Archive for the ‘Branding’ Category

Who has watched the movie (or will at least admit to watching it) Megamind? You know that part where the bad guy asks Megamind what the difference is between a villain and a super villain? His response is my favorite part of that movie, and probably among my top 5 parts of any movie watched ever – PRESENTATION!

So I went to Subway today at the local gas station on the corner by our offices. This gas station was packed, subway was packed, the convenience store was packed. By all accounts, I would have to say it was among the busiest gas stations I have been at for a while. I noticed as I was ordering my lunch that the store manager, and what looked like another manager, were carefully washing the windows with a squeegee. They painstakingly removed every dust particle or stain from both sides. The job was done immaculately and as Megamind would say, their presentation made this gas station a super station.

This exact same gas station, just a few months ago was dead. Nobody. Crickets. That’s right, this station had the exact same location, but under different management had an arby’s, as well as convenience store, and gas pumps. Everything was always filthy, the outside, the inside, the shelves were not stocked properly, the restaurant was a mess, and the gas pumps rarely had fuel in them. Yes, the gas pumps at the gas station didn’t work because there was rarely gas. Now, this process took a few years to deteriorate to the point that new management bought the station from old management and turned it around in a matter of weeks.

They say in Real estate that location, location, location is what matters, and is the most important decision you can make. I say, ya, pretty important, but that doesn’t mean you can forget the lesson Megamind teaches us. You need PRESENTATION!

If you’ve been in business very long at all (meaning you’ve had an empire as big as a lemonade stand
on the corner when you were six) you’ve probably heard the phrase “The devil is in the details.” It’s
a silly mantra that we spout whenever something wrong comes up. You might refer to it as Murphy’s
law, meaning that the worst possible thing that can go wrong inevitably will. Whatever way you look
at it, you have heard the phrase that the tiniest things are going to trip you up. So what can you do
about it?

When the devil in the details rears it’s ugly head, it is never when you would like it to. It never happens
during the planning phase of a new project, product launch, or marketing effort. It will always appear
when all appearances suggest that there is no possible way to fix it. This is where you discover the
differences in the hobbyists and the businesspeople.

Last minute disasters are inevitable. They will come up, and you will have to deal with them. The best
thing you can do is prepare yourself as much as possible, get your resources ready, and most of all, take
the advice of Douglas Adams in his classic book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and “Don’t
panic!”.

Having the confidence to face the unforeseen details of a project without losing your head will make
you stand head and shoulders above your competition. If you want to survive, you must stay in control
of your own thoughts, feelings, and emotional states. Here’s a little secret you can use too: Have an
emergency kit handy for when things are at their worst. Fill it with something that makes you laugh (a
favorite comedian, comic book, or picture), something that makes you feel good (a pair of clean socks,
a fresh shirt, or some other comfort item), and a list of people you call when you need a pick me up.
Keep your kit at your desk, ready for you when you need it.

You won’t be sorry.

Whether you are on your own or working with a franchisor, you should know where you are headed,
what your goals are, and what you want your outcome to be. If you build a company with the intent to
sell it someday, you will act differently than if you plan on doing this for the rest of your life.

Having a good model to follow, whether self-designed or as part of a franchise agreement can give you
a road map to follow along the way. Business is rarely a stable element, and anything you can do to
add a little stability along the way is going to make your life much easier.

It does not matter if you have a long, drawn out document in a binder somewhere. You should have a
personal plan detailing what YOU want from your business experience. This is your guideline. You
need to know where YOU want to be.

Start by following our old friend Stephen R. Covey and “Begin with the End in Mind”. At the top
of a piece of paper, write what you ultimately want out of your business. Do you want to sell it for
$10,000,00 dollars? Do you want to build a legacy to leave to your husband/wife/children/cats after
you pass on? This needs to be the primary motivating force in your mind for wanting to build a
business. Whether you know it or not, you do have one, so take some time and decide what that is.
You can always change it later.

Set up your ultimate goal and work toward it. That is your job, your calling, and your opportunity.

The 5% Rule

Posted by admin under Branding, Growth, Running a Business

Do you matter? When your customer looks at your place in the community, state, and world, do you
show up on the radar? Building your position in the minds of your customers is key. Building your
position in the minds of your employees is vital. Building your position in your own mind is critical.

We live in a place so covered with advertising messages that you can no longer afford to be “just
another business” to your customers or anyone else. If you aren’t near the top, you are on the compost
heap. If you aren’t taking steps to grow into the best company you can be, you have a one-way express
ticket to the bottom.

So what are you going to do about it?

Start by using the rule of 5%. Ask yourself, “If we were to improve our business by just 5% this
quarter, what would we do first? Where would we start?” Then go to work. You can set your own
benchmarks to get there, but get there. It doesn’t sound like a large number, but if you set a goal that
is easy to reach then harder goals become more reachable. Don’t set your sights too low, of course.
Stretch yourself and try to be the best company you can but don’t aim for anything less than 5%.

The funny thing about 5% is that it has a domino effect. You will be surprised at how much MORE
your business increases than just 5%. Usually, those little things that you have been putting off are the
foundations for much bigger operations. They are the building blocks of your company’s future. That
means that one of those little details on your to-do list may move you farther than you ever dreamed it
could.

What is on your 5% list?

Perception is Reality

Posted by admin under Branding

Matrix is one of my favorite movies. I watched it for the first time in New York while on business with my father. The movie completely blew me away, not only due to the visual effects, but the story line.

This idea that people can break through reality through a paradigm shift from dependence to independence introduces the first three habits of Stephen R. Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. This shift is based on the character ethic of human beings. We can think of it as the base structure of a building, it has to be strong to be able to withstand the weight of the building, and the author labeled this shift as private victory since the shift is done between you and yourself.

The next three habits shift us to total interdependent. They are based on personality ethic management or what we call modern management. This provides us with the tools needed for managing our lives in a social environment, and the author labeled them as public victory since it involves others.

The seventh habit is introduced to contain all the other six habits in an upward spiral motion to guarantee their effectiveness and stability. It gives a balanced renewal of the four basic dimensions of life (physical, spiritual, mental, emotional).

Now that I have successfully blogged about one of my favorite movies and books I will touch on a few ideas on Perception vs. Reality.

I have learned over and over again that perception is reality. No matter what you may think your brand means, and what your brand does, whatever your customer perceives is reality to them. This is an interesting concept in franchising and a big message on why branding is so critical.

I have been going to Subway for some time, and for the most part have found that Subway has done a great job of creating a consistent brand through each of their stores and food quality. Have you ever been to a subway where for whatever reason the restaurant was a mess, or the bread was stale, or perhaps the people working behind the counter were disheveled? This has happened to me once, and it has always stuck out in my mind as strange, because Subway has done an excellent job of creating brand consistency.

When does our perception begin on a new brand? For a lot of small business it is the sign and building that we see when we drive by. Companies are just like people, we all give a first impression and begin creating the reality that your customers perceive. This is one of the main reasons I got into the painting industry and began franchising. That first impression is often communicated by colors and the quality of the environment that people are operating in. The art of persuasion and influence is a tricky area for entrepreneurs, but it’s not as mysterious as you think.

The overall appearance of your workplace has a huge impact on how your customers and even your current employees perceive your business. Color plays a large psychological factor in how your customers identify your business and respond to your products. Most customers aren’t willing to accept a product if it doesn’t come in their preferred or perceived color combination. That in itself explains how significant colors can be. For example, most popular chain restaurants use the colors red and orange. These colors have been determined to stimulate appetite and encourage diners to eat more quickly. Just what a restaurant wants in a customer!

If you are considering changing colors and would like a quick guide on how to impact the perception of your customers before they even walk in the door I have prepared a short chart below for quick reference.

Red Excitement, danger, power intensity, love, passion. Red is a very noticeable color and is known to stimulate heartbeat and respiration.
Blue Cool, trust, reliability, peace. Blue is the most popular color. It causes peaceful and tranquil feelings.
Green Nature, wealth, growth, abundance. Green is a calming and refreshing color, and darker green is associated with wealth and money.
Yellow Warmth, happiness, sunshine. An optimistic color that enhances concentration and speeds metabolism. Be careful not to overuse yellow as it can be overpowering.
Purple Royal, dignity, spirituality. Also associated with luxury and sophistication.
White Pure, clean, virginal, innocence. Also a neutral color.
Black Authority, power, death, villainous.
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