Archives for November 2007

“Punching IN”- A Reality In Print

One reviewer’s opinion of “Punching In” a book by Alex Frankel.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work at UPS, The Gap, Starbucks or Whole Foods? Well Alex Frankel takes us on an inside journey in his new book: “Punching In”.

In 200 pages, Frankel gives you some very good honest insight into the cultures that makes these companies stand-out brands. In many ways the experiences remind me of the rash of reality shows we see on television. Corporate voyeurism at the front-line level. I found it an amusing read, quite unlike many books I’ve read discussing the reason for the successes of these businesses. ‘Punching In’ was from a different perspective. It reveals the real people behind the building of customer relationships and the depth of their sincerity in spreading that culture of brand.

You might also read this book to discover the nitty-griity details that make up a brand experience we all have experienced with some of these businesses. It was a pleasure to review this book, and I would recommend it because of its honesty. Alex Franken could have easily taken a lower road in the writing of this book but instead just told it as he saw it – no dirt – just good clean fun.

The A-Z of Business (E and F)

Ok so I’ve already given you A,B,C and D…so here’s the next (hopefully!) insightful instalment into my A-Z of business.

Experts. So you’ve set up in business and your probably producing a widget or providing a great service and that’s the thing you will be an expert in your given area. That does not necessarily mean you will be an expert in all areas of business, especially if you are just starting out by yourself for the first time. Still not sure what I’m talking about…? Ok when you set up a business it will be something like this – you have a business idea, maybe it’ll be to sell art work that you produce…but that means you need premises, you need to buy in art supplies to produce your work, you have to sell and market your work, you have to bill your customers, and then if you’re really smart you’ll follow those customers up and start to build up a database of clients – probably using a computer system. Ok so let’s look at it closely.

You will have be good at the following: [Read more…]

How to Create Purpose

A number of years ago I had the privilege of having dinner with Tony Buzan the originator of mind maps. Tony has written over eight books on the mind and how to use more of it. He has coached olympic athletes, business people and even Governments to raise the intelligence level of a whole country. Lets just say he has had a positive influence on the lives of thousands, if not millions of people.

During the dinner we got talking about purpose and what it means. He asked me what was mine, I said “to help people”. He looked at me, paused for a second and said “sure that could mean giving them heroine!”. So I asked him what his purpose was and without hesitation he said “to raise the mental literacy of the world!”

A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled How to Live Your Dream and the first step in the article was to create a great purpose for your life. Of course there may be many purposes in our lives depending on the different roles we play – a business purpose, a life purpose, a parents purpose, a spouses purpose and so on. For this article lets focus on your business purpose. [Read more…]

Can a Credit Card be “Brighter”?

While killing time in a Chicago-area mall last week, I saw a large floor display for Discover Card (Discover Financial is based in Chicago, I believe) with a new branding approach. The solid orange letter “O” in the Discover logo was now lit up, and the one word tagline being featured was the word Brighter.

Not having seen this marketing initiative anywhere else, I searched on the web, and apparently it is not a flash in the pan (pun intended), but part of a campaign.

From a visual standpoint, the execution was OK, but the tagline just isn’t doing it for me. [Read more…]

How to Develop A More Compelling Brand

How can you get a handle on your corporate brand? What is it your brand stands for? How can you determine what the perfect positioning strategy would be and how can you validate your findings to be sure that your brand experience is genuine? I think I may have just what you may be looking for to answer these and other nagging brand questions.


The Power of Business Partnering

Regardless of the size of your business or the industry you operate in, aligning your business with complimentary organizations that can help you expand your reach and even your set of offerings can be a highly effective way to succeed, especially if you are a small business with limited resources.

Business partners can serve a multitude of purposes in the course of a mutually beneficial relationship. Here are several examples:

1. Help you expand and round out your set of offerings – if you’re a law firm and want to also offer a lower-end “product”, you can align yourself with a pre-paid legal services firm, for example
2. Expand your reach and penetration into new customer segments and markets – if you have a small firm operating in the U.S. and can find a viable, complementary partner in the U.K., for example, you can tap international market segments without having to physically expand into the region.

[Read more…]

Selling to Women – The New Pink Pound?

I had a meeting this week with an old business aquaintance of mine called Caroline Anstee who has a firm of IFAs which is run by women for women called Elements. We were talking and she was telling me how much her business had taken off in the last few years and that the “pink pound”, where women were concerned, was certainly alive and kicking.

It seems that women want to do business with women, and that more and more often they either hold the purse strings to the family income or are very independent and are earning their own increasingly higher and higher incomes too. So with all his girl power on the prowl, is there any truth in the new “pink pound”?

[Read more…]

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