Tag Archive: branding

Why Southwest Customers Wouldn’t Buy a Bentley

July 24th, 2019

After giving 10 speeches on pricing and profits to groups of CEOs, it is certainly top of mind. Yet, it should always be top of mind for executive teams. One unanimous finding from the informal research of executives is that pricing is a strategic topic.  So, we must find time! When is the last time you focused on pricing?

Whether you consider pricing a strategic topic or not, it will directly impact your business. Let’s start with three typical options from a branding point-of-view.

  1. Low price leader – Southwest and Walmart are great examples of this. No one flies Southwest to have a first class experience. Instead, they are accessible to the general public and fun to fly. Their prices have to match their brand, and low prices do NOT equate to lower profits. Southwest has been consistently profitable when the higher priced airlines weren’t!
  2. Luxury brands – Similar to the low price leader, a Bentley or Gucci denotes the luxury image. If you found a low price on a Bentley, you would definitely think it was a lemon. In the B2B world, the same holds true. We work with a high quality lawn and garden equipment and tools supplier.  Their prices have to remain higher than the low cost brands to maintain their image and customer base. Of course, they need to provide more education and value for their customers as it is what they expect.
  3. Customer focused – In this case, the brand is all about the customer.  These companies are known for going the extra mile and providing superior value for their target customers. If it is all about value in the eyes of your customer, don’t you think your price better align to this value? Of course! If not, it is the epitome of the opposite of the brand.

Have you thought about your strategy and whether it relates to your pricing? It is easy to get caught up in competitive pricing situations and start to lower your price.  However, it might be the time to take a step back and see whether what you are doing matches your branding and strategy.

For example, one CEO provided an example of when she was a VP of Sales at a significant company. They had a niche product with unique value and higher prices. The sales teams were starting to see competition and thought they had to reduce pricing slightly to maintain their position.  The CEO said ‘no’. They were the leader and had value their competitors didn’t. It was a really hard process for the sales team to go back and talk value instead of giving in on price but they managed it. Fast forward to the next year. They were successful in maintaining their prices and didn’t lose business. Instead of falling into price war thinking, they talked about value.

What Do We Need to Think About Related to Strategic Pricing?

From an 80/20 perspective:

  • Who is your target customer? Think about your answer. Hopefully, it isn’t anyone willing to pay for your product or service! Yet that is an easy trap to fall into. Instead, take a step back and think about your target customer. What is their profile? How many current customers are target customers?
  • What do your target customers value? Although we tend to spend 80% of our time on 20% of our customers, the key question is whether these are the target customers. Do we know what our target customers value? Don’t think about your customer base and your daily interactions to answer this question. Instead, think only about your target customers. If you don’t know, find out! Being clear on this alone will yield dramatic results.
  • Is your pricing aligned with your target customers and their expectations of value? This is a tricky one. In our experience, 80%+ of our clients have room for improvement when we get to this point. It also changes over time.  If you last put thought into this even a year or two ago, you are acting on old information!

There is vast opportunity to keep pricing top of mind as it relates to your strategy. Why do this? It is a top strategy to ensure customer value (to grow your business) and increase bottom line profits simultaneously. If you are interested in a pricing & profits assessment, contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:
Pricing & Profits: It’s Not All About Revenue
Gaining New Ideas to Increase Business Value

The Customer Experience

March 7th, 2018


Earlier this week, I attended a ProVisors (trusted advisors) group of women, and one of our members, Kathy McEntee, talked about the critical importance of the customer experience in today’s Amazon-impacted marketplace.  She made a point of talking about touchpoints.  Providing the ultimate experience for the customer is NOT the same at different touchpoints.  For example, what you do when they are an acquaintance is quite different than what they should do once they are a client or customer.  Also last week, I read through a playbook for a potential client and key contact.  The 80/20 was about branding and the importance of the customer experience.  This theme is popping up everywhere!

For example, Amazon and Nordstrom have driven the expectations for a superior customer experience up.  Do your customers expect rapid deliveries?  Do they expect you to design products and services specifically for them?  Are you thinking about what they haven’t yet requested?  



One tip to implement this week:
Whether you are on the front lines or not, you impact the customer experience!  At the very least, what you do impacts your internal customers and supports the delivery of products and services to your external customers.  

Think about all the ways you impact the customer.  You might be quite surprised.  If you still aren’t sure how you impact customers, ask your co-workers or your manager.  If they aren’t sure, ask your CEO.  He or she must know!

Next, think about what you can do to make a positive impact on your customers’ experiences.  

  • Can you contribute to quicker service?  Perhaps you can automate part of your tasks?
  • Can you help find a best practice among your peers or facilities?  
  • Can you contribute to a new product design?  Whether you have anything to do with R&D or product development

 I bet you can!  

Help your team understand your customer.  Research your customer.  Think as though you were the customer.  What would you want?  Ask around.  How can you help your customer be successful?

Just asking a few simple questions can achieve dramatic results.  Start the ball rolling this week and see what evolves…..  Undoubtedly, you’ll end up with at least one happy customer down-the-line.


Branding is Important to ALL of Us

February 13th, 2017

Earlier this week, I spoke at PMI (Project Management Institute) Inland Empire on “Elevating Your Personal Brand and Advancing Your Career”. We had an intriguing, interactive discussion on how critical branding is to each of our careers and personal success. Although we must be competent, if we do not distinguish ourselves from our competition, colleagues and other project teams, we will not accomplish nearly what we would if we did!

Do you know what your colleagues would say about you? How does it stack up with how you’d like to be seen?

One tip to implement this week:

Start by jumping right in. Take a few minutes to THINK about how you think you are known. Which qualities do you think you are known for? Are there unique factors that distinguish you from your colleagues? What are they? Once you’ve spent some time getting to know yourself, ask your colleagues, friends, employees, and manager. Ask them for your strengths. It is always best to build a brand on strengths. Don’t worry about weaknesses right now.

How does what you think and what your colleagues think compare? Perhaps you have some additional strengths you weren’t thinking about. I find that we usually underestimate our positive qualities.

Remember, perception is reality. If you like it, build upon it. If you don’t like it, change it. It is quite doable! It is well worth spending time on your personal brand as it is how people will see you. Your brand can get you “in the door” you’d like to get in — whether a job interview, on the most exciting project team or the promotion you desire.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


The Super Bowl and Your Brand

February 5th, 2016

supply chainSo, other than being a bit depressed that the Arizona Cardinals are not in the Super Bowl, I am thinking about the Super Bowl (hard not to since the hype is everywhere). You’d have to be hiding under a rock to not know that it is Super Bowl weekend. If nothing else, it is a good excuse for a party and to get together with family and friends. The Super Bowl has become much more than a game.

Many people (myself included) are more interested in the commercials than the game — it has become “the” opportunity to stand out from the crowd with advertisements. If your ad is popular, it will go viral. Social networks can have a powerful effect — similar to Super Bowl commentary and ads, the same vehicles will have an impact on our brand. What is said about you will show up to potential employers. You might have thought about that; however, did you think about potential employees? Before deciding if they want to work at your company, they will check the company out — and you. After all, people do not leave companies; they leave leaders. The same is true for customers and suppliers. How are you perceived?

One tip to implement this week:

One easy tip related to personal branding is to act as though everything you say, your leadership style behind closed doors, etc. will be published in tomorrow’s New York Times (or placed on an advertisement during the Half Time show of the Super Bowl). It could be — or at least the equivalent. This does NOT mean that you should hide under a rock and do nothing. Doing nothing is the equivalent to saying your approach/leadership style is to “do nothing”. Is that how you want to be known?

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”


ZZ Top & the Power of a Brand

September 14th, 2015

supply chainI saw ZZ Top at the Los Angeles Fair on Saturday night. They were still amazing after 47 years of singing together. Much longer than most marriages – and certainly longer than many in the audience had been alive. They are known for long beards (see below for a long distance picture from the grandstand) except for their drummer whose last name happens to be beard.

I’ve seen the head singer for ZZ Top on Bones, and aside from playing a great character, his beard is recognizable anywhere! Not that I’m suggesting beards; however, the question is – do you have a brand? It certainly can make you stand out from the crowd.  I venture to bet that even people who don’t care about ZZ Top know who they are because of their signature beards. How are you known?


One tip to implement this week:

Start growing a beard!  No, just kidding – think about how you are known. What would other people say about you? If you heard your colleague or best friend describing you, what would they say? You can control that by becoming known for something. Are you always known because you jump in to help? Or are you the numbers guru? Or perhaps you are known for a signature car? It doesn’t really matter what you are known for (assuming it isn’t something awful); what matters is that people can remember you.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”