Your Name is Your Brand

“With a name like Smuckers it has got to be good.” A recent TV ad restated this basic (and great) marketing strategey from Smuckers….your name is your brand.

In all the businesses I have been a part of ….we worked hard to protect the name. Our name was our business. If we did not act properly or gave poor service it reflected directly on the business and even more so on our family name….as our name was part of the business name.

What Smuckers is saying is that their name defines the quality of their products and the company.

Lesson Learned:

Your name defines the quality of your work.


New Places Producing Olive Oil

Several years ago, I became fascinated with the Food Network. I watched some of the chefs and thought I could do that. One of the first things in better food is the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)….it’s healthier and makes food taste better.  Now EVOO is in our pantry.

Most olive oil is imported from Spain and Italy and other mediterranean countries….the traditional producers….and grown in old trees….hand harvested.

Today’s News and Observer had a story on new producers of EVOO in Chile and Australia. In Chile, a company called Olisur is revolutionizing the olive oil industry. It is growing the olive trees closer together and shorter….using mechaical haversters….so that the olives get to the mill faster….while they are the freshest.

Cost efficiencies mean Olisur oils can be high-quality without being high-priced.

Besides the benefits of using EVOO….two lessons:

  • There are better and newer ways to grow….process….and market an age old product.
  • All this is taking place on a 6,500 acre estate south of Santiago, Chile.

Photos of the ultra-modern Olisur factory:


“….the senior executives spent the entire day talking about profits, market share and growth… they never once mentioned that the pharmaceuticals (product) they were selling were saving lives….” – Seth Godin

The statement reminded me of the way Amway approached the selling process years ago. The distributors seldom sold the product (s)….they sold the concept of multi-level distribution. In those days….it was successful for some folks. It doesn’t work well in the U.S. today….though globally it still does. Most of Amway sales are overseas.

I often encounter businesses/organizations that don’t focus on the product. For some reason they expect people to buy their product or become a member of the organization….simply because they exist.

I recently encountered a group that wanted to recreate something that worked 30 years ago. They fail to realize that the product will no longer be attractive to those that they want to reach.  What makes it even more difficult is the unwillingness to listen to new ideas….or accept that the product is out-of-date.

The lesson learned:

Create….develop new products to reach new markets. If not customers will seek out new products elsewhere. The product is the star of the show.


“40 years down the drain! If Tony Hayward really went yachting, then my years of trying to influence leadership behavior were a total waste.” -Tom Peters

“Yachting rich elitist sport. In clean water. Wearing Rolls Royce cap. Stuck his finger in Gulf folks’ eye.” – Tom Peters

Obviously the CEO of BP hasn’t paid attention to Tom Peters or for that fact anyone else in his responses to the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

I would think that BP is using every resource they can to solve the problem….and that’s the first priority….secondly repair any damages….thirdly provide compensation.

Yet….there is a real leadership issue when major incidences like this occur. It would seem that one would forego a yacht race untill the well is secured….really poor leadership from the CEO’s part and the BP Board of Directors.


  • It is all about leadership….whether business….government….military….social organizations
  • Leaders listen to those that have knowledge….wisdom….experience
  • Leaders listen to those who disagree with them
  • Leaders have to gain….maintain trust….don’t go to a yacht race until the problem is solved


Fresh and New

I follow many internet sites….always looking for fresh and new ideas. I use the internet to screen businesses that I want to investigate further. More and more the internet is the primary information source….it’s not the yellow pages anymore.

So the big question is: If you have an internet presence….whay isn’t it current and up-to-date? I visit some sites that haven’t been maintained in years. Often their information is limited and generic. One organization that I’m familiar with would qualify for the “worst web site” award.

While it takes some effort….keeping a website current….it generates a strong return on investment….and continuous return to the website.

Home Depot


Great businesses/organizations change. I have preferred Lowes….they just seemed to have a more pleasant atmosphere and fairly knowledgeable people.

Yet….I bought a large purchase at Home Depot and the process was a nice surprise. There was a greeter at the door offering me an ad flyer. He also asked me what I was looking for. I told him what it was. As I was walking to the right aisle….I heard a announcement that a customer was going to that department….me. As soon as I reached the product….another associate was immediately there asking if he could help. Pretty good customer service.

Both the greeter and associate were older gentlemen….I wonder what that means? A change?

As for Home Depot in the future….the product that I purchased had better reviews than the one at Lowes….and was less expensive. Plus I bought another item that was 1/2 the price of the identical one at Lowes.

I’ll give Home Depot more chances in the future….they have changed….and it seems for the better.


Great Design + Great Idea from Wisconsin

Farm to market….farm to table are the latest trends in healthy foods. The idea of creating a roadside market on a trailer is a great idea.

It took some imagination to recreate the roadside market on a trailer that can be moved to different locations.

Not only does the trailer bring the farm to customers….it also presents the products in an authentic setting.

That’s what marketing is all about!

There is always a way to do something better and different.


Most businesspeople try to be all things to all people and as a result end up as members of the cult of mediocrity. The essence of mastery is being obsessively great around about five things.

“So, articulate the five things that need to happen . Then every day, focus first on those five things. Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.” (Robin Sharma)

What happens in many businesses/organizations is that they try to do everything and are not really good at anything.

In our business we found we were not really a factor in selling case goods….bedroom furniture….too many styles….low turnover. So we got out of that product category and expanded another that provided a better turnover and was a product we were very good at.

In the selling process….it was always three choices….any more was confusing.

Was it “jack of all trades….master of none”?  It’s better to very good at a few things than mediocre at many.

 Focus any enterprise on what it does best.

Post #300


An Ongoing Quest

One key element of business/organizational success….is the ability and willingness to seek help.

Help in this sense is the seeking the best resources….finding the  newest examples….searching for any new idea….and listening to what others have to say. Often there is a reluctance to do this….many businesses get stuck in the “not invented here” mode. That is…. if we didn’t discover something or if we didn’t do it….it’s not for us.

I would suspect and trust that BP is seeking all the help it a can get to fix the oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Any business or organization that refuses to seek out help will face a difficult future.

First Impressions

It’s Professionalism

This follows along on the email vs. phone post. When we first encounter a business or organization….often it’s the first impression that determines an ongoing relationship.

On two recent occasions….I made phone calls to businesses (trade people) and the first impression was less than positive. No – this is (name of business) and (name of person speaking)….only hello and pretty weak at that.

I always believe first impressions were the start of the selling process. Every morning in our business….the sidewalks were cleared….the front door clean….the carpet vacuumed….the phone  answered with an upbeat response.

Some businesses/organizations need a lesson or two from Miss Manners on professionalism.

It all begins with first impressions.