Karen Post discusses Paula Deen’s brand hit and The Costa brand shipwreck disaster.
Signs are everywhere, unless you live on a zone-restricted island or in a cave, and even then there are signs. Maybe not the kind you order from Kinko’s, but there had to have been some sort of communication that was erected, posted or hung by someone with an intention to cause an action or a reaction.
I find signs interesting, sometimes confusing and often very enlightening. This week I was doing some cleaning in my office when I stumbled across some signs I saw this past year and shot photos of. Some made me laugh, some made me think, and others reminded me of the experience I had when I first encountered the sign. In any case, I thought they were worth a blog post and decided to share some ideas on smart signing.
This one was shot in New York City. I like it because it’s direct and the shop owner’s loose and random art direction earned him quite a bit of publicity. It was even featured on CNN.
Another shot in New York City. This one looks as if it has the same budget range as the previous sign… maybe it’s the same sign designer . A few good things here, resting areas are always a welcoming touch, plus they nicely integrated their website and Facebook page, a great way to stretch one’s marketing dollars or twenty five cents.
I bet I don’t even have to tell you where this one was shot. It’s a sad statement on how a bunch of criminal thugs can negatively brand a destination like Lagos, Nigeria. I do wonder how effective this sign was. Do bad guys read signs?
This sign was shot in Lewiston, New York just a few weeks a go. The interesting thing is it’s not a pet shop, but a gift shop. So are dogs behaving and people not so much?
I call this one a sign of retail friendship. How nice is it when the store Kohls helps a customer stay organized and make decisions.
I may be spending too much time in fitting rooms. Victoria’s Secret provides a gentle dose of Instant Self-esteem with their “I don’t care how much you weigh, you look hot in that thong anyway” dressing room message.
This last great sign I found while surfing the net. I really like it, because its simple and to the point.
All joking aside, signs connected to businesses are darn, critical touch points. Not only can they help direct buyers, or attract new customers, they are a reflection of your brand. If you are folksy and lighthearted, hand written, homemade signs can be ideal. But if you are upscale and elegant, don’t be using a crayon to scribble your message and wonder why your clients don’t think you are as chic as you do.
If your message is important, here are 5 tips for creating on brand and effective signage.
1) Use relevant type faces that are consistent with your positioning. A comic type face is not the best choice for a French fashion boutique, just like fancy wedding scrip doesn’t make a Western shop seem all that macho.
2) If you invest in a lit sign, maintain it. If the bulbs are out for 6 months, what kind of message does that send to your market. Not one of a well run operation.
3) The scale and kerning of letters (space between letters), and white space on the canvas are key design elements in conveying a professional image. Investing in some professional design help may be worth it.
4) What is your brand personality? If it’s silly, humor is great route to take to get people talking about your brand. If it’s hip and progressive consider materials that are as cool.
5) Audit your signs in the daytime and evening. Often prospects learn about businesses after hours.
For more on effective signage, view:
Outdoor advertising – effective tool? dangerous distraction?
Tampa Bay Times
“They need to be ready for the potholes,” said Karen Post, a Tampa marketer and author of the book Brand Turnaround: How Brands Gone Bad Returned to Glory … and the 7 Game Changers that Made the Difference.
It’s a new year and a lot of people like to make resolutions in the hopes of improving upon the previous year’s mistakes and missed opportunities. Entrepreneurs are no different, and many business innovators have shared their resolutions with others in hopes of support and inspiration.
What do Sony Pictures, A&W Restaurants, Saab, American Apparel, Sears, Kellogg’s Corn Pops, MySpace, Soap Opera Digest, and Nokia have in common? They’re ten brands that 24/7 Wall St, a Delaware-based financial news group, says won’t survive through 2012. And it looks like some of those predictions might already be coming true — on Tuesday, Sears announced it will close more than 100 stores after lackluster holiday sales.
Dan Gross and Karen Post discuss the likelihood of the predictions actually happening.
I can’t believe it’s here. My new book will be on bookshelves and ship from online bookstores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble this Friday, December 16th. Thank you all for the hundreds of congrats notes and words of support.
I know many of you downloaded the sample chapter per my LinkedIn and Facebook author page notice. If you had trouble getting your chapter, it is because you were already in my opt-in list. So I’ve set up a direct download here without any further sign up needed, just click the book below. Sorry for that inconvenience.
Following this note from me is the official news release the McGraw-Hill PR team sent out for the launch. Their efforts along with my marketing team‘s and Staples Copy and Print Centers have already generated some exciting promotion around the book. Big thank you to the team! Here are just some media highlights.
The Small Business Advocate Show
The world’s only weekday radio program dedicated to small business, The Small Business Advocate® Show, on the air since 1997 and the Internet since 1998. The interview with Karen will run Friday at 8:25 ET. To listen go to Small Business Advocate Show. If you miss it, they archive all shows.
The Godfather of sales, Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Caffeine and in Salesblog
My good friend Jeffrey will feature my book to his over 400,000 friends and fans on December 20th, I’ll update the links next week.
News Release from McGraw-Hill
It can strike without warning. It can slay your stock and drive away your customers. It’s bad news when your brand undergoes a complete meltdown. The good news is there are proven strategies to get your business back up and running after a cataclysm.
Today’s competitive and transparent environment offers any number of threats from within and without, from customer complaints, negative press, product recalls, natural disasters, to financial failures. A single individual with a strong social media following, or the poor performance of a highly visible employee, can turn the company tide. These events can blindside even the strongest of brands.
Karen Post knows that a loss can be a gain, and she has the turnaround examples to prove it. BRAND TURNAROUND (McGraw-Hill Professional; December, 2011; Hardcover, $28.00) examines the seven principles and strategies that will protect your brand against any corporate storms that may arise without warning – and get you back in the game.
Ford. Barbie. Exxon. Martha Stewart. Tylenol. Eliot Spitzer. BP. JetBlue. Michael Vick. Harley-Davidson. Pee-Wee Herman. Here is a diverse mix of more than 75 brands and celebrities, and Post’s fascinating post-mortems of how their public profiles tanked and how the losses in each case were specific and unique. All the examples Post features in the book were once at the top of their game, fell from grace, and rallied back in the face of loss using a series of Post’s key survival principles.
Researching the keys to brand recovery, Post has put together a strategic game plan that needs to go operational within the first moments of crisis:
- Take Responsibility – Shift the brand tide from crisis to composure. This chapter examples a wide variety of instant handicaps and how they should be handled immediately.
- Never Give Up. After suffering losses, here are profiles of companies and brands that bounced back stronger – and why.
- Lead Strong – The special qualities of the people behind the turnarounds, responsible for making key decisions in the turnaround process.
- Stay Relevant – How to indentify, prioritize, and craft a strategic communications and relationship-building program.
- Keep Improving – In addition to returning to that original state of glory, brands must also show that they are committed to doing even better than before.
- Build Equity – In the face of scandal, successful brands create bonds with an increasingly cynical consumer market that will stick by them through good times and bad.
- Own Your Distinction – Call it your unique attribute, your “Brain Tattoo.” What’s your compelling differentiator? What are the unique qualities of your brand that will fuel your comeback?
Writes Post, “If and when your brand gets hit by outside forces and uncontrollable situations, or if the bad or weak in you and/or your brand explodes, remember, there is life after a disaster and brand meltdown. Take a deep breath and apply the seven game-changing strategies.” BRAND TURNAROUND offers the keys to rallying in the face of disaster.
PRAISE FOR BRAND TURNAROUND:
“Karen Post is more than merely a game changer, she creates the rules for winning every time with a 1.000 batting average, no mean feat. Brand Turnaround will completely reverse your field and create the home team advantage every time.”
—Alan Weiss, Ph.D., author of Million Dollar Consulting and The Consulting Bible
“I hate to tell you—it can happen for any company: a brand disaster. Karen Post explores what a brand catastrophe means and, most important, how to survive when it strikes. Brand Turnaround is a great life jacket for every company preparing for the unavoidable disaster before it strikes.”
—Martin Lindstrom, bestselling author of Brandwashed
“Karen Post provides great lessons, not only for entrepreneurs, but for all of us as we build our own personal brands. Brand Turnaround is a must-read for all ‘students’ of entrepreneurship.”
—Rebecca J. White, Ph.D., James Walter Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship; professor and director, University of Tampa Entrepreneurship Center
“What separates GREAT brands from the sea of others is that they embrace failure and learn from their mistakes. Brand Turnaround embraces this philosophy and offers insightful, practical, and relevant advice on how to leverage the lessons of failure and turn them into moments of learning and ultimate competitive advantage.”
—Julie Cottineau, VP, Brand, Virgin USA, and founder, Brandtwist.com
“An amazing book, chock full of quickly read, easily understood, and immediately actionable ideas to turn around brands.”
—James Belasco, Ph.D., author, professor, and entrepreneur
I have read two contentious and highly critical book reviews in the Wall Street Journal from the past 30 days.
The first review is about a book by an author who is a great friend of mine.
As an author who knows the kind of blood sweat and tears that goes into writing a book, my first thought was extreme sympathy and a big felt ouch!!! As I’m sure both book authors were feeling the sting of a public scolding as millions of readers and potential book buyers were exposed to this one reviewer’s negative opinion.
Granted these reviewers have earned an elite spot as book critics for an international media venue like the WSJ, congrats to them, but does their opinion really matter? Does it hurt or help the book and author? and what should the receiver of such a public work product beating do next?
I suppose it’s no different than a movie review. I’ve read many scathing movie reviews and then I went anyway and totally loved the movie.
I’ve got a new book coming out in a couple of weeks, Brand Turnaround and I hope my book is not added to this list of WSJ bad reviews, but if that’s in the cards, it’s not going to kill me if every single person doesn’t love my book as much as I do.
My views on not so nice reviews
Criticism comes with success, accept this.
- This goes for brands too. The more famous your brand is the more you will get shot at from both legitimate, credible critics and plain old grumpy, angry people.
- I believe at least 50% of all critics have not earned expert stature to be a credible reviewer. With the Internet, anyone can post opinions about a book or product with not an ounce of relevant expertise.
- Even bad reviews draw new attention to a product and can generate sales. After I read the bad review on The Secret thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young, E.d. D.
- I bought the book and really liked it. I’ve also recommended it to several friends.
- You can never please everyone.
- Take politicos who taste victory with a land slide win and 49% of the voters didn’t like them.
- If you give your work your all, do your homework and use your best creative thinking, that’s really all you can do.
- Sometimes as the creator of the work under fire, you can actually pick up a few gems of good insight that will make you even better, and that’s always a good thing.
And should that big bird drop a lump of poop on your parade, whether you are an author, singer, film producer or you gave a presentation and got some bad reviews, shake it off, shower it off, feel proud that you finished something and know that it’s very likely the cranky reviewer has never even started a piece of work and never will.