A Brand New Recipe For Branding

In a recent article, I told the story of when I was a young whippersnapper, attaining classes at what was then and still is called "one of the more famous hotel schools in North America", the marketing professor gave us an interesting, but quite challenging assignment.

We were to find a hospitality business that marketed itself by using the participation of the owner as part of the "distinctiveness" of the business. At the time, this seemed like a most difficult assignment, because in those days, it seemed that not too many people really stood out in this field. At least that what it seemed like to me in my youth. Or maybe it was just that they did not want to either make a fool of themselves. There seemed little need to drive the world to their door. I chose a very different restaurant enclosed within an old 19th century Mansion in this very cosmopolitan city. It was called Julie's Mansion and was owned and operated by a very eccentric, but wonderful showman who knew that he had to differentiate his restaurant from all the rest. He knew that the best way to do that – after the assumption of great food, entertainment and service – was to turn himself into the "brand."

My job, as a young hospitality student, was to watch him carefully and learn as much as I could. One Saturday night I showed up and Julie was trying to 'insert' himself into the home team's pro hockey uniform. It was immediately obvious that Julie had never played hockey. To see a middle-aged man struggling to get into and then have to have me extricate him from the jersey, equipment, elbow pads et al, was hilarious for a young guy like me, who had been on skates and playing the game since age four. He certainly was not afraid to make a fool of himself. When I showed up that night, he had less than no idea what piece of equipment went where, and was struggling with the shin guards. He had got himself all tangled up with what he thought were hip guards, when in fact they were shoulder pads, worn over the shoulders. It was indeed the first time I had ever seen a 'player' wearing shoulder pads, stretched around his butt.

I helped him get 'dressed'. Next came the taping of the hockey stick. This was really hilarious, watching this fellow trying to figure out the right way to tape a hockey stick without making a mess of it and looking foolish to his customers. He had a special plan for that stick.

I taped his stick and now he was ready. He had on his uniform, equipment and helmet, borrowed from one of the local NHL players who were a frequent guest at the mansion. Now, he actually looked like a real NHL hockey player … in black and white running shoes, sans skates!

Then Julie 'flew through' the different alcoves and floors of the restaurant with a big ball of foodservice aluminum foil as his 'puck'. He stick-handled in and out and between tables, took shots with the aluminum ball off the walls, cross-checked his own waiters trying to serve tables, all the while yelling cheers and the phrase made famous' round the world, by Foster Hewitt : "he shoots …. he scores!" All this, at the top of his lungs. Then he had planned for a horn to sound loudly indicating that the 'period of play' in his imaginary 'game' was over. It was now time to go to the dressing room. In a flash, just like an on-stage magician, he quickly disappeared into thin air, hidden in his office.

My face was covered in tears. I could not stop laughing! The restaurant was in an uproar. Guests were laughing so hard … one guy literally fell off his chair. The waiters were laughing, the guests were laughing, I was laughing and all the while Julie was having a ball too. Here was a restaurateur who made his work fun.

I had not met one of these types before. I really liked and respected this fellow. But I figured then, and still today, that anyone who had that much fun … and made that much money … must know something the others did not. And he did. He became his own brand. 'Distinctive. 'Differentiated. 'There is attractive to people who are sick of seeing the same old, same old every day. People are attracted to differences not similarities. Take a look at what you can do with yours. It's right under your own nose.

© Copyright, Roy W. MacNaughton, 2006

Education Based Marketing

We are a society of information junkies. We thirst for information every single day. When we consider our own buying habits, where do we go? If it is a big item we might go to Consumer Reports or search for information online. We will certainly go to Google or Yahoo and search for whatever it is we want.

One of the very best examples of "Education Based Marketing" is seen at http://www.askthebuilder.com . That web site is packed full of information on the how to's of home improvement. People gravitate to vendors who supply the greatest amount of information.

A Simple Example:

If we were going to buy a pizza and we were standing right in front of two identical pizzerias, side by side, and one of them had a big sign in the window that read: "FREE Pizza Recipe Book," which one we would walk into first? We would probably all be interested in what ingredients are in the pizza and how the pizza is made.

What comes into play here? First of all we probably would never see two pizzerias side by side and we will more than likely NEVER see a pizzeria owner "divulge any secrets." The fact is, not very many people are going to ever try and make a pizza at home and it will certainly never taste the same as it does when you buy if from your favorite pizza vendor. The pizza vendor could have a business card with his web site address taped to the box with instructions on how to claim your free "Pizza Recipe Ebook." Of course there are "More Coupons" inside the ebook.

Many restaurant owners do not have much time to spend online. If the owner just had a printed recipe every week, (with his next week's coupon on the other side) he would create a customer loyalty and a following. All of his customers would look forward to the next recipe and would have to come into the restaurant to get it.

Most of us that have an e-mail address have bought something online or subscribed to an e-mail invitation for "specials" that the vendor offers. When we get their e-mail, all it includes is the items that they are selling and often times it is quickly deleted. If we were to buy something from the local craft store and they asked for our e-mail address and said: "We will be happy to send you the free" how to project of the month, "along with some coupons. up? Most likely we would if we had an interest in crafts. Of course that e-mail is going to include the "Special of the Month!" We might just head right back to the craft store to grab the new set of paint brushes that are on sale.

Yes, we are playing in the digital age. That brings up the power of educational ebook marketing. Ebooks are being made all the time and distributed freely all over the Internet. Along with the free information is an opportunity to purchase the vendor's products or services. Ebooks are easy to make or easy to have made for you. A simple example of ebook marketing is seen at: http://www.investigate.net The vendor gives away a free ebook that is useful for locating unclaimed funds held by the states. In it, there is an opportunity to buy unlimited access to public databases. Someone who uses the ebook can access it over and over without ever buying a thing. However, if that customer ever needs to find someone or find some secret public record, where are they going to go?

The salesman or woman who sells to business owners can be a welcome sight if he or she always shows up armed with some written information or "little known secret" about that particular owner's business or industry. That information is always given freely without any expectation of a sale resulting from it. In addition, if the salesman or woman took the time to send a one page piece of mail to all of his customers every month with the "Idea of ​​the Month" on how to increase sales, (along with a business card) who do you think the business owner would want to buy from?

The mission is simple. Educate your customer every chance you get. Provide the most valuable information you can to your customers. Continue to educate your customer the best way you know how and you will develop a customer loyalty that is worth its weight in gold.

You Must Listen Closely to Be a Better Car Salesman

When we talk about selling cars for a living we are talking about a competitive field where not all of the participants survive. It's a bit of a dog eat dog environment. The turnover at some car dealerships can be brisk and a couple very common questions among any sales staff is how can I be a better car salesman or how can I sell more cars.

The job of the automobile sales person is a multi-faceted job and in trying to answer the question of how to be a better car salesman there is not a single, all inclusive answer. Like most jobs there are a series of different tasks performed and in order to be successful one must work at and improve all of the different aspects of the job.

Listen to Be a Better Car Salesman

When it comes to being a car salesman one of the most important aspects of the job is being able to effectively communicate with people. There are not any tricks when it comes to dealing with people, but a critical part of dealing with a potential car buyer is to listen closely. Most people believe that in order to be a better car salesman that you need to be a good talker when in fact the truth is that you need to be a good listener.

I am not simply talking about the words that come out of their mouths. You see car buyers do not always tell every detail so to be a better car salesman you need to ask questions and listen closely. It has been said by many successful sales people that if you listen close enough the customer will tell you how to sell them a car.

If you want to be a better car salesman you need to listen to every word that comes from their mouth, but you also need to listen by watching their body language. The car buyer's body language consistors of facial expressions, body movements, attention span and attentiveness. When you present a vehicle to your customer and demonstrate some of the features and the customer is looking at the next feature while you are showing them the current feature the customer is telling you that you are moving too slow or that they are not very interested.

If you were listening closely by watching them and noting that they are not interested in that feature you would move on to something that interests them. However the sales person that was not paying very close attention would drone on about the feature and before too long their customer would become bored. This is a not an example of how to be a better car salesman, but how car buyers get turned off by sales people. That customer is very likely to get bored with the entire process and before long they would ask for the salesman's business card and tell them that they will be back when they have more time.

Then that customer would kindly visit another car dealer and if they are taken care of by a salesman that is listening closely and pays attention to their words and body language they will more than likely buy a car. This is a very common scenario when it comes to the business of selling cars and if you are determined to be a better car salesman you will start to pay attention to everything that your customer says and does and tailor your presentation accordingly.

Most Popular Sports Around The World

All types of sports are popular globally, but what sports can we call THE most popular in the world? Some of the answers may surprise you.

It’s no surprise that football, or what Americans call “soccer” is the world’s most popular sport to play and to watch. An estimated 3.5 billion people either watch or play football. The World Cup is the global championship of the sport and this tournament is played every four years. The World Cup itself is one of the highest rated sports on television, with many countries tuning in en masse to watch their country’s team play. Football is popular in all of the UK, Europe, Asia as well as South America. However, with so many other sports being popular, the Unites States still lags behind in their interest in “soccer”.

Next, we have cricket. This sport which consists of a bat and a ball, has been around for hundreds of years and originated in England. The sport is popular in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, some African countries, some Caribbean countries and it is the most popular sport in the countries of India and Pakistan. An estimated 3 billion people watch or play cricket each year.

The next most popular sport is a sure surprise, and that is field hockey, with an estimated 2 billion players or watchers, mostly in Asian countries, European countries, Australia and around Africa. This sport tends to be played in high schools in the United States, usually by girls only.

Coming up next is tennis. Not so surprising, but there are an estimated 1 billion players and watchers of tennis around the world. Tennis tends to be popular in richer countries, including the United States, Asian countries, Australia and Europe. There are four main tournaments in tennis, called “Grand Slams” at which players from many countries play. The first is the Australian Open, then the French Open, Wimbledon and then the US Open in late August. The Grand Slam tournaments tend to get the most attention during the tennis season.

Next we have volleyball. Yet another surprise, with an estimated 900 million viewers or players around the world. Volleyball is popular in the United States, where the sport originated, as well as in Brazil, all over Europe, Russia, China and Japan. Volleyball is a popular high school sport in many countries due to it’s team centered play and lack of specialized equipment requirements.

Also popular is table tennis, otherwise known as Ping Pong. This is another surprisingly popular sport around the world, with an estimated 900 million watchers or players. Table tennis originated in England as an after dinner activity for Victorians in the late 19th century. Table tennis as a competitive sport is popular in many countries but is especially popular in China, Korea and Singapore.

After these sports, we have a triumvirate of more mainstream American sports including baseball, golf, American football and basketball, with each sport attracting between 400 and 500 million players or watchers worldwide.