Friday, August 31, 2012

Better Work Through MORE Willpower.

In business and in life, we all struggle with Willpower.  Willpower, as described in The Willpower Instinct by Dr. Kelly McGonigal, Ph.d, an amazingly awesome book, is both the iWant power (wanting to do/get/be something) and iWont power (wanting to stop doing/getting/being something).  In business, this is usually doing the "hard work" that will actually make a difference.  In Marketing, for example, it means 'actually talking to customers (some say yick!)'... or stopping  the 'usual marketing we always do'... or 'killing that poor product/brand'.  THIS BOOK is the definitive resource for improving your Willpower (both iWant and iWont).   If you want to lose weight, be more productive, be a better person, or whatever you "want"... READ THIS BOOK NOW!  I, for example, WANT to write a non-fiction book about marketing.  Ironically, this book is so rich and filled with examples and real studies, I think I may 'use' this book for iWant power, AND 'use' this book as a guideline for how to write non-fiction.  I should mention I do not know the author personally... but I would love to do one of Dr. McGonigal's seminars.

So, what did I get out of this book?  Here's a few takeaways...  I've ordered a physical copy too, so I can better quote the book and use it as a writing reference (since I only read this on Audible so far).

  1. Meditation Increases Willpower.  
    • (the simple kind, where for 5-10min a day, you just relax and 'not think', but listen to your breathing)...
    • (also, get enough sleep/and eat healthy.. it increases willpower (really))
  2. Forgiveness Increases Willpower.  
    • (learn to forgive yourself!  based on Scientific research, forgiving your splurge will be MORE impact-full than punishing/blaming yourself!).
  3. Find a way to Motivate Yourself.
    • The Chance of a Random Reward drives Willpower.
    • (give yourself random rewards for successes, think of the goal/future self).
    • (lotto tickets as a reward).
  4. Social Pressure Fuels Willpower (and Weakness).  
    • (stay away from social settings that might make you lose in your willpower goal.  Find mentors or sponsors who support your goal.  Make your goal public.)
  5. Think of your "Future" Self. 
    • (just thinking about your future self leads to greater power for iWant or iWont).
  6. Don't try to Suppress Thoughts/Cravings. 
    • (when you try 'not' to think of something, you end up thinking more of it... when you try to reject bad thoughts, you have them more and worse... in both case you ACT on them more.  Instead, "accept" the thoughts, and then accept that you can control your actions.)
  7. Change iWont into iWant.  
    • (iWant power is easier than iWont.  Dieting does NOT work.  Wanting to eat 'more' of healthy foods does!).
Here's a great video by Dr. McGonigal about Willpower:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Colors and Styles

One of the big challenges of marketing is dealing with different people's opinions about color and style.  "I like it blue."  "No, I want it rounder."  "That Font is too hard to read."   All of this is, of course, opinion.  So, how do you choose?  How do you deal with this conflict the best possible way?

In my experience, the best outcomes happen when the marketer takes feedback from everyone, listens closely for "real problems".  Then, chooses 1 person to give complete control of the color/style/design.  That person should come from a design background/school.  If there is noone on your team that has that background (such as Art School), then trust the instincts of your art contractors (or hire one!).

You cannot accept the opinions of untrained people over that of seasoned professionals whose job it is to make stuff look good!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Positioning your Company or Product in the Minds of the World.

What is Positioning?  The outstanding book by Al Ries and Jack Trout should be your FIRST stop on the topic.  Those excellent narrators bring to life a concept that can seem boring; but is truly vital to the success of a product.  If you do not have a "Position" for your product... you are almost certainly doomed to fail.

Consider, when you go shopping, say for a new car, how do you choose what to buy?  If you are interested quality? Toyota.  Great Driving? BMW. Amazing Safety?  Volvo.  

In order to properly market your product, you must find a position for your brand... this means finding a place "in the mind of your target customers" for your product to live.  Imagine your target customer has a limited capacity for remembering things (certainly true)..and you get 1 shot to 'place your product in the filing cabinet of your prospects mind'... what do you want them to remember?  The idea of positioning is that IF you can get it into their mind WITH a position; it will be easier to file away.  (rather than into the 'misc' category, your prospects file it in the "Safest" category or the "Best Value/Cheap" category or the "Highest Quality/Expensive" category or the "Funnest" category or whatever.

With my good friend Barry Raskin, I have adopted a formal sentence structure that helps guide the development of a "positioning statement"... can you fill out this sentence?  Can everyone on the product team?

" _(  YOUR COMPANY/PRODUCT/BRAND  )_  is a _______  that does ____________ for ________.

UNLIKE OTHER _____________ we do _________________________.

Having trouble?  You are not alone.  About 90% of the start-ups I encounter have never thought of their products in this simple and critical way.

This will FORCE you to put a position on your product.  This sentence is not something you share with the world (necessarily).  It is an internal guide to keep marketing focused and what you want to 'imprint' on people who encounter your product/brand.

There is a whole bunch more psychology and tips that the book (below) goes into.  I'll leave you with 1 final tip from my own experience.  When you sit down and do this exercise, you'll realize quickly that the "for ____" is a vital part.  If you are not TARGETING a well define market... your POSITIONING will fail.  Start with the target market first... then find a position in their minds you can occupy.

It is even better when you can occupy a position that nobody else has claimed yet.  The "Most, Best, Fastest" or similar terms are what you are shooting for!

Read more from the experts:

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