Monday, June 2, 2008

Do you smell? if not, why not!!

When it comes to smells, aromas, or scents, "Lush" takes the cake, or soap in this case. It doesn't matter if you're in London, Auckland, Vancouver, Newport Beach in California, the aromas of Lush will tickle your senses and attract your eyes and nose to their store like the Pied Piper playing a magic tune on his flute.

As I walked past a Lush store in Sydney yesterday, it reminded me of some thoughts I had many years ago of how businesses use aromas to attract people to their business directly and indirectly. It also took me back to childhood memories from smelling freshly baked bread from the local bakery to a Nestles chocolate factory to Starbucks, The Body Shop and now Lush.

For many years, aromas have been used as a tactic to attract customers to their business. What would be interesting, would be to find out how many businesses actually use aromas. For any business, give it a try. Talk to an aromatherapist to ensure the aroma you use 'fits' with your business. Not only will it attract people from off the street to your business, an aroma will create a memory in your customers minds. When they smell the aroma again, and you combine and reinforce this memory with a positive shopping experience, your customers will likely remember your business and brand for a very long time. In fact, you may even create another line of business if enough customers start to ask if they can purchase your aroma.

hmmmmm, I'm now recalling the smell of freshly popped popcorn. I think I'm going to watch a movie. Have an awesome day!!! ;-)

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

This is what you can learn from a Champion Team

One week on and the Crusaders as predicted are the Super 14 Champions of 2008. This is a report of the match. The master coach guiding his rugby team to another championship and the end of his dynasty as coach of the Canterbury Crusaders rugby team.

Read my last post for some of the reasons why great teams will always beat a team of individuals.

Super Coach Robbie Deans now ends his coaching duties and heads across the 'ditch' (or Tasman Sea, between New Zealand and Australia) to Australia to take charge of their national team, the Wallabies, for the next 4 years. The next 4 years of rugby in the southern Hemisphere will be interesting to watch. If you're a rugby purist, you will chopping at the bit waiting for the next Australia versus All Blacks test match. Im sure 'Mr Lovemarks' Kevin Roberts won't miss that game ;-)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

What can we learn from the Canterbury Crusaders rugby team?

If you haven’t heard of the Canterbury Crusaders, then click here The Canterbury Crusaders are the most successful rugby franchise in Super Rugby based in Christchurch, New Zealand.

You can draw comparisons across many different successful sports teams from the successful Green Bay Packers (NFL) of the 1960’s, the Chicago Bulls (NBA) of the 1990’s, the New York Yankees (MLB), to Manchester United (Football).

When you examine all these teams, all have a couple things in common. A great leader who has vision, stellar management skills, strong meticulous attention to detail and an eye to spot and nurture talent. Add to that a cast of key personnel to execute the vision and plans of the leader.

In Canterbury, they have a successful coach named Robbie Deans who is well known in the rugby world for his professional work ethic, attention to detail, continuous learning and his ‘meritocratic’ culture which moulds his players and extended squad into a ‘no-egos’ culture.

Each and every individual player understands their role in the team and is encouraged to develop their strengths and work on their weaknesses to improve their individual performance. Deans then gels his team together through various drills and team sessions to focus and practice the new game-plan he wants to execute in the next match. The systems and culture of excellence that Deans has created within his franchise is reflected in the number of championships he has won.

As the saying goes, a great team will always beat a team of great players.

What does this have to do with business? Tonnes.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you a visionary leader?
  2. Have you employed a great leader to grow your business?
  3. Is your staff smarter than yourself?
  4. Do you have a strong team culture?
  5. Do you have systems within your business that are easy to follow?
  6. Do you have a culture for success?
  7. Do you reward your team/employees with other benefits?
  8. Are you focused on the small details as well as the large ones?
  9. Are you continuously learning and improving yourself and your people?
  10. Is your staff armed with the right knowledge and tools to deliver the results you expect?
  11. Do you measure the outputs of your individual team members?
  12. Do they know their strengths and weaknesses?
  13. Do you know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors?
  14. How focused are your people on achieving the short, medium and long term objectives?
  15. Are you congruent with your message?

These are a couple questions (not in any order of importance) you may want to reflect and chew on. Each situation is different so tailor your initiatives for your specific needs.


The Canterbury Crusaders have just won the right to play in another Super rugby final next weekend and being a one-eyed fan of it’s arch-rival – the Auckland Blues, one can only respect the fantastic work and commitment Robbie Deans has instilled within his franchise.

You may not be a fan of the team but you can sure appreciate great talent in Robbie Deans and his band of Crusaders players.

At the end of the day, it’s the results that will reflect your work and commitment. I have wagered a hard soy skim latte with a friend that the results of next weekend’s final will be another Crusaders win. If I lose, then I know the other team has prepared better than the Crusaders and they will definitely be worthy champions for 2008.

From a coaches point of view, to beat the Crusaders would be equivalent to beating Vince Lombardi and his Packers, Phil Jackson and his Michael Jordan led Bulls, Joe Torre and his Yankees, and Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester United team.

Question: How prepared is your business for success?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Do you have a business model that makes no sense?

After attending the CeBit Expo in Sydney 2008 over the last few days, it was apparent that there were some business's whose business models just didn't make sense to me. Your business model is basically how your business makes money. It is a system and a blueprint on how to generate revenue.

One of the industries I found interesting where I found the business model to be weak was in the area of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Don't let the acronym scare you. It is simply a platform on how your voice is transmitted via the internet. All this is invisible to the end-user and the most important thing to note about VoIP in countries like Australia, New Zealand and other countries where data usage is mostly tiered and capped, is monitoring your usage. If you are on a small bandwidth plan, forget about VoIP if you make many calls, downloads and uploads. Stick with your normal telephone service if this is the case.

At Cebit, I found there were many businesses promoting their services in the VoIP area yet felt there was a lot of spin and advertising falsehoods being promoted. Please any expert correct me if I'm wrong with what I'm about to say. Here's the rub. These businesses were promoting, in my opinion, expensive software and hardware to allow people to make calls via the web (ie. VoIP). Most of them promoted their business model through a longterm subscription model namely $X per month depending on what plan you use. I asked all the salespeople that approached me how they could be compete against a FREE product like Skype or Yahoo Messenger?

I can understand possibly a large business procuring hardware and software to take advantage of VoIP technology but surely small to medium sized business can get by on a FREE robust and secure softphone application like Skype or Yahoo Messenger?

I have been using both for several years now and have experienced very few technical issues. Most of my calls are from skype to skype or yahoo to yahoo so they are free. I rarely lose quality in the call as I use broadband and the receiver usually has broadband.

So tell me, how can you beat "free"? why would a small to medium size business need to purchase a new VoIP package and hardware? Wouldn't all I need is a headset and a downloaded free app like Skype or Yahoo?

Maybe Im missing something but I just don't see strong enough reasons for anyone to use an alternative that's not free.

Side note and this is a classic. When I asked the salesperson how they could beat a free zero priced service, their reply: "You only pay $25 per month for etc etc etc and you can do the same". Am I missing something? or is $25 per month cheaper than FREE?

What do you think?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all Mothers in the world!!
May you enjoy your day and the next 364 ;-)

Love you Mum/Mom ;-)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Can you jump into your jeans? These guys can!

One of the hottest hits on the Youtube circuit now is the 'uncovered' ad by Levis Strauss where guys literally jump into their pants performing all kinds of stunts and antics to do so.

If buzz/viral marketers were looking to create surreptitious advertising online then Levis Strauss has created a nice template. It is the intersection where Jackass meets ordinary people, outrageous stunts, wow factor, fun, intrigue and turning the ordinary into the extraordinary .

I must warn you though, blatant naked advertising isn't that effective in social media circles. It is too impersonal, formal and for reasons explained they don't quite encapsulate what it takes to get mouths 'wagging' or in this case, 'forwarded'.

As people become more educated and frustrated with the flood of advertising on their senses, the less they want to see it. However, if the ad is highly interactive, relational, and feels less like an ad, the more likely it will succeed.

Check out these guys because in the space of a week, it has been viewed 1.5 million times!!!

Just one thing before I forget: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!! Im sure these got well compensated and possibly a few visits to the doctor and physiotherapist.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

COLES (Australia) - The problem with supermarkets

Why is it when one walks into a supermarket and it seems like an eternity to find what you're looking for? For example, I walked into a Coles supermarket in Sydney and the signs blended into the aisles and it just took too long to navigate throughout the store. I hope Coles cut that interior designer(s) contract short....I doubt it.

As a shopper, when I walk inside a supermarket, I want to have clear visibility of signage to show me where things are, I want to have less clutter in the aisles so that I'm not bumping things over, I want clean shelves, great lighting, dusted products, clean floors, clean shopping carts, working shopping carts with functioning wheels, fresh produce, clean mirrors, fully stacked shelves, friendly service, helpful service, knowledgeable service, smiling staff, I want complimentary products sitting together if possible. For example, if I'm going to make a pasta, is it possible to have the sauces nearby? Is it possible to have recipes next to the items that I'm purchasing? I hope this isn't too much to ask for.

Some of the best supermarket experiences I've ever had has to be Big Fresh (Auckland, NZ), Wholefoods (USA), Woolworths (NZ) and Foodtown (NZ), and Sainsburys (UK).

Poor Coles, not only do they have a interior design problem in their stores, now they are under scrutiny for allegedly ripping people off at the pump. I really do hope Coles gets their act together because competition is great in this market space of food and gas.