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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Business Lessons from Toddlers and a Labrador...

Anyone with toddlers or a Labrador will know that the most important thing about a gift is the packaging...

Cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and wrapping paper are so much more fun than whatever the contain; unless in the case of a Labrador, it's a tennis ball of course...
Back in 1986, before mobile phones, the interweb and even before Kim Kardashian could clog up YouTube with her bottom; I was studying for my Institute Qualifications - the Institute of Packaging no less...

To this day I am able to use the letters MInstPkg(Dip) after my name; I don't for obvious reasons, including the fact that nobody actually cares - apart from my Mom who thinks it means I am a Doctor of something...

Doctor of Boxicology for example...
Dixie Dean was my tutor - he was a legend in the packaging world and one of the first lessons he taught us the 3 P's of Packaging...
  1. Preservation - the package must prevent the product from going rusty, getting wet or deteriorating prior to use.
  2. Promotion - has to inform, attract and differentiate the contained product such that it can be recognised, identified and located.
  3. Protection - preventing damage from drops, shakes and knock of all types; keeping the product in tact during transit and storage.
Now imagine someone in Sainsbury's on a Saturday afternoon attempting to select a bottle of wine to impress the other half over a Chicken Madras later in the evening...

How would they decide which wine to choose..?

Not knowing anything about wine, expect that it comes in two main flavours; Red and White with fizzy options available if you aren't married yet...

Exactly - the label and the price...

They may know that Appellation Controlee is better than Vin de Pays, although they won't know why. They may also know that Bordeaux is a safe bet, but not that it is a region and not a grape variety...
And they definitely won't know that Cremant is a nicer drink than many Champagnes and costs around 1/3 of the price too...
If in doubt, and a decent bottle of red is required, the rule is simple;

Don't buy the cheapest, and if the bottle looks nice and has a fancy label and cork (not a twist cap of course..) then life is good...

You could of course go for a Chateauneuf du Pape and warble on about the Popebeing based out of Avignon, France in the 14th Century for a while and how nice the castle is; at least it will make you sound like you know what you are talking about and will take your and your partners mind off the actual taste of the wine...

You could even sing the song "Sur le pont d'Avignion.." too...

Remember...

Marketing = Packaging...

Only interesting to Toddlers and Labradors in the long run...
And here lies the challenge with marketing - in common with Packaging t does nothing to enhance the product it contains; the best packaging in the world will still only guarantee that a product arrives, even if it's a rubbish product...

But this is how people buy products and especially how they buy services - they won't admit it but "hope" is their major decision making strategy.

Perceived risk is reduced based on the look and feel of the Marketing; the website, the logo and what other people are saying about the product or service in question.
This is why the best products and services don't necessarily make the most money, because their marketing (packaging..) sucks; no one can find them or if they can, are not sufficiently convinced to actually make an enquiry let alone a purchase...
Packaging and Marketing conspire to lure purchasers, but they do not guarantee the quality, standards and performance of the service they will experience.

Does your product or service actually live up to the promises made in it's Packaging...?

Better still..

Does your Packaging live up to the standards of your service or product...?

Packaging will attract the interest, but gets quickly discarded once the product is in use - no one cares about the box your curved screen TV came in when your watching Dexter take another blood sample...

Authenticity wins every time...

...but your Packaging had better be good too...
Customers simply want to know that what yo say about your product or service in your Marketing is true - that you will deliver with authenticity, be the real deal and keep your promises...
Authenticity keeps customers coming back time after time and telling people about you; it's the simplest rule in business that is so often overlooked...

Make a compelling Promise and Keep it; simple...

If your product and service is rubbish, then no amount of packaging will save you, remember this..

"Above all it's a Rover..."

So the plan needs to be...

  1. Build a product or service that is truly excellent, represents great value and actually solves a problem for someone..

  2. Package it in such a way that it attracts the right people to you - they may still buy because you are not cheap and have a nice label...

  3. Authentically deliver exactly what you promised, consistently, on time and on budget; and keep innovating all the time...

In 2015, don't let someone with a dodgy product but interesting Packaging steal your customers and margin away; this year get your Marketing sorted and start to attract the clients, sales and profits you really deserve...

Have a great 2015...

David Holland MBA is the Founder and CEO of Results Rules OK, a Business Coaching, Training and Publications Company with offices in France, Luxembourg and the UK...
To find out more about working with David as you Business Coach, Executive Coach or Team Trainer - just drop him a note todavidholland@resultsrulesok.com for an introductory and complimentary discussion that just could change your life, your business and your results...
If you'd like to come to one of our Events to meet David, the Team and some of his Clients, then check out the website HERE - we look forward to seeing you and hearing from you...

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