Branding What it is and Why it Works- Wendy Wortham & Cindy Daniel Brand Ambassadors Of The Pawning Planners
Branding is the promoting of a particular brand or product to increase sales of the item. That’s where a brand ambassador comes in to promote, place and “pitch” the product. If you have hired the “right” person to promote the product- sales are increased by attention to details, placement and stock- if you have hired the wrong person- the promotion is ineffective and, if you have failed to test displays prior to shipping them out- crazy things happen like a combustible product being prominently displayed. It happens.
You see, consumers are mostly compromised of hard working families watching every nickel who can’t afford to waste money and are often brand loyal to a product that may cost more but is “tried and true.” Changing the packaging or product contents can often be a risky endeavor that backfires.
I’m asked why I know so much regarding marketing, advertising or products that myself and my twin “pitch or promote.” The answer is we take the time to understand and comprehend the pros and the cons of a product because if we are approached by a consumer asking key questions we need to be intelligent enough to answer the question.
Cindy Daniel and I have been selling and promoting products since leaving the restaurant business some thirty odd years ago. You see, there are “average” salespeople then there are “extraordinary” salespeople. Exceeding sales quotas for Cadillac, OW Lee, Hanamint, Winston, Kodak, Fuji, AT&T, Proctor & Gamble and hundreds of other well known products has been our source of income for years and, we are very good at what we do because we’ve never worked out of boredom, instead like 99.5% of America we are working for a living and supporting our families.
Brand promotion is all about the consumer- identifying a target group and educating yourself regarding the product you are promoting is key to your own success with product knowledge being equally important.
I exceeded Duracell sales quotas for years by keeping items stocked and displays in target areas of 4 area big box stores. Cindy still works part time “branding” for Proctor & Gamble. Keeping a product shelved with an attractive display is key to selling the merchandise and building an existing relationship with the employees at big box Giants? Priceless, scratch their back and they will scratch yours! Working well and helping out employees at store sites is very beneficial when you need to get a product in “action alley” or the prime locations.
When I began selling upscale patio furniture 25 years ago, I would be “thrown” onto the sales floor with NO training. How did I overcome my ignorance and become the top seller in this field? I took every book of every brand home with me every night and studied the fabrics, the frame colors, the warranty and everything I could learn to effectively promote and sell the product with confidence. I sold millions of dollars in patio furniture for local outdoor merchants and, I retained repeat customers by never lying regarding ship times and overestimating the duration rather than underestimating and disappointing clients who valued my honesty.
When you tell a prospect 6-8 weeks, they hear 6. Overestimating an expected ship time especially during patio season was a no brainier for me while my coworkers felt the need to “fudge” the delivery date in order to close the sale and later, deal with an unhappy client- my clients were thrilled when their merchandise arrived “early” at 7 or on time at 8 weeks and effectively I built consumer confidence and referral clientele.
Why don’t other salespeople tell the truth? Because they are convinced that the only way to close a sale is to “give the customer what he wants even, if it involves being deceptive.” Reputations are earned based on reviews and companies get the “backlash” from consumers who were promised a delivery date and planned their party or event around the furniture that wasn’t there. When employees representing the company are dishonest to the consumer the consumer doesn’t bad mouth the salesperson they bad mouth the business. Because they were promised something and, disappointed.
Cutting commissions and redlining your best selling employees is perhaps one of the stupidest mistakes an employer can make and it happens everyday. If you are making a lot of money on commissions, you’re going to get a pay cut because “you’re earning too much money.” This has happened 8 times during my working career and punishing a stellar salesperson for exceeding sales goals and cutting commissions was an ongoing issue for both myself and my sister. You see I know firsthand what I’m talking about and when you remove motivation (money) from your sales staff you are effectively cutting your own throat. I didn’t go to work to make my employers rich- I went to work to support my family and earn a living. Like everyone else when I’m spending hard earned money I try to find a knowledgable person who can discuss a major purchase with product knowledge.
When you are on a budget, you naturally want to know what you are getting in exchange for your hard earned dollars. When dealing with an unhappy employee who hates their job, you are also getting none of the answers to the questions you’re asking because corporate America believes in hiring twenty something year olds cheaply. Older employees are a valuable asset because they are dedicated workers and because most of the time they know what they are talking about! Head into your local hardware store and see for yourself that companies are hiring older employees and the benefit is they know how to do their job and do it efficiently. They aren’t on a personal call or sullenly addressing you- they are happy to help and use good manners while doing so. Manners of today’s young people are more often than not- lacking in common courtesy.
I recently posted a blog about the creator of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and the owner, a single mother who hired all single mothers because they were loyal and hard workers- she was a “smart cookie.” She also paid her staff fair working wages which effectively gave her a staff that was loyal and happy with their jobs.
Paying your employees as little as you can will get you “what you paid for” as little as possible from your employees and while you’re moving into a luxury home, building a pool, taking exotic vacations and telling your employees “I can’t afford to pay you overtime, a Christmas bonus or your commission” you are creating an effectively quick “divorce.” As soon as opportunity knocks on their doors- they will answer it- I did again and again and so has Cindy. Great employees are difficult to keep and greedy employers lose them everyday then wonder why. “Pigs get fed and gigs get slaughtered!”
Thinking “outside the box” takes business savvy and understanding the target group to which you are marketing. My twin and I are very good at this for a number of reasons but mainly- survival of the “fittest” because we do all the work that no one else would. Studying a product takes time and patience and learning to understand the benefits of what makes a product a good value or investment is key to selling anything but remember, selling yourself first to establish trust is key to any business.
When Cindy, my twin sister took a job selling home security systems in 1991 she was in a class of ALL men, older and established! To beat them in sales, and effectively KEEP her JOB, she studied current and past crimes in different metroplex neighborhoods, then went to the police station to study high crime areas with a COLD call list. Studying the newspaper crime reports gave my sister information that none of the other salespeople had because she dedicated herself to learning the “target market.” We aren’t afraid “work harder” in order to earn a living- we do it everyday when we go through people’s houses searching for a “flip” or “trade” for a Dream Event. Hard work and dedication are an important element to a business that is built on my reputation of exceeding expectations.
We are ingenious and often very creative in finding ways to surpass sales expectations and quotas because we have never been in a position to fail without severe repercussions to our household budget. Cindy never received child support for either of her daughters and we relied on each other to get by and pay our bills. Her daughters and my son are now grown and we’ve raised her twin granddaughters since birth without the benefit of child support for them either. Two generations of unpaid child support? Yes! School supplies, clothing, toys, strollers, car seats, EVERYTHING times two has come out of our pockets for Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney and, it’s been difficult during times of economic crisis for our families since my husband was unemployed during the real estate crash and Cindy’s husband unemployed first from Albertsons’s after 24 years and later, Frachtec. Our husbands are both older than us and had difficulty finding work while we struggled and did the best we could to keep from drowning in a sea of debt. Poverty- you never forget it as you struggle to do the best you can to get by! Thinking outside the box and doing more rather than less is what sets us apart from coworkers. Dedication and loyalty to the employers who treated us fairly and relied on us was a “given.”
Pitching and promoting items at my eBay storefront, Texas Twins Treasures funds Dream Events for families who otherwise could not afford them became a necessity when these families had no money and, again, I would need to get “creative” by promoting products to continue helping strangers. I had to find the money somewhere and learned to refurbish and reupholster along the way. Learn everything you can no one can ever take it away from you and, knowledge is power!
My history as a model and brand promotion specialist works well to “model” the merchandise along with my sister. When folks can’t see it or feel it- they want to know how it looks and moves, we sell far more merchandise that we put on to model than what was displayed on a hangar.
Promoting Texas Twins Events and the Pawning Planners took dedication and target marketing on social media and with creative content writing- yes, marketing is hard work. But, if you target the correct market you will surpass your own expectations. Set the bar high and due the research to speak intelligently about the product you are endorsing whatever it may be.
When we were filming the pilot for Pawning Planners, I was very aware of branding and removed products from filming areas so they wouldn’t be featured on the show. Why? Because the manufacturers weren’t paying us to promote their product. I only endorse products that I am compensated to endorse and so does Cindy. While we have no problem modeling our own merchandise- you will never find me wearing someone’s logo or brand name at my own expense. After years of modeling, this Texas Twin recognizes and understands the value of “pitching” or “promoting” a brand.
Pawning Planners Apparel will feature our logo and sales generated will be used for families who lack both funding and/or items to trade for their Dream Event. Merchandising to raise money for these families is a necessity due to eBay slow sales at Texas Twins Treasures you see, times are “tough” for all of us these days. Our connections will help us to help others because we retweet, re share and promote them. Expecting others to promote you without doing the same in return is narcissistic. Why would they? What have you done to deserve everyone working for you when you are above working for them? It’s not rocket science- it’s called life and mutual respect.
I’m often confused as to why there are so many shows glamorizing the affluent upper class when most families can’t afford to go out to dinner and much less take their family on a vacation! The average consumer has only one thing to look forward to at the end of a weary day and it’s often television as a way to relax. I don’t know about ya all but the last thing I want to watch is a bunch of rich folks spending money on themselves and doing nothing to help others. It continues to confuse me as to why glamorizing selfishness and “selfies” has become so commonplace and helping veterans, single mothers and others right here in our own backyards has become the invisible reality of today’s society. It’s time to focus on our neighbors and our families and reach back within our own communities. Social media has changed the dynamics of communication and I’m still “old school” enough to send a card or write a letter to correspond as well as emails and tweets to keep up with my many connections and humanitarian efforts. There are so many ways to get involved within your community and, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time- trust me.
For all the folks sending in questions about when our apparel will be available, we are designing the logos and hope to have product in stock within the next few weeks and, we appreciate ya all helping to promote us- our fan base on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Instagram continues to grow and we always follow back and do whatever we can to support and endorse out connections because we realize- we are all in this together!