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Your Flagship Product

Your Flagship Product from Pivotal

In a conversation with someone last week, the topic of a "flagship product" came up and I realized that I had never really talked about this before in More Clients.

What's a flagship product?

A flagship product is a product or service that you and your business becomes identified with. It's something that communicates a concept or a solution that people automatically and favorably associate with you.

What a flagship product does is give you and your business instant credibility. When people purchase your flagship product, they are more likely to buy other products and services from you.

A flagship product should have the following characteristics:

1. It provides a unique solution or approach to a problem and is seen as new and memorable.

2. It is the starting point for all of your other spinoff  products or services.

3. It is branded in a distinctive way with a name and identity that is unlike other products or services.

What are some examples of flagship products by InfoGurus? Here are a few that immediately spring to mind:

Guerrilla Marketing - This book, by Jay Conrad Levinson, written in the 80's, has spawned a whole series of Guerrilla Marketing books and seminars. It's become a household name amongst small business owners.

Make Your Site Sell - An e-book launched in 2000 by Ken Evoy that established him as one of the preeminent Internet Gurus and was the genesis of       several other e-books and online products.

The Millionaire Mind - Harv Eker's free three-day workshop on changing your mindset about money. Tens of thousands have attended and it's been a launching pad for his other programs.

     The Wizard of Ads - The brilliant compilation of eZine articles was the first of three books in the series by Roy Williams, and the foundation for his 3-day Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas.

The InfoGuru Marketing Manual - The starting point for most of the customers and clients of Action Plan Marketing. Most people who take my workshops or Marketing Action Groups get this first.

Most of these are marketing-oriented examples off the top of my head, as that's the world I'm most familiar with. But if you look at your particular field, there are usually a few InfoGurus who are well known for some kind of flagship product.

I had been in business for 15 years before I launched my manual. Others take longer, some shorter. But however long it takes, it's a worthwhile goal to aspire to. It will give you leverage you can get no other way.

Your flagship product may be a book, an e-book, a workshop or training program. But it really has to be at the heart of the work you do and must have some passion behind it.

I once worked with a woman who had spent a year writing a book but who really didn't want to work with clients in that area. In other words, her flagship sank! There was nowhere she could sail it to leverage her own business.

Coming up with a new concept takes some time and creativity, but it's certainly worth the effort. Coining the word "InfoGuru" seemed like a gamble at the time (one of those titles that came to me in the shower) but I think it's better than many books or e-books that are completely generic and therefore unmemorable.

Not only has the manual served my business well in terms of being a foundation for all my products and programs, it has earned me substantial income over the past five years. A flagship product can create real marketing momentum.

Oh, here's another one:

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray. This  wildly successful book on relationships was the first of many other Mars-Venus Books. In fact, every book John now writes contains that flagship identity. I'm waiting for "Marketing Secrets of Mars and Venus." I'll get that one!

What's your flagship product going to be?

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The More Clients Bottom Line: The time to start working on a flagship product or service is NOW! It will make a huge long-term impact on your business. Find a way of developing something that stands out from everything else and you're on your way.

Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
Helping Independent Professionals Attract More Clients
http://www.actionplan.com

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What Makes Your Brand Stand Out?

What attracts consumers to your brand and turns them into loyal customers are the unique qualities your products and services have to offer. You provide something that no one else does or in a way that no one else does. Otherwise, why would you be in business?

Pivotal - what makes your brand stand out?

Your Brand Is Not a Cliché

Your products or services are unique, so make your marketing as unique. Don't package your marketing messages in clichés or overused phrasing that has lost its real meaning. It's not enough to say that your brand is "the best widget maker around." You have to dig deeper than that and get to the core of why your brand makes the best widgets. That why is what consumers are interested in and what will keep them coming back to your brand time and again.

Find Your Brand's Standout Power

Because you spend every day with your brand, it may not be obvious to you exactly what makes your brand so great. You just know it is!

Here are some questions to help you brainstorm what gives your brand its standout power:

  • How are you making life easier for your customers?
  • What follow-up or customer service do you provide?
  • Why do you stand above your competitors? Why would customers choose you?
  • What proof do you have that your brand is standout? Customer ratings or testimonials?
  • What stories can you tell about how your brand has worked for others?

Don't just ask yourself and your staff. Ask your customers! They can be the best resources for true insight into your brand. Send out surveys to your current base and see what they have to say. A lot of times companies are taken aback by the critiques and praises they get. You can use this data to mold not only your website language and images, but also your ads and the way you sell to you people. Remember to look for common themes within the surveys to address the biggest pros or cons of your business. Don't try to fix it all at once.

Remember: in creating your brand's promise for marketing messaging, don't just describe what your brand does. Describe what your customers get every time they choose your brand. Highlight the value you will bring to them with every interaction with your business. Remind them of this every time you get off the phone with them, obviously in a non cliché way, and your call backs or order times will improve.

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Are you in control of your story online?

story_google_ed

 

Who are you?

If someone wants to know who you are, they type your name into Google.

Before the meeting,  you have been googled.

Before the interview, you have been googled.

Before the pitch, you have been googled.

What is Google saying about you?

What did you give Google to say about you?

It's an interesting exercise to Google oneself ... interesting and sometimes surprising!!

Right there is a little window into how people might be seeing you.

That is the story people are seeing and reading about you - your personal brand story, your business brand story.

Did Google put it there?  No.  But Google chose which parts of it to put in front of searchers as the first thing they saw.

Did other people put it there?  Yes.  Your clients comment on your business and connect with you.  Your friends comment on you and connect with you.  You listed yourself on other websites, and commented or interacted there.

So to some extent, this is happening without you.

Consider, though ...

You gave your clients something to comment on.  What was that?

You connected with them.  What impression did that give?

You gave your friends something to comment on.  What was that?

You connected with them.  What impression did that give?

You associated yourself with other websites.  What impression does that give?

Everything communicates.

My mother said to me often and often, "Put your words on the palm of your hand before you say them."

She probably said that as I grew into a teenager with attitude, and not much thought for what I said, or what the consequences might be.

Everything communicates, especially words, but actions too.

So everything we do on the internet communicates something and it's not always what we might expect.

Google, and the internet as a whole, gives us an unparalleled opportunity to communicate, to share and to build a brand, and there is nothing so challenging, nor so rewarding as to to watch that brand build and grow.

Enjoy!!

Author:  Bronwyn Ritchie.  

If you would like help telling your story on-line, please contact me.  I have a "Connecting the Dots" programme that helps my clients find the story they need to tell.  

The element of surprise

 



"A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless." - Charles De Gaulle

Michael Chang is in the record books as the youngest winner (17) of a grand slam, but his French Open triumph in 1989 is largely remembered for one extraordinary game changing moment against the top ranked player in the world, Ivan Lendl.

Injured and exhausted, near the end of the match, Chang broke two of the most basic commandments of winning tennis.

First, in a sport where powerful overhand serving is usually the key to winning, Chang served UNDERHAND, and the confused Lendl's returns went into the net.

Second, on the match-point, facing Lendl's 120+ mph serve, Chang moved CLOSER to the net and stood at the line of the server's box.

The bewildered Lendl double-faulted, producing one of the most memorable upsets in tennis history.

Challenging the conventional wisdom on these previously sacred aspects of the game - serving and returning serves - Michael Chang radically changed his strategy, surprised his opponent - and elevated his standing in the tennis world.

ACTION

As you prepare for the coming week, ask yourself...

"How can I use the element of surprise to break the rules of conventional thinking in order to make a breakthrough?

Think of every business and personal commitment you have in place for the week and determine how you can use the element of surprise to blow a few minds, and as Charles De Gualle so beautifully stated...

"keep your public excited and breathless."

Everything Counts!

Gary Ryan Blair

Gary Ryan Blair is a visionary and gifted conceptual thinker. As one of the top strategic thinkers in the world he is dedicated to helping his clients win big by creating focused, purpose driven lives.

Speaking and branding lessons from a sandwich board

I am writing this after a scrumptious dinner in a town in the north of our state called Townsville. I am looking out over moon-sparkled water and the dark mass of almost-tropical islands close off-shore ...

... a holiday-inspired article which nevertheless applies to all of us who speak and to those of us, also, who work on branding our businesses.

And I was inspired, today as we wandered down the main street of the town full of historical buildings and more modern businesses.

pre_push

There it was. This sandwich board.

It caught my eye and then my imagination.

I had to go back and look again.

And what made it do that?

There are three reasons and they are all techniques we can use in our speaking and our branding to have people caught, intrigued and going back for another look (or listen).

1. She used Alliteration

All those Ps!

It's a beautiful rhetorical and literary device, alliteration, and it creates an effect called foregrounding

It creates a little hitch in the flow of attention, a little distraction. People might not even be aware that you used it, but they will be drawn to the words and their meaning. with a slight sense of intrigue.

If we count Pre-Push as one word, there is also anther device called the Rule of Three operating here. Create a list of three or a group of three and we have the same effect - that slight sense of interruption and something special.

2. She used Humour

(I'm using the word "she" because I met the owner of the establishment as I was taking a photo. She had a beautiful smile and very graciously and humbly accepted my exclamations about her marketing and my explanation that I wanted to use her work to share with you.)

I have never seen "Pre-push" used before.

Have you?

And even if you have, you have to admit it has flair.

It is a classic humour device - using the unexpected.

It made me smile and if we can make our audiences smile, we have them a little more open to feeling that we are likeable, that they can trust and believe our message.

3. She used an image

It's a subtle reinforcement, this image, of just what is meant by "Pre-push", and has a strong sense of the feminine, aimed, no doubt, at the target client, or perhaps her significant others.

We use images, too, to support our points when we speak. We don't need them to be distracting from our message, nor do we want them to be offensive.

(... and yes I have blocked out one of the words in the promotion in case you were offended or distracted by it!!)

So if you are in Townsville. Queensland, Australia and in need of some pampering, pre-push, I recommend you check out Bellanova.

And if you are in front of an audience, either presenting or online, I recommend you check out the lessons from her sandwich board, They are simple, subtle and powerful!!

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Branding Ph.D.: The Secret to Becoming the Top-of-Mind Expert on Your Topic So Prospects, Media, and Publishers Call You!

Howie JacobsonWhen you hear “futurist,” who do you think of? What about “marketing expert,” “leadership guru,” “motivation authority” or “customer service specialist”? Would you like to be on the short list for your expertise?What are you known for?

If you’re ready to be one-of-a-kind instead of one-of-many, you’re ready for this teleseminar.

There are hundreds of speakers, authors, consultants and trainers on the subjects of leadership, sales, motivation, customer service, conflict resolution and communication. What are you saying that’s different? What are you offering that hasn’t been heard before? How are you standing out in the crowd of “experts” on your topic?

Sam promises no platitudes. This is not Branding 101, this is Branding Ph.D.

You will learn:

  • the “Triple A Approach” for mining your experience to identify how and where you're original
  • how to corner a niche by creating your own niche
  • the secret to coming up with a trademark-able brand that helps you build a business empire
  • how to create the Next New Thing by creating a Eureka Moment
  • Contra-Brand: the power of introducing something that flies in the face of current wisdom
  • to “ink it when you think it” so you tap into your “Intellition” (intelligence + intuition)
  • to capitalize on POP! Culture so you are perceived as current and contemporary

Discover for yourself why Sam’s techniques have helped hundreds of infopreneurs catapult their career and income, and why her book on this topic POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd has been endorsed by Jeffrey Gitomer, Ken Blanchard, Mark Sanborn, Joe Calloway, and Seth Godin. As 4-time Pulitzer nominee Fawn Germer says, “You don't have to be a creative genius to use Sam’s techniques; however, using her techniques can make you a creative genius.”

Details here

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Your Brand is Being Created With Or Without You

Guest post by Laura Lowell

Brands are dynamic. Customers use our products and services. They like or dislike their experience and they say so, publicly. This type of customer engagement directly impacts your brand. In this way, your brand is being created with or without you. You can't control it. What you can control is how you deal with it.

You've probably heard the saying "feedback is a gift". It's also a gift that you can't return or exchange if you don't like it. It's yours to deal with whether you like it or not. Since most brands have some sort of an online presence today, customers have a very public option when providing feedback. They can leave their comments on your 1-800 customer feedback line or send their concerns to some anonymous email. More likely, however, they will post their issues to a website, blog or user group.

When customers provide this type of public, direct feedback, we basically have two options:

1. Engage - and hopefully influence the nature of the discussion

2. Remain passive - and let the discussion continue without us

I encourage companies to engage in the discussion. That's the point of the internet, social media and online communities. We have the capability to have these discussions in real time with many more customers than we could have ever have done in the past.

Yet, there are hundreds of examples where companies have had negative comments appear online about their products and they chose not to engage, or even acknowledge, the feedback.

In most cases this sort of "head in the sand" approach doesn't work out very well for the companies involved. They appear aloof, disconnected and uncaring. Customers post comments on corporate blogs and social media sites, and the damage is done. Companies then spend a ton of money and time trying to "manage their online reputation" - which usually means feeding good content into these sites in order to push the negative stuff off the first few pages of search results.

While this may work in some cases, it seems to be that it is a lot more effective, not to mention efficient, to just engage in the conversation to begin with! Here are some ideas to help you proactively manage your brand online:

Pay attention: create Google alerts for your company name, brand names, etc. Monitor where you brand is being mentioned and in what context. It's next to impossible to influence how the brand is being represented if you don't know where you're being mentioned.

Be active: identify the key places where your brand is being mentioned and get involved. Participate in discussions relevant to your brand but not where you are directly mentioned. You will get insights into the tone of the conversations and understand more how to position your brand appropriately.

Acknowledge feedback: when someone posts something negative, acknowledge their issue. Let them know you heard what they were saying. Explain your response, but don't try and justify your position, as you will only serve to annoy them further.

ABOUT LAURA LOWELL: Laura has been building brands and businesses for over 20 years. She writes about marketing and branding in her blog "The Rules...According to You" and has been featured on Oprah & Friends, ABC, The Huffington Post, and more. As the President of Impact Marketing Group, she helps entrepreneurs and small businesses build their brands and businesses with consulting, tools and training. Learn more at http://lauralowell.com

Laura and her family are currently living in Malaga, Spain. They will return to their home in Los Gatos, CA the summer of 2010.

Branding Ph.D.: The Secret to Becoming the Top-of-Mind Expert on Your Topic So Prospects, Media, and Publishers Call You!

Howie JacobsonWhen you hear “futurist,” who do you think of? What about “marketing expert,” “leadership guru,” “motivation authority” or “customer service specialist”? Would you like to be on the short list for your expertise?What are you known for?

If you’re ready to be one-of-a-kind instead of one-of-many, you’re ready for this teleseminar.

There are hundreds of speakers, authors, consultants and trainers on the subjects of leadership, sales, motivation, customer service, conflict resolution and communication. What are you saying that’s different? What are you offering that hasn’t been heard before? How are you standing out in the crowd of “experts” on your topic?

Sam promises no platitudes. This is not Branding 101, this is Branding Ph.D.

You will learn:

  • the “Triple A Approach” for mining your experience to identify how and where you're original
  • how to corner a niche by creating your own niche
  • the secret to coming up with a trademark-able brand that helps you build a business empire
  • how to create the Next New Thing by creating a Eureka Moment
  • Contra-Brand: the power of introducing something that flies in the face of current wisdom
  • to “ink it when you think it” so you tap into your “Intellition” (intelligence + intuition)
  • to capitalize on POP! Culture so you are perceived as current and contemporary

Discover for yourself why Sam’s techniques have helped hundreds of infopreneurs catapult their career and income, and why her book on this topic POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd has been endorsed by Jeffrey Gitomer, Ken Blanchard, Mark Sanborn, Joe Calloway, and Seth Godin. As 4-time Pulitzer nominee Fawn Germer says, “You don't have to be a creative genius to use Sam’s techniques; however, using her techniques can make you a creative genius.”


Details:

  • Length: 60 minutes
  • Cost: $25

Order the CD or MP3