3 things to truly change your business

We hear it all the time – “You’ve got to be different to make it in today’s business world.”

In other words….

Be a Zagging, Purple Cow in a Blue Ocean (a gold star on your forehead if you understand that phrase).

“BUT HOW?”, lament many frustrated companies. It seems like you make a product and BAM! 3.2 seconds later someone else has a similar product or service only cheaper. You open a store and while on your lunch break your competition has moved just down the block. I’ve found it tough (impossible?) to compete on the old 4 marketing P’s of Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

Okay, so maybe the 4 marketing P’s aren’t dead exactly, but they do seem so one-dimensional and base.

So what can we compete on?

I propose the much more dynamic and hard to copy 3 P’s – Passion, People and Promises.

  • Passion. Thinking beyond 9 to 5. Daring to dream beyond this quarter’s profits. Inspiring beyond the walls of your store.
  • People. Not pogs, but people. Real people with real hopes, desires, passions (see above) and fears are everywhere inside and outside your organization. Open your eyes and connect (I mean really connect) with people. See their potential and help them expand their vision.
  • Promises. Make promises and keep them. Do more than what is merely expected. Dare to be bold, dare to do what no other has done.

Sadly, most companies stop after the traditional 4 P’s. Many don’t cross the great chasm carefully crafted by the few great companies that use Passion, People and Promises to their ultimate advantage and differentiation. It’s the difference between Southwest Airlines and Delta, between Build-A-Bear and Toys-R-Us and Cold Stone and Baskin Robbins.

Make it happen for your company this Monday morning.

Flash of Insight: Suprise!

A flash of insight This is my attempt at a “Yogi Bera-ism.”

Surprising a customer can go a long way – especially if they’re not expecting it.

Seinfeld & Gates Microsoft Ad #2

Okay, so I may not have been the biggest fan of the first ad (it was kind of like the first few seasons of Seinfeld – it was alright).

However, this second ad (more like a webisode at 4:30 minutes) is much better in terms of the entertainment value. I’m still a little confused on how it builds brand loyalty, but maybe it’s just a slow build. Here’s how I’d rate it:

Entertainment Value:
starstarstarhalf_star (3.5 / 5 stars)
Brand Builiding:
starhalf_star (1.5 / 5 stars)

If you have not seen it yet, take a look and tell me what you think:

Let’s hope they get even better! Until next time.

Confusing definitions and purposes

“The purpose of a business is to make money.”

You hear this all the time…and it’s dead wrong. Just as the purpose of life is not to “breathe in and out”, the purpose of business is not to make money (nor is it to increase shareholder value either). Breathing and making money are mere definitions of life and business.

Don’t get me wrong – a business does need to make money, non-profits need donors, political parties need voters and churches need converts in order to exist. But just as the purpose of life must transcend merely existing by “breathing in and out” and encompass a deeper meaning of love, learning and leaving the world better than how you found it, so must organizations look beyond merely existing (making money) and focus on something much more profound and powerful.

Disney seeks to “make people happy”, the Container Store is “devoted to helping people simplify their lives” and Zappos.com strives to give “the absolute best service online.”

Without a solid purpose, life and business are unsatisfying at best and completely destructive and a waste of potential on the other end of the spectrum.

But don’t worry. If you have a simple yet meaningful purpose, the definitions will take care of themselves.

So this morning (right now!) cancel half your meetings devoted to making more money, getting more donors and seeking more converts and instead have twice as many conversations about enhancing and spreading the purpose of your organization.

Happy Monday!