We turned 30!

Killian Branding should probably settle down. Act our age…

But we’re still playing the field…

December 17!

Since December 17, 1987, we’ve worked with brands in every category. B2B, B2C, FMCG, NFP, IT – hey, if it has initials, we’ve helped. Bulldozers to perfume, universities to retailers.

Every size, too. Fortunate 100 to startup.

All over the map? Yes, we’ve had clients on three continents. Geography ain’t what it used to be.

Dec. 17 is Beethoven’s birthday, too. He’s even older than we are.

 

Bob Killian

312 399 2894

The Customer Service Delusion

Customers are not prospects.Well, duh.

They love your customer service. Great. As they should!

But look at any Yelp review: people demand perfect customer service in every transaction anywhere and howl like banshees if they don’t get it. Today, flawless CS is just a starting point. A given. You can’t survive without it.

Our point? Because they already expect it –

claiming it’s your differentiator over competitors is a waste of breath. Every competitor is singing the same unimaginative song. Who isn’t claiming they’re “close to the customer,” “customer-centric,” “putting you first,” ad nauseum?

Break away. It’s time to give prospects that better, meaningful value prop, something that truly differentiates you. Let’s find out what they will actually listen to, a claim that will engage them and make your brand more urgent.

Choose one of the three paths available: better, cheaper, or different. Then run with it. Side note: “new” is also available but temporary. “Doomed” is another: https://killianbranding.com/cmo-problem-solvers/

This isn’t voodoo. It’s branding.

First, understand what else prospects really want, besides CS. Then, engage with them in an authentic voice that’s resonant, likable, disruptive and true.

Fill out the form; let’s discuss.


New to the resistance? Catch up on other short-but-meaty 4-Word March™ videos:

Spock fails at branding
Is your differentiator ownable?

SEO: The Three Cs

Don’t talk to everyone
The selection set blues
Who visited your site?
Are focus groups obsolete?
Respect the humble semi-colon
The seven line limit
Don’t spray and pray

Spock Fails at Branding

Putting a Vulcan in charge of your brand strategy = no urgency

Why? Because there are no purely logical purchase choices. None. You can always find some emotional urgency driving the decision to buy, from whom, at what time. The non-rational elements overwhelm Spock-style logic.

Urgency closes the deal

Awareness and differentiation take you only so far. Without the vital third element, urgency, your best prospects are unlikely to complete the journey and become customers.

Yeah sure, sometimes sales, discounts, or deals stir up short-term urgency – but throwing away margins shouldn’t be your go-to solution. A healthy brand doesn’t need to compete on price. Build an emotional appeal into your brand strong enough to move people to action now.

Leave Spock behind. Create urgency.

Start with research. Understand your audience(s). Listen to how competitors talk to your audience. Find the gaps and explore what will engage and move people to action. Better still, talk to experienced and objective branding professionals.

Fill out the form; let’s discuss.


New to the resistance? Catch up on other short-but-meaty 4-Word March™ videos:

Is your differentiator ownable?
SEO: The Three Cs

Don’t talk to everyone
The selection set blues
Who visited your site?
Are focus groups obsolete?
Respect the humble semi-colon
The seven line limit
Don’t spray and pray

Is Your Differentiator Ownable? Really?

You’re better than your competitors, right? Right?

If you don’t own the reason you’re better, you’ll lose business to Those Other Guys.

What does an “ownable differentiator” mean?

Your competitors can’t make the same claims as you. Right? Here’s a test: Customers must come to you if they want _______ (fill in the blank with your differentiator.)

What did you fill in? Unfortunately, choosing “quality” or “great customer service,” as your key differentiator gives you a failing grade. (Sorry.) People demand high quality plus perfect customer service on every transaction, every time, from every business. Just read some Yelp reviews: any customer service slipup brings out the flamethrowers.

Besides that, Those Other Guys play the same lame claim game.

Need help finding engaging differentiation?

Same ain’t better. If you can’t be unique, you wind up overspending on awareness. You don’t have to out-shout them; out-think them. The right strategy for making your brand story unique can be difficult to establish, especially if everybody in your category is singing the same song. Difficult – but not impossible. It’s what we’re good at.

Fill out the form; let’s discuss.


New to the resistance? Catch up on other short-but-meaty 4-Word March™ videos:

SEO: The Three Cs
Don’t talk to everyone
The selection set blues
Who visited your site?
Are focus groups obsolete?
Respect the humble semi-colon
The seven line limit
Don’t spray and pray

“A Better Deal” – a branding fail

The Democratic Party announced a timid war cry for the 2018 mid-term elections: A Better Deal.

<crickets>

Go ahead, try to come up with a weaker, less-effective combination of words. Maybe “marginal improvement!” or “slightly less evil!” The GOP has Frank Luntz; the Dems apparently have a committee of clerks. This branding train wreck will suck the life out of the 2018 campaign.

For one thing, it’s a trivial promise. Look, for example, at the disastrous, vulgar wreckage of “the Mooch” and the White House Communications Staff – and then promise to be “better.” Look at the legislative failures around health care – and offer something merely “better.” (“Trust us, we can improve on catastrophe.”)

Just as important, it is clearly not an admonition. It doesn’t even have a verb. No action, no motion, no emotion, no hook, no marching orders. It’s a limp, feeble slogan. One power of an admonitory rallying cry (MAGA, e.g.) is that it contains a call to action. Pick up your torches! Grab your pitchforks! This pusillanimous passive pitch just whispers to you to keep score; it will silently sink out of sight.

SEO: The Three Cs

Is SEO really magical science?

No. The email asking you to pay a fee to get to #1 on Google overnight is a scam. Don’t fall for it.

Focus your strategy on the “Three Cs”

Getting ahead of your competitors, finishing higher on a Google search, depends on how you handle the Three C’s of Search Engine Optimization. The video explains that.

Need an audit to see how you could do better?

Ask us to take a look at your SEO strategy. We’ll give you feedback and actionable steps to improve and strengthen your results.

Fill out the form; let’s select a time to talk about your SEO.

New to the resistance? Catch up on other short-but-meaty 4-Word March™ videos:

Don’t talk to everyone
The selection set blues
Who visited your site?
Are focus groups obsolete?
Respect the humble semi-colon
The seven line limit
Don’t spray and pray

Don’t Talk to Everyone

Budgets require segmentation

Can you theoretically talk to everyone? Sure, if you have an unlimited budget. It’s a costly messaging strategy with a lot of risk. Just ask Pepsi.

Fish where the fish are

Use automated analytics to guide your budgets based on which audience segments respond best to your messages. You’ll nurture more sales by sending the right targeted messaging at the right time. Even better, you’ll test, learn, and refine your messages based on user behavior to close even more sales.

Create high-converting buyers’ journeys

Each segment of your audience needs their own buyers’ journey because one message may work for one segment but not another. Another segment might prefer videos over PDFs. Hispanics are not Anglos. Men are not women. Texans are not Vermonters. If you’re successful with, say, one age cohort over another, focus your attention where the ROI leads you.

Need help with segmentation for your strategy?

Fill out the form; let’s select a time to talk about improving your sales efficiency.


New to the resistance? Catch up on other short-but-meaty 4-Word March™ videos:

The selection set blues
Who visited your site?
Are focus groups obsolete?
Respect the humble semi-colon
The seven line limit
Don’t spray and pray

The Selection Set Blues

Is your online lead generation disappointing?

Find the cure. Choose effective strategies that multiply your chances of beating competitors into the selection set. The problem, you see, may begin with your website’s HTML code, but you can solve it.

It takes better SEO to get in it…

Your best prospects turn to search engines (Google and the seven dwarfs) to help them find what they need, but do you show up for the same keywords they actually use? How do you rank compared to your competitors? Can you get near or above them on Google? You must, after all, be visible to get into the selection set. Chosen or frozen: unseen = unclicked.

… and a better Description to win it.

Big caution: even if you’re the number one organic (not a paid ad) listing, that doesn’t guarantee your searcher will click. Is your listing attractive, efficient and engaging? You get a huge advantage from smarter HTML coding. Build in a arefully crafted tactical description, and you don’t have to be ranked first to be chosen first. Control what that listing on your SERP (search engine results page) says to optimize it to what that prospect is actually searching for. Can you win that clickthrough? If you’re the first one chosen, you have a good chance to make the sale before the other guys get seen. Watch this video to see how.

Upgrade your selection set strategy.

Fill out the form and let’s select a time to talk about improving your get in it and win it.

New to the resistance? Catch up on other short-but-meaty 4-Word March™ videos:

Spock fails at branding
Is your differentiator ownable?

SEO: The Three Cs

Don’t talk to everyone
Who visited your site?

Who Visited Your Site?

Don’t know who looked at your website yesterday?

That’s a problem. You can’t engage prospects you don’t see.

Technology to the rescue. Today, you can monitor and respond to prospects 24/7. Observe visitors to your website, see which pages they visit, monitor which emails they actually open, what display ad or search engine or email or FB post brought them – then automate appropriate responses, also 24/7!

New rules, new tools.

Yes, now you can identify and tag every visitor, even that anonymous prospect who looked at four pages yesterday at 3:48pm, thanks to marketing automation. Suppose she returns in the future and fills out a form. You’ll be able to track all her activity back to the first visit – then automate responses with sales robots, so you never lose the moment. Hey, if you don’t respond in a timely fashion, your competitor will.

Lose the blindfold.

Fill out this form. Let’s set a time to talk about these valuable new tools.


Join the resistance. Catch up on other 4-Word March™ videos. Like me, they’re short and useful:

Spock fails at branding
Is your differentiator ownable?
SEO: The Three Cs
Don’t talk to everyone
The selection set blues

Are Focus Groups Obsolete?

Well… are they?

Hell yes! We’re so passionate about the need for their extinction we wrote a white paper on the subject years ago (read it here). It’s still true.

Why the hate?

It’s a committee, for Pete’s sake. Humanity’s blockbuster weapon to prevent action.

Many (and trust us, we’ve seen many) new product launches have shipwrecked because marketers banked on focus groups’ “acceptance” of a concept. Wishful thinking can be more powerful than gravity.

New rules, new tools.

New microtargeting technologies, for example, let you test messages, measure ROI, and adjust as you learn and evolve. That is, if you have the right analytics, the right creative, and the right partner (hey! we think we might know someone who could help).

Let’s talk about better options for you.

Fill out the form and we’ll set a time to discuss more measurable, more dispositive alternatives to focus groups.