Ed Welch, by way of Seth Godin, brings us these 101 bits of advice that are surefire ways of quickly destroying your brand. (In case you missed the point of the exercise, per John Moore – “Hint: Do the exact opposite”.)
Among my favorite:
5. “Do everything you can to keep your customers from creating a community. You don’t want them talking to each other.”
8. Make big decisions first – then see how they will impact your customers.
16. Make sure your employees care more about procedures and rules than [about] your customers.
22. Never try to build customer evangelists – mass advertising has always worked better.
24. When your employees are suffering, make sure you know how much fun you’re having playing golf.
32. Call your customers on the phone regularly. People love to be interrupted and coerced into purchasing things they don’t want or need.
40. Be secretive, never transparent – your customers aren’t smart enough to see the real you – don’t worry.
42. Don’t browse the internet – don’t look for what people are saying about your company.
48. When Marketing, shoot for the masses – you know – the biggest audience – like the Superbowl.
55. Don’t share too much information about your company or your products – something bad could happen.
59. Put earnings per share ahead of customer service – EPS makes the world go round – not satisfied customers.
64. Enjoy the status quo of success and keep doing what you’re doing. No need to shake things up.
65. Make sure the people in charge (yes, the executives) have yesterday’s education – there’s nothing new to learn anyway.
66. Don’t listen to employees who have new ideas – those ideas are dangerous and can lead to “problems” – punish those people by calling them trouble-makers.
67. Never leave your executive office – except to attend meetings with other executives.
68. Don’t listen to people who might have a better grasp of the big picture in relation to your company than you have.
71. Only hire big, well known consulting firms to help you. They’re the only people who know anything.
72. Always focus on price and cost – they’re most important – it’s all about the bottom-line.
80. Design your business such that self-serving behavior is rewarded.
84. Use old marketing techniques in a new marketing environment.
85. Always wait until you have a PR crisis before [addressing] the problem.
86. Punish those who challenge the status-quo of your organization.
91. Surround yourself only with people like you – fresh new ideas only cause trouble.
92. Market to a demographic – not a need. Stick to what’s worked in the past – surely it will start working again.
96. Understand that your company is bigger than any changes happening right now. All this new stuff doesn’t apply to you.
97. Cutting costs really is the ONLY answer. Always take the easy way out – cut costs and save your job.
98. Stay in your comfort zone – never try anything new. Why do anything that jeopardizes your great job?
101. Make your customers pay for ice when purchasing tea.
Don’t be that company. Seriously. If you are doing any of this, stop. Stop right now. There are so many better ways of doing business. Especially if you want to develop a real relationship with your customers – the kind of relationship that breeds loyalty, repeat business and resistance to margin-erosion when your competitors try to change the conversation from great service and quality to lowest price. You can do much better. If you are doing these things, don’t you think it’s time you got back on the right path? The path that made you successful in the first place – before you lost your way? The path that makes people actually WANT to do business with you?
If doing the right thing doesn’t tickle your fancy, at least consider the fact that getting back to being the company you could be and should be might just be a question of survival for you. Your competitors are gaining on you as we speak. You aren’t anywhere closer to being #1 in anything these days, are you.
Consider a change in direction, starting with the relationship you have with your employees and your customers. They – not your computers, not your websites, not your Marketing “tools” – are your most important assets. (Treat them accordingly.)