Apple Inc Think Different campaign

Think Different

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

Perhaps the singularly most over-used word in the history of marketing is the word “New.” ‘New’ gets attention and provokes a variety of reactions. New means good, more advanced, more original, more unusual. New means better. New means cooler – more fashionable. Most of all, new implies that the object of our attention is something that we haven’t seen before. However, more often than not, it isn’t. The vast majority of products or services that are branded ‘new’ are anything but. Or rather, that they may well be ‘new’, but they are far from being ‘different’. Most ‘new’ things are simply revisited versions of what has existed before. New combinations of the familiar – or “mash-ups”, to use today’s vernacular – with a liberal sprinkling of marketing pixie-dust to help it on its way. Once you pare away the fancy packaging, the jargon and the glitter, you’re left with something that isn’t very dissimilar to what has existed before. Today, we have become desensitized to the ‘new’. Instead, we crave the ‘different’. The different is the new New. Examples of the different abound. The iPhone. The Herman Miller Aeron Chair. The Alessi Lemon Squeezer. Even after they are – inevitably – copied, the different are remembered. In a world full of me-too products and services, the only hope of standing out …

It’s not voodoo, it’s marketing.

It’s Not Voodoo. It’s Marketing

Gee Ranasinha Business

A successful and effective social media presence isn’t voodoo, or another one of the black arts. It’s simply tried-and-tested marketing process applied to other channels. Perhaps, like many business owners, you’re looking at this year as being an opportune time to pin your business on the social media map. A social media presence is no longer the bleeding-edge of a company’s communication, awareness-building, and engagement strategy. If you are about to venture into building a social media presence for your business, may I give you a few words of warning. Many businesses spread themselves too thinly when it comes to social media. There are so many sites to choose from. Where should one start? • Traditional sites such as Facebook or Twitter? • Business-related sites such as LinkedIn, XING, or Viadeo? • Location-aware sites such as FourSquare? It’s tempting to think that you need to be on all of them. After all, you may be missing out on attracting possible customers, right? Technically you’re correct. But surely your business should already know where your customers are, when they are there, and what your organization should be communicating when they are listening? Social media doesn’t abdicate your responsibility in finding and directing relevant …

Saying What You Mean

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

It is easy to confuse your target market by using what they might consider to be strange or unusual vocabulary.

business butterfly

Change Your Business, Or Watch It Die

Gee Ranasinha Business, Marketing

There’s plenty of management-speak out there about how business leaders need to embrace change. How business, and commerce in general, has its foundations on shifting sands. The only way to ride the wave is to accept and relish the concept of change within your company. However, the truth is very different. Most company managers that I know are more about creating and maintaining a consistent and stable workplace for employees, in order to create an air of security and reassurance and help keep staff morale high. The problem with building all of this structure is that it prevents you acting – or reacting – when an external force is applied.  Take the music industry as an example. For decades, music companies held control as to how and what music was consumed, and record stores controlled distribution. When the internet threatened to upset that control, their immediate reaction was to fight it. To keep things the way are. Guess what? They lost. Today, anyone can release a piece of music  – or any other piece of intellectual property – and get it in front of a big-enough audience to generate attention. The biggest seller of music in the USA today is …

cheerleaders

Do you have Followers, Fans or Evangelists?

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Marketing, Sales, Social Media

In order for your business to understand more about why customers buy from you today, and hopefully continue to buy from you tomorrow, you need to understand more about customer loyalty. Loyal customers can be broken down into three very distinct groups: Let’s call them Followers, Fans, and Evangelists. A successful and growing brand needs all three types of customer in order to thrive. “Followers” are the ones who buy your product or service no matter what. Times can be good, times can be bad, but they’re going to stick with what they know – and they know you. Followers are generally creatures of habit. It’s stressful for them to contemplate changing (after the initial stress of finding a suitable provider – i.e. you – in the first place). So rather than go through the hassle, the Follower will stay with you. However, note a Follower is only with you because it’s convenient – for them. Yes, they’ll continue to buy from you. They’re choosing you for their own reasons. Supposing things change with your business (as they always do). Supposing you get to a point where you’re forced to raise your prices. Perhaps the raw material costs have gone up, or …

fragility of business model

The Fragility Of A Business Model

Gee Ranasinha Business

Whether consciously developed or not, every company has a business model.  It’s the fabric of how the organization has been set up to generate sales, revenue and – hopefully – profit. Wikipedia defines a “business model” as being a description of “…the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.” But business models change. And they change for a variety of reasons. Competition – No-one is doing what you’re doing. Or, perhaps, everyone else is doing what you’re doing.  Whichever way around, it results in a change in your business model. Or should do. Commoditization – The product or service that you’re selling can no longer be differentiated in the minds of your customers from similar value offerings from others.  As a result, you compete purely on price.  Time to change that business model, since there’s always – ALWAYS – someone who’ll sell it cheaper that you will. Technology – No matter how entrenched your company is within your markets, there’s the danger that a disruptive technology may enter your industry and displace the existing, established status quo.  Look at how a combination of the internet and mobile devices are killing-off printed newspapers.  Or how internet downloads and …

pocketwatch on a map

Where’s the Center of Your World? You’re Already There

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Marketing

Twenty years ago, various industries each had their own epicenters.  The place where you could find the best of the best in that particular field. Milan as the fashion center of the world. Madison Avenue for the advertising industry, Hollywood for motion pictures, and so on. Today, the hottest place for fashion might be Madrid, or Hong Kong, or Miami. Advertising? How about London, or Sao Paulo, or Johannesburg?  The movie industry might look towards India, where Bollywood produces double the number of feature films compared to Hollywood. Why the change? Three reasons: Talent: If you’re great at what you do, you no longer have to make the pilgrimage to some old industry stomping-ground to get noticed. If you’re good enough, you can be based wherever you want. Technology: This is linked to the one above:  Technology now connects people in amazing ways, no matter where they’re physically located. Just taking our own example, we couldn’t do what we do now if it wasn’t for enablers such as VoIP, Skype, smartphones, WebEx and the rest. Power: The days of autocratic individuals or groups that decided who could be part of the party and who couldn’t are over. The old methodology of “industry gatekeepers” …

Slow learners need more time to get to the same level of expertise as fast learners

How Long Did It Take You To Learn How To Ride A Bike?

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

There are people who just “get” mathematics, and then there’s people like me. And maybe you. I always struggled with maths. As a kid, I vividly remember my parents losing their tempers on more than one occasion while spending long evenings helping me learn my multiplications tables. For whatever reason, that sort of information just never made a connection inside of me. Maths and I just don’t get along. I’m pretty sure that Sir Clive Sinclair invented the world’s first pocket calculator for people like me. However, maths was the only school subject that I couldn’t get my head around: I pretty much aced most other subjects. I have a very visual memory – my party trick used to be to memorize a shuffled pack of playing cards in under 3 minutes – so I’m not what I would call a particularly slow learner. Or maybe, like many people, I’m a slow-learner in subjects that don’t interest me. Slow learners need more time to get to the same level of expertise as fast learners, that much is obvious. But is slow – or fast – learning a good indicator of a person’s intelligence? I’m not so sure. Apart from party …

bell push

Start With “Employee Service” and “Customer Service” Will Follow

Gee Ranasinha Customer Service, Marketing, Sales

There’s an interesting article on The Harvard Business Review about how management at Ritz-Carlton hotels look at their employees. We all expect a certain level of customer service when staying at all but the most modest of hotels. As a result, you would think that it would be difficult to excel at service if you’re in an industry that’s all about customer experience. Time after time, year after year, Ritz Carlton are one of the few companies that “get it.” Just about any company you care to mention will talk about how much they value the importance of customer service. However, there are precious few that talk about how they value their employees in the same way. Here’s just one example: “Every employee of every Ritz hotel has the right to spend up to $2,000 a day per guest to resolve any problem that arises. It’s a powerful expression of trust in employees, as well as a gift of empowerment and autonomy. It’s also vastly better for guests. How many times have you been told over the years, “I’ll have to go to my manager about that”? For too long and for too often businesses have underestimated their most valuable …

Microsoft "Blue Screen Of Death"

Bad Marketing Is Worse Than No Marketing

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

Question: When is email spam not email spam? Answer: When it has my name and company name in the copy. Well, that’s what I’m guessing, since I had a piece of unsolicited email hit my Inbox this morning. Somehow it had managed to circumvent my spam blocking filter. I wanted to share it with you, so here’s the text in its entirety. Certain parts have been censored to protect the not-so-innocent, but the spelling/grammar errors have been left untouched: Dear Gee, Hope you are doing fine. I am writing to check if “Kexino“ has any Enterprise Architecture Initiatives where XXXX could help. We are helping many companies like yours with Enterprise Architecture approach in managing risks amp; innovation during turbulent times. In our pursuit to bring advance Enterprise Architecture program to France, we are glad to announce the up coming one day conference in Paris XX Oct by XXXXX XXXXXX – Father of XXXXXX XXXXXXXX. As you know, XXXXX XXXXXXXXX is world’s most proven model for aligning IT Investments amp; Business Goals. It has been applied for managing change amp; complexity in several Global 2000 organizations. This conference is focused on how to create value for your organization by systematically …

Sculptor making a sculpture

How Do You Make A Sculpture Of A Duck?

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

As a sculptor removes the superfluous, your marketing must remove the unnecessary in order to reach your target audience. Keep your messaging short, sharp and to the point.

Online Video: Much More Than Just YouTube

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

If you have a spare 19 mins, take a look at this fantastic presentation from TED’s Chris Anderson on why video, in conjunction with the mass distribution model of the internet, is changing the way that we learn, develop and evolve our knowledge. He calls the process “Crowd-Accelerated Innovation”, something that he says may end up being as significant as the advent of the printed word. If you don’t have 19 mins to spare, then fast-forward the talk to about the 9 min mark. Chris makes interesting observations on why video is so much more compelling that the text in a number of levels. As human beings, we’re innately drawn to face-to-face communication. While information can often be absorbed faster through the written word, the non-verbal element of the communication is missing which can significantly contribute to the level of both comprehension and retention. As he says “What Gutenberg did for writing, online video can now do for face-to-face communication.”

Today’s Game Is About Changing The Game

Today’s Game Is About Changing The Game

Gee Ranasinha Communications, Marketing, Sales

The game of business continually changes. And it’s happening faster than ever. Yesterday the game was simply about making something that someone, somewhere, was prepared to pay in order to have. If we’re honest, even if your product or service wasn’t great – wasn’t the best – it didn’t really matter. There was enough of the cake to go around so that everyone got a taste of it. Creating and selling something that was meh, that was good enough, was enough. While it meant your business wouldn’t be front-page-news successful, it was probably enough for you and your employees to tick along. Today, the business game is about changing the game. The rules, as they say, are there to be broken. Just because something has always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean that you can’t come along and change it. The problem with complacency in business, is your competition don’t necessarily think in the same terms as you do. The longer the business environment stays the same, the more likely that players within that space look outwardly the same to customers. And that’s a bad thing. Something that, eventually, a business owner decides is enough – and changes the …