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.”

Phone Interviews: Are they a waste of time?

Phone Interviews: Are they a waste of time? Why am I wasting my time with a phone interview?
Phone Interviews: Are they a waste of time?

The Essential Phone Interview Handbook by Paul Bailo

Do you really have to bother preparing for phone interviews?  It is just a phone call.  It is not as though the person on the phone can see you.  Can you accomplish anything at all?

You’ve probably already invested quite a bit of time applying for the job.  You have filled out and application.  You may have completed a web-based interview.

Now you are ready to get face-to-face with people at the hiring company.

But you can’t meet face-to-face, because you have to speak with some screener on the phone.

Assume Nothing.

The person on the phone plays a real role in your getting a job with the company.  Even if you never speak with that person again, you cannot get a face-to-face meeting without their recommendation.  Furthermore, the person on the phone may be someone who will be involved with you throughout your career with the hiring company.  Getting off on the right foot may pay huge dividends down the line.

Make it Real.

Prepare as though you are going to a real interview.

Have these things on your desk:

  • Your resume
  • The job description
  • A list of key points you wish to make about how your experience qualifies you for this specific job
  • A list of questions

Select your interview place carefully.

  • Pick a quiet room.
  • Have a glass of water immediately handy.
  • Pick a comfortable chair.
  • Don’t drive! 

Even though you are on the phone, let your personality shine.

  • Smile.  You will project warmth even though the interview cannot see you.
  • Listen to the interviewer’s questions.  Answer the questions. Do not just a reply to the question.
  • Remember to take a silent deep breath from time to time.
  • Say positive things about yourself and about your employer.
  • The reason you are interviewing with the new company is that they offer things you cannot get from your current company.
  • Make sure you understand the question before you answer it.

Remember to focus.

  • Make your answers detailed but to the point.
  • Allow the interviewer a chance to speak.
  • Ask trial close questions: for example, ask the interviewer when the company will make a decision.
  • Emphasize that you are definitely interested in going forward for with the opportunity.

Do Not:

  • Interrupt the call to take another call.
  • Allow people to disturb you.
  • Certainly, do not multitask.
  • Interrupt the interviewer.
  • No jokes! Do not try to tell a joke.
  • Do not fake your answers. If you do not know that answer to a random question, just say so.
  • Again, Do Not Drive!

Remember to close on an upbeat. 

Thank the interviewer for taking time to speak with you.  Emphasize that you hope to have a chance to speak again.

5 Winning Steps To Turn Interview Jitters Into Energy And Confidence

5 Winning Steps to Overcoming Job Interview Jitters
Interview jitters are a form of stage fright

If job interviews give you the jitters, you are not alone.  Everyone experiences some feelings of uncertainty from time to time.

Applicants know that another person or other people are judging the things they say and the things they do.  They fear rejection. Many job applicants are nervous before a job interview.  A bad case of the interview jitters works against you.  Instead of having a clear mind, you think less clearly and effectively.  At a time when want to feel poised and confident, you feel tense and uncomfortable.

There are winning steps to turn the job interview jitters into energy and confidence.

Have a light, healthy snack before your interview.

Being hungry or loaded with caffeine can make you feel nervous.  Take a health bar and a bottle of water with you.  Find a comfortable place to relax.  Enjoy your health bar and bottle of water about thirty minutes before your interview.  Give your body time to digest the snack and get the food into your system.

Reduce the amount of caffeine you eat or drink.

You might avoid chocolate bars.  They are great for energy.  The sugar and caffeine can get you energy boost.  However, as the sugar wears off, you can feel an energy drop.  The caffeine can leave you feeling a little on edge.  If you enjoy coffee or caffeinated soft drinks, you may want to avoid them before your interview.  Caffeine from chocolate or from coffee or soft drinks added to the adrenaline of having interview pressure can give you a heavy case of the jitters.

Prepare thoroughly for your job interview.

Know the details of the company.  Know the details of the job for which you are interviewing.  Review your resume.  Know how to discuss your experience in terms of how are qualified for the job.

Prepare questions for the people who will interview you. 

Having questions will show that you are interested in the question.  Having your questions written out will help you remember to ask the questions that you will need answered.

Remember to breath.

Baseball players use this simple technique often.  Watch pitchers right before the windup or batters right before stepping into the batter’s box.  The players will take one or two deep breaths.  You don’t need to master any complex breathing meditation.  Just breathe.

Image: John Hain/Flickr

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Turn Your Career Worries into Career Plans
Job Security: How to Stop Scaring Yourself
Clearing the Mental Clutter of Job Stress

The First 90 Days In Your New Job

The First 90 Days

The First 90 Days In Your New Job

Do you want to have a successful start in the first 90 days in your new job?  Here are some ideas to help you achieve success during that critical time in working for a new company.

In the book “The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter,” Michael Watkins writes about the situations an executive should focus on when beginning a new job.

“Transitions are a critical time for leaders.  In fact, most agree that moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager will face.  While transitions offer a chance to start fresh and make needed changes in an organization, they also place leaders in a position of acute vulnerability.  Missteps made during the crucial first three months in a new role can jeopardize or even derail your success.”

Related articles:

The Plan for Jobs and Job Interviews,”
6 Steps to Success Immediate Success

In some jobs changes, people move to another company to do the same job.  Most of my clients hire people based on clearly transferrable skills.  Adapting to the new job requires some basic understanding and application of how best to apply those skills in a new setting.

My Personal Experience

When I went from Procter & Gamble to Polaroid, I made similar adaptations.  The products I sold at Procter & Gamble had different sales cycles than the products I sold and at Polaroid.  Procter & Gamble’s products are fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG): toothpaste, laundry detergent, facial tissue, beauty aids, etc.  At Procter & Gamble, one month was similar to the next month.  Consumer buys these products at the same rate year round.

At Polaroid, I was selling seasonal products.  Summer travel season was an important period for sales.  The winter holiday season was the largest sales period for Polaroid.

The sales team sold seasonal film orders in the spring for shipment in the summer.  They sold cameras and film in July for shipment from August through November.  As the holiday season approached, the sales team would make additional rounds through their territory to sell film.

Retailers sold as much Polaroid film in one day in December as they sold the entire month of January.

The transition for me required adapting to different selling cycles and new methods of projecting sales.

Image: Chris Potter/Flickr

“The World’s Noblest Headhunter”


Are You Interviewing With The Wrong Company

Are you interviewing with the wrong company?

Are you interviewing with the wrong company?  Use these follow tips to avoid your time to avoid wasting your time.

As the owner of a recruiting firm, I worked with applicants who dealt with troubling issues during the interview process.  Here are some of the things I learned from my experience in helping these applicants

The company location is unsafe.

In major metropolitan areas, office and factory spaces are expensive.  In an attempt to keep costs in line, some companies locate their offices in inexpensive locations.  In major metropolitan areas, the less expensive locations are often in high crime locations.  I have had three clients whose offices were inside chain link fences that had barbed wire on the top.  Even though these companies had highly recognizable brands, the companies were small and the cost of safe locations was a challenge to their bottom line.

If you do not believe that the location is safe, you need to ask yourself whether you are interviewing with the right company.

The interviewers fail to keep their commitments.

In some cases, interviewers have valid reasons for cancelling an appointment, and they explain those reasons to you.  An easy way to handle the situation is to show understanding and simply reschedule.

However, sometimes failing to keep commitments is a red flag.

  • The interviewers cancel appointments without attempting to reschedule.
  • The interviewers cancel appointments more than once.
  • The interviewers completely fail to call you or to meet with you without calling to cancel or reschedule.

Interviewers take calls during your interview, or they allow people to come into their office to interrupt your interview.

This type of behavior is a sign that the interviewer is not interested in you or, perhaps, simply does not respect your time.

Remember that the way an interviewer handles an interview is a sign of how a company deals with its employees.  This behavior is uncommon, but when it has happened, applicants have often complained to me about it and rightfully so.

The company withholds details on benefits and salary range during the interview process.

The company benefits and compensation are confidential information.  For competitive security issues, companies must protect the details of their operations.  However, to avoid wasting their own time and the applicant’s time, the best interviewers provide general information on benefits and compensation.  Often, companies include information on benefits and compensation on the job description.

Image: Dan Moyle/Flickr


Did You Pass or Fail that Interview?

Job Interview Success

Jacquelyn Smith, writes in Business Insider, there are “14 Signs You’re About to Receive a Job Offer”

“While you can never be certain, these signals may indicate that good news is about to come your way. You’re relatively sure you aced the interview and felt like you were walking on air as you left the lobby. But now, hours seem like days and days like weeks as you wait patiently for a formal offer.”

Source: 14 Signs You’re About to Receive a Job Offer |

Whenever I talked with an applicant about their job interviews, I always asked the applicant what the interviewer had said about next steps.  Based on this information, I could know whether the  person had passed or failed an interview.

If the interviewer scheduled another interview before the applicant walked out the door, the applicant had a successful interview.

If interviewers summarized by saying they needed to compare notes before reaching a decision, the applicant very likely had an excellent interview.

If the interviewer told applicants that they were speaking with several applicants and would get back to the applicants in a few weeks, I knew that the applicants had very likely failed the interview.

Image: jonathan

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