Why do people pay more for something?

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People don’t want to feel bad amongst the people they often move around. Most people will pay more for a product/service than other brands for one of the following reasons; if they think it makes them look:

  • Smarter
  • Tech-savvy
  • Fashionable
  • Long-term thinker
  • Professional

All these comparisons would vary from person-to-person depending on the group they move around. Hence, their buying decisions.

This is why most effective marketers of expensive, luxury brands focus their ads on the emotional aspects of the benefits that the product brings, rather than specifications of the product/service.

Exemplary Customer Service at Nando’s Pakistan

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I happened to win one of the competitions setup by Nando’s Pakistan for its promotion during the Islamic month of Ramazan this time. The competition was quite interesting, so I sent in my entry. It needed me to write a tagline for a picture & a concept of one of the new deals introduced recently. Amazingly, I was selected as the winner for the competition and offered a deal for two.

When we went there, along with two other friends, we were not treated right in terms of serving priorities for food, courtesy of staff as well as the deal details. I came out pretty upset mostly because of the impression I left on the fellows I had invited over. Anyways, I wrote an email about this to the customer service person at Nando’s a day or two later. To my surprise, their receptivity to this new information was quite awesome.

After apologizing for what had happened, they actually made a point to try and spot the mess-makers in their staff and offered me a complete dinner for 4 in an attempt to please me. I hesitatingly agreed and later on decided on a date to dine at Nando’s. Although I had called the same three fellows, one never came due to his previous bad experience.

I was quite delighted to notice the additional care and attention to detail that was taken in welcoming, offering a comfortable table for 4 this time, serving, and selecting pleasantly courteous staff. We had a proper dinner, and enjoyed the entire theme totally more than ever before I had visited Nando’s. The other two fellows shared this story with several others including the one who didn’t show up and we’ve at least made 10 more people visit Nando’s because of this story.

Customer service needs dedication beyond the duty, and understanding the clients’/customers’ needs and wants and delighting them always. Seth Godin writes about building a tribe and making a purple cow; these kind of stories certainly help float another purple cow around.

Selection in the Top 30 Global Super Managers – ‘Last Manager Standing’ Competition

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Recently, I was selected in the list of top 30 managers to participate in the flagship event of Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) India.  Only after the selection I realized, I am the only one selected from Pakistan and I also happen to be the only one from outside India.

I’m quite excited to participate in this international festival, however, due to visa delay chances are that I wouldn’t be able to attend it. * Sigh *

Hint: If you missed my name, check number 8

Changing the Game

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“Entrepreneurs ignore the status quo, challenge the rules and change the game. We should know.”

That happened to come across in a full-page ad of Mishcon de Reya’s ad in Financial Times Middle East. It’s captivating, and inviting for an individual with a similar instinct to read more into the ad. It’s a Business Dispute Resolution firm, and talks about many of its products throughout their ad copy.

I would take the words “change the game” and take the concept forward with the idea. What is game changing? Game changing is about seeing the same things differently, and introducing a compelling reason for others to replicate the way he/she sees those things. It’s about innovating to find solutions to problems that most of the people have accepted as ‘part of the game’ and constantly forcing energies to deliver results that never were, and often, never thought to be possible as well.

Game changing is about spirit. It’s about belief in what you do. It’s about unwavering focus on things that are important and achievement through unique approaches. It’s when all others keep thinking how to do it, while you complete an assignment or a project.

To change the game, one has to reach a high level of self-confidence: Supreme self-confidence. This is when the inner game is exactly the same as the outer game. When the inside = outside, when you are not bothered about what others say about you or what others think about you, that’s when you qualify to change the game. So go out there, and make it happen.

Ratan Tata’s Succession Planning: Looking beyond family

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In the previous couple of days, there was a hype about Ratan Tata looking for succession for the reason that succession candidates were sought beyond the Tata family.

It’s an encouraging change in the dynastic fashion of business empires in the Asian, and more so in South Asian countries. However, a system of checks should be brought about in place with such a radical change to be brought about. Why? Because the entire set of systems, procedures, policies and most importantly, human resources, are attuned to the family business systems.

With family businesses, there is a concept of loyalty and long-serving employees holding senior positions usually not on the basis of only merit, but on the basis of a mutual commitment to the cause of the group since long. Certainly, this is good to an extent. However, ensuring these people get ample opportunities to update their skill set to keep them fit for their positions is the organizational responsibility too. More often than not, no one’s interested in promoting such continuing education of people in family businesses.

As much as it is a commendable decision, there is a need to check that the new person at the helm of affairs realizes this, and doesn’t only keep replacing the previously employed, committed employees.

Keeping the above in mind, and acting accordingly will also ensure a growth mentality to prevail in all organizational levels and merit would breed further merit, leading to a virtuous cycle of growth and continuity.

Two Important Questions

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These are the two most important questions you need to ask in most cases:

  1. Is this thing/situation/person/work the way you want this to be?
  2. If not, what are you doing about it?

If you keep asking yourself these two questions and keep answering them to the best of your abilities, you’ll keep improving your life and everyone will love you for it.

On valuing employees

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Most successful corporations have learned their lessons about people power, and come to a common conclusion: People happen to be at the core of their business. Internal branding, therefore, has become an important facet of branding issues, where the internal customer (most often, employees) are partnered with to gear the company for success.

Some companies live on hope (Management-by-hope), which is to say that ‘if’ this happens, we will get an ‘x’ amount of growth in our company, relying on that ‘if’ to happen. These are poorly managed structures, because these are the kind of organizations that think about employees the last, if they ever do it.

Proactive management means to not only anticipate change, but create the change that will come to shape. It’s not an approach. It’s a norm. Approaches change, norms hardly do. When companies are focused on creating change, they not only empower, but also involve and engage employees in their growth, the employees then relate to the higher vision and work towards the targets with missionary zeal.

There are some companies that will most likely never change – of course, until they cease to exist; it’s better for the proactive employees there to change their companies instead.