Brand Feeder #3: Study the Quality of Your Products and Services and Make One Improvement

When the customer unwraps the new product from your organization and tries it out is he or she happy the first time? Is the person still happy after 50 times or 500 times? Does the person brag to his or her friends about the service from your organization? If not, you will end up with a weaker brand than you could have had.

Brand Feeder #2: Look at How You and Your Staff Interact with Customers and Prospects

Do you and your staff members interact with your customers and prospects in ways that help them to feel respected and supported, or do you laugh at them when they don’t know something? One time I got off a flight and ran to the gate for my next flight. The person at the gate laughed at me and said, “That plane has already left.” Not exactly a brand-building moment. I’ve done everything I can not to fly with this company ever again.

Are you patient and pleasant or rushed and rude with your customers and prospects? Feed your brand today by being on the alert as to how you talk with your customers and prospects and make at least one improvement right away. Get your staff members to focus on how they interact with customers and prospects. We all get one chance to make…

Brand Feeder #1: Carefully Look at What Your Customers See

(Author’s note: Beginning today I’m going to explain 12 ways that you can feed your brand every day. Your brand is the value people think they receive when they buy your products and services. It’s also the value people think they will receive if they buy your products and services. A brand is like a person. It needs to be fed every day in order to stay healthy and strong. Take time each day to strengthen your organization’s brand. One day you will look back and be amazed by the number of sales you are making to
people who come to you wanting to buy your products and services.)

If your website is the first thing your potential customers see, then study it carefully. Does it clearly explain what business you’re in and how you add value to customers? Is it clear what you sell and why those products and services are of value to other people? Is it clear how a person can contact your organization? To be honest, I don’t understand companies that make prospective customers fill out an information sheet on the website in order to be called back. Why not just put your phone number and an email address on your website? Why make it hard for people to reach you? Would you have people walk up to your door and tell them to fill out a form and that you might call them back?

If the first interaction a potential customer has with your organization is at a retail location or at an office, does that physical space exude the type of look you want it to project? Does it make the potential customer comfortable or uncomfortable?

You might not be in charge of your website or your facility, but you can at least look at it from the customer’s perspective. Then find a convenient time to calmly discuss your observations with whoever is in charge of the website or the facility. Be mature, professional, and tactful, but at least let the person know what you’re seeing. If you had a piece of food on your face, would you want someone to pull you aside and tell you?

Strategic Planning and a Deck of Cards

Many organizations I’ve seen approach strategic planning like they want to play every card in a deck. They search for good ideas on how to improve results and they come up with a lot of them. Let’s say there are 52 ideas. Then as they plan out those 52 ideas they plan to do a different 4-5 of them each month with the objective to be implementing all 52 ideas by the end of the year.

Here’s how I suggest you approach strategic planning. You generate 52 ideas. Then you search through those 52 ideas for the four Aces, the four very best ideas on improving results. Then you spend the first quarter implementing the first Ace as well as you can. Then in the second quarter you implement the second Ace as well as you can, and so on. I think you will generate much better results by coming up with a lot of ideas, but then only selecting the four best ideas that will really drive better results and implementing them as well as you can.

Four Aces beats almost every combination of 52 cards thrown on the table.

Disastrous Leadership Approach, The Constant Intervener

The Constant Intervener is the person who is knowledgeable and has real value to offer, but overwhelms people by constantly offering advice and correcting them in every situation.

Giving advice to another person can be really helpful in improving a situation. However, if the advice becomes more like machine gun fire, then it becomes overwhelmingly ineffective. Employees get sick to death of being given advice every time they turn around, and yet The Constant Intervener keeps stepping into every project and every situation to offer more suggestions. You have to pick your moments to offer advice or other people will eventually tune you out even if you’re the CEO. It’s human nature to say, “Enough is enough. Either trust me or fire me.”

Two Questions to Avoid the Disastrous Constant Intervener Approach

1. How many times today have you intervened in a conversation with another person to offer advice or suggestions or direction?

2. What could you do differently the next time that will cause the person to pause and really think rather than just considering your suggestion?

Disastrous Leadership Approach, The I Have Arrived Approach

The I’ve-arrived Approach is used by the person who has had great success in the past as a leader and feels that his or her reputation alone will generate great results.

While this person still has the capacity to add value in the current situation, he or she will constantly think about the past glories and talk about how his or her old employees are better than the current ones. Rather than focusing on improving the current team members, this person constantly complains that these people aren’t any good compared to the stars of the past. This grates on employees until they completely stop listening to this person, and results get worse and worse.

Two Questions to Avoid The I’ve Arrived Disastrous Leadership Approach

1. How many times this week have you thought about or talked about your past employees in a way that demeaned your current employees?

2. How many times this week have you thought about or talked about your current employees in a way that strengthened them for future great performances?