Analytic Vision

Posts Tagged ‘branding’

The Same Kind of Different As Me

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 30/04/2017

Working as a marketer for freelancers and entrepreneurs can sometimes be very interesting because you have different  opportunities. Such an opportunity is to find out that many of those who are offering services, especially personal services, are looking for clients who are just like them. That means that, for example, that the coach might be interested in having the kind of customers who are interested in personal development and aiming goals, the same as him. The coach’s clients would be very similar to the coach and less preoccupied with solving problems, traumas and other kind of issues. That is, not the kind who are going to a  therapist for solving problems, as coaching is in the goal business.

So, for example, what if a marketer has a preference for a kind of public or kind of audience that has some kind of value for the resemblance it falls to him or to her. What does that mean? It means that the marketer might hold or see a value, an interest, in marketing to the same kind of different as themselves. That implies that not only do these people might think or choose in the same ways, but they might hang around in the same kind of networks, in the same kind of contexts, social systems and they will be much more easily found there.

One of the problems that such entrepreneurs and freelancers have is the fact that they do not consider themselves as ready or as prepared to deal with that audience. Why? Because maybe they think “Oh, I do not have enough time to spend at the kind of networking events that the people like me would go to”. So, there is a tendency for some freelancers to have this kind of idea, this kind of optimal idea about how or where or when it would be appropriate to find the right clients. But the truth is that (1) usually people are looking for solutions for their necessities and (2) these necessities are not always the same as everybody else’s (they might be so personal that only a limited number of people would have the same interest in the same moment). So it is often difficult finding an audience because you have to find a niche: that niche presents the  challenge of personalizing, of customizing a certain lifestyle.

So, for example, if you would be a dentist searching only to find the kind of customers who are interested in replacing their old works with quality, with top quality material, what should you do? You would have to find those clients in the right place, at the right time, and having the availability of joining such a promotion. Why? Because, for one thing, the longer people live, the longer they have all kinds of interventions, such as correcting decaying teeth. But in order to find the person who decides “yes, I would like to replace all the works from the course of my life with top quality material, very healthy and very resistant”, that means that you will have to have the kind of advertising, that directs those people to you as a supplier, within that window of opportunity. Where do you find them? How do you find them?

Of course, one of the top results, any supplier’s answer is: “Well, you find them advertising on the internet”. Yes, that’s something we can all agree upon, but beyond that, where do you go to find these customers? How do you approach them in a way that is consistent with your values and their values? Moreover, how do you overcome the resistance, the barriers of some people who might need, want or might even be likely to use your service? In order to buy that service from you, and not from your competitor, what should you do?

No matter how fine, how great, how wonderful you think what you’re offering is, if there is a request that means that there are suppliers, that means that you are in competition. No matter how special you think you are by offering a certain service or a product, you are actually in a big, big competition, because you are not only in competition with the potential suppliers who are offering for the right kind of product or service that you are also offering.

There are also the consumers who might accept something lower in price/quality, something different. There might be some potential customers who do not know that you or your services exist, who might not know that you have something of value to offer, so those people will buy different things. Maybe by the time you come along and treat them right it will be too late, or they will be broke, or they will not have that necessity any more. So, it’s not only a question of finding the right people, it’s also a question of being aware that you are in competition with many other suppliers who you might  not know of, and you might never know of, but who will take some of the clients’ money instead of you as a supplier.

Therefore, in this search for “the same kind of different as me”, when you are looking for the kind of audience that is similar to you, you also have to take in consideration that you are not the only one. Most likely, there are many other people just like you, entering the competition for the attention and for the availability of the same audience that you are hunting for. Therefore, in order to have and apply this kind of promotional strategy, this kind of marketing strategy, you need to first have a functional system of identifying the right people at the right time, and it might seem that this is the marketer’s job.

For instance, once you have a marketing manager / consultant, then it is his or her job to do just that. They should think about how that ideal customer thinks. It’s very easy to think “whoa, that kind of person just thinks like me, too”. Well, that kind of person that just thinks like you is not your client, that person is your competition and that person is looking for clients as well.

In such a market, you need the kind of potential customers who would be interested in giving you a chance to support them and help them with whatever they want or need, correct? So, in your search for the ideal audience that you are constantly looking to connect with, keep in mind an important aspect. You have to convince the potential consumers that they might need to be a little bit more aspiring to be like you. Some consumers who are buying services or products directly from other people are doing this because they are interested in having something better than they can create for themselves, so they would have a model that they would stand up to, that is an inspiration to them. In consequence, it doesn’t matter how much you think that it’s worth what you are offering. It matters what does the real person who is paying you can be satisfied with. Can (s)he have your products or services and be happy with what you are offering, when you are providing that service?

Of course, some people might say “where there’s a will, there’s a way” but you also have to have some kind of motivation or strategy and not just a vision. This kind of vision that I’ve been writing about needs to be real and provide results. You may also take into consideration the impact of motivation. For example, how does motivation relate to fulfilling those needs or desires, how much motivation do you need your consumer to have in order to push that button, to place that order, to have those results that you want them to have? How much motivation do you need in order to connect to those people?

If you think that the kind of people that you are looking for to buy your services or products might be very motivated, you must also think of the fact that it is very likely they will find very fast a supplier who would provide their services for them, or they would even solve their own problems on their own. Such determined customers might thank you for going to them, so, for example, you should think that you are the kind of person who would more likely offer something. Therefore, you are mostly a seller and not a buyer, this is a kind of vision that influences your motivation into finding the right customers to buy from you.

But if the customer has the vision that “whoa, I am first someone who wants their needs to be satisfied“ that means that person is a consumer in the first place, and not a seller, right? So, that person would be interested in having some offer that would connect to your vision + motivation and when that happens, you become aware of what customizing lifestyle means. Why? Because in each person’s vision, there is a certain lifestyle that someone can have or dismiss, and when you choose to include something in your lifestyle as a buyer or as consumer it means you already have a certain degree of motivation. It means you already chose a path and if you are not on that path, right then, that means you as a consumer have already gone beyond that. So what do these people who you were so keen on serving do? They move on, they evolve, they develop, they change their needs, once a person has their needs fulfilled or definitely lost the chance to have them fulfilled, they will move on, OK?

In conclusion, you either decide to fulfill a buyer’s need in a way that a customer will come to you, supplier, and say “whoa, that is great, that deeply and completely fulfilled my need” or you become the kind of supplier who supplies for one need, for one moment, for a few moments and then is gone. The world is full of this kind of suppliers that don’t need too much differentiation from one to the other.

One of the most difficult things to accept is the fact that once a need has been  deeply fulfilled, somebody may not need it anymore, OK? So, for example, if we are to consider that dentist I was giving as an example, once a patient had all the dentistry works replaced, that person does not need that anymore, it is a once in a lifetime offer to do that service for someone. Of course, we are not referring to the services for the products that keep on fulfilling the same and the same and the same need that gets refilled. Of course, people will always need something to eat or to drink. So, if you are not in that kind of situation where you fulfill a need which is renewable, you might find yourself in a very special niche, in a very challenging niche, in the niche of making the difference in someone’s life. But, I think this is the most special, and most rewarding kind of niche that you can be into. At the same time, it’s one of the most challenging, because as I was mentioning, you can never be sure that you find, at the right moment, the same kind of different as you. So, you have to be prepared to serve whoever is the potential client who might need your services, to actually need them, OK? Keep this in mind while you hunt for the perfect customer or for the perfect strategy in your marketing.


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Jack’s Brand

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 09/10/2012

Do you know Jack, the blacksmith from the village? Well, he is also a brand.

What, don’t you know Jack? Jack…well, OK then…

The Americans, as a civilization, are proud because they have “invented” some fields that use complicated terminologies, but in fact they refer to common trivialities well known to everybody. I am going to suggest you think about the following situation: in a village there were two blacksmiths. Each of them had a certain number of customers, depending on the needs and the preferences of the villagers.

At one moment, one of them began receiving more clients than the other. He was called Jack. Well, Jack was a hard working blacksmith. Really. Haven’t you heard? Even the priest knows; when the pitchforks he was working with broke, he went to Jack and fixed them in a record time. Another villager broke his satellite antenna dish and brought it to good ol’ Jack to repair it and, for a bottle of brandy, Jack helped him and it has been working for over a year without a problem. And many more speak about Jack, it seems he is handier than the other blacksmith, who is better.

Actually… Jack is a brand! Didn’t you notice?

And the brand, as you see, is built by those who use his services. If Jack was to write a blog and the villagers would read it, Jack would be one of the noticeable examples of building an image that doesn’t necessarily begin from a branding strategy, but from othersperception. Although branding, as a process, is these days defined as implying directly a directed communication plan, the personal brand is not a wish list for Santa Claus! The brand is, after all, is the sum of perceptions that others effectively have about you, not considering your promotion efforts.

There are companies which have invested billions of dollars promoting themselves in a certain direction as a brand and the public didn’t “buy” the idea as it did not fit with its current perception about the company/product.

One classic example is when The Coca-Cola Company introduced on the international market “The New Coke”, which was a rather new product than a traditional one, aimed relatively to those consuming “Pepsi”, even more than to the usual consumers of “Coca-Cola”. The result?

The sales dropped drastically. So they took the same product and renamed it “Coca Cola Classic” and so they resolved the situation. Similarly, Marlboro created some 6 different flavors of Marlboro. The public was confused and asked: “What is this?” ,decreasing the sales. The company returned to a single flavor, the classic one, and only then did the situation started bit by bit to get right.

It is time to understand that, for your target audience, you are not who you want to be. You are who they perceive you to be.

It does not matter how you perceive what you offer.

It matters how others perceive you through what you offer!

Thank you!

Happy personal branding!

PS. For a list of articles treating personal branding, you can access this list [ro, blog].  Previously published in Romanian [ro, blog] Translated by Răzvan Nidelea


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Which Are Your Values for Success?

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 04/09/2011

As a exemplification of the checklist presented here, I want to share with you how I apply some of the concepts for myself. Of course, each person has his or her own values for success. The values of the successful businessmen they say, are: the leadership abilities, the communication skills, the delegation of tasks, the wide network of people known, the ability to work hard, team playing, enthusiasm, strategic vision, uprightness, analysis, loyalty, direction and sincerity.

Tony Robbins talks about the seven key traits of the great winners as being the passion built on motivation, the faith built on perspective, the strategy built on techniques and methods, the values clarity based on alignement, the energy built on equilibrium, the charisma built on the power of personal branding, the communication excellence built on efficient techniques.

Your goals are important. For you and for others. Plan, manage, monitor and evaluate your goals well. You will only receive the results for the expectations you envisioned. Live your purpose and enjoy it. The trip matters more than the result. You will only get the result if the trip was well set. Work smart, or else you’ll work for others.

Invest in planning to gain abilities, not knowledge (I will write about improving your abilities in a few days). Knowledge is everywhere, and it’s getting cheaper. Those who have the abilities to search, find and apply the right knowledge, also have the access to the resources thatmatter.

Give what you feel to who is appropriate. Don’t expect anything in return and everything you will receive will be a gift and not a disappointment. Use your gifts, your abilities, your knowledge and all your resources every day, serving others (not like this). Don’t let anyone tell you how much you worth. Sclavagism ended. People worth more than what they can produce. You only have these resources for a short period of time, make them serve others and grow. Take care of your needs without hurting others.

This is the only way you will not only obtain your goals, you will sustain them. Keep your eyes on the prize! Think, act and talk in a positive, affirmative manner. Beware of what you wish and what you concentrate on. Focus follows attention, energy follows intention. Every word you say, everything you read, say and hear, creates an I M P A C T and you will have an effect. May it be an effect you expected (or even better, planned) and not one you just suspected.

Ask yourself if you like and trust the people you get energy from. Ask yourself if they respect you, if they have common values. It’s so difficult to live with or  to learn from someone who despises you, or has opposite values from yours! The people who truly know you should believe in you.

The professional values which matter the most for me are development (beyond the security, beyond the comfort area), efficiency (creating a lot of quality with a small quantity of resources) and sharing (offering tools you can use).

The limits of acting according to these values are:

1. I will not share something for free if I don’t think you will be motivated to use it. I will only share  stuff I think you can use for your information and development. I will not use all of my resources, but only some of them.

2. I will not share anything without getting permission from those involved (especially photography and video). Anyone can ask for retraction of a published material from this blog, (although not without explanation after initially publishing it, at least personal).

3. I will not work for organizations (clients or employers) having the goals I’m working for, against any of my values, or against civil or human rights liberties. I include here all forms of abuse depicted in Debug Your Mind.

4.  I will not give up my friends for accomplishing my goals. I will not develop myself on the expense of others’.

5. I will not overplan tasks. I will consider my physical limitations.

The message I would like to send to myself is: develop your personal brand. The message I would like to send to my readers is: Be your brand.

If you’ve liked this article then you’re gonna love this book [en, scribd].

Please also read the articles in Romanian about finding out what is important for you and for any person:

“The Principle of  Necessity and Priority” part Ipart IIpart III.

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Marketing Un-Mix

Posted by Ştefan Alexandrescu on 12/09/2009

I have been observing certain tendencies in the area of training, consulting, coaching in personal, professional and spiritual development in the Romanian market, since 2004, which I would like to share with you, and I will do that from the standpoint of marketing and particularly positioning. I confirmed my beliefs in a discussion with Phoebs last night at Offline 2.0 .

The observations start with the fact that a training company externalized PR to ana agency, which I think is a great idea. This is a good example. I’m going to write now the opposite example.

As a fundamental basis in promoting a product, there has to be a market. This market started to develop since about 11 years ago, with the first NLP and TA trainings, in Bucharest, Iasi and Timişoara.  Since then, it has grown, as it is natural, and there has been a diversification of the needs. First there was a certain market of people interested in self-knowledge and self-development, then there were niches and now I think we can well say there are different markets. This calls for a certain fine distinction and selection of the tools and approaches at hand to promote your product (it doesn’t matter if it’s a training, an event, a multimedia product, a website or a service).

I have been monitoring for the last 2 years the announcements made on the dezvoltareprofesionala yahoogroup , the events that gather professionals offering services in these fields (Business Edu, Empower, The International Psychology Fair, Body Mind & Spirit Festival, etc.), the economic & dedicated press, the web communication of the training companies and professionals and I would like to underline a few commonalities concerning risky approachments towards these fields.

There are different needs: personal (emotional intelligence, financial intelligence, self-knowledge, creativity, motivation, life coaching, efficient learning, relationships, leadership, stress & anger management, personal branding, etc.), professional (soft skills, expertize training, web 2.0 communication, business coaching, persuasion, sales, career management, team-building, management, etc.) and spiritual (meditation, relaxation, channeling, oriental-influenced trainings, regression therapy, astral projections, transpersonal psychology, etc.).

Any product can be placed, theoretically in many baskets. You could do that and get away with it… until 2007-2008. But not anymore, in my opinion. In reality, any product can belong to only one of these categories and the raw method of determining that is who pays for the training and why.

Can you really hope that maybe, for example, at a 2 days 300 euros training in advertising will come students or nannys? I don’t think so. At such a training, might participate young professionals already having some experience or some companies might pay for the instruction of a hired professional.

Can you really hope to get a company to pay for a stress management or a creativity training for their employees? Less likely. What cannot be measured cannot bring ROI, therefore it’s more likely people will pay out of their own pocket to cover their own need for self-growth.  When I presented a project dedicated to reducing stress in organizations, Călin Fusu asked me what is it possible to get done to increase the stress of the employees.

Also, you cannot expect that seriously career-driven professionals or companies would pay to explore dreaming, past lifes, future lives, parallel universes, talking to spirits or healing the chakras.

In political marketing, there is a principle: focus on the people who have the intention to vote.  If you sell one kind of training, nobody can argue with you that it would be useful or interesting, but the actual case is: will somebody pay for it?

For example, I would be interested in taking war photo classes, or survival techniques in extreme conditions, or coaching traning, but I wouldn’t pay for it, for the simple reason it’s too out of focus for me. I am a marketer and a profiler. You could get me to participate at a training in web promotion, on entrepreneurship, maybe even on legislation, but you will never ever get me to pay on a training I have no perception of bringing me money in less than a year. You won’t, because you can’t. It doesn’t serve my need. Although I might agree it’s interesting or useful or I might even like it, but I won’t pay for it. And before sending messages to the market, take a moment to think who you’re adressing to.

I’ve seen a lot of people confunding personal development and professional development, or personal development with spiritual development. First of all, when for example you’re holding a training based on certain principles or convictions, if they have spiritual connection, it might raise conflict. I for example don’t believe in future lives, or past lives, or parallel universes. I don’t believe in ghosts, or UFOs or talking to angels. I just don’t. I know about that because I have seriously researched these fields and from a scientific standpoint, they have been proven to be frauds, misleading tendencies or easily explainable events through other theories. That doesn’t mean I disconsider anyone who thinks different. I respect everyone’s right to their own opinion. And one of the things I value most in true personal development is the respect for each person’s model of the world. When you truly appreciate that, and don’t adopt an attitude like: “You’ll see that I’m right and you’re wrong and actually I am more enlightened than you are because I am more open-minded!”, you can truly respect the next person.

If you have a product which falls into one category, market it properly, if you want to be intelligent. Otherwise it’s SPAM. And you’re entering in competition with others who might consider it unfair competition.  If you know you can’t do a good job, at least hire a professional. One of the worst things that can happen is having one provider thinking he’s offering one kind of product, when in reality he’s adressing to a whole different market.

I’m sick and tired of forum announcements, press releases, training descriptions, events anouncements which can only prove the lack of seriousness of the people promoting it. Some people, to get some fun, watch sitcoms. I read – and I don’t refer to the service, which actually is a genius master work of Alin Zăinescu, for which by the way I have the greatest respect – I refer to the nonsense that semi-professionals having the arrogance to consider themselves PRs publish each day in the business sections.

I don’t care if you got your training with the Chartered Institute of Marketing, or International Coach Federation, or the Romanian Government, or Richard Bandler, or Dalai Lama. Market yourself properly or get ready to waste your time and your imaginary customers’ patience with SPAM!

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