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The tipping point

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One of the greatest influences on the growth of a business is something that is often underrated, ignored or totally misunderstood and this might shock you — it’s called business communication.

It determines your business link to the critical elements in what ultimately determines your business success. It educates, informs, persuades and even inspires your customers, your staff, your suppliers and even the key influentials that could make or break your business.

To dramatically prove the point, consider the observations of Malcolm Gladwell in the best-selling book The Tipping Point. He talked about “social epidemics” which were driven by key people who he labelled “influentials”. These people are especially well connected and have a big impact on who is in or out in a social, political and business sense.

An entrepreneur who became the darling of the media such as Poppy King in her early days would have owed her rise to prominence, not just on her unique product and sales but on who proclaimed her a true success story.

Like a fast-spreading virus, other key people and/or media outlets would have carried and encouraged the Poppy King phenomenon. It would have delivered free publicity, opened customers’ doors and attracted workers who wanted to get involved in a business on the up.

The calibre of business communication rests on how well the words, music and images associated with your brand are adequately linked to the customer segmentation you are chasing.

T-shirt company Mambo, it was reported, had a problem a few years back when baby boomer customers of their product were having a turn off impact on potential, younger customers. Product tweaking, along with changes to the mode of communication and where that communication was channelled, would have been used to properly position the product.

Brand managers need to be experts on communication. An older issue of the Harvard Business Review looked at what they called Harry Potter Marketing. This refers to how a business, like the fictional Harry Potter grows old with his readers, can age with its customers.

The Review cites a product called Firmness that targets 45-55 year olds but the problem was that over 55s were sticking with the product. The marketing response is to create related products for older customers and to encourage them to migrate to the new and more mature brand.

This underlines the importance of communication and not only does it have to be delivered with subtlety and expertise, it must be delivered effectively.

Sydney-based marketing expert and business speaker, Martin Grunstein, insists business owners muck up their marketing communication by telling customers the wrong thing too early in their encounter.

“Too often business owners put their name and phone number in big print thinking that this will drive customers to their business,” he bemoaned. “The first thing you have to lead with in marketing communications has to be why customers should buy from you.

“If you nail that effectively then potential customers will break a neck to find the name of your business and your phone number.”

Effective business communication has a critical role in how a leader of a business connects with staff. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great in analysing the characteristics of great CEOs found it was not strategy first but “getting the right people on the bus”.

The great companies he put the spotlight on created a disciplined culture of discipline people, thinking in a disciplined way and, taking this disciplined action with great entrepreneurship ethics, resulted in great performance.

Few employees come disciplined and know exactly what a business leader wants. A clear expression of goals and how they will be achieved is a crucial task of any business leader and the mode of communication selected to use in your business will ultimately determine whether you will have alignment from your staff or not.

In an age where the number one small business problem is attracting and keeping good staff, the calibre of a business leader’s communication should not be underestimated.

Work on your business, not in it. To learn how, book a complimentary business assessment today with a Switzer Business Coach.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.


Published on: Tuesday, March 02, 2010

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