Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Is YOUR Brand Worthy?

A couple of weeks ago I talked a bit about Pursuing Wow! as a strategy. Most noteworthy to me is how Samsung's Galaxy series of products were giving Apple a run for their money. BECAUSE they made the customer go WOW, I gotta get me one of those.

Remember, today's tech-savvy customer is not
brand loyal, they are brand obsessed.

Give them something better and they will leave their old brand for something better. How many people switched from Apple to Samsung because of the Galaxy S III, or the Galaxy Note, or Galaxy Tab2? Or the simplicity of sharing and ease of functionality?

But no one is an island anymore. Samsung makes devices for Motorola and their Nextel brands which uses Sprint’s network. Apple has iTunes, which is downloadable on any device or any network.

What is really happening is a convergence of mobility, Internet, computing, entertainment and consumer content.
So mobile device manufacturers, Internet and content providers all have to work together.

Everyone is going to need each other in the Device Wars as they fight to gain interest from a tech-savvy, fickle customer.

But let’s take a look at other market sectors where Eastern Competition is WOWing Western Consumers.

First of all, what is a brand? The best definition of a brand I could find is..."A distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence, or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market."

But a definition is only half the story. Yes, a brand is a symbol, or a mark or logo, but more importantly, when a consumer sees your logo they are reminded of the experience they have with your products, your company and your customer service. 

A Brand is a customers experience with your products.

The power of your logo represents your reputation. Case in point, Hyundai Motor Company introduced the Excel to American consumers in 1986. At first it was well received. Here was an affordable foreign car that the average person could purchase—$4,995! A price that so captivated bargain-hunting Americans that Hyundai set a first-year record by selling 126,000 cars. By the second year they sold over 264,000 Excels.

But, the Excel's faults quickly became apparent; cost-cutting measures began to catch up to Hyundai price tag…and people began to talk, and word spread. The car was cheaply made and Hyundai’s reputation became a joke. To make matters worse, in their effort to capture a large market share in a short amount of time, Hyundai gave credit to noncreditworthy customers (Think Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown and go from there). In other words, they gave credit to customers who couldn’t afford the car in the first place.

Despite many years of financial difficulties and family infighting, Hyundai embarked on a campaign to earn back the trust it lost with that first introduction to the American consumer. Not an easy task when you consider that first impressions are usually the last impression for a company. Once your products have a bad reputation, no amount of marketing will make them happy. You have to start over and rewin your reputation.

It was a very bumpy ride over the years as families fought for control of the company. But in 2011 Fortune magazine featured Hyundai's chief technology officer, Hyun-Soon Lee showing the aerodynamic properties of the Sonata. The headlines read “Hyundai smokes the competition.” It took twenty-six years, some very hard work, and their worst days behind them, Hyundai Motor Company has regained our trust here in The States.

How did they do it? When chairman Mong-Koo Chung took over from his father in 1999, his mission shifted the company’s focus from high volume to high quality. And THAT has made the difference in every product they make. From the Accent to the Elantra, from the Veloster to the Sonata, and the Azera, Hyundai is showing off their ability to build an affordable car that is built well and priced for families and regular people.

Today Hyundai has built the world's largest automobile manufacturing plant in Ulsan, South Korea, which builds over 1.6 million vehicles per year, selling in 193 countries through some 6,000 dealerships and showrooms worldwide.

But that’s not all, Hyundai’s sister company Kia is kicking it up a notch as well—the difference in sales from 2011 to 2012 The Kia Optima is selling like hotcakes here in the United States…sales are UP 99%. In China sales are up 150% due to stimulus packages.

And now Hyundai is introducing their first luxury line: The Equus. I don’t know about you, but I get excited when a brand not only stages a comeback, but exceeds our expectations. That’s just good business. Smart business too.

 Your reputation must be earned.

Guard your brand’s reputation well. And if you stumble, do like Hyundai Motor’s—work hard to regain our trust. Give us Wow! We want you to succeed. And South Korean brands like Hyundai, Kia, LG and Samsung are forcing the Western World of business to pay attention.

Get ready...BIG innovation and quality is coming from the East.

Thanks for stopping by,

Brad Szollose
21st Century Change Agent: Generational expert, award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker

Brad Szollose is a much sought-after generational expert, management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior… and how that impacts management interaction, expectations and sales in The Digital Age.

But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 year career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.

Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is also the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.

Liquid Leadership has been called "THE guidebook for the 21st Century" and has won the 2011 Axiom Business Book Award silver medal for leadership, The Indie Business Book runner up silver medal as well as becoming a #1 Best-Selling Business Book on Amazon for Organizational Learning. Published in the United States by Greenleaf Book Group, in India by Prolibris and in South Korea by UI Books/Iljinsa Publishing.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 

* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.

Leadership Lessons from a Web Pioneer.

The Art & Science of
Leading a 21st Century Workforce

Brad Szollose's (pronounced zol-us), is a globally recognized Leadership Development and Management Consultant who helps organizations dominate their industry by tapping into the treasure of a multi-generational workforce. 

He shares his management strategies within the pages of his award-winning, international bestseller Liquid Leadership...strategies that ignited his own company, K2 Design, beginning as a business idea in a coffee shop to a publicly traded company worth $26 Million in just 24 short months with an IPO on NASDAQ.

As a C-Level executive, his unique management model was awarded the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation Amongst Employees (the phrase Workforce Culture did not exist back then).

Today the world’s leading business publications seek out Brad’s insights on Millennials, and he has been featured in Forbes, Inc., The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, Advertising Age, The International Business Times, Le Journal du Dimanche and The Hindu Business Line to name a few, along with television, radio and podcast appearances on CBS and other media outlets.

Since the year 2010, and the release of his award-winning international bestseller, Liquid Leadership, Brad has created customized training programs for The American Management Association, Tony Robbins Business Mastery Graduates and Liquidnet Holdings, as well as several dozen Fortune 500 companies to name just a few; preparing them for the next generation of business leaders.

Mr. Szollose is also a TEDXSpeaker, and his talk The Age of Radical Disruption, focuses on the impact video games and serious gaming has had on the work habits and behavior of Generation X & Millennials.

Brad’s programs have transformed a new generation of business leaders, helping them maximize their corporate culture, creativity, innovation, productivity and sales growth in the new Digital Age economy.

Brad's work will expose the secrets to managing a cross-generational workforce:

Brad is the author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia: Cross-Generational Management Strategies That Are Changing The Way We Run Things and the publisher for Journeys to Success: The Millennial Edition: 21 Millennial Authors share their personal journeys of failure and success…based on the success principles of Napoleon Hill.