Monday, 17 December 2012

Brand Beckham (How David Beckham’s Brand is successful)

Brand Beckham (How David Beckham’s Brand is successful): by Jason Li 2012 ©

These days we all love brand Beckham...

Whether you’re based in USA, England or China...

But why is Beckham a global icon when there are millions of sports people?...

And how does Beckham appeal to such a wide audience?...

(How does he keep his hair in place all the time?)

David Beckham Brand in development

As a football fan, in the early days I only saw Beckham as a Manchester United player who was the best crosser of the ball in the world.

(I’m not a Man Utd fan, but I do enjoy watching them play attacking football.)

One of the main features of a wide midfield player or winger is to have great acceleration and dribbling skills, plus a cross at the end of it. If you’ve ever watched Man Utd play, all their wide players had exceptional pace from Best, Giggs, Kanchelskis to Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Beckham; he had no pace, cannot dribble, cannot beat a man. In fact, he’s useless at this. You could watch him for 90 minutes and still be waiting for him to break into a sprint.

So did the ruthless football manager guru Sir Alex Ferguson play Beckham because he wanted to play with ten men (Liverpool had given up winning league titles recently – only joking, it’s just a matter of getting the best out of Stuart Downing right?).


What you have in Beckham is a player who is average at running with the ball, but over average for a wide player in terms of accuracy when distributing the ball. Beckham was the best person in the world at curling the ball from the wide right position into the path of a striker to nod one in. Put it this way, if a Hobbit was marked by Alessandro Nesta the great AC Milan centre back, Beckham could cross the ball in from 30 yards into the space between defender and Keeper and make the Hobbit look like he out jumped Nesta. Yep, that’s pretty good.

So why run and cross, when you can simply just... cross the ball from where you’re stood?

Witness the balls Beckham put in the box in the Champions League on route to winning it against Inter Milan and Juventus in 1998- 1999.

The second differentiator from other football players are his free kicks. David Beckham became the most famous free kick taker in the world. He consistently bent the ball around the wall.

So in football circles, he became known as exceptional at the delivery of the ball.

Victoria Beckham

So David Beckham went on to meet Victoria, get married and have babies... we all know this story.

We also know Victoria and advisors helped him develop his brand, and get sponsorship deals.

At the time of meeting, Beckham was one of the pin-up boys in the English league, Victoria a worldwide known singer for the Spice Girls.

If you remember the early chat shows, David was a nervous wreck on the shows and Victoria did all the talking. When he spoke, it was a bit of a quiet mumble and she took over the difficult questions.

But hey, slowly but surely non-football fans got to get to know the shy David Beckham who had no opinion while Victoria was his spokes person.

David Beckham is Golden Balls

And then David went from shy to an under wear model.

The first time I learnt about these shots in the Daily Mail, as a football fan, I didn’t really take much notice. I thought it was just a nice way for him to earn a bit more money on the side and learn a new trade... why not?

But then everyone was talking about the pictures... so I had to sneak a look. Come on guys, how many of you sneaked a look too?

I’m not talking in a sexual way (nothing wrong with it if he turns you on), but out of curiosity. And before you say it, just reading this may make you think otherwise, I promise you it’s not. And all these defensive arguments do not mean anything either.

In fact I have to declare, I saw a TV show where the ladies were really quizzing the pictures and if some parts were photo shopped. Of course I had a good look... who didn’t?

But you know what... I don’t think any man in the world who is heterosexual did not for the first time have a proper look at another man. And it was both unnerving and acceptable because it was everyone’s acceptable football icon... David Beckham, not Beckham the model... even though it was a model shoot for underwear.

(Now I can wipe my brow after thinking of those nervy moments because I was looking at another man’s CROTCH.)

David Beckham & Diego Simeone

Football has a lot of controversial moments. I would say the sending off of David Beckham against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup for a foul on Diego Simeone will be one I will remember.

It’s not just because he got sent off. It’s because he got sent off for something that was absolutely rubbish and ruined England’s chances of going through. Beckham got sent off for the most delicate petulant trip. So minor it was almost not a foul. I think it went down as the most frustrating foul in England’s history!

Did you see it? Can you remember either shouting at the screen, or been curled up and sucking in your stomach in silence, arms folded as your teeth clenched and eyes fixed on the screen? Or looking across the room and amidst all the shouting  there was one fellow who was emotionless and staring at the screen with big eye balls...  that was the one that made you remember the moment. Ooooh it hurt. And that team... Seaman, Shearer, Owen, Tony Adams, Paul Ince, Paul Scholes... and so on.

From hero to zero in one second.

David Beckham Marketing

But you know what... that’s what made Brand Beckham even stronger. As much as we talk about and like a good role model... the world needs a bad guy.

At that time, Beckham was it. Then to play the game, he shaved his golden locks off, and WENT SKINHEAD.

Beckham lost a few sponsors and was on parole.

But hey... the bad moody looking boy in rehab appeals to a lot of people.

Nobody is perfect, and over time people did forgive. Those that made mistakes or liked the bad boy got to know Beckham and gave millions of people around the world a new role model.

David Beckham England Captain

Being the England captain and that free kick against Greece to book a World Cup place was the tonic. Having given the Argentineans an advantage in the 2008 World Cup, now he was the hero as the outstanding player who scores the winner in the final qualifying game to take England to the next World Cup.

Rehab sealed.

David Beckham the ambassador for English Sport

Now Beckham has ambassadorial roles such as a role in the Olympics 2012, meeting Nelson Mandela and David Beckham academy.

These days David Beckham is a polished English export who represents what is good for the country.

Brand Halo

But remember this; first and foremost Beckham won trophies as a football player. Doing what he did, he was absolutely the best at putting the ball on a plate for strikers.

As a take away, Beckham initially became a brand built on his ability to fulfil expectations as a footballer in almost every game he played. If he could not, then he would never have played for Manchester United over so many seasons and games

The brand has evolved over many years, from the haircuts to his personality which is now stronger as an ambassador and spokes person who everyone listens to.

Mum and dads like him as a clean role model, girls who like a bad boy like him, and people who want to identify with a person who makes mistakes in the general public will learn from his recovery to the straight and narrow. In fact, even if you hate David Beckham... it means you will secretly grow to forgive and love David Beckham. It’s complex. It’s Beckham the master psychologist.

If Beckham initially started investing his focus on his image and brand first, then there’s no way he could have been an exceptional footballer.

As you can see, you can be an exceptional brand and differentiated based on how good you are without focusing from the start on trying to artificially create a brand identity. So focus on marketing strategy, be known as being the best at what you do for your target market first, and the brand will develop a halo afterwards.

If you’re not the best at satisfying customers, then worrying about your brand image and changing your logos is very unlikely to solve your long-term problems. As one football coach said to me whilst we were watching some new players on trial: “You can’t polish a turd!”

Further Reading:

Charlie Sheen sex tweets: Why you must appeal to psychological control
MacDonald’s Hidden Hypnotic Brand Marketing Tactics Revealed (and its copy able!)

Brand Beckham: Where next for pioneer David? (Opens BBC website)
Brand Beckham: Will the LA Galaxy exit change Becks' sponsorship appeal? (Opens Marketing Magazine website)
Romeo Beckham to appear in Burberry ads (Opens Marketing Magazine website)
David Beckham suspicious full bulge shooting ad with Guy Ritchie for H&M Bodywear brand underwear (Opens Daily Mail website)
Read more ...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Marketing Differentiation eBook The Goose Bump Effect

"I am Jason's brother and run an opticians shop in Manchester. I tried the eBook without any prompts from Jason, and it works. Now my shop, products, the look, and feel are different from the high street chains. In fact, one day a passer by noticed a pair of frames through my shop window, came in and said he bought them on impulse. It's never happened like that before. My shop is Lindop Opticians. Come in and see for yourself if the book works."

Marketing Differentiation: Buy the eBook now on Amazon!

The Goose Bump Effect

The Goose Bump Effect [Kindle Edition]

Jason Li

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    A Practical Beginner's Guide To Marketing Differentiation And Value Creation.

    The Goose Bump Effect

    If you need more sales... now you can help customers choose you by creating meaningful differences that allows them to justify using your products and services in a competitive market, defeat strong competitors and overcome buying objections.

    Foreword: by Jason Li

    “Imagine a beauty contest and there can only be one winner – where choice is unlimited, how do you entice a buyer to choose you in a world of very similar choices?

    This is ‘Beauty Pageant Blindness.’ Most businesses lose business because they struggle with ‘Beauty Pageant Blindness’. Everything offered in front of them by you and competitors are interesting and have a similar beautiful quality in the eyes of the buyer. And your offer just does not stand out enough to entice the buyer to choose you without hesitation and without regret – no matter how much promotional spend to market a product or personal selling has been involved.

    How will the buyer know when they come across the right choice? It’s when they feel the ‘Goose Bump Effect.’ The emotional chemicals fill the brain and the gut telling them the right choice is right in front of them. By using this how to guide, you will learn a number of ways to differentiate your offer to meet the wants, desires and needs of your buyer so that YOU STAND OUT as the right offer amongst your competitors. And they’ll know they won’t regret choosing your offer.”

    The information contained in this guide is for informational purposes only.

    I am not a lawyer or an accountant. Any legal, marketing or financial advice that I give is my opinion based on my own experience. You should always seek the advice of a professional before acting on something that I have published or recommended.

    The material in this guide may include information, products or services by third parties. Third Party Materials comprise of the products and opinions expressed by their owners. As such, I do not assume responsibility or liability for any Third Party material or opinions.

    The publication of such Third Party Materials does not constitute my guarantee of any information, instruction, opinion, products or services contained within the Third Party Material. The use of recommended Third Party Material does not guarantee any success and or earnings related to you or your business. Publication of such Third Party Material is simply a recommendation and an expression of my own opinion of that material.

    No part of this publication shall be reproduced, transmitted, or sold in whole or in part in any form, without the prior written consent of the author. All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing in this guide are the property of their respective owners.

    Users of this guide are advised to do their own due diligence when it comes to making business decisions and all information, products, or services that have been provided should be independently verified by your own qualified professionals.

    By reading this guide, you agree that myself or any business I am affiliated with are not responsible for the success or failure of your business decisions relating to any information presented in this guide.

    ©2012 Jason Li,(M.A.) All RIghts Reserved.

    At last, now you can smash business issues such as:

    • ·         Your prospects says rival competitors do the same as you but cheaper – not anymore

    • ·         Objections about how your nemesis competitors say and prove they’ve offered great service for many years – learn ways to turnaround prospects who can’t see how your good service will make a difference using the value chain method

    • ·         Your prospect says they’ve had the same supplier for years and there’s “No way they will change!” – until they see, hear, and feel your product is better quality in different ways

    • ·         Prospective customers prefer recognised proven brands and don’t know who you are – not anymore when you apply credibility marketing tactics used by multi-million businesses.

    How do businesses get around this?

    Firstly, by being brilliant at understanding your target market... and then secondly, creating an offer that is different and much better than competitors. Thirdly, communicate differences very well.

    Differentiation will emotionally and logically justify prospects wants to naturally choose your offer.

    If this is what you really want – you have just experienced the Goose Bump Effect.

    Inside includes:

    • ·         Why marketing differentiation beats many price issues, helps prospects find objections with other competitors products, and builds more trust in your offer (secrets of how to be seen as the superior product and service in your industry using methods just like Apple did on route to taking over the market leaders Nokia, and Facebook overtaking Myspace)

    • ·         Learn at least 29 ways to differentiate your offer from other commodities (prospects will be salivating at your irresistibly better added value packed offers)

    • ·         How to know what your prospects really want (marketing research techniques that lead to an empire building competitive advantage – your target market will give you the exact information on what you have to offer for them to open their wallets)

    • ·         Create intellectual property that makes your business stand out (one powerful example includes creating eye-catching unique processes that competitors cannot copy or compete with which absolutely cement buyers trust – you will be the obvious risk free choice)

    This book is not meant to replace a full marketing course. Jason spent nearly £8,000 studying on one of the world’s best Marketing Communications Master’s Degree courses at the University of Westminster which was also attended by an advertising exec who took a year out from Saatchi and Saatchi; and other execs from large well known brands from around the world; plus enjoyed many stories from a lecturer who created hundreds of market research tests for Johnson & Johnson’s products.

    (Jason recommends that if you want to fully know about marketing then you should consider a full marketing course. Or if you like short courses, then reputable associations such as the Market Research Society put on courses from £50 to £500 for a day.)

    This book has condensed a lot of marketing knowledge to help you practically easily apply ways to profitably differentiate your products, services, company and offers so that you can start DOING IT immediately.

    In this practical beginners guide... in a short space of time, you can add value to your business in ways which pulls in buyers and gets prospective buyers contacting you to ask you how to place an order.

    About Jason Li: Formerly a business advisor to high growth businesses for an agency that was an offshoot of Business Link, and created a top five selling football board game that sold as a freelancer through 200 Marks and Spencer stores against games such as Deal or No Deal, The Price is Right, Count Down and The Apprentice. Jason achieved a Masters in Marketing Communications in 1999 through the University of Westminster and enjoys watching Everton FC and Chinese food.


    Introduction: We begin with an example to highlight how prospective buyers view how similar our competitor’s and our offers are. Many of us fall in love with our product, service and business, but don’t realise that the prospect sees the same everywhere. Search for unique graphic designers, SEO consultants, physiotherapists, accounting software, resellers of technology products, it’s pretty difficult as everyone is pretty similar. In fact, you might just get fed up after looking at thirty or more similar businesses or products that provide ‘pretty much the same thing.’

    Why Marketing Differentiation is applied to help your business: How differentiation helps.  A look at different ways differentiation slays business problems such as price objections, high promotional campaign budgets with little return, conversion rates and trust.

    Strategic Demand Marketing: Marketing Strategy. A quick practical guide to understanding your customer’s needs and wants, practical market research techniques to constantly be where the demand is, a guide to creating value, aligning with customer demand, which are the most profitable customers for you to spend time attracting and servicing, USPs, positioning and differentiation.

    Marketing Differentiation: Over 100 ways to differentiate your product, service, company, brand and offer according to your target market’s wants and needs that will satisfy your prospective customers.

    Testing Testing: Various ways to test if the differentiation tactics chosen are the right ones and making improvements.

    Case Studies of Differentiation in competitive industries: Case studies of businesses that have differentiated themselves. Each one is broken down to allow you to see which tactics have been used to meet their target market needs.

    ‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king!’
    (Quote by Desiderius Erasmus - Dutch Author, philosopher & Scholar: 1466 – 1536)


    Can differentiation help my business increase profits and market share - really?

    We’ve all seen various methods employed to gain customers out there in the business world...

    Better marketing promotional tactics like websites, email marketing, direct mail, sales promotions (like buy one get one free)...

    Sales tactics like solution selling, relationship selling, hard selling, and Socratic selling and so on...

    But how is it that businesses employ many of these methods and more, and yet still struggle?

    This has been on my mind for many years even as a child. How do you create a business that is profitable and can gain market share? We’ve all done it, we watch and analyse successful companies, read biographies and ask business people for tips. But there seems to be no one simple answer.

    Anyone who promises a magic formula I think after seeing so many gurus are in reality doing just that: promising magic. I hope you are with me in that spending thousands of pounds on a magic formula is basically making a guru get rich quick: which I suppose is magic for them!

    I’m sorry to disappoint people, but there is no magic formula to creating a successful business: just good old hard work, persistence, doing the basics right like good marketing strategy, and a keen will to be continuously better will help your business be better than 90 per cent of your competitors in your market.

    HAVING SAID THAT...there is one method that can be applied to almost all businesses that can help you increase profits and market share. So I’m not saying this is the only method to use in your business and ignore other ideas and processes; absolutely not. But being better at differentiation will give you a competitive advantage in your competitive market space. No doubt about it.

    This is not as easy as pressing a magic button. It’s as hard as putting much effort in working on a method that requires time commitment, thinking, creativity and testing until you have an offer that beats all your competitors.


    The truth about what customers think

    Here is a story to show you how undifferentiated offers struggle, and you can judge for yourself:

    So it’s Saturday afternoon and you go to the cinema with a friend. It’s an eight screen multiplex and you are definitely interested in watching something right now. (This is not one of those tricky puzzles if you are wondering.) In the foyer there are eight film posters, with one bigger one in the centre. Each poster has the following information on it:

    2 actors
    Film time: 1 hour 30 minutes
    Story: Kung fu or cop comedy or romance in New York or global disaster movie and so on

    So at this point, how do you choose?

    Let’s add some spice to this scenario. The big poster in the middle has the story as cop comedy, if this makes a difference to your decision making.

    To further add to this, each film has employed a brilliant sales closer to close you on choosing their film, and you will speak to each sales person to get their view on which to choose before deciding?

    Which film would you choose? You can’t are you thinking?

    Now, image you are now the film company and have employed the best tactics such as brilliant web designer, email marketing, direct mail or top sales closers for each individual film at the cinema. As suggested in this example there will be eight sales closers there. How will they perform on getting cinema goers to choose their film? Not very well I suppose, and you must admit that it’s not the skill of the sales people or the marketing web designer who promoted it online or the graphic designer for the poster that’s failed really. It’s because it’s just plain hard for cinema goers to move from interested to going with a definite decision to watch a particular film in this scenario.

    ‘In the world of businesses doing things either the same or very much the same thing, prospective customers find it hard to be compelled to do anything and choose their supplier. The value to the customer of the offer almost becomes a commodity. No matter how much you use marketing tactics to promote or try to use sales skills to sell a commodity you will struggle to get a good ratio of conversion. The real truth is that if you can differentiate your offer of value just enough then customers have a valid reason to choose your business offer.’

    ‘Therefore, step back and focus on a marketing strategy on knowing your buyer better than any competitor does and being better by differentiation first; and then go gung-ho on marketing promotion tactics and sales to increase profits and market share.’

    ‘If prospective customers can clearly see where you are better and different - IN THEIR EYES NOT YOUR EYES (from researching buyers needs and wants), you will have a better chance of getting an order.’

    ‘So give your prospects more reasons and information as to why you are better, different, add value to their lives, and help them achieve their dreams and goals... and you will have a better chance of winning an order. Buyers are searching for this information and it is this crucial bit that allows buyers to justify making a purchase with you rather than go elsewhere.’

    Why Marketing Differentiation is applied to improve your business

    Being a commodity is one of the main reasons why a product or service struggles to attract an order from a prospect to buy. 

    You’ve heard people say it before: “What’s the difference if I buy from you?”

    In the modern world there are millions of products, services and businesses that provide almost everything you can think of. If you want a pen, there are millions or biros. If you want a small business bookkeeper, there are hundreds near to your business. Want a plumber or roofer? Hundreds are trawling the streets around your home offering the same services.

    Commodities are available everywhere, and the prospective customer has all the power because if one supplier can’t supply on their terms today, there’s always another supplier eagerly offering the same commodity who’s not too far away. And some will even offer to do what you do at a cheaper price/lower profit margin. If this sounds like your market, then you are potentially a commodity.

    In this section - and later in this book, your business NOW has the chance to see how to differentiate from other commodities and be the leader and obvious place for people to go to buy from. 

    As you further differentiate and improve your offer, commodity competitors will become less of a business threat to your daily business. 

    Some strong or even superior competitors who were a consistent thorn in your side may start to be perceived as having a weaker offer by prospects as your differentiation and value added offer improves.

    Think of it this way: if hundreds of men went into battle to fight in hand-to-hand combat and you were the only one with body armour and weapons, you will have a better chance of winning. Remember back to the films where there’s a fight scene and then one person pulls out a gun?  Everyone stops because they know the person with the gun has the ultimate upper hand. Think like Batman or Iron Man. The better your defence is, and the more weapons you have, the more chances you will have of overcoming weaker competitors who are challenging you with bare minimum offers.

    Once you have moved away from being a commodity, your prospective buyers will queue up to only buy your products, or for you to be available to service them next. Your prospective customers will be immune to the advances of competitors and substitutes because they cannot offer what you offer.

    Differentiation case study: Woolworths, Game & JJB Sports

    Did you ever visit these stores?

    You might notice that they purely re-sold products made by other another manufacturer. Usually they were big brand name products that you could buy from anywhere.

    So if they were big brand names and popular, why did they fail?

    It’s because they re-sold commodities and acted as a commodity business themselves too. If you went to Game or Woolworths to buy a certain console game, there was nothing that really was of a meaningful difference in terms of the product.

    What about the buying experience? There were a few differences. Game allowed players to try out the games and it was more a niche game store. However, apart from that, the in-store experience was just a shop with a rack of games which you can pick off-the-shelf and buy. You can still do this in any supermarket like Asda, Sainsbury’s or Tesco.

    JJB had been just as guilty. They sold racks of clothes and sports goods. They’re all re-sold commodities that you could buy in most sports shops, in the market and on the internet.

    So what could some of the stores have done differently? One idea at their peak could have been to buy one of the most profitable smaller manufacturers like Sports Direct do. That way certain products and brands can only be exclusively bought in their stores. As the product and brand owner, you have the option to offer the products at a high cost to other re-sellers. If you own the right to products and a brand, you can dictate the market.

    Later in this eBook training guide you will see simple ways to create unique intellectual property that helps you combat commoditisation.


    Differentiation attracts customers: they lean in not back away

    Ever come across a product, or service or website that really gets you intrigued. It’s because it was different. But not just different for the sake of being different; I’m pretty sure it was done strategically in a way to get your attention and be of value to you too. 

    That’s one of the great things about being good at differentiation; customers lean in. It’s like dangling a carrot. I can remember the first lap top I bought to replace my PC. I got it straight away that I did not have to keep plugging in different wires to connect parts and loads of plugs, it was all-in-one, and there is no going back to buying a PC anymore.

    Have you ever seen a leaflet drop through you door pushing business services that just looked like any other but with a different business name? Yes you have. What do you do? You just throw it away. Do you know how much time and money is spent by owners to get this leaflet created from an idea to being made, to being distributed? A lot. Yet, no one cares. It just gets thrown away, or readers may just glance at the leaflet and throw it - if that counts as a minor win. People call it junk mail. Your prospective customer has backed away. They didn’t see the value and what difference it made for them.

    Differentiation gives you control of the customer by controlling the make-up of the carrot. It’s not like any old carrot you get from the shop. No, this is your carrot. It’s a bespoke carrot that you develop exactly to the spec you need to attract your customers. A plain carrot won’t do anything. Differentiation gives you control and because of this you can have the best carrot to dangle.

    Differentiation is like the law of gravity

    We are all pretty much aware of the laws of physics. These include laws such as; things are made up of atoms and you have positive and negative electrons.

    In business you have pretty much similar laws; such as: most businesses need to be good at marketing and sales to survive. In most cases it is impossible for a business to compete in this world without having both of these activities.

    Take away the marketing part of a business and many will lose precious filtered leads being generated; you might have no website developed, no business brand name or logo, no email signature, no identity and so on. Take away the sales team, then when your marketing attracts new prospective customers you’ll have no-one to turn prospects into paying customers.

    But just like the law of gravity on our earth where all physical things with a heavier mass than air will fall to earth, a business law is that all businesses without enough differentiation will suffer commoditisation. And when products and services are commoditised, the law is that you will face much competition and have to use enormous efforts to attract and convert prospects into customers.

    In fact, just like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, this is the theory of differentiation. Differentiation is correlated to your businesses chance of converting prospects to customers.

    ‘All businesses without enough differentiation will suffer commoditisation.’

    If you can control how much differentiation is possible, you can control your future 

    Differentiation is like your control dashboard. Think of a sound engineer with their mixing kit with lots of levers, volume controls and mixers. A sound engineer in music tweaks the sounds. If a piano melody is added the engineer can alter how it sounds and determine whether it’s the main sound or in the background. For drums the sound engineer can change the types of beats, the speed of the tempo, and beat sounds.

    With your products and services, you can also adjust the way you want it to look, feel, sound, smell, function, service and deliver. You have total control. Differentiation makes you the master. If you are good at differentiation, you have more creativity and control than your competitors. 

    Differentiation will allow you to create the best value, the best piece of art that customers can get – in the prospect’s eyes they will see irresistible gold. Like offering Martini shaken-not-stirred to James Bond, you can customise and control the type of offer to suit your prospective customer – while everyone else is just offering the standard Martini poured straight onto ice – how drab.

    If you control differentiation, you control the attractiveness of your offer to prospective customers in comparison to competitors. The future is waiting for your creation.

    Differentiation Case Study: WH Smiths

    WH Smiths’ shop locations are in very busy areas such as high streets, train stations and airports. Where there is high traffic, WH Smiths will likely be there. No other news or print chain monopolises the commuter locations like WH Smiths in the UK.

    In an era of eMagazines, eBooks and websites, WH Smiths is thriving as a retailer of paper and print products. Of course, they have an online offering, but it is one of the few print retailers that is bucking the trend.

    It’s no secret magazine and newspaper readership is on the decline. Hence the reason anyone in-and-related to the industry has suffered (such as Woolworths). But if you visit any WH Smith’s outlet, you will see patrons have not given up on going there.

    Part of the clever strategy is that they only locate in very busy places where footfall or commuters frequent. Their outlets are designed to suit heavy traffic too. The doors are always wide open as you walk in. The layout of the racks and how you are guided to the tills is pretty similar to the way large supermarkets take you on a tour – except this is done in the most efficient way.

    Newspapers and today’s news entices you in at the front, then the magazines sit further in the shop, and at the back or the side of the shop are the books for browsers. Get-in-get-out types can get their paper or magazine and pay at the till while in a rush in a matter of seconds; while the book browsers with more time on their hands can read at their leisure at the back. Two types of customers serviced in one place.

    The location strategy and scientific layout for two customer types is a very differentiated offer that shop visitors don’t even notice; but it works really well. No other retailer in commuter zones does it as good.

    There are ways to differentiate your business based on location and process. More examples later in the eBook.


    Differentiation handles and overcomes objections better than slick sales answers

    Most prospects put up objections before they buy. In many ways, in sales training it is known that an objection happens because the prospect needs more information to make a decision.

    So why does a prospect need more information?

    Firstly, because the prospect is not sure that the product or service offered is of value, or enough value. Even by using excessive hours on selling and spending on marketing promotion tactics, this might not be enough to persuade a prospect if they cannot see enough value.

    Secondly, because there are other competitors doing virtually the same as what you do. You might know the differences, but the little differences here and there are too small for the prospect to know they are of meaningful differences in value.

    Once you differentiate your offer, prospects know straight away that your offer is of better value. Hence, differentiation reduces sales objections. Time to park the slick sales answers, and watch your competitors squirm when they see your new and improved offer to prospective customers. 

    Exit slick hot air sales schpeeeeeeel with no substance!

    Differentiation is professional – shows you care about the customer, not desperately selling what you have

    Businesses that are good at differentiation have taken the time to understand customer’s needs, problems, and aspirations. This also involves constant research, feedback and tweaking of your offer to customers so that your offer is closer to the customers ideal product and service.

    Prospective customers don’t know you from any other competitor really until they use it. Only at this point can they really know what you are about. But if they see what you offer upfront has totally matched their needs in every way then your conversion is going to be higher.

    On the flip side, your competitors might not bother with differentiation. They’re just going to concentrate on selling what they have. Their attitude is: no point fixing what’s not broken. If the market changes, they’ll just use slick sales skills to onboard customers...until the day that the competitor has created a product and service that is so good that no slick sales speak will save the day.

    Don’t believe it, why not do some research. Check out which other computer companies were market leaders before Dell, HP and Apple were the dominant market leaders. (BBC, Spectrum, Time Computers and Tiny Computers will give you a start in your research – and yes they had slick IT sales people and a big marketing spend.)

    Differentiation builds trust – the consumer just doesn’t trust sales people or products anymore
    How can this be? Isn’t differentiation just about making your product or service different; what do you mean differentiation builds trust.

    Well differentiation is more than just making what your product or service different. Differentiation is not just the product or service; it’s all the other little bits that make a difference which improves the overall whole business offer and value.

    Remember once-upon-a-time when you’ve been sold to and then found afterwards that what you bought did not give you anywhere near the satisfaction for what you paid for. Well now you can differentiate to make sure people know that your business does ‘What it says on the tin.’

    There is a great problem for sales people these days: you have good honest consultative sales people on one end of the scale and at the other end there are the exaggerating hard-sell sales people. But in the middle, you have exaggerating consultative sales people who can get prospective customers on-side but elaborate scare stories or the solution on offer. In an industry where the owner gets to speak to a few sales people, buyers will tend not to trust sales people after interviewing a few sales people due to the mix of truth and exaggeration.

    This can also go on for marketing communications too. Marketing people have also been known to exaggerated problems with scare stories and solutions. Take the beauty care industry. For every person who buys expensive face cream, there will be a savvy person who knows a bit about biology or chemistry and can point out the exaggerations in the marketing communication claims, and the potency of the ingredients in the product and the value it offers.

    Or remember the last time you booked a holiday or a budget air flight. We’re all well aware of the large amount of people who have had to pay extra for budget air flights on the day or faced delays for a ‘scheduled’ flight. Or the number of people complaining about the noise or food in their hotels when the brochure portrayed an idyllic peaceful experience as pretty much a standard norm.

    In our world of businesses desperately trying to increase revenue due to increasing targets, increasing demands and pure greed, good businesses have been tainted by exaggeration.

    Now you can control the level of trust in your business with differentiation so that you do not need to rely on exaggeration and gimmicks to deceive customers anymore. In fact, you might think there isn’t any reason why people do not trust your business, and if your business is genuine then I applaud you.

    But if you have ever come across a product like say a super-six-pack-abs gut-buster product and thought it was unrealistic in what it claims to do, then worry because it’s likely someone out there thinks like that about your product or service too; even if your claims are a lot more realistic.

    Differentiation creates more low hanging fruit, shorter sales cycle

    Once your product or service has achieved differentiation your offer will instantly become more attractive to prospective customers. By being more attractive, it goes without saying conversion will be easier and higher.

    Take the Sat Nav industry as an example. At one time, believe it or not (we’ve all seemed to have forgot), people just read road maps while driving vehicles to a certain point, then stop their car to look at the map, then drive on again to the next point before looking at the map. In some cases, people without maps would just rely on the road signs, even if they were in new territory like the Lake District area for directions to get to their destination.

    Imagine now that an industry with a product that is so many times more expensive than a map has single handily reduced the purchases of maps. The product is similar in some respects that both the road map and the Sat Nav holds the map. The main difference is that the Sat Nav guides you step-by-step so you can drive seamlessly without stopping to consult a map. It is this product difference that attracts people to buy a Sat Nav at such a price difference. In some cases a Sat Nav is nearly 100 times more expensive than a road map. Who says selling at a cheaper price always wins!

    Differentiation Case Study: Epcot Theme Park

    Possibly the world’s greatest theme park dedicated to human achievement and technology.

    It’s the only one-stop theme park that inspires you on the achievements of mankind.

    The land area is double the size of Disney Land with different attractions. Future Earth holds truly unique attractions such as space experiences that cannot be experienced in many other theme parks.

    The location is also in Florida where families go to visit other theme parks from all over the world. Families purposely go to Florida for this type of ‘theme park’ holiday.

    In the evening there are enormous colourful fireworks, water jet and laser displays that are professionally choreographed like a theatre play. The Reflections of Earth display tells the story of the birth of the earth in a glorious firework display.

    The quality and magnificence of the attractions at Epcot attract holiday makers who will pay a premium to travel long distances to experience something magical, family orientated, educational and different.

    The whole set-up, the location, proven satisfaction, and the slick Disney experience are important in persuading the prospective customer to visit. Competitors just cannot copy or compete if they ask the same visitors looking for this type of experience to go to their theme park instead.

    Later on in the differentiation section your business will be able to create a differentiated offer that tempts people to buy and use your products and service rather than go to competitors.

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    Tuesday, 27 November 2012

    Apple or Stephen Hawking or Harvard University: Which is the most intelligent brand?

    Apple or Stephen Hawking or Harvard University:  Which is the most intelligent brand?: by Jason Li 2012 ©

    A bit of fun....

    Which brand is the best representation of intelligence?...

    Where humankind can say this is how clever we are?


    I thought of Garry Kasparov as a definite contender – the man is a chess genius and it’s pretty much impossible for any human to beat him. But then, the only thing that can spoil his credentials, if you can spoil his credentials, is to say that chess people play for hours-on-end every day going over the same situations and practice moves. I know how practice can improve your performance from playing football as we used to practice free kick routines sometimes to mix things up, and even those who were not the brightest seem to look like they did something clever.

    However, this definitely does not detract from Kasparov as a proven chess genius over a very long period of time as he has beaten other dedicated professionals fair and square.

    Sir David Attenborough is possibly the world’s most famous natural history film-maker. Whether it involves plants, global warming or prehistoric dinosaurs... Sir David Attenborough can tell you the facts. Every programme he presents is absolutely fascinating.

    However, his brand is based on learning facts and regurgitating natural history facts in the most interesting way. As much as I love and admire his work and style, a memory expert could well copy Sir David Attenborough and provide a credible imitation. Again, this is not to take away from his deserved super brand status in this subjective question. Sir David Attenborough is an excellent and close contender too (beating millions of other worthy intelligent brands).

    The top three intelligent brands

    Many people judge success based on money and funny enough – success. Apple is therefore the most successful product brand in the world. At the time of writing, Apple was the company with the largest capitalisation in the world. The business world is occupied by very motivated, dedicated, clever, educated, smart and ambitious people in the world. Apple is ahead of all competitors at the moment and so must be in the top three.

    Smart people go to university as a norm. You do get exceptions, but in general, if you’re smart you go to university. HarvardUniversity is well known around the world as a destination where many of the world’s smartest people go to take in more information in their specialists interests.

    Most of us are aware Harvard University had two mega successful commercial students – Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Even though they left before completing their degrees, they still choose Harvard which means there will be other students like them at the university.

    Stephen Hawkins is world renown as a leading physicist at Cambridge University. Cambridge University itself is pretty much on par with Harvard, just not as glamorous. Hawkins has to be in the running as he develops new theories which mathematicians and physicists are playing catch up to understand. To develop new ideas explaining the universe and put your reputation on the block as other physicists test your ideas for holes (pardon the pun) is both brave and smart if the world has to wait for you to provide a theory to advance everyone else’s knowledge.

    My vote

    People at Harvard University can replicate what Apple do, and likewise those at Apple could easily create a university like Harvard.

    I believe if Stephen Hawking learnt to programme, he would have the capacity to programme software or design products at Apple, and of course lecture at Harvard. If Stephen Hawking dedicated to chess he would definitely beat some of the top pros.

    However, I’m not sure if there are more than only a handful of the people at Harvard University or Apple who have the original thinking in science and mathematics on the same level as Stephen Hawking. There will be brilliant specialists in design, art, science subjects and mathematics. However, Stephen Hawking is advanced in all these and more. Original thinkers who can explain black holes and quantum gravity in the universe only come along once in a generation.

    For me Stephen Hawking is the most intelligent brand in the world.

    (Stephen Hawking wins £1.8 million Fundamental Physics Prize - December 2012)
    Daily Mail article, Universe Today article.

    Maybe a mathematician will work out a formula to work out which is the most intelligent brand one day.

    Do you agree? Ask this one question to someone you know as it will be fun to find out what people think. How did they arrive at their chosen intelligent brand?

    If you liked this article, you will really make my day if you forward it on. J

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    Sunday, 11 November 2012

    Scaling up your business for multiple lead generation

    Scaling up your business for multiple lead generation: by Jason Li 2012 ©

    If you are a small business and working all hours of the day, but want more revenue as your reward, then scaling up your business is the next step.

    Here are some answers if you’ve been wanting to generate a few more leads or customers every week for your business.

    In fact, from what I’ve seen... being good at lead generation is vital to business success.

    To help you scale up in terms of offering more for new and existing customers...

    So that they can spend more money with you without adding much costs to you.

    Scaling up

    Scaling up your business is the way you can keep increasing your business so that it expands and brings in more revenue. So I’m going to share a several secrets that I’ve seen – and best of all they are all practically doable without needing too much training.

    This can either be done yourself, or by working with other people.

    Once you have found a way to begin scaling up, you can just keep on adding more add-ons until your business grows to a size that is much bigger than it is today.

    Scaling up small businesses with more lead generation

    When you are self employed then you do absolutely everything in the business...

    In fact, small businesses with two or three people tend to work this way as well. So it can feel really hard to even contemplate ways of scaling up your business.

    So here I’m going to share some kick-ass leverage and lead generation methods for those of you who think it would make a difference – because you’re busy and you want answers now.

    Now scaling up a small business is not easy. I have seen businesses that have only one product range or a small amount of portfolio services or products on offer and really wanted to expand. Their only solution at the time was to maybe sell more of the same. An example would be a retailer locating another retail site so that they can now go from having one shop to two shops.

    Obviously, this is great if you have a thriving business and can look to get a new retail shop financed with money in the bank. But not everyone can instantly afford to get another site up-and-running. What if you have no money? How long will you wait to get the money?

    There is an alternative. I have seen many owners implement ways of scaling up small business in ingenious ways without having to wait years for a new site. In fact, just copying how the larger businesses do it in the following way will do you no harm.

    Using ‘leverage’ in your business

    Imagine you want to lift a boulder. Remember when you were kids and you came across sitting on swings and you went back-and-forth to get really high up; well in ancient times engineers used systems like these to move boulders with levers and ropes so they could move huge heavy objects that no human alone could move.

    We are going to use the same practical method of using a lever to allow a small business or self employed person to leverage their business: so that a small amount of input using leverage will create a bigger output.

    Leverage methods

    The first and most important is using the internet: If you sell products then find a business that sells products in a similar nature to you on the internet and work out how you can apply it. Stick with this as it’s more than the obvious stated so far.

    Let’s say you sell cartons of juice in packs of three, then you can start by looking at other juice etailers. Look at all the various methods they use to scale up. Next, look at businesses who sell other low cost items too that might not be juice but in multipacks; it could be packs of three tennis balls. How did they do things which your business can use as a solution? Look at the packaging, the offer, bundling with other products as examples.

    Let’s say you are a dry cleaner, how could you get more passing traffic to stop and drop-off and pick-up? MacDonalds and car wash places have drive through mechanisms. Could your dry cleaner have one side of the business for drop-offs and one side for pick-ups in the shop? Could you even have a drive through for vehicles to pass clothes through a window on one lane, and collections on another window? Could you join up with a petrol station or grocery shop?

    Your take away: leverage other business methods to increase your lead generation

    Digital leverage methods

    There will be a business out there with the same problem that came up with an internet solution that you can implement in your business. Imagine having an ecommerce site that worked in generating orders and leads without having to put money down on retail sites, or not waiting for another site in order to expand the business.

    Is it possibly in any way for you to use the internet to leverage what you do? Read on for more ideas.

    Digitise products

    Is there any way possible for you to digitise what you do? What? Say that again? What I mean is, can you create a digital version of what you do; your products or services? Chefs and restaurants can create ebooks on how to cook meals that sell on the internet, teachers can create videos which students buy as standard lessons, teachers can provide one-to-one bespoke lessons on Skype, and businesses can create audio files to download to offer advice such as accountants, business coaches or nutritionists. These will reach people who have no time or cannot use your services immediately.

    What about other products? If you have toys then you might have vlogs – video blogs - to teach kids how to do more such as Lego videos,  for business people on how to turn your smart phone into a business tool, or a hedge trimmer into ‘Average Joe’s’ favourite sculpturing tool.

    Don’t just think of your local market, think country wide; worldwide even. Just think, your business could have a customer lying on deck chairs around a pool in sunny Monaco now, and she is telling her friends about your digital product that she can’t get locally.

    Your take away: When you digitise, you get more people finding ways to use your products, reach more people, and give customers the opportunity to share with other people who might find your offer interesting.

    Partnership Leverage methods

    Partner with other product suppliers: Let’s say you are a photographer, could you create a website that includes promoting the photographic studio you use for a referral fee, partner with a wedding planner, partner with a video recording service, or add on a gallery to sell your product and exclusively other peoples stock, or partner with a camera shop to provide camera lessons to enthusiasts, or partner with a walking group, or partner with a site seeing tour.

    Your take away: partnerships give you multiple ways of generating revenue and more touch points with potential clients.

    Cash flow

    Digital products allows you to scale up without having to spend lots of money upfront.

     In partnerships, as customers use other partner products and services, you can be promoted to them as a trusted partner. Doing it this way might be of no cost to you when using partners.

    If it really succeeds, then it also provides you great feedback, and much more revenue. If you have a channel (partner) that brings in plenty of new customers then you will know what this type of customer likes. So if your leads keep coming from a walking group and they want your photography expertise you can expand on this area.

    So how much can you scale up your business to a higher level from these ideas and practical methods?

    Will any new lead generation ideas bring you new streams of income and more revenue? Will ideas like these add value to your business?

    If you know of any businesses that may find the information here worth reading, please Pay It Forward.
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