Is your BRAND – Bland?

Have you ever run a marketing campaign and then wondered why the phone didn’t ring? Or why hundreds of customers didn’t come rushing to bash down your doors to buy from you?

Reality is, the response rate to ‘direct response’ marketing is lower than any of us would care to know. We are optimistic by nature, and when we place an ad, do a flyer drop or run a radio campaign we spend the week leading up to the campaign working out how we are going to handle all the extra business it will create, only to be disappointed when the phone only rings two or three times.

So should you even bother spending your money on marketing? The short answer is a resounding YES  The key is to understand how to make it work for your business.

Have a think about the last time you got so excited about an ad, flyer or radio/TV commercial that you dropped everything in a mad panic to get to the phone and buy whatever it was they were advertising. However, I am sure you could sing a jingle or two of your favorite brands.

Now, I’m not saying that direct marketing doesn’t work, what I am saying is it rarely works as well as we expect. For this reason, it is a trap for any business and to maximize your return on investment there are some important factors to consider before launching any campaign.

There are two very different types of advertising, Brand Building and Direct Response. I’ll kick off by saying that ‘Direct Response’ marketing needs to make you enough profit from the campaign to pay for itself, and also add some profit to your bottom line to be considered a ‘success’. This type of ad is ‘salesmanship
in print’ and needs to compel the reader to take action NOW. Don’t expect a high response rate unless you are willing to offer a deal too good to miss. I am sure you’ll remember the classic “but wait, there’s more” ad campaigns, offering a set of steak knives, along with money back guarantees and 2 for 1 deals. Your offer has to invite your market to act NOW

Now let’s take a look at the latter, Brand Building. Brand building is all about
‘Trust’ and ‘Credibility’. You will always feel comfortable buying from someone
that you trust and has credibility, no matter how good a deal is, if you do not
‘trust’ the seller then you won’t buy. Marketing guru Seth Godin says it’s about being a “purple cow”. It’s about being the one purple cow in a paddock of brown cows. Also known as your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). If you are not different from your competitors then you’re destined to compete only on price.

Having a strong brand can make the phone ring, can make customers walk into your store, can create loyal customers and can get people to buy from you. Many of the ‘big’ players have proven this time and time again. So how do you go
about building your brand?

Make  it unique
You need to be truly unique to position your brand for success. ‘Satisfaction guaranteed’ and ‘friendly service’ are far from unique, and if that’s all you can come up with to clearly define your difference then you’re wasting your time.

Support a cause
Sometimes building your brand can be as simple as supporting a cause, the rock band Midnight Oil did it, as did the ‘Body Shop’ with their policy of ‘no animal testing’ and their ‘save the whales with Greenpeace’ campaign. Studies have shown that people will switch to your brand if you support a good cause.

Create a ‘WOW’ factor
Remember the last really good movie you watched, how many people did you tell about it? Make your business an ‘experience’ your customers will rave about.

Have a clear vision
Your vision needs to enroll and inspire you, your team and your customers. Get everyone excited about your brand.

Know your customer
Make sure you are clear about WHO your ideal customer is. Using a ‘blanket approach’ will cost time and money. Once you have clarity about your ideal client you will be able to send a clear message directly to your market.

Failing to plan or planning to fail?

The old adage says that if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail. This is more than just a clever play on words, in fact, statistically it has been proven that you are more likely to achieve your goals if they’re written down… not rocket science, is it?

Back in 1973 Harvard University did a study on all of the students for that year, only 3% of the attending students had written down their goals. 25 years later in 1998, that same 3% had acquired over 98% of the wealth!

This is not about putting together a detailed ‘business plan’. This is about having a plan you can execute, and monitor your progress on a regular basis. Depending on your business you may want to review and correct daily, weekly or monthly.

Generally, we have been trained in life to look back and then make an assessment, your accountant is a classic example, they are dealing with historical numbers, and at the end of the year will tell you how much profit you made… or… how much you lost! And by that time it is too late to do anything about it. This is why it is vital that you as a business owner understand the
‘mechanics’ of business so you can be the ‘pit crew’ during the race. As a ‘pit crew’ for your business you will know the result before you’re told at the end of the race.

I have personally worked with hundreds of different businesses and can honestly say, the most successful have been those that have been disciplined and created their plan, and also had the consistency and focus to execute it too. After all, a plan will fail if it is executed poorly.

So why is it that so many people fail to plan?

Well, in some cases, it’s just plain laziness, but in a lot of circumstances people don’t know where to start. So what is the best way to go about getting a plan together?

1.   You need to know where you’re going.
If you’re not clear on your vision then you’re never going to arrive, it doesn’t matter how good your plans are… imagine you’re driving to a restaurant, and you didn’t know the name of it, what street it was on, or even what suburb it is in… are you likely to get there?

2.   Break it down.
Goals by nature are high achievements in life, and sometimes it can seem too hard to reach them, we lose motivation and give up! Break your goals into “milestones” so you
can celebrate your wins along the way.

3.    Write it down and make it visual.
By writing your goals down you will be much clearer on where you are heading. Look at it every day, stick it on your fridge, or your computer, it can be a picture, the words, whatever will motivate you to keep striving to achieve your goal.

4.   Tell someone about it.
Telling someone about your goals will create accountability making sure you follow through. If you need someone to help you stay on track and keep focused you my well benefit by using a business coach.

5.   Check your progress and celebrate your wins.
Review your goals on a regular basis and celebrate reaching your milestones. Tracking your progress will keep you motivated!

As for making this all happen, you will need to set aside some time to get clear on your goals and create a plan, once you have your goals worked out you need to ‘reverse engineer’ them starting with the end in mind then working back to the start date.

Once you do this you will end up with a daily or weekly set of tasks you need to complete to achieve your goal by the set date.

Finally, make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.A tested. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Results orientated and Time Framed, and you are ready to take ACTION to make them happen.

Finding the right franchise

Founder of Grill’d Healthy Burgers, Simon Crowe has announced ten tips that potential franchisees need to keep in mind when searching for the right system.

“The franchising world is fast-paced, dynamic and full of incredible opportunities but there’s a lot of choice out there so you really need to do your homework and search for the right business fit,” Crowe said.

Crowe’s top 10 tips to help find the right franchise
1.    PEOPLE – are everything. Finding the right people to join the Grill’d family is the most important part of the business. We agree that the customer is king but you need the right people on board to treat the customer like a king. Potential franchisees must be a perfect cultural fit and share the same passion.
2.    BE PREPARED – to go through a rigorous interview process. Maintaining the Grill’d point of difference is paramount.
3.    GET SERIOUS – Going into the franchising industry is not a decision to be made lightly. The set up costs are substantial and you have to be confident that it’s the career for you.
4.    RESEARCH – Do your homework and read up on the company you want to buy into. Fees will vary greatly from business to business but you need to be aware of what you could be up against.
5.    CONFIDENCE – Have confidence. You need to have confidence in the business model as well as the people leading and managing the growth and direction of the business.

6.    ADVICE – Seek out and follow the advice of people already in the business. Make sure you talk to existing franchise owners in the business.
7.    BRAND – Verify values and culture of the business you are looking into. Visit a number of the franchise outlets and take notes about the things you like and don’t like about them. It’s important you believe in the brand.
8.    PATIENCE – Wait for the right opportunity and don’t jump into anything that doesn’t feel 100 percent right. This includes waiting for the right property, partner and business.
9.    ASK QUESTIONS– Is the business profitable? Ensure you speak to existing franchisees in the business you are looking to buy into because it’s important to hear about their personal experiences/challenges firsthand.
10.    LOOK FOR GROWTH – Is the franchise in a growth area? Identify the life cycle of the franchise and look for proven results.