Sunday, February 25, 2007

Brand Management Guffaw from Telus

Brand Management Guffaw

Enjoy this commentary from Jeff Mowatt. This is reprinted, with his permission, from his weekly newsletter – “Influence with Ease 30 Second Training”.

Jeff Mowatt is a specialist in the language of customer service. I often learn better ways of saying things from Jeff’s tips and insights.

Enjoy reading about the Telus flip flop from Jeff Mowat.

Telus' Leadership Lesson in Brand Mismanagement

I find it interesting how word spread so quickly about how Telus, Canada'sseconds largest phone company, decided to be the first wireless provider tooffer to sell downloads of pornographic images and videos. Of course 'Telus' didn't make the decision. It was Telus' leadership that approved it and, astonishingly, defended the position right up until yesterday, when they decided maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

I'll leave it to others to debate the morality of pornography on theInternet. The issue I want to tackle is how 'leadership' in such a large company decided this was a good business decision. Apparently there is a lot of money to be made in this new enterprise. I'm trying to fathom how a phone company that markets to both adults and youth decided that this was the direction to move their brand.

Friends of mine, George Torok and Peter Urs Bender wrote a great book about marketing and branding called, Secrets of Power Marketing in which they point out, "You cannot not market." In other words everything you say and do- or do not do, affects your brand. Somehow the collective leadership at Telus figured their brand wouldn't be affected by this new enterprise - one which no one ever associated with a phone company. Hmm...

I believe the huge amount of negative publicity Telus received about this provides yet another wakeup call to business leaders. Think about how your decisions affect your personal image and your company's reputation. Over the long term your reputation is everything. Of course you have a responsibility to maximize profits for your shareholders. There is however a greater calling than short term profit. As a leader, you are expected to do the right thing. Always. No matter what it costs you.

The leaders at Telus gave a lot of people the impression that they just sold their corporate souls. Frankly, I felt sorry for the employees at Telus who had nothing to do with this ill-conceived management decision. Telus leaders now have the distinction of being Canada's most high profile example of how to mismanage your brand. Let this at least serve as a reminder that everything your company does creates an impression. As a leader making strategic decisions, you'll of course check your sales forecasts and government regulations. Above all that external noise, however, you need to stop and listen to that voice in your gut.

Register for your weekly Influence with Ease newsletter and learn more abut Jeff Mowatt at his website.

Copyright (c) 1992 - 2007 JC Mowatt Seminars. All rights reserved.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Over 100 Posts

Over 100 Posts on this blog.

We passed the 100 post mark a few weeks ago on this blog.

Lots of good marketing tips, insights and and controversy on this blog.

For example:

Post Alpha
My startling realization about blogs

Happy Ground Hog Day
Why Ground hog day can be more important to you than Christmas.

Blue Man Group
The powerful marketing lesson from the Blue Man Group

Why you must avoid Barketing.

Night Light Marketing
The amazing marketing lesson from your night light.

Dog Days of Summer
Marketing Idea from the dog days of summer

Unfair - no fair
The importance of being unfair in your marketing

Marketing review from George Torok Marketing blog

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Networking or Socializing?

Are you Networking or are you Socializing?

Are you a member of a business networking group? Do you meet for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Have you been a member of this networking group for awhile and are you wondering if it is still worthwhile? Have you fallen into bad habits?

If the purpose of your networking group is to generate business then generating business should clearly be on your mind when you attend. And yes, you need to build relationships with your fellow network members.

There is no question; networking has a personal aspect along with the business purpose. That is because we would rather help, refer and do business with people we like.

The question is “How personal should your networking be and are you missing the business objective?” Is your networking becoming too much of a social thing?

You might be socializing if:

You sit with the same people every time.

You have the same conversation with people every time.

You find that you are listening to too many stupid jokes.

You listen to folks complain about personal issues.

You stop approaching new people.

There are no new people.

You make no notes during the event.

You leave feeling more down than when you arrived.

You are relieved to leave.

You don’t’ think about anyone after you leave.

Don’t let your socializing get in the way of your networking.

George Torok

PS: For more help with your networking get "Your Guide to Networking Success."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ghost Rider Marketing

Ghost Rider Marketing

Ghost Rider, another comic character from Marvel Comics becomes a movie. For Marvel Comic fans a reason to rejoice. For action starved movie goers a reason to plunk down another $10 to $20 for 2 hours of fictional escape and dazzling graphics. For savvy marketers another incredible marketing opportunity.

How is your product or service like Johnny Blaze or his alter ego Ghost Rider? Or how is your product or service not like Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider?

How can you leverage the attention on the launch of the Ghost Rider movie to help market or sell your product?

How can you connect with Ghost Rider to leverage your marketing?

The obvious connection is the motorcycle. Johnny Blaze is a motorcycle stunt rider and Ghost Rider rides a flaming motorcycle. So if you sell motorcycles – duh!

Johnny Blaze’s motivation to sell his soul to the devil was love. That could be an interesting angle for companies selling products and services catering to couples, lovers and singles. That might include restaurants, vacations, spas, lingerie and jewelers.

Ghost Rider is the Spirit of Vengeance. If you are a lawyer, social worker or marriage consular you could warn about the dangers and cost of pursuing vengeance.

If you sell security systems – you might offer a Ghost Rider special – to keep out the evil undesirables.

Ghost Rider’s flaming skull might represent the dependability of your heating system, the spice of your peppers or the warmth of your hot tubs.

If you are a consultant, advisor or teacher you will note that when dealing with strange new challenges – one needs help and guidance.

If you are a parent you might remind your children to be careful of who they hang around with and what promises they make.

The Ghost Rider movie is a marketing opportunity for you.

George Torok
A Ghost Rider comic book reader since the 70’s

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Visa vs Tony Soprano

Market your strengths

When you are not number one, what do you say?

When you are not the best then don’t compare your weakness to the best. Instead compare your weakness to those who are worst.

I saw a good example of this in my Visa Card statement. The notice promoted the attractiveness of their 18.5% interest rate. The audacity and boldness of this intrigued me. When the prime interest rate is somewhere around 3%, how could anyone find 18.5% interest rate attractive? And how could Visa justify this high interest rate when this is the same rate they charged in the years of high interest rates?

Visa does not have the best interest rates for a loan. The reality is that credit cards have never been the first place you might go for a loan based on the cost. What they offer is convenience to get an instant loan. And when you compare the alternative – using a store credit card – Visa is a better choice. Why? Because the store credit cards charge 28.8% interest. And even store credit cards are better than the companies who give you an advance on your pay check or a pawn shop. And then there are the loan sharks.

So that is what Visa does. They play to their strength (convenience) not their weakness (high interest rate). Remember Visa is better than borrowing money from Tony Soprano.

Play to your strengths – and don’t mess with the Sopranos.

George Torok
Co-author of the national bestseller "Secrets of Power Marketing"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Controversy Sells

Controversy sells

Controversy sells newspapers, books, and movies. You can use controversy to sell your product, service or yourself. Notice how they do it in the movie business. The entertainment industry has lots of vivid lessons for marketers.

It could be as simple as the title that sells the movie. Consider the success of “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” or “Snakes on a Plane”. Both of those titles are vivid, graphic and controversial.

The sensitivity of the content could create enough success in a movie. Consider “Passion of the Christ” and “The Da Vinci Code”. There was little need to advertise those movies. The controversy did the all heavy lifting for promotion.

Along comes another movie with content guaranteed to raise controversy – “Death of a President”. To fan the flames the promoters not only print the usual supporting testimonial reviews – but the comments from the detractors as well. What delicious controversy.

And to tilt the readers’ perspective of the views they headed the positive views with the title, “Have seen Death of a President”. And on the other side the heading, “Have Not seen Death of a President.”

The controversy is both shaken and stirred by the strength of the negative comments as well as the sources.

Here are the negative ‘testimonials”.

Have Not seen Death of a President

“I think it’s DESIPCIABLE.”
Seantor Hillary Rodham Clinton

“I find this SHOCKING. I find this DISTRUBING.”
Gretchen Esell, Republican Party of Texas

“(Director Gabriel) Range is a SICKO.”
Rush Limbaugh

“We’re not commenting because IT DOSEN’T DIGNIFY A RESPONSE.”
Emily Lawrimore, White House Spokesperson

Powerful words from powerful people. Tough to buy endorsements like that. Like it or not those people endorsed the movie by polarizing the controversy. Imagine how many folks will watch the movie because of those powerful negative endorsements.

Controversy sells. Why? Because controversy is one technique for branding. Powerful branding declares both friends and enemies.

What people say against you can be powerful promotion.

George Torok
Power Marketing