Friday, December 28, 2012

Memorable Tweets of 2012

Some have described Twitter as the water cooler of the social age. It’s the place to discuss current events in real time, build brand awareness, promote contests, etc. But no matter why your business uses Twitter or why you as an individual may use Twitter, every now and then, a tweet stands out. Here are the 20 tweets regarding marketing, social media, and leadership that caught my attention during 2012.

Brands should act like interfaces, not interrupters. Aim to be the common boundaries connecting people to info & experiences. ~@contagious

Don't do social, be SOCIAL: sincere, open, collaborative, interested, authentic, and likeable. ~@ValaAfshar

CEO Strategy: Say It! Never make the assumption that your gratitude is already known. Be humble & show appreciation openly. ~@ThinkCEO

Initiate change. Don't worry about getting credit; just make it happen. You will be rewarded. ~@MarkAMolina

Inspiration comes from our willingness to step outside (our comfort zone) and go somewhere new. ~@Sisarina

In a fast-paced world, today's popular brand could be tomorrow's trivia question. ~Wayne Calloway via @susanwaldman

Your brand has to evolve to stay relevant. Look at Apple and Starbucks – constantly changing with their customer base. ~@kimgarst

Even with a great brand promise, the customer may not have confidence until that promise is experienced, sometimes numerous times. ~@Hyken

Employees should think as owners and not renters of their jobs. ~@tibbr

A brand that captures your mind gains behavior. A brand that captures your heart gains commitment. ~Scott Talgo via @susanwaldman

Good leaders accept the consequences both good and bad for their decisions and leadership, even if it means going down with the ship. ~@productivity_co

Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan. ~@Culturedapenyc

What do you want customers to say about you when asked why they buy your product or service? That’s your value proposition. ~@HollyGGreen

In the connected economy, customer service is marketing and the frontline employee is the brand. ~@ValaAfshar

Brand = Culture + Customer Experience + Communication. ~@deniseleeyohn

You wouldn't buy ads in a magazine your audience doesn't read. Don't waste time in social media channels your audience doesn't use. ~@mPortray

One of the biggest responsibilities of management is to look after the corporate DNA (aka your brand). ~Andrew Rolfe via @susanwaldman

A desk is a dangerous place from which to lead. ~@OxfordLEADER

Your company is only as good as the one person dealing with the customer. ~@grafrost

There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate. ~Linda Grayson @janetblaha

What tweets stood out to you?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Do you know how to cultivate your best brand advocates?

There is a strong link between customer experience, employee experience, and brand promise. But unfortunately, few companies understand that this link is often the difference between industry leader status and tiny company status with lofty aspirations.

Have you ever wondered who the best brand advocates are for your brand? You may think your repeat customers are the best advocates or the customers who spend the most money, or maybe new customers who do business with you as a result of their dissatisfaction with your competition. But the reality is, your best brand advocates are your employees.

Your employees spend each and every day creating a product or service that meets or exceeds the expectations of your customers. They interact with your customers, they answer questions, they resolve problems, and they repeat the process the next day and the next. But what really makes your employees your best brand advocates?

In order for a company to succeed, all employees must have a clear understanding of the brand promise. What does the brand stand for? What values are synonymous with the brand? What is the compelling benefit? Is there consistency every time you interact with the public?

Consider these brand promises. From FedEx: Your package will get there overnight – guaranteed. Or this from Apple: You can own the coolest, easiest-to-use, cutting-edge computers and electronics. Or this from the World Wildlife Fund: Building a future in which people live in harmony with nature.

Now consider these international brands: Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Nordstrom, BMW, and Zappos. While each conveys unique characteristics, there is no doubt that they are trendsetters. More importantly, their employees understand their brand promise – which is apparent in the way they do their jobs and interact with customers.

How many of us have walked into a Starbucks and been warmly greeted by a barista who appears to live simply to make our desired drink exactly as we want it? How many of us have wanted to make an online purchase on Zappos but had questions – and received assistance even if we eventually made a purchase on a different website? The answer is many of us, because it’s human nature to do business with companies that have clear brand promises presented or embodied by employees who can articulate and represent them.

There are five strategies for cultivating your best brand advocates:

[1] Focus on the customer experience – develop a plan for how to interact with customers – don’t leave customer interaction to chance.

[2] Commit to delivering the brand promise to customers – think critically about your competitive advantage and why customers should want to do business with you – and then craft your brand promise.

[3] Educate employees about the brand – take time to train employees so that they are able to explain what makes your brand unique.

[4] Develop amazing relationships with employees – reward employees when goals are achieved and surpassed and also provide picnics and other events that allow for employees to get to know each other as people and not just as employees.

[5] Provide each employee with the tools to do his or her job – make sure that your employees are empowered with the authority to make unhappy customers happy.

When employees are enthusiastic about their jobs, perform their jobs well, are rewarded for their hard work, and genuinely enjoy coming to work every day, they actively promote the company to others. In short, they become your best brand ambassadors.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winning Leadership Tips for Your Business

Have you ever started a book by reading the last page? If you’re curious by nature, you know that sometimes, there just isn’t enough time to read an entire book.

In Build A Better B2B Business, Winning Leadership for Your Business-to-Business Company, leadership expert/seasoned executive/author David Shedd provides two final exam questions on page one. But don’t be scared away…he provides the answers on page two.

Does this sound odd? Perhaps, but the book’s theme is so critical, especially during today’s challenging economic climate and oversaturated marketplace that everyone can benefit by reading about the fundamentals to drive business success.

According to Shedd, a key component to drive business success is leading by example. To help create better leaders, take the quick quiz from the book. Don’t be upset if you don’t have all “Yes” answers, use the “No” responses to improve your leadership skills.

[1] Can you recall three examples where your ethics visibly showed to your team?

[2] Do you return everyone’s phone calls immediately and respond to all emails promptly? Do you start and finish meetings promptly?

[3] Right now, does your frontline management have fewer than five goals?

[4] As a leader, do you take full accountability for the failures but share the praise for the successes?

[5] Have you ensured that all of your senior direct reports are held accountable for their performance?

[6] Are you easy to reach and interact with?

[7] In the last week, have you found at least 10 people doing something right and recognized and thanked them for their work?

[8] In the last month, have you coached or trained at least one small group in your business?

[9] In the last two weeks, have you been involved in resolving a customer service issue?

[10] In the last two weeks, have you been involved in thanking a customer for their business?

Shedd also shares other useful tips to drive business success:

[1] Write out and develop three goals for your business.

[2] Determine the most significant “Mokitas” in your business – these are the dirty little secrets that aren’t really very secret – for example, the industry you serve is in decline and will never rebound OR the sales manager was promoted from the finance department and doesn’t interact well with customers.

[3] Aim to accomplish one key initiative each morning, and at the end of each day, ask yourself, “Did I accomplish this task?” If not, decide how you will accomplish the task tomorrow.

[4] Recognize employees on a regular basis.

[5] Value your customers.

[6] Deliver on the brand promise – for example, FedEx delivers by 10am each day – and align all employees to be effective brand advocates.

[7] Solve a customer’s problem. “No customer has ever bought anything because it was “strategically logical or synergistic.” A customer buys from you because he has a problem, and you have a solution for that problem.”

As you can see, the final exam questions and answers were only a teaser…the best part of the book was in between the front and back covers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top 10 TV Commercials of 2012

As 2012 nears its end, some companies are gearing up for their 15 second spots for the Super Bowl. But while most brands are not lucky enough to be featured in a Super Bowl spot, there is still a great deal of creativity in the television commercial arena.

Whether you prefer ads that make you think, laugh, or cry, there are many that stand out. But did the ads just stand out, or did they result in sales? How many of the following brands did you purchase?

Here are my favorite television ads from 2012:

Suburu: Best Friend

Sears: Dogtastrophe

Toyota: The Tundra Endeavour

Budweiser: Return of the King

Apple: Introducing iPad Mini - Piano Music

Apple: Introducing iPhone 5 - Cheese

Heineken/James Bond Skyfall Movie Teaser

And some 2012 Holiday spots:

Mercedes-Benz: Frost

eBay: Pony

Zales: Holiday Commercial 2012

What about you? What were your faves this year?