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@biggreenpen a change in leadership should not change the moral fiber or values of an organization. A leader has to embrace the existing values of the business, and reinforce them. Sometimes new leaders act too quickly, and cause irreparable damage. Understanding the values should influence not only leadership decisions, but change management decisions.
This also highlights a major reason many mergers fail. Misaligned values create havoc, and often the difference are irreconcilable.
2 months, 1 week ago on Refer to Your Values in a Crisis
@biggreenpen Interesting. Hiring people who are misaligned by culture or values could be an example of disregarding your values and potentially crashing your brand.
@Eleanor Pierce @StickyBranding you raise an interesting point Eleanor. Values start with the owner. Gini is a values driven leader, and you can see how it radiates through your organization.
@LauraPetrolino thanks Laura. It's interesting to think of this article in light of Union Street Guest House's story last week. They could have avoided their entire crisis if they understood their values.
@ClayMorgan really? Why didn't anyone tell me this ahead of time? I want the editorial guidelines for a 5 word article next time :)
@Eleanor Pierce how does Arment Dietrich apply its values in key decisions? Do you have a process or structure to reference your values?
@ginidietrich thanks Gini! I agree. Growing a business is hard, and there are plenty of opportunities to test your moral compass. Being acutely aware of your values and staying true to them is essential for growing a vibrant, long standing company.
Great post Gini. I agree with your comments on crisis management, but I don't think they're enough for USGH. The situation is so dramatic that crisis communications 101 won't be sufficient to upright their business or brand.
USGH's brand is cooked. Yes the media and internet attention will pass, but the damage will linger for years to come. The reviews won't disappear. This is compounded by their market dynamics. Hudson has a population of 6,713, and a median income of $24,279. USGH cannot rely on the local market to rally around their brand and support it. The town is too small.
My proposal for USGH is a "phoenix rebranding." They've got to create a new brand (and business) out of the ashes of the old one. Take item 4 in your list, and fix everything: new philosophy, new approach, new operations, new name, and a new reason to visit USGH.
This is a sad story, but a great lesson. Thanks for sharing!
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Crisis Communications 101: What You Can Learn from Union Street Guest House
@bobbeagle it's the result that counts. The behaviors don't matter if they're not moving the needle.
3 months ago on Personal Performance Management: Manage The Behaviors
@PeterLee2 Thanks Pete! You've got a great story to share. It's inspirational.
3 months ago on What Made You Successful Won’t Make You Successful
@PaulChato it's funny how "operationalize" could seem normal. As I went through Weird Al's list I kept thinking businesses sound like Donald Rumsfeld
3 months, 1 week ago on Weird Al Yankovic Is Making Fun Of Your Branding
@Complex2Clear That's great Paul. I've watched the video a dozen times so far. I keep thinking of all these words that seem so natural, but really they are contrived.
@Matt Vazquez thanks Matt. One of my rules of thumb is to look for adjectives and commas. When a sentence has several adjectives or adverbs it's probably stuffed with jargon. It's a good reminder to have someone else edit your marketing, and task them to circle all the business speak.
I'm in agreement with their approach. They can't apologize for their service model, because best case they'd dilute their brand and worst case they'd discredit it. The issue is customers are not comfortable with a paradigm shift in the industry, and are venting their frustrations. The approach is also effective, because it speaks to their fans. It engages their target market, while alienating customers who are really seeking "legacy airlines."
3 months, 1 week ago on The Spirit Airlines Hate Campaign is a Win
@belllindsay @ginidietrich it's ok. You're in my house. I not only support profanity, I encourage it. Swearing makes you more creative :)
3 months, 1 week ago on Gini Dietrich’s Staff Call Her Baby Ugly
@belllindsay It's fun to see the new Arment Dietrich though. You're making a nice transition from a personal brand (The Gini Dietrich Show) to showcasing the depth of talent across the organization. I also find this surprising for a professional services firm. Too often professional services firms are designed to serve the needs of the Partners, and the staff are treated like billable cogs. I really found your firm's approach refreshing.
@LauraPetrolino thanks Laura. Since all of the employees are dispersed through North America, does this level of communication help you form tighter bonds with your colleagues?
Thanks Paul. I agree. There needs to be structure and etiquette for criticism, otherwise it can come across as insubordination.
My pleasure Gini. More entrepreneurs should follow your lead.
One of the things I didn't fit into the article is you also ask for solutions. It's not a bitch fest. Every criticism has to be backed up with a solution.
@Danny Rosenberg agreed. It's the people behind the scenes that bring great brands to life.
4 months, 1 week ago on Great Brands Are About People: Ambitious, Impatient People
@Danny Rosenberg great quote, "Who would give their credit card number to an untrustworthy platform?"
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Websites That Sell Are Different
@Rick Caouette thanks Rick. Do you have any company examples where they have applied it successfully? From my experience running a recruiting agency we found that every company that employed this strategy had very high sales turnover rates. For example, a facilities management firm we worked with churned 67% of their new hires within the first 6 months. We had to fire them as a client, because they could not retain talent.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Hunters and Farmers: A Failed Sales Model
@Danny Rosenberg You raise a good point. That's largely the philosophy behind The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Adapt your strategy and business by listening to your customers, and gathering qualitative customer feedback.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on FeedBlitz: Clients Will Tell You What They Want
@phollows my pleasure. You have a great story to share. I find your approach inspirational.
@JoelUngar that's awesome Joel. I'm sure they'll appreciate the recognition.
5 months ago on Delight Your Customers
@Opal Gamble Their products are stunning, and all custom. I always seem to drool when I look at their stuff :)
5 months ago on Walk The Talk. How Cabico Delivers The Human Touch
@JoelUngar Thanks Joel and good comparison. You're right. 80% of what a CPA firm does can be purchased at any other CPA firm. The challenge is to isolate the one strength you can own.
5 months, 1 week ago on Your Strengths May Not Be Sufficient
@Jimgilbert Thanks Jim. Wheels & Deals is also a great example of a brand with competitive community. I bet many of your competitors don't even know a large portion of the market is shopping for cars, because the customers only visit your dealership.
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Competitive Immunity: It’s Hard To Compete Against A Brand
@bobbeagle Great point Bob. I love the comparison to a measuring stick. That's a great way to frame the goal. It sounds like your team was focused on the right outcomes.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Give Your SMART Goals Meaning
@Aron Elal maybe the attitude is related to size. A solopreneur may not value this level of marketing. I look at my website as another sales person. Investing $10-15k per year on the site is pretty cheap compared to the cost of hiring human sales person.
The other side of this discussion is quarterly maintenance and updates are designed to improve performance, not design. You may make some tweaks to the design, but largely the template stays intact. In my case I made major content changes and added new graphics to the Speaker and Services sections in March, but I didn't change my WordPress template. We worked within the confines of the design template.
I agree with your premise though. This concept of ongoing development of your website is a new concept for many organizations. Only the ones who value performance are going to make this level of investment.
6 months ago on Your Website: The Set It And Forget It Trap
@bobbeagle agreed. Your website is as important as your best sales person, but few companies give it the time or attention it deserves.
6 months, 1 week ago on Your Website: The Set It And Forget It Trap
@bobbeagle Great point Bob. The incremental accomplishments are great morale boosters for the team. It demonstrates the hard work they are doing is paying off.
6 months, 3 weeks ago on Break Through Revenue Plateaus, One Goal At A time
@Jimgilbert thanks Jim. I love your story. There's so much to talk about, but only 500 words for an article :)
7 months ago on Wheels and Deals: 20 Year Overnight Success
@JoelUngar The interesting part is a niche, in terms of the accounting industry, doesn't have to be a service category or vertical. It could be a point of view. As you point out, every accounting brand is cut from the same cloth. They all have a similar look and feel, and the popular presentation is to use pictures of your people. The imagery is tired and cliche. If a firm created a bold visual identity and led with a strong point of view, they too could create a niche simply by deviating from the pack.
7 months ago on When everyone looks the same, who do you refer?
@MelodyMeld neat. Congratulations. It's a fun journey building your platform. Where are you gaining the most traction so far?
7 months ago on Platforms Don’t Grow Themselves
@bobbeagle Great insights Bob. Thank you. I really like your mantra. Companies with sticky brands view relationships as strategic assets to their business. The strong relationship with frequent communication can not only generate new opportunities, it can provide the necessary insights to get better. In your organization did you have a structured methodology for capturing and analyzing the messages coming back from your fundraisers and alumni relations?
7 months, 1 week ago on Scalar: Sales Driven Cultures Build Brands
@Brisebear I encourage you to spam my stuff. I'm special :)
7 months, 3 weeks ago on LinkedIn Groups: Cans of Spam
@Brisebear Brian, you raise 2 very good points. First, LinkedIn actually encourages content sharing over engagement. Their logic is sound, because they're trying to create as many hooks as possible to keep users active in their site. For the Sticky Branding Group we have over 30,000 members. When we didn't moderate the link sharing the group became overwhelmed in content, and discussions plummeted. Link sharing may make sense for small groups with less than 5,000 members, because they have yet achieved a large enough critical mass to sustain conversations. For larger groups, the blatant "dump and run" behavior is obnoxious. Your second point, re: group owners capitalizing on the group, is another story. They're not creating communities, they're advertising. A strong group is not about the owner, it's about everyone else.
@oneimaginginc It's a process Shirley. Keep playing and testing, and I'm sure you'll find the one that sticks.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Macadamian: Finding A Brand Name That Sticks
@kenowens thanks Ken. I agree. It's counterintuitive that we have to write about this. Also, I really like your line, "empathetic listening." It's a great way to describe the kind of listening that's required to influence behaviors.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Stop Shouting! Listen. Build Your Brand Listening
Absolutely Joel. It's an excellent book on strategy with a very useful strategy development framework.
7 months, 3 weeks ago on Tilt The Odds: Choose A Niche To Win
@PaulChato ha! Thanks Paul. I write in fear of you unsubscribing :) Glad to hear it resonated. This is one of my mantras for 2014.
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Stop Marketing, Start Selling
@JoelUngar Domenic said their customers have the same reaction. At first they can't believe their getting the call, but once they overcome the shock they're very open with their impressions. The program has been so successful their outbound call center is growing rapidly (which is very unusual for a pizza chain to even have an outbound call center.)
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Pizza Nova: Always About Quality
@JoelUngar agreed. Pizza Nova has a very focused approach. My favorite part is the feedback loop. It's one thing to say you're delivering quality, but it's another thing to have it verified. The feedback loop is a powerful innovation.
@JoelUngar glad to hear the article resonated Joel. I agree, the story is in the results.
8 months, 3 weeks ago on Another Way To Say “One Stop Shop”
@Raleigh Leslie Thanks for sharing Raleigh. I have found with clear guidelines and strict moderation the spam issue can be managed. We have significantly curbed the Sticky Branding group's spam problem since I wrote this article. Yes, the group still receives a lot of blog submissions, but they're all filtered into the promotions tab. The engaged users have noticed the change, and adhere to the policy. Other users have modified their behavior, and the problem users get whittled out of the group. I'm largely of the opinion that the LinkedIn Spam issues fall to the group owners. It's their choice whether it's going to be a problem or not.
8 months, 4 weeks ago on LinkedIn Groups: Cans of Spam
@JoelUngar Thanks Joel. I was drinking from the referral Kool Aid forever too, but an analysis of a client's business showed me the underside. They're not achieving their potential, because they're not reaching beyond a select audience of referrals. It was an eye opener.
9 months ago on The Downside of Word of Mouth Marketing
@Complex2Clear thanks Paul! Happy New Year to you too. Building an effective metrics system takes time and discipline. Capturing the data is one thing, but using it is where the rubber hits the road. Choose one to three metrics to start with and work to institutionalize them. Once you're gaining value from those metrics you can add or adjust them.
10 months ago on 6 Brand Metrics To Drive Sales
@Opal Gamble thanks Opal! It will save me a cold call :)
10 months, 2 weeks ago on I Hate Cold Calling, But I Still Do It
@Complex2Clear Thanks Paul. Great point. You can't grow a brand without focus and sacrifice.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Alpha Poly Packaging: Easy In, Impossible Out