Are you asking the right questions??

OK, this has happened with me many a times. I’d spend so much energy and time scheduling meetings with clients, preparing the presentation, confirmation emails to and fro and of course navigating to the office location. But all of this is a prep work for the final few minutes (depending how much you have been granted) that you get with the client. Once you are through the usual greetings, one liner puns to ease the tempers (for being late in my case :-/) and exchange of business cards….the time starts ticking for you to make some sense before its time to wrap up. Now you know how important this topic is??…and realize how easily you can turn a crucial meeting into a futile exercise if you DO NOT ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!

I am going to write about some of my meetings with clients and how to I prepared to ace it. As a marketing professional I meet clients who are looking for marketing and branding solutions, and that’s what I am going to talk about here. Believe me…its the worst feeling coming back from a meeting and saying this↓↓↓ to yourself 😀

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Scenario I:   Introduction Meeting

There are times when the agenda of the meeting says “get to know”. do not fall for the trap and take it as a typical networking meeting where you exchange cards and check out the other person’s clothing (#judgemenot). If the client wants to “get to know ” you there is always some scope of work which s/he does not want to disclose straight away. And so it becomes your onus to get that scope of work out of them during the meeting. Think of it as an interrogation only set up in a corporate environment and no gansta talk 😛

So here are 5 questions that you MUST ask when meeting your client/prospects for the first time.

#1 About the organization

well i know the name says abc motors or xyz construction…so its pretty obvious. But do not shy away from asking the client about their company because then you know what and how they describe their business. believe me they always gives away a lot of additional information that you will not find in their ‘about us’ section of the website…like what are their business priorities, expansion plans, subsidiaries and so on.

Also, read between the lines when they say we are planning to set up a team, acquire some business or maybe shut some part of the business. That is where either you are required or you can pitch for your services.

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#2 How did you come to know about our company?

The benefits of asking this question is twofold…here’s how. My company’s marketing investment is focused on Google SEO and Adwords. So if we get to know that companies are reaching out to us after they see our ads or spot us in the top rankings of Google search, we know its money well spent. If companies are hearing about you from other industry players…then you must be doing your job right!

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#3 How can we help you?

Its simple and straight forward. Up until this time in the meeting the two parties have “known” each other quite well so let’s stop the dilly dally and talk business. Of course before you ask this question introduce your company and all the services that you provide. So that the client/prospect is not wondering if you are the right person to ask for help. It is always better to have a company presentation, brochure or profile so that the client gets to see your work.

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#4  Do you want to know more?

It is like breadcrumbs you leave behind to let the conversation flowing. Yes the client needs something that you can provide as a one time job. But if you see more scope of business where you can definitely impress the client, here is you chance. Talk about how you can send them some more information via email of schedule another round of meeting to discuss in detail. The client’s response will also tell you about his interest level in doing business with you. So think of it as a litmus test of your performance so far.

Also if the client is interested and wants to see what you have in store, take a note of all that you gotta share and please do not forget to share the same!

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#5  What next?

This very question prompted me to write this post. Only that I asked this question to myself  on my way back from the meeting…What am I supposed to do next? You know the meeting went well, there is scope and it would be great if you could do business with them…but what do i do immediately after this meeting so that all of the possibilities become come true!

It is no good asking yourself this question…it is rather too late. Confirm the next set of actions before you sign off. Be on the same page and make a note of what key information/communication has to be exchanged between the two parties. You will be surprised as to how much a even a short meeting can lead to.  It is also a good practice to share minutes of the meeting (MOM) to have a record of the points discussed and it can accompany the ‘thank you/pleasure to meet you’ email.

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I hope this helps your next meeting 🙂 and don’t fall asleep during one 😉

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What Brand is Your Color? Color Psychology & Brand Personality

Brand is an articulation of any business for the consumers to understand and relate. In the back stage, companies are complex business strategies, functional processes, evaluated inputs and measured outputs, which if presented on stage as is, might be too much for consumers to grasp. Branding is a casket of prepping exercises like direction, content, props, presentation and emotion that makes the back stage chaos meaningful and enjoyable for the audience (read consumers). This analogy also fits well in explaining the importance of the visual appeal of a brand that one is putting out there for the consumers. Since color is among the fundamental visual stimuli for humans, its involvement in formulating a successful brand image remains imperative.
Color psychology is the study of different hues as a determinant of human behavior (source: Wikipedia). Based on studies and research, it is quite evident that different colors evoke different emotions in human beings. In 2015, internet was stirred by the picture of a dress which had the online world divided over whether it was blue/black or white/gold, remember? While the argument was put to rest when it was revealed that the dress was in fact blue/black in color, it opened a new realm of discussions on how colors, like brands, can be perceived differently by individuals. But it was long before this online phenomenon that companies focused on color psychology while creating their brand image for the consumers.
One of the most exciting brand exercises for marketers is to define a brand’s personality. As per a study by Stanford professor Jenifer Aaker, there are five different core personality dimensions that we can associate with a brand, these are: Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophisticated and Ruggedness. Each of these personality traits are a character sketch comprising of traits and emotions. For example, a brand with a sincere brand personality must evoke a feeling of honesty, expertise and clarity in their consumers using all or most of its brand entities. This being one piece of the puzzle, every color in turn is related to a representation of some of these traits and emotions in the human mind. Thus, connecting the two pieces of brand personality and color psychology one can bridge their way to the consumers’ psyche and mold a
brand identity.
Ever wondered what MC Donald’s, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza have in common apart from being the top fast food brands across the world? It’s the color RED in their logos.

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Studies show that color red is associated with feelings like excitement and energy in humans. Red color can increase your heart rate causing fast combustion and thereby stimulating hunger. Now, one may argue the actual impact of the color red in these logos in making one hungry but it surely doesn’t seem like a coincidence either. The color green for example is most soothing to the human eyes as our eyes are most sensitive to that color spectrum. Naturally it triggers the sense of freshness, cure, health and natural in our minds. So, if you are the best landscaping company in the town, OR the retailer of freshest produce, an obvious choice of logo color for you is green. Whatever the approach, color is a defining element of your brand and that is because there is a brand in every color!

This post was featured as an article by Jaipuria Institute of Management in the 8th Edition of the annual advertorial Jaipuria Times:

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B for Branding: terms to know

I have always explained branding as an art of articulation by the companies about their business to their consumers. And thus, branding as a subject for marketers does  not necessarily have a standard procedure or SOP to successful brand building. It is a learning game for most of us…reading about the success stories and imbibing the learning into making one of ours (someday)!

To hone my business branding skills for understanding and handling brands better, I often refer to case studies, online courses and interviews of brand managers of leading companies. The one thing that I’d have handy for understanding branding exercises better is the following glossary of branding terms:

Brand equity – the commercial value a brand provides to a firm through its effects on the attitudes and behaviours of its stakeholders.

Brand identity – a name, symbol or design that identifies a product, service or entity from others.

Brand image – a set of associations attached to a brand identity in the minds of its stakeholders.

Brand promise – the customer value proposition or benefits communicated by the brand to the customer and/or consumer.

Brand purpose – this answers the question of why a brand exists with respect to the positive difference it aims to make in people’s lives.

Brand valuation – the Net Present Value (NPV) of future cash flows stemming from the brand as an intangible (separable) asset, for example, as estimated in the avoided royalty payments through ownership of a trademark and associated intellectual property (e.g., brand guidelines).

Brand value – the incremental Net Present Value (NPV) of future cash flows stemming from a branded compared an unbranded business and product via its effect on all stakeholders (e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, financiers, channel partners, etc.). In simpler terms, what deploying the brand is worth to management, the bottom line, and shareholders.

Branding – the creation of names, symbols, characters, and slogans that (1) help identify a product and (2) create unique positive associations that differentiate it from the competition by (3) creating additional meaning (value) in consumers’ minds.

Hope this helps!

How heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness – The Economist

https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2018/05/18/how-heavy-use-of-social-media-is-linked-to-mental-illness?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/?fsrc=scn/li/te/bl/ed/howheavyuseofsocialmediaislinkedtomentalillnessdailychart

Book Review: All Marketers Are Liars – Seth Godin

Seth Godin is my go to person on the internet when it comes to reading good stuff, especially about marketing. Because in Marketing it’s NOT always about what’s right or wrong/ good or bad/ black or white, but what really INSPIRES you! While I have been reading his blogs (since forever) that touch upon a myriad of topics, this is a first time I have read one of his books interestingly named “All Marketers Are Liars”.

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Now I guess my reflex retort to a statement like this would be “hey…you watch your tongue!” because for a marketer (this is an assumption…it could just be me) this is just below the belt. So, when you see a marketing bestseller by a marketing guru called “All Marketers Are Liars” you are bound to be intrigued and thus begins a successful story telling which BTW is what this book is all about.

Who should read this book?

  • Marketing professionals who are grappling in the dark with hackneyed marketing stunts that doesn’t interest their target customers anymore.
  • People who want to start marketing with a fresh perspective on a clean slate.
  • People seeking an explanation to why Marketers are NOT liars (like me)

Key Takeaways:

  • Marketers are a special kind of liars. Marketers lie to consumers because consumers demand it. Marketers tell the stories, and consumers believe them.
  • A great story is true. Not true because it’s factual, but true because it’s consistent and authentic. Great stories are trusted. Trust is the scarcest resource we’ve got left. As a result, no marketer succeeds in telling a story unless he has earned the credibility to tell that story.
  • A marketer can spend plenty on promoting a product, but unless consumers are actively engaged in believing the story, nothing happens.
  • Marketers are not liars; they are just story tellers. Consumers are liars who tell them stories they believe in. Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe.
  • There are only two things that separate success from failure in most organizations today:
    • Invent stuff worth talking about.
    • Tell stories about what you’ve invented

 

“Great stories are subtle.

Great stories happen fast.

Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses.

Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone.

Great stories don’t contradict themselves.

And most of all, great stories agree with our worldview.”

This book serves the purpose… it makes you believe in the storytelling mechanism, in telling people what they already know but want to hear from you. Surely marketing is much more than a creating a make believe concept for consumers to get on-board but at the very crux of it…yes, people will ask what’s your story!

https://www.amazon.com/All-Marketers-are-Liars-Works/dp/1591845335 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customer Loyalty- Retain Your Valuable Customers

Loyal customers are the biggest asset any brand can have. Yes, one needs to grow their customer base, add new markets and target groups…but that one bunch of “we love you for what you are” customers will always be special for more than one reasons;

  1. They share an emotional connection with your brand
  2. They are more than happy satisfied customers, they are your brand evangelists
  3. They are willing to spend more on your brand

Customer loyalty programs highly interest me as a marketer who is trying to woo customers for our brand. I came across this amazing read which truly is an ultimate guide for professionals.

Customer Loyalty: The Ultimate Guide

What Is Customer Loyalty?

Customer loyalty reflects a customer’s willingness to buy from or work with a brand again and again, and it’s the result of a positive customer experience, customer satisfaction, and the value of the products or services the customer gets from the transaction.

 

 

 

most expensive keywords google adwords – WordStream

Since the vast majority of Google’s profits come from AdWords advertisingthese high CPC keyword categories are responsible for a large part of Google’s profits. The results of our research are illustrated in an infographic of the most expensive keywords.

Where Does Google Make Its Money? [ infographic ]

Read through: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2011/07/18/most-expensive-keywords-google-adwords