In today's overheated world of 24-7 marketing hype, buyers of all types are seeking AUTHENTICITY in making their choices. You don't have to look further than the success of sites like YELP, Trip Advisor, or the review sections of Amazon to realize that we are all looking for the "real inside stuff" when determining where we are going to spend our money.
Studies also show that we are likely to also trust the opinions of strangers through social media more than the hype from various marketing platforms. However we determine it, we all want to know the truth about the brands we are choosing. We want the brands we choose to be what they represent themselves to be.
If you're a tabletop manufacturer positioning your company or brand as a high-quality, high-end manufacturer of wineglasses or dinnerware and in reality, your product is so-so or you give a low quality customer service experience, chances are you're going to be perceived as a less than authentic brand, no matter how slick the website, brochures, and pictures that you had printed are.
And, if you are a tabletop dealer who touts their high levels of customer service, but are perennially out of stock, have average quality sales and customer service staff, can't provide the right solutions for your operator customers, and generally is only interested in selling more stuff without regard to helping your customers be more successful...you're going to hard pressed to get people to believe your brand message of customer service. You're NOT as advertised. You're not AUTHENTIC. In today's internet world, there's too many choices for operators to buy products from for tabletop dealers to get away with being less than AUTHENTIC.
Why does AUTHENTICITY in a brand matter?
1. Authenticity builds trust. Consumers, B2B buyers...all of us, want to believe in our brand choices. We want to be able to trust the decisions we make ...whether it's the restaurant we choose for dinner, the wineglass we choose to serve our wines in, or the dealer source we choose to buy that wineglass from. Nobody likes to feel like they made a poor buying decision and that's what happens when we find out that we made a decision to go with a "less than authentic"choice. Make your customers feel good about their decision to go with you. Be AUTHENTIC.
2. Building trust through being authentic builds brand loyalty. All of us tend to return to the brands we trust when spending our money and retaining loyal customers is a lot easier - and cheaper - than gaining new customers. Build loyal customers. And show them you appreciate them. Be AUTHENTIC.
3. Being authentic is easier. Being who you really are is always easier - and, often less expensive - than pretending to be something you're not. Don't try to "X" if you are really "Y". If you are really "Y" no amount of marketing hype or slick advertising is going to make you "X". So, just go be "Y"....and be a great "Y".
But, most importantly, be AUTHENTIC.
Finally, while bad news may travel faster than good news - positive reviews on brands still travel.
A positive review on YELP or TripAdvisor helps make first time restaurant and hotel customers more confident that they're making a good dining or lodging choice. Chefs certainly talk about tabletop brands and a positive comment from a colleague or friend goes far further in helping make a choice on which tabletop products to choose....and where to get them ... than any trade show booth or literature a manufacturer may produce.
And, social media is today's word of mouth when it comes to AUTHENTICITY.
So, whatever you are, your company, or your brand is....be sincere. Be honest.
Your customers will appreciate it more than you know.
Global leadership consultant Robin Sharma offers distinctions between the average performer....and the ICONIC performer. So...which are you?
#3. Average performers resign themselves to mediocrity, thinking that the elite are somehow smarter, faster and cut from a different cloth. I call this The Myth of Genius. Don’t buy into it. Iconic producers have a different perception. They get that genius and legendary is not the result of divinely-orchestrated talent. Nope. It’s a lot more about focus, discipline, sacrifice, suffering, stamina and ridiculous amounts of hard work. They get that rising to world-class is never easy. But it’s always worth it.
#4. Average performers disrespect time. You’ll see them waiting hours for a great table in a cool restaurant. They buy groceries when everyone else buys groceries. They are often late and known for procrastination. Iconic producers understand that time is a blessing. They use their best hours for their most important pursuits. They have a clear written plan for the next 10 years, 5 years and this year. They schedule their days, knowing that structure is the doorway into freedom.
#5. Average performers use victimspeak. Everything is “a mess” or “trouble” or “a problem”. But the words you use drive the energy you feel. And to rise to exceptional, you need to tap into your natural reservoir of massive energy. So iconic producers leverage their words to raise their games. Their language inspires. And reveals the fact that–deep within–they view themselves as captains of their fate versus powerless little pawns.
#6. Average performers stop when they’re scared. Iconic producers press ahead when stricken by fear, understanding that persistence is the DNA of becoming a game-changer. And that bravery is the result of practice versus a natural gift.
#7. Average performers follow the crowd. Their dominant focus is to fit in, be liked and receive tribal acceptance. Iconic performers care not what others think. They’ve developed the confidence to think for themselves. They set their own dreams, run their own values and march to their personal drumbeat. That not only causes rare-air success. It produces enduring happiness.
#8. Average performers are pleasure-driven. Everything they do is about fulfilling their desires and feeling good in the moment (often done as an escape from the pain of potential betrayed). Iconic producers are purpose-driven. They are fuelled by their Mighty Why–that singular and gorgeous vision of a bigger future that keeps them up late and gets them out of bed early. They viscerally understand that the secret of passion is purpose. And that once you articulate your why, the hows automatically present themselves.
#9. The average performer is pure consumer. It’s all about buying and having things. Their self-identity is based on the brands, labels and badges of the moment. Iconic producers care very little about stuff. What stokes their fire has less to do with being a consumer and a lot more to do with being a maker. For them, their compelling cause is all about using their creativity, energy, talents and time to produce value that not only delivers their personal dreams but makes the world a greater place.
To learn more about Robin Sharma and become more of the performer you would like to be, go here: http://www.robinsharma.com/
From meat purveyors at Buedel, come these 5 Rules for determining whether the sales rep who calls on you is simply an order-taker or is truly a value provider:
If you're a sales rep...in any industry....consider which category you fall into.
To read the entire blog post from Buedel's Meat Up, go here:
In today’s increasingly chaotic world of brand messaging, hyper sales promotion, and general overall marketing noise…creating good “killer” content that actually will be read is tough. There are, however, some tips to helping insure that your content is being read by your target reader
1. Make Sure Your Content is Relevant
Your readers are besieged with an overwhelming number of marketing stimuli every second nearly of every day they are awake. The average person decides within seconds whether something is relevant to them and, therefore, worthy of the time and attention. To help insure your content is read, make sure the content is extremely relevant to the readers you are targeting.
2. Have A Great Headline
When a reader is deciding within seconds whether to investigate your content further, a great headline explaining just why the content to follow is relevant will be critical to capturing your target readers’ attention. Otherwise, they just hit the delete but and keep moving on.
3. Include A Great Image
Today’s world is a visual world with visual graphics capturing our every attention. In addition to having a killer headline, include a great introductory image that supports the concept you are about to explain. Make the image interesting and inviting….after all, with only seconds to capture a reader’s attention, you will need something to draw them into your article. Then, of course, your highly relevant content kicks in…keeping them reading through the entire content that you have created.
4. Don’t Always Be Shouting “Me-Me-Me”
When producing great content, don’t always be “look at me, look at me” in your approach. It’s fine if you have a product you are writing about, but keep the approach about how that product may solve a specific problem for your target reader.
5. Make Sure It’s Well Written
It’s fine to write in a conversational writing style, but keep in mind that your target reader may not share your use of industry jargon, local language, or colloquialism. So, write in terms that will be generally understood no matter where in the world your reader may be. Secondly, make sure you use correct grammar and punctuation. You don’t necessarily have to be Shakespeare, but if you have multiple grammatical errors, the reader’s focus becomes your writing errors and not your fabulous (and relevant!) content.
6. Keep It Quick
You may feel compelled to write a 1500-2000 word masterpiece, but few readers in today’s busy world will read it. So, keep it brief and to the point. If you simply cannot leave any of those precious 2000 words out, summarize your article in your initial content posting and link to the entire article for those who do want to read more.
So, there you have Six Steps to Killer Content That Actually Gets Read... that should greatly improve your chances of insuring your fabulous ideas will, indeed, be read by the audience you are targeting.
Planning on exhibiting at trade shows this Fall?
Here’s some points to consider to help insure you have a successful show.....after all, now is the time to be thinking of what it is you are trying to achieve.
1. Understand WHY you are exhibiting at this particular show.
Having a game plan of why you’re going and what, specifically, you are hoping to accomplish at this particular show is important as it lays the foundation to much of the rest of what you will want to be doing.
Will you be launching new products? Introducing new personnel or systems?
Maybe, you’ve updated your logo or done some other brand updates you want to introduce?
In short, whatever you’re hoping to accomplish by attending the show in a few months should drive how you plan now.
2. Lay the groundwork to be successful
Now is the time to be re-doing graphics, updating your pre-show invite list, getting the new collateral materials printed, etc. to make sure that you are communicating the proper message to all who visit your booth during the show. Too often, our day-to-day business activities make us put off these things until last minute and, inevitably, balls get dropped.
So, make your to-do list (if you haven’t already) and begin checking things off one by one.
3. People, People, People
We’ve told you before that research show that 85% of your success at trade shows is determined by the people you have in your booth…so make sure you have the right people working in your booth AND make sure they are fully prepared. From top to bottom, everyone is your organization is a Brand Ambassador. Make sure everyone understands that and remains an enthusiastic brand ambassador throughout the entire duration of the show.
Too often, on the last day of the show, the only people to be found in a booth are the folks who are there to do the booth tear-down or others who might not be knowledgeable or someone you might not want meeting with an important potential customer. Show attendees continue to say that often they cannot find the “right” contact people from the exhibiting company in their booth. Don’t let this happen to you when important potential customers are still on the trade show floor.
4. Leads….Generate. Distribute. And – Follow Up.
Do you do pre-show mailings? Do your salespeople make phone calls and personally invite their customers to your booth. Does your entire team work hard to insure that you get all the right customers – and potential customers – to your booth? Well…the time for that to happen is NOW. Develop a plan to insure you maximize booth attendance, confirm who is coming, and then be prepared for when they will arrive. If you can, confirm a day/time they will be at your booth so that you will be prepared. Hoping a target customer will come by your booth and stop is not a strategy.
When those key potential customer contacts have visited your booth, and then distribute those leads to all the proper people in your organization – both headquarters level and regional level.
Too often, we hear stories that the local personnel who make regular calls on a customer are never informed that they visited the company’s booth. Or, that the sales manager stuffed the customer’s business card into her pocket and never informed the local sales rep of the customer’s visit. AND….MAKE SURE YOU USE AN ELECTRONIC LEAD RETRIEVEAL SYSTEM. It’s amazing to us when we hear that people do not choose to use one of these. There’s simply too many ways for the critical customer follow up to “fall between the cracks” when you don’t have an electronic system to insure booth visitors get proper post-show attention. So…go ahead and stuff the business cards into your pocket….AFTER you scan their badges!
Finally, have a follow-up plan to insure that 30, 60 , 90 days after the show you make sure your valuable leads have received literature, a sales call, or whatever other post-show follow up is necessary. Follow up. Follow up. Follow up. Studies show – and our own research within the hospitality tabletop category confirms it – that the majority of the leads generated never receive follow up. If you’re not going to follow up with people who visit your booth….why bother going?
5. Post-Show Review
While buying cycles in various industries vary greatly, make sure that you are putting all show leads into a sales “funnel” and are doing periodic follow up. Also, make sure that if a lead has an immediate follow up need that this happens in a timely manner. If your goal for a show is a more subjective one (i.e., introduce new personnel, re-positioning your brand, etc.) make sure you include this in your review. How effective were your re-positioning efforts? Have you continued that effort post-show? Has your new personnel continued to introduce themselves to your key – both existing and potential customers?
Keep in mind, it takes a period of time, sometimes months, to properly understand and evaluate the ROI on any particular show. The subjective feeling you have as the show closes is only one brief measure of whether the show was “good” or “bad”. Take that show-closing feeling into consideration, but do your true measure over a period of time after your extensive follow up program has had a chance to work its magic.
Finally......it’s true that trade shows are expensive – both in terms of money and time spent.
However, we still continue to believe that trade shows still offer the very best opportunity for hospitality tabletop companies to grow their brands – and their business. This can only happen when exhibitors have done all they can to do to help themselves have the very best show possible – before, during, and after the actual show itself.
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