Is LinkedIn the Next Tool for Super Spam?

Remember the email from a certain part of the world that offered us millions of dollars if we helped some widow or bank employee get unclaimed money out of the country?  Or, more recently how about those super annoying calls from people that claim to be calling from California because they somehow know that our computers are either not working properly or have been hacked?  Of course the best part of the call is that if we give them control of our computers they can fix it for us…ya, you know what I am talking about.  I found it ironic that some of these crafty souls moved from email to telephone, but now I fear that they have found a new medium: LinkedIn.  In fact, I can’t help but wonder if LinkedIn is the next tool for super spam.

I really hope not.  I love LinkedIn.  I think that it is a very well done social network for professionals.  It has been a very effective tool for networking and engaging with industry experts for me, as well as countless others.    Let’s hope that what I am noticing is just an anomaly, and that the spammers haven’t found a way to ruin it.  That being said, there are some ways that you can be on the look out for potential spammers; and some best practices that I adhere to, which will also help to deter spammers:

1. Make Strategic Connections – It’s Not A Numbers Game

LinkedIn next spam tool?

A sample of a request I received. This LinkedIn profile no longer exists. I would say that the spammers were shut down.

While some argue that you should connect with everyone who asks, I am not one who prescribes to this.  LinkedIn is an important networking tool and like in real-life, you don’t invite everyone into your private or semi-private life.  You want to build a relationship.

When I make connection requests, I do so carefully.  Equally as important is who I accept connection requests from. I don’t automatically press “accept”.  To the contrary!  I check out each person.  If I have met the person, that is one criteria for acceptance.  If I have not actually met the person, but I am in the same geographic region or industry, I will likely accept.  The probability is increased when we have mutual connections.

If however, I have never met the person, we are not in the same geographic location in the world, we are not in the same industry and we have no mutual connections, there is a very good chance that I won’t accept.

Key Take-Away:  Focusing on your industry and mutual connections is a great way to help get the spammers at bay.

2.  Play Investigator

If your goal is to increase your numbers, or if you don’t feel comfortable pressing the “ignore” button, do play investigator.  Take a look at the person connecting with you.  Does the avatar look real?  Or, does the quality seem a bit off. While this can’t be a guarantee that someone has set up a fake profile, potentially using someone else’s photograph, it is a symptom.  Google the person and the company that he or she claims to work for.  Can you find the company?  Better yet, can you find any reference for that person connected to the company?

What is the message that is being sent?  Is it one offering you a financial deal and/or benefit?  Like the phoney email sent offering you huge sums of money, this is yet another scam.

Is the person asking you to contact him or her via email to act upon this deal?  What is the email being used.  Is it a company email?  Is it a gmail? Is it a hotmail account?

Depending on how you answer these questions, you should also have a good indication about the validity of the request.

Key take-away:  don’t be afraid to check out the person requesting to connect.  After all, this is your professional network and you want quality connections – and no spam.

3. Take Your Time

Again, if you are not comfortable pressing ignore, but are suspect, wait a few days.  I recently got a request that not only offered me a financial deal, but the avatar was a bit wonky and I couldn’t find any reference to the company and/or the person when I did a search.  I did hit ignore and ultimately the spam feature, but kept the request for use in the blog post that I was going to do.  As I was writing this post, I thought that I would do one more check.  Sure enough, the profile is no longer available. Enough people saw the request for what it was and answered like I did.  The person or persons was shut down.

Key take-away:  being timely is important as it speaks to your personal brand; however, if you are uncertain about a particular request, waiting a day or two might result in action already occurring to fix the issue.

With a bit of due diligence we can keep the spammers at bay.

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Google+ Going…Going…Gone?

Late last week many Marketers were reminded that their profession is certainly not a science.  There is no one set of procedures or formula for us to follow. After all, we are dealing with human emotions and influencing behaviour.  While we know this, and with practice we become more skilled in our art over time, things still happen to that make us go “hmmm”.  With the announcement that Vic Gundotra, the father of Google+ was leaving the company, the chatter started on whether Google+ is going…going…gone?Google+..going..going..gone?

With all of the changes that Facebook has been making to its algorithm as of late, many Marketers were starting to re-evaluate how they could make better use of Google+. After all, the organic reach that for-profit organizations had enjoyed for years has been continually disappearing on Facebook.  In fact, Facebook wants us to advertise in order to reach our audience.  Even if fans, prospects or customers have “Liked” your page, there is no longer a guarantee that any of these people will actually see your special offers, updates, etc. without advertising.

So, based on all of this, Marketers were starting to look at Google+ through a whole new lens.  Depending on which study you follow or buy into, Google+ has a very respectable user base.  For example eBiz lists Google+ with having 120,000,000 unique monthly visitors.  That is nothing to scoff at. And, the numbers were actually growing.

Now, however we are left thinking and rethinking what to tell our clients and how to progress. It is uncertain whether or not Google+ will survive without Vic.  We will have to wait, watch and evaluate.  The story is not yet over.  I am sure that I will be writing about this very issue again.  Please stay tuned.

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10 Tips to Execute a Perfect Webinar

As a part of my day-to-day, I regularly participate in webinars both as a registrant, and on occasion, I also get to be a presenter.  A well thought out webinar can be an invaluable tool for participants.  It can provide insightful information that is immediately executable.  It is also a great tool for companies to build and maintain trust with their prospects and community.  So, to make a webinar memorable, here are 10 tips to execute a perfect webinar.10 Tips to Execute a Perfect Webinar

 1. Technology

Get your technology figured out first.  You might end up with the greatest line-up of speakers, but if your technology doesn’t work, you not only frustrate your speakers, you frustrate your audience. If you are delayed in starting or can’t loop in your speaker, you are effectively eroding the trust and creditability you have built.  Additionally, if your audio is so horrible that your participants can’t really hear what is being said, you will lose people and likely not get them back.

Be sure to have a testing process in place.  Even after you have your technology down pat, include a test time with each of your presenters.  Run through how it will work.  This is not for you, but for your presenter.  It will help that person or persons feel more comfortable with expectations and clarify any miscommunications.

From experience I can tell you that if you don’t have this perfect, you will lose people. I sat in on a webinar just this week and abandoned it only 3 minutes in.  The audio was so poor that it was painful to listen.

2.  Audience

Any good marketing person is going to speak to you about your audience.  Before you can do anything to communicate your brand, your offering, your value, you need to know and understand your audience.   If you don’t know who you are speaking to, how can you help?

3.  Content

You have likely heard this before, but it bears repeating.  Develop and have a content calendar.  Develop themes for your content and find different and interesting ways to deliver it to your audience.  A webinar should be only one aspect.

4.  A Plan

Jumping into webinars are not a good idea even if you have already executed 1-3.  You still need a plan.  Who will moderate?  Who will find your presenters?  Do you have guidelines for your presenters?  How will you communicate your webinar?  What is your follow-up plan?  What is your social plan?  These are just some things that you need to consider.

5.  Presenters

Be sure to select presenters that are not only experts in their field, but also comfortable speaking publicly as well as through a webinar format.  People that are usually good public speakers are usually very good at doing webinars too.  You want someone who uses his or her voice well – in other words has good inflection.   Your presenters should also be selected based on the ability to connect with others.  If you attended a session and a speaker only talked about himself or thought he was the funniest guy on the planet, chances are your audience will feel the same.

Also be certain that your presenters aren’t going to read from as script or from their presentation.  Aside from being absolutely boring, it is very obvious when someone is reading – even when you can’t see him or her.

That webinar I abandoned earlier this week had at least one person who was clearly reading a script.  Based on the caliber of the company hosting the webinar and all of the presenters, this was a let down.

6.  Promotion

Be sure to have a clear communications plan in place for your promotion of each webinar.  What channels will you use? When will you start to promote each webinar?  How easy is it for people to register?  What is the hashtag that will be used?  What is the headline to be used to entice people?  How will you share the bios of the presenters?  Will you record the webinar and share it afterwards? If so, where and when?

7.  Social Media Community Team

Always have your social media community team prepped and lined up for the event.  Ensure that they are able to listen to the channels and respond appropriately.  Someone should also be in charge of collecting questions and ensuring that the presenter gets them in a timely fashion.  As a part of the planning stages, it should be discussed with the presenter if questions will be held until the end or addressed as they come in?  Should some be grouped, etc.

There should also be one person dedicated to issues.

If you don’t have a social media community team, that is ok.  However, be sure to recruit people from your department, office or volunteers to assist in these tasks.  Regardless of who you use, run through the process, cover off expectations and address what-if scenarios.  

8.  The Main Event

Be sure to start your webinar on time.  Introduce your guests, topic and lay out the house keeping items like hashtags, how questions will be handled, etc.  

9.  Back-up Plan

Like my Girl Scout Leader always said:  Be Prepared.  Always expect the best, but plan and prepare for the worst.  Think about what could go wrong and have a Plan B to address it.  Hopefully you will never need to execute on Plan B, but if you do…you will have it covered.

10. Next Event Promotion and Close Out

Phew, you are now at the end of your webinar and it went swimmingly!  Be sure to thank everyone for attending, including your guest.  If you planned a contest or draw associated with the webinar remember to take care of that.  Be sure to let people know where to find the recording of the webinar if one was made and if there will be a summary posted to your blog.  Finally be sure to promote the date, time, theme and presenter for your next webinar.

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Interview with David Alston – The Influencer Series

David Alston is the Chief Innovation Officer at Introhive, an advisor to multiple startups, a director at ScribbleLive, an advocate for kids coding and the transformation of the Maritime economy to one underpinned by tech, and supporter of alternative energy approaches.  He also wears a cowboy hat, sings Johnny Cash songs and is one heck of a photographer…oh and just another tidbit, he has been consistently named as one of the Top CMOs on Twitter by Social Media Marketing Magazine.  @DavidAlston Influencer

I had the privilege of working with David, so I can honestly say that his passion and conviction are contagious.  His knowledge and expertise in marketing and innovation are phenomenal.  I was so pleased that he agreed to be a part of my Influencer Series.  So, let’s get to the questions, cause I know that you want his responses.

The Interview:

MacLean:  Marketing continues to change and evolve.  What do you see as the most important skills for people to have to meet the demands of today and the next year?

Alston:  Content marketing is now as commonplace as community engagement. You also have to be tracking and understand all of numbers behind each online property & digital campaign. In order to stand out, you need to be able to successfully blend the art of marketing (creativity and relationship building) with the science of marketing (analytics and cross referencing multiple sources of data).

MacLean:  What has been the most significant change you have seen in marketing over the last two years and why?

Alston:  Marketers have become publishers. Of course that’s also created a lot of noise for customers to sift through and thus just publishing the same kind of stuff you were publishing three years ago probably won’t cut it. Taking a stand on issues, being bold with creative content, unique partnerships and infusing marketing directly inside products and services are now a must.

MacLean:  Community Management was all the talk a few years back, but it seems to have taken a backseat.  Do you think that people have lost sight of the value and/or that it is just an oversight and will re-emerge because of the true value that it can bring?

Alston:  Hopefully for companies where it’s disappeared it’s because it was absorbed into the roles of any employee that would typically be in contact with customers – PR, sales, customer service etc. Companies that ignore people in social channels completely, will pay the price today just like they would have two years ago.

MacLean:  What advice would you offer businesses in terms of hiring marketing professionals?

Alston:  I’ve always been a proponent of investing in marketing early on when it comes to startups.  Marketing is as much about strategy as it is about brand and collateral. Marketing should also have a seat at the executive table early on because it’s about building a market/demand for a product or service, getting marketing/sales into the offering, strategic positioning vs competitors, and creating content and influence in a space you want to be a leader in. Translation – you need to focus on adding someone with the experience on how to get this done. They can build out the team with more junior staffers for specific functions later.

MacLean:  What do you think will be the next big thing in marketing?

Alston:  Real-time marketing! The idea of creating engagement experiences using real-time content and looping potential prospects into the traditional sales funnel, similar to how marketing automation does it for non-real-time. (Full disclosure – I am on the board of directors for ScribbleLive).

MacLean:  Finally, you have been very active in innovation and getting kids into coding, what can marketers learn from collaborating more with this side of the business?

Alston:  Much of the success around progress with kids and coding has been tapping into the existing communities supportive of the cause and utilizing the act of documenting the cause on video, as a way to fan the flames of the movement. There is nothing more powerful than an idea who’s time has finally come.

As always, David offers great insight and ideas and I sincerely thank him for taking the time to answer my questions.

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7 Secrets to Customer Acquisition & Ongoing Customer Satisfaction

As a VP of sales who has worked in all functional areas and trained hundreds of sales people all over North America, the question people ask me most is:  What do I need to do to be successful?  The answer is fairly straight forward, and here are 7 secrets to customer acquisition & ongoing customer satisfaction:

7 secrets to customer acquisition and sales best practices

Image courtesy of

 1. Have a Process

It’s amazing how many sales professionals work with clients from start to finish each day and do not have a sales process.  This goes for both individuals and organizations. 

A process drives consistency, its helps scale, it helps understand where your gaps are as an organization and helps with sales forecasting. A simple  and straight forward sales process is a great start.   It doesn’t have to be too complicated. Perhaps the most important part of your process is to understand your company messaging within your sales process.   It is also important to understand your customer buying cycles and process.  Generally customers have a buying process to understand how to get the most value out of you, so you need one as well.

2. Have a plan

Many organizations have a yearly sales planning cycle. Unfortunately, many times those plans are left at the conference room table the minute the meetings are done.  Often times it is something the boss has asked for and a check mark on the list for us as workers.   

The best sales people have plans. They don’t have to be too complicated, but do include overall goals and objectives that are broken down for the year, quarter and maybe even weekly.  Of course like any plan, you revisit it as needed and adjust to current conditions.7 Secrets to Customer Acquisition & Ongoing Customer Satisfaction  

3. ROI and Industry Insight

As a result of the downturn of the economy in 2008, it has changed the way people buy. No matter how long you have known a customer, no matter how good a friend you might be, customers need and want more. There is more scrutiny on purchases, more people involved in the process and more than ever people want to see a return.   It is essential to determine their goals, objectives, pain points and how you can solve their problems while also saving them money.  They want you to demonstrate their Return on Investment. 

Companies are also looking for Insight, not just into your products and services, but into their own industry. They are looking for people like us to give them insight or intelligence into their business and industry while also providing solutions to help drive their businesses.

4. Ongoing Development

Many people come into the sales profession without planning it and because of the fast-paced nature of the work, they lose sight of the need for continual professional development.  To stay ahead of the curve,  highly successful professionals always have to work to get better, learn new skills and break bad habits. It can be as simple as reading a good sales book. For example, I would recommend The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation.  Other options include subscribing to sales blogs, taking a course, etc.  Regardless of what method or methods you choose, never stop pushing yourself to develop your skills.

 5.Hard  Work

Nothing beats hard work.  Through experience I have encountered many reps who tell me they like to take a “strategic approach” or they have their own “system”.  When I hear these words I think: “lazy.” Having a plan, being strategic, having a system, as well as having a high aptitude for sales are part of the foundation, but you still need to work hard. I think it was our good ole Wayne Gretzky that said: “nothing beats skill like hardworking skill.”  When your competitors are  working “strategically” you need to be doing the same, but working harder and in doing so closing more deals.

6.  Perception Is Reality

Very important: Do your customers consider you their equal? Are you perceived as a Vendor? A Business Partner? Or, a Strategic Resource? 

Ideally you are a strategic resource – one that provides value without selling anything.  If a customer will call and ask for your advice on an issue unrelated to your solution, this demonstrates just how highly that customer thinks of your opinion.  But how do you get to be that trusted resource?  Be a professional, provide value before asking for anything, provide insight, and articulate ROI. 

7. Use your Tools

There are many great tools available to us today from a sales enablement perspective. Because we have so many options, choosing the right tools becomes critical.  To make the right chose, determine your needs first.  Ask questions to determine where you need to be, or would like to be in order to be more efficient and then scope out possible solutions. The more you understand your needs the better the results will be to narrow the field and make the right selection.  

To put things in perspective, you can be making decisions around any number of these tools:  social media, CRM, list acquisition, contact acquisition, marketing automation, lead and demand generation and resources, auto call/email/voicemail…. You get the picture.  You need to understand your needs and where you want to be.

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About Chris Cummins

Chris is the VP of Sales with Skillsoft.  With more than 20 years experience in nearly every function of sales, he is a professional sales person and has made a career in an environment that he immensely enjoys and thrives in.  He has interviewed, hired, trained, coached and managed literally hundreds of sales people all over North America.  

3 Tips on How HGTV’s Timber King’s Conquered the World

In Part 1 of this two part series, I interviewed Bryan Reid Senior, founder of Pioneer Log Homes and learned how passion, people and relationships built this world class business.  In this post, we will learn about Joel Roorda, one of the brilliant craftsmen of Timber Kings and the 3 proven tips on how HGTV’s Timber King’s conquered the world. HGTV Timber Kings Conquered the World

If there is one thing I learned from interviewing Bryan and Joel, its that these guys love what they do.  It all starts with passion.   If that is the only thing that readers take away from these two blog posts, I think that is a great.  However, we can learn some very important things from them to be truly customer-centric.  These guys just aren’t just Timber Kings, they are royalty when it comes to understanding the customer.  So, let’s jump into what I learned from Joel.

1. Listening is An Art Form

There are tons of business books and even courses that tell us that we need to be good listeners to be successful.  Listening is work.  Regardless of what people say, listening is a lot of work.  You need to focus on the individual or individuals, tune everything else out and pay attention.  Listening to Joel, I have a new respect for doing it the right way.  In fact, it is listening with your eyes, as well as your ears.  Here’s what Joel had to say about getting to know his clients:

“I always spend time before each project to learn about the client. It is my personal mission to try to satisfy each client with the style of log home that he or she is dreaming of.  Not only do I ask a lot of questions and really listen to what they are saying about everything, but I pay attention to things like what type of vehicle he or she has drives, what types of clothes they wear, etc.  These details outline the type of person they are and the type of life they live.  These are important details to match the house we build for them, to the dream they have for their house.  Like Bryan said, we aren’t just building houses, we are building dreams.”

After hearing Joel’s approach to getting to know his clients, I can certainly see why the homes he builds are so spectacular and special.  Each home is a piece of art, and as unique as the owner.  No wonder their clients come back over and over again.

2.  Building Relationships is an Extreme Sport

Again, there are tons of blog posts, books and gurus that tell us that we need to build relationships in order to be personally and professionally successful.  What these resources don’t convey however, is that building relationships is more of an extreme sport or a lifestyle.  Here’s how Joel approaches it.

“All my clients have my personal contact info, know me well and can contact me at any time. In fact, most have come to my home, spent time with my family and walked through my home.  They experience my dream of my log home and how I achieved it through hard work.”

The other thing that really impressed me about Joel is that over and above this being a lifestyle for him, you know it is authentic based on how his clients treat him.

“We work in countries all over the world and on every job I have the homeowners giving us gifts and cooking us meals.  On a recent job in Moscow, our billionaire client prepared a traditional meal for me and my crew, and then he gave me a very expensive bottle of Scotch. I truly feel blessed to meet these incredible people and to get to know them and their families.  I feel blessed that we remain great friends and I always have a place to stay, regardless of where I am in the world.”

3.  Achieving Implicit Trust Can’t Be Faked

It struck me when speaking to Joel that he and all of his colleagues are not only expert craftsman, but really, there is a lot more to what they do.  While we didn’t speak of trust specifically, Joel and all of the Timber Kings are experts at achieving implicit trust.

“I love the challenge of the big unconventional and complicated projects that are logistical nightmares. I have built homes all over the world from mountain tops to islands, secluded lots to fly in type resorts.  I truly love my job and it is actually a lifestyle.  I work a lot of long days and last year did a stint of sixty-two days straight.  I don’t need to work this much but, it drives me, and it satisfies me.  It is a great accomplishment to build a complicated home from raw logs that you shape, mould and cut to create a client’s dream home. I do not think I could do anything else, except maybe be a fishing guide for myself and Bryan.”

When you dissect what is being done when building these homes with behemoth logs and complicated structures with weights that would scare us all, it really does come down to implicit trust.  Joel and all the Timber Kings are being trusted with the most precious commodity of all – human life.  They are building dream homes for people – families, young and old.  Maybe this is a little more at the forefront for me after experiencing the winter from hell and looking out at the still present mountains of snow that normally would be long gone by now.  Maybe the recent collapses of roofs on commercial buildings and homes that are no longer safe to live in, is this part of my psyche right now, but regardless, the fact that their customers keep coming back and welcome Joel and his colleagues into their homes and lives is completely indicative of implicit trust.  That can’t be faked!

I sincerely want to thank both Bryan and Joel for taking the time to answer all my questions – it was a true East-West Canada Connection – From New Brunswick to British Columbia.  I can’t wait for the next season of the show to see some more spectacular homes.

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How To Be Customer-Centric Like the HGTV’s Timber Kings

We all talk about customer service and being customer-centric, but few of us really live up to that standard quite like Pioneer Log Homes, also known as HGTV’s Timber Kings.  If you have ever watched the show, you know what I am talking about.  These guys are not only absolutely amazing craftsman and engineers, they are some of the best at being customer-centric.  So, want to learn how to be really customer-centric like HGTV’s Timber Kings?  Here’s what I learned from an interview with the founder, Bryan Reid Senior:HGTV Timber Kings of Customer Centricity

1. Passion is Innate

This is not lip service.  You learn very quickly that Bryan, does what he loves.   When asked how he got into the business, it is obvious that it is something that “just happened.”    When it just feels right, I guess you know it.

“My step dad was a trapper and I worked with him a lot.  At the end of the day, with temperatures dropping to -40 to –50 degrees in the winter, we would get to the old trapper log cabin and light a fire and half hour later, we had no more worries. There was just something about being in a log cabin.  After I finished high school, I built my own log home with help of First Nations man, Samson Jack. It wasn’t long before others wanted me to build them a log home.  It also didn’t take a long time for me to realize that I loved doing it and there was a need to fill.”

When I see someone with passion, it really helps me realize what a difference it makes.  I couldn’t help thinking about the times in my career when I was truly passionate.  Like Bryan, it was something that just felt right!  It didn’t feel like work.

2.  People First

I asked Bryan about his incredibly skilled craftspeople and what it is like to work with so many gifted people.

“Where would we be without people?  Whether it is working with my team or working with clients, our business is about building dreams. My guys are my equal at very the least, and even my boss at times, and never critiqued for over delivering.  They are praised and rewarded equal to me. In the recession of 2008, I cut my wage to zero and kept my guys on. They mean so much to me!”

When it comes to his customers, Bryan has some pretty simple but powerful advice.  In fact, it is  so simple, that we probably tend to forget the basics, but Bryan doesn’t and it is refreshingly honest.

“Many companies spend their entire budget on advertising, etc. and don’t take care of the customer right through to the end of the process.  It was our goal to always over deliver and we wanted to.  Going that extra mile and giving the customer more than they expected, sets us apart.  And really, when you think of it….what a novel idea?…Give the customer value for their dollar and in return they recommend you to their friends.   In fact, many of our customers are our friends.  This is a very, very basic human behaviour.  Treat people well and they treat you well.  Some of our original customers from more than 35 years ago still call us and visit with us. For us, this is priceless.”  HGTV's Timber Kings of Customer-Centric

3.  Relationships Are Forever

If passion is innate and people are first, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that for the Timber Kings (Pioneer Log Homes) team to be truly customer-centric, the relationship with the customer doesn’t end when the sale is complete.

I asked Bryan if there was a specific customer story that stood out for him over the years and here’s what he had to say:

“There are many great stories for me, but one that often comes to mind is one couple who were buffalo ranchers in the US.  Over 22 years, we built three different homes for them.  They are a wonderful couple whom we have become very close to.  They are now in their 80s now and have decided to downsize, and they want us to build them a smaller log home!   Now that’s a story.”

 4.  Use Your Brain

I asked Bryan what advice he would give to people just starting out.  Here’s what he had to say:

Bring your brain to work every day. If strength was everything, horses would rule the world. Watch what successful people do and try to translate that to your business. Same rules different industry. I learned a lot from how Las Vegas did things. They made the whole world aware of them – quite a feat when they are not the biggest.  Finally, take care of the customer and they will take care of you.”

And, of course I had to ask if being Canadian made a difference when it comes to dealing with customers.

“As Canadians we are the luckiest people on earth. Being born in North America is like winning the lottery. We are intelligent, well educated and are entitled to work hard and get ahead if we are wise and treat people right, respect our resources, and plan ahead for the next generation. We can do well and leave the world a better place. Expect the best, plan for the worst.”

It was a real pleasure getting to know Bryan through this interview.  In Part 2 and final piece of this series, we will learn more about Pioneer Log Homes through Joel Roorda, one of the master craftsman that build those stunning homes.

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Insider Secrets to Using Emotions to Influence Buyer Behaviour

When making purchasing decisions we like to think that we are using a rational, and where warranted, an analytical approach.  Unfortunately, this is not really the case. Our emotions actually have a more signifiant impact on our buying behaviour than we realize.  Leveraging these emotions therefore, is an important component for anyone selling a product or service.  After all, consumers choose one brand over another based on an emotional response.  So, how do we leverage insider secrets and emotions to influence buyer behaviour?  Let’s explore.

Insider Secrets to Using Emotions to Influence Buyer Behaviour

Image courtesy of

Dr. Antonio Damasio, a renowned neuroscientist, argues that emotion is the necessary ingredient to nearly all decisions.  Of course as marketers we like to focus on the aspects of communication, advertising and marketing that influences consumer behaviour. When you actually start to analyze behaviour you can begin to understand how emotion is really at the root of the decision and on top of that, there are probably two fundamental components that really guide us.

Identity and Social Status

As human beings we are influenced by how “something” impacts us, or how something connects us to our identity and quite frankly our social status.  As individuals we might not realize that we think this way, but we do.  Really skilled marketers think about the positioning of a product or service in this capacity. We think about the image that individuals want to create when associated with a purchase.  Is he or she  smart, educated, well to do, sporty?  Or, is he or she hip, edging, etc.   At a subconscious level, all consumers want to be perceived in a certain way.

A really great example to understand emotional connection and specifically one’s identity and  the importance of social status is our choice when buying a car.  Recently Cadillac created an ad that showed its owners as successful people who have “stuff”. It suggests that working all of the time versus enjoying time off or doing things to better your community is what “it” is all about.  Then, Ford in quite the juxtaposition created their own version of the same ad giving a completely different identity and social status for those who own a Ford.  In their ad, Ford owners are working to create a cleaner, healthier community for all.  Two ads that look very similar, but have two different messages.

These two ads are a brilliant way to make the case for an emotional reaction and one’s sense of identity and social status.  Which one you choose is entirely up to you, but these marketers definitely positioned these brands for this purpose.   There is no question that you have an emotional response when you view these ads. Through my own testing, every person reacted to these ads.

Another great example is the Dove Self-Esteem campaign.  What parent wouldn’t be impacted by the power of these ads. So many girls have been negatively impacted by beauty campaigns.  The Dove campaign strives to evoke positive emotions and to take control of the message of natural and real beauty.

Great marketing really triggers an emotional response.  Great brands understand the significance of emotion, the power the influence to purchase and ultimately to trust the brand.

Emotions are powerful assets.  As consumers we often don’t realize that we have control over these assets.  As marketers we are always looking for ways to use them to influence buyer behaviour.  Next time you are about to make a purchase, stop and think about your emotional state.  Maybe it will make you think differently…maybe it won’t.

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