Retail Observer

June 2020

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 43 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM JUNE 2020 44 S un Tzu, author of The Art of War (5th century BC), pointed out that chaotic conditions present us with opportunities to innovate. The Chinese character for "Crisis" comprises two characters: Danger and Opportunity. It's hardly a new idea, and it's every bit as relevant as ever. When we reach deep into our organizational purpose – the reason our business exists beyond profit – we light-up our ability to act, adapt and respond wisely to present circumstances. This is always how our driving beliefs come to life, whether in or outside of crisis. In the midst of crisis, our greatest need is to seize every opportunity to do more than simply assure our customers that we're still here, or that we want to serve them. The real opportunity is to be telling our customers what we're doing to respond to their needs in the time of crisis. Based on long experience, I believe selling is helping. I also believe that marketing is the value that your products and services have for your customers. Assuming you agree, how you innovate in response to a crisis will be the value that your customers will perceive in your business. The old saying is true: Necessity is the mother of invention. Your team has necessities, your customers have necessities, and you do, too. Your inventions are your response – the help you can offer, and how well you articulate its value to the customers. When it comes to deciding what to communicate to your customers in a crisis, I like to think in terms of two mantras: MANTRA #1: WHAT + IS IN IT + FOR THEM? I've used this little formula for over a decade as a guideline for deciding on marketing approaches, and for crafting innovative products and services that satisfy the customer's needs, wishes and desires. "What": This is the value you're offering the customer that is unique to you and your brand, and that is differentiated from your competitors' offerings in the same space. It's the thing of value that you're offering to sell (help), and how it stands apart from others. "Is in it": This is the baked-in promise you're offering. It's the ultimate benefit for your customers. "For them": "Them" is your customers, including their situation, their problems, their issues and the ultimate benefit to them. By finding out as much as you can about "them" in great detail, you'll be well-equipped to serve their needs and desires. MANTRA #2 — WHY, WHY, WHY? Why this? Are you telling your customers something different from what other brands are saying, or are you just parroting the same line as everyone else? Are you making your What's in it for Them? statement clear and obvious in the subject line and opening paragraph? Is your marketing (value articulation) built around What's in it for Them? • Why now? Am I saying something that's relevant to the customer's situation? Your ability to answer this all-important question will require that you know two key things: – Your marketing position – the space you hold in the marketplace, and how you're differentiated from the competition – Your brand character – the beliefs that drive your culture and brand, which in turn define the value you're offering your customers • Why me/us? Am I telling my customers something they aren't already expecting from my brand? Am I saying something that differentiates my brand from others? Am I being true to my values, promise, purpose, position and character? VALUE-BASED GUIDELINES FOR MARKETING AND SELLING 1. Before you ask for the sale, create the product or service you wish you had. 2. Always give value before you ask for value. 3. Every successful product or service helps the customer do something they couldn't do, but wanted to. 4. Your product or service has value because it closes the gap between your customers' current state and their ideal future. I see too many brands and people that claim to be doing things that matter, yet they market and sell as if the immediate payoff to themselves is the best measure of success in the game. Focus on helping people, and you'll sell products and services. Show your customers the value that's baked into your offerings and you'll capture their attention and gain their loyalty. The ultimate test of any product or service is this: does it have a baked-in purpose that adds value to the customer's world? For the past 25 years, Steve has served as an advisor and consultant on brand strategy, organizational life, and humanized marketing strategy. He has worked with companies such as Samsung, Habitat for Humanity, New Balance, Sony, LG, Amazon, NFL and MLB franchises and is a regular speaker for TEDx, Creative Mornings, CES, HOW Conference, Social Venture Network, American Marketing Association, and AIGA conferences. Steve has published two books, Brand Love and Loyalty and Humanizing the Customer Journey, He has been featured in Business Week, Brand Week, Ad Age, Conscious Company Magazine, MarketingProfs, and HOW magazine. Steve leads his own brand and business strategic consultancy, Mth Degree. Please contact:, 619-234-1211 or RO Steven Morris On Brand PERENNIAL BRAND MESSAGING

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