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AS I WAS DRIVING DOWN THE STREET YESTERDAY, I saw a business proudly displaying a sign out front:

“We care about our customers and what’s best for them”

This kind of thing just drives me crazy. Seriously, somebody thought this would be an effective marketing strategy?

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HOW OBVIOUS is your company’s mission?

Is it so compelling that customers can tell you what it is, in their own words?

Is it so clear that your employees are thinking about it in some way every day?

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THERE’S A LOT OF FAKENESS in the world.

I would imagine that it’s always been this way, I suppose, but now it’s so much more obvious when people aren’t showing their company authentically in the world.

And consumers are getting really quite sophisticated in detecting fake messages.

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YOU’D LIKE FOR THE WORLD to be a safe place. After all, you’ve put your heart and soul into your business, and it would be terrible to have it fall apart.

So you try to play it safe.

But there are different kinds of safety. You could run close to the edge on being legal – but if you step over that edge, the regulators will shut you down.  Permanently.

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BrandYOUR BRAND ISN’T WHAT YOU SAY IT IS.

It’s defined by what others think about you.

Isn’t that frustrating?  Here you’re spending all this effort and money to create a strong brand image.  Does it matter at all?

Yes, but not the way you’d like it to.

Your work at developing your identity and reputation is about how you want your organization to behave.  You see, every touchpoint makes up what the market thinks about you. Read the rest of this entry »

On a missionLATELY I’VE BEEN WORKING with an increasing number of business owners who are out to change the world — in great ways!

For instance, I spoke with the head of a local medical clinic who is tackling the rapidly escalating costs head-on. They’re using a different model that relies much less on insurance companies, helping to give patients the tools they need to keep themselves healthy.

I can point to the rapid growth in what had been called “alternative medicine” but in fact is now quite mainstream. Chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists and naturopaths abound.

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MissionTHIS WEEK I WAS HONORED to give a presentation for Fort Collins Startup Week titled Build Your Business on a Powerful Mission.  We had a great discussion and explored some really neat territory about mission-driven startups.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to hear more.

One of the participants asked a really great question:  What does a mission statement actually look like?  You need to capture something with power and clarity when you’re looking for great partners, employees, and investors.

I promised that I’d expand on the answer to that question here.

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Sales wizardTHE GREAT DISCUSSION this week with Hugh Liddle and Jim Hamlin started some new momentum.  I’m glad we could  broadcast it to a worldwide audience.

For a Values Based Business, the concepts are simple but not easy to implement.

  1. Get clear on your mission/purpose/values
  2. Articulate why those deliver value for a customer
  3. Integrate those messages into your sales and marketing

Let me expand on that just a bit.
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Sales wizardTHIS WEEK I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to broadcast a wonderful discussion with my favorite sales wizards Hugh Liddle and Jim Hamlin.  They’re doing wonderful stuff to bring honest, effective and non-sleazy selling into the world.

We explored the subject of values-based selling, obviously near and dear to my heart.  When you’re in a business where your mission is an important part of your message, it takes special skills to incorporate that into selling.

Especially because most prospects have their guard up these days.  At the first sniff of something that’s dishonest or inauthentic, you’ve lost them.  Forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Newspaper brandsCOMPANIES SPEND AN INCREDIBLE amount on their marketing image.  But how often do you really see a brand message that well represents what that business actually delivers?

We’re really much more interested in how they behave than how they advertise.

I had a wonderful discussion this week with a group of Christian businesspeople, and we had a chance to explore this topic.

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