Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Marketing Secret: Be a Name Dropper

What’s in a name? Could be millions. If you were a movie producer and you wanted a “name” to help you reap millions – you would pay $10 to $20 million for Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Jim Carrey or Arnold (when he returns to Hollywood…he said he’d be back). You know the money has no relation to their “acting” ability. It is the name that is valuable - the name that sells.

Imagine if you had the power of these names promoting your business: Wayne Gretzky, Lance Armstrong, Venus Williams, William Shatner or Celine Dion. Some companies paid millions to associate their products with these names. Why? Because there is something special in a name. A name conveys credibility, acceptance and emotional hunger. I want to be like him or her.

“I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
Bill Cosby

Canadian universities figured this one out. They sold the marquee for their business schools to business names: Ivey at University of Western Ontario, Asper at University of Manitoba, Molson at Concordia University, DeGroote at McMaster University, Schulich at York University and Rotman at University of Toronto. The universities got two things from this association with successful business names. They got millions of dollars and they got the prestige of associating with the successful business name.

“What the Rotman School is doing may be the most important thing happening in management education today.”
Peter F Drucker

Of course associating with any name could carry a risk. Take the time to understand the character of the individual and culture of the organization. Due diligence might save you some embarrassing harm. But national and international stars can be expensive. If you are paying for endorsement consider regional or local sports celebrities.

The safest names to associate with are dead people. The longer they have been dead - the better. Their history is written and it is not likely someone will dig up new dirt on them. Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Orville Wright, Christopher Columbus, Alexander the Great, Marie Curie, Picasso, Edison, Alexander Graham Bell.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

Mythical figures are another safe bet; Hercules, Popeye, Peter Pan, King Arthur, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-man, Captain America.

"Do, or do not. There is no 'try'."

If you understand the power of a name – then take advantage of it. And don’t limit your options to paid endorsements. Consider these possibilities.

Make Your Name a Name
State your name proudly and clearly when talking to others. Don’t apologize for your name. Don’t say, “I work for a company called…” or “You probably never heard of us...”
How would Bill Gates introduce his company name? Introduce yours the same way.

Make it Easy for Others to Hear and Remember Your Name
Pick a business name that is clear and unique. Don’t call your company some non-descript name like, “United International Enterprises” or worst, “HLMS Consulting and Associates Etc.”. Both of those are boring, vague and difficult to remember. Try this mental check. What company names can you instantly list? Write them and examine them. What is it about them makes them memorable? Here are some good company names – IBM, Coke, Pizza Pizza, Canadian Tire, and Blockbuster Video. Your million-dollar tip is to use hard consonants (b, d, j, k, q, p, t). We hear these sounds clearer and tend to remember them better.

Repeat Your Name – Often
We need to hear things at least seven times before we remember it. Put your name on everything - your business card, website, sign, golf shirt, coffee mug… And when someone asks you to repeat your name – be honored – not angry. When you leave a voice message state your name twice – once at the beginning of the call and again at the end. You can reinforce your name by spelling it. “That’s T-O-R-O-K.”

Associate Your Name with Winners
Tell others about your big name clients. Tell others about the associations that you are a member of and mention big name members. Tell others about the charities you support. Run a joint promotion with another leading business. Talk about your heroes and names that you admire.

“In my country we go to prison first and then become President.” Nelson Mandela

Name Your Clients
Get testimonials from them. Get their permission and quote their names in your promotions. Post their names and logos on your website. That helps them and you. Avoid using the testimonial from “anonymous”. You know – the great testimonial signed “Bob”, or “M”. We question the veracity of such vagueness.

Brag About Your Clients
Learn and remember their names and stories. Write them notes of appreciation. Proudly tell their stories. Recommend your clients to others. Stay in touch with your clients so they remember and repeat your name. And when you talk with them be sure to mention the names that are important to them.

Clients of George Torok include, “CIBC, Alcan, Bombardier, Dupont, Playtex, Canadian Management Centre, City of Toronto, Ontario Ministry of Finance, Empire Insurance, Zurich Insurance, Coors Canada, 5th Avenue Collection, Union Energy…”

Get Your Name in the Media
Help the media to drop your name – by keeping them informed about what you do. Then repeat what they say.

“Overall it’s hard not to pick up lots of useable advice from this book.”
Globe & Mail on ‘Secrets of Power Marketing’

Quote from Famous People
Use quotations from authors, business leaders and celebrities that convey your message. Can you use a quote from Stephen Covey, Anthony Robbins, Jack Welch, Sam Walton, Terry Fox or John Candy? When you do this it appears that those famous people agree with you.

"If you are going through hell, keep going."
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

© George Torok is coauthor of the national bestseller, Secrets of Power Marketing – Canada’s first guide to Personal Marketing for the non-marketer. Get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Tips” at To arrange a speech or executive briefing call 905-335-1997 Visit

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shove Your Brochures

The man at my door kept shoving his flyer at me. I didn’t put my hand out to accept his flyer. He seemed surprised at my unwillingness to play his game.

He knocked on my door and interrupted my day. I owed him nothing yet he acted like I did.

He said, “This is for you.” as if it was a gift. Instead of accepting, I asked, “What’s it about?” I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses so I couldn’t read it. He told me and I answered that I wasn’t interested.

He walked away disappointed because he hadn’t given me his brochure.

The lessons for marketers:

Engage people in conversation to test and stimulate their interest. Why should anyone take and read your brochure?

Giving out brochures is not the measure of successful marketing yet so many marketers claim success because of the number of flyers mailed, brochure given out at a trade show or visits to a website.

Prospects are not obliged to play your game. That doesn’t make them rude. In fact you were rude to interrupt them. How can you be less rude and more inviting with your marketing?

The purpose of marketing is to sell things. Success means closing deals. Shove your brochures.

George Torok
Marketing Speaker


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chevy vs Chevrolet Branding Hoax

The Real Question
Are the marketing folks at Chevrolet, (don’t call us Chevy), brilliant or just thrashing around like Homer Simpson in the backyard wading pool?

The Scenario
A memo signed by both Alan Batey, the VP for Chevrolet Sales and Jim Campbell the VP for Chevrolet Marketing addressed to corporate staff apparently instructed corporate staff to expunge the word “Chevy” from their lexicon. They would be punished by paying 25 cents to the sin bucket every time they used the banned word “Chevy”. Instead they were ordered to substitute the word “Chevrolet” in all discussions with other staff, supplier, dealers, media and family. I wonder who got the money.

The explanation for this dogmatic command was that Chevy (Oops I mean Chevrolet) needed to be consistent to build a stronger brand.

This is an excerpt from that memo.

“Why is this consistency so important? The more consistent a brand becomes the more prominent and recognizable it is with the consumer.”

Possible Brilliance?
Maybe the marketers at Chevrolet are attempting to create a New Coke reaction. When Coke announced the New Coke there was an unexpected and overwhelming response of “Hell no – don’t you dare change our Coke”.

The marketing geniuses and Sergio Zyman, Chief Marketing Officer, at Coke were blindsided. They had created the New Coke based on their extensive marketing research. Then they discovered that they were wrong and customers wanted the old Coke. Coke was smart enough to introduce the old Coke as Coke Classic and retain their market.

Are the marketers at GM/Chevrolet so smart, confident and so devious that they pretended to be stupid and stumble just to ignite a firestorm of protest?

There is no question that this particular boondoggle has generated a viral storm of blog posts, discussions and activity across the Internet. If that was the purpose – then it was a bold and brilliant move. Did GM send that memo hoping that some employee would send it to a major media player?

The formula that Coke inadvertently used is “Annoy your best customers and pray that they will protest instead of walking away.”

It takes greatness to be smart yet play dumb for the sake of your brand.

Were the executives at Chevorlet that brilliant? Where they just reading The Art of War or The Prince?

I don’t believe that they are that bold or prescient.

George Torok

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Five Rules to Building Your Successful Marketing System

As a marketing expert I am often asked, “What is the most important element in a successful marketing program?”My answer is, “Follow a good marketing system.”

My research and experience includes interviews with over 450 business leaders, my consulting work, travel through 35 countries, market research and my experience from building my own business.

I have noticed that following a system is critical to success in life and any field of business – especially marketing.Too many people fail when they try to run their life, their business or their marketing by the seat of their pants. They make the mistake of believing that luck, talent and flitting about will pull them through.

What a mistake and what a shame. They fail quickly - especially in an unpredictable environment. Sometimes you get lucky but luck can and does change quickly. Counting on luck is a disastrous marketing strategy.

Follow good systems in every area of your business – especially your marketing.
When you are ready to witness the power of systems first hand – visit Las Vegas. It is a city that is built on systems. The hotels and casinos follow systems with a robotic obedience. First they designed powerful systems and then they follow them. Walk through the casinos and watch how they do things. They follow terrific systems. And they make money.

If you want to make money like the Las Vegas casinos apply these five rules in your marketing systems.

The fundamentals for a good system are the same in any field.Rules to a Successful (Marketing) System

1. A system is a process. It is the means to the end. It is not the goal. Be clear on the purpose of your system. That will keep you focused and motivated. When the system is not working – change it.

2. A system is built on a key principle or set of principles. These are fundamental truths that are transferrable across industries. The principle answers the question “Why?”

3. A system is a set of habits and routines. Almost like a series of logic statements; if this condition exists then do that. A system is not dependant on how you feel. That’s why you get consistency.

4. A system must be persistent and consistent. This is closely related to the previous point. Don’t expect 100% success. The system works because of the numbers. You win some and you lose some. The better that you apply your system the more you will win.

5. Measure your results. Systems are created imperfect. Record your results, analyze them and adjust your system to produce better results. That’s the way pilots fly planes. They set a course, see how they are doing and adjust the controls to stay on course.

Where do you want to improve your business? Create and follow a system to achieve your goals.
Follow these five rules and you will build good systems.
Build your marketing systems by indentifying important marketing principles. Then create and follow a process based on that principle. If the principle is sound then build the process and follow it religiously.

Remember that following an imperfect system is better than having no system. Building your business and marketing systems will lead you to more success.

© George Torok wrote the book on marketing systems – Secrets of Power Marketing. It is the first guide to personal marketing for the non-marketer. Get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas” at Arrange for a keynote speech, marketing briefing or media interview by calling 905-335-1997 or visiting

Five Rules to Building Your Successfull Marketing System


Friday, June 04, 2010

Power Marketing Tip 38: Pick Your Enemy

Who is your enemy?

"You complete me"

The Joker taunted Batman with that phrase in the movie The Dark Knight. The public image of both Batman and the Joker were stronger because of their conflict. A champion needs a formidable villain and vice versa.

The marketing lesson from that is that the public defines you by your competition. If you are not well known maybe you need to pick a tougher enemy.

Make Your Enemy Appear More Frightening

The boxer Mohammad Ali understood this marketing principle and demonstrated it well. He built up the credibility and threat of each of his opponents before every fight. That made his victories more exciting.

Lex Luthor was legitimized by his position as the greatest enemy of Superman. Sir Edmund Hillary is nothing without Mount Everest. Wyatt Earp is remembered by his fight with the Clantons. The 300 Spartans are defined by their stand against the Persian Empire. David is only remembered because of his conflict with Goliath. Buffy would be unknown without the vampires.

Many consumer products are sold by fighting previously unknown enemies that were glorified by the marketing campaigns. EG. morning breath, dandruff, ring around the collar...

Present Yourself as the Alternative

Avis could not defeat Hertz, the market leader in the car rental business so they defined themselves by the phrase, "We try harder."

With the taste tests Pepsi defined themselves as the alternative to Coke. It worked so well that it unnerved Coke into blinking and bumbling with New Coke.

Make Fun of the Enemy

With its clever TV ads, (Hello, I'm a Mac. I'm a PC) Apple positioned itself as the alternative to the market leader, Microsoft based computers.

A local plumbing company positioned themselves as fighting clogged drains. The owners of the business made their enemy more formidable by posing for photos with clothes-pins on their noses.

People love conflict. It's entertaining, memorable and often vivid. Sometimes it can be funny. That's why the "reality TV" shows are so popular.

If you want to be better noticed and remembered - pick a colorful enemy and start a fight. Only start one that you can win.

George Torok
Power Marketing

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

5 Emotional Marketing Triggers that Determine Why We Buy

When you understand the marketing triggers that make people buy then you can sell more. And you can find more eager customers. Our emotions trigger us to buy. Don’t make the mistake thinking that people buy what they need. People buy what they want. Needs are driven by logic while wants are driven by emotions.

We Buy What We Want
Don’t believe me? Who needs an SUV? What teenager really needs a cell phone or $200 pair of jeans? Who needs your product? People buy because they want it. Every day we buy things we want instead of things we need.

Don’t mistake your market for “everyone who needs your product”. You will waste time and money trying to convince people who need your product to want it. The best target market for you is people who want your product. They may or may not need it. As long as they want it they might buy it from you. Consider what you bought lately that you did not need but you wanted.

Who should join a fitness club? Everyone who needs to be fit – especially those who are not fit. Right? But visit a fitness club and what do you find? Fit people who want to be fit. Who invests their money for the future? Not people who need to save for the future – but people who want to save for the future.

You might feel that you need a glass of wine, a shot of scotch or a beer at the end of a tough day – but the reality is that you want it. We all need to eat – but no one needs a Sirloin steak, deep-dish pizza or Black Forest cake. We eat those things because we want them.

Our needs are logical and matter of fact. As humans we have physical and emotional needs. How we satisfy those needs are directed by the urgency of the need and our wants.

Our wants are directed by our emotions. Here are five of our strongest emotions that control much of the choices we make. If you understand the emotional reasons why your customers buy from you then you can begin to trigger these emotions in your prospects and customers.

What do your customers love? It might include their partner, family, pets, business, career, culture, hobbies, books, personal time etc. Do they buy from you for one of these loves? If so how can you recognize and encourage others with the same love?

Love is a powerful emotion. We do strange things when in love and in the name of love. People will shower their loved ones with beautiful and expensive gifts. They might compose songs, poetry or endure great hardships – all in the name of love. How many songs do you know about love? People do even stranger things in the love of a pet. The love of a hobby, art form or culture can motivate spending huge amounts of money to acquire, nourish and enjoy that love.

If pride is considered a sin – then that would make sinners of us all. I am proud that my book, “Secrets of Power Marketing”, became a national bestseller. I am proud of my radio show, “Business in Motion”. I am proud of my grandparents who immigrated to Canada after the Second World War. They arrived with no money yet learned a new language, and lived a productive life. I am proud to be Canadian.

Why does your neighbor buy a bigger screen TV than yours? How did you feel when you first drove home with that new car? Who and what are you proud of? And what would you do to show and protect that pride?

Often it might be hard to know the real reason someone bought something new, invested money or gave a gift. Was it love or guilt? I wonder, “Is guilt the real driver behind the spending for Christmas, Valentines and Mothers’ Day?”

Can the guilt of not buying motivate your prospect into buying? Can you use guilt to up sell? Did door-to-door salespeople sell encyclopedias and vacuums using guilt? Is it love or guilt that goes through one’s mind while making funeral arrangements for a departed loved one? And don’t kids do a number on their parents with the guilt trip? Are you guilty of not tapping into your prospects’ emotions – and missing sales?

This may be our most powerful driver. It is likely this emotion more than any other has helped humanity to survive. We learned to fear wild beasts, fire, and aggressive barbarians.

What fear might motivate your prospect to buy from you? Will not buying expose them to risk, missed opportunities or embarrassment? Many professional buyers operate on the fear principle. It is not that they want to make the right decision. They fear the consequence of making the wrong decision. How can you use or diminish that fear to make them buy from you? Why is it that people who know they need to get fit suddenly change their diet and start exercising after their first heart attack? The fear of dying makes them want to be fit.

“Greed is Good.” according to Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street. That line may have shocked viewers. Then consider this strange advice from my mentor and co-author, Peter Urs Bender, “Sell to the greedy, not the needy”. The greedy want more and they will pay for it. The needy may be needy because they don’t really want it badly enough. If you want to help the needy, give to charity.

Why do we buy? We buy because of emotional wants. You will be more successful when you market and sell to the emotional wants of your prospects.

© George Torok is co-author of the national bestseller, “Secrets of Power Marketing”. To arrange for a motivational keynote speech, executive marketing briefing or training program call 905-335-1997 To get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas” register for your free monthly marketing tips at