Farnaz on Featured, New World People, New World Companies, New World Strategies, New World Trends, New Realities
Happy new year. I really don’t know of anyone who is sad 2012 is over—are you? We’ve had another tough economic year filled with so many predictions and prophecies that didn’t come true–and some did. As we start 2013, pundits with crystal balls start forecasting trends everywhere…top 10, bottom10 …hey, I did my own last year. But this year, I realized that I’ve been among many reading and analyzing trends all year. What am I expecting or forecasting to happen as the clock turned at midnight on January 1st? Are we confusing trends and forecasts with new year’s resolutions, or simply creating a marketing need?
Unlike new year’s resolutions, most meaningful trends are long lasting, creating long term evolutionary changes. So this year, instead of adding to your long list of bookmarks of what’s hot and new, I’d like to give you 3 simple key issues that have been of critical importance these last few years that were ignored by most….and still remain critically important in 2013 and beyond. That isn’t to say that you should ignore trends and forecasts, but instead of staying glued to your rear-view mirror, you need to start using your peripheral vision and address these 3 key issues for your company in a meaningful way in 2013. What better way to predict the future than to create it yourself. Ignore and blow off at your own peril, but at least take a quick look:
Economy trumps other emotional needs: The world has been in an epic economic crisis since 2008. Economic forecasts may vary slightly from year to year, but a full recovery is still far away. More importantly, economy continues to be top of mind issue for people in general—not just business people concerned about taxes and fiscal cliff, but also consumers who want to know what your company can do to pitch in and make their lives a little easier. Unless you represent a luxury brand, you should get moving. You don’t have to be the giant Starbucks focusing on driving job creation through small business loans and housing financing…I don’t know how that program is working for them, but it’s highly visible and talked about. But at the very least, your marketing campaign should tie-in and relate to your consumers’ needs and expectations during tough economic times. Economy and price are no longer rational decisions, they are very much an emotional need and decision that needs to be addressed in a meaningful way in your marketing campaign. Simply dropping your price is as just as dangerous as passing all your operational cost increases to your customers. Price relative to your competition is a strategic decision that should not only accompany a re-evaluation of your delivery systems, but also a marketing communication strategy that tells the story of your brand relationship to your customers.
Step into The New World Marketplace: If you’ve ignored my top 3 major macro trends so far, you no longer can afford to do so in 2013. Women, youth and multiculturalism are shaping our future. If you were following our recent Presidential election closely, you’d know that despite our tough economy, these 3 macro trends led to President Obama’s re-election. Women are 50% of work force, 51% of population and control 85% of consumer buying decisions…Gen Y is 3x the size of Gen X, soon to be the majority of work force and your consumers, and the most diverse generation in human history….for every 2 men graduating from college, 3 women are and with better GPAs….1 out of 4 kids being born in the US has a parent who is an immigrant…multicultural population accounted for ALL of the US under-18 population growth in the last decade and in just 12 years (2025) more than half of US families will be multicultural (excerpts from The New World Marketplace). If you haven’t re-evaluated your target yet, do so now. Are you still treating women, youth and multiculturalism as a marketing niche or segmentation add-on?
Differentiate authentically: Growth of digital communications and technologies have changed the marketing game for some time now. We are continuing along that path, and there will always be something new every hour–and that’s not a new trend in 2013. Your consumers have so many choices, so many alternatives, and so much control, and they see the world so noisy that they can’t hear or see you. They are in hot pursuit of truth and authenticity and willing to engage with you if you are. Differentiation is always a strategic gate keeper for success, but it is no longer enough just to differentiate—because people and companies spin, exaggerate and lie. So the consumers may not believe you when you say you are better or different. Proof is only useful if it leads to belief. You have to gain their trust, attention and engagement by holding true to core values and principles through authenticity and transparency. Only then, you can change your customers’ beliefs and consumption behaviors…and are ready to chew gum and do social media at the same time.
I know…I know…. I gave you a list too, because I’m a marketer at heart and I want you to open and read my blogs (see I’m being authentic and transparent). But it’s only 3 things that you should remember….3 key issues that should’ve been addressed by now, and are critical for your success in 2013.
Last night was one of the most important nights in American history. Not just because it was another Presidential election night, but because an African American President with the most global multicultural background in one of the toughest economic climate won the second term. Because now we have record number of women Senators elected. Because among them were the first disabled woman, first openly gay woman and first Asian woman.
I was tweeting during election coverage last night about how women, youth and multiculturalism are shaping our future. Not just because this is the subhead title of my book, but because literally, these 3 major macro trends brought President Obama the re-election victory. Folks, it is The New World Marketplace and there are rapid cultural shifts redefining our mainstream culture. Let’s peek at a few key demographics:
- Romney found strong support among seniors, whites and men–no surprises
- Obama built an 11 ppt advantage among women with 55% support (down from 56 four years ago)
- Obama won 93% of African Americans (down from 95)
- Obama won 73% of Hispanics (up from 69)– with 44 ppt advantage over Romney (who secured 27%, down from 31%)
- Obama won only 39% of whites, down from 43% (this is the lowest white support for Democrats since 1992)
Surprises anyone? Not for me. The GOP’s gain of The New World Marketplace is shamefully low. Although national polling suggests that Romney is trailing Obama by mid-to-high single digits among women—a margin that would rank among the smallest gender gaps in modern presidential history—the GOP has failed to recognize where this nation is going, demographically and culturally.
We all know that the #1 issue in this election was economy, so you might be scratching your head wondering what happened. The pundits vary in opinions, ranging from effective negative campaigning, 47% video, even hurricane Sandy. A few may be mentioning the need to redefine conservatism and reinvention of the Republican party. But I don’t think anyone is clearly defining that these social and cultural issues are economic issues as well.
Let’s face it—the global economy is changing at a lightening speed. The revolutions we have been seeing around the world are not just about economic issues, but also cultural shifts specially in leadership. President Obama’s re-election was clearly not about economic issues, but about social and cultural issues. But it is time to face that these social and cultural shifts drive consumer motivation and behavior, and therefore, business performance. It is time to realize that embracing cultural shifts and TNWMP is an economic imperative.
Facing the fiscal cliff, business leaders must learn about the GOP mistakes and embrace the 3 major macro trends in TNWMP. Businesses must re-invent themselves. Focus on raising revenue and topline instead of tactical cost cutting with short term benefits and long terms risks. The more you cut expenses, the more you jeopardize your top line. Being frustrated doesn’t do it. Study your macro economics, your industry landscape and your own business models. With only 34 more working days left this year, you must start re-evaluating your core target and your strategic plans and priorities for 2013.
You can rise above the fiscal cliff, succeed and prosper in the coming years–or stay frustrated and behind. Your choice. Change is mandatory. Make it meaningful.
Can we blame the economy for company performance? 6 lessons brands should learn from political campaigns
I came back from my summer vacation a week ago hearing all the media noise about negative political ads, fluctuating stock markets, consumers cutting back on spending, businesses investing less, well, you know the rest. It is an election year, afterall.
As a strategic branding consultant, I couldn’t help but to research the effectiveness of the political attack ads that are designed to diminish positive effect for the opposing candidate’s target. I wondered if it is working. So many opposing views in articles and blogs.
I reviewed a meta-analytic assessment of the effects of negative political campaigns. This Research concludes that negative campaigning is no more effective than positive campaigning, but seems to be more memorable, generating greater campaign-relevant knowledge. It also suggests that negative campaigning has the potential to do damage to the political system itself, as it tends to reduce feelings of political efficacy, trust in government, and perhaps even satisfaction with government itself. However, contrary to the popular belief, it provides no support that it reduces or depresses voter turnarount. Interestingly, while the overall findings for intended turnout are negative, the overall findings for actual turnout is positive.
Net, net, I think the negative political attack ads are designed to energize the base and increase campaign interest–and contrary to current articles and blog posts, backlash effect is minimum. The country is already divided and strategic differentiations are clearly defined. There is not much any of our candidates can do or say to change the opposing views. With that said, I think the Democratic party has much more to gain by energizing and uniting their base, versus the Republican base who have been united and energized the entire time these past four years.
As for the undecided voters (are there any out there), this strategy may increase campaign interest, only if campaign-related knowledge is shared. More importantly, trust must be build on the information shared, which is hardly the case with intensely different fact sharing on each side. What is true is that you are neither wrong or right if the crowd disagrees with you—you are right only if your data and reasoning are right.
You would think that political parties can continue disagreeing on how to tax the top 2%, but at least agree on how to tax the 98% consumers to revive middle class, which will in turn improve the economy and business performances. What surprises me even more is the extend of discussion on taxes versus cultural values that are true behavioral motivators—in voting or consumption. If business leaders were more concerned about leveraging the cultural macro trends and driving sales and profit from the front end, versus cost cutting and bitter tax debates, they will actually end up making more money for all the shareholders.
What can we learn about from all this as it relates to branding and marketing strategies? Can we just sit back and blame the economy for the company performance? Here are 6 important lessons to learn and follow:
- People have a simple wish for a better life. Communicate how your brand can improve their current conditions.
- Energize your base through powerful, emotionally charged marketing campaigns.
- Great brands are built on beliefs and values. Decide which beliefs and values to include in your Value Propositions.
- In today’s economy, all consumers are seeking price value. Don’t lower your price at the expense of your quality and service. Lower it only to gain market share through a meaningful campaign.
- Gain trust by showing you truly care for your base target…share relevant trustworthy reasoning why the consumers should choose your brand…more importantly, deliver on your brand promise.
- Leverage the 3 major cultural macro trends, and step in to The New World Marketplace which is a far cry from the one taught in business textbooks.
Why do so many companies and entrepreneurs with great products and services fail to deliver success? Is it lack of strategy and vision—or lack of knowing how to “execute” a strategic vision in the marketplace? Hint: maybe both.
Fast Food companies offer the same products with incremental differences in price and ingredients. Ethnic restaurants offer mainstream brand names and menu items that have nothing to do with their unique positioning. (I’m sure Dallas residents have seen quite a few Persian restaurants with Italian brand name, signage and décor.) Social media agencies and entrepreneurs all call themselves social media experts. Which one should we believe or prefer? Media companies chase after the same story and sensationalism, so flipping through new channels feels like watching reruns. Even airline companies, such as Delta, promote trust and integrity as their brand values, with no concept on how to execute these values.
We’ve been numbed to brand promises never kept or delivered. Many companies claim and promise universal values such as, trust, honesty and integrity …. But which one is delivering and how? Challenge is lack of decisiveness and know-how on the execution of these values in branding messages. Values stem from our beliefs, and our beliefs grow from what we see, hear and experience. It’s all about execution and delivery.
No doubt, future growth and profitability will come from a different way of doing business in the New World Marketplace. Here are 6 easy steps to get you started:
1. Define your strategic differentiation
Strategy is not about being the best, whether it’s operations excellence or best practices. Strategy is about being different. Strategy is just as much about what not to do as it is about what to do. It’s a combination of benefits and trade-offs that your brand offers, differentiating you from the competing alternatives in the marketplace. Trade-offs are essential to strategy. They create the need for choice and purposefully limit what your company offers in order to have a clear differentiation and competitive advantage.
2. Determine your strategic priorities
Trying to be all to everyone is like being nothing to no one. Are you trying to promise and deliver efficiency, high quality, low price, innovation, superb customer service, high profile/image and fastest to market—all at the same time? Can you? Focus and prioritize your strategic execution. High-performance companies tend to focus on one or two primary strategic priorities, and they align their culture to support them.
3. Align company culture with strategy
Your company culture must be aligned and fully focused on your strategic priorities. Achieving and sustaining this alignment long term is the biggest challenge most organizations face in achieving business success. When culture and strategy align, both people and functions work toward a common goal and purpose. Definition: Company culture is a set of shared values, beliefs, causes, assumptions and behaviors that reflect how a business strategy is executed. The key to effective execution is having everyone in your organization internalize strategy in their daily thinking, actions and behaviors.
4. Choose your customers
Many companies need to re-evaluate their existing target customers, based on the 3 major macro trends in The New World Marketplace. More importantly, remember that strategy is about which customers and which needs. You can not effectively communicate to your changing customers, unless you carefully choose which customers you can deliver and execute specific needs to.
5. Align your company values with your chosen target customers
Businesses must appeal to the values that their target customers hold dear, and they must also know how to express those values in branding messages. This means aligning your values with those of your chosen customers, believe in what they believe in. I call this marketing to the inside not outside of the customers. Customers don’t just buy what you do, but why you do it. Most companies know what and how to sell…but they don’t know why. Like it or not, customers decisions are emotional, and you must engage them on an emotional level to change their minds and behaviors. This is a different way to interpret reality than rational levers of facts and features. Pick and choose the emotional values that you can and know how to truly deliver on, and then communicate it.
This is, and should be, the last phase of strategic execution. More often than not, companies of all sizes jump to the communication phase without completing the prerequisite steps. Nothing hurts the company performance more than communicating a branding message that is not consistent with your strategic differentiation and priorities. Bringing your strategic vision to life in your communication tactics is not easy. If you don’t know how, you should consult with an expert and make the best use of your marketing dollars. Otherwise, you’re confusing your customers while your competitors are getting it right.
The New World Marketplace is here….!!! I am so excited to give you the first opporunity to order your copy before the official release date. Click here and you will be directed to my publisher’s link for my page. We have made both paperback and ebook options available.
It will take another 60-90 days for my book to be released to all distribution channels, such as Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. But you can order your copy today and you will receive yours in 7-10days. I am planning pre-release parties and speaking engagements, so I may end up in your city soon. And in the months ahead, after the official release, I will be traveling all over for book signings, so you can bring your copy in for a personal, heartfelt authograph from me.
It would mean a lot to me if you can forward this to all your friends, family and collegues, and post on your facebook and twitter pages. In our new digital globe, success is defined by what friends say and “like”…..
Look forward to seeing you soon.
Happy New Year! Yes, I know….I am late for both my happy new year wishes and bimonthly blogs. Truth is, I’ve been busy finalizing production details with my publisher and gearing up for a busy season of consulting and speaking. But I wanted you to be the first to see the layout of my book cover: “The New World Marketplace – how women, youth and multiculturalism are shaping our future.”
I am super excited and will be rebranding my social media platform once the book is in the market in a month or so. I will also provide updates on book signing events and speaking gigs, and hope to see you in my travels.
In keeping with my commitment to share a New World Marketplace update in each blog, I’d like to tell you a bit about how constant cost cutting during economic challenges can drive new product innovation and quality of service into the ground. While cost cutting is an important discipline in any business model, it should never be at the expense of quality and service—which are the revenue drivers. You can choose to drive profits from the front end, or the back end. Your call. But if you choose the latter, remember your competition is putting new products out in the market faster, and offering better quality and service. At the very best, you’ll end up as a mediocre company with mediocre products and services.
And how long do you think that will sustain you during a recession?
Earlier this month, I decided to end my 7 year love affair with my Audi TT and get a hybrid car. So you can just imagine the pushy sales tactics that I had to overcome online, and by phone just minutes after a click, before I even entered a car lot. I ended up with a Lexus hybrid CT 200h. Sure the product and price was the best fit for me, but it was the service that sealed the deal. Lexus products and prices are not that different than other high-end competitors, it is the service that is their strategic differentiation. Think about this: what type of price or cost do you allocate toward great service? OK, Audi didn’t have a hybrid, but I left because of their inferior service to begin with. Do you think I’m really that unique? And what if low-mid price brands offered luxury service? Wow…that will be one recession-proof brand….!!!
Gen Y’s strong affiniy for hybrid cars are leading us away from traditional vehicles. They also prefer cars that are an extension of their social media and digital lifestyle…and willing to pay for it. This is good to know regardless of what products you sell. It’s about keeping up with the pace of the New World Marketplace.
When you look for a new doctor these days, how many Asian doctors do you find? How many engineers, professors, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and CEOs? Did you know South Asians generally over-index the US National Average in just about every meaningful consumer category? Are businesses ignoring the marketer’s dream come true? What are the prejudices and biases that are holding companies back from reaching this higher income, more educated, larger families and growing market?
Check out these Census facts:
- With 14.5 million Asians in the US, up 43% from the last census, Asians are the fastest growing minority group, very affluent and high educated, with household income 26% above Whites.
- Asian Americans have the highest educational attainment of any group, 49% have at least a bachelor’s degree (vs. 28% US avg). They also have the highest household income levels of any racial demographic at $65,637 (vs $38,885 US avg) with 28% exceeding $100K.
- South Asian population has doubled in the last decade. Indian population, specifically, has grown 70%. And 67% of all Indians have a bachelor’s or higher degree. Almost 40% have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average. 1 in every 9 Indians in the US is a millionaire, comprising 10% of all US millionaires.
- South Asian households are 29% larger than the national average. And 93.6% speak English.
- Although Iran is not technically considered “Asia” by Census, I’ll include for my loyal Persian readers: 51% of Iranian-Americans have a bachelor’s or higher degree, and 1 in 4 hold Masters or PHD. An NPR report recently put the Iranian population of Beverly Hills as high as 20%. Almost 1 in 3 households have annual incomes of more than $100K (compared to 1 in 5 US Avg). According to a study carried out by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Iranian scientists and engineers in the US own or control around $880 billion.
So when you think or speak of multicultural branding or strategy, are you ignoring this fastest growing group? What marketer wouldn’t want to reach a more educated consumer with higher income and larger families without a re-deployment of marketing dollars?
The 2010 census data reported, of the 27.3 million added to US population in the last decade, only 2.3 million were Whites. While Hispanics accounted for well over half our gains, Asians made the next biggest contribution. There is an absolute decline of white population under 18, as well as somewhat smaller decline of black youths. Hispanics, Asians, and multiracial children accounted for all of the net growth of nation’s youth. And I believe the Asian numbers are under-reported through Census, since there is a big debate about race versus ethnicity.
The world “Multicultural” was intended to represent a mosaic of different cultures in one platform. But somehow it became a buzzword limited to initiatives toward Hispanics, as “Diversity” did the same with African Americans. That’s why I coined the phrase “New World Marketplace” to represent a new type of customer-influencing mainstream culture. It’s important to recognize that various multicultural values have now become part of the fabric and reality of American society.
Here are 10 easy tips to get started that will apply to all multicultural branding and positioning:
- Learn how much of your current sales volume is being generated by multicultural customers. It may be more than you think.
- Then, learn exactly what demographic groups you could and should target for your products and services. How much sales potential in each market?
- Get to know your existing and new targets. You can only do so by spending days in the life of your customers.
- It all starts with the great product, which transcends all cultural differences. Make sure you have the right product and services and you are speaking to the needs and values of the customers who are actually buying them.
- Research and research more. Not just about product attributes, but also about how your new customers want to feel and be treated as a part of the totality and oneness of the market.
- Consult with experts. I am one of so many. Learn to use the right cultural symbols to avoid offending the very people you’re trying to attract.
- Sharpen your sensitivity to cultural standards and taboos. Dig deeper into the values and beliefs and leverage on “shared” values.
- Avoid all stereotypes and clichés. Design your marketing materials to depict multicultural customers in a wide variety of roles.
- Include a multicultural budget in your 2012 budget. Link compensation to multicultural performance for the sake of profit growth.
- Be authentic, honest, respectful and consistent. Once you open the doors to build the relationship, stay the course to maintain the relationship.
We are living in a country with increasing income inequality and politically dividing in a bitter debate. Is the growing wealth gap in America a race to the bottom with wages? Can we blame China or India for this ongoing shrinkage of middle class? Is it a multicultural or immigration issue – or is the American Dream dying? Everyone is frustrated, but what do American leaders need to do?
Let’s start with some sobering facts recently published:
- The top 1% of Americans control nearly a quarter of all the country’s income, the highest since 1928 (The Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality.)
- The US ranks #3 among all the advanced economies in income inequality.
- In 2007, the top 10% of American earners pulled in 49.7% of total wages, the highest since 1917.
- The share of middle-income jobs in the United States has fallen from 52% in 1980 to 42% in 2010.
- Middle-income jobs have been replaced by low-income jobs, which now make up 41% of total employment.
- Wages and salaries have fallen from 60% of personal income in 1980 to 51% in 2010.
- On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported the U.S. poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and its highest level since 1993.
- 22-million, or 19% of, people have wages below poverty line. That’s $20k/yr for a family of four.
We can’t blame China or India for this. The low wage jobs are in service sectors not going overseas: healthcare, hospitality, restaurants, entertainment…not just agriculture. Is multiculturalism and immigration growth a part of this? Yes. That’s the labor force who is willing to do the jobs no one else wants to do for less pay and degrading quality. American businesses are heavily dependant on consumption dollars of the less affluent consumers. So cut spending, cut more labor, raise prices….you are only declining your own revenues and market share by increasing hollowness in the middle.
It’s true that the rich got richer, the poor got poorer. Professor G. William Domhoff at University of California reports that although overall income had grown by 27% since 1979, 33% of the gain went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the bottom 60% were making less: about 95 cents for each dollar. 20% made $1.02 for each dollar, but top 5% made $1.53 for each 1979 dollar. Norton & Ariely reported in 2010 that about 85% of all wealth is concentrated among 20% of the population, and over 95% of all wealth among 40% of the population. The lowest two quintils (bottom 20% & second-lowest 20%) hold just 0.3% of the wealth.
The reality is that this type of income polarization is leading to retail changes. Proctor & Gamble is adopting an “Hour Glass” marketing strategy, designing and selling products aimed at high-and-low consumers, with not much in the middle. Of course, that is easy to do for a brand that owns at least one product in 98% of US households. Heinz is following P&G, but high end brands like Saks and Mercedes continue with their focus on high end ‘aspirational’ shoppers, they never targeted the middle class to being with. More affluent customers are likely to continue at their consumption levels, but they will not make up any slack caused by declines among less affluent. Marketers must seek new ways to increase product sales among the more affluent, or find successful new offerings for their existing patronage.
There is something to be said about engineering low price products for the low-end consumers, but that’s at the risk of trading down the middle class even more and compromising quality. As long as all operating cost increases are passed on to consumers for the benefit of the top 1% with short term margin focus, there will be no shifts to the disaster we are facing.
We are living in a debt-valued country, and the poor owe more. This is partially reflected in the movie Too Big To Fail on HBO, but we didn’t hear that the bottom 80% of Americans account for 73% of all debt with only 15% of net worth and 7% of all financial wealth (source: Edward N. Wolff, Economist, 2010). The burden of debt will limit the purchase decisions of goods and services….or foregoing purchases altogether.
I think we all can agree that we are still looking at a homogeneous business leadership in majority of the big US companies that can not possibly relate emotionally on how their decisions are impacting customer’s lives, and ultimately their profits long term. They loathe quotas for gender and racial equality because that means they have to forsake their own biases and prejudices. And I am not suggesting to put the money in the hands of the unqualified. But maybe it is time to redefine the qualifications of business leaders.
I always believed that American Dream is far beyond owning a new car or very first home. It is about grabbing life by the bootstraps and lifting up, out, and beyond whatever class, cast, gender, race, role, economic and lifestyle existence that we have or were born into. It is all about the spirit’s deep desire for freedom, self-determination, and self-expressed achievements. Then why can’t we start by having a better representation in Corporate leadership of the society we live in, for better checks and balances. Putting more emphasis on Character than just IQ. Truly understanding the multicultural shared values. Lead by examples, and be the leaders people want to follow. Exchange our short-term EBITDA obsession for the long-term success of our companies…or at least have a better balance. Think profit sharing, and maybe then, and only then, we will gain talents and customers that will help our companies and economy succeed, and keep the American Dream alive!
One more blackberry, one more orange juice, one more sandwich, another credit card…just slightly better. Incremental differences are not game changers. Sometimes more innovation can degrade a brand equity and position you in the manufacturing mindset– don’t speed up the line or it will never slow down.
Yes, freedom of choice is essential in pursue of happiness, but too much freedom can cause anxiety and confusion. Too many choices numb us, forcing us to opt out or make uninterested decisions.
Marketers often find another new & improved product, and create a campaign around it. Much more effective is to find a small and eager target, find a branding story, then make a product that resonates and makes the story work.
At the end of every business line, there is a human being. Think of these tips for future branding and relationships:
- Use and align values and beliefs as the blueprint for growth – earn trust and attention and you will have loyalty.
- Consumers will pay more for superior service, or give it up just for cheap. Don’t bite more than you can chew, know your benefits and trade-offs.
- Be transparent and authentic. Consumers know when you’re not being honest, so do your competitors.
- Satisfy higher human needs and connect through Purpose. Sell a story that people want to believe. Content that broaden their horizon, even when uncomfortable.
- Endorse brand humility. Once you believe you are exceptional, you stop innovating. Become your own future rival. Re-earn trust, attention and loyalty.
- More is Less…unless you want to be Netflix or itunes, and put everything out there letting the market sort it out. But where is the lever?
What type of 4-letter word is profit? It is and should be “good”. Over-branding can kill profit.
I use a unique emotional and cultural framework in my consulting and speaking business that revolve around beliefs and values. I thought it’d be a good idea to share a short blog on this topic with my loyal readers.
Beliefs are the assumptions we make about ourselves and others. Convictions and concepts we hold to be true, with or without evidence. How we expect things to be, what we think is true and real. Our beliefs grow from what we see, hear, experience and think about. And beliefs manifest in what we say and do. They are the basis for decision-making and drive consumption behavior for businesses, as well as how we communicate and relate with others.
Our values stem from our beliefs. Values are about how we think things or people ought to be in terms of qualities and guiding principles that are important to us – such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, trust, openness, freedom, peace, happiness, empathy, compassion, equality, faithfulness, etc. While some values are universal in unanimous global agreement – such as honesty, integrity, peace – many values vary based on culture, religion, and beliefs that are widely shared and rarely questioned.
I’ve seen many companies post their values on their web site. Some even mark leadership, innovation and customer focus as values. And why not. They are beliefs that are widely shared and rarely questioned. But I’d ask….are your values aligned with those of your customers and relationships that are important to you?
If you have any intentions to grab a piece of the $2 trillion marketplace that is multicultural and youthful where women have become key players, you may want to consider these values as thought starters in your cultural and emotional frameworks for marketing messages :
- Multicultural: Trust, Acceptance, Respect, Understanding
- Women: Trust, Equality, Thoughtfulness, Service
- Youth: Inspiration, Creativity, Freedom, Adventure
Yes, there are more…and with commonalities. Find them, communicate them, but most importantly, be honest and authentic about them. Your fans will know the difference.