Category Archives: Identity

Keeping up with the Joneses

I need your help. Before I make my ask of you, let me give you some background…

Do you ever wonder how to get publicity for your business? I often encounter organizations who think ‘publicity’ means writing press releases to the local papers regarding their latest service or product offering. The problem is that most of these releases have no story to them and nothing of interest to write about. If you would like to get your company promoted in the news, consider a page out of Jones Soda’s playbook. As a publicity stunt in 2003, Seattle-based Jones Soda released Turkey and Gravy flavoured soda for the holidays. Yes, you read that correctly.

They produced 6000 bottles of this limited-edition soda. It sold out online in 2 hours and the money went to a local Toys For Tots program. The media attention and national publicity that Jones Soda received could not have been purchased. Every year since, Jones Soda offers new flavoured sodas for the holidays with the proceeds often going to charities. Some of the flavours they have offered includes:

Turkey & Gravy Soda
Green Bean Casserole Soda
Mashed Potato & Butter Soda
Fruitcake Soda
Cranberry Soda
Antacid Soda

These get people talking about Jones Soda. Jones Soda has even started to offer limited edition soda on other special events.

Halloween Limited Edition: 4-pack included: Candy Corn, Caramel Apple, Strawberry Slime and Scary Berry Lemonade

Valentines Limited Edition: 2-pack included: Love Potion #6 soda and Love Potion #6 flavored lip balm.

Seattle Seahawks Collectors’ Pack included: Perspiration, Sports Cream, Natural Field Turf, Dirt, and Sweet Victory.

Easter Limited Edition: Robin’s Egg Lemonade, Chocolate Bunny, and Little Bunny Fufu.

This year’s holiday package flavor was one I was quite excited for… It arrived at my door just a couple of days before US Thanksgiving. Ready for this? Jones Bacon Soda. Yes, bacon lovers. Bacon flavored soda. I love all things bacon. My pack came with 2 Bottles of Jones Bacon Soda, 1 Tube of Bacon Lip Balm, 1 Package of Bacon Popcorn and 1 Package of Bacon Gravy Mix. I think I’ve died and gone to bacon heaven. The problem is – I can’t bring myself to open the bottle. Much like a kid with a treasured piece of candy, I sit and hold it – staring at the label and wondering what it tastes like – but can’t bring myself to twist the cap and give it a taste.

My wife would like to video me tasting carbonated bacon – I think she just wants something to post to her facebook account to amuse her friends. But I can’t decide. I think knowing it is a one-time limited edition has made the decision tough. Do I open it – or don’t I? For the next few days, I’d like to take a poll. What do you think?


Who Decides?

While speaking to a client in a coaching session, we got talking about
what makes up his product offerings. I asked him how his product
offering compared to his competition?

He explained to me with great pride that his service was as good as
his much larger competitors. He seemed a little surprised when I
suggested that he needed to ignore what his competition was doing.

Don’t let your competitors define what your product looks like. You
define it. When I was in charge of a training division for a global
organization, the industry standard was to offer one week of basic
training classes. When I asked why we taught the basic class in one
week, the answer came back to me that everyone taught one week basic
training classes. There was no reason other than it was what our
competitor did, and so we fit the material we had into a one week time

The reality was that students found the course to contain too much
info for one week. The week felt crammed and too full. Results were
compromised because selling and scheduling a blocked off week was
easier to do then change the scheduling and break from the status
quo. We decided to change what we offered to give the student the
best outcome. We changed focus to offer what we thought gave our
prospects a better product and not worry about our competitors. Still
today we offer extras to round out or product offering because it
makes it better. You can either be a leader or a follower; but I can
tell you, the view is much different from the front.

Crushing it!

A few months ago I was privileged to teach a sales course for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities through the Community Futures offices in the Okanagan Valley. There were 16 entrepreneurs in the class, and I easily learned as much as I taught in that group.

One of the entrepreneurs was a guy named Don Parker (no relation to me). Don was a motivational speaker and a professional magician before suffering a brain injury in a car accident. Don now worked at Staples and wanted to start his own business again.

At the end of our course I suggested to Don that he read a book called Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. I enjoyed this book because of Gary’s attitude towards seizing opportunity. Gary didn’t wait around until conditions were perfect to step out and do something. He has done 850 video podcast episodes. He does each of his podcasts (Wine in one take. If he knocks over a bottle of wine; or his cell phone rings mid-shoot; or whatever – he just keeps going. He delivers content and engages community. I thought Don would benefit from Gary’s story.

Three days later Don sent me a thank you and let me know that he bought the book and absolutely loved it. It inspired him to start his own website for people struggling with brain injury. Last month, I ran into Don at Staples. He told me he was having the best time of his life working on his website and was hoping to release it “soon” – perhaps in a month or so. I suggested to Don that he set a launch date and go live with it – whether or not it was completely 100% finished.

Setting a launch date will stop the urge for perpetual tinkering that hinders so many people from actually getting their project out there. Don looked me in the eye and said, “Ok. May 1st I will send you a link to the site.”

On April 29th, Don sent me the link to his website:

Four things we can learn from Don:

  1. Determine a focused target market. Don’t try to be all things to all people.
  2. Real artists deliver on time.
  3. Do what you love.
  4. Be willing to work hard.

If you get a chance visit Don’s website. Please pass it on to anyone you know who is suffering from a brain injury.

Great work Don! I am proud of your passion, your work ethic and your mission to help others.

Surprise is An Effective Marketing Tool

When you can take what people are expecting and add a twist or a surprise you can great something remarkable. Remarkable gets remembered, remarkable gets talked about, but more important remarkable sets you apart from the rest of the market.The video above comes from the Oprah Show’s 24th season kickoff party, Harpo staff and more than 20,000 people pulled off a massive surprise for an unsuspecting Oprah. The entire crowd performed a choreographed piece to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” and Oprah was not only shocked, she was thrilled! Award-winning director Michael Gracey says the interaction between the Black Eyed Peas and the crowd is what made the flash mob so extraordinary. ”There’s something really special when you take an audience and instead of just being passive and watching, you invite them to participate,” he says. “That’s why it was so magical for both parties. Two groups of people came together to create something that neither of them could have done alone.”Check out the flash mob that took over Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

LinkedIn For Business

Move over Rover, as a sales person I have a new best friend called LinkedIn. Most small business owners don’t realize the power of this tool and how it can change the way you sell. So I have created a list of 4 ways you can use LinkedIn for yourbusiness:1. Use the advanced search option to find the names of prospects and businesses to whom you can sell services. For example, if you sell bookkeeping services look up the presidents of small businesses in your area and then prospect.2. For any prospects you find check to see who in your network might be connected to that person and then ask for an introduction. A personal introduction to a prospect is always better than making a cold call.3. Become a member of the Groups that your customers, prospects and other sales people are members. For starters, you will find a lot of people in just one place. Secondly, you can raise your visibility and reputation by helping people in Discussions. A third benefit is that you will be able to contact other Group members directly, even when you are not connected personally.4. Look at the Network Updates on a regular basis. For example when someone changes positions or companies. You might also notice ifa competitor has linked with one of your prospects. This might give you some early warning that the customer might be shopping around.These are a few of the compelling reasons to consider signing up today for a LinkedIn account. And… it is free.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "LinkedIn For Business", posted with vodpod

What’s Your Hood Ornament?

When I was in my early 20’s I played professional squash.  I wasn’t half bad and managed to win a few tournaments.  One of my favorite tournament prizes was a convertible Dodge Dakota pick up truck.  It was a great truck.  In the years that have passed since, I have held a special place in my heart for great old trucks.  

Over the past couple of months I have decided it’s time – I’ve been keeping my eyes open for an old truck that I could pick up and with a little TLC, make into a GREAT old truck.  Last week, I found it.  The picture on the internet showed a black Chevy Blazer looking truck with a removable fiberglass roof.  It is in solid shape and has all of the right new enough parts to make the purchase a decent deal.  It is also nearly 30 years old.

After we exchanged cash-for-truck, I brought it home and my wife and I had fun checking it out in greater detail.  One thing we found – my new truck isn’t a Chevy Blazer at all.  It actually is pieced together with parts from all different makes and models.  It has a GMC rear on it, Silverado side panels, the front end off of a 1986 Suburban, and who knows what else.  The hood ornament has a logo of a “W” that I’ve never even seen before.  We’ve decided it stands for “What Is This Truck?”

Here’s the message, this is OKAY for a great old truck – NOT OKAY for a company.  If your company, or business, or even the message of what you do seems to be picking up so many extra parts that you can’t succinctly say “This is what we are” then my friend, you are in for trouble.  Your customers should be able to look at a glance and say, “They do this.”  You don’t want to wake up one day and find a weird hood ornament on your company brochure and wonder where it came from.