John Paulo Cardoso

About John Paulo Cardoso

John Paulo believes that true design thinking brings meaning to the mass of needs, wants, ideas and perceptions, creating brand. ...

Posts by John Paulo Cardoso:

Will Your Next Hire Help Your Brand or Hurt Your Brand?

In our day-to-day lives, we have all had memorable moments when we’ve had wonderful, helpful service and also occasions where customer service was so dreadful that we’ve wondered what the company was thinking when they hired this person.

As a marketer, my job is to think strategically and creatively on my clients’ behalf and recommend design, communications and customer experience opportunities to help them build their brands.  So, why am I about to stick my nose into the human resource department?  Because often your human resource team members may be disenfranchised during the branding process even though they’re the people who are hiring and indoctrinating your brand ambassadors.  They’re also the keepers and distributors of your corporate culture and behaviours, essential building blocks of your brand.  Kim Vogel, an experienced strategist says  “When HR is closely partnered with the business it creates consistency of message, produces company alignment and leverages an organization’s people resources to their fullest potential.”

So, how do you include human resources in the branding process?

First… encourage them to hire people whose values mirror your brand values.  Your recruiters are often at the mercy of job descriptions which emphasize credentials ahead of character.  Just because someone has a Fortune 500 company on her resume doesn’t make her a good fit with your culture or brand.

Second… support HR with internal communication that’s as well thought out as your external messaging.  After all, your employees are the ones who have to make your brand come alive on the front lines as they work with your customers.  There’s nothing that can kill a communications campaign faster than lax execution.  Let everyone in your organization know that they have skin in the game when it comes to branding.  And third… encourage dialogue between the people who communicate your brand and the people who deliver the brand experience.  They’re the employees who are closest to your customers.  When they have the tools to excel, so will your brand.

With the recent addition of Kim Vogel to the Spyder Works thought leadership team, look for more posts and blogs on strategic people practices in the near future.

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Simple Packaging Innovation Leads to Big Brand Rewards

SimplePackagingInnovation

National brands are generally the end result of big investment, big ideas and big marketing. So why am I finding that my own consumer choices are being increasingly influenced and determined by niggly little things instead of the big picture?

One of the little things that got hammered this revelation home for me what the security seals on meal replacements. Both Ensure and Boost are nationally advertised, similar tasting and priced about the same. One has simple perforated plastic ring that you break when you twist off the cap. The other has a foil seal with teeny tiny tabs that you remove with your fingernails if they’re strong enough to apply about 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. If they’re not, you have to stab the seal with a knife. It may seem like a small thing. But, when you think about it, this is product category primarily focused on an older demographic that is even less dextrous than me. Why put these consumers through hassle when the whole point of your product is to make their lives easier?

Getting to the actual product in the package is the ultimate pay-off for every brand. Which is why I don’t buy loose charcoal for the barbecue anymore. Why hunt for scissors to cut open a bag and then pour out the briquettes in a storm cloud of charcoal dust when I can choose a brand that lets me toss the whole bag into the barbecue and use one match on the bag to light it? This is brilliant. I am betting the idea came from a product manager who actually has a charcoal barbecue and uses it.

And while I’m on the subject of barbecuing, I want to commend the people at Maple Leaf who had the foresight to package Prime Chicken in leak-proof trays. Thanks to food safety experts, we  know that handling raw chicken and plutonium are about equally deadly, but many grocery stores continue to wrap their chicken trays so the raw chicken juice manages to leak out the bottom. With Prime, I can confidently purchase poultry without a hazmat suit.

After investing mightily in what’s in the package and on the package, I would encourage brands to invest more time in thinking about how consumers open the package; which is one of your product’s most important brand touch-points. It may be a small thing, but I suspect it influences more purchasing decisions than they believe.

Maybe it’s time to refocus some focus groups on collecting insights about that moment of truth when consumers experience products for the first time. After all, the product experience outweighs all of the brilliant and cunning marketing that gets them to the point of trying it. The real beating heart of innovation is simply answering the unmet need. It doesn’t have to be a big unmet need. But if that unmet need you’ve met is something your competition isn’t doing, you will win.

I will buy a battery with a best-before date on it before a battery that makes me guess. I will choose a network provider that continually tells me how much bandwidth I have left for the same reason. People are only loyal to brands as long as the brands work for them. As soon as your brand creates angst in my life, I’m unfriending you faster than you can say salmonella.

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Isn’t the Handshake the Most Important Part of a Business Relationship?

Business Relationships

I was reading through one of my favourite business magazines last week when I happened upon an ad from GoToMeeting.  The headline read, “The Only Thing Missing is a Handshake”.  Now, I get the point that they are making as they promote video conferencing as an “extraordinarily powerful way to collaborate face to face in high-definition video”.  I get it.  I am a brand builder. I embrace new technology with zest as it helps to facilitate the relationships that underpin brand. In fact, I am a big fan of GoToMeeting as it enables me to have more frequent collaboration with people spread far afield.

But, the headline also nagged at me about what has been lost in business today, the handshake.  It used to mean something.  It was the signal of agreement of between people — seller and buyer.  And I believe that its importance is belong lost on the new generation of business leaders.  Business is about people, not pixels.  It’s about developing products and services that delight the people who consume them.  As a brand builder, I have always stressed human interaction within my companies.  I believe in regular internal meetings and maximum allowable intervals between face-to-face meetings with our clients.

I am also a big believer in Tony Hsieh of Zappos’ zeal for the notion of serendipity; the idea of the “happy accident” that comes about as a result of human interaction.

So, by all means, embrace technology, but remember, the simplest and most extraordinarily powerful tool in business is the shake of a hand.

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