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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Well, that’s what Burger King did, we learn. Here’s the story put out by Trend-Watching:

whopper

On McDonald’s yearly ‘McHappy Day’, the brand donates proceeds from sales of Big Macs to aid children with cancer. On November 10th, Burger King in Argentina contributed to its competitor’s cause. Every Burger King in the country refused to sell Whoppers and redirected customers to McDonald’s so they could buy a Big Mac instead (thereby aiding McDonald’s charitable initiative). Though Burger King’s campaign was a bit cheeky – customers were told to go to the ‘place where they don’t flame-grill their burgers’ – they did help their competitor sell more burgers than they ever had on McHappy Day. And McDonald’s even thanked its rival off-the-record.

Burger King took this opportunity to showcase two sides of its brand personality. Firstly, it proved its empathy and selflessness by sacrificing its own sales to support a charitable effort. How could anyone not get behind that? Secondly, the brand put on a massive show of confidence. Because what it’s saying to customers (without saying it) is, “we’re fine sending you to McDonald’s, because you will like our burger more and you will come back!”

And yes, this is a marketing stunt. But what a stunt. Think about it: Burger King stopped selling their flagship product for entire day, at all its stores in Argentina (109, to be exact), then they directed hungry customers to a competitor! Kudos to whoever was brave enough to pitch this idea…

That’s what a brand story is all about!

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Source: Trend-Watching, a site that makes interesting observations on what happens in very diverse fields.

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small-term-investment-plans

 

My passion of collecting anecdotes and experiences was unexpectedly rewarded today with a very unusual story. Here it goes:

Amit works for an old, respectable and conservative financial-services organization, helping people with investment counselling and management in certain parts of Mumbai city as well as rural Maharashtra.

On one of his cold-calling visits, he meets up with a prospect in one of the smaller towns.

Whatever else, rural folks, you’d know if you’ve dealt with them, are quite sharp in their assessment of whom they’re interacting with.  So, when Amit introduces himself and his org and explains the purpose of his visit, this man hears him out patiently, asks a few questions and finally says:

‘Look young man, all this is fine. I have heard about your org. No issues there. But I don’t know you at all. You pop up suddenly before me from nowhere and expect me to discuss my finances with you? You’ve no references that I know of, to recommend you.’

Amit digs into his bag.

‘Don’t bother showing me your customer letters. Unless it’s from some one I know, I trust…’

Amit pitches all that he has learnt in his training and all that he had collected from the field over the years.

From the look on the man’s face and the body language, he knows he isn’t making any headway.

And finally:

He pulls out his cell-phone, not one of those fancy ones, and says: ‘Sir, take this. Pls call these people and check,’ reeling out a few names. ‘And ask them how long I’ve been calling them…from this phone.’

The man shakes his head, almost sympathizing with the youngster: ‘How does it help?’

‘Sir, they’ll confirm it to you – for the last 7-8 years, I’ve been calling them from this phone, from the very same number.’

The man says: ‘I’m not sure where you’re going with this, my friend.’

‘Could I be holding onto the same number for so long, Sir, without doing right by my customers? Doesn’t happen with most guys in our profession; they change their numbers often and perhaps jobs too – like they’re erasing and escaping from their past…’

Amit waits for his words to sink in.

They find their mark at last.

The man’s gaze is fixed on Amit as he rests his case. Well, maybe the lad has a point…

With some more effort, he becomes Amit’s customer and remains one till this date.

 

I’ve no problem confessing it would have never occurred to me…

I hope this is now added to the org’s lore to be shared with its employees.

 

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PS: So, what’s it with your investment advisor?

As a man out on the field meeting people and people, I’m sure he has many more stories under his belt. Let me see…if I can tease a few more out of him.

  

Source: besttermplan.in/short-term-investment-plans/

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From Tom Fishburne’s amazing collection of cartoons:

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From Steven S Reeves in here:

Magic Pen

(lightly edited for readability and conciseness)

Stories from the frontline selling are often are counter intuitive and funny, or at least ironic. They entertain, and educate, but aren’t always true. This one is true, and it goes like this. This story about the salesman’s magic pen illustrates how the smallest detail, or idea, can make a big difference in any sale.

John was intrigued. At this first meeting with Steve, he noticed the pen in his shirt pocket. A pen wasn’t unusual, of course, but this one was. John recognised the logo on the pen clip. He had one just like it himself. Those pens were gifted to prospects and customers by Steve’s fiercest competitor.

Steve represented one of the two hardware companies dominating the Unix server market. John was in the process of choosing a hardware supplier for the new database project. He’d already met with, and been impressed by, the other company. That was how he’d been given his pen. He didn’t understand how Steve would get hold of one, and especially couldn’t figure why he’d be advertising his competition.

The question had to be asked.  Why was Steve showing that pen?

Steve smiled, shyly.  He’d need to tell the story of how he came by it.

John already knew the competitor was eating Steve’s company’s lunch, winning just about every deal in the market. The business had professional sales people, a strong product line, and management refusing to lose new opportunities under any circumstances.

But that wasn’t the story of how Steve got the pen.

He’d been one side of the usual punch up over a new server sale, and in trouble. Despite proving his hardware was superior, and persuading management to let him offer an eye watering price, he still wasn’t winning. The other side was determined not to lose, and offered to supply it’s server for free, just to stop Steve’s company winning a deal, any deal.

Instead of giving up, He decided to stay in the game and fight. Cutting a long story short, Steve won the deal based on functionality, service, and a reasonable price, against the opposition’s free of charge.

At the meeting scheduled to finalise the contract, Steve’s new customer used the pen, given to him by the competitor, to sign the paper.  This was too big an opportunity to miss.  Steve wanted that pen as a trophy.  He offered to exchange his own gold-plated pen for the cheap plastic logo pen which had been used to sign the contract.  His customer readily agreed, happily joining in the joke.

Steve left the meeting with a signed contract, and what was to become his magic pen.

John chuckled at the story. Later he’d find out why that buyer had chosen to pay for a server when the alternative was available for free. Right now he still didn’t know why Steve was displaying the pen in his pocket. So he asked again.

This time the response was a broad smile. Steve carried the logo pen in his shirt pocket because, at every first meeting, his new prospects would ask why he was displaying the pen. Then he’d get to tell the story, of how his customer preferred to pay for Steve’s server, rather than have the competitors product for free.

Showing the pen in his shirt pocket caught the attention of potential customers.  They asked the question, and, as a result of hearing the story, realised they needed to seriously consider what Steve was saying about the strengths of his company and product.

The small detail of a plastic pen made a very big difference, bringing Steve more business his way and job promotions.

Do we need to add the competitor tried to recruit Steve several times?  Maybe it wanted it’s pen back?

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1 Who Killed The Business

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Source: via uber humor

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How was a king, preoccupied with affairs of the state, reluctantly giving time for listening into just one slokha (verse) ended up ‘buying’ a hundred thousand of them and more?

Read on to find more about this unparalleled feat of communication skills and story-telling!

Sage Vaisampayana came to Raja Janamejaya to teach him Dharma through Mahabharata (the epic) as written by sage Veda Vyasa.

The occasion:

Sarpa Satra

The Raja, a descendent of the Pandava’s, was performing Sarpa Satra, a sacrificial ritual designed to exterminate all living naga’s (serpents), to avenge the death of his father King Parikshit at the hands of Takshaka, the naga (serpent) chief.

While the sage was quite intent on narrating the story, the Raja rejected his proposal outright saying he was too busy for such stuff.

This did not dampen the enthusiasm of Vaisampayana. ‘No problem. There are 18 Parva’s (sections). I will just narrate to you only one Parva’.

Janamejya pushed him back: ‘Sorry, Sir, I have no time. I am very busy as you can see’.

The sage did not give up, ‘One chapter?’.

The Raja was curt now, ‘I repeat myself, I’m quite occupied now.’

The sage was the embodiment of patience. He insisted, ‘Won’t you permit me to tell you just one slokha from the one hundred thousand couplets?’.

“OK, Ok. That is fine, just one slokha, Sir. Hope that would not take too long. Please go ahead”, said the Raja.

Vaisampayana did not miss the opportunity. He began:

Dvaavimau purushau moodhau duryodhana­ dasaananau
Gograaham vanabhangam cha dhrishtvaa yuddham punah punah

Meaning: Here are these two fools, Duryodhana and Dashanana (Ravana, the 10-headed). Even after witnessing Gograhana and Vanabhangam, they went to war again and again (and finally to their demise).

Now this piqued the interest of the Raja: ‘I don’t understand head or tail of what you’re saying, Sir.’

He wanted to know why Duryodhana and Ravana were fools…what was the story behind Gograhana and Vanabhanga, why was the fight over mere cows (this didn’t seem right), etc. etc.

A bit of explanation is in order here:

Gograhana (seizing of cows) refers to the episode told in Virata Parva (fifth Parva of Mahabharatha) wherein Arjuna successfully retrieves all the stolen cows after defeating Kuru army, at the end of their period of exile. Vanabhangam in Ramayana refers to the destruction of forest Ashoka Vana and the great arson of the impregnable Lankapuri by Hanuman after his tail was set on fire in Ravana’s court.

The sage responded to the Raja’s mounting curiosity reciting slokha by slokha, all the time drawing the once-reluctant Raja deeper into the epic.

When the sage was finally done with his captivating narration, the Raja had listened to all of 125,000 slokha’s of Mahabharatha and 24,000 of Ramayana as well!!

Let’s pause here and go back to the innocuous slokha to see what it packed to hook the Raja so inexorably despite himself.

And herein are also the lessons for today’s honchos in corporates, teachers in pedagogy, leaders in politics and preachers in religion, all fighting for their audience’s ears.

Well, looking at the slokha,

  • It is very short and crisp – a mere two lines with 10+ words.
  • Does not make general statements like ‘Dharma always wins…’
  • It refers to some significant and very specific events and their protagonists that cannot be dismissed as a trifle.
  • The incidents are drawn from two different epics to show wider applicability of the points being made.
  • The protagonists are renowned kings like the Raja himself, immediately establishing a parallel and relevance. And one of them was an ancestor from his own family tree.
  • The events are ones where exemplary courage was displayed under difficult conditions, attributes that readily appeal to the warrior Raja.
  • The slokha is poised so tantalizingly at a point in narration, one had to find out what happened after and before.
  • What and why things go wrong always hold more interest than when things go right.

So, folks, that’s it. You may now want to revisit your elevator-pitches and stories.

As I’m signing off, I know I’m leaving a few ends loose here yet like…you’re curiouser about whatever happened to Janamejaya’s Sarpa Satra finally, did all the serpents perish in the sacrificial fire, why did Takshaka kill Parikshit, etc. etc. Regretfully I must leave you to your devices to find out (and you now how).  I’m no Vaisampayana!

Ha, Ha, in for a penny, in for a pound!

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Sources: With many thanks, extracted and enhanced from quora.com/profile/Krishna-Koundinya-2, tamilandvedas.com, Wiki and Velukkudi Swamigal’s upanyasam on Vidhura Needhi

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