Monday, September 27, 2010

Please Don’t Lie to Us

Let’s make something clear.

Marketing is not a license to lie.

Just because you are marketing does not mean you can twist or misrepresent the truth. Marketers should tell the truth and tell it well.

Marketing is about presenting your message in the most positive way. But it does not mean that you can lie. You can describe the glass as half full instead of half empty – but not overflowing.

Marketing is about telling your real story. The more warts in your story the more believable it is.

Please don’t tell us that you are number one – if you are not.

Are you claiming to be:

The best!
Number one in the country!
The world’s greatest!

Who says so? Can you prove it?

Don’t say those things unless you can back it up. And be sure to back it up. If you were voted number one by the community paper then state that. Don’t claim to be the nation’s number one.

AVIS is number two and they try harder.

Don’t lie. It’s bad for you. It gives marketers a bad name. And your mother would not be proud.

George Torok

Marketing Expert & Author

Secrets of Power Marketing


Did you apologize?

I didn't hear an apology. Perhaps I missed it.

You said that you would visit yesterday. You didn’t show. You didn’t call. We wondered if we missed you during the 15 minutes that we were out.

You didn’t show up and you didn’t call.

You showed up today and we were not expecting you. The one you wanted to see was out for the day. We weren’t expecting you today.

Yet you insisted that you were expected. Yes, you were expected - yesterday.

Your comment was, “I couldn’t make it.”

And… I waited for it – your apology. You didn't say it. I would have been so easy for you and helped you heal the harm you did.

There was no apology for failing to make your commitment and now we aren't interested in dealing with you. How could we?

George Torok

Personal Marketing

Marketing Speaker


Three Big Lies About Networking -

Three Big Lies About Networking -

Once you know the truth about networking, you can build connections that provide continuous business opportunities.
By Ivan Misner

Ivan Misner is founder and Chairman of BNI, a professional business networking organization headquartered in Upland, Calif. Dubbed the "father of modern networking" by CNN, Misner is a New York Times bestselling author.

Business Networking Tips

Your Guide to Networking Success


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is There a Brand in Your Stand?

Watch out for the branding gurus. Beware of the branding police who focus only on images of brand. Fire the branding consultants who feel qualified to tell you what your brand should be. Ignore the branding zealots who proclaim “brand or die”.

Good, now that we have frightened off the undesirables let’s address some fundamental questions about branding and offer you some probing questions to consider. That first paragraph demonstrates the three rules of creative positioning as explained below.

Should you have a brand?
Maybe. It depends on the goals of your business. You need to ask yourself some questions. Will the brand give you the return on your investment? Will you invest the resources to claim and sustain the brand?

What is a brand?
A brand is the emotional bond that your clients have with you. Ask your best clients how they would describe you to others. Look for the common message in what they say – especially the emotion. That might be your brand.

Brand is the feeling others experience when they think about you and your product.
Brand can help them think of you first – or better yet – only you. Brand can justify higher prices – or even better – make price a non-issue.

Not Branding
Branding is not about creative logos, pretty fonts and pantone colors. Fire anyone who attempts to sell you that pabulum. Those things are only images. Have you noticed that the successful brands change these images every few years?

Branding is a marketing strategy. It is only one of many marketing strategies from which you might choose.

Is branding an accident or on purpose?
Because branding is about creating emotional messages you are always branding. However, are you aware of your messages, are you consistent and are you effectively branding yourself?

You could create or claim your brand. Dominos Pizza created their brand – “Pizza in 30 minutes or its free”. They own that brand. It’s simple, memorable and unique. Some companies look for an opening and build their business to create that brand. Some companies discover their brand by accident. Feedback from clients, remarks from the media or a competitor’s comment reveals the brand that was hidden in plain sight. In that case it is up to you to claim the brand and run with it.

Avis claimed their brand by turning a disadvantage into their brand when they launched their marketing campaign with “Avis is only Number 2 in rent-a-cars, so why go with us? We try harder.” And with cheekiness they leverage further on their “disadvantage” by adding, “The lines at our counters are shorter.” That brand has been successful for over 40 years.

How do you create your brand?
There are two ways. Like Coke, Nike and MacDonald you could throw gazillions of dollars at it. Or you could use creative positioning. Look for the holes in the marketplace. Go to where your competition is not and claim that position. Take a stand like Harley Davidson, Buckley’s Cough Mixture and Nova Scotian Crystal.

Each of these companies claimed positions in the market the competition was unwilling to take. Folks either love or hate Harley Davidson. Buckley’s proudly claimed that “it tastes awful but it works” along with a money back guarantee. Nova Scotian Crystal is proudly the only Canadian crystal manufacturer and they offer an incredible one year breakage warranty. Drop your whisky glass and they will replace it; no questions asked.

You can read the interview with Rod McCulloch, President and CEO of Nova Scotian Crystal on my “Business in Motion” blog.

Each of these companies was willing to take a position that would drive some folks away while attracting a loyal crowd of fans.

The three principles of creative positioning are best explained by UK entrepreneur BJ Cunningham, who as CEO of The Enlightened Tobacco Company sold a cigarette called “Death Cigarettes”. It was presented in a black package emblazoned with a white skull-and-crossbones logo. Just imagine how this might appeal to the rebels. Everyone except the tobacco companies knew that cigarette smoking was bad for your health. BJ did what none of the other tobacco companies were willing to do. He took a stand.

Cunningham’s three principles of creative positioning:
1. Take a polarized position.
2. Make enemies.
3. Create tension.

Branding starts with market review and self-examination. Standing alone can be scary, exhilarating and hugely profitable. It you are going to claim a powerful brand take a position away from the crowd. Stand where no one else is standing.
© George Torok is co-author of the national bestseller, “Secrets of Power Marketing: Promote Brand You!” He helps entrepreneurs gain an unfair advantage over the competition. Get your free copy of “50 Power Marketing Ideas” at To arrange for a keynote speech or executive briefing visit To arrange a media interview call 905-335-1997


Monday, September 20, 2010

Return My Call Please

Do you wish that more people would return your phone calls? Do you know why they don’t? What to you need to do differently to get more of your calls returned?

Okay. Let’s deal with one question at a time. If you are making sales calls and leaving messages then one of life’s frustrations can be not hearing back from people.

Do you wish that everyone would return your phone calls?

Not necessarily. You only want the right people to return your calls. You don’t want to waste your time with people who don’t want or can’t buy what you are selling. So those folks are doing you a favor by not calling you back. In fact your message should dissuade them from calling you back so you don’t waste time with them.

Encourage the right people to call you by leaving a message that states your unique benefit. Be clear on who you want to call and their interests.

For example, don’t leave a message that simply states your name and phone number with the message, “Call me”, “It would be great if you call me” or “I’d appreciate your call”.

Those messages are vague, rude and annoying. It’s ineffective, because there is no reason to call. Adding “please” doesn’t make it more appealing to call you.

The main question in the mind of the listener is “Why?” The second question is “What’s in it for me?” When you leave a voice message you must answer both of those questions if you want prospects to call you. The resulting conversation will already be heading in the right direction.

Consider these examples:

“For a no-obligation quote to re-shingle your roof call us.”

“Leaky pipes and backed-up toilettes are stinky situations. Arrange your annual free system checkup to avoid messy disasters.”

“How much did you spend on advertising last year? Do want a better return on that investment? Call now for a free evaluation of your advertising choices.”

“Does your business experience highs and lows? Learn how we can supply trained staff when you need it without the costs of hiring and firing.”

Add your phone number. Say it slowly and repeat it to make it easy for people to write it down.

That whole message can be delivered it about 30 seconds or less.

Notice how each message clearly defines who will benefit from your service and why they would want to call.

Do that and you will get more of the right prospects calling you.

George Torok
Power Marketing