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Welcome to the May 2019 edition of ‘Terrific Tips’ delivered to your desktop free each month. 

In this newsletter, we cover some challenging issues and share meaningful research and expert advice that has application to your business and your life. This month one of the questions asked that has been a conundrum for me, is why is printer ink so incredibly expensive? And I turn to an engineer and humourist (who would have thought those two words could appear in the same sentence?) to shed some light on the matter.

You will find links to three video clips in this newsletter. Take the time to have a look at each. I’m sure you’ll be glad when you do.

And do make sure to download the pictures from this newsletter on your PC or mobile device so that you can view Kathleen Buzzacotts’s incredible art, including her award-winning toilets.

Discipline creates freedom

When it comes to customer service, discipline is a good thing. By adhering to customer service standards, ‘The way we do things around here’, each team member is clear about how to respond in various scenarios. This frees them up to then focus on the individual customer’s needs as Jurek Leon explains in this two-minute video clip

It is taken from a presentation organised by the Business Owners Board in Perth.

Dancing with the school principal

How to influence and persuade others is important in many aspects of life and it’s something we regularly explore in this newsletter. Here is a wonderful example of doing things differently and engaging with and inspiring others to achieve a far better result.

A school Principal in Shanxi, China wanted his students to exercise more and spend less of their play time engaged in computer games. Each day the school set aside time for morning exercise with compulsory activities such as calisthenics. However, the children were often disinterested. 

So, he secretly learned the shuffle dance and arranged for a professional shuffle dance group to perform for the 700 students at the school. He then asked them if they’d like to learn the shuffle dance and do this instead of calisthenics. This received a resounding ‘Yes!’ and the results are amazing with this video clip of them dancing going viral. 

As the Principal says, “Interest is the best teacher”. He and his teaching staff also found that energy levels in class increased which benefitted their student’ studies.

What an inspired way to get children exercising. Certainly beats berating them for spending too much time online. I love it and so will you!

Here is a further video clip where the Principal explains how this came about.

Read the Sign 

Effective visuals can cut through so much to reach us in a way that coherent arguments rarely achieve. This does it so well; a quite superb response following the Christchurch atrocity.

Lessons from luxury brands

What can we learn from luxury brands about marketing and customer engagement and apply to our own small business or role?

That was what Toby Beckers sought to discover on a Nuffield Farming Scholarship. In his case it was to identify the lessons for small Australian wine producers in a way that could help them to apply the findings. Toby and his wife Emma own Bekkers Wine, a boutique winery in South Australia’s McLaren Vale region.

As he put it, “Australian agribusinesses, and many wine brands, are good at efficiently converting natural capital into quality products. Australian winemakers excel at wine production. However, what they are not as good at is inspiring customers to pay a premium.”

This was his starting point when he embarked on his Nuffield scholarship studies, meeting with many prestige brands both within and outside the wine industry. He travelled the world investigating strategies, communication and customer engagement in industries such as fashion, jewellery, fine art, whisky, luxury hotels and restaurants. This was with businesses that do not compete on price but rather by satisfying the emotional needs of their customers.

Download his Luxury Brands and Customer Engagement Report. It contains much food for thought and not just for businesses offering premium products or experiences. 

Toby says, “It is not necessary to be a luxury brand in order to adopt some of the techniques and concepts that drive the success of those businesses… simple techniques applied with discipline appear to be the basis for much of the success enjoyed by luxury brands.”

As he puts it, “small winemakers should focus at least as much of their energy on marketing and communications as they do on production.”

In his report Toby Bekkers takes you on a jargon free, easy-to-read journey identifying four main themes common to all the businesses he visited:

  1. They understand their unique ‘Brand Identity’. 
  2. They seek to understand their customers’ emotional desires.
  3. They are obsessed with presenting a consistent brand image.
  4. They are master storytellers.

For example, relating to point 3 above regarding consistency he says, “Landscape and architecture plays a leading role in setting the scene at most of the Napa Valley’s leading wineries (in California). The most memorable visits were where every element told a story of excellence and craftsmanship.” 

As he puts it, the lesson from this is, “A careful audit of all customer-facing parts of the business to assess what message they are transmitting would be a useful exercise for most small winemakers… Are certain elements detracting from the overall image? These anomalies may be small, yet speak loudly about the brand.”

Toby Bekkers’ 42-page report is illustrated with real examples and commentary from the businesses he studied. It provides an invaluable insight from a switched on small business person who is rightly proud of his product but realises that this isn’t enough to set him apart from the crowd.

Seth Godin on resistance to change

There was an outcry when they banned cigarettes from bars in New York. The restaurant owners were certain that disaster was imminent.

And there was panic when we began to switch to LED bulbs, with concerned citizens and opportunistic politicians proclaiming that it was the end of civilization as we know it.

And when law firms started offering women partnerships…

And when seat belts were required in cars…

And when the building codes required fire exits and accessibility ramps…

And when work rules required more training and more rest for pilots and airline crews…

And when doctors were required to wash their hands before and after delivering a baby…

Change isn’t always guaranteed to work, but change often brings the frenzy.

Cartoon pinched from an article by Dr Linda Agyapong on Change Management

Source: Seth Godin’s Blog 

Avoiding a negative reaction – Part Two

In your March Terrific Tips, I included a tip on how to avoid an initial negative reaction to someone’s idea or suggestion when it differs from your own. It came from Paul Hellman’s fascinating book, ‘You’ve got 8 seconds’.

Here’s another, this time from UK communication specialist Andy Bounds in his strangely titled book, The Jelly Effect: How to make your communication stick

“When responding to one of Walt Disney’s ideas, you had to say ‘Yes if’ rather than ‘No because’.

“Think of the difference this make to the proposer of the idea and to your own thinking process.

“In one way, you’ve only changed two words, but in another you’ve changed everything.”

Think about this simple yet profound tip… and ask yourself, “How can I apply it?”

And then practise, practise. That’s how you develop a successful new habit.

Big brands losing the battle with big retailers

Fascinating article by UK based international retail consultant Alan Treadgold on why established big name brands such as Kraft and Heinz are struggling. Alan was Director of the Australian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash University many moons ago, when I first knew him. His observations are always worth noting.

Kathleen Buzzacott – A lesson in promoting art

Kathleen Buzzacott, a recent attendee at our Alice Springs workshops, is a renowned aboriginal artist with an ability to get talked about in a way that promotes her business and indigenous art.

In 2014, she established Kathleen Buzzacott Art Studio 18 kilometers from Alice Springs in Central Australia, and continues to operate with the assistance of her husband Keith and sons Kyle and Klinton. 

In addition to painting Aboriginal desert artworks, Kathleen creates limited-edition jewellery, combining semi-precious stones with colourful native ininti seeds, which are rare and much sought after by desert women. 

Kathleen’s profile received a valuable boost when a piece of her jewellery was selected for presentation to Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge at Uluru during Kate’s 2014 royal visit with Prince William.

That’s not Kathleen’s only unusual claim to fame though. Visitors also love to photograph and talk about her award-winning, artistically painted toilets which you can see in the accompanying photos.

Built in 2016, the loos were added for the convenience of tourists visiting Kathleen's studio. 

Kathleen says, “The two doors took 4 days to paint. They are painted both sides so when you sit on the toilet you can enjoy the art. Visitors sometimes don't come out of the loo for a while. When their friends say, ‘are you alright in there?’ they answer ‘it's amazing in here’."

Of course, once she gets people to her studio through word of mouth about her specially selected gift created for Princess Kate or award winning toilets, they will also be attracted to her amazing artwork such as the seed and gem stone jewellery being modelled by her nieces in the photo below.

Have you ever asked yourself?

What is the difference between a geek and a nerd?

Why is printer ink so expensive?

Who is the more efficient shopper, a man or a woman?

What’s the first thing people do when they get out of bed in the morning?

Don McMillan is an engineer, who has the answers to these and many other questions. Watch the You’ve Gotta Laugh clip on demonstrating this engineer’s take on everyday life.

Source: Thanks to Keith Ready for sharing this.

Terrific quotes

“I don’t trust anyone who’s nice to me but rude to the janitor. They lack integrity.” Oleg Vishnepolsky

"People don’t resist change. They resist being changed." Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline

“We pick companies because of their products but we often leave them because of their service failures.” Matthew Dixon in The Effortless Experience

Have a wonderful month.

Jurek Leon

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