PepsiCo Weighs Another Fix to Diet Pepsi

Diet Pepsi’s declining sales outpace other diet sodas despite move to different sweetener. What do you do when you’ve upset your core customer? Here’s what I shared with Mike Esterl at The Wall Street Journal.Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 8.26.13 PM

PepsiCo Inc. may be on the verge of another big move to bail out Diet Pepsi.

Last August, the snack and soft drink giant introduced aspartame-free Diet Pepsi, removing one artificial sweetener and substituting another, sucralose, in an attempt to stanch sliding sales.

PepsiCo could announce more changes as early as this week. Executives notified some bottlers in recent days that they plan to discuss with them on Thursday an action plan to stabilize diet cola, according to a person familiar with the matter.

PepsiCo didn’t immediately comment Wednesday.

Since PepsiCo tried to fix the brand last August, Diet Pepsi’s plight has gotten worse. U.S. sales fell 12% in the 12 weeks ended May 21, compared with 6.7% for all diet sodas, according to estimates by Wells Fargo Securities, based on Nielsen store-scanner data.

In the year before the debut of aspartame-free Diet Pepsi, sales had fallen 8.5%, according to the estimates. In the past 52 weeks, they’ve fallen 9.3%.

Diet soda sales industrywide declined a more modest 5.4% in the most recent 52-week period, as rival Coca-Cola Co. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. brands won market share. Diet Pepsi is still the No. 2-selling diet soda after Diet Coke.

At the time, PepsiCo said it changed Diet Pepsi’s recipe because consumer surveys showed aspartame—long the soda industry’s primary zero-calorie sweetener—was the No. 1 reason Americans were dropping diet cola. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration vouches for aspartame’s safety, some studies have flagged health concerns and internet reports tie the controversial sweetener to everything from cancer to autism.

But many Diet Pepsi loyalists don’t like how the new, sucralose-sweetened version tastes. And new Diet Pepsi drinkers haven’t materialized because Americans increasingly are rejecting all artificial sweeteners, not just aspartame, over health concerns.

PepsiCo defended its new recipe for Diet Pepsi, which also includes another zero-calorie sweetener, acesulfame potassium, commonly known as Ace K.

“Diet cola consumers in the U.S. asked for a great-tasting cola without aspartame, and we delivered,” the company told The Wall Street Journal in a written statement last week, responding to a request for comment.

At the same time, the company reiterated last week that it was exploring ways to make the aspartame version available to consumers. Chief Executive Indra Nooyi suggested last year that the old version would be sold online.

Dean Crutchfield, an independent brand consultant, said PepsiCo should make a mea culpa and bring back the old Diet Pepsi—much like Coke did in 1985 when it rolled out New Coke but quickly reversed itself after longtime fans rebelled.

“The last thing you want to do is alienate your existing customers because they’re your ambassadors,” said Mr. Crutchfield, who has advised PepsiCo and Coke in the past.

Chase Thomas, a 42-year-old nurse practitioner, used to treat himself to a Diet Pepsi every afternoon but stopped because the new version tastes “awful” and “flat.” He also doesn’t like Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Zero, instead keeping an unopened bottle of aspartame-sweetened Diet Pepsi in his fridge as a keepsake.

“It’s my Holy Grail,” said Mr. Thomas, who lives in Anniston, Ala.

Veteran beverage-industry consultant Tom Pirko said PepsiCo would have to take more dramatic steps, including possibly changing the brand name, to reverse plunging sales as consumers also are turning their backs on all carbonated beverages labeled “diet.”

Diet Pepsi’s “now aspartame free” label hasn’t attracted enough new drinkers. While 42% of Americans avoided aspartame in a March survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation, 35% avoided sucralose, up from 25% last year. Those who avoided Ace K jumped to 28% from 13%.

Not helping matters, the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest cut its sucralose rating to “avoid” from “caution” in February after an Italian study linked the additive to leukemia in mice. That followed a 2014 study by different researchers suggesting the zero-calorie sweeteners saccharin, sucralose and aspartame raised blood glucose levels, a risk factor for diabetes.

Coke is far more exposed to soda than PepsiCo, which derives more of its sales from noncarbonated drinks and snacks. Still, Diet Coke’s U.S. sales fell just 4.7% in the 52 weeks ended May 21, half as much as Diet Pepsi, according to Wells Fargo.

Negative tweets about Diet Pepsi outnumbered positive ones by a two-to-one ratio between October and May, according to social media tracker Sysomos. Tweets mentioning Diet Coke were slightly positive over the same period.

Programmatic Marketing: 8 Reasons Why You Need it Now

images-6CMOs and their agencies must transform for a new era of programmatic marketing. Programmatic simply means automated, so programmatic marketing refers to using technology to automate the process of planning, implementing, managing and analyzing marketing campaigns.

Automation also reduces the investment needed for sales and marketing, eliminates middlemen from the process and saves money because it cuts out complex ad-operation tasks and the transactions become transparent, more efficient and effective:
Honing the Message
With programmatic marketing creating a single viral marketing campaign can be miraculous for brand awareness and gaining customers. This provides a huge advantage over traditional marketing where you could only offer one advertisement to a diverse segment of consumers. People want marketing that’s personalized and tailored to their needs so the single serving quality of a short narrative is the perfect art form for the programmatic age and is the most cost effective way to deliver personalized content to a target consumer. The result is qualified leads and conversion at lower cost so that CMOs are able to optimize and target the right consumer in real time with an ad that has a single context to a single target and agencies can determine which consumer gets to see what content and achieve a better result.

Affect Campaigns Instantly to Changing Market Dynamics
Programmatic marketing provides data driven prospects and turns the hard into the possible by being able to continually self-improve and analyze data in real time. By evaluating traffic and pricing across reach, clicks, impact and engagement programmatic marketing can instantly react to changing market dynamics to measure performance, make alterations and maximize the campaign. This means less waste because it’s faster than manual optimization and it allows marketers to spend more time focused on the planning and creative behind the ads rather than the logistics.

More Time For Strategy Development
Today CMOs face challenges of agility and speed not the scale and uniformity of bygone days in advertising. Most advertising is typically passive by nature, but with programmatic channels CMOs can intersect with grounded strategies that deliver more targeted, tailored and faster campaigns that stimulate and engage consumers in multiple areas. As CMOs seek more efficiency and effectiveness to share their content and fuel their growth traditional marketing will decline and marketing automation will make many activities obsolete as programmatic begins to streamline the more lucrative operational aspects of the marketing process. This allows CMOs to focus on what they do best: developing and testing strategy and building marketing campaigns.

Paying for the Consumers you wantMoney
Using millions of data points sources from first-party and third party data programmatic marketing develops a holistic view of the consumer to find the right audience, target advocates of the brand and serve highly targeted content in a millisecond. In real time CMOs can optimize their campaigns and vet
if a consumer is likely to be a prospect because programmatic analyzes behavioral and psychographics data, not just clickstreams that measure what is working and jettisons what’s not.

The beauty of programmatic marketing is that you can improve the efficiency of media spend because you’re reaching out only to the consumers you are looking for which delivers ROI, increases CTRs and reduces CPC.

Ability to Plan and Build Effective Multi-channel Cross-device Campaigns
Now that CMOs have a cross channel, cross screen view of the consumer they can deliver the right message to the right consumer and ensure that digital marketing efforts deliver maximum click through rates and improved targeting.

Based on data that instructs the strategy for the campaign and the auctioning of impressions only the content based on the data and insights that are appropriate to the campaign are used. Programmatic marketing only shows up on specific channels and websites if the right target customer is browsing a specific channel at that time. It also removes multiple silos of data from different departments and agencies and purges the multiple counting effects of a single channel view.

Evaluating Campaign Success Every Second
Programmatic marketing allows CMOs to measure the reach (awareness, education), impact (action, conversion) and engagement (retention, and advocacy) of their digital marketing and evaluate campaign results across every channel of video, search, mobile, and display in real time. This enables CMOs to establish clear, empirical campaign goals and allows their agencies to be more efficient, reduce campaign costs and achieve KPIs with a reduced set up time.

Ability to Build Scale
With the ability to strategize, implement a campaign, manage it and track it across many publishersimages-11 through a central source it’s easier for CMOs to scale across thousands of sites and channels to create multiple marketing opportunities from one idea. That represents enormous progress and efficiency that guarantees marketing is being seen in the right context and doesn’t open the door to non-viewable impressions or environments that are not brand appropriate.

Deploying Programmatic in New Ways
Outside of analytics and content management platforms the large majority of publishers use to have little utility for marketing technology. What makes programmatic marketing so exciting is that it heralds a new era of marketing automation that can dramatically lower costs with transparent pricing creating greater efficiencies and enable publishers to heighten sales, rationalize operations and create suitable data to enhance the overall process. For programmatic marketing to be effective for publishers and their partners, the industry has to dispel the myth, demystify the technology, squash fears of fraudulent criminal activity and provide intelligent access to big data.

Programmatic marketing has changed the approach publishers have traditionally operated forcing them to become experts in programmatic. The potential here is enormous, with publishers gaining greater control over the buying and selling of inventory with insight into how their content is performing, creating more value for Chief Marketing Officers, brands and their agencies trying to reach them.

Is Programmatic Marketing the Future?
The shift to programmatic marketing is causing a seismic shift across the board, not just for publishers, but also for CMOs and their agencies that need new ways of working faster. The major benefit for most CMOs is greater efficiency, but programmatic marketing carries with it several bigger and longer-term benefits. As the technology advances, programmatic marketing will be a dominant player and become more sophisticated. An entire category has been created around programmatic with specialized providers leading the charge along with some of the major agencies and companies such as Wal-Mart building in-house platforms that have evolved rapidly to become an essential tool.

The majority of CMOs (67%) say they’re either unaware of programmatic marketing, don’t understand it or need to learn more about how to apply it to their marketing campaigns. Ten percent claim they understand it, but haven’t used it. Which leaves less than one-quarter of CMOs who actually get programmatic marketing. They all better hurry up for within 2-3 years we won’t be saying “programmatic” it will just be the way things are done.

@deancrutchfield
dean.crutchfield@odemglobal.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/deancrutchfield

 

 

What’s Old Is New Again As Brands Revive Characters Like The Hamburglar and Colonel

Here’s what I shared with Steve Perlberg at The Wall Street Journal

 

 

Starbucks CEO clarifies racial dialogue initiative

Okay, time to wake up. What does Schultz need to do to keep the initiative alive. Here’s my perspective with CCTV Anchor Michelle Makori on March 25th, 2015.

http://www.cctv-america.com/2015/03/25/starbucks-ceo-clarifies-racial-dialogue-initiative

Flikr is trying to Change it’s Image

Can they make it happen and will it work? Here’s what I discussed with CNET reporter, Richard Nieva on November 30th, 2014.

http://www.cnet.com/news/flickr-is-trying-to-change-its-image/

Do Celebrity Endorsements Outweigh The Risks?

“Everybody lives by selling something,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, author of “Treasure Island.” Agents, CMOs and deal-makers will always get starry-eyed by the big names
of “celebrity” because brands love endorsements, and consumers buy into “celebrity.” Questions remain as to whether the international obloquy related to the Michael Phelps DUI crisis has dealt another devastating blow to celebrity endorsement. In light of the risks, is the celebrity endorsement deal still worth it?

Companies know there’s risk when they choose a celebrity-endorsement approach. Many have learned the hard way that it becomes a reflection of themselves; just ask Nivea, with its speedy capitulation of its Rihanna sponsorship in 2012 for being too wild and sexy, “Rihanna is a no go… I do not understand how to bring the core brand of Nivea in conjunction with Rihanna” according to Nivea’s CEO, Stefan Heidenreich. If you put a face to a name, the more likely you’ll remember it, and marketers know the same goes with hitching celebrities to their brands.

Recent studies of hundreds of endorsements have indicated that sales for some brands increased up to 20% upon commencing an endorsement deal. According
to Anita Elberse, associate professor at Harvard Business School, some companies have seen their stock increase by .25% on the day the deal was announced.

There is the issue of overexposure to consider. We receive more than 3,000 commercial images a day; our subconscious absorbs more than 150 images and roughly 30 reach our conscious mind. Therefore, practice has it that if you use
a celebrity-endorsement strategy, you dramatically accelerate the potential for your brand to reach the conscious mind of the consumer, especially given research from Weber Shandwick that finds peer endorsement trumps advertising.

So if word-of-mouth is the No. 1 purchase decision-maker, why are some CMOs displaying recalcitrance toward big names that can create so much brand buzz and peer recommendation? Are we witnessing the decline and fall of “celebrity”? It’s true that not every brand needs a celebrity — it has to be relevant to the brand and the consumer. More important, if there were a face for every brand out there, it would be a calamity.

On the upside, celebrity endorsement has the power to instigate and inspire, enlighten and enrage, entertain and edify the consumer. Its inherent benefits
are that it can be leveraged across multiple channel experiences (and potentially services), cuts through advertising clutter, creates a brand narrative and allows
for channel-specific optimization. Ultimately, celebrity endorsement is always worth investing in if you have the right person. It’s an expensive but easy option for companies, but it should be treated like a marriage with added creature comforts that make the partnership invaluable:

The opportunity to create new markets and/or tap into an activation base of fans: Such was the strategy behind Patrick Dempsey’s Unscripted men’s perfume for Avon.

The ability to spark sales by enticing consumers to learn more about the brand: LeBron James is one of the top paid athletes in the world and generates a brand halo.

The means to promote a unique, relevant and sustainable brand attribute that might be hard to attain otherwise: Nike’s rapid success in the golf category was chiefly because golfers wanted to lay claim to Tiger Woods when he was the number-one golfer in the world.

The option to build reciprocity into the partnership by supporting the celebrity endorser’s brand: David Beckham knows how to sell, and business publications praise his business smarts as he masters social media and expands his brand beyond music.

The grounds for innovating the product/service offering: Rihanna’s “Umbrella” song hit big at the Grammys a few years back, and her designs for Totes’ umbrellas hit big at the retailer.

timThe challenge to a preconceived notion: Recently Timberlake hosted the Wal-Mart annual shareholders meeting endorsing “I buy a lot from Wal-mart”.

The collaboration that can impact the business model of the partnership: 50 Cent’s ownership
of Vitamin Water sold to Coca Cola netting him over $200M.

All are sound criteria for a celebrity endorsement strategy, but the brewing split over the Michael Phelps DUI affair conflicts with an otherwise inviolable marketing convention: using celebrities to market the offer instead of featuring the product
or service’s value for consumers and the value that underpins their manufacture.

And what about the role and risks of social media? Celebrity endorsement is often stymied by constraints and contractual limitations; does leveraging social media represent the next evolution for celebrity endorsement and brand advocacy? 95%
of social-media users believe a company should have a presence in social media, which can get the brand into the conversation because social media enables consumers to adopt new behaviors.

CMOs need to incorporate these new behaviors into celebrity-endorsement strategies because social networks make up marketing’s most powerful media: recommendation. Though fraught with danger, social media’s potential for making celebrity endorsement a multi-platform juggernaut rests not with what happens inside it, but what it makes occur outside of it.

Horror and probes over the last few years demonstrate that celebrity-endorsement Moneystrategies are a scary, inherently unstable but essential marketing activity, as brand share is too strong an incentive to keep celebrity endorsement down. An estimated $50 billion is invested globally on corporate sponsorships and endorsements. While a majority of that is spent on sports marketing, “celebrity” plays a dynamic role.

The machinations over value and values are the debate of the industry. The bottom line: The more problematic high-profile celebrity endorsers, the better bargaining power for CMOs. CMOs understand the value of owning celebrity endorsement and using it to bolster the customer relationship. CMOs know that few brand-building strategies can deliver on the bottom line as much as celebrities, simply because the product will sell better. Newer forces are also fortuitously propping up the celebrity endorsement boom with B-, C- and reality-TV-listers constantly seeking new ways to blur the lines between commercial and entertainment worlds. Even C-listers like Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
of “Jersey Shore” can lead to marketing triumphs.

U.S. celebrities show up in more than 15% of advertisements, according to Millward Brown, and the number is far higher in markets such as India (24%) and Taiwan (45%). So before we drown celebrity endorsements, let’s recognize that they’ve never gone out of vogue nor will they, because the rewards of relying on an endorser can far outweigh the risks.

What we search for in celebrities is not so far from what we search for in our friends.
The secret is to never trust an animal no matter how many legs it has.

 

 

Do People Give a S**t about Brands?

Is brands’ importance dwindling? Are consumers thinking about your brand? Are organizations that sweat to differentiate MomBaby_logosthemselves in cluttered markets wasting their money? Brands are supposed to have the power to provoke, instigate, incite and inspire, enlighten and stimulate, agitate, stir up and encourage, urge and edify the consumer and are often worth much more than a company’s physical assets. Today brand equity accounts for 30% of the S&Ps value, but pundits have been fomenting about the irrelevance of brands and their role since the digital revolution started.

Ubiquity of computers and smart devices in an age of “perfect information” challenges the role of brands and how they’re built. Do brands make it easier for customers to cut through the bombardment that drowns us every day? Research reveals that receive more than 3,000 commercial images a day; our subconscious absorbs more than 150 images and roughly 30 reach our conscious mind. Therefore, practice has it that if you differentiate your brand you dramatically accelerate the potential for your brand to reach the conscious mind of the consumer.

The ability for customers to research reviews on websites, chat with people through social media and review websites like Trip Advisor before they buy products has dramatically reshaped the customer journey. According to a newcall to action book by Simonson and Rosen these trends simply make brands not as valuable as they used to be because the consumer has become more informed and rational in their decision making process and need brands less, especially as word-of-mouth is the No. 1 purchase decision-maker.

The old purchase funnel is dead. Consumers still want a clear brand promise and offerings they value. What has changed is when, at what touch points, they are most open to influence, and how you can interact with them at those points. In the past, marketing that put the lion’s share of resources into building brand awareness and then opening wallets at the point of purchase worked pretty well. But touch points have changed in both number and nature, requiring a major adjustment to realign marketers’ strategy and budgets with where consumers are actually spending their time. To best serve today’s consumers, companies need to enhance their Internet presence and encourage word of mouth with more consumer feedback before and after a purchase especially as many products marketed to men are bought by women and vice versa.

Perhaps still the best definition of the word brand, from a 1998 copy of Webster’s dictionary, was “to mark with a red hot poker” and in many ways it’s still spot on because brands need to be red hot in this Darwinian new world of social media and empowered consumers who now can prolifically communicate with each other and form the all powerful court of public opinion. Recent research by McKinsey & Co has shown that consumers do not systematically hone down their choices, but take a more recursive and less reductive approach.

Today the consumer goes through a rigorous consideration phase followed by evaluation of the brands chosen and the selection/decision to buy. After purchase the customer enjoys the service, advocates the brand to their peers, bonds with the brand and swoops round to purchase. If not bonded the process starts over and moves back into consideration. This has huge implications for the delivery of brand marketing especially as consumers today take all the brands they have under consideration right to the point of purchase so a brand being a short cut to a consumers purchase is a lot harder to accomplish.

If you don’t like change you’ll like irrelevance even less. The dawn of “social sharing” is transforming the economics of marketing and the Internet has upended how consumers engage with brands making obsolete many of the brand’s traditional strategies and structures.The Internet has upended how consumers engage with brands. It’s transforming the economics of marketing and making obsolete many of the brand’s traditional strategies and structures. For marketers, the old way of marketing their business is unsustainable. The purpose of brands has changed. Brands will succeed mainly by inspiring customer loyalty, but prior to loyalty being built, brands need to both aid brand recognition in the market and influence what customers associate with the brand such as speed, reliance and status.

People do care about brands, just not as many as we’d like to think and brand value is rising. The presiding confluence of economics, culture, and history intertwine creating consumer’s who desire a reciprocal relationship and new thresholds that bring to the fore new brand leaders with a more progressive outlook. The timing is ideal for brands to seize this opportunity to take on decisive role, establishing an even stronger position in society and taking consumer’s experience with the brand deeper into the core strategy of the business – not just a pure sales play.

What it takes is a “fans first” philosophy that guides the brands overall engagement strategy. This represents a move away from push advertising toward a model of listening and engaging where appropriate. So the challenge to a brand strategy that desires to be everywhere customers are, and in the social space, is how to achieve it in a non-big brand way. What we search for in brands is not so far from what we search for in friends: brands are personalities and the more CMOs care about their brand’s role in society, share benefits with their community and really listen and engage their customers to compete to get what they want fewer CMOs will get fired less and they’ll get more bang for buck from their brand marketing dollars.

 

Dodging Taxes – Big Time Companies Are Moving Their HQs Overseas

There is nothing but cold contempt for the alarming headline on the cover of Wood for treesFortune. It reveals a sleazy course of conduct by many large US corporations and reads like a tragicomedy. Making it worse is the fact that these corporations still believe they’re good corporate citizens that deserve the same benefits in the US!

Clearly the US Government has been drafted into a war that it created and needs
to shatter its complacency and ensure that strong rhetoric is not left to stand on its own, without strategy to translate words into positive action. This spreading sore
is a hangover of America’s lacks corporate tax system and requires the cleansing fire of restructuring with a conference of action that closes loopholes and reasserts the interdependence of US corporations and American society with shared responsibilities, shared values and shared benefits. Shareholder value might be
a result not a strategy, but tax is the picture and it doesn’t change the issues.

images-11What has made American corporations great is their passion for acquisition, exchange and accumulation, but the grim fact is that many large US corporations haven’t paid billions of US taxes for years so this maneuver is the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy (after this therefore because of this). The Government must stop being shackled by the crippling decisions it’s made in the past regarding US Corporations’ legitimate and sanctioned avoidance of US taxes. It’s akin to junk food – it has little nutritional value (for the country), is bad for your health (economy) and is a hard habit to kick. Facts are stubborn things and this news just makes avoiding US corporation tax official so get your wallet out and pay their share.

http://fortune.com/2014/07/07/taxes-offshore-dodge/

 

 

 

 

How To Bust A Category…

 

Four foundations to accomplish stand-out in a category:Innovation and Evaluation

 

 

There Are No More Big One’s…The Sea Has Turned Red

“There’s no more big ones” quipped my 3yr old as she scooped an empty spoon from the ice cream cup. The same is true drilling your network for new business: the sea has turned red, time to forage afresh. Here are some sure ways to kick start.

urban geometries 6 - way out!
6 – ways out!

6 Ways To Encourage Your Office To Tap Growth Fast

New growth is achieved by being different and heroic, but with big corporations hording their cash and banks refusing to loan small businesses much needed finance, the US has more than a fiscal cliff on its hands – it has growth crisis that threatens to stifle the very core of America’s economy: small business owners.

Within any entrepreneur’s purview all manner of initiatives and schemes exist to boost business growth. Sadly most can’t through lack of time and resources. The vital ingredient to pursuing opportunity without regard to resources currently held lies in creating affordable actions and simple communications that generate new business opportunities with warm contacts. To help beat the bushes there are eight practical initiatives you can apply to drum up your staff’s involvement, rapidly creating a simple program of actions that can kick-start a river flow of opportunities.

Value creation is determined by how tightly your business is run and the quality of your customer relationships – retaining 5% of your customers can add 25% to the bottom line. Satisfied clients and suppliers are a great place to start by simply asking who in their company/market you might be able to help. This is an effective way for your client servicing teams to engage their clients and vendors to generate opportunities, whether it’s inviting the client to discuss this with your CEO through to the power of proactive proposal writing by the team that provides the most immediate impact.

How did you feel the last time you received a genuine hand written note? Send notes to a handful of influential people either at a client’s business or a prospect you know. It’s amazing how effective it can be to trigger “why should I care?” from the client. Yes, it’s laborious and your handwriting better be in reasonable shape, but the approach works, especially if you make sure the note is promising lots for them, not you!

Business often suffers when you’re unaware of your brand’s standing because your client quite literally doesn’t believe that you can do what you say you can do. Therefore, more often than not, we need to give to get for an opportunity to meet with a prospect. To demonstrate your diverse grasp of the category consider emailing an article or some recent research from a related field that shares an invaluable perspective on the client’s business (including clients you haven’t talked to in years) with an outline of the actionable insights you wish to share that will benefit the client in multiple.

POV (TV series)

Don’t be frightened by Possibility, She makes a great mistress. Write a provocative byline with a strong POV and send it to the editor of a magazine, paper or blog your customers and competitors read. You might get lucky and its published or at least they’re open to hearing more about you. If all fails you now have a strong POV to present, tout in a sales letter, host on your web site and use as part of an office wide social media outreach campaign for the company.

It’s not actually who you know, as the saying goes, it’s how you use who you know. Encourage the office to identify 25+ people – commercially important to your business – invite them to an informal group discussion (8-16 attendees) on a hot topic at a salubrious location for breakfast or after work. Aside shared insights, the goal is to make an appointment with each attendee post event, and approach those who did not attend using the outputs from the discussion as a lever for opening a conversation.

Consider having the team send a thank you gift (as simple as a good book) to a few people who referred you or gave a reference for you. It might have been some time back, but the act of recognition is rarely refused and showing appreciation inevitably leads to a follow up opportunity where new ideas you have prepared can be discussed. Remember, nine times out of ten, people will answer back when spoken to.

People are a brand’s greatest asset and to lead a team you first need to be in the team; when a business shares a deep and broad connection with its employees, they go above and beyond what’s expected of them. When employees are excited and focused, servicing customers who are satisfied, the business runs well. These initiatives are simple to accomplish and if engaged with enthusiasm they will entice the office to be involved to pool their knowledge and get them vested in the success of the business. The difficult part is follow-through.

Nothing in the world takes the place of persistence and determination. Build momentum by creating a low cost competitive initiative that is team based using all of these actions to rapidly promote the business. If you have the benefit of a new business professional representing your company the task becomes a lot easier to orchestrate, especially the art of following up. While being fully prepared for delays the key is to have fun with the program by coordinating it enthusiastically versus efficiently, and with regular office alerts on progress, impact will be felt within weeks. Let’s grow.

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