Can a Victoria’s Secret Bag Make You Feel Sexier? – Guest Post – Karen Post

Victoria’s Secret sure hopes so. Because they spend big bucks on those branded bags.

This morning FOX TV invited me to share my views on “The Branded Bag Effect”, Is there one? Do consumers even think about which bag they carry and which one they dump?

That depends on who you ask. Some studies show there are two kinds of consumers who carry bags.  Specifically, people are either “entity theorists” or “incremental theorists.” Entity theorists believe no action of their own can change who they are. They know their failings and their limitations. Incremental theorists see no limits to what they might accomplish, see no end to how they might improve themselves.

So you’d think the later were the big buddies with their bags. Turns out both believed in external helpers.

This is where a branded bag becomes part of the carrier identity, like an outside branding agent, a persona accessory.

The study, to be published in December, is the work of Deborah Roedder John, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. In one of four experiments, John and a colleague approached 85 women in a mall, asked them to fill out a survey — embedded in which were questions about their self-perception — then gave the women one of two shopping bags to walk around with for an hour. One of the bags was from Victoria’s Secret. The women in that group reported to the researchers that they felt more sensual and glamorous simply for the carrying.

Brands can influence people in other ways as well. The study also notes the curious case of some M.B.A. students asked to take notes for six weeks using a pen embossed with the MIT logo. Those who did reported feeling smarter at the end of the term.

No big surprise, a couple of years Apple computer studied the brain and prior to exposing the research candidates with problems to solve they were shown Apple products and image. Those folks scored higher as they believed they were more creative.

So what does this mean for your brand? Watch the video

Packaging is an important touch point for many brands. It not only further tells your story (brand personality) by your choice of graphics, style of bag, materials used etc., but it can serve as a strong emotional connection to the shopper’s core values. And if the consumer is proud to be associated with your brand, it’s a transportable billboard too. And you can’t beat that.

And remember packaging and bags are not limited to fashion brands, they can also be a great point of distinction for a restaurant’s to-go food packaging,  a dentist’s toothbrush pouch or a consulting firm’s proposal wrap. And reusable and recycled bags can also earn you points for the save the planet movement too.

So you know more than your boss, now what?

Recently one of my MBA students came to me and said that he knew more than his boss did and it was a problem because he didn’t want his boss to feel like he was being outshined but at the same time he wanted to be able to use his knowledge, intelligence, and experience to further his career but he felt that if he used his knowledge his boss would feel like he was trying to make him look inadequate, outshine him, take his job, etc.

So what does one do when they know more than their boss?  I have a little experience in this area; I once worked for a call center director who really did not know what she was doing, I knew much more than she did about the call center environment, agent attrition rates, agent training, agent motivation, etc., and I proved this to her everyday and she was very resentful of the fact that I knew more than she did.  The big shots from upstairs would come down and ask me my opinion and she was not happy about this in the least, and in a roundabout way she made me know this and she made my life miserable, because she viewed me as competition and we did not have a very good relationship and it created a very awkward working atmosphere.

I also once worked for a manager year’s back and I also had more knowledge than he did and instead of creating a confrontation I used my experience to make my boss look better.  I brought my suggestions to him rather than someone in upper management and I used my knowledge so that it appeared that my boss contributed to the ideas that I had.  Some may think that this just gives your boss the credit and keeps you out of the limelight, but it really didn’t, because my boss really appreciated this, I made him look good, I took care of him.  This really helped me in my job, it elevated me in his eyes, he put me in a position where he could utilize my knowledge where it elevated him in the eyes of upper management and so granted I wasn’t being looked at directly by upper management, but in most companies the direct road up is usually through your direct supervisor or manager, and so if you have him or her on your side you are usually in pretty good shape.

So my answer to the student was use your knowledge but use it in a way that your boss can use it, let him or her know that you are not there to steal their limelight, you’re not there to take their job, if you can make him or her look good, they are going to appreciate this and that’s going to help both you and him.  That is my advice to anyone that knows more than their boss, and granted this doesn’t work for everybody and in every situation but in general you have to make the person that you directly report to look good.  The argument can even be used that that it is part of your job to make them look good, because if their happy you’re generally happy and this may help you in your career, this may help elevate you and help you move forward and upward in the company that you work for.

Different Folks, Different Strokes in Marketing

For the next month and a half I will be working from the Philadelphia area where I am originally from so I decided to discuss  the various personalities of customers and potential customers from various parts of the country and the world. Where I now live and work in Southern California people are very much different than they are in the East coast. In the East Coast things are not sugar coated and people tend to say what’s on their mind where in the west coast not so much, people are much more laid back and conservative in what they’ll say and how they say it.  This really is an issue in a national and global market place where you’re dealing with different people from different places.   When you are dealing with a customer from Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and just about any place in the east coast, the conversation has a completely different tone than it would from someone from Los Angeles as it would be from someone from the Midwest or someone from London, and a good salesperson needs to have the ability to adapt their personality to their customer or potential customer.

As I discussed in last week’s blog, The Necessity of Selling Yourself, you’re not selling a product or service, you are selling yourself, and that really comes into play with the personality that you are exercising with a potential customer.  If you have a customer from the Bronx, New York the way that you talk to them is going to be very much different than if you were to talk to someone from London; in New York, personalities are much rougher, people say what’s on their mind, they’re not as sensitive as they are in other parts of the country or the world.  In London they are very proper, their attitude and personalities are much different, and the conversation with them needs to be on a professional level where talking to someone from the East Coast of the United States the conversation has an entirely different tone.

Years ago I worked for a large fortune 500 company in their collection division and I was responsible for collecting past due accounts and I would deal with people from all over the country.  I remember one time I was talking to a guy from Texas and I was cursing while on the phone with him, using profanity and when the call was over someone asked me why I would talk to someone like that, why would I use that type of language , and I said to them because that’s the kind of language they were using.  I wasn’t cursing at them, I was cursing with them, I was using profanity in my language, not directed at them, and I managed to collect the money that was due.  While I worked there I used different personalities when talking to various people, I talked in a language that they understood. Whether I was talking to an old woman from North Carolina or a surfer from California or someone from New York, and everyone in the office thought it was humorous, and as funny as it may have been it was effective because I had the highest numbers in the office because I adapted my personality to the person on the other end of the line.

While that was collections and not sales, it really was sales because I believe that everything is sales, and as we discussed last week you have to sell yourself. There is a lot of competition in the marketplace in just about every vertical and there are a lot of choices, a lot of options where a potential customer can go and so like I said you have to sell yourself.  So I have always adapted my personality to whoever I was talking to and I am not suggesting that you have to have a different accent with everyone that you talk to, because obviously unless you are a voice over professional that’s probably not possible, however you can still adapt your personality to that of the person that you are talking to.  You need to use interpersonal skills when talking to someone, and it’s not just about talking the way they talk, it’s about understanding how they think, you need to have the ability of learning and learning quickly about what people want.  I have the ability to understand someone’s personality within a few seconds of a conversation and granted I did not learn this skill over night, it was developed over years of talking to people, however anyone can apply this to some degree by simply listening to what the other person is saying. My grandmother used to say that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and that reason is you are supposed to listen twice as much as you talk.  So at the end of the day you just need to listen to what the other person is saying.

Friends & other nice people can be crooks too – Guest Post – Karen Post

There should be a new song, “Who let the moochers out” because they are everywhere. They are friends which are the worst kind, because they manipulate you, because they are your friend. And then there are strangers you meet networking and they are super, friendly, nice folks too.  I ran into three this week. They want your time and expertise, but don’t want to pay for it. And HELLO!!!, this is what you do for a living.

They are no different than another crook you learn about in the media, except they are stealing from you.

Many service providers face this ugly group often. Some of us fold, because we feel guilty about sticking to “we are in business to make a fair profit in exchange for value we deliver”, or sometimes we feel sympathetic, because these moochers cry “I’m poor (that’s not your fault) and others convince themselves that this giving of time and talent will translate into new business (sometimes it does, 80% of the time it doesn’t), and others like me, will just say NO! And stop the time sucking, energy and value wasting drill and get back to business.

Here are the clues friends and other nice people don’t value your stuff enough to pay 
They want to meet for lunch. In the invitation chat or call they don’t offer giving you anything back like: leads for your business or even indicate they may buy your services in the near future. But they do stay focused on what they hope to get from the lunch, your expertise at no cost to them.

You tell them you are happy to meet for a small consulting fee and they back off, even when your fee is less than a round of golf or a few bottles of wine. If a company or professional can’t shell out a couple hundred bucks, this is big red flag.

You tell them about a low cost investment, an eBook or service that you offer that is in line with their goals and they don’t buy one. If a company or professional can’t shell out 10 or 20 bucks, this is big red flag.

Please don’t get me wrong, giving is good, generosity is golden, but not knowing the difference between a moocher/time and talent crook and a flat out homeless business person, is a crime.

If you truly believe a friend or contact is interested in buying from you (they have the money, they are a decision maker and they value you) then it may be worth giving a bit, before you ink the deal, but when you put out some fairly low cost investments and they don’t move on it, it usually means they don’t value you.

It’s also important to note that there is a big difference in someone who has no money and someone who does not want to part with their money. After nearly 28 years in business, I learned to spot the tire kickers from the buyers.

If you do a great job in communicating your expertise and knowledge and they don’t buy in to a small fee or product, you are asking for trouble.

You and I both know expertise and experience are not free to acquire.

Here’s a great clinching question.
When a friend or stranger wants a couple hours of your time, before your shell it out and do the pre research on their issue and tap into your brain which you invested thousands to be so smart. . .

Ask the moocher if they’d give you $500 of their product before you begin your free session or maybe ask them to contribute 2% of their weekly pay to this project or your favorite charity.

If that does not help you say NO!  Just think about the five other things you could be working on that will earn you revenues while that time/talent crook steals from you.

Thinking about starting a consulting practice so you can earn what you are worth?

Tired of giving free speeches? Get paid to speak.