Identify, and Live, Core Values to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Aug, 27, 2013 @ 06:08 AM

core values accelerate sales


The third element of the brand platform are core values.

Prior to the internet and growth of social media, I don't think companies gave their core values a lot of thought.

However, today you better walk your talk or risk getting called out on social media.

What are core values?  My definition is, the unwavering principles that guide how we conduct business, make and sell products, and especially, how we develop and maintain relationships with customers and prospects.

What do you need to consider when developing your core values?

  • What values do we have now?
  • What should we keep?
  • What are we not that we would like to be?
  • What are functional?
  • What are emotional?
McDonald's core values are: quality, value, service and cleanliness.  Pretty generic. It would be interesting to know how well their employees know, and agree, with these values.
Tony Hsieh built Zappos around 10 core values that employees live by and the company constantly reinforces internally and with customers:
  1. Deliver "WOW" through service.
  2. Embrace and drive change.
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness.
  4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded.
  5. Pursue growth and meaning.
  6. Build open and honest relationships with communication.
  7. Build a positive team and family spirit.
  8. Do more with less.
  9. Be passionate and determined.
  10. Be humble.
A lot of companies have core values but don't "walk the talk." Their values sound more like what you'd find in the boilerplate of a press release or the "About Us" page of a website.
You might learn about them on day 1 or orientation but after that, it's just a meaningless plaque on the wall of the lobby.
Zappos believes in having core values employees can commit to. Zappos hires and fires employees based on their core values.
If you're willing to do that, you can build a company culture in line with the brand you want to build. You can empower your employees to be brand ambassadors inside and outside the office.
What other firms do you know, or work with, that are "walking the talk" with regards to their core values?
Tomorrow I'll cover strategic positioning.
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Tags: accelerate sales performance, alignment, integrated marketing, core values, brand platform

Know Your Mission to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Aug, 26, 2013 @ 09:08 AM

know your mission to acclerate sales


This is the third in a series of blog posts on the need for a brand platform and the elements there of.

So how to vision and mission differ?

Vision is about the future, the desired end-state you want to achieve.

Mission defines the purpose of the organization in terms of something outside the company, beyond profits or market position. How is your company, product or service make the world a better place? What are you doing to help mankind?

If executed, the mission will ultimately lead to the realization of the vision.

For example, Henry Ford's vision was "To build a car his own workers could afford to buy."

His mission was, "To pass on to the motorist who buys our products, every efficiency possible, in the production of automobiles, from modern methods of procurement, manufacture and assembly."

Disney mission is: "We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere."


Apple's is: "To produce high-quality, low cost, easy to use products that incorporate high technology for the individual. We are proving that high technology does not have to be intimidating for noncomputer experts.

I'm not convinced Apple succeeded on the "low cost" portion of their mission, perhaps "high value" would be more appropriate?

What do you need to consider when developing your mission?

  • Your vision
  • The history and culture of your firm
  • Current preferences of the owners and management team
  • The resources available for achieving the mission
  • Distinctive competencies of the firm -- what makes you "different and better"
  • Current business environment, including your competition

The mission is the second of the four critical elements of the brand platform.

I'll address core values and strategic positions in the next two posts.

What are some other mission statements that resonate with you?

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Tags: dialogue, mission statement, empowered employees, integrated marketing, brand platforms accelerate sales

Build a Brand Platform to Accelerate Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Thu, Aug, 22, 2013 @ 06:08 AM

Build a brand platform to accelerate sales


What's a brand platform?

The foundation of a cohesive integrated marketing communications plan.

Why is it important?

Thirty years ago, marketing communications were likely to be in five channels: TV, radio, print, outdoor and direct.

Today, marketing communications, by the marketer and by the consumer, will be in more channels than I can count -- and new channels are coming online every day.

A well though-out brand platform will:

  1. Align the company's goals and aspirations with its resources and capabilities.
  2. Merge the company and its products as a single entity.
  3. Define the elements of the brand and how value is delivered.
  4. Create a consistent and cohesive story that every employee can remember and "own."

To do so, the brand platform must be:

  • Short enough to remember

  • Simple to understand

  • Powerful enough to inspire employees, customers and prospects

It must also resonate with customers' experience with the brand.  Any inconsistency will result in confusion and an erosion of trust for the consumer.

Given this, the company must have a clear understanding of its:
  • Customers
  • Business environment, including the competition
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Opportunities
The company must also empower its employees by ensuring:
  • They understand the brand platform.
  • Have everything they need to provide an outstanding customer experience.
  • They are encouraged to engage the customer in a dialogue that will uncover unmet needs and wants, as well as enhance the relationship.
A lot of companies with whom I've worked take communicating with employees and customers for granted.
The managment team thinks they already know what's on employees' minds and what customers want.
Every time I have conducted interviews with employees, customers or prospects my clients have learned at least two things that had never occured to them.
These insights result in a more effective brand platform and result in increased sales, improved products and services and more effective communications.
Don't miss an opportunity by assuming you already know what someone thinks without talking to them. Failing to do so can hinder your success.
With a well-developed brand platform, the company will emerge publicly as an organization with its culture, values and products in total alignment:
  1. One brand
  2. One set of values
  3. One consumer promise
  4. One face
  5. One, consistent, voice
Subsequent blog posts will address the elements of the brand platform: vision, mission, values and strategic positioning. Stay tuned.
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Tags: dialogue, empowered employees, integrated marketing, brand platforms accelerate sales

Integrated Marketing Accelerates Sales

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Aug, 13, 2013 @ 06:08 AM

Integrated marketing accelerates sales


The latest debate in the marketing industry -- inbound or outbound marketing?

The answer's the same as it was 30 years ago -- TV, radio or print?

All of the above.

Unless you are selling in a VERY unique industy, your prospects are using a number of channels. More today than 30 years ago because there are many more channels available.

So how do you know what channels? Ask them.

The effects of all of the channels are additive -- as long as the message is consistent, coming from one brand, one voice reinforcing the strategic positioning of the brand.

A fully integrated marketing plan is the only way to reach your target audience with a consistent message across different channels -- the channels in which they are engaging.

The channels, the messaging and the tactics must be aligned. Any misalignment will cause confusion among prospects and customers which will result in a loss of trust.

Consider building relationships rather than chasing transactions. People buy from those they  know, like and trust. Work on getting your prospects to know, like and trust you before selling them something.

Do this by providing information of value -- exclusive content, behind-the scenes access, unique expertise and excellent customer service. Again, your customers and prospects will tell you what is valuable to them.  You just need to ask.

What can you do to ensure you are delivering fully integrated marketing across multiple touch points?  Make sure the people developing and implementing your marketing communications understand the meaning and importance of integration -- not just between Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

It will make a difference in your brand perception.

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Tags: consistent messaging, one voice, people do business with those they know like and t, integrated marketing