Marketing idea no. 184 – Can you define your business?

Its like what they say in high school essays. If you cant tell what what you are doing, then chances are you dont really know what you are doing.

Do you know what you are doing? Let me re-phrase that. Do you what business you are in?

There are some famous examples of how businesses are defined in interesting ways. Revlon famously said that they are not in the business of selling lipstick. They are in the business of selling hope. Castrol said they are not in the business of selling oil. They are in the business of selling liquid engineering consultancy. Xerox dont define them as the photocopy machine supplying company. They are the ultimate document providing company.

But the most famous example of them all is the one Ray Kroc, CEO, provided of McDonalds. When he asked people while taking a session what do they think McDonalds business is, the obvious answer was on the tip of the tongue “Hamburger”. But Ray Kroc said no of course. According to him McDonalds is in real estate business. The location and number of real estate company that they hold makes Mcdonalds the biggest and most lucrative real estate holding company in the world. In fact in terms of number of acres of land that one company holds, McDonalds is the biggest in the world, surpassing even The Roman Catholic Church.

So what lessons can we draw from this? We know how not to rest upon the obvious answers. Try to find out the DNA of your business, the hidden opportunities or assets that you possess. Because just like how you educate a baby ensures his future growth – how you define your business often paves the way towards how your business will grow.

Marketing Idea No. 183 – How to ride the horse called “Global recession”

Question) What do you do during a global recession when giant institutions are falling like cards?

Answer) You get scared about your future. And when you get scared, you do what every normal human being do. You hug your wallet and let go of your spendings.

While the US is gripped by Mortgage Crisis followed by a Financial feltdown, pushing global recession into depression, its normal that companies cut down on brand spending.

But if you are opportunistic and intelligent like the management of the Interbrand Top 100 brands of the world, you will know that this is the perfect opportunity to increase your brand spending and create a distance with your competition.

The logic is simple. Almost everyone will reduce brand spending, so the ones who will carry on will stand out. And during recession, customers dont actually forgo their spending. What they do is become more value conscious. So the brands who will understand the changing needs of the customers during recession, have a sympathetic view, cut down on excess cost and most importantly carry on brand building with more horsepower, will win.

After all, the best global brands showed us time and again that brands remain a far less volatile asset than any other assets – tangible or intangible.

Marketing Idea No. 182 – What do you do with your left overs?

One of the main concerns of bakery and other perishable items is the short shelf life of products. Thats why their supply chain management and demand prediction usually had to be spot on. But no matter how much effort you put, there will be wastage. No matter how much calculation and over calculation you do, you can never predict exactly how much pastries will be sold everyday.

The point to be noted is not that pastries will be wasted. The point is what will you do with the extra pastries that remains after the end of the day.

You can always sell it the next day. Few, if any, would understand the difference. But for a long term quality / brand building purpose, this is the least favorable option.

Then of course, you can always give it to charity. Not only give it to charity, communicate that you give it to charity. This will not inly assure the customers that you are not selling stale food. But also, it creates a very favorable disposition about your shop in the mind of the customers.

And at the end of the day, thats all that matters.

Marketing Idea No. 181 – Facebook Photo

Can photo shops be specialized?

Judging from what we currently have, they can. Just look at the kind of photo shops we have.

1. Express photo

2. Photo for Visa and other government use

3. Photo from digital camera

4. Photo print out only

5. Photo processing shops

Add one more to that category. Facebook profile photo.

Facebook is a personal marketing media, and people often spend a lot of time choosing and uploading their profile pictures. Photo shops in the metro area can bank on this trend. These shops can specialize in taking exciting / good looking profile pictures for Facebook only.

Marketing Idea No. 180 – How to do an effective fundraising campaign

Living in a society where the big things matter, breaking it down to small might be the most effectice strategy.

People generally think they are not capable of big things. They get overwhelmed by the bigness of the problem. And hence they question the feasibility of the solution.

Here’s a thought why fund raising campaigns dont work. When you ask money for a noble cause like rehabilitating Hurricane Sidr victims, you are basically talking about helping thousands of people by raising millions. Faced with a situation like that, its normal for people to think “What good will my Tk. 500 do?” or “How can i help thousands of people?”. With that in mind, people refrain from donating. Here the bigness of the problem and the bigness of the solution, deters from getting the ball rolling.

But if we can break it down by saying, “Your responsibility is to help one people, not thousands”, then people can wrap their head around that. Then they will think “yeah, i can certainly help one people get his house up!”

Conventional wisdom says make it big to make an impact. But as we have seen, in certain cases by making the problem look small, we can really work towards a solution.

Marketing Idea No. 179 – Whatever you think, think the opposite

In his groundbreaking book “Whatever you think, think the opposite”, Paul Arden made a convincing case about doing unpredictable things and getting stupendous results. If for example, the whole world is going ga-ga about pop songs, invest in rock songs. If pink is the color of the season, choose red as the theme color of your bash. If everybody is keen on buying bank stocks, buy service industry stocks. If everybody is targetting the youth segment, target the old.

The key is to do things outside your comfort zone, to reject conventional wisdom and take risks that seem unreasonable but attainable.

It makes a lot of sense. And here are a few pointers from both Tom Peters and Paul Arden to chew upon.

1. TRAPPED. It’s not because you are making the wrong decisions. It’s because you are making the right ones. We try to make sensible decisions based on the facts in front of us. The problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everybody else

2. Making the safe decision is dull, predictable and leads nowhere new. The unsafe decision causes you to think and respond in a way you hadn’t thought of. And that thought will lead to other thoughts which will help you achieve what you want. Start taking bad decisions and it will take you to a place where others only dream of being

3. ARE YOU BEING REASONABLE? Most people are reasonable; that’s why they only do reasonably well