Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Best Brands in the United States — Part 3

Happy Halloween
For the past two Halloweens, I have presented my lists of the top ten and next ten brands in the United States. I would remove Angry Birds from the list (what a difference a year makes!), but I'd keep everything else the same. My previous posts describe my criteria for these lists.

So, in my final installment of this series, I give you my list of top brands #21-25:

21. Corona — There are thousands of brands of beer, but the one that stands out most makes us think of sitting on a beach every time a lime is placed inside one.

22. Tostitos — Go ahead, try to name another brand of tortilla chip. There's a party in every bag.

23. Christian Louboutin — There's only one brand of shoe recognizable simply by its red sole. Louboutin even has a trademark on the red sole in the US.

24. Tiffany & Co. — Every woman wants a gift in the little blue box, and every marketer marvels at the margins Tiffany brings in compared to its competitors.

25. LinkedIn — This website has quickly become the standard resume bearer for workers in the 21st century and is the first stop for everyone about to meet with someone for the first time.

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What did I forget? Where am I wrong? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

There's never a lack of ideas.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Comment Commander un Hamburger en France

French Not Required
Right next to the French Metro stop at the Palace of Versailles is a McDonald's that gets tons of traffic from visitors around the world. We stopped in and I loved what I saw: six self-serve kiosks at which customers can place their orders in any one of five different languages. That's brilliant.

Managers at the restaurant have clearly identified that customers in the restaurant come from all over the world, they may not speak French, and they may not be familiar with all of the items McDonald's offers in France. So they give customers the ability to take their time and read about menu items in their language of choice, place their order with a credit card, and then pick up their food when it's ready.

I love innovations in fast food, so I had to take a little video of us using the digital ordering system. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed filming it.

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If McDonald's can innovate its ordering system in a cool way after selling hamburgers for more than 50 years, then so can your business. How will you innovate your product or the way it is ordered?

There's never a lack of ideas.

PS The title of this post means, "How to order a hamburger in France." But you already knew that because you used Google Translate.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

3 More Lessons I’ve Learned from Starting My Own Business (Part 2 of 2)

I'm Going Wild!
In my last post, I wrote about five lessons I learned from starting my own business, hoping someone might learn something from my experiences. In this post, I will describe what I learned about myself throughout this process — not to toot my own horn, but to hopefully inspire someone to start her own business as a result.

  1. I became a good salesman. I have never given myself credit for being good at sales. But what I've learned is that sales is an extension of marketing — or the other way around, depending on who you ask. Good salespeople know the needs of their customers and deliver a solution that satisfies those needs. Identifying the customer was my first challenge: distributors, retail stores, and end consumers all have different goals and the sales pitch to each party is vastly different. As a one-man operation, I was forced to become a great salesman, and if you start your own company, you will be, too.

  2. I perfected my elevator pitch. Related to #1 and I know it's cliché, but it's true: it's so important to be able to describe your product in 30 seconds or less. I have perfected the way I describe What's Wild?! in two ways: when I have the game in front of me and when I don't. The only way to do this perfectly is to practice thousands of times like I have. This important skill has helped me become a better marketer and has helped me in many other life situations.

  3. I can do anything in marketing with excellence. This experience exposed me to every single type of marketing there is — and I had to figure out how to prioritize the most important ones. No, I didn't buy ad placements in Sports Illustrated, but I bought placements in gaming industry publications and the only difference between the two is scale. I can confidently say that I have enlisted nearly every marketing tactic there is. And I don't mean that I stayed up in the marketing strategy cloud while others did the work for me. I mean that I took a concept from start to finish — from strategy to execution — and was successful. I pushed the buttons in my Google Analytics account, I designed direct mail pieces, I built a website, I created a commercial, I created compelling email newsletters... the list goes on and on. Not many marketers can say that. And I can only say it because I started my own business.
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I became a better marketer and salesman by starting my own business. I earned experience in ways only available to those who brave the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. If you have always wanted to start your business, I would absolutely recommend going for it. Hopefully the three reasons I've listed here will convince you it's worth the effort.

There's Never a Lack of Ideas.