“The Black Holes of Marketing”

Problem: Many companies and brands come to a self-imposed, vaporized end.

Solution: This is the basis of a speaker series and many consulting assignments. It starts by recognizing that there are three causes for a black hole disappearance:

  • Some brands tumble in by shooting themselves in the foot, by doing poor jobs on the basics.
  • Others are pushed in, by better equipped competitors.
  • But most fail because their position is in the middle—not in the mainstream, or not at the leading edge.

Results: George Lemmond has developed and proved a process that will find and communicate the most powerful position for any product, company or service.


“Building a Brand Through Service”

Problem: Many advertisers listen to focus groups and conclude that “good service” is the main motivator for consumers’ choice.

Solution: In a speakers series that started by George Lemmond at the national meeting of the Public Utilities Communicators Association, he concludes that service is a self-defeating premise for a company’s positioning. There are notable exceptions, but it is almost always unbelievable and undeliverable.

Results: Clients searched for more believable positions for customers’ loyalty. “A reputation for service must be earned over time. Once it is proven, it can become the culture, and after that it can become a mystique. Only then can you start to talk about it.”


“Connect with Your Customers”

Problem: Chevron’s convenience store managers grow up in the oil business and don’t know much about retailing.

Solution: George Lemmond developed and piloted two-day seminars for managers of retail operations. Participants visit competitors’ stores, learn the fundamentals of merchandising, and are ingrained in the Chevron culture.

Results: This seminar was tested and held throughout the chain. The emphasis became the six steps to “Connect with Customers” —Recognize, Relate, Respond, Reward, Remember, and Repeat.


“Do Something About Drunk Driving”

Problem: Drunk driving killed over 25,000 people in America each year. Many organizations were organized to combat this plague, but there was no central place that citizens, or thought leaders, could contact, if they wanted to help.

Solution: The Insurance Information Institute sponsored an extensive media campaign designed to educate the public about state laws, list the volunteer group activities, and state the things that individuals can do to make a difference. George Lemmond managed this effort and wrote all the copy.

Results: Driving while drunk has become a stigma, and highway deaths caused by it are steadily declining.


“Guides For Growth”

Problem: Target Stores needed to clearly define its position in a crowded field, as they anticipated national expansion.

Solution: A year-long effort by top management yielded a concise document that was the basis for growth. It covered credos and standards for every aspect of the business. George Lemmond was the Director of Strategic Planning, the group that spearheaded and wrote this document.

Results: Target outlasted twelve major competitors to become the surviving “high quality” discounter. This timely and timeless blueprint has served as the company’s marching orders.


“Eat the Client’s Brands for Breakfast”

Problem: Public Relations firms must grapple with ad agencies for the attention and trust of clients.

Solution: George Lemmond urged PR practitioners to fill in that void by taking personal interest in the clients’ products. He gave a keynote speech for the management of a major PR company that was adapted for a featured article in “Public Relations Journal.”

Results: By eating their food, shopping at their stores, or using their services, they gained clients’ respect as bona fide, interested consumers. They earned a place at the table.


“Think Like A Retailer”

Problem: Newspaper sales reps don’t understand their customers business, so they are simply order takers.

Solution: A three-day seminar where they “walk in retailers’ shoes.” They go out in small teams and talk to customers in stores of the chief players in a retail segment. They interview the managers or owners. Then they create a plan for one store–-as if they are its marketing department.

Results: The plans are presented to the retailers, and in most cases result in added lineage for the newspapers. These seminars have already been presented to over one thousand reps at Knight-Ridder and the Southern Newspapers Publishers Association.


“War Games”

Problem: Companies need a fast and efficient way to come to grips with their problems and to provide a basis for an On-target marketing plan.

Solution: This technique puts the strategic planning process in high gear.  Two of the games are:

  • “Kill the Company”—developing the worst-case scenarios, imagining how “unscrupulous people might do us in.”
  • “Circle the Wagons”— choosing the one company asset that must be protected at all costs.

Results: Management must play unfamiliar roles, breaking down barriers and eliminating claims to turf. Plans then become the vested and committed property of all.