Showing posts from April, 2008

Persuasion—a Powerful Tool

Without the ability to persuade people to agree with your ideas and propositions, your attempts to influence others will be ineffective and your success will be unpredictable. In order to get the end result you desire from a given situation, seek to further your knowledge of the art of persuasion. Whether you want to influence others in business or personal matters, the power to persuade is the most important tool you can add to your arsenal.

In my many years in the sales profession, I have observed human behavior, a subject that fascinates me greatly. I learned that a deep understanding of people’s motivations is the most powerful tool anyone can use to persuade others. My experiences so far have led me to record and document a process that has created repeatable and predictable success for people who desire to get YES.

Take the following example: I recently helped a colleague create some promotional material for a community organization that she runs. In need of funds, she had decided…

Umbrella Branding

Martin Lindstrom has a nice story about Brands and sub brands on Ad Age wite. Check it out here. Moral of his story is that if one is creating a brand family, it benefits the family if there is some link between the mother brand and the baby brands. He gives examples of the iXXXXX brand names adopted by Apple.

While this can be positive in most cases, there can be a downside to umbrella brandin. For instance, an ill advised product launch with a connected name can end up tainting all the other connected brands.

Photo of the day


Forsytheas in full bloom


Flood of Ideas - Starbucks

Whoa! Did you see that? If you haven't its worth the trip to the MyStarbucksIdea website. They have received a flood of great ideas from customers. Most of course are simple requests for improvement of service, but some are great! I especially like the one about a round condiment center with a refrigerated well for cream and milk. Now, this idea is so worth while I am surprised no one came up with it before - I mean, no supplier of furniture to Starbucks came up with it before.

But thats the thing about tapping into your customer insight. Let the customer tell you what they want, and help them make your service better.

Kudos to Starbucks for doing this. The flood of ideas is an indication of the power of Starbucks brand. Their customers want them to succeed and don't mind sharing their great ideas with them.

If you are a company with customers, this should be replicated in your company.

Strategy To Save Starbucks

Have you noticed a change at Starbucks?

We already know the story - company looses its focus and expands into categories it has no business being in, and market punishes it by taking away the business. Starbucks board has wisely decided to put their faith once again in their chairman and chief entrepreneur, Howard Schultz who was responsible for the franchise becoming a household name. Well, Mr. Schultz talked to Maria Bartiromo from Business Week, and you can read it here. From marketing perspective, Starbucks is doing a few things right. But a few more need to be done. Here are my suggestions on this matter.

Problem: Brand dilution: If Starbucks stands for coffee and a community ambiance, get rid of all that crap in the stores. You want to sell music, fine. But lets not have that get in the way of a great coffee experience. You want a community like feel, offer free internet and people will stay longer. You want to sell a few t-shirts? Fine, sell them. But put a limit …

Learning Spanish - At the bank

Spanish pod

Quero haser un deposito > I want to make a deposit
(sounds like quero aaser un deposito)
Quero > I want (comes from verb querer)
Haser > to make
Un > a
Deposito > deposit

Llene esta formulario > Fill out this form
(sounds like jiene esta forma)
Liene > To fill (llene el tanke, llene esta forma)
esta > this
formulario > form

Me presta su pluma? > can you loan me a pen?
Pen > pluma
Su pluma > Your pen
you loan > presta (to loan > prestar)
Loan to me > me presta

Claro > sure, Of course
Claro actually means clearly

Photo of the day

Daddy Love

Woodworking Question On Making A Trellis

Hi woodworkers, got a novice woodworking question.

I am planning to build a trellis in the back yard to cover a patio about 22 feet in length and 16 feet in depth (width). Although the patio touches the house, I want to make the trellis free standing. The question I have is this... Can I support 24 foot boards without really needing any more than four posts towards the ends?

Will the trellis be strong enough to support a swing on one end? A swing that can support two grown ups? If you have any ideas, I would welcome them!

Update: OK got some feed back from some wood workers, and first, this would not be called a trellis, but a pergola. And their recommendation is that that there would be a need for additional support posts in the middle. But I have decided to attach it to the home just to make it easy and more elegant pergola.

Happy Gudi Padwa!

"Gudi Padwa, Neet Bol Gadhawa" to all my Marathi friends! Uday, Medha, Minal, and others will recognize this because this festival is celebrated widely in Maharashtra. The beauty of Hinduism is its flexibility, allowing individuals to adapt the religion to their own interests. So, while Hindus celebrate new year around Diwali, in Maharashtra Gudi Padwa is considered to be start of the new year, the start of the Marathi calendar, and a very important festival. Abhi has written a nice summary of the festival here. As is expected, wikipedia has a very nice entry too!