How to Maintain Brand Elevation With No Loss of Cabin Pressure in 2010

The Dream You wake up with a brilliant idea, a new concept no one has thought of before. You develop a flawless marketing plan over morning coffee, word gets out and by noon, the best teams of specialists all call you. All these world-class designers, marketing consultants, media planners and brand management professionals offer you their services free, just to be part of your breakthrough concept. By 3:00 p.m., four major global corporations have had their legal departments fax over contracts to form co-branding efforts…. Hey, let’s get real. If it were this easy, there wouldn’t be brand development and image management firms, nor all the activities (not to mention all the books on the market) designed to develop and manage brands. So until it gets this easy, brands either do well, so-so, or poorly-depending on how well they are conceived and maintained. If it’s going well, good. If not, then you’re suffering needlessly from a dreaded affliction: Brandus Interruptus.The Symptoms of Brandus Interruptus A brand exists for one key purpose: to be the bridge that connects a product’s or service’s promise (e.g., “To help you become a world-class athlete”) with the consumer’s desire (e.g., “Just do it”). So how do you tell whether your brand is living up to its potential or giving you the short end of the stick (i.e., Brandus Interruptus)? Some of the early warning signs include:
Trying to be like another company is one (violating every basic premise of positioning).
Trying to be everything to everybody is another.
Having no (or random) design consistency is yet another.
Identifying the branding objective is the key step in preventing or halting the dreaded Brandus Interruptus and its accompanying symptoms. Is it to reposition an ailing brand? Is it to invent a category that no one has claimed yet? Or is it to handle a real oversight where the brand has lost its relevance? Below, you’ll find the qualities necessary in creating and managing a world-class brand, a clarification on the differences between brand strategies and brand tactics, and why we hear so much about brands reinventing themselves (and what problem this is really solving and how to avoid this pitfall in the first place).A Category of One The grandest objective and ultimate dream-come-true would be becoming-and sustaining-a category of one. Being best in a category is admirable, but being in a category of one is truly the prize trophy. Recently, an installment in the Wall Street Journal’s branding series featured David S. Pottruck, Co-CEO of the Charles Schwab Corporation. In this interview, he states, “We’re not trying to become the traditional model of a full-service firm. We’re establishing the new model. That’s a very challenging brand position to build because people want to pigeonhole you. Oh, you’re like this firm or, You’re like those guys. Well, what we want is to be unlike anyone else. In other words, a category of one.”Maintaining Brand Stamina So let’s say you’ve had the good fortune to develop a sound brand. How do you manage it so it doesn’t suffer from “Brandus Interruptus”? Let’s look at some examples. Examples of consistent brands are Dyson, Apple, Harley Davidson, Nike and Fossil. None of these brands is capricious about how their brand is presented to the world. None allow chaos to compromise the brand. Harley’s rebel position is embraced at every corner whereas Apple’s “cool innovation” can be seen from a mile away.Prevention Is the Best Medicine Just as prevention is the best medicine, understanding is the best form of prevention. The best-managed brands utilize the brand as an anchor. To understand this is to understand the difference between a brand strategy and a brand tactic. A brand strategy is a long-term plan, with bigger and broader objectives. Brand tactics are those actions designed to forward the brand’s strategic objectives. Example: A brand strategy could be to develop the best online service for cat lovers. A brand tactic would extend from that, such as evaluating all possible competitors to see their strengths and weaknesses, developing certain marketing goals from that information. An even more basic tactic could be forming an alliance with the best cat food manufacturer. Brand strategy=big picture plan. Brand tactics=day-to-day implementation that makes it possible to forward the strategic plan.The Cure We read about it everywhere. Reinvention is an all-too-common term these days used in branding and marketing circles. Let’s look at the reality of this popular concept. Reinvention=purpose reinforced. Well, if a purpose needs reinforcement (or refreshing like popping a breath mint), that tells us the purpose and mission of that brand went off the rails somewhere-maybe all at once, or slowly through gradual erosion. It’s like forgetting one’s name, or career, or reason for getting up in the morning. Each results in a diminishing of both drive and clarity for doing what one is doing. So, let’s go earlier. A company starts out (hopefully) with a purpose: to solve “X” for some identified public. Things take off. Word gets out. Production demand increases. Day-to-day needs flood everyone’s plate. The brand goes on “automatic.” Everybody’s really busy-busy forgetting about brand presence, brand purpose and the reason all this activity was started in the first place.Well, nothing runs on automatic for too long. That’s why the world’s great brands-Nike, Apple, HP, IBM, Xerox and Chrysler to name a few-all went through a “reinventing” process for their brand. What they really were doing was refueling their “lost” drive, their lost purpose, reclaiming ownership of what had been theirs to begin with. Keeping a brand alive involves a consistent and continuous assessment of the marketplace-the same type of assessment that was done when any enterprise first came into existence.When this is all left unattended, all of a sudden you’ll find everyone talking about the need to “reinvent” the brand. It’s a poor substitute for forgetting why one was doing what one was doing in the first place. And the cure? Keeping one’s brand alive, fresh and consistently relevant.

Commercial Financing Advice – Commercial Lenders to Avoid

This commercial financing article will describe the importance of avoiding “problem commercial lenders”. The article will NOT name specific lenders to avoid, but key examples will be provided to illustrate why prudent commercial borrowers should be prepared to avoid a wide variety of existing commercial lenders in their search for viable commercial financing.I have been advising business owners for over 25 years, and I have encountered many commercial financing situations which have involved commercial lenders that I would not recommend as a result. These problematic situations have especially involved commercial mortgage loans, credit card factoring and unsecured business loans. As a direct result of these experiences and daily conversations with other commercial financing professionals, I do in fact believe that there are a number of commercial lenders that should be avoided. This conclusion is typically based on more than one negative experience or an obvious pattern of lending abuses.I have published many articles which are designed to assist commercial borrowers in avoiding commercial financing problems. One of the most serious commercial financing situations is a commercial lender that causes problems for their commercial borrowers on a recurring basis. It is particularly this type of commercial lender which prudent commercial borrowers should be prepared to avoid unless viable alternative commercial financing options do not realistically exist.Here are a few examples of why certain commercial lenders should be avoided.COMMERCIAL FINANCING AND COMMERCIAL LENDERS TO AVOID EXAMPLE NUMBER 1 – Yes or No?I have published an article which discusses the tendency of many banks to say “YES” when they mean “NO”. Such banks will typically attach onerous commercial financing conditions to business loans instead of simply declining the loan. Business owners should explore other business loan alternatives before accepting commercial financing terms that put them at a competitive disadvantage.COMMERCIAL FINANCING AND COMMERCIAL LENDERS TO AVOID EXAMPLE NUMBER 2 – The Commercial Appraisal ProcessFor commercial real estate loans, commercial appraisals are an unavoidable part of the commercial loan underwriting process. The commercial appraisal process is lengthy and expensive, so avoiding commercial lenders which have displayed a pattern of problems and abuses in this area will benefit the commercial borrower by saving them both time and money.COMMERCIAL FINANCING AND COMMERCIAL LENDERS TO AVOID EXAMPLE NUMBER 3 – Think Outside the BankIn smaller metropolitan markets, it is not unusual for a dominant commercial lender to impose harsher commercial financing terms than would typically be seen in a more competitive commercial loan market. Such commercial lenders routinely take advantage of a relative lack of other commercial lenders in their local market. An appropriate response by commercial borrowers is to seek out non-bank commercial financing options. It is neither necessary nor wise for commercial borrowers to depend only upon local traditional banks for commercial financing solutions. For most commercial loan situations, a non-local and non-bank commercial lender is likely to provide improved commercial financing terms because they are accustomed to competing aggressively with other commercial lenders.Copyright 1995-2007 AEX Commercial Financing Group and Stephen Bush. All Rights Reserved.

Do You Have an Internet Home Based Business Idea?

Now that you have had that internet home based business idea and have decided to start a business from home, selecting the right business opportunities is as easy as 1-2-3, well maybe 1-2-3-4!1. Decide to Market a “Consumable” productWhen trying to decide which internet home based business idea you should develop, just think about this for a minute – every time anyone gets out of bed each day and goes to work, someone makes money. Every time you pick up the telephone, someone makes money. Every time you eat, turn on the water, start your car, use a bar of soap, or get a haircut, or go on a vacation, someone makes money. Imagine transactions of hundreds or even thousands of dollars and also millions of $3 or $4 sales several times a month, year after year, after year.The ideal internet home based business idea which develops into a turnkey home business is one that markets consumable products or services in such a way that after your initial effort is done; repeat orders, sales and commissions come to you for that effort on a continuing basis.2. Be ahead of the major Market TrendsA “Market Trend” is really an economic movement, meaning that large masses of people’s spending habits are moving in a uniform direction. The effect the baby-boomers have had and will have for years to come on the American economy is a good example.One leading economist likened the effect the baby-boomers have had on the economy since birth to a basketball running through a garden hose! That fact along can be a major factor in generating profitable home based businesses and should certainly be considered when developing our internet home based business idea.When developing our internet home based business idea, the question we must ask ourselves is: Are we positioned in front of the basketball or behind it?History shows that those who identify these trends early, and are able to meet the needs of these trends, are able to create abundant wealth for themselves. In essence, they get in front of an economic wave and ride it to financial freedom!The key is timing. Get in front of the wave and take the ride of a lifetime.Current research shows, that what most people want out of life is feeding the current market trends and should be considered in your internet home based business idea:1. Owning Their Own Business2. Having Tax Advantages3. Being Financially Independent4. Being Healthy5. Being more environmentally conscious6. Having A Rewarding Career7. Owning Their Own Healthy Home8. Looking & Feeling Younger9. Losing Weight10. Traveling11. Improving Their Lifestyle12. Personal Development Training and SupportMega-TrendsThese are the wants and needs of some very large consumer groups. In fact, some very large trends are gathering momentum as you read this. They are so large that they can accurately be called “Mega-Trends”.One of the mega trends is in the area of Health and Wellness- An Internet Home Based Business Idea Because of the economic influence of the Baby-Boomers, economists are predicting that this industry will be the next Trillion dollar industry within the next ten years. Paul Zane Pilzer, an internationally known author, college professor and economic advisor to two presidents, predicts that there will be 10 million new millionaires in the Health and Wellness internet home based Network Marketing industry within the next 10 years. Now that could be a basis for an internet home based business idea!I guess the question we need to ask ourselves is: Will we be one of them?Another of those trends is in Travel – an Internet Home Based Business Idea and recreation. Some estimate this industry to be 7 trillion worldwide with expectations to double within the next 6 or 7 years which is over 20% faster than the US economy. Other experts estimate that travel in the US along exceeds 1.3 trillion.I have read that there are more cruise ships to be built within the next 5 years than in the previous 45 years total. Baby-boomers are swarming to the luxury resorts around the world and this activity is expected to increase as the boomers experience the inheritance of their parent’s money and also begin to draw on their own retirement plans.With the baby boomers currently retiring at the rate of about 1 per second and increasing, increase in travel could very well be the largest mega-trend we will experience in our lifetime!The combination of these Mega-Trends is causing one of the most explosive economic waves in history. Now there is another potential internet home based business idea! All Wealth is first created in the Mind and then transformed into reality by the application of known Principles! – Think and Grow Rich! – Napoleon Hill3. Leverage your timeLeverage, through the process of duplication and multiplication, allows us as entrepreneurs to develop a successful internet home based business idea, part-time, around our busy lifestyle. In essence, leveraging our time allows us to get more done in a shorter period of time with less effort. This concept applied in your home based business means you can accomplish more than you could normally accomplish on your own.When effectively incorporated into an internet home based business idea, computer and internet technology can multiply leverage thousands of times. That means in the right system, networking and internet technology can do the work of thousands of people, and you get paid on that work! Imagine developing a business part-time, which can grow to a full time career, that wouldn’t interrupt your present circumstances, and provides you a flow of income while you spend time with your family, travel, go to the beach, or even sleep! That’s the power of leverage.4. Market SelectionBefore choosing the right internet home based business idea, one must first identify the fastest growing industries as well as the most profitable home based businesses. Some of the fastest growing industries today are:Greeting Card Industry – 7 billion greeting cards are purchased every year. Annual retail sales of greeting cards are estimated at more than $7.5 billion. Nine out of every ten households purchase greeting cards each year.Working From Home – $401 Billion Dollar Industry.Internet Marketing – exceeds $523 Billion according to a study done by the McCombs School of Business and is expected to reach 7 Trillion within the next 3 years.Mail Order Marketing – $350 Billion Dollar Industry and growing.Wellness Industry – $200 Billion Dollar Industry and expected to reach $1 Trillion within 10 years.Nutrition Industry – $4.2 Billion Dollar Industry and exploding.Weight Control Industry – $33 Billion Dollar Industry fueled by epidemic size obesity levels. An estimated 70% of the U.S. population needs to lose 10 – 50 pounds.Personal Care Industry – $72 Billion Dollar Industry.Cosmetics Industry – 8 Billion Dollar Industry – and steadily growing.Travel and Vacation – $860 Billion and growing.When developing an internet home based business idea into profitable home based businesses, it is not necessary to pick an industry which we already have an affinity for, although it certainly is desirable. However, as you will see in upcoming pages, if you have the Desire to build a business and new lifestyle, there is a fit for you out there. Again, the challenge is to select the right business and company when you start a business from home.Not only should the market and marketing concept fit you, but in order for a business to be real it must have the right: Product, Market, Timing, Management, Company, Compensation, and Benefits and Rewards.We should not look for get-rich schemes! If you are serious about your goals of personal development and building a long-term residual income and work diligently towards goals you will succeed.