April 2011

Niche by James Harkin

by Paul Simister on April 30, 2011

Every now and again a book comes along that makes me question why I read so many business books and “Niche: Why the Market No Longer Favours the Mainstream” by James Harkin is such a book. I was excited when I saw it in Amazon but I made a huge mistake in buying it. Review […]

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Bullseye marketing is a powerful analogy for niche marketing and differentiating your business. Imagine You Are A Buyer I’d like you to put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer looking for what you sell. You have some idea of what you want or need so you go out looking. You see something but […]

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Strategy From The Outside In Or Inside Out

by Paul Simister on April 21, 2011

As a business owner you have a simple choice. You can: Run your business opportunistically, jumping from one thing to the next which looks as if it could make you money; or You can develop a strategy to create success in your market and then which guides your actions and decisions. The first may work […]

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2 Billion People To Watch The Wedding

by Paul Simister on April 21, 2011

A young couple are getting married on April 29th, 2011 and it is estimated that 2 billion people – that’s 2,000,000,000 could watch it on television. Clearly there is something special about the wedding to get so much time and attention from so many people so it makes sense that there are some lessons on […]

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Put Out The Lights When You Leave

by Paul Simister on April 18, 2011

In the second world war, it was important to save energy and the US Defense Department printed posters that said… “Illuminations must be extinguished when premises are vacated.” President Roosevelt was horrified. “Why can’t they just say ‘Put out the lights when you leave’?”

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I Thought Heinz Baked Beans Were American

by Paul Simister on April 18, 2011

I was talking to my fiend Lynda last Friday and I was shocked. Lynda moved to the United States about four years ago from the UK and she said he was missing Heinz Baked Beans because she couldn’t get them where she lived, except from a speciality import shop a long way away from where […]

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What Are You Doing On Saturday Night?

by Paul Simister on April 15, 2011

It’s the weekend. It’s good to do something special and especially if you don’t have to get up early on Sunday morning. So what are you going to do?

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How To Murder Your Business

by Paul Simister on April 14, 2011

Other experts may tell you how to grow your business and increase profits and here I am encouraging you to think about how to murder your business. Have I gone out of my mind? I want to introduce you to the idea of defensive strategy. Think of a football game. One team attacks, the other […]

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When Better Is Not Better

by Paul Simister on April 13, 2011

Imagine how you would feel if your competitor started advertising the fact that in blind tests (the brand names were hidden), a large proportion of people tested preferred their product to yours. Ouch, that’s got to hurt. Now imagine that you decide to repeat the tests so you can get the evidence to make your […]

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“Competitive and Corporate Strategy” by Cliff Bowman and David Faulkner is a terrific book. This lost classic is my all time favourite book about business strategy. It is even better than Michael Porter’s exceptional books “Competitive Strategy” and “Competitive Advantage” which did so much to make strategy such a compelling subject. Sadly Competitive & Corporate […]

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SKEPTIC Environmental Scanning

by Paul Simister on April 13, 2011

I thought this SKEPTIC acronym for environmental planning from Stephen Haines was pretty neat when he mentioned it in an email. I use PESTER and Michael Porter’s Five Forces but SKEPTIC environmental scanning combines them both if you’re not going to venture into detailed scenario planning.

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Cuddling Up At 560mph

by Paul Simister on April 11, 2011

I love South Africa but hate the ten or eleven hour flight. We’d also love to visit Australia and New Zealand but that’s more than twice as bad. I was interested to read that Air New Zealand have introduced a new way for economy class passengers to travel in economy class. It’s called Skycoach and […]

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When Brand Love Turns To Brand Hate

by Paul Simister on April 11, 2011

Have you noticed how much love some brands get from their customers? Just think of the devotion that companies like Apple and Starbucks create. They really do have raving fans. But what happens when the love affair ends and does it matter if the opposite of love is hate or indifference?

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Brand Preference or Brand Relevance?

by Paul Simister on April 8, 2011

There are two basic ways of competing. The first is to create a better version of a product in an existing category – you want to win brand preference. The second is to create a new category and make any competitors irrelevant.

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How To Differentiate A Dog (And A Business)

by Paul Simister on April 8, 2011

One of my favourite advertisements on TV is for Harvey, the dog who wants to be rescued. The scene is simple – this young couple arrive at a dog’s home to choose a new pet and they are met by sweet dogs looking appealing. Individually each is difficult to resist but once they see Harvey, […]

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Trust Me Because You Trust My Friends

by Paul Simister on April 8, 2011

Buying usually involves taking a risk so if you can again a trust advantage, it can be enough to tip the balance from not buying to buying. Recent research byLi Huang and J. Keith Murnighan published in What’s in a Name? Subliminally Activating Trusting Behavior (Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, vol. 111, no. 1) […]

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Dogs Have This Differentiation Game Cracked

by Paul Simister on April 5, 2011

What does a list of the most popular dogs have to do with how to differentiate a business? Good question. It’s all about creating buyer preference. I saw the following list in yesterday’s paper about the ten most popular breeds in the UK:

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1000+ Queue To Get A Doughnut

by Paul Simister on April 4, 2011

Last week a new doughnut shop launched in Cardiff and more than 1,000 people queued up with some waiting for more than two hours. That’s pretty impressive but Krispy Kreme doughnuts don’t just have a bit of strawberry jam in the middle but exciting varieties like lemon meringue pie and coffee kreme. This is differentiation […]

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Eddie Stobart: A Transport Company With Personality

by Paul Simister on April 4, 2011

It’s many years ago since I last had to buy transport services but I was sad to hear of the death of Eddie Stobart on Thursday March 31, 2011. Eddie Stobart (the company) has become an iconic firm for one simple reason – every cab was given a women’s name. I guess this is an […]

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Tourist Trap Restaurant Model Of Profits

by Paul Simister on April 1, 2011

According to one survey 60% of British holidays makers have been ripped off by a tourist trap restaurant with bad food, bad service and a lousy experience. I am amazed it’s not more and I think it shows the low level of expectations we have. I’m not encouraging it as a way to make money […]

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