Archives for November 2004

Tom Peters On The Heart of Branding

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

>> Return to the Small Business Branding front page <<

I’ve been making my way through Tom Peters’ latest literary offering, Re-imagine!, Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age (thanks Helaine). First of all, the book’s design is amazing (typical Peters style). Exclamation points abound! Glossy pages dripping with red, black, blue and every assortment of color combination (truly unique).

And the ideas, while hardly novel, are as relevant and necessary as when they first appeared in the late nineties. Much of the book is focused on the corporate world, but Peters offers up several sections that are especially relevant to the soloprofessional.

Namely . . . "New Business New Brand." Here’s an excerpt:

"I hate Dilbert. I h-a-t-e Dilbert. I laugh at Dilbert … but I hate him … because the strip exudes unabashed cynicism. And I hate cynicism. I am 60. I don’t have that many years to go. I would like to make those years count.

"I care. Passionately. And people who don’t care … appall me. In any walk of life. Street sweeper. Top engineer at Cisco Systems. I care. I hope you care.

"I lived in Silicon Valley for over three decades. There is one guy I take a shine to more than anybody else … who has inhabited and helped form that Valley of Dramatic Dreams. Steve Jobs. Steve is …The One Who Really Made The Revolution Happen. His company, Apple, was the engine of all else that followed. Here is my favorite Steve-ism: ‘Let’s make a dent in the universe.’ How sweet that is.

"Most of us won’t ‘make a dent in the universe.’ But … and every one of us has this ability … we at least can try.

"It’s simple.
It’s impossible.
It demands your attention. Your attention to …
Who are we?
Why are we here?
How are we unique?
How can we make a Dramatic Difference?
Who cares? (Do we care?)

"That is the Heart of Branding. Because Branding is ultimately about nothing more(and nothing less) that Heart. It about Passion … what you Care About. It’s about What’s Inside … what’s inside you, what’s inside your unit, your company.

"There’s more to it. (Of course.) But if you "get" this part of BRANDING … then you’ve got its … HEART."

I ask you … who wouldn’t agree with that? And more importantly, can we live up to it?

Resist Being Too Progressive In Your Marketing

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

>> Return to the Small Business Branding front page <<

Marketing is little more than communicating how your product or service meets a particular need, want or desire. So, it’s important to know who you’re communicating with (your market), their needs and their language. No matter what you’re marketing, to be in the game, you have to speak your market’s language and clearly show how you can fulfill their needs.

As an example, let’s talk toothpaste. For years and years, I used Crest toothpaste, and more recently, it had to be Crest Whitening toothpaste. I’d see other brands in the supermarket, and consider trying them, but never did. One brand in particular I considered was Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, an all natural brand and a "socially conscious" company. Even though I liked the socially conscious thing and the all natural thing, I still wouldn’t switch from Crest. Until one day last year . . .

I went to my daughter’s school science fair. One of the 5th grade projects was testing to see which toothpaste got teeth whiter. There were four brands tested, including Crest and Tom’s. Guess who won. No, it wasn’t Crest. It was Tom’s. And the project provided visual evidence that Tom’s got teeth whiter than the rest. Now, I have no idea how "scientific" this young lady’s project actually was, but guess which toothpaste I used this morning. Yep, Tom’s.

Is having white teeth more important to me than using an all natural product or buying from a company that’s "socially conscious?" Well . . . yea (call me shallow). The product has to meet my primary need, and for me, toothpaste needs to get/keep my teeth white. I love that Tom’s is socially conscious and the product is all natural, but I needed to believe it would get/keep my teeth white before I’d switch from a brand I’d used for years.

The moral: know your market and their primary needs. Communicate clearly how your product or service meets that need in simple, understandable language. It’s okay to be progressive, but don’t get too far ahead of your market.

Tell Me About Your Company

This post is by Michael Pollock, the original owner of Small Business Branding. Yaro Starak now owns and produces the latest content for this blog.

What is smallbusinessbranding?

smallbusinessbranding is a start-up, internet-based inspiration and education company. Actually, we’re looking for a new name. smallbusinessbranding is okay, but it’s not really a big enough idea/name to capture everything we want to do. We kind of like the name Solostream, but we’re not 100% sure yet. Stay tuned.

Why does
smallbusinessbranding exist
?

We exist to
accelerate the business success and personal fulfillment of
solopreneurs.

Why does the world need
smallbusinessbranding?

Frankly, you don’t need us. We’re just thankful
for the opportunity to engage with you in this way, and we realize we must work
to earn that opportunity each day.

Nice try. Really, how do you add value to the lives of solopreneurs?

In general, there are two ways we endeavor to add
value to the lives of solopreneurs:

  1. We inspire them with the vision of who
    they are (or can become) and the lifestyle they can enjoy.
  2. We educate them
    through skill sets, information, resources and connections to fulfill that
    vision.

What’s most important to you as an company?

These are some of our core values:

1. Integrity – life is easier when you understand and fulfill your commitments.
2. Simplicity – makes it easier to focus on what’s most important.   
3. Effectiveness – we want our stuff to get results for people.
4. Human Relationship – we are many, we are one. 
5. Growth – it’s the natural course of life.   
6. Beauty – we like things to look good.
7. Leading-edginess – we like fresh and new.
8. Tech-savviness – it’s all about simplicity and competitive advantage.

Who are the people behind smallbusinessbranding?

For now, it’s just me, Michael D. Pollock. I’ve spent the last six years studying and coaching small
business owners. I also spent 18 months as an instructor for Life On Purpose Institue, a coach training company based in North Carolina. Prior to my coaching career, I held sales, management and consulting positions within the automobile industry, as well as serving 8 years in the U.S. Navy.

In addition to developing this business, I currently hold an increasingly part-time sales position for a family-owned RV dealership here in
Northeastern Connecticut. My most cherished role, however, is being the proud father of a very bright,
11-year-old girl named Haley.   

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