Anatomy of a Brand Marketing Campaign

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When most people think of branding they usually focus on quite superficial aspects such as their name, logo and product packaging. Contrary to such popular belief is that branding extends considerably beyond that to include aspects of Financial Capital (which create value for the product), Emotional Capital (which create consumer value) and Human Capital (which creates cultural value internal to the organisation).

Iconic Capital

This is the level of branding which most organisations focus on. The iconic capital focuses on brand perception; what people perceive the brand to be about, and includes things such as the name, logo, brand identity, packaging and social presence. These aspects contribute only to the surface branding of a product, whereas the following contributes towards the experience which that brand provides.

Financial Capital

The financial capital of a brand relates to the overarching strategic plan for the brand, how the item will be positioned against industry competitors, how things such as the brand image will be represented by both the marketing strategy adopted by the brand owner and by the culture of the business itself. The type of management structure in a business will play a significant role in determining this, as that leadership will decide which approach is taken towards the commercial aspects of the brand; sales strategy, marketing strategy and strategic investor relationships.

Emotional Capital

A brand’s emotional capital focuses more on the relationship between the consumer and the brand, and relates to such things as customer loyalty and the consumer’s engagement with the brand. Social Media Marketing plays a significant role in this area as customers will want to feel like they connect with a brand, and a major contributor to that is how important the customer feels by being associated with it. Strategies such as customer loyalty programs are key to this aspect of brand development. Businesses who maintain a CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) and regularly follow up with customers to see how satisfied they are with their products also contributes to this.

A mechanism for assessing how well a company has implemented their Emotional Capital is through the “Net Promoter Score” (NPS); which (amongst other things) measures the loyalty a customer has to a business. In essence, this poses the question to the consumer; “How likely is it that you would recommend this brand (company / product / service) to a friend or colleague?

Human Capital

A brand’s Human Capital looks at the internals of a business to determine the level of staff commitment and investment into the company’s brand. Whereas Emotional Capital looks outwardly at the relationship between the brand and the consumer, Human Capital looks inwardly at the relationship between the brand and those who are working to support, promote and develop it. Companies with a high level of Human Capital will typically have a good staff retention and a healthy number of new applicants seeking to work for the company in order to add that brand to their resume.

Increase Your Efficiency in 7 Simple Steps

By | Lifestyle Design, Personal Development | No Comments

Step 1. Start with the End in Mind

It's easy to get overwhelmed when undertaking larger projects, so start with the end in mind and work back from there. Break your Goals into clearly defined deliverables or milestones, then break those down further into the individual tasks required to achieve those. Once you have your list of tasks to be completed, make sure you schedule these into your calendar and if possible even take an immediate action now (such as book an appointment) to ensure this definitely happens!


Step 2. Your Focus needs more Focus

Multi-tasking is for computers, not humans – and especially not if you're a male (who if anything time-slice as opposed to actually multi-tasking). Specifics aside though, studies have shown that when we rapidly switch tasks during our working day, our ability to perform those tasks drops below that of the average stoner – so far as IQ points are concerned. Whereas cannibus will typically drop your IQ by 5 points, multi-tasking impacts women by an average of 10 points and men by a wopping 15 IQ points!


Step 3. Ruthlessly Eliminate Distractions

This means do whatever it takes to provide yourself with an environment that allows you to concentrate on what you're doing. Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and your email. Unplug your desk phone, switch off your mobile and close out of your various chat applications (msn, skype, Google talk) – whatever your poison, lock it out of the room so you can give your undivided attention to the project at hand.


Step 4. Treat email like any other task, and schedule it.

Email will ruine your life if you let it. Take control of this by scheduling it in along with the rest of your daily activities and don't let it monopolise your time and distract you from your more important tasks.


Step 5. Pick up the Phone

If you find that an email has turned into a back-and-forth conversation, do yourself a service and pick up the phone to have a quick chat about it instead. No matter how fast you type, the continual interuptions of having to respond an email will absolutely kill your productivity.


Step 6. Plan your day, then Work your Plan

… else risk having your day run and work you instead. It's all too easy to start the day by checking your email, then frantically put out all the spot-fires this creates for you – but at the cost of finishing your day having achieved largely nothing other than an empty inbox. 

When you start the day with a structured approach to getting the important things done first, then you're much more likely to actually get those things done. Always remember that it's more important to focus on the "important and not urgent" things toward achieving your bigger picture goals, then spending your day in the "important and urgent" mindset (like your typically rat racing abouty in it's wheel – lots happening, but not really going anywhere). 


Step 7. Chunk your time

The human break works best if worked in blocks of time, interspursed with brief 10 minute breaks. While concentration spans vary, a good average to run by is usually 50min – 90min work periods then force yourself to get up and take a break; grab a snack or go for a walk – anything that's completely not what you were originally working on. The refresh will help you re-focus your mind and give you a quick recharge that will be directly reflected by your productivity levels that follow on from this.



The Difference Between Nerds and Geeks

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There’s a very important distinction that needs to be made between what Nerds are, vs what Geeks are. By way of example, the following are what I would classify as Geeks;

  • The guys from “Big Bang Theory” (these guys are way too cool to be Nerds)
  • Most Microsoft Systems Administrators

Whereas the following would be typically be classed as Nerds;

  • The guys in that “Beauty and the Geek” show (these poor guys are in fact Nerds)
  • Most Linux Systems Administrators

… and while I’m both a Linux and Systems administrator, I have to admit I identify moreso with the Microsoft crowd (as my hair isn’t long, I do enjoy day-light and I acknowledge that Star Wars is in fact just that little bit cooler than Start Trek) 😛

Recent US Study on Telecommuting

By | Business Strategy, Lifestyle Design | No Comments

It still surprises me the number of managers and employers I come across who carry the mindset of “if I can’t see it, I can’t manage it”. But without launching into another crazed, over-impassioned tirade about how online collaboration technologies have come so far, more environmentally friendly, more economical (blah-blah-blah)… here’s a great info graphic of a study done in the US which looks at some of the benefits of a healthy balance between working from home and working from the office.

The following are some of the key benefits which I personally found quite interesting:

  • The US could save 1/3 of it’s yearly oil imports
  • Each person could save on average 109 hours in travel time
  • Telecommuters suffer on average 25% less stress … (not sure how they quantified that one)
  • 3 out of 4 people said they ate healthier when working from home
  • Which all translates into happier, more productive employees!

… cost savings, better quality of life, happier and healthier people, AND increased productivity. Sounds like a no-brainer right??

Top 10 Tips for Time Management and Curbing Distractions

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Long gone are the days where if someone wanted to contact you, they had to pick up the telephone and give you a call. These days it’s all about email, Facebook messaging, Google+, Twitter posts, Text messages – not to mention the countless on-line chat applications (Skype, Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo)… and that’s only looking at the communication channels in your life!

Now lets throw in a few to-do lists (that’s right, plural – I’m sure you’ve all got multiple lists of stuff you need to get done), some personal goals, work commitments and of course all your other responsibilities around the house such as paying bills, chores etc… and before you know it you’re completely overwhelmed and your productivity slows down to a proverbial crawl as you’re frantically switching between tasks to try and get it all done!

Well there are things you can do to regroup, reprioritize and get your life back under control again. For those who haven’t already downloaded their copy, I’ve got a great eBook on Goal Mastery on my Facebook page which offers some terrific (and well established) goal-setting strategies that you can use to bring back your bigger picture objectives back into focus again. Define these life goals first so you know what your real priorities are, then follow my Top 10 Tips for Time Management (below) to regain control of your day-to-day tasks, so you can stop merely treading water and start to move forward again:

  1. Remove Clutter in your life – it’s incredible how when you clean up your surroundings, it subconsciously also cleans up the clutter (and distractions) in your mind.
  2. Switch off your email – Each time that notification popup draws your eye away from your work, your mind wonders off with it also. If you can compress your daily emails to 1 hour at most, you’ll achieve so much more during the rest of your day.
  3. Multi-task can be the enemy – sometimes it’s good just to focus on one task, and one task only and see it through to completion.
  4. Prioritize – Order to your to-do list so that the important things are the ones you target first.
  5. Know Thy Self – Some people work better in the mornings, others are more productive late into the night. Work out when your body’s peak performance period is, then organise your to-do list around that.
  6. Meetings and Appointments – Further to the item above, don’t schedule meetings or external appointments during your peak performance period (unless it’s a job interview)
  7. Schedule external appointments during off-peak periods – not just referring to your body’s peak periods, but this also applies to any kind of peak-hour period such as morning traffic or lunch times. By getting to the bank even 15 minutes before the 12-2pm lunch time, you’ll be straight in and out with minimal time wasted in queues.
  8. Reward Achievements – Don’t let your life become 100% about completing work tasks. Aside from being extremely un-motivational, you’ll only end up burning yourself out. So remember to make sure that self-time is on your to-do list, and take the occasional well earned break to recharge, regroup and refocus on your next priority.
  9. Block out time – If you schedule it in, then you’re committed to getting it done (or at very least make some good progress toward completing it)
  10. Out Source! – Possibly the most powerful time on this post. Learn to leverage other people’s time to achieve your own goals. Whether it be an individual task (such as getting your kids to take out the garbage, or mow the lawn) or hiring someone to take care of your ironing. Ask yourself, what your time is worth to you – and if it works out cheaper to hire someone else to do that task, then you’re ultimately saving time, and your sanity!

For more great tips on lifestyle design, personal development and business strategy, visit my Facebook page and click “LIKE” to have these posts stream directly into your news feed!

Top 10 Traits of a Master Business Networkers

By | Business Strategy, Relationships | No Comments

Like any proactive business-minded person, I devote a considerable portion of my time toward the cultivation and nurturing of strategic business networks. To share some insights into art of Business networking, I’ve come across a video by Ivan Misner who heads up one of the world’s largest networking organisations, BNI (Business Networkers International), who describes the top 10 characteristics possessed by successful networkers, which I thought I’d share with you:

Some of the key points he raises are that business networking is more about farming, rather than hunting. The objective being to cultivate relationships with other business professionals as opposed to simply sourcing and consuming.

Top 10 Traits of a Master Networker

10. They Actively Work their Network

  • Manage contacts with contact management software – use online software such as to manage your database of contacts
  • Organise emails – take a structured approach to storing client correspondence
  • Carry referral partners business cards – never miss an opportunity to pass a referral, because by thinking of your referrals they’ll want to refer to you in exchange
  • Make Appointments to get better acquainted – within the BNI circles these are called Dance cards, where you make an hour a week to meet up with one of your contacts to learn more about their business, so you know what their best referrals are

9. Sincerity

  • Convey sincerity – be genuine in your interactions.
  • Offer undivided attention – aside from just being courteous, you’ll learn more if you pay attention!

8. Enjoys Helping Others

  • Keep eyes and ears open to advance other people’s interests – on a more selfish note too, by having a large network of people you can refer to makes you look VERY well connected in the business social circles.

7. Gratitude

  • Thank people for the help they’ve given – this tells your referrers that you recognize and acknowledge the work they’ve done to help grow your business
  • Builds to cultivation of relationships – through appreciation of other people’s work you develop closer relationships

6. Network ALWAYS.

  • Never off-duty. Everything is an opportunity to network – be interested in other people’s business and lives, as you never know when the next big opportunity is hiding!

5. Good Listening Skills

  • How well we can listen and learn – of particularly interest are any comments made which present gaps or dissatisfactions in people’s lives, as these often present golden opportunities to pass referrals
  • The better a listener you are, then faster you can build a valuable relationships

4. Be Trustworthy

  • Must be able to trust your referral partner – the ultimate objective in cultivating professional networks is the development of trust. Trust in both your products and services, but also more importantly trust in you as an individual.
  • You’ll never be referred if you can’t be trusted to handle that referral well. People’s referral of you is an extension of their trust with the referee, so ALWAYS remember to follow up promptly on any referrals and ensure you uphold that trust with both your referral and referrer.

3. Enthusiasm / Motivation

  • Need to sell yourself with enthusiasm – more than just being a “motivated seller”, your overall personality and how you carry yourself is a very influential factor when others decide whether they want to do business with you (or refer to you)
  • Passionate in your area – know your products and services and be a enthusiastic ambassador in their promotion

2. Having a positive attitude

  • Makes people want to associate and cooperate with you – nobody likes or wants to be around a sad sack.
  • Others will want to be around them, and send people to them – if people got a good vibe from being around you, then they’ll be more confident that others will as well. Therefore their referral of you will in turn reflect well on them for having referred you.

1. Follow up on Referrals.

  • #1 trait of successful networkers, so let’s just re-emphasize this again; FOLLOW UP ON YOUR REFERRALS!!!
  • If you refer to someone who doesn’t follow up, this reflects poorly on both the referrer and referee – fail to do this repeatedly and you’ll stop receiving referrals at all.

In summary, it takes time and effort to build up your “social capital”. More than simply churning and burning leads as they come in, properly nurtured business relationships can develop into a continual source of new business if handled properly. The above 10 characteristics merely describe the traits of master business networkers who are successful at this – the hard part is taking on these traits yourself and making sure you follow through on these.

Maslow’s Hierarchy through Social Media

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Most of us will have at some stage come across Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; the 5 level pyramid which looks at the development of human psychology on the premise that lower order needs must first be satisfied (physiological, safety, feelings on belonging) before higher order needs are able to be achieved (self esteem, self realization / actualization).

What many may not have considered is how by reviewing an individual’s involvement in current-day social media platforms actually provides an insight into what level of this hierarchy they believe themselves to be operating within.

Whether true or not, it’s some interesting food for thought:

  • Self-Realisation: Bloggers / WordPress / Tumbler / Youtube (Video Blogging) – The full public expression of one’s personal views and opinions
  • Esteem: Twitter – Microbloggers, a more conservative yet still public expression of individual statements of opinion
  • Belonging: Google Plus, Facebook – Being part of online social communities
  • Safety: LinkedIn – Security through membership in professional online communities
  • Physiological: (Yet to be exploited through Social Media)

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs through Social Media