate Branding, Bland To Brand, Corporate PositioningClients see you in one of two ways, either as a COST or as a BENEFIT.

Examples of companies that are perceived as a ‘cost’

  • Lawyers
  • Dentists
  • Plumbers
  • Gym
  • Search consultants/headhunters

Examples of companies that are perceived as a ‘benefit’

  • Restaurants that you want to eat at (non fast food)
  • Jeweller
  • Concerts and events
  • Zoo and other attractions
  • Pubs, bars and other entertainment

Here’s the thing – UNLESS you transform yourself from a cost to a benefit, you’ll remain stuck in the vortex of price matching and discounting – BECAUSE the prospects SEE you as a cost and not as a benefit.

Continue reading ‘Are You A Cost Or A Benefit?’