Posts Tagged ‘brand’

In-N-Out’s Burger’s #1 Marketing Rule

burger marketing

What's the one thing you do best?

It’s the number one rule of marketing. It’s that one thing we all must do. It’s the difference between a brand that is irresistible and one that is forgettable.

And if you’ve ever seen City Slickers, you may know where I’m going with this.

I recently sat in a meeting with a potential client. They’re a service firm, and they have a pretty good marketing focus on what they’re doing.

The problem is that their internal struggle is that some of the management team is fighting with the focus, and doesn’t want to give up promoting other service offerings.

In analyzing their business, we determined that no matter what the service offering, they’re really known for one thing. In this case, it’s experience. They’re the area’s most experienced firm, by a long shot. This needs to be the lead in any and all marketing efforts.

It’s what In-N-Out learned long ago. In their case, it’s fresh, juicy, burgers. It’s “all about the burger.” That’s what they’re great at. In many people’s minds, they do it better than any other fast food restaurant. Fries? Shakes? Yeah, they do those, too. But you go to In-N-Out for the burgers. They GET the other sales, too, but people will go long out of their way for the burgers, right past McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and the rest.

What does your brand do better than anyone? What can you shout louder? What mountain top can you own?

We’ve found, with client after client, that a “focus” strategy creates better understanding and demand for the brand. It separates you from the pack. It makes you stand out. It makes you…irresistible!

Clients are concerned that they “give up” something when the focus, but we have seen time after time that you still get the other business, too. We call it “over the transom” business. It still comes in. But you can get more for the “focused” product or service because you’re seen as a leader, and it increases demand.

How does In-N-Out make their burgers even more special? Double-doubles, 4x4s, animal style, and protein style! They’ve created their own burger language by having a “secret” menu.

Every brand needs a #1 rule for their marketing efforts. As Billy Crystal held up his index finger and talked about the “one thing” everybody needs to know about the meaning of life. There’s one thing you need to know about your brand. Do it right, and the rest “don’t mean a thing.”

Sarah Palin On Marketing

April 23, 2010 1 comment
Sarah Palin marketing

Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin is a master at personal marketing and branding!

Some of you love her. Some of you hate her. Politics aside, this woman is an expert on personal marketing and branding!

Just as I’ve spoken on how Barack Obama can rally a crowd better than any politician in the past 20 years, I believe that Sarah Palin is showing she is a master of controlling her own personal brand.

Here are three things Sarah Palin, love her or leave her, is doing really brilliantly as a personal brand.

When Palin appeared on the national scene during the last presidential election, most of us didn’t know who she was. Sure, she was the governor of Alaska, but when did that make anyone a political powerhouse? But over time Palin has been climbing a mountain. When other Repulicans were slipping down their own mountains, she was climbing up her own. She’s been unafraid of taking positions, and she’s galvanized a whole segment of the population. She’s also alienated another segment, but that’s a part of her positioning. She’s no agnostic! Today she shouts from the mountaintop of Republican women (and some would argue she’s higher up than most Republican men, too!). By being at the top, she gets “top of mind” recall on most issues. Here’s the measure: what journalist doesn’t want to interview her right now? KEY QUESTION: What mountaintop can your personal brand own?

Think Nike. Think Apple. Think Coca Cola. Think Palin. Each of these “brands” paints an instant picture in our minds. Nike is about the athlete in all of us. Apple is all about cool technology. Coca Cola is the real thing. And Palin, she’s the 40-something conservative mom-turned politician who comes off more like the woman next door than the Washington policitical insider we’re used to in national politics. Her message is clear, concise, and consistent, as any powerful brand message needs to be. KEY QUESTION: Do all of your customers (or potential customers) know what you’re “all about”?

She flubs her lines. She writes notes on her hand. Her daughter got pregnant. For her, that’s all just a day in the life. No biggee. She’s not about polish. She’s about plain language, sweatshirts, family, and stirring up stuff. And one might argue that her recent book deals and speaker’s fees put her in a new world, but remember, she’s a Republican. They won’t look down on her for making money. KEY QUESTION: Do you live your personal brand each and every day?

Love her, hate her, or don’t give a darn about her—doesn’t matter. If you want to build a personal brand, her personal marketing is worth watching!

Can Apple Win Over Businesses With iPad? They Already Are.

When the announcement of the iPad came out, many poo-poo’d the device. It’s like knocking the Yankees at the beginning of the baseball season. It’s like complaining about the new Mercedes-Benz. A certain group always wants to de-throne favorite.

Some people jumped on Apple this week because it was estiamted they ONLY sold 300,000 iPads on the first weekend. Sales by mid-week were only 600,000. Ooooh, what a dismal failure. (The skeptics should wish for even a ounce of Apple’s marketing savvy!).

Apple knows consumers. They know our needs. More importantly, they know our wants. They know which of our buttons to push (or which touch pad).

Just ran across this great article on how Apple is slowly chipping away at the business market, traditionally a PC/Microsoft domain, through better understanding of consumer behavior.  Apple is doing this by understanding how to market to their audience. The article points out that Apple realizes that while not every consumer is a business person, every business person is also a consumer. Apple’s expertise in consumer product innovation and marketing is paying dividends in business, too.

As a result, the Apple brand isn’t just for fun and games anymore.

Read up on Apple’s marketing from none other than PC World.

Categories: branding, marketing Tags: , , ,

Is “old school” marketing kicking online social media’s butt? – Re-post

Note:  Some people had difficulty with the link to the previous posting, so I’ve reposted this blog.  – BWH

Social media is everywhere. It’s in the pages we read, the shows we watch, and the discussions we have at the watercooler.

People are tweeting, blogging, posting, friending, connecting, and sharing everything. For some, it’s working. For others, it’s not.

Enter “old school marketing.” I want to share two different “old school” marketing tactics that are kicking social media’s butt in many sectors.

When email entered the picture, people shouted “Hallelujah” over the fact that they could cut print bills and postage costs. Unfortunately many also cut their response rates. And their sales. And their profits.

I’ve spoken to a dozen friends, clients, and associates in the past week about their mail habits, and everyone (about half of them) who has returned to snail mail or never abandoned it is glad they did.

Why? Despite the cost, these companies are getting measurable ROI results. Something that can’t be said of MANY social media campaigns.

Now I’m not saying social media isn’t necessary. Quite the contrary. What I am saying is that social networking, for many business sectors, has not delivered on its promise for tangible monetary results.

The above examples include law firms, sporting goods manufacturers, non-profits, and even investment brokers.

Another series of discussions I’ve had lately focused on what business professionals are doing in their “personal selling”. While my sampling is small, about 30 conversations, the results are unmistakable. Those who meeting, face to face, chatting, pressing the flesh, and spreading their own gospel, are winning new business.

The most successful technique we’ve seen…small, intimate, yet informal gatherings. We know one financial professional who gathers about 6-8 people once a month. He buys lunch, brings one or two of his associates in, and mixes up the group with attorneys, insurance reps, wealth managers, etc. It’s just lunch and chit chat. And it’s working. The firm is getting business out of it, and the invited guests are, too.

The takeaway here is not to abandon social media. And it’s not to start mail or meetings, per se. It’s to see how you can connect with your audience (clients, prospects, referral sources, etc.) in a meaningful, accountable way that truly drives business to your bottom line.

When everybody is going left, try going right. Try simple, yet proven forms of communication. Try talking and conversing, not virtually, but literally.

Hmmm…real mail, real meetings, real people? They deliver real results. Really. What a concept.

How Southwest Would Reform Healthcare

Let’s throw politics aside, at least for a minute. I think the problem with Heathcare Reform is in its branding. 9N863UN79SNR They have a classic brand problem.

The problem is how politicians have branded the issue. What Democrats want is healthcare reform. What Republicans want is, well, not the Democrats plan. They want something that costs a lot less.

What about the people? Let’s call them the “customers” for this exercise. I find they don’t care half as much about “reform” as they do about “cost.” Customers want lower healthcare costs, and they want it now. Most Americans would take that any way they could. Consumers can’t wrap their brains around today’s healthcare system, let alone figuring out a new one that, quite frankly, no one can figure out. And that won’t start for 1-3 years. Consumers want what they want now!

A good brand benefits study would have shown this.

Politicians should take a lesson from Nike, Coca Cola, and Apple. Better yet, let’s take a lesson from Southwest Airlines. Politicians need to know it’s not about them—it’s about the customers. They also need to learn the difference between “wants” and “needs”. Wants trump needs 9 out of 10 times, because wants are based on emotion, not logic. If you can marketing to both needs and wants, it’s a guaranteed winner.

Southwest did the research on short hop travel. They found that passengers needed low fares. They wanted lots of flights. And in the grand scheme of things, passengers didn’t want to pay for luxuries like assigned seats, meals, movies, and fancy flight attendant uniforms.

So what about Americans as customers of healthcare? They want to be healthy. They want a safety net. They need affordable rates. They don’t want or need anything that confuses them more.

Here’s proof. I was recently in a discussion where people were comparing experiences with hospital stays—appendicitis, heart attacks, respiratory ailments. The people in the discussion were professionals…doctors, lawyers, and MBAs. Each and every person had a recent experience with a hospital. Each of us got a copy of a bill for thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. And not one of us understood anything about the bills. How does a 24 hour stay in a hospital cost $100,000? How will I ever pay for it? How does the hospital write down 85% of the cost? How does anyone figure any of this out?

Customers can’t figure it out. They don’t get it it. They just want to get better. They also don’t want to go into debt to stay healthy. They  just care that they pay lower premiums and a low deductible.

Think of it like Southwest. Figure out what people will pay for, and what they won’t. Strip out the fluff. Appeal to their wants, and needs (not your own), and they’ll line up behind you.

Who knows, if Southwest was running healthcare, we’d all line up with little cards in our hand. But I bet we’d get treated faster!

Healthcare Reform should die. Not as a concept, but as a name. A smart politician should come out with a new Healthcare Cost Reduction Plan, and people would rally behind it.

Politicians need to stop thinking like politicians, and thinking more like Southwest.

Leadership Marketing

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Here at Newman Grace, we’ve often spoken of “leadership marketing.” What do we mean?

Simply put, when you begin to market like a leader, it’s one of the first steps to becoming a leader. Remember that in marketing, perception is far greater than reality. If you aren’t the number one brand in your market, but people begin thinking you are, and you deliver on your brand promises, people will begin seeing you as a leader.

Apple is a classic example. In a recent research study I did on student brand perspectives, I found that a majority of college students believed Apple to be the largest manufacturer of computers. Not so. They’re #4. Number one (HP) is nearly 4 times larger. Number two (Dell) is right behind HP. They’re both 26+% of the PC market. Apple has around 7-9%, depending upon which study you read.

The point is that they are perceived as a leader.

Which brings me to the main point. In my last blog, I mentioned that brands growing in brand metrics have done a good job of getting customers to align themselves with the brand’s vision and values. We the second key characteristics of brands growing in awareness and preference is that they are perceived as leaders, innovators, or inventors. If they were actually leaders or innovators or inventors is far less important than if they are perceived that way.

The reality of a good brand will help you keep customers, but the perception of a good brand will do a lot more to help you get new customers.

Stay tuned for the upcoming third and final key to today’s growing brands!

Why Apple Doesn’t Sell Computers

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Quick, think about your last customer or client—did you “sell” to them, or did they “buy” from you? Did they reach out to you, or did you reach out to them? Was more effort exerted on  your end, or theirs?

The most successful brands in the world market and advertise themselves. But look at what they are saying. Apple doesn’t say, “Buy our computers.” They say, “Hey, this is cool, check it out.”  Nike doesn’t say, “Buy our gear.” They say, “Go for it.”

Michelin doesn’t sell tires, they sell safety. Coca Cola doesn’t sell soda, they sell refreshment. And In-N-Out doesn’t sell fast food, they sell wet, drippy burgers that people will line up around the block to buy.

It’s the same with services. Southwest is all about getting you where you want to go. Allstate is about feeling safe. And Facebook is all about connecting.

What are you “all about?” What drives your business? What drives you, and your employees? And does it show? Do your customers “Get it?”

The formula to a successful brand is simple. Do something, or make something. Do it for a reason. Make that reason important, to you and your customer. Do it differently than others. Do it better. And once you’re on top, reinvent yourself. Again, and again, and again.

Executing it is very difficult. Each step is a promise to the consumer, and you have to keep your promises.

Apple doesn’t promise a bigger computer. Nor a faster one. They promise a great customer experience with their products.

What can you promise your customers and clients? If you want to build a better brand, start there. A great brand starts with you.

Categories: branding Tags: , , , , ,

A Lesson From Non-Profits

January 13, 2010 2 comments

When marketing non-profit brands, it’s important to remember to narrow the focus of your message. The most successful non-profit brands to try to make converts in one swoop—they just try to connect on one key issue. I was reminded of this as we prepared to launch a new division catering to the non-profit sector (please visit

Katya Andresen writes about this in her book “Robin Hood Marketing” (a great read for anyone working for non-profits). She points out that the goal isn’t getting people to buy you hook line and sinker, but rather to just get agreement on one thing to begin with.

This is a great lesson for the “for profit” sector. I’ve been consulting with a marketing services firm that is beginning to shift its focus into consulting. To acomplish this, they need to move one step at a time, getting buy-in from clients who see them as they were, not as they want to be.

Think of the effect this pitch: “We can help your company improve sales.” Pretty blah, pretty average, and not credible.

Now consider this: “Does your company ever have problems keeping customers happy?”

The answer has to be “yes”. Non-profits are masters at this technique. If not, they’re either lying, or they really don’t need your services. The key is that the question is a soft sell, a conversation starter, not a line in the sand. Sometimes a line in the sand is good, but for many products and services, it’s a turnoff.

What is the question you can ask your potential clients and customers that will bring them a step closer to you?

Marketing In A Recovery Year

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Okay, everyone. We made it through 2009. It’s a year many of us are glad to see go. We’ve learned some hard lessons. And we’re still licking a few wounds.

So where do we go from here? I’m here to tell you THIS IS THE YEAR TO ACT! History shows us that those who are proactive (marketing-wise) coming out of recessions profit the most.

What can you do? What should you do? Here are three tips…

B2B Magazine’s latest survey says marketing spending will go way up compared to last year. Granted, it was way down last year, but the point is still the same. Assume competitors are looking to increase their spending.

As the business marketing place gets cluttered, focused messages are the ones that get through. Be bold, be memorable, and be consistent with your messaging.

While traditional advertising spending is down, other areas are on the rise. Even the smallest companies need to pay attention to their websites, SEO, and social media. You need to integrate PR, event marketing, and promotions. Focus your message, but shout it out in various media.

As you move forward in 2010, put some thought and effort into your marketing and branding efforts. As we like to say at Newman Grace,  “If you don’t look after your brand, no one else will, either.”

The MFT Principle for Personal Marketing & Networking

June 10, 2009 2 comments

Brian Hemsworth - Newman GraceSo, you out there networking. Maybe online, maybe offline. What do you talk about?

Well, if you’re on Twitter, you tell everyone what you’re doing. If you’re blogging, you tell people what you think. If you at a cocktail party, you talk about the Lakers. And if it’s a business breakfast mixer, you comment on the coffee.

Want to break past the chit chat and get to something that might drive business your way?

Think M-F-T.

M stands for what’s on the other person’s MIND. What are they thinking about, dealing with, or spending time considering?

F stands for what they FEAR. What keeps someone up at night? What business problem are they dealing with>

Finally, T stands for what they TREASURE. Find that out, and you just got the keys to the kingdom.

Each of these things, M-F-T, is a tool for engaging in a conversation the person you’re talking to will be interested in. Forget about you, focus on them.

It works online, and it works offline. Want to move a “nothing” conversation to a “something” conversation? Try M-F-T.