Friday, November 14, 2008

What's your job?

What do you hear when you ask someone what their job is?

First, a bit of background...

I worked in the radio industry for most of my adult years. Now I have a great group of clients that use radio personalities to endorse their products/services. So now I interact with a lot of radio salespeople.

When I ask them what their job is, here's what I get...

"I'm an account executive for WXXX." Or..."I sell advertising for the leading AC station in Chicago." Or maybe, "I work for (insert Big Corporate Company) and represent the leading adult station in the market."

Why not this?

"I'm a storyteller, a connector. I help local business grow."

If I heard that, I'd say, "Tell me more"!

"Well, I find great companies, with unique products, and I help them tell their story--to thousands of people."

How do you do that?

"I connect businesses with customers by telling authentic, emotional stories on the radio. Real stories that spread--to an audience that is right for their product or service."

How's it going?

"I have great relationships with a lot of remarkable people who lead great companies. They work with me in all aspects of their marketing--because they trust me. They know I won't try to sell them something unless I'm convinced it will work for them. A lot of people think radio is dead, but I know better."

Sound corny? Not to me.

A business that looks for ideas, that surrounds itself with smart people, will love an answer like that.

So, what is it that you do?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Generic Post

A lot of companies are laying off employees--downsizing/rightsizing.

Some see this as a temporary measure--until the economy picks up.

I don't see it that way. Unless I need you.

We've turned into needers vs. wanters. For decades we bought what we wanted. No more.

And this won't change anytime soon.

My parents still save used aluminum foil for the next baked potato. They learned this from their parents who lived through the depression.

Once we realize we can do just fine with what we need, this behavior will last.

Tell stories that fit with this worldview.

The Hyundai Genesis has a great opportunity to succeed. It's a luxury car that's getting great reviews. It rivals similar size cars from BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, etc. in performance, gadgets, and feel. But it costs $10-$30,000 less.

When you drive up in a Genesis you're telling a story. "I like luxury cars but I'm not going to waste money on a hood ornament. I don't need that."

Remember the 1970's TV commercial for the Mercury Monarch? "It looks like a Mercedes but costs thousands less". Problem was, it didn't have much in common with a Mercedes other than the look. (And that was questionable.) But the Genesis does.

Generic brands are becoming stylish. They say a lot about the customer who buys them. And the message is spreading. "I buy what I need."

So if you work for or lead a company that bases its brand on want, your downsizing isn't temporary.

But if you have a story to tell that fits today's customer need, soon you'll need to hire more people.

Monday, November 10, 2008 is an ocean view

Have you ever checked into your deluxe room with an ocean view, only to find a small room with a window you have to put your head out and turn 90 degrees to see the water?

Have you ever called to get the free 30-day trial, and found you have to give your credit card number and call back within 30 days to cancel or you'll be charged for 11 additional months?

And if you voice a concern you'll probably be told that technically each statement was true.

But using technicalities isn't a way to lead a business, a family, a life. Technicalities are usually just lies. Lies used to lure us in, to justify a price, or to take the easy way.

They've been around for years and in our current economic environment, we'll probably see more. Why?

Because technically, they work. Sure--they're just short term solutions to grab revenue, grab market share, grab whatever they can get.

And they keep coming up with new ones because we keep buying. Otherwise they'd stop.

But if you tell the truth, then you won't fall for the lies of others.

But if you get sucked in, then you're probably telling yourself something.

What goes around, comes around.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Turn Around

Some homes are built with strong foundations and quality construction. Some companies too.

But some cut corners. Use inferior products or the wrong people.

And for a while all appears fine.

But then the storms come. They huff and they puff.

The storms come for a reason. They weed out the brittle structures, the dying trees, the impostors.

Left standing are the remarkable buildings, the remarkable people.

What type of house do you live in? What type of company do you lead or work for? Who are you?

If you hear the rafters creaking,
feel the windows leaking,
a new path you should be seeking.

(Sorry for that--it just came out that way.)

There are plenty of opportunities for you right now. Why? Because everyone says there aren't.

Everyone isn't you.
Everyone isn't right.
Everyone isn't everyone.

So turn around, walk against the fear. You'll find a path that is less traveled.

Try it. With a smile.

And say hi to Everyone as you walk by.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How To Run A Company (or Win An Election)

Find smart, dedicated people. Hire them.

Together; define your mission, your purpose, your goals. Make sure they are simple. (Simple doesn't mean easy.) Share them--with everyone.

Then start.

Let your smart, dedicated people loose. Make sure they carry the mission/purpose/goals with them at all times. They will be your map, your compass, your guide.

Know that:
  • You will hit bumps in the road. Talk about them, laugh about them.
  • Fear will creep in. Talk about it, laugh about it.
  • You will have an urge(s) to change course, to try different things, to veer slightly off line. Remain passionate and unyielding to your mission/purpose/goals.
  • You will be criticized and praised as you move forward. Ignore them both.

Remember to:

  • Ask questions. Don't assume anything.
  • Tell the truth. Even if it hurts.

And I almost forget to mention...

You'll need a bit of luck, but you'll know how to make it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Customer Service

Ever heard someone say, "Our company believes in customer service"?

Everyone believes in "customer service".

The problem is that a lot of companies believe in Really Bad Customer Service.

What do you, what does your company, believe in?

What if you believed in Remarkable Customer Service?

What would it look like? What would it feel like? What would your customers say about it? Would they spread the word? Why/How/When/Where/To whom?

And who are your customers? There are the obvious ones--but there are also your peers, your employees, your vendors, your competition. How do you treat them? What do you want them to say about you?

Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity.

Your brand is defined by your customers. They own it, not you.

Do something remarkable today for a customer or for all of your customers. And then just let it go. It'll spread.

Say it forward?

Hi. Welcome to my first blog post.

Say it forward? Yep. This blog is about telling stories. Stories about you. Stories about your company. Stories about your product or service. Stories worth sharing.

If your story is remark-able, your audience will spread it. It's that simple.

You can tell the truth or you can lie. You can do it for others or you can do it for yourself. You can be transparent or you can hide. You can do it out of passion or you can do it out of obligation. Your choice.

But if you tell the truth, passionately and transparently, for the betterment of others, remarkable things will happen.

You can't fake it. Oh, you can try. And for a while you might succeed. But then karma gets in the way. Always has, always will.

So tell the truth. And do your best. And admit when you're wrong.

Your customers will thank you. They'll spread the word. They'll, "Say It Forward".