Marketing Positivity – A Force for Customer Good
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Some of my recent articles have highlighted aspects of corporate life and poor leadership decisions that negatively impact customers and employees. With so many stories of woe and poor service, and with the barrage of negative economic news these days, I want to bring an element of freshness and enthusiasm that can inspire positive actions for employees as they serve their customers.
A frequent question on quizzes in the marketing classes I teach at the University of Winnipeg asks, “What is the easiest thing for a marketer to accomplish for their product?” And the answer is, “Maintain a positive attitude.”
The concept of marketing positivity gelled with me as I was reading various industry blog posts and articles. There is no real definition that I could find and I believe I may have invented it. When you have a positive mindset, you are able to tackle challenging situations, make necessary alterations to improve performance, and celebrate the excellent work that your employees are doing for your customers.
Research shows that having a positive mental attitude can lift your spirits for extended periods of time. And this attitude becomes contagious. I am not talking about “false chatter” which is just empty words of encouragement. I am talking about a deliberate approach to developing a positive mental attitude about what your company creates and delivers to customers, how you treat customers and employees, and your general corporate responsibility within your community.
Winning football teams believe they will compete strongly with a propensity to win because of their preparation and positive approach that the entire team holds true. During my career as a player in the CFL I have seen this frequently in great football teams; unfortunately, many times on the opposing team. When someone makes a mistake, their teammates help lift them up. This mindset is a continual and collective approach resulting in the team being successful.
Winning businesses have a positive mindset. Employees don’t chastise peers; they support peers in tough times. Great leaders may have to correct behaviours and that is OK. When done with a mindset of positivity, people feel supported and empowered and are more likely to try something, rather than be hesitant, fearful of reprisal if unsuccessful. Don’t worry about what might or might not happen in five days. Focus on your responsibility right now and your delivery of value to your customers.
A three-step approach to developing and sustaining marketing positivity in your organization’s winning game plan begins with defining the unique value you provide for your customers. Be specific and ensure your entire organization understands what this is.
The second step is to ensure that every person understands that the focus is on moving forward, positively, and collectively. Everyone must understand the definition of teamwork (do your job and trust your teammates to do theirs) and leadership must live this first and set the example for employees to follow. Departments must focus on their core responsibility while they support other’s departments.
The last step is to ensure that the flame remains lit. True marketing positivity is not a “program of the week” and forgotten after delivering the initial message. This concept must become part of your corporate values. This mindset will then form part of your corporate DNA that guides employee’s daily actions.
When the media and business reports focus on doom and gloom, your marketing positivity keeps your mind focused on what you can control – the quality of the experience that you provide to your customers. I am not suggesting that there are not realities that affect people. Walking through a grocery store or filling your vehicle with gas will provide the dose of reality we are all dealing with.
However, I maintain that if your work environment is positive, as described above, then an important part of your employees’ lives is positive. And that is important for employees’ mental health. When sales, support and service are working together with production and logistics, then your customers are well-served. This is what you can control. And by focusing this way, your company has an improved chance of success amidst the negative mindset of other companies. When your company is winning this way, you can keep people employed instead of laying them off, and you won’t be focusing on the negative business news; you will be able to share success stories across platforms.
Just think how important this will be for your customers knowing that your company is succeeding and that they don’t have to worry about whether you will be able to continue to provide your product or service. I’m positive they will see that you are succeeding.
Tim’s bits: Fortune favours the bold. This inspirational quote is all about moving forward. We know there will always be obstacles and challenges. However, bringing marketing positivity into your role and leading by example can help start a positive movement for good. This makes everyone feel better about themselves, the work they do, and is critical to your winning game plan.
Tim Kist is a Certified Management Consultant, authorized by law, and a Fellow of the Institute of Certified Management Consultants of Manitoba.