Tag Archives: communications audit

Who’s On First?

 

Abbott & CostelloIt is 2009.  A new year.  It is the perfect time to make sure everyone in your company is on the same page in regards to how they present what your company does.  

 

I am often amazed that even in the smallest companies discrepancies exist.  And if you can’t get your story straight, you can’t expect customers to truly understand what you do.

So what to do.  

Have all your employees memorize your mission statement?  I have seen it done and it doesn’t work.

Create the perfect elevator pitch* and print it on the back of their business cards? The elevator pitch is a good start, but if it feels rote, it won’t be believable.

The answer – create that elevator pitch, but help your employees make it their own.  Help them internalize the idea you set forth for your brand and let them express it in their own way.  That way it is delivered with conviction.

*Your elevator pitch is the 10 – 15 second description of why someone should hire your company.  If you don’t have one, creating one should be your 2009 resolution.

To see where you stand, conduct a simple exercise.

  1. Write down what you think is your elevator pitch.
  2. Have everyone write down what they think is your elevator pitch.
  3. Analyze the findings to see if everyone is on the same page.  Be honest and do not infer what people mean to say.
  4. If everyone is on the same page, great.  If not, you have a starting point to see what needs to be fixed.
  5. If the differences are significant try to identify trends.  Do the customer-facing people describe your company one way, and the back office another?  Do your long-time employees have a different perspective than your newer employees?
  6. Honestly assess the findings and determine if your elevator pitch is the best one or does a better solution exist.
  7. Present the final elevator pitch to your employees and have them write down what it means to them.  Doing so will help them internalize the pitch so they can it with conviction.

With any branding activity, it does require monitoring.  

Every six months ask your employees if they think the elevator pitch is still relevant to your audience.  This is a non-threatening way to get their input and to ensure they know how important it is to you.

If things begin to stray repeat the exercise outlined above. 

2009 is going to be a tough year, but those who take the steps to keep their brand relevant and communicate it properly will succeed.  

Starting with a consistent elevator pitch is definitely the way to market smarter.

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New Year’s Marketing Resolution

While only the second week of December I wanted to make sure everyone got this New Year’s marketing resolution before things got quiet around the holidays.  

I think all businesses should resolve to increase their marketing effectiveness – as measured by sales or leads – by 5% – 10% without increasing your marketing spend.

Sound like an impossible resolution?  It is not as hard as it seems.  The key – audit your brand position, your competition and your marketing.  

Your brand – is it still relevant to your customer wants and needs?  How can it be modified to be more compelling and relatable?  

Your Competition – What changes have they made in the past year?  Have they become more or less relevant to your audience? Are any of the verge of going out of business?  

Your Marketing – Does it best reflect your brand?  Is it consistent?  Is it competitive?

But don’t look at just your collateral, website and ads.  

Audit all of your marketing; your invoices, email signatures, phone conversations, voicemail messages, reports anything that touches your audience.  You’d be surprised what small improvements in any of these areas will do to improve your bottom line.

For example, if your company is known for operational efficiency, are prospects on hold longer than a minute when they call?  

If your company prides itself on being on the leading edge of technology, do customers see PCs that are more than two years old when they come to your office?

All of these items are marketing and slight adjustments can garner positive results.

If you can, use an objective party – not necessarily yourself, your ad agency or PR firm – to audit your marketing.  Use someone like a trusted advisor or another third party who does not have a vested interest in the work they have done or benefit from creating new work.

I bet you’ll find at least five places that could be improved which, in turn, will help you keep your new marketing resolution.

2009 is going to be a tough year, but you can mitigate it by making sure you market smarter.

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