By Ken Gasque
Why now? Because the market is in turmoil, new opportunities are opening, change is coming, and change favors the bold.
You need to ask yourself a few questions. You need to understand what makes you different in the mind of the consumer. Ask yourself “what is it that we do better than anyone else?”
Pretend for a moment that you are Coca-Cola. Colored sugar water. Taste is a little different from Pepsi. Distribution the same. What is it that Coke does that is different from Pepsi? Branding. They brand themselves differently than Pepsi. “Taste the feeling” is the new simple sweet advertising campaign that is taunting emotions not taste. This is what Coca-Cola thinks it does better than anyone else… “Taste the feeling.”
If you need help go talk to your staff, I should say listen to your staff, not talk. Then go listen to your customers, lots and lots of customers. Do not sell them, simply ask them why they like and listen. If you can’t listen, and you have to keep helping them with suggestions, then hire someone to go listen to you.
Now is the time to promote and 11 ways to get through these tough times.
1. Don’t make things worse by doing nothing. Do research. Do some dreaming. See what others are doing. Ask yourself a lot of questions.
2. Deal with facts. Don’t make things worse than they are. Make sure the facts are indeed the facts. Question everything. And don’t listen to the people in the news who have agendas (they are writing books and promoting them).
3. Connect with your customers. Go see them. Shore up relations. See how they are doing and see what you can do to make the relationship better. Then do it.
4. Reflect on your business. What should you change? What should you add? Play games—what is the opposite of what you should do? What are similar industries doing? What are non-similar industries doing?
5. A friend of mine used to say, “You can’t do business sitting on your ass.” Go see prospects. Without appointments. Do things differently. But get out there.
6. Be careful who you drink beer with. You cannot afford to have a gloom and doom drinking buddy. Find an optimist. Find someone who is exciting, enthusiastic and unafraid.
7. Change. Now is a good time to change. Change is the most feared word in our language, in all languages. Now is the time to make changes. Change what is not working, change what is not selling, change your culture, change your brand. What have you got to lose? Change.
8. Sharpen your saw. Learn new skills, read, research, improve.
9. Now is the time to invest in your business. Revise your website, get new technology, invigorate your brand, and improve your training.
10. Create a circle of equals. Organize a group of business owners, 5 or 7. Purpose is to meet one day a month to discuss opportunities, problems, share intimate information about your company, these are your advisors. Have a moderator and bring in business specialists to speak to your group.
11. Do intelligent cost cutting. Bob Evans Jr. said when he took over the company the first thing, he did was review the budget and cut all of the advertising. He said, “What I did in 2 minutes took 5 years to catch back up.”
Advertise, it pays.
About Ken Gasque
Ken Gasque is a brand developer—a professional marketer with a design background. Ken works with small companies and Fortune 500 companies who recognize the need to differentiate their products and services in a cluttered market. Ken is a highly visual, outside-the-box-thinker on advertising, branding and marketing. Ken writes a blog and lectures on brand and brand development. To learn more, visit www.Gasque.com
By Ken Gasque