Business and the Writing on the Wall

February 21, 2011

What does what you say about your business say to your customers? Can they read the writing on the wall?  If customers can’t quickly understand just what you are offering them, it’s likely you may never get the chance. No matter what your business  is or how big or how small, the way you tell your story is  key to success.

 

Cartoon #5115 - 'It appears to be some sort of pyramid scheme.'
See more Other Cartoons

 

We have many ways to share our message.

As business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders and marketers, we have more tools at our disposal than ever before.  Social media, the web, email, print, TV and radio all come together to extend our message to a wider and wider audience.  The question is, when we reach our target audience, is our message clear… or cryptic?

The RIGHT message answers 5 basic questions – Who, What, When, Why, and How.

  • Who are you and what do you stand for.  This is the primary reason we have core values and brand messages.  Make sure that yours is clearly stated and repeated often.
  • What are you offering.  It is amazing how often I see an ad or message and there is no clear value statement.  If I do not know what you have to offer me then how will I know if I want it?
  • “When” comes next.  Your when is a call to action.  Is this a limited offer?  Is there an incentive for acting now?  Develop a sense of urgency so I, as your customer, can take you up on your offer.  Mediums like electronic retail (the QVC/ShopNBC/HSN networks) and Direct Response (the infomercial crowd) have this down to an art.  They clearly state the “who” and the “what”  with a compelling ACT NOW messaging strategy.  This is  the art of timing.  Just remember, when you call your customers to action, be sure you are ready to deliver.  Otherwise, you just frustrate of confuse them and they will not be listening when you reach out again.
  • The why is a two part process.  First communicate WHY you have the right product or service for your customer.  This is not about you, it is ALL about them.  Why is your product better for them?  Why is your product  different or better than their other alternatives?   Why do they want to buy from you right now?  Secondly – be sure to keep the promises you made in your Who, What and Why statements.  The first customer experience may be a result of your marketing prowess, but customer experience will be WHY they come back to buy from you again.
  • This leads us to the How.  When you put the writing up on the wall, be sure that you clearly state… How to reach you. How to buy from you. How customer’s can use your product or service to the customer’s advantage after the sale.  If there is no evidence of a how, I may not buy.  If there is no results from your “how” after the sale, I definitely won’t be buying again.

So get your message out there and make it easy for me to understand. 

I just might have a need for what YOU want to offer.  Just keep in mind that customers like me are busy and you are not my highest  priority…yet.  Creative marketing campaigns or messages may capture my attention but if you do not clearly communicate the Who, What, When, Why and How you may have succeeded in entertaining me, but you have failed in your primary goal…engaging me as a customer today and tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

 

Joan Koerber-Walker is a two time Stevie Award National Finalist and Chairman of the Board of CorePurpose, Inc. and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation.  She also serves as Executive in Residence for Callaman Ventures and on the boards of for profit and nonprofit organizations.  As the former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association she has worked with hundreds of  businesses and on behalf of thousands.  She believes that when you combine leadership with innovative products and services you get results.  With the support of a great  team at CorePurpose she helps client companies of all sizes do just that.  Chat with her on Twitter as @joankw, @JKWgrowth, @JKWinnovation, @JKWleadership and@CorePurpose , at her blog at www.JoanKoerber-Walker.com or by email by clicking here.


It’s the real thing…How will you deliver your message?

April 25, 2009

A TV commercial came out when I was in elementary school that I remember to this day. We lived in a different time.  The 1960’s had ended and we were at the start of a new decade.  It was 1971.  People were protesting the war (in Vietnam this time).  Richard Nixon was President, Chairman Mao had declared the Cultural Revolution was ended (1969) and the door to China was slowly opening to the West. New technologies in semiconductor science and computing were evolving and a new environmental movement via Greenpeace was born.

A commercial came out in the fall of 1971 that captured the people’s mood and helped embed a brand – Coca-Cola – in the hearts and minds of a generation. (See video from YouTube above.)   The story of the how the now famous “Hilltop” ad came to be is a good one and a legend in the ad industry.  Two top 20 Hits came out after the commercial, one by The Hillside Singers and the other later by the New Seekers.  You can hear and see their version here.

At the Great Wall copyright Joan Koerber-Walker 2001Fast forward 30 years – and my husband Chris and I were in China seeing the sights.  It was just weeks after 9-11 and the world was still reeling in shock.  It was not a time of global love and trust.  One sunny morning, we made a visit to the Great Wall of China.  As we made our way up the wall, I watched a man helping a little girl climb step by step.  We stopped, as they did, along the way to take a break.  I took a Coke out of my backpack and caught the Dad’s eye and pointed at his little girl.  After he nodded yes, I turned to offer it to her.  She did not speak English, but her eyes lit up as she giggled and sang out “Coca-Cola!”  Perhaps they did teach the world to sing after all.

How will you build your brand?

Most of us can not afford the $250K Coca-Cola spent just to create the famous ad in 1971. (That’s $1.3M+ in 2009 dollars and without airtime!)  But, that’s OK.  You see, they learned the most important secret of business growth and branding. 

It’s not what you say about your company that matters.  What matters is what others say about you.  Especially in times like these – times of challenge and change -actions speak louder than words. 

It does not matter how big or small your company is.  Your decisions can make or break your brand.   The next time you have a business decision to make – ask yourself, “How will others see this – and what will THEY remember?” 

People have long memories, and you never know who might be writing about YOU thirty days or thirty years from now.

Stay Tuned…

-Joan Koerber-Walker