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    When's the last time you did a brand health check? Try this quick 4 point test.

    Last updated 6 years ago

    We're in process of refreshing our corporate brand before building our new website and a bunch of integrated campaigns.  We've been using this simple brand test to evaluate each of the concepts (positioning, messaging, pyramid, etc.). 

    Relevant

    • Based on values your audience cares about
    • Satisfies their rational and emotional needs

    Credible

    • Grounded in your core business strategy and value prop
    • Based on believable values/attributes/strengths

    Compelling

    • Differentiates you from competitors
    • Creates a unique and memorable personality

    Sustainable

    • Captures defensible real and perceptual territory
    • Will stand the test of time 

    We're using this test for our corporate brand, but it holds true for product brands as well.  In fact, you can use a modified version to make sure all of your marketing/advertising/social content is on target for your audience.

    The six pillars of character - what our kids learn and we forget

    Last updated 6 years ago

    School let out for the summer on Friday so when I got home I reviewed my daughter's report card and a huge folder of her work.  One of the first items was a sheet and accompanying essay on the six pillars of character. I think it's pretty cool that they study things like this in 4th grade, as well as variety of methodologies for brainstorming and innovating. Anyway, given my last post about core values I thought it was an interesting coincicence to see this list and couldn't help but feel that I missed a few things.  Below is the summary of the sheet since it's been photocopied so many times it's hard to read.  Take a look and think about how you exemplify these things both personally and professionally.  

    Trustworthiness

    Be honest.  Don't deceive, cheat, or steal.  Be reliable - do what you say you'll do.  Have courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation.  Be loyal - stand by your family, friends and country.

    Respect

    Treat others with respect.  Follow the Golden Rule. Be tolerant and accepting of differences. Use good manners, not bad language. Be considerate of the feelings of others. Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone. Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.

    Responsibility

    Do what you're supposed to do. Plan ahead. Persevere: keep on trying! Always do your best. Use self-control. Be self-disciplined. Think before you act - consider the consequences. Be accountable for your words, actions and attitudes. Set a good example for others.

    Fairness

    Play by the rules. Take turns and share. Be open-minded; listen to others. Don't take advantage of others. Don't blame others carelessly. Treat all people fairly.

    Caring

    Be kind. Be compassionate and show you care. Express gratitude. Forgive others. Help people in need.

    Citizenship

    Do your part to make your school and community better. Cooperate. Get involved in community affairs. Stay informed; vote. Be a good neighbor. Obey laws and rules. Respect authority. Protect the environment. Volunteer.

    Image credit: Brick Township Public Schools/www.brickschools.org

    What are your core values?

    Last updated 6 years ago

    I had the incredibly awful experience of losing a member of my team last year.  Justin Brookes, was a truly special young man who everyone loved, not just because of his super personality, but also because he put his heart and soul into everything he did. He truly embodied the spirit of the company so we just named our employee of the year award in his honor. In developing the criteria for the award we outlined the following three values that have shaped our success since the early years.  Make sure you've defined and communicated your own core values since they set the standard for everyone to work/live by.

    Team First

    This person embodies the spirit of always putting the team first. They don’t have an ego or play politics but instead build trusted relationships, which is why you always want them on your team. They are the glue that holds the team/department/office together because they treat everyone they encounter with kindness, respect and professionalism. And with an upbeat, positive attitude like theirs, they inspire everyone around them and make work fun.

    Servant Leadership

    At work and in the community, this person works tirelessly to serve those around him/her, and in doing so, leads by example. This transformative person makes a positive impact on the professional and personal lives of everyone they encounter by going above and beyond the call in everything they do. It’s not just what you achieve, it’s how you achieve it – and this person is the perfect example of that.

    Customer Focus

    “Not my problem” is something you’ll never hear coming out of this person’s mouth. Always ready to spring into action, this person doesn’t hesitate when it comes to taking ownership and responsibility over any project – big or small. Always working to make life easier, better and more efficient for their customer (internal and external), this person focuses on providing real, true value and the best experience possible in all that they do.

    UPDATE: Google finally gets into the daily deals business. Whew, what a relief. Ooops, missed AmazonLocal deals by a few hours!

    Last updated 6 years ago

    I was just thinking to myself I don't get enough daily deals for spas, restaurants and tanning salons.  Lucky for me Google has finally jumped in with Google Offers to fill the void where Groupon, LivingSocial, DealOn, Facebook, BuyWithMe, Dealster, Yipit, ScoutMob and 300+ others have all failed.  Seriously though, Google clearly has the eyeballs, brand and resources to be successful but I have to believe this market is oversaturated and will consolidate to just a few providers.  

    UPDATE:  Just got the invitation from AmazonLocal with their new daily deal (only in Boise as of now).  Now all the big guys are in, but who will win?

    The Paradox of Choice: why more is not better [TEDTalk video]

    Last updated 6 years ago

    Per my Facebook post above, I tried to buy some new jeans the other day and was completely annoyed by the number of choices.  My buddy @StephenDuncan pointed out this excellent TEDTalks video by Barry Schwartz talking about the paradox of choice.  The core message is that in modern industrial society we believe that maximizing the welfare of citizens means maximizing freedom which means maximizing choice i.e. more choice = more freedom = better society.  The problem is that we've gone too far and have too much choice (too many toothpastes, salad dressings, mutual funds, health plans, restaurants, cellular plans and of course jeans) which is causing negative consequences.

    1. Analysis Paralysis:  Too much choice causes analysis paralysis - it becomes too difficult or too time consuming to choose. [this was me buying jeans]
    2. Opportunity Costs:  Too many choices cause you to recognize the opportunity costs and feel that you would have liked another option better. i.e. your purchases become less satisfying even if they were good.
    3. Escalation of Expectations:  With so many options we expect the final choice to be so good (perfect) that the reality can't match the expectation so you are less satisfied.

    Have you ever felt this way..."everything was better back when everything was worse"?  I definitely have, especially given that all these choices in my life means I have even less of my precious free time.  Of course that's another paradox of choice since my iPhone enables me to get more work done but now every night I'm faced with the choice of work vs. family which causes dissatisfaction regardless of which I choose.

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