Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Brand Extensions

Most companies still don't understand that each interaction with their brand and people determines the value of their brand.

I meet with Sales Reps almost every day: Sites, Emerging Media, Technology Providers, etc. More than 50% of these brand ambassadors feel like a brand mismatch: There's the sales rep for an emerging media company that relies on print-outs for his presentations, the rep for one of the hottest sites on the Internet that doesn't know what Web 2.0 is all about and and and...

One of my job duties is to evaluate all opportunities and generate recommendations/strategies for our clients. Since many of these opportunities revolve around Web 2.0 and Emerging Media, I don't have tons of data to determine my recommendations. I have to rely on basic data, overall match for respective brand and the sales rep to offer me additional insight to support my case when I go back to client.

Sure, you might have the right target audience, matching psychographics, decent reach and a good match with the brand I try to market. But many brands do. The difference between a sale and a non-sale is the sales rep. If he's really in tune with the brand, if he understands and represents the essence of the brand, lives and breathes the brand; that's where magic happens.

It seems there's a dearth of good sales people out there. And most Internet/Emerging Media companies decide to hire seasoned sales veterans. This might work once in a while. Most often it doesn't. It's not about the sales skills of the sales reps. It's about their street cred. Because most of Emerging Media buys are experimental, the outstanding sales rep has to to play a much broader role than usual: He doesn't have to be a sales person, he has to be a brand evangelist.

So, next time you need to hire someone in your sales department, forget about resumes and experience. Focus on passion. Find the person that creates a space where your brand becomes more than you ever dreamed of being.

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