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WHAT IS SAP?

WHAT IS SAP? THE BASIC SERIES

What is SAP?

SAP is a global software provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software applications which support business process of all sizes. SAP’s Products focus on Enterprise Resource Planning and the current version is ERP 6.0. While SAP’s products were primarily targets fortune 500 companies and now it is actively targeting small and medium sized enterprises with it’s SAP business one and SAP Business All-in-One.

Following are the different sections which will help you understand what is sap.

  • Who are what is SAP?
  • Cost of SAP Implementation
  • SAP Training
  • SAP Corporate Overview
  • SAP Modules Overview

Who and / or what is SAP? How popular is it?

History of  SAP

What is SAPSAP the company was founded in Germany in 1972 by five ex-IBM engineers. In case you’re ever asked, SAP stands for Systeme, Andwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung which – translated to English – means Systems, Applications,Products in Data Processing. So now you know! Being incorporated in Germany, the full name of the parent company is SAP AG. It is located in Walldorf, Germany which is close to the beautiful town of Heidelberg. SAP has subsidiaries in over 50 countries around the world from Argentina to Venezuela (and pretty much everything in between). SAP America (with responsibility for North America, South America and Australia – go figure!) is located just outside Philadelphia, PA.

The original five founders have been so successful that they have multiplied many times over such that SAP AG is now the third largest software maker in the world, with over 17,500 customers (including more than half of the world’s 500 top companies). SAP employs over 27,000 people worldwide today, and had revenues of $7.34 billion and Net Income of $581 million in FY01. SAP is listed in Germany (where it is one of the 30 stocks which make up the DAX) and on the NYSE (ticker: SAP).

There are now 44,500 installations of SAP, in 120 countries, with more then 10 million users and growing everyday.

So what made this company so successful? Back in 1979 SAP released SAP R/2 (which runs on mainframes) into the German market. SAP R/2 was the first integrated, enterprise wide package and was an immediate success. For years SAP stayed within the German borders until it had penetrated practically every large German company. Looking for more growth, SAP expanded into the remainder of Europe during the 80′s. Towards the end of the 80′s, client-server architecture became popular and SAP responded with the release of SAP R/3 (in 1992). This turned out to be a killer app for SAP, especially in the North American region into which SAP expanded in 1988.

The success of SAP R/3 in North America has been nothing short of stunning. Within a 5 year period, the North American market went from virtually zero to 44% of total SAP worldwide sales. SAP America alone employs more than 3,000 people and has added the names of many of the Fortune 500 to it’s customer list (8 of the top 10 semiconductor companies, 7 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies etc). SAP today is available in 46 country-specific versions, incorporating 28 languages including Kanji and other double-byte character languages. SAP also comes in 21 industry-specific versions.

SAP R/3 is delivered to a customer with selected standard process turned on, and many many other optional processes and features turned off. At the heart of SAP R/3 are about 10,000 tables which control the way the processes are executed. Configuration is the process of adjusting the settings of these tables to get SAP to run the way you want it to. Think of a radio with 10,000 dials to tune and you’ll get the picture. Functionality included is truly enterprise wide including: Financial Accounting (e.g. general ledger, accounts receivable etc), Management Accounting (e.g. cost centers, profitability analysis etc), Sales, Distribution, Manufacturing, Production Planning, Purchasing, Human Resources, Payroll etc etc etc. For a full description of the modules included in SAP, see the related articles. All of these modules are tightly integrated which – as you will find out – is a huge blessing … but brings with it special challenges.

SAP are maintaining and increasing their dominance over their competitors through a combination of
– embracing the internet with mySAP.com (a confusing name we believe) to head off i2 etc
– extending their solutions with CRM to head off Siebel
– adding functionality to their industry solutions

Who is it made for? Why might I need it?

We have all heard about the large (and very large) companies who have implemented (or are still busy implementing) SAP R/3. But SAP is gaining acceptance by smaller companies too.

There are many reasons a company selects and implements SAP – some are good and some are bad. The good ones include replacing an out-dated and inefficient IT Architecture (including the CIO’s nemesis … the burning platform), enabling business process change, and to gain competitive advantage. The bad ones are too numerous to go into here but would include the “why are we the only semiconductor company without SAP” question. More on the good reasons follows:

1. Replacing an out-dated and inefficient IT Architecture: In the beginning, computer systems were developed by individual departments to satisfy the requirements of that particular department. When someone finally realized that benefits could be had by linking these systems together, interface heaven was born. There are some companies today with literally thousands of interfaces, each of which needs to be maintained (assuming of course that there is someone around who understands how they work!). Sweeping them away and replacing them with an integrated system such as SAP can save much money in support. Of course, if you have a burning platform as well the question becomes even easier.

2. Enabling business process change – From the start, SAP was built on a foundation of process best practices. Although it sounds absurd, it is probably easier (and less expensive) to change your companies processes to adapt to SAP than the other way around. Many companies have reported good success from combining a SAP implementation with a BPR project.

3. Competitive advantage – The CFO types around have heard this old saying from the CIO types for many years now. The question still has to be asked … can you gain competitive advantage from implementing SAP? The answer, of course, depends on the company. It seems to us, however, that:

• being able to accurately provide delivery promise dates for manufactured products (and meet them) doesn’t hurt … and
• being able to consolidate purchase decisions from around the globe and use that leverage when negotiating with vendors has gotta help … and
• being able to place kiosks in stores where individual customers can enter their product specifications and then feed this data directly into it’s production planning process is pretty neat
• etc etc

What is the cost of SAP? What will it take to implement it?

There is a defining moment in the journey of all companies on the road to SAP nirvana. This moment comes just after the company has concluded that it want’s SAP, it needs SAP, it’s gotta have SAP … then comes the question ‘so what does it take to implement it’?

Before being accused of being too negative, let me remind you that at the heart of every good business decision lies a cost benefit analysis. If this cannot be complete with a positive outcome, the initiative (whatever it is) should probably not be launched. Same goes for a SAP implementation.

Implementing SAP is expensive. No doubt about it. But the potential rewards can dwarf the costs (and have for many existing customers already). One customer reportedly made enough savings on the procurement of a single raw material to pay for the entire enterprise-wide SAP implementation! Of course these are hard to substantiate, but visit SAP’s website and take a look at the customer testimonials.

SAP sells it’s R/3 product on a ‘price per user basis’. The actual price is negotiated between SAP and the customer and therefore depends on numerous factors which include number of users and modules (and other factors which are present in any negotiation). You should check with SAP, but for a ballpark planning number you could do worse than starting with $4000 per user. There is also an annual support cost of about 10% which includes periodic upgrades. Again, check with SAP.

Then there is the implementation cost. Yowser. It is about now that you need to get the business case out again and remind yourself why you need to do this. The major drivers of the total implementation cost are the Timeframe, Resource Requirements and Hardware.

Timeframe – The absolute quickest implementation we have ever heard of is 45 days … but this was for a tiny company with very few users and no changes to the delivered SAP processes. At the other end of the scale you get the multi-nationals who are implementing SAP over 5 to 10 years. These are not necessarily failures … many of them are planned as successive global deployments (which seem to roll around the globe forever). Of course the really expensive ones are those we don’t hear about! For the most part, you should be able to get your (single instance) project completed in a 9 to 18 month period.
People – The smallest of SAP implementations can get done on a part-time basis without outside help. The largest swallow up hundreds of people (sometimes over a thousand) and include whole armies of consultants. This adds up fast. Again, get that business case out. The types of people you will need run the range from heavy duty techies to project managers.
Hardware – The smallest of SAP implementations probably use only three instances (boxes) … one for the production system, one for test, and one for development. The largest implementations have well over 100 instances, especially if they involve multiple parallel projects (otherwise known as a program).
Adding all this up, your SAP project can run anywhere from $400,000 to hundreds of millions of $’s. As you can see, SAP can be all things to all companies … so it’s best to talk to them (or your consulting firm) about your specific requirements.

Is there any help out there? What should I do next? Help From SAP AG? What is SAP doing about it?

There is a ton of help available out there – depending on your companies budget and culture – to help you along your journey beginning with your strategy and ending up when you reach that hallowed (and sometimes distant) ground of post-implementation. This article concentrates on the help available from SAP AG. Article 5 discusses other sources of help.

SAP AG employs around 22,000 people. Although they re-organize as often as most other companies, you can think of them as being organized into the following four areas: Pre-Sales, Consulting, Training and Developers.

• Pre-Sales. These are people with heavy-duty functional knowledge of one or more SAP modules and one or more industries. They give really excellent system demonstrations on particular areas of the system which – while thick with pre-sales features – are an extremely valuable source of information about SAP. I’m sure they have many other responsibilities as well, but if you can, get a demo from them. For an even more useful demo, ask if you can provide them with business process scenarios that are pertinent to your business or industry prior to the demo.

• Consulting. While also knowledgeable in SAP (of course), these are mostly consulting types like those that can be found in the major consulting firms. Often a team will consist of consultants from SAP and a partner consulting firm and you will not know the difference. Expect them to have business process and/or industry knowledge in addition to detailed SAP knowledge. They are not readily available to non-customers as they are usually assigned to one or more customers. A good list of consulting partners is available in the links section of this website.

• Training. In 1999 SAP opened up their training programs to non-customers and non-partners. This opens up a whole world of top-rate training programs at SAP’s facilities around the globe. These can be expensive, however, and up to three weeks are usually required to gain a sufficiently deep understanding of a particular module or subject. If you have lots of time and money, you could register for one of SAP’s ‘academies’ which are five-week crash courses (emphasis on crash … as in burn) in one of the following areas: FI/CO, MM/SD, and HR/ABAP. These end with an examination and ‘certification’ in your chosen area. More information on SAP training courses can be found on SAP’s website.

• Developers. These heavy-duty techies are off limits to non-customers. Customers can sometimes get a message to them via the OSS system – which is an automated trouble ticket type system. If you ever actually see one, or have one on the phone, ask all the questions you can think of, as you may never have the chance again!

Is there any help out there? What should I do next? Help From Other Sources

Here we will cover the help that is available from other sources, including: Consulting Companies, SAPPHIRE and other SAP Events, ASUG, and this website.

Consulting Companies on SAP

One of SAP’s key strategies has been to develop partnerships with the Consulting Companies. This has contributed enormously to the widespread adoption of SAP due to the fact that there are literally thousands of consultants (SAP estimate 55,000) ready to help with all aspects of your SAP implementation … from strategy to completion. There are two types of consulting partners:

1. Global consulting partners (13 of these at last count) are the largest of the consulting firms who are able to provide global assistance to global companies, and

2. National consulting partners who are accredited by country

Your need of a consulting partner depends on your project scope and complexity, your project budget, company culture, and prior SAP implementation experience in your company. Suffice to say that without heavy prior SAP experience in your company, all but the simplest SAP implementations would benefit from the involvement of experienced individuals who have done it before. Rates depend on your negotiations with the consulting company, of course, but you could do worse than use an estimate of $200 per person per hour. Consulting styles differ from firm to firm, so make sure your company culture is compatible with the typical approach of your chosen consulting partner. In addition, spend some time on their websites to get an idea of their approach, experience and capabilities.

SAP TechEd and Other SAP Events

SAP TEchEd is the name given to SAP’s annual user conference. Multiple SAP techEds events can be found around the globe each year, and are usually sold out in advance. North American SAP TEched’s are typically held in hot cities (off season) and attract upwards of 14,000 prospects, customers and partners. Read up on SAPTeched Here.  It is a great place to go explore, but is quite expensive at around $2,200 for three days (food, lodging, travel etc is at your own expense). Even so, it is well worth the time and expense.

Note: SAP holds other events throughout the year (TechEd, for example, is aimed at the more technical users) see their website for additional details.

ASUG (America’s SAP User Group)

As the name suggests, ASUG is a forum for users of SAP. Non-users (prospects and consultants) and not usually found lurking here. ASUG actually comprises of multiple sub-ASUG’s – each focusing on a particular area of SAP, for example there is an ASUG for High Tech companies, and an ASUG for companies using ALE etc. Leadership of these sub-ASUG’s (for lack of a better description) usually rotates between members of the user community. ASUG provides opportunities for networking, learning and influencing SAP (for example joining forces with other users to convince SAP to include a particular modification in their standard software). In addition to meetings within the sub-ASUG’s, there is an annual conference (which attracted nearly 6,000 users and vendors in 1999). More details on ASUG can be found at http://www.asug.com.

SAP AG Corporate Overview (Updated August 2004)

  • 3rd – SAP is the 3rd largest software company in the world
  • 30,000 – Total number of people employed by SAP
  • 5,400 – Number of programmers employed by SAP
  • $7.024 billion – FY03 Revenue
  • $1.077 million – FY03 Net Income
  • 12,000 – Number of companies using SAP
  • 79,800 – Number of SAP installations
  • 12,000,000 – Number of people using SAP
  • 120,000,000 – Total number of people in the 12,000 companies who are using SAP
  • 28 – Number of languages supported by SAP
  • 46 – Number of country-specific versions of SAP
  • 22 – Number of industry-specific versions of SAP
  • 1,000 – Number of pre-defined best practices contained in the SAP system
  • 10,000 – Number of tables requiring configuration in a full SAP implementation
  • 55,000 – Number of SAP experienced consultants worldwide
  • 28 – Number of years ago SAP was started
  • 5 – Number of people who started SAP

SAP Modules and Solutions Overview

SAP now are moving away from describing their ERP system as a set of modules, and now are using the term ‘solutions’, which is much better. Wondering what would be the ideal SAP Module you need to be in? If you visit SAP’s website (as we urge you to do) you will find that they have structured their Solutions tab as follows:

1. Financials
2. Human Resources
3. Customer Relationship Management
4. Supplier Relationship Management
5. Product Lifecycle Management
6. Supply Chain Management
7. Business Intelligence

ERP System - What is SAP Modules

If you’re still looking for that list of modules, here they are:

What is SAP FI Financial Accounting – essentially your regulatory ‘books of record’, including

1. General ledger
2. Book close
3. Tax
4. Accounts receivable
5. Accounts payable
6. Consolidation
7. Special ledgers

What is SAP CO Controlling – basically your internal cost/management accounting, including

1. Cost elements
2. Cost centres
3. Profit centres
4. Internal orders
5. Activity based costing
6. Product costing

What is SAP AM Asset Management – track, value and depreciate your assets, including

1. Purchase
2. Sale
3. Depreciation
4. Tracking

What is SAP PS Project Systems – manage your projects, large and small, including

1. Make to order
2. Plant shut downs (as a project)
3. Third party billing (on the back of a project)

HR Human Resources – ah yes, people, including

1. Employment history
2. Payroll
3. Training
4. Career management
5. Succession planning

What is SAP PM Plant Maintenance – maintain your equipment (e.g. a machine, an oil rig, an aircraft etc), including

1. Labour
2. Material
3. Down time and outages

What is SAP MM Materials Management – underpins the supply chain, including

1. Requisitions
2. Purchase orders
3. Goods receipts
4. Accounts payable
5. Inventory management
6. BOM’s
7. Master raw materials, finished goods etc

What is SAP QM Quality Management – improve the quality of your goods, including

1. Planning
2. Execution
3. Inspections
4. Certificates

What is SAP PP Production Planning – manages your production process, including

1. Capacity planning
2. Master production scheduling
3. Material requirements planning
4. Shop floor

What is SAP SD Sales and Distribution – from order to delivery, including

1. RFQ
2. Sales orders
3. Pricing
4. Picking (and other warehouse processes)
5. Packing
6. Shipping

What is SAP CA Cross Application – these lie on top of the individual modules, and include

1. WF – workflow
2. BW – business information warehouse
3. Office – for email
4. Workplace
5. Industry solutions
6. New Dimension products such as CRM, PLM, SRM, APO etc

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News Headlines from the past III

News Headlines from the past III

21. Killer Sentenced To Die For Second Time In 10 Years

22. Never Withhold Herpes Infection From Loved One

23. War Dims Hope For Peace

24. If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last A While

25. Cold Wave Linked To Temperatures

26. Deer Kill 17,000

27. Enfields Couple Slain, Police Suspect Homicide

28. Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge

29. Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

30. Man Struck By Lightening Faces Battery Charge

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Branding Definitions

 30 Branding Definitions

Brands have a wide range of uses for businesses, products and individuals in today’s dynamic marketing landscape where publishing and message distribution are no longer limited to media entities. Through the use of social media platforms, every consumer is a publisher and has his own brand to promote. Each brand is competing for time and attention—today’s scarce resources—to break though the message clutter in order to build relationships with their target audience(s). By itself, a brand isn’t a marketing strategy.

In their own words, here are thirty branding definitions from marketers and visionary leaders (aka the original Mad Men) to help you understand what branding entails. (Editor’s note: For formatting purposes, some multi-paragraph answers appear as one paragraph and typos were corrected.)

  1. The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.”
  2. Brand is a known identity of a company in terms of what products and services they offer but also the essence of what the company stands for in terms of service and other emotional, non tangible consumer concerns. To brand something is when a company or person makes descriptive and evocative communications, subtle and overt statements that describe what the company stands for. For example, is the brand the most economical, does it stands for superior service, is it an environmental responsible provider of x,y,z service or product. Each communication is deliberate in evoking emotion in the receiver to leave him/her with an essence of what the company or person stands for. Donna Antonucci
  3. Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa. Jay Baer – Convince & Convert. Author with Amber Naslund of The Now Revolution
  4. brand is the essence of one’s own unique story. This is as true for personal branding as it is for business branding. The key, though, is reaching down and pulling out the authentic, unique “you”. Otherwise, your brand will just be a facade. The power of a strong logo in brand identity is that a simple visual can instantaneously communicate a brand and what it is about. Some large brands are able to do this by symbol only, without words, that is the Holy Grail that brands dream about. This seems to represent the very essence of communication at its most primitive roots. Few can pull it off. Logos are vitally important, but are just one component of what creates a strong brand. Logos should support the broader brand strategy that supports an even bigger brand story. Paul Biedermann – re:DESIGN
  5. brand is a reason to choose. Cheryl Burgess – Blue Focus Marketing
  6. A brand symbol as “anything that leaves a mental picture of the brand’s identity. Leo Burnett
  7. Branding is more than a name and symbol. A brand is created and influenced by people, visuals, culture, style, perception, words, messages, PR, opinions, news media and especially social media. Like when a child is born and given a name, a brand needs nurturing, support, development and continuous care in order to thrive and grow. Some brands have a life cycle and grow old like people. Some brands are timeless and never die, are “born again” or reinvented, while some brands live a short but powerful life and have an iconic legacy.  Lisa Buyer – The Buyer Group
  8. Branding is the encapsulation of a company’s mission statement, objectives, and corporate soul as expressed through the corporate voice and aesthetic. Margie Clayman
  9. Brands are shorthand marketing messages that create emotional bonds with consumers. Brands are composed of intangible elements related to its specific promise, personality, and positioning and tangible components having identifiable representation including logos, graphics, colors and sounds. A brand creates perceived value for consumers through its personality in a way that makes it stand out from other similar products. Its story is intricately intertwined with the public’s perception and consistently provides consumers with a secure sense that they know what they’re paying for. In a world where every individual is also a media entity, your consumers own your brand (as it always was).  Heidi Cohen– Riverside Marketing Strategies
  10. Branding, to me, is the identity of a product or service. It’s the name, the logo, the design, or a combination of those that people use to identify, and differentiate, what they’re about to buy. A good brand should deliver a clear message, provide credibility, connect with customers emotionally, motivate the buyer, and create user loyalty. Gini Dietrich – Spin Sucks
  11. Branding is the sub-total of all the “experiences” your customers have with your business. For successful branding you need to understand the principles of Ivan Pavlovas my brother Jeffrey and I discussed in our Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. For branding to work you must have:
    • Consistency. Pavlov never offered food without ringing the bell and never rang the bell without offering food.
    • Frequency. The bell rang several times a day, day after day.
    • Anchoring. Pavlov tied the experiment to something about which the dog was emotional. Frequency and consistency create branding only when the message is associated with an emotional anchor. This is the most difficult and essential element to get correct.

    However, keep in mind Pavlov had an easier time because he chose dogs which are much better at following a leader, today’s customers are more cat like and not as easily persuaded or motivated. Bryan Eisenberg – Author of Waiting for Your Cat to Bark

  12. In today’s social, customer-controlled world, marketers may be spending their money to build a brand. But they don’t own it. In their influential book, Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff state “your brand is whatever your customers say it is…” As a marketer, this means that, while a brand is the emotional relationship between the consumer and the product, you must engage with consumers and build positive brand associations. The deeper the relationship, the more brand equity exists. Neil Feinstein – True North
  13. Branding can be divided into old and new.
    • Old Branding.  Advertisers shouting carefully pedicured messages at consumers who don’t want to hear it.
    • New Branding. Advertisers [1] humbly listening to what consumers tell others the brand is and back up with real action (like repeat purchases) and [2] incorporating appropriate innovations so their products continue to earn consumers’ loyalty and word of mouth.

    Dr. Augustine Fou – Marketing Science Consulting Group, Inc.

  14. Brand is the sum total of how someone perceives a particular organization. Branding is about shaping that perception. Ashley Friedlein – Econsultancy
  15. Branding is an ongoing process of looking at your company’s past and present…and then creating a cohesive personality for the company and its products going forward. We do SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and go through all the benefits (real and emotional) that the product or service fulfills for its customers. We review the key factors that spurred growth, pricing, corporate culture, key players, and we figure out “who you are”, by key players, the president, customer service. Then we create the brand voice first. It’s a wonderful process. Lois Geller – Lois Geller Marketing Group
  16. brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. Seth Godin – Author of Linchpin
  17. Brand is the image people have of your company or product. It’s who people think you are. Or quoting Ze Frank, it’s the “emotional aftertaste” that comes after an experience (even a second-hand one) with a product, service or company.  (Also, it’s the mark left after a red-hot iron is applied to a steer’s hindquarters.) Ann Handley – MarketingProfs, Author with C.C. Chapman of Content Rules
  18. Attention is a scarce resource. Branding is the experience marketers create to win that attention. Jeffrey Harmon – Orabrush
  19. Branding is the representation of your organization as a personality. Branding is who you are that differentiates you. Dave Kerpen – Likeable Media, Author of Likeable Social Media
  20. brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, or design or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of the competitor. Phillip Kotler – Author of Marketing Management
  21. That old “a brand is a promise” saw holds true, but only partially true. Rebecca Lieb, author of The Truth About Search Engine Optimization
  22. Don Zahorsky is an old cattle breeder in my neighborhood. He’s been in the business of registered Angus cattle for decades, even back when my dad was a kid. Ride around in the pasture with Don, and he can tell you the parentage of every animal. “What’s that tag number? 0282? That’s another Dominator son. His mother is a real good cow. Her father was the grand champion … “ He has invested his life in breeding the best registered Angus cattle he possibly can. He’s bought bulls back from people, because he didn’t like the way they performed. He’s never thought once about business brands, about emotional experiences, about logos. But he does care a lot about his reputation and the service he provides his buyers. He brands his bulls with a DZ on the right hip. Everyone around here knows that brand. They know Don. They know that brand means a good bull. Here’s the lesson: It’s not the brand that makes the bull valuable. It’s Don’s reputation that makes the bull valuable. The brand is just a way of showing it. Becky McCray – Small Business Survival
  23. brand is the meaningful perception of a product, a service or even yourself –either good, bad or indifferent — that marketers want people to believe based on what they think they hear, see, smell, taste and generally sense from others around them. Josh Moritz
  24. brand is “The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” David OgilvyAuthor of On Advertising
  25. Branding is the defined personality of a product, service, company, organization or individual. Many folks confuse “having a logo” for an ongoing branding process, but in fact a good logo is an extension of a defined identity for a venture in the same way that a flag or national anthem may represent a country. A well designed brand personality can be seen in everything from customer service to the actual products a company may offer. Another misconception about brands is that they should reflect a quality; and that may be true in a brand that’s about quality (think of a Chanel logo which communicates the idea of luxury) but on the other hand if a local dollar store even has a designed logo that may in fact work against the goals of their brand as they may seem overpriced. Like an artist finding his or her voice the goal of a branding process should be to always frame in a concise way what makes your endeavor unique; and then apply that message to each medium.Michael Pinto – Very Memorable Design (Disclaimer: I use Michael for my branding.)
  26. “A brand is a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of a prospect.” Al Ries – Author of Positioning: the Battle for Your Mind
  27. “Branding” is what lazy and ineffective marketing people do to occupy their time and look busy. David Meerman Scott – Bestselling author of Real-Time Marketing and PR
  28. Successful branding is what you do, not what you say or show. Successful branding  requires your delivering consistently positive experiences for your constituents. It comes from keeping your promises to them, from earning their trust that your brand will do its best at every point of contact to deliver on what they want and expect from you. This trust leads to their choosing your brand again. Successful brands never take their constituents for granted. They never forget that most important to constituents are what’s in it for them, that constituents are distracted, and you must earn their attention. (Constituents include, depending on your product or service: customers, consumers, suppliers, employees, partners, allies, investors, funders, donors, analysts, critics, unions, regulators, the media, voters, etc.) The logo and theme line are not the brand. The logo symbolizes the brand. The theme line, if it’s any good, uniquely and memorably expresses the brand promise. (Most theme lines fail to do that.) Jim Siegel – HealthCare Chaplaincy
  29. “General advertising is Cyrano. He comes under your window and sings; people get used to it and ignore it. But if Roxane responds, there’s a relationship. We move the brand relationship up a notch. Advertising becomes a dialogue that becomes an invitation to a relationship.”  Lester Wunderman, Author of Being Direct
  30. “A brand is essentially a container for a customer’s complete experience with the product or company.” Sergio Zyman, Author of The End of Advertising As We Know It

While marketers’ definitions of branding may differ, what’s consistent is the importance of building your brand as a competitive marketing tool. Brands retain their power in today’s evolving social media ecosystem and device indifferent information consumption because they provide a short hand communication that breaks through the ever-increasing message-laden environment. What matters to your bottom line is that your prospects have strong, positive brand associations that they’ve integrated into their worldview.

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News Headlines from the past II

News Headlines from the past II

11. Lung Cancer In Women Mushrooms

12. Eye Drops Off Shelf

13. Teachers Strike Idle Kids

14. Clinton Wins On Budget, But More Lies Ahead

15. Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Ax

16. Plane Too Close To Ground, Crash Probe Told

17. Miners Refuse To Work After Death

18. Juvenile Court To Try Shooting Defendant

19. Stolen Painting Found By Tree

20. Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years In Checkout Counter

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“Motivational products don’t work. But Demotivators products don’t work even better

“Motivational products don’t work.
But  Demotivators products don’t work even better.”

Motivation:  Psychologists tell us that it can only come from within. Common sense tells us it can’t be manufactured. So how is it that a multi-billion dollar industry thrives through the sale of “motivational” products and services? Because in our shallow times, people desperately want to believe there are simple solutions to even the most complex of problems. And when desperation has disposable income, market opportunities abound.

I believe it’s time people face the truth- that any kind of motivation you can buy isn’t worth owning, and in the end will produce even great demoralization. Given that inevitable fact, we’d like to invite you to skip the delusions that motivational products induce and head straight for the disappointment that follows! Our legendary Demotivators products are peerless in The Art of Demotivation. They will leave you feeling just as depressed and uninspired as even the most insipid motivational poster might, without first subjecting you to the indignity of misplaced hope! Enjoy! (As if that’s even possible…)

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News Headlines from the past

News Headlines from the past

1. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies

2. Something Went Wrong In Jet Crash, Expert Says

3. Police Begin Campaign To Run Down Jaywalkers

4. Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted

5. Drunk Gets Nine Months In Violin Case

6. Survivor Of Siamese Twins Joins Parents

7. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms

8. Prostitutes Appeal To Pope

9. Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

10. British Left Waffles On Falkland Islands

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The Future of Social & Search


The Future of Social & Search
Lately, I’ve been interacting more regularly on some key social platforms.

What I’ve noticed is that there is a lot of anxiety, confusion, and yearning for answers as to how to become more influential across the social interweb. And the above mentioned forums are excellent resources for sharing and communicating implementation strategies and tool usage. So major props to the hosts of those forums/communities.

With social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube massively changing the way businesses interact with their market, the future of business IS SOCIAL, there will not be an option. Those choosing to stay out of it will disappear.
Why?

Because Trust and Credibility, accompanied by top of mind awareness will win customers every time over a marketing message.

Social is built on these foundations of buying decisions.

With the advent of Google Plus and other technologies Facebook is working on, social influence will begin to dominate search criteria as well in a very short period of time.

So companies that have social influence will have a serious competitive advantage over those still trying to figure it out.

These upcoming changes are not commonly known, however they are already happening and beginning to impact buying decisions today!

Are you ready?

How does one calculate social media influence?

How does one find “influencers” in categories like publishing?

Influence is currency, and the unprecedented rise of social media has generated a need to evaluate that influence.

Publishers want to know:
What are influencers saying about my brand?

How many of my Twitter followers are clicking through my links and retweeting my content?

How can we increase those numbers?

But most importantly, publishers want to know what is the “true reach” of their organization?

These are the questions to ponder about……….


		
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Top 10 Steps for Creating a Holiday Marketing Campaign That Shines

The sun is shining, and many of us are still wearing shorts and enjoying
summer’s last rays, which means the holidays are still a long way off,
right? Not exactly. Even though thoughts of sugarplums, eggnog, and hot
cocoa may seem like they’re months away, the time for planning your holiday
campaign is now. Fortunately, as you’ve told us on our Facebook
poll, many of you are now starting your holiday campaign planning.

Here are our top 10 tips for kicking your holiday campaign into high gear.
(If it helps, try tackling some of these while relaxing by the lake.)


  1. Decide on your goals 

    It may sound very basic, but thinking about what you want to achieve
    with your holiday campaign is critical to creating the right strategy.
    As you think about your business right now, what is most important? It
    could be to increase your customer base, profit, or revenue. Keep in
    mind that it’s unlikely you will be able to do all of these things, so
    pick one or two.

  2. Develop your budget
     –
    Your budget will help you decide what channels you can afford to use.
    Email marketing and social media marketing are two channels that don’t
    cost much and usually have very high return on investment, so consider
    making them a major part of your plan.

  3. Look back at last year
     –
    In looking at what you did (or did not do) last year, what worked and
    what didn’t? Think about how you can improve upon what you did last
    year, and don’t be afraid to recycle something that worked particularly
    well. You can always spin your recycled offer as “back by popular
    demand.”

  4. Get familiar with key dates 

    You may have the big holidays covered, but there are many other key
    dates to keep in mind. Are there any quirky holidays you can use to
    stand out from the crowd? What are the can’t-miss dates for your
    business?

  5. Choose what you want to offer
     –
    As a small business, it can be difficult to stand out from the big-box
    retailers during this season, so make sure you include more than just a
    discount on your product. Get creative with your offers, and wrap them
    up in a personal way that only your small business can. If you’re at a
    loss for new ideas, don’t be afraid to ask your customers. Pose a
    question on Facebook or Twitter, such as, “What offer would you most
    like to see from us this holiday season?” Give your customers a few
    options to choose from (along with a write-in option), and be prepared
    to use the best idea.

  6. Use an integrated approach
     –
    Think about how your channels work together and which channels reach
    your target customer. If email marketing is your primary marketing
    vehicle, think about how you can extend your message using social media
    and vice versa.

  7. Create a messaging schedule
     –
    Now that you have come up with some ideas for offers and have circled
    key dates on your calendar, you will want to come up with a schedule for
    promoting those offers. How long do you want your offers to last? When
    do you want to start promoting them? When will you use email, and when
    will you use social media?

  8. Grow your list
     – The
    holiday season presents great opportunities for reaching new customers,
    so use this time to grow your email list and social media following. If
    you are a retailer, ask people to sign up for emails during checkout.
    Online, make sure you have email sign-up forms on both your website and
    social media pages. Consider offering an extra incentive for signing up
    for your email list.

  9. Keep the conversation going
     –
    Use social media to keep your customers engaged with you throughout the
    season. Start a conversation by asking questions related to your
    business. Run a sweepstakes for following/liking you, or consider making
    a donation to charity if you get a certain number of likes.

  10. Don’t forget events
     –
    If you host holiday events, use email to invite your customers to
    attend, and use social media to talk about the events both during and
    after. Consider having an event to get people excited about your
    business, such as an exclusive presale shopping hour for your email
    subscribers. If your business is online only, create a coupon for a
    first look at your sale selection before the general public gains
    access.

Follow these steps now, and you’ll be able to welcome fall with peace of
mind, knowing you have a fantastic holiday campaign all planned out and
ready to shine.

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