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Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

9 Inspirational Lessons from Steve Jobs

8 Lessons from Steve Jobs

8 Lessons from Steve Jobs

HOW TO FOCUS AT WORK IN THE AGE OF DISTRACTION…

THE COST OF MISSED APPOINTMENTS – INFOGRAPHIC

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How to get more clicks on Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC]

How to get more clicks on Twitter [INFOGRAPHIC].

5 Tips for your company’s Online Brand (Part 2).

5 Tips for your company’s Online Brand (Part 2 – Another 5 tips).

Following on from our previous Blog post, here are the remaining 5 of the 10 top tips for your company’s online brand:

VI. Relaunch your brand with care. The feedback you receive (see part 1) may convince you to start your whole online brand strategy again from scratch. If you do, make it obvious to website visitors and anyone else who might come into contact with your online business that this is a new version, not someone else operating under the same name.

VII. Track your mentions. A search on Twitter or a listening post tool like Google Reader can be great in finding out when and where your brand is mentioned online. Plug in your business name, then sit back and wait for the regular emails showing you exactly who’s talking you up online.

VIII. Thank them. VERY important! This is the social side of online brand building. Whenever you find an example of someone discussing your brand online, jump on and thank them – publicly if possible. This proves there’s a real, engaged person behind the brand name. And it helps give your brand a ‘personality’.

IX. Drown out the negativity. There will be times when your brand shows up somewhere in a negative light. If it’s not an issue you can address personally, spend your energy promoting your business in a positive light. Don’t let other people’s definition of your brand be the most visible one.

X. Know when to stop. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as online over-exposure online! If people are coming into contact with your brand too often, they will start to tune you out. Don’t be afraid to let things settle for a while, and see what effect your efforts have had, before launching your next campaign.

Online branding is a delicate business, requiring a mix of advertising savvy and relationship management prowess. We hope these tips help to get you closer to establishing a brand you can boast about and be proud of.

5 TIPS FOR YOUR COMPANY’S ONLINE BRAND (Part 1).

5 TIPS FOR YOUR COMPANY’S ONLINE BRAND (Part 1).

You will no doubt have seen plenty of examples of online branding in any given week. Whilst some companies have their online branding down to a fine art, sadly, others still have a long way to go.

So I thought it may be useful therefore to repeat these tips from a previous Blog post which help with a few ideas as to how to refine your approach to this tricky subject. So here are the first 5 of 10 Top Tips for the Online Branding of your business:

i. Be Consistent. This cannot be stressed strongly enough. People need to come to recognise your online brand, so you need to make sure that everything – from colours, fonts and styles on your website to the background colour on your email newsletters – stay as consitent as possible. In fact, they should be set in stone, and you should have a template for your ‘brand application’.

ii. Ask your peers. Of course your logo, strapline and colour scheme is perfect! Or is it…? Take the opportunity to consult third parties outside of your office environment to see where you might be failing, and then alter things accordingly.

iii. Accessibility. Following on from the last point, set up a feedback process so your customers have some way of telling you when something goes wrong – an email that only 10 percent of your subscribers can open, for example, or a new website addition that’s crashing half your readers’ browsers.

iv. De-Clutter. It is known from studies that cluttered banners perform worse on branding impact measures than less cluttered banners. Use this knowledge for all aspects of your online presence. Less is always more for online presentation.

v. Simpler is better. Good, clean design, and clarity of message is also crucial in online brand building. Make sure that you are able to sum up your aim in one short sentence, or even a few words. Find that message, and then broadcast it until it is synonymous with your brand.

Watch out for the next 5 top tips coming soon!

10 ways to become more customer focussed

10 ways to become more customer focussed

In the free-enterprise system, the customer is king. Those who please the customer best win.  The same is true with internal customers. Those who please them most will win. Winners are always customer orientated and responsive. Here are ten actions to help your organisation become more customer focussed.

1. Keep in high-quality touch. Pleasing the reasonable needs of customers is fairly straight-forward. First you need to know what they want and expect. The best way to do that is ask them. Then deliver that in a timely way at a price/value that’s justified. Find ways to keep in touch with a broad spectrum of your customers to get a balanced view: face-to-face, phone surveys, questionnaires, response cards etc.

2. Customers complain; it’s their job. Be ready for the good news and the bad news; don’t be defensive, just listen and respond to legitimate criticisms and note the rest. Vocal customers will usually complain more than compliment; you need to not get overwhelmed by the negative comments; people who have positive opinions speak up less.

3. Anticipate customer needs. Get in the habit of meeting with your internal or external customers on a regular basis to set up a dialogue; they need to feel free to contact you about problems and you need to be able to contact them for essential information. Use this understanding to get out in front of your customers; try and anticipate their needs and provide them with positive surprises.

4. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were a customer of yours, what would you expect; what kind of turnaround time would you tolerate; what price would you be willing to pay for the quality of product or service you provide; what would be the top three things you would complain about?

5. Think customer in. Always design your work and manage your time from a customer in, not from you out.  Your best will always be determined by your customers, not you; try not to design and arrange what you do only from your own view; try to always know and take the viewpoint of your customer first; you will always win following that rule.

6. Create an environment for experimentation and learning. One principle of these techniques is to drive continuous improvement. Never be satisfied. Always drive to improve all work processes so they deliver defect-free goods and services customers want. Don’t be afraid to fail.

7. Look at your own work habits. Are they designed for maximum effectiveness and efficiency for your customer or are they designed for your comfort? Is there room for some continuous improvement? Are you applying the principles you have learned to yourself? Remember, this is one of the major reasons why these efforts fail.

8. Think of yourself as a dissatisfied customer. Write down all of the unsatisfactory things that have happened to you as a customer during the past month. Things like delays, orders not right, cost not as promised, phone calls not returned, cold food, bad service, inattentive staff, out of stock items etc. Are any of these things happening to your customers?

9. Think of yourself as a satisfied customer. Write down all of the satisfactory things that have happened to you as a customer during the past month? What pleased you the most as a customer? Good value; on-time service; courtesy; returned calls?  Are any of your customers experiencing any of these satisfactory transactions with you and your organisation?

10. Play detective. Be a student of the workflows and processes around you at airports, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, government agencies etc. As a customer how would you design those things differently to make them more effective and efficient? What principles did you follow? Apply those same principles to your own work.

Thanks to William Montgomery of AskTen for this piece on becoming more customer focussed.

In business, we all need to be reminded from time-to-time that ‘the customer is king’! It is all too easy for some employees to see your customers as ‘an interruption’ to their day!

Regular sales/staff meetings (ideally morning meetings before the day begins) are a good opportunity to get the staff on board and re-iterate what it is the company is trying to achieve, and what rewards this may mean for the employees if they do their bit (commission, bonuses etc for hitting targets).

‪The Power of Words‬‏ – YouTube

THE POWER OF WORDS

This is very powerful.

Watch the video and see the power of words.

Remember this when copywriting your marketing messages.

Marketers Root For Expanded Opportunities Represented By Google+

Marketers Root For Expanded Opportunities Represented By Google+

Marketers have had a close eye on the launch of Google+, and what I’m hearing at this point is similar to what I once heard about Bing. In short, it’s great to have a potential competitor to the behemoth in the space (Facebook, in this case), but how important Google+ becomes to marketers will depend on what kind of scale it achieves, and what kind of audience it ends up having.

As Efficient Frontier’s senior director of business analytics Siddharth Shah notes in a blog post: “While features and tools might draw advertisers to a platform, it’s access to large audiences that is the biggest draw for advertisers when it comes to the adoption of a marketing platform.”

The most obvious Facebook analogue that was missing at Google+’s launch was the brand Page, which Google executives said would be coming soon, though they wouldn’t indicate when the new feature would launch. It’s apparently in the works, though, and head of commerce and local Jeff Huber said the company wanted small business profiles to be “great” and said “we’re coding as fast as we can.”

But as Ian Schafer, CEO of branding-oriented agency Deep Focus notes, there’s no obvious way for brand Pages to take part in Circles. Does a user have a special Circle for businesses, or does he include the Page for the local kayak shop in his “krazy kayakers” Circle?

AdWords+?

It’s pretty much a no-brainer that AdWords will show up at some point or another, but how exactly they will be targeted remains to be seen. The challenge is to make it as effective as possible for advertisers, without alienating consumers. One could imagine contextual targeting, based on the content of the page, as Gmail users have grown accustomed to seeing related ads beside e-mail messages. But Facebook-like targeting on demographics and interests doesn’t yet seem to be in the cards, as Google profiles don’t yet invite the same level of intimacy. Perhaps it’s because most of the folks in my Circles thus far are business contacts (the early adopter crowd), but I’m not as up for discussing my favorite TV shows on Google+ as I am on Facebook.

Craig Macdonald, Covario’s chief marketing officer and senior vice president for products, believes the eventual advertising opportunity on Google+ will resemble Facebook (demographic, interest-based and push) much more than search (keyword and pull). “Targeting should be do-able on any data provided by the user that is considered ‘public.’ In Facebook, this is data that is in a person’s public profile record — their home town, their residence, their hobbies, favorite book, etc. — as well as on the real time data stream from day-to-day comments, which should be target-able by ‘keyword.’ So a potential use case is: Let me serve a banner to everyone in California who uses the keywords ‘laptop’ or ‘personal computer’ or ‘HP’ or ‘Lenovo’ over a particular period of time. That seems like a completely reasonable use case – so long as the user understands the conditions.”

Differentiating Factors

Shah from Efficient Frontier suggests that Google has an opportunity to outdo Facebook by offering more transparent reporting about more complex targeting. “For instance, on the Facebook platform advertisers cannot target logical combinations of different interest segments (you can target people who are interested in bikes OR scooters OR cars but not those who like bikes AND scooters but NOT cars),” he said.

One interesting possibility for brand integration might also be the Sparks section, if it catches on. This area, seemingly meant for serendipitous discovery of items worth sharing, also allows users to bookmark, or pin, areas of interest so they can more easily find them again — enabling interest-based ad targeting. But it also serves as potential entry point for brands seeking to introduce wanna-be viral videos, or other content-based marketing efforts.

“Six Apart used to have an ad product like this, a thought-starter for bloggers, on their platform,” notes Deep Focus’ Schafer. “Google has that potential with Sparks.”

The caveat to any excitement about Google+’ possibilities as a marketing platform is the big question we started with: will it have a substantial enough user base to make it worth marketers’ while. Needless to say, the fact that so many are already logged-in to Google accounts for Gmail or Google Docs — as well as the potential for Android integration — are substantial advantages, but sharing, and keeping up with what your friends share, is an ongoing effort, and it remains to be seen whether people will make a place for it in their daily lives, as they have for Facebook. Marketers seeking new opportunities certainly hope so.

“I want them to be succesfun, because the more successful parties there are, the better we all are,” Schafer told me. “I’m sure there’s a lot more to come out of this.”

All interesting stuff, and it will be interesting to see how Google fairs with this…..