Cooper on the simple truth about benchmarking
Benchmarking and Best Practices is a hot subject in business today. You can pay $1,500 to attend a two-day workshop on this subject. I’ll save you the time and the money. ‘Benchmarking & Best Practices’ means finding out who does it best and copying them. That’s it! How do they stretch that out for two days?
The easiest way to improve your business is to learn from the best. Do you know who does it better than you, anywhere in the world? Better design, better service, a more amazing customer experiences, better packaging, more effective processes, quicker response time, better policies, marketing or promotion? What are they famous for and how do they do it? Have you been there? Have you even checked out their web site?
Who in your industry, in the entire world, has the lowest price? Are they making money? How do they do it? What can you learn from them about efficiency, logistics and more effective processes?
Who in your industry charges the highest price? What do they do to get that high price? Are they making money? What can you learn from them about creating extraordinary customer experiences, adding value, marketing and brand positioning?
Who are the disruptors in your industry – those innovative upstarts who may change ‘the game’ completely and make your business model obsolete? Don’t dismiss them or write them off. They may be the future that replaces you.
Who are the legends, the ‘celebrities’ in your field? What are they famous for and how did they get there? In every industry there are ‘commodity’ suppliers who are undifferentiated and, usually, struggling.
Then, there are the ‘experts’ who are known, respected and sought out for their knowledge, compelling value, brand promise and ability to deliver. They get more than their fair share of the business and often command a premium price for their products or services.
And then there are the ‘celebrities’ – those few brilliant operators and tireless marketers who have mastered the art of becoming famous. Customers rave about them; the media and key influencers talk about them and make them even more famous.
So, what will you do to learn from the best and then do it even better to become the new best? Could you take it to a whole new level and become a ‘celebrity’ in your industry? Now is a good time to start.
And here’s something else to think about:
My business quote of the week: These are usually my own, but I’m writing this blog on January 17, which in the United States is Martin Luther King Day, so here is a quote from the Reverent Dr. King that’s equally relevant in 2022. “In the end, we’ll remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Be a wordsmith not a word-weasel. I spend a lot of time studying clients’ web sites and marketing material. Much of it is riddled with grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes or sentences that make no sense. The choice of words is weak, and no real impact is made. Then there are the lies, exaggerations or attempts to deceive us.
What we say and how we say it matters. Explaining your value and telling your story is an art and a science. If you’re not a wordsmith, hire one. And stop being a word-weasel who uses words to deceive us.
One of my hobbies is collecting examples of word-weaseling. A good example is the real estate ad proclaiming, “extra-wide 20-foot lots!” Or another promising, “seasonal views of Lake Simcoe!” Apparently, this means that in the winter, when the leaves are off the trees, you’ll get to see a bit of the snow-covered lake.
My latest word-weasel find is a new TV ad that assures us their product is made from, “naturally inspired ingredients.” What the heck does that mean? You’re far better off doing the work to make your value proposition clear and compelling than finding weaselly ways to make your boring, mediocre product sound spectacular.
A magical musical experience and fascinating look behind the scenes. Most folks like to see ‘behind the curtain’ at how things are created (except at the sausage factory) and this magical video featuring Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli (click here to view), recorded in Andrea’s home in Tuscany, gives us one of those rare experiences. Don’t miss it.
A good question for every business and every brand is, “how can we build more connective relationships with our target customers by taking them ‘behind the curtain’ to help them experience and better understand our value and our values?”
An equally important question when every business is struggling to attract top talent, is how can you create a video to provide job candidates with a tour of your business and a look at what makes you special accompanied by some words from existing team members about how rewarding it is to work with you. Sure, that’s more work than whining but it’s probably also more effective!
That’s it for this week. Stay safe and live brilliantly.