"Where will you invest in ’09?
The fourth quarter looms and for many businesses, that means the annual agony of planning and budgeting for the next year. When economic times are stagnant or when we’re in the midst of a recession, the process feels even more imposing.
As business owners and leaders look back on ’08 and either shudder at the memory or exhale a sigh of relief that they survived it, it’s easy to assume that the plan going forward should be to lower prices or cut the marketing budget.
The reality is, both of those are the wrong answer. Cutting prices and slashing your marketing budget will only put you deeper in the hole as the economy rights itself. So what should you do with your money for ’09?
Spend it on your employees. Make sure they understand your brand, your brand promise and how you want them to treat your customers. Don’t hold an annual meeting where you devote 5 minutes and a PowerPoint slide to your brand.
I’m talking – make an investment. A real investment.
Talk about how you want your brand to come alive every week. In manager’s meetings, on all staff retreats, in your HR reviews. Make it a part of your interview process, your exit interviews and everything in between. How much time do you spend on how each and every employee delivers on the brand promise in your new employee orientation?
At Disney, no matter what position you are hired for, from street sweeper to a manager of a division, the first thing you’d do is attend a 3-day orientation that talks about absolutely nothing except the Disney brand and how you, the new recruit, are expected to carry on that tradition.
No wonder they are so help up as the ideal example of brilliant branding.
Think about it. Who interacts with your customers? When your customer has a concern or a complaint, who deals with them?
Especially in an economic time when every client matters and you can’t afford to lose any ground, isn’t this the year you should earmark some of your marketing dollars for the very people who deliver your brand every day?"
Drew Mclellan is top dog at McLellan Marketing Group. He really does gets branding and marketing and he desperately wants you to get it too. So make sure your drop him a visit at his great blog Drew's Marketing Minute