Branding: When the Lowest Price Is Not Enough

Branding: When the Lowest Price is Not Enough

Branding: When the Lowest Price Is Not Enough

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout

I worked as a recruiter in the consumer packaged goods industry.  Every day I talked with job seekers and hiring managers who sold consumer products through retail stores.

When I reviewed qualifications, I was assessing a job seeker’s ability to make brands successful.  I found that themes recurred in the profiles I recruited.  The hiring companies were seeking people who could design and carry out successful brand campaigns.


When you are interviewing, you might find some of these ideas helpful to show companies how you can make their brands successful.


Wal-Mart, Costco, and Walgreens all sell pharmaceuticals.  Wal-Mart targets customers who want to buy sustainable quantities at the best price.  Costco, on the other hand, targets customers who can afford to buy larger quantities to get the better price.  Walgreens (and CVS) have stores in nearly every neighborhood.  They charge higher retail prices for the convenience of shopping locally.

Simple Calls to Action

Calls to action are statements that bring the customer to act.  They may be explicit like the statement “Save now.”

Or the call to action may be implicit: “Offer is good while supplies last.”  The statement implies that you must buy now to reap the benefits.


Once you know your audience, you hit them with the same message over and over.  Advertising is like the Colorado river.  Even when navigating through the rapids, you are not likely to see the river eroding the walls and floor of the Grand Canyon.  Over time, however, the canyon becomes deeper, wider, and changes course.

Logos and Icons

The use of logos has taken on even more significance as social media has created icons an identity for their brands.  Just the following letters alone are enough for people to identify major social media sites:  in, f, G+, Pand t.  In order, those iconic letters represent LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  Twitter, of course, is the iconic birdie.


Slogans are memorable.  Here are some examples.

Expect More. Pay Less (Target Stores)

“Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man.” (Ace Hardware)

“The Most Interesting Man in the World” (XX Dos Equis)

“Save Money. Live Better.” (Wal-Mart)

“Glasses in less than an hour.” (LensCrafters)

My favorite slogan is the iPod launch slogan:  “A thousand tunes in your pocket.”

Innovators: The Troublemakers Who Changed American Culture

Steve Jobs on Edwin Land

Innovators: The Troublemakers Who Changed American Culture

“You know, Dr. Edwin Land was a troublemaker. He dropped out of Harvard and founded Polaroid. Not only was he one of the great inventors of our time but, more important, he saw the intersection of art and science and business and built an organization to reflect that. Polaroid did that for some years, but eventually Dr. Land, one of those brilliant troublemakers, was asked to leave his own company – which is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of.”   Steve Jobs, Playboy Magazine, 1985

Edwin Land and Steve Jobs were both Troublemakers

Edwin Land and Steve Jobs were innovators who defied the norm.

Before Land had a research lab to invent the polarized film to filter glare from light, Edwin Land sneaked into the Columbia University research lab at night.

Similarly, Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College, but continued to attend classes without paying tuition.

Both Edwin Land and Steve Jobs defied their board of directors so aggressively that they both lost their jobs at companies they founded.

Hugh Hefner: Innovator and Troublemaker

Playboy Magazine was an interesting magazine for Steve Jobs to do an interview and discuss troublemakers.  Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Magazine, was another of those troublemakers who changed American culture.  Challenging cultural norms, he made adult publications acceptable in mainstream entertainment media.  Marilyn Monroe appeared nude in the first issue published in December 1953.

A standing joke was for people to say that they read Playboy Magazine “from cover to cover.”  However, the statement is more fact than tongue-in-cheek humor.  Joseph Heller, Ian Fleming, Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, Alfred Kazin, William F. Buckley, Jr., James Baldwin, Vladimir Nabokov, and Ernest Hemingway are some of the famous writers Playboy published.  The writers published in Hefner’s magazine were stylistically and culturally troublemakers and innovators themselves.

Innovators: Turning Dreams Into Reality

“There’s a way to do it better. Find it.” Thomas Edison

Innovators: Turning Dreams Into Reality

“There’s a way to do it better. Find it.” – Thomas Edison

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates were innovators who made their dreams a reality and changed the world.

Often the most innovative people are not inventors.  Instead, they are people who build on the inventions of others.

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates are three such people.

Competition Creates Innovation

The invention of the automobile did not replace the horse and buggy.

Additionally, Henry Ford did not invent the automobile.  At the time, there were other car manufacturers who were making expensive cars few people had the money to buy.  What Henry Ford did was to mass produce cars that the general public could afford.

The automobile itself did not replace the horse and buggy.  The innovative ways that Henry Ford designed and manufactured affordable automobiles ended the horse and buggy era in America.

Innovation on a Mass Scale

Thomas Edison didn’t invent creating light from electrical wiring.  The invention of the light bulb was an evolutionary process.

Two Canadian inventors, Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans, patented the electric light bulb.  Unable to make a commercial success of their invention, they sold to the patent to Thomas Edison in 1879.  Nearly 80 years passed from the day that Alessandro Volta first illuminated a wire with electricity before Edison bought the patent.

What Thomas Edison did was to create a system of making electrical lighting available to the masses.

Thomas Edison’s dreams ended the era when gas lamps and candles lighted homes.

Finding Your Innovative Niche

Bill Gates didn’t invent computer programming.  He co-founded a company that wrote an operating system that could run on small computers.  The operating system that he and co-founder Paul Allen developed enabled manufacturers to make and sell small personal computers on a massive scale.

Bill Gates efforts pressured a competitive market to make personal computers available to nearly everyone.

Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Gates all had dreams. They made their dreams a reality.


4 Questions of a Successful Career Plan

4 Questions of a Successful Career

4 Questions of a Successful Career

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.” Yogi Berra, Dave Kaplan (Contributor), from the book What Time Is It? You Mean Now?: Advice for Life from the Zennest Master of Them All

Here are four questions to ask yourself in planning your career and in adjusting your career plan over time.

What do you want to do?

Write down what you want to do on the job. Write down where you want to live.  Write down whether you want to work from home or go to a place outside of your home to work. Write down whether you want to work for yourself or for someone else.

You should use this process or a similar process every time you evaluate the progress of your career.

These are your career goals. If you don’t know your goals, how can you possibly achieve your them?

What are you capable of doing?

Write down your experience in managing projects, managing people, creating innovation and change, processing data, writing software or publications, and using applications and tools.  Make a list under each category.  These are your abilities.

Don’t write down puffery about how great you think you are, but do highlight your specific accomplishments.

What jobs match your goals and your abilities?

You can research this information from job descriptions that you find on Internet job listing sites.  There are also career aptitude tests. ” Take the Career Aptitude Test | Rasmussen College” and “Career Aptitude Test | What Career is Right for Me” are two popular tests.

For a video of the Fastest Growing Occupations 2014-24, click here.

Who is hiring for the jobs that match what your goals and your abilities?

Now you are getting to an actual job search.  If you have narrowed down the industries you want to pursue, you can start to approach companies in these industries directly. Many companies list their jobs on their company website.  If you know someone working at a company where you want to work, contact that person directly.  Identify recruiters in the industry you want to pursue and contact those recruiters.  Check newspapers for job listings in your preferred field. Check trade journals specific to your industry for jobs.

The best way to find jobs and jobs descriptions is in a search engine and not a job board or job search engine.

Image: andy.brandon50/Flickr

8 Biggest Resume Mistakes

Resume Mistakes
8 Biggest Resume Mistakes:  A resume reader spends six seconds deciding whether to throw a resume away.

Lydia Dishman, writing for Fast Company, has the following takes based on an interview with a former Google recruiter,

“What can land a resume in the discard pile ranges from improper formatting to incorrect grammar and spelling. Google applicants [for that matter, all applicants] run the gamut, from very professional to people who couldn’t string together a full sentence, Bacon observes. We sat down with him recently to get an expert’s opinion on worst practices. Here’s what he told us.”

Source: A Former Google Recruiter Reveals The Biggest Resume Mistakes | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Image: webtreats/Flickr

5 Simple Techniques to Get Rid Of Job Interview Anxiety

Interview Jitters
5 Simple Techniques to Get Rid Of Job Interview Anxiety

, Fast Company contributor and freelance writer, uses her technique of helping readers make small changes for huge results in this article.  She writes,

Don’t let your nerves stand in the way of landing your dream job. Here’s how to put your best foot forward.

Source: How To Get Rid Of Job Interview Anxiety | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Image: Topher McCulloch/Flickr

Fast Company Social Media Training

social media
Fast Company Social Media Training

This following quote is the caption to Fast Company’s training video on mastering social media.

“Social media can have a major impact on your professional life. An excellent social media strategy can make the difference between a company that takes off and one that isn’t able to find its audience. There’s a method to the madness, though. Find out the better times to post on social media, the types of followers you should engage with, with whom you should aim to build your network, and much more.”

To watch the Video, follow this link to see FastCo Studios’ social methods : Have You Mastered Social Media? | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Image: kropekk_pl/pixabay