Category: refine your brand

Are you really open when you’re open?

One of my biggest gripes that happens with bricks and mortar businesses is in regards to opening and closing times.

Businesses that close at 5:30pm, but already look closed at 5:15pm.

Do you think that makes the customer feel comfortable or uncomfortable? It’s obviously the latter, and making customers feel uncomfortable is a problem for business.

Here are three examples:

  1. Being in a cafe and they start taking the garbage out and stacking chairs while you’re there (within the advertised opening time).
  2. Being at a retail store that starts shutting down computers and is more focused on packing up then helping you.
  3. Taking the signs in from outside before you’ve closed so to anyone passing by you look closed already.

You might think it’s an efficient use of time because business is slow in the last 15 minutes, but let me promise you that giving a customer a substandard experience certainly won’t start attracting more customers. You’ll just end up getting quieter and quieter.

Think of the big brands, they generally have a 10 minute and 5 minute call ready for their doors to be closed at that time. There’s a consistency, but they don’t reduce the experience you’re getting so they can get out early.

The benefit behind a bricks and mortar store is that you have the opportunity to immerse your customer in an experience that online stores can’t match.

How good is that experience if you’ve already started packing up or if you’re not ready when people arrive in the morning.

Your customer experience should be like an event. You don’t rock up to a concert and they’re still setting up. The stage is set before you arrive. You don’t want the magic to be tainted because some of the musicians were just hanging out in front of the curtain before the curtain opened.

And there’s another danger – they stop coming because you look closed!

If you’re paying rent for a bricks and mortar store, it’s important you look open when you’re actually open – especially if you’re paying premium rent at a site that has good passing traffic.

Life’s too busy for customers to remember when everyone closes, so if you look shut I just don’t stop. It’s that simple.

Be open when you’re open, and close when you’re closed. If you don’t want to stay till 5:30pm then set the expectation that you close at 5:15pm and delight them if they come to the door and you grab something for them.

The point:
Whatever you do, when a customer interacts with your business give them the full experience and your full attention.


Read more blogs on how to delight your customer here, or download our free ebook ’10 things small business must stop dong NOW.’

Is your Brand an all-round Habit?

Tips on brand building habits every day business

Our ‘Touchpoints’ blog is written to tease out, understand, share and spark action on two important things – brand and touchpoints.

Lets be honest, organisations are recognised for their touchpoints that  either grow or detract from building a great brand. Either could be you!

It doesn’t matter if you’re advertising is great, it doesn’t matter how good your stores look – if your business is flat and doesn’t offer a unique brand to the market then it simply won’t be as effective as it could be. That may not be what you want to hear… #sorrynotsorry.

You must focus on getting the basics simplified so that your teams deliver your values, culture and personality.  Convincingly.

Here’s the fun part! I ask you to answer the following questions (in your mind is fine) within 30 seconds, here goes:

  • What does your company promise in their slogan? (this should be easy)
  • What is your core value to the client i.e. why do they come to you?
  • What is the brand personality of your company?
  • What sets your organisation apart from competitors?

So, I’m hoping you didn’t struggle too much to come up with the answers. But the real test is this:

If you asked these questions of everyone in your organisation would they give the same answers?

Scary Fact: When hosting a trade show in Adelaide a few years ago I encountered a scary situation. Trade shows and exhibitions are a big investment and you want to maximise face time with possible customers. As the host, I pre-warned all exhibitors that I would be back in 10 minutes to discuss a ‘call to action’ and I’d like to know their Point of Difference – what it is that sets them apart from their competitors. Many had 3 or 4 direct competitors in the room. After 10 minutes only 3 in every 10 exhibitors were able to tell something that would stand out. Lost opportunity!

The Shining light: One exhibitor that did ‘stick’ in my memory is Kumho Tyres. Their point of difference that they quickly delivered was their culture of innovation and trying new things – their slogan being: “What’s next is already here”. They’ve invented an aroma tyre that smells of Lavender. I’m told (but it’s not mentioned in their advertising) that it was originally a trial to see if ‘burning rubber’ could smell any nicer. Once they trialled it they also found it had superior handling and lower road noise. The point is that these guys knew their brand and had an example to back it up.

Effective Naturally champions the 4 pillars of ‘promise, value, personality, difference’ as the foundations to a strong and consistent brand. They allow organisations to confidently advertise a promise they know they can consistently deliver. Consistent delivery is what builds trust and it’s only when trust has been earned that an organisation could expect to the positive word of mouth and customer loyalty that is enjoyed by the best brands in the world.

If you want to read more on the benefits of positive word of mouth read my blog on brand evangelism, or take action right now and check out our coaching opportunities.

The 10 most overlooked areas of marketing

This week I saw a retail business that was spending over $100k per year on regional television, but doesn’t have a social strategy or even a website.

In contrast…

This week we recorded one of our clients measuring 5 million views of their social media posts over the previous 3 months. And it cost $1 per thousand people (that’s including our strategy and management fees).

In comparison, a $500 advertisement on regional TV might rate at 30,000 viewers (if the viewer didn’t get up to make a cup of tea)  – but that’s $16.67 per thousand people. 

I’ll admit the client I speak of also has TV ads on air, and to be honest it’s better for potential customers to see you in a variety of media so I’m certainly not saying get rid of TV as part of an overall marketing plan if that suits your specific industry. However, to ignore digital means your audience is getting smaller by the day. The longer you take to build your social following, the more loyal those people are becoming to your competitors that do have an active online presence.




An effective marketing strategy has many pieces to the puzzle. Here are ten most overlooked marketing areas that are important to take care of…


1. Marketing Map

Do all of your marketing channels align with a consistent message and link through to each other? If not you could be leaving your customers with dead ends. Be objective. For example when you promote a special offer on a TV ad, make sure it points you to the website, then make sure the website has the offer clearly placed front and centre so it’s easy to find. A marketing map will help you identify where you may be missing some links (and probably losing customers).


2. Social Media

There’s not enough room to give you all the current tips on social media, but do you actually use your social media channels regularly, and do you connect them with your website? Most importantly, do you respond quickly (Facebook classes quick as within 30 minutes)?


3. Online Reviews

Do you monitor these and reply to both good and bad? Set up alerts so you can be on top of them quickly. Again people use reviews to determine who they’ll choose to provide them their product or service. The way you respond will help them determine if you’re the right provider for them. Not responding at all doesn’t bode well.


4. Evolving Website

Google appreciates fresh content. Updating your website every month with a blog post may help keep your page relevant. Aligning your posts to write about hotly searched keywords will also help (but that’s a whole different lesson).


5. Responsive Website

A majority of social and website views are now done on mobile devices. So if your website isn’t user friendly on a mobile, then the chances are the user will click off your site within the second. That’s a huge missed opportunity.


6. What’s your bounce rate?

A bounce rate is a percentage of how many people visit your website then jump off again within 3 seconds. Obviously they’re jumping off because you didn’t make a great first impression. If you can get a bounce rate of less than 50% then that’s good and Google will likely reward you with a higher ranking.


7. Your Database

Do you use your database of actual customers and general followers? The database is the most valuable asset a business can own. Like social media, how you use this as a tool is something that should be tailored for the preferences of your particular customers, but if you’re not even collecting these details you’re missing out.


8. Cold Calling 

Don’t. Just don’t. If you don’t like being cold called, then why would you think potential customers might. It’s the equivalent to asking a perfect stranger in the street to marry you. Awkward. There are ways to make an approach over the phone but buying a database and making a cold call is not one of them.


9. Google my Business

Have you claimed your page on Google yet? Login to Google (top right corner) then click the grid beside the login area. At the bottom you’ll see Google My Business. By claiming your business and going through the verification process you’ll be able to update your details on Google search. Don’t wait to do it when you’re about to move as the verification can take a couple of weeks to happen.


10. Your brand messaging

Have you really worked out why someone should choose you over your competitor yet? If not, why not? If you don’t know why you’d  choose you, why would someone else want to?


This is just the tip of the iceberg, but these seem to be the ones that are most often missed that have stood out to me in the last few weeks. 


How would you like to have Rick Marton as your marketing mentor? Someone to work with you side by side to empower you with the knowledge you need to know (and none of the stuff you don’t), help you get maximum bang for buck and to stay on track with relevant marketing trends. If so, take a look at marketing mentoring and coaching on this page, wherever you are in the world.


The importance of relevance, a blunt view

A big g’day to you all!

I once went to a Health Retreat in sunny old Queensland where I was learning about proactive health (cause and effect sort of stuff) and took the time to really think about “responsibility”.

I was in the gym and saw a cartoon on the wall with a trainer asking a chubby guy, “If you can’t find time to exercise an hour a day, how will you find time to be dead 24 hours a day?”

It dawned on me that many brand owners (either career driven individuals, sportspeople or business owners) don’t take responsibility for their own futures by preparing to beat today’s challenges.

In Tasmania, our famous discount retailer “Chickenfeed” closed down with financial difficulties recently. What shocked me (maybe shock isn’t the right word) were the number of people proclaiming on about how this was just another example of the economic downturn.

This is the same economy in which stores such as The Reject Shop and Shiploads (Chickenfeed’s two competitors in Tasmania) have now successfully opened more stores. If it’s the same economy and same trading conditions but one couldn’t stay afloat, then it must be safe to say the issue lies in the business, not everything around it.


For many business owners or professionals the critical period is already here. Faster than ever businesses all around are becoming irrelevant and they’re living on borrowed time. They must choose if it will be a crisis to whinge over or a challenge to overcome. Let’s look at some scenarios and forgive me if it looks like I’m being a little ‘too’ blunt.


– If your competitors have the ‘next big thing’ and your customers love it so much they leave you…whose problem is that? It would be you that failed to get your own ‘Next big thing’.


– If your sales drop so you’ve discounted your products to a point you no longer make money…whose problem is that? It would be you that failed to provide or communicate enough value to maintain 


– If internet shopping starts stealing your customers and you struggle to survive…whose problem is that? It would be you that failed to come up with an experience or element to your product that the internet couldn’t match, or that failed to take the opportunity to sell your unique product to the world also.


– If you’re a sportsperson who loses an endorsement because you drive your car like a maniac….whose problem is that? It would be you for driving the car without respect for the safety of others. 


– Are you an automobile maker, that intentionally misled pollution screening at one of the world’s most trusted brands causing it to lose BILLIONS of dollars and impacting a countries entire reputation for trusted quality? Ok that last one couldn’t possibly ever happen could it Volkswagen?

Seriously though these points are just the tip of an iceberg – if you want to see other underlying problems for business see more in my eBook, it’s free and you can download it here.

I know the plight of forestry suppliers and many in agricultural businesses that have hit hard times and they find themselves in circumstances which are not caused by them. They, like all of us at some point in our lives, will have to ask themselves “Can we hold on to this and put the building block in to succeed, or should we start to diversify now whilst we are still strong enough to do so?”

At one point, in a respectable show of honesty, the CEO of Vodafone Australia admitted they totally underestimated the load on their network that would be needed to satisfy the appetite for smartphone usage amongst their customers. A couple of years ago a large exodus began because their network was hopeless. With all credit to the CEO, around the time he came out with the previous statement he openly admitted they knew it wasn’t up to scratch and would have to spend the next couple of years healing. Honesty is the best policy in business. 

The buck stops with the individual. The reputation and ultimate success of our own brands rely on you. Consumers very rarely look positively at a ‘bail-out’ by someone else but instead respect strength and an enduring spirit. Blaming others for shortcomings is simply a waste of time. 

The Point: 

Next time you or a friend find yourselves apportioning blame to others, take a moment to think what could have been done in the past to avoid this situation now. In this rapidly changing world choices need to be made for those in many industries. It’s always important to remember, you got yourself here, now it’s you who has the power to choose remain relevant and take the next step toward success.