Archive for February, 2011

It’s All In Your Mind

Posted on February 25, 2011. Filed under: Good Habits, Management Concepts |

“Come on now, it’s all in your mind!” It’s a pretty common saying and it’s often said to bring us back to reality. But how powerful is your mind? 

The right mindset is critical for success in brand and customer experience. And that becomes even more important when sales are difficult, when customers are difficult, and when you’re so desperate to hang onto clients you’ll do almost anything to keep them.

Boy, it’s easy to see yourself as a victim in the atmosphere we’ve all lived through over the past two years. But that can be dangerous…it can become a downward spiral that reaches bottom only when you do. And the funny thing is, no one can get you out of it but you…because it’s all in your mind. What do you do?

Adopt a affirmation.

Tomorrow, instead of being a victim, take charge. Write or find a daily affirmation that builds you up and makes you responsible for how you view the day (and by the way, that view should be positive). Say it every morning and then throughout the day when you need to (because we all need to every now and then). Once you have that down, expand that affirmation to bolster your confidence, spur your action, and strengthen your commitment – in essence, whatever it takes to make the affirmation fit you perfectly. Keep saying it. Keep saying it. Keep saying it.

In 30 days, you’ll have created a new habit, a habit that will absolutely positively impact your success. Keep saying it and watch what happens! It’s amazing what your mind can do.


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Make Your Brand Buzzworthy – Come to Building a Buzzworthy Brand

Posted on February 25, 2011. Filed under: Practical Branding, Uncategorized |

Are you ready to take 2011? Really take 2011? Could you use some help?

I’ve teamed up with Pecanne Eby and Ann Lillie, two other brand and messaging consultants in Denver, to offer a one-day workshop that will help you make your brandbuzzworthy in 2011.

This workshop is ideal if you are a business owner, executive, marketing or sales professional who is…

  • Tired of “dabbling” in branding and want to really understand how to develop a successful business brand
  • Losing business to competitors or are stuck in “price wars”
  • Struggling to create a brand with meaning, whether that’s launching a new business or repositioning an existing business
  • Striving to be a recognized name and leader in your market
  • Or, just needing some “fine tuning” of your brand strategy, marketing communications or customer experience.

You’ll learn brand-building fundamentals in this information-packed and interactive day at the Denver Athletic Club in downtown Denver.

The workshop is $199 per person and includes lunch and all materials. And if you’re a past or current client of The Zoelby Group, join us for $159 per person.  Click on the link below for more information and to register.

Join us for a fantastic, information, productive, and fun day!


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The Two Most Powerful Words…

Posted on February 18, 2011. Filed under: Customer Experience |

…in the English language just may be an old-fashioned “Thank You.”

Every individual wants to be appreciated. In the world of your customers, they want to be appreciated for the investment they are making. Most people make a concious decision of how to spend money, regardless of whether that money reflects their personal funds or a corporate budget. When they choose to spend it with you, it makes sense to show appreciation. So how do you do that? Try saying “Thank you.”

It’s not that we don’t hear the words very often. We actually hear them quite frequently. But how many times do they carry any sincerity? Most times, at best they’re simply part of a script or received via a mass-generated email or direct mail. Arguably, at worst, there’s nothing at all.

You’ve all been there…from the grocery store checkout line to the last professional services person you hired. How’d you feel when no appreciation was expressed? Did it faze you? Maybe, maybe not.  Perhaps you don’t even remember it. But can you remember a time when you were thanked with authenticity? I bet you do. And I bet it felt pretty darn good.That’s differentiation! So much differentiation that “thank you” can become a competitive advantage for you.

So how are you going to thank your customers this year? How are you going to differentiate your thank you from those of everyone else? It doesn’t require a load of money, but it does take intentional thought and action. You can be creative or you can make it as simple as looking your customer in the eye, pausing a second, smiling, and saying, “Thank you” and truly meaning it. It’s a powerful way to differentiate your company, your customer experience, and create advocates for your business. Here are five ways to do just that:

  1. Make your thank you reflect your brand – you can be creative, quirky, or classic. Whatever direction you go, your thank you provides another opportunity to strengthen your brand – don’t waste the opportunity.
  2. Be timely – when you give an impromtu thanks for a particular action, give it within 48 hours of the action that prompted it for highest impact. But even after 48 hours, it’s still better than no thanks at all.
  3. Be authentic – One of my pet peeves is receiving a mass, pre-printed thank you. The appreciation faction I feel is less than zero. However you choose to show your thanks, make sure it’s authentic. Customers can smell insincerity a mile away.
  4. Say thank you for complaints – Most customer won’t tell you if you’ve messed up, they simply will be silent and vote with their wallets (and that vote won’t be for you). So when a client gives you constructive feedback, thank them as their feedback will help you improve your business. The criticism may hurt at first, but will benefit you long-term. And it also gives you the opportunity to potentially turn a bad situation into a good one!
  5. Don’t underestimate the value of a handwritten note – Most companies opt for “gifts” that can be quickly and easily sent, but never underestimate the impact that a handwritten note will have. In today’s world of electronic everything, a handwritten note breaks through the noise and stands out.

Go ahead, get powerful and get a competitive advantage with two amazing words: THANK YOU!


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A Little Experience Upsets a Lot of Theory

Posted on February 16, 2011. Filed under: Practical Branding | Tags: , , |

Have you ever heard of S. Parkes Cadman? You would be, I imagine, in the minority of readers if you had. S. Parkes Cadman was a coal miner, clergyman, newspaper writer, and radio broadcaster in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. He was noted for his clear voice, passionate speaking, and insightful writing. But I’m not bringing Mr. Cadman to light because of his career; rather because of something he said:

“A little experience often upsets a lot of theory.”

Pretty true, isn’t it? I’m taken by the quote because it applies so well to the customer experience. You can theorize all you want, for days, weeks, or years on end, about what kind of experience you deliver to your prospects and customers. But until you actually experience those things from their point of view; in essence, until you experience their experience, you’ll never really know if your theory is solid.

I’ve seen it too many times…companies have a fancy, flowery tome of a mission statement hanging on the wall. But ask an employee what the mission statement is and you’ll get a blank look for a reply. Mission statements, vision statements, brand promises – they are practical tools to be used to move your business forward, not intellectual theories to be framed and hung on a wall. The same thing goes with the customer experience, directly related to your mission, vision, and brand promise. If you are looking at your customer experience from your point of view, stop right there. Put on the shoes of your customers and take a walk in them…only then will you understand what it’s like to buy from you. Until theory is put into practice, it’s unfounded and ungrounded.

Well-built strategies have five common traits:

  1. They are conceived from theory and experience.
  2. They incorporate not only your perspective, but that of your customers, employees, and suppliers.
  3. They are immediately applicable.
  4. They stand the test of time, allowing for tweaks eliminating continual rework.
  5. They are measurable.

Theory is great, but it can be easily upset by experience. Use experience to test and hone your theory – transforming it into a tool that can be used to continually build your business.



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News Travels Fast These Days

Posted on February 11, 2011. Filed under: Customer Experience | Tags: , , , , , |

90% of online consumers worldwide trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust consumer opinions posted online.

Source: Neilson

A pretty sobering statement. But as a user of products and services, would you say the same thing?

And what does that mean for you and your business? It means you’d better have your act together! Word of mouth is becoming more and more important. Word of mouth is also becoming more and more global, thanks to Facebook, YouTube, and other online review avenues.

Certainly core product and service is important – and I’m not discounting that. But I’ve been searching online reviews and it seems to me that people expect the product or service to work…that’s no longer the issue. That’s more the cost of being at the table in the market. Rather, people now comment on how they were treated, whether their voicemails were returned on time, whether anyone followed up with them, how they were made to feel, and the quality of the interactions they had. You might remember David Carroll, the gentleman who wrote a song a few years back when United Airlines damaged his guitar and refused to pay for it. The site housing the song had 720,000 hits within four days. News travels fast these days.

Now combine that with the statement at the top of the post. Today, individuals trust recommendations from others they perceive to be peers, whether they know them or not, far more than they trust something a statement a business makes about itself, its products, or its services.

Bottom line, your customers can quickly and powerfully point prospects away from you – or toward you.

So there’s really not a better day to start focusing on the customer experience. Make sure what your customers see, hear, touch, and how they interact with you reflect the reputation you want in the market.

People listen to other people. Create advocates that will use their recommendations, in person, in print, and online, to be advocates for you.


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