Below is a quick graphic to illustrate the difference in being or not being a Brand with Purpose.
As you can see the the organization on the left is disorganized in both their aims and communication, in fact nothing lines up quite right.
The institution on the right is Powered By Purpose, so not only are the aims of those at the top aligned with front line employees , but communication flows more freely in both directions.
Any organization no matter the the size, for profit or nonprofit can benefit from this approach.
As much as we’d all like to be Captains of our own fate, sometimes our hair decides to take a turn at the helm. We are going to look at three different types of bad hair days. The first, being that you wake up and just have to make the best of a bad hair situation. Next up are those days where everything is looking great until you walk out the door, then BAM your beautiful bouffant is undone. Last and most pervasive is when you walk out the door confident to meet the day, but your hair rebels in some subtle way.
This first bad hair day is common to anyone that has started a company no matter the size. You know there are going to be some days that will test your patience, resolve, intellect and sense of humor. These growing pains are transient, slowly but surely you will mount the first summit and really start picking up speed. While you can’t plan for all the various challenges of this kind of bad hair day, they do generally serve a purpose in helping you and your enterprise grow.
What’s an organization to do? You’ve gotten all gussied up for the big dance, only to walk out of the house and BAM all that hard work is undone in a storm of negative feedback. Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon and can happen to any Brand. Starbucks and the initial rollout of Race Together is a great example, the program wasn’t a day old and the social media sphere was a firestorm of arrows directed at Howard Shultz and his company. Or this week with Gwyneth Paltrow taking the NYC Food Pantry Challenge and the considerable backlash that came along for the ride. These types of days have two facilitators, one the Brand rolling out a new product or initiative that isn’t properly vetted plus a reactive and voraciously hungry media.
At last we reach the subtle destroyer, the reducer of profits, the cowlick of your company. What makes this so pervasive is the subtly of some of the issues involved. In fact, you may not even recognize some of the following challenges as overly problematic. Difficulties with your brand clarity, not having a brand or not communicating your brand effective fall into this realm. Issues with product, pricing as they relate to your target market and failure to perceive and pursue profitable secondary and tertiary opportunities further reduce your ability to grow awareness, operations and revenue. Either of the previous cowlicks working separately or in conjunction, along with undocumented customer churn are slow certain killers of your enterprises ability to grow and potentially a real threat to ongoing viability. One last ponytail fly away to your organization is not taking control of your charitable giving and social responsibility programs.
The good news is there are countless products and services available to resolve these issues. So if you feel confident in your ability to identify and remedy your challenges you can find a solution. Of course, you might also cut your own hair. However, our recommendation is that you seek out a service provider that you can form a partnership with based on integrity, sincerity and reciprocity. As owners and operators it is difficult to view our business from the outside in and gain the type of clarity that can be gained from a valuable third party. So, here is to the end of bad hair days!
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”
I am not sure about you, but this was a favorite saying of my mother as I grew into adulthood specifically when I was being a demanding and thankless booger of a son.
It took some life-learning to really being to understand that power of those eight little words. The truth is when you approach people with gratitude and kindness these sentiments are usually reciprocated. We understand this in our personal lives almost intuitively. How often has kindness and gratitude managed a situation with your spouse or child that could have spiraled out of control?
So why is it we lose sight of this basic tenant of relationships in our professional lives? There are couple general reasons for this forgetfulness. First, we can become blind to the fact that businesses are made up of people. Secondly, we think in terms of customers, donors or vendors, not Sally or Joe. However, Joe or Sally are who make the decisions on whether they are going to buy from us or donate to our cause. For very practical reasons showing gratitude effects our ability to do business.
More than that, an act of sincere thankfulness makes everyone involved feel better. Your client, vendor or donor will feel appreciated and will carry that through their day. How does it great do you feel when you make someone’s day with some small kindness? It feels amazing!
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” ~William Arthur Ward
Need some ideas on how you can easy and cost effective ways to show your vendors, customers or donors some thankfulness today? Click here to see our blog and 10 ways you can be thankful.
Are you ready to grow your organization? - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
Please look through the slide deck below to get some great ideas on how to put action item #1 from our previous blog Give your Business greater success in '15.
Be Thankful - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires
It’s the end of the calendar year and the Holidays are upon us. If you are a retailer or a nonprofit the weeks leading up to Christmas can be the difference between a good year and a great one. For your organization this time of year could be business as usual. Either way, if you haven’t already, this is the time to start planning for 2015.
Your first reaction may be, let me finish 2014. We understand every sale you earn today counts and thinking about tomorrow can be difficult much less next year! Rest assured, we are not forgetting about the importance of the next few weeks to any ones’ bottom line. However, as the adage goes, “To fail to plan, is to plan to fail”.
The question is, how to work smarter and yes harder now to ensure greater success in 2015?
An organizations’ desired goal should be to grow revenue regardless the corporate structure or purpose. In that vein, here are some best practices that you can refine or begin using today to ensure improved success next year.
1) Take the time to thank customers for their business now
2) Develop an outreach plan for customers and interested parties to execute in 2015
3) Review your website
4) Review your social media
5) Become an industry expert
6) Audit marketing activities
7) Audit product/service offerings
8) Write out sales goals, be specific
9) Commit to being customer centered
10) Read this blog to get ongoing insights, tips and best practices
Congratulations! Just by investing your time in reading this blog you are well on your way to increased success in 2015. It doesn't matter, if you are a one person Home Based business or have hundreds of employees and sales in the millions of dollars, you can have an even better year in 2015 by following these principles.
What are the benefits of this approach?
1) Greater customer retention
2) New customers
3) Additional same customer sales opportunities
4) Grow trust with customers and community
5) Know when you are meeting and exceeding targets
6) Ability to maintain focus and refocus as needed
7) Add new insights or methods to your skill set
Here is to a fantastic 2015!
Dan Darnielle is the Chief Facilitator at Community Limelight a branding and marketing company based in American Canyon and has over 15 years in experience in Branding, Sales, Marketing and Client Relationship Management.
BE a top banana
Does Your Holiday Messaging Meet Your Corporate Social Responsibility Goals?
Choosing a holiday program that supports your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals is more effective than just supporting a worthy cause. Ask these four questions to determine if your holiday messaging meets your CSR goals:
1. Does your holiday program and messaging fit your Brand?
2. Does it make a real difference?
3. Will the message and program positively impact and enhance your Brand?
4. Does your program accurately reflect your generosity and true philanthropic support?
Let’s evaluate a program and its message recently received in an email from 7-Eleven.
Additional Note/Disclaimer from 7-Eleven: *Consumer purchased product for the food bank donation program sold between 11/6/14 and 12/2/14 will be donated to Feeding America member food banks. Product donations will be delivered to the food banks by the supplier and are not actual products displayed in stores.
1. Does the holiday program and messaging fit the brand?
Yes, the program fits the brand. 7-Eleven is a convenience store that sells staple foods, snacks, MRE (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) and beverages.
2. Does it make a real difference?
Sure, upwards of 2 million bananas and $100,000 seems to make a measurable, short-term, impact.
3. Will the message and program positively impact and enhance the brand?
Yes, it aligns 7-Eleven with a recognized national philanthropic leader that provides food to the needy.
4. Does the program accurately reflect generosity and true philanthropic support?
Not really, the phrase, “Our goal is to donate 2 Million Bananas plus $100,000 in cash—please help us reach it!” doesn’t clearly explain the details of the philanthropic efforts.
On close inspection, 2 million bananas would not cost anywhere near $1 Million wholesale. Even on sale at a local grocery store or big box retailer, the cost doesn’t make sense. One national retailer famously sells bananas for $0.19 each. If we use $0.19, where is the other $0.62 per dollar or $620,000 going to end up?
Also, #4 on the message states that 7-Eleven will deliver the bananas. However, in the details it states that the “supplier” will deliver the bananas.
To gain some clarity, 7-Eleven guest relations was contacted. After being put on-hold for several minutes, the customer service representative stated that no one had heard of the banana program. Still awaiting a reply to an email sent to corporate public relations.
Lack of Transparency: The unclear message wording and delivery discrepancy makes one question the integrity of the program and scratches away trust for the brand.
Questionable Support: 7-Eleven had a net income of approximately $195 million in 2013. A potential $100,000 donation is a negligible contribution as the amount equals about 0.05% of net income. While a nice cause to support, the program seems to benefit 7-Eleven’s image more than substantially supporting Feeding America.
Make sure your holiday message hits your goal of building a brand centric Corporate Social Responsibility program. 7-Eleven tried, but missed the mark with their 2014 holiday program and messaging. Give and give well; message and message clearly. Build trust. If you need help in developing a clear, transparent and visibly valuable CSR program or a brand centric message, contact Community Limelight today.
Be a Top Banana and Donate Directly to Feeding America by following this link. Feeding America can do more with your directly donated dollar than by having you buy a couple of bananas. In fact, the Feeding America website states that for every donation of $1.00, 10 meals can be distributed to people facing hunger.
We live in an amazing time with countless product and service choices across nearly every channel. However, like the good people of the world and our neighborhoods many organization are successful, but unhealthy. The good news is that there are solutions to these systemic issues that plague businesses. The most effective being a move back to basics and identifying a brand’s purpose. Brand-centric decision making can be a powerful and profitable tool for determining business, marketing and CSR solutions.
Some problems are more obvious, such as someone severely overweight yet still able to be up on their feet 10 hours a day to the more covert individuals functioning at a high level in spite of dependency on alcohol or drugs.
An enterprise can also operate well under similar conditions, over spending and growing in areas that don’t positively impact the bottom line or spurious decision making and toxic internal dynamics that limit the capacity for growth and profitability.
Sometimes these issues can be resolved by trimming excesses or moving on from specific individuals in decision making roles.
However, it is more often that these issues have arisen due to systemic problems deeply imbedded in the psyche of the organization.
Every enterprise, but particularly unhealthy ones, should on occasion take a step back from the trees of day-to-day operations and take in the forest as a whole. Every brand will drift with time if you are not diligent and a periodic evaluation of one’s brand position will add clarity and energy at every level of operations.
The first critical step once you decide to identify your brand’s purpose is to select a third party, such as Community Limelight, that will challenge and guide the stakeholders through the process of determining the brand and purpose of your organization. Your brand partner’s representatives need to be responsive, thoughtful and ask the difficult but pertinent questions to move the process forward.
Once you have established brand and purpose for your various service or revenue centers you will be able to move onto determining proper messaging and outlets for your marketing, CSR and audit your operations to ensure they are aligned with your new paradigm.
Here is a list of the numerous potential outcomes brand-centric decision making will bring to your organization:
· Increase amount per transaction from engaged customers
· Encourage more frequent purchases
· Build greater customer loyalty
· Additional word-of-mouth promotion
· More engagement from employees
· Ability to capture top talent
· Greater productivity and employee moral
· Better manage risk of actual or perceptual downturns
· Develop long term Brand Advocates from employees, customers and non-customers
Put the power and profitability of Brand-centric decision making to work for your organization and contact Community Limelight at 707-758-4046 or e-mail email@example.com.
Some of us in life are luckier than others in so much as our outcomes a more wholly dependent on people saying yes to our product, service or opinion. There is a certain level of satisfaction in hearing yes that only those that deal directly in sales or development can truly understand. Conversely, there is also tremendous power in hearing No. No is a chance to engage, learn, refine and understand yourself and your offering in a new and potentially powerful way. Below is a post from Linked in that puts this in perspective and share the value for even the youngest of us. Enjoy!
Trey TompkinsFSA, HRA, HSA and COBRA Solutions Expert
Thanks for not buying popcorn from my son
If you declined my son's offer to buy popcorn from his Cub Scout Pack yesterday, I owe you one. I'm serious.
I spent yesterday afternoon outside the exit of a local home improvement store with my six year old son and two other father / son pairings from his Cub Scout Pack. They were performing the seasonal ritual of selling popcorn to help raise money for their Pack's activities.
Through their efforts, they raised about $200 in about two hours. That seems to be pretty good production for three elementary school kids.
In watching my son and his friends "work", I was struck most by two different but ultimately related things.
First, many individuals who they talked to seemed so uncomfortable in saying "no". Everyone was very polite and many offered reasons for not handing over money to the kids. However, it was obvious that saying "no" made some of them uncomfortable.
Looking back on it, they needn't have felt any remorse or guilt at all. Those folks were doing my son and his friends a great service in teaching them valuable lessons about sales and achievement.
In sales, no matter how good your cause is (or no matter how cute you are in your little scout uniform) people don't owe you anything. They have to have a reason to want your product or "service". Most people who donated or bought popcorn told the kids that they wanted to support the scouts because they themselves or their children had been scouts. My guess is that they knew the good works that scouting does for kids and it made them feel good to make a small investment in that.
Also, even if someone values your product service, they might not be in a position to buy at that moment. Maybe they aren't carrying cash or they already bought from a kid in their neighborhood. Which leads to my second "aha" observation. Those kids heard a lot of "no" responses and yet they just kept on asking people exiting the store if they would like to support their Pack. They were so excited when someone eventually said yes.
After the Popcorn Sale, I took my son out for a quick dinner at a local restaurant. Over dinner, he told me that selling is hard work because you have to let so many people tell you "no" before you ever get someone to tell you "yes".
If you politely refusing to buy popcorn from him yesterday helped teach him this lesson at age 6, I owe you a debt of gratitude.
July 20, 2014 marked the first annual Les Schwab Car Show for a Cause in partnership with the Napa Valley Cruisers and support to Children's Nurturing Project.
Community Limelight helped coordinate communication between Les Schwab, the nonprofit beneficiary and vendors so that the Les Schwab team could focus on the daily details of running a successful business and still have a stake in the success of the community as a whole.
All told there were nearly nearly 70 cars registered for and approximately 200-250 people that came to the event. Once all was said and done, the total raised for Children's Nurturing Project will be just under $1,900 once all the pledges are collected.
We would like to thank the other locally-owned businesses in addition to Les Schwab Tire that lent there support to this great first year event Roger Buble - Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop, Damien LaRocca - Crisp Detailing and Shayne Hale - AAA.
Please join us next year for the 2nd annual Car Show for a Cause. If you would like to partner in someway with next years event please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please check back with us from time to time for case studies, media, marketing idea and means and may even a haiku or two.