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1. They avoid the "complacency" trap of success.
Success makes obsolete the very behavior that created it. If you are successful, that means you know what used to work. You have to be developing your next strategy and implementing it well before your old strategy loses its effectiveness. Sometimes this will require courage.
2. They get total team commitment.
Before you decide what to do, you've got to decide who to do it with. Most companies assume that everyone is "on board". The first step is to find out who is committed and who isn't. Your strategic and tactical decisions mean nothing if your team isn't totally committed.
4. They understand that the customer constantly changes.
Your loyal customers who have always been satisfied just changed. And they will change again tomorrow. Expectations are skyrocketing. Your customers is in control and you'd better give that customer what he wants, the way she wants it, and when he wants it. Your competition is every business that your customer interacts with. You get compared to everyone.
5. They understand that every employee's job is to build, communicate, and protect the brand.
Your brand is your promise to the marketplace and your ability and commitment to keeping that promise. Every employee has to believe in that brand promise and be dedicated to building, communicating, and protecting it.
6. They fight to maintain consistency.
The single biggest threat to a great brand is lack of consistency. If my satisfaction with your company depends on "who I get"; you've got problems.
7. They differentiate by transcending commodity & category.
Don't try to be a leader in your category. Create a separate category and be the only one in it. Believe me, some competitor can match your quality, your technology, your service, and your price. You have to transcend comparison by having the customer see you as being fundamentally different.
8. They literally redefine the scope of their business.
You have to go beyond what is expected. You have to do more than just the entry level things. Think in terms of experience, or solutions, or how you help your customers succeed. Don't limit yourself to whatever product or service you think you deliver. Assume that they can get that somewhere else. Expand your concept of what you do to the point that you literally invent a unique competitive advantage that surprises your customer.
9. They have a clear sense of identity, culture, and who they are that runs throughout the organization.
While all companies want to be the brand of choice, very few companies can answer the simplest, most important question in business: "Who are you?" If you don't have a clear sense of who you are, what you're all about, what's important here, and what your particular turf is - then how in the world do you think the marketplace is supposed to know. Culture is what drives everything you do. Your single most powerful advantage is to be a company in which every employee has a clear sense of culture, and pride in being a part of that culture.
10. They understand that everything flows from leadership. As a manager you make the organization function as designed.
As a leader, you do one thing. One. You remind everybody of who we are.
11. They become brand of choice by connecting with customers on an emotional level.
There's no way around it. Whether or not you like the word, an emotional connection is required if you want to be the brand of choice. If you want your customers to love doing business with you, then you're talking emotion. There's a big difference between being well known, and being the brand with an emotional connection. You do it with people. How are your people doing it?
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