How do you make your product/service stand out?

Hot and sweaty after a lovely hike around Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, I bought a bottle of nice cold water. The bottle had moisture on the outside and just holding it felt good. We had downed a lot of bottles of this brand for the last several days, yet this is the first time I noticed that there was a saying on the back of the bottle about happiness.

I went around and checked everyone else’s bottles and found each one had a different quote from this wise sage: Hana Soljan Galic’. I’m guessing it is the marketing department for Jana water company, but more on that later when I have internet and can google it.
How would you get me to buy your water rather than getting it from the tap or buying someone else’s brand? After all, we are talking about H2O here.  20 years ago, almost no one bought a bottle of water.  Now, many people would never think of drinking tap water. With all the brands of bottled water available, do you choose by taste, by price, by who carries it at the market you visit?
Fiji water made a great brand based on the water coming right from a source, not touched by human hands. When I was able to get on the internet, I found that Jana is also sourced 2500 feet in the earth and goes directly into the bottle without being touched.
So, like many products in Croatia, the taste is really fresh and clean. It is a great product. Jana has been successful because of a carefully crafted marketing plan that inspires and delights customers with its messages.
The folks at Jana started their “Water with a Message ” Campaign in 2103. For the following 3 years they have been rated number one in brand strength in Croatia. This is not a mom and pop operation. Jana is owned by Agrokor which is publicly traded on the Zagreb stock exchange. Not only have they hit on a delightful branding technique, they donate a small amount of each bottle sold to humanitarian causes.
Well, tomorrow I will buy another bottle to see what message it will share.  How can you motivate your customers to search to buy your product or service?

You know it, so why don’t you do it?

If you are in Vistage you know that at most meetings there is an amazing speaker from whom you take away at least 3 good ideas. That is one of the reasons Vistage members grow their businesses 3x faster than their competitors. Don’t yawn, yes, I know you know that. >

What is not said with words?

Do you ever walk into a room and see someone slouching in a chair looking defeated? As a coach, that is the first thing I notice. I am there to talk with your true heart and your real soul. I look for what is not said with words.

If you think that is hard to do, turn off the sound on a movie and just watch.I bet you will get most of the plot without the words.

My guess is that we try not to tune into other people’s body language because it is often so negative. It is enough to cope with our own negativity, we don’t want any more dumped on us.

Yet, we know people we look forward to being with because they are pleasant or positive or their energy is up. They seem to have taken care of their “stuff” before we met up with them.


Here are some of the things we see them do:

Stand up straight

Look us in the eyes.

Smile encouragingly.


Here are some of the things they don’t do:

Roll their eyes and sigh,

Jump in with a smart remark before you’ve finished your sentence.

Look bored and start texting.


I think we are all tired of the quick judgments.

Watch a few people around you and observe how they are communicating. Then take a look at your own posture. You can put on your phone camera and see how you show up in a meeting. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Just straighten up and be a little more encouraging. See if your conversations change.


Do we talk too much?

This week about 100 Vistage Chairs gathered in Boulder, Colorado for Keepers of the Flame. This is a conference for Chairs who have 10 years or more of tenure. We get together to do the deeper work we need to continuously grow ourselves and to connect with our dear comrades – the chairs who have done it with us all these years.
On the first morning, we were all given the topic Conversations with our bodies and given the task to pick a partner and walk or sit together quietly for 15-30 minutes. During that time period, each of us did a scan of the conversations we have with our bodies and the conversation they are trying to have with us.
Walking silently with someone you don’t know well is a little uncomfortable. We are socialized to make chit-chat, to reach out and try to make a connection, to get to know one another. Being told to not talk and to focus on our own internal communications was an adjustment.
Once we got into it, both my partner and I really liked it. When we finally sat down and started to talk, we had already absorbed non-verbally a lot about the other person. For example, I could see he was limping a little. I wanted to know what was up with that. We skipped all the typical small talk and went to the heart of our intended conversation about what our bodies were trying to tell us.
Feedback about not talking for 15 minutes was universally positive: it was a delight.  We had time to gather our thoughts and assess the constant non-verbal internal communication that we suppress or perhaps don’t pay attention to.
If this intrigues you, share this with a work associate. Pick a topic that you both are working on. Explain how you want to walk for 15 minutes while you both think about the topic. Then, share your reflections. In our case, we were trying to develop better listening skills. You can try that. Or, perhaps you have an opportunity you are mulling over.
Next week, more sharing about what’s said, but not with words.

If you could take your Dad anywhere, where would you take him?

Many of us have complex relationships with our Fathers and mixed emotions about holidays like Father’s Day. So facing right into the situation, I want to know where you would go if you could take your Dad anywhere.

My Dad was in the navy during WWII. He served stateside, but was always interested in world affairs in a way that everyone in that generation was. It was personal, and they had earned their viewpoints with their service and their sacrifice. Like many after the war, he was able to create a business and have a family. He would not take on debt and and saved up to pay with cash.

He got the opportunity to travel to Western Europe and never forgave our leaders for letting the Russians have Eastern Europe where his parents were born. When the wall came down in the fall of 1989, I cried that my Dad had died 4 months earlier and did not live to see this day.

If I could take my Dad anywhere, I would take him to Berlin.

Asking people this question, I heard all sorts of wonderful stories about my friends’ fathers. Then again, maybe your Father was absent, so you would take him to something he chose not to attend. In any event, honor yourself today, as well as the Dad you had. You get to choose how you carry these memories and how they affect you from now on.

Are you over-committing?

Keeping commitments is a major factor in trustworthiness and accountability. It can be described as “Doing what you said you would do.”

And then there is committing. You can do anything, but not everything. Some signs of over committing are:

-not keeping your commitments (duh);

-being grouchy or hard to be around;

-not enjoying what you are dealing with;

-neglecting important people (like family) or activities (like exercise);

-spending the whole weekend catching up on the work you couldn’t get to during the week;

-not doing the work only you can do ’cause you are doing other people’s work…..

Shall I go on?

Yes, I know in some way this is all of us, but don’t use that as an excuse. As humans, we are so tempted to justify our bad behavior by pointing at someone else we know who gets away with it. My classic whine from my childhood was “But you let Joe do it!” (my older brother). Poor Joe, I got away with a lot more than he did. Don’t feel sorry for him. He was very good at pointing this out to Mom.

Speaking of which, whining and pointing fingers just makes you look weak. Feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t get you anywhere either.

Here are some ways to address the issue:

Delegate. If you are able to, delegate everything that you aren’t good at. Especially when there  are people within your organization who are extremely good at it or need new challenges to grow.

Don’t take the monkey back. Read Who’s got the monkey?

Say no. If you don’t say no to the lower priority activities, you can’t say yes to what will bring you and your company value. Get clear on where you bring value and what brings you joy, or meets your goals. Do you know what those are? If not, start there.

Get more sleep. Take a vacation from Facebook, email, late night television and get a half hour more sleep each night.

Block out time on your calendar to spend time doing what is important and stick to it. You don”t have to be perfect; you do need to get better.


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