Are You Proud of What You Sell?

Posted on May 16, 2011. Filed under: Customer Experience, Uncategorized |

Are you proud of what you sell? Whether you are a salesperson, a marketer, or an account rep, you’re in the business of selling. Perhaps you sell a product, maybe a service, or even ideas internally in your organization. Regardless of what you sell, it’s important to believe in it.

People can sense a lack of authenticity faster than a case of rotten eggs. If you try to put on an artificial show of enthusiasm for your buyers, they will know it immediately and will respond accordingly by walking – or running – away. You’ve seen the ones who don’t believe. The ones who simply talk, talk, and talk – much as if they are trying to convince themselves of what they’re saying. It’s pretty difficult to sell something you don’t believe in…and even more difficult to engage and develop clients after the sale.

If you aren’t excited about what you sell how do you expect to influence others to buy it? And if you don’t believe it in, why in the world would you spend a good part of your waking hours trying to sell it to others? How demotivating that must be!

Are you proud of what you sell? If your honest answer is “no,” it will be difficult to succeed. Instead, first go find something to sell that you do believe in. You’ll immediately put yourself in a better place to succeed.

Here’s to success!


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What Great Companies Have That Others Don’t

Posted on March 15, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I ran across this article yesterday…it’s a great synopsis of brand traits that separate companies that attract Raving Advocates from the rest of the companies out there. Take a peek…





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Living Your Brand – A Lesson from Apple

Posted on March 11, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I just got an email today from Apple. The new iPad2 comes out March 11th, thinner, faster, and lighter than the “old” model.  This email followed on last week announcing the new MacBook, which followed the new Verizon iPhone, which followed…which followed…which followed. Apple just keeps churning out innovation. And that makes sense. The company has set its sights on being the innovation leader; to provide the coolest, easiest-to-use, cutting-edge computers and electronics.

But the idea of innovation doesn’t stop there. It permeates Apple’s entire brand. Look at the logo – sleek, shimmery, and simple…just like you’d expect. Look at the advertising:  “I’m a PC; I’m a Mac.”  Just as when they first hit the media, the ads stand out among a crowd of underperforming 30-second spots. I still like them years later. And have you visited an Apple store? From the moment you step into the store, you know you’re somewhere different. Little kids play on computers sitting tables 18” high, big kids play on iPads, iPhones, iPods, and MacBooks. Here’s a store where you’re encouraged to mess with the merchandise. Employees are dressed in Tshirts and jeans, just like the Mac guy on the ads. Appointments for the Genius Bar (tech support) or training classes are checked in on iPads. And if you purchase something, you don’t walk to a cash register. No! You stand right where you are while a Mac employee runs your credit card through their phone…and then asks if you want the receipt mailed to you. It’s an experience like no other, and it’s all about innovation.

Talk about a lesson from Apple! Find your market leadership position and let it permeate your entire brand. Bring your brand to life not only through your product or service, but also through what you say and what you 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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Why Join the Navy if you Can Be A Pirate?

Posted on November 23, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

“Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?” It’s a quote from Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. Jobs is universally recognized for his brilliant planning, bold statements, and charismatic keynotes unveiling the latest and greatest Apple has. (If you’ve never seen one of his keynotes, Google them; they are pretty entertaining.)

But Jobs is best known for leading Apple from market flunky status to market icon status. His willingness to be a pirate in the marketplace, versus joining the Navy, has led to Apple’s reputation of innovation. What would Apple be if it had gone the path of the PC world…if it had given up and said, “‘Me too’ is a high-enough goal for us?” I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have had the raving advocacy, the market growth, or the investor return we’ve all witnessed. It would have become one in the masses or, worse yet, gone into extinction. Instead, it’s a household name.

What is the key to Apple’s success? In my opinion, there are several:

1. Apple wasn’t afraid to be different; in fact, it embraced its uniqueness and staked a claim in its market for that uniqueness.

2. The company looked for what made it different – innovation – and used that to its advantage as a differentiator.

3. Apple made a decision to live and breathe its differentiator in every part of its company and customer experience, from its products to its advertising to its stores and employees. Have you ever bought something at the Apple store? You don’t go to a cash register…your card is swiped on a handheld device! You don’t get a mandatory paper receipt…you get an email receipt! Even the normally-mundane purchase process is innovative.

Find out what makes you or your company different. Then determine how it helps your customers. Does your speed to market give your clients a competitive advantage? Does the insight you bring to the table put your customers in a better place to foresee market changes and proactively prepare for them? Whatever your differentiator, find it, determine how it benefits your clients, then use it to your advantage…in your communications, your sales conversations, your customer experience.

Arrgh! Go on, be a pirate!


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Schmeear It On

Posted on November 5, 2010. Filed under: Differentiated Messaging, Uncategorized |

I’m writing this the day after the election.

Are you as tired of the smear – or I prefer to drag it out with the word schmeear – campaigns as I am?  Two senate candidates here in Colorado spent over $30 million bashing each other. Is that something to be proud of…to know you set a spending record and that it was based on painting an ugly picture of your opponent?

Don’t worry, I’m not going into politics here…in fact, I’m not even sure I could articulate what each of those two candidates stood for in their campaigns. And isn’t that sad? All I know is that they focused a lot of time, energy, and money on attacking their competition. And I heard a lot of frustration that most campaigns’ content was of a similar genre.

On the other hand, the Colorado governor’s race was run without one negative ad that I can recall. But oddly enough, what I can indeed recall are those things the candidates stood for. Once the results were announced, here’s what the winner, new Governor Hickenlooper, said in reference to his supporters, “I especially appreciate your commitment to keeping this a clean campaign. You have made history tonight by showing you can win with a message of what you are for, not who you’re against.”

So what can we learn from these two approaches to a campaign?  Maybe, just maybe, it’s better to focus on what differentiates you from your competition rather than resorting to attacking them. Creating a differentiated message, one that articulates your sweet spot in a relevant way to your audience, makes a much bigger impact – not only about what you provide, but also about the integrity with which you conduct business – than schmeear campaigns ever can. It may be easier to just attack your competition, but it’s not nearly as effective.

I encourage you to take the time to determine your sweet spot and create messaging around that sweet spot. Let your prospects and customers know what you stand for and what differentiates you from your competition. You can win without having to schmeear anything or anyone!


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