Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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20/20 Foresight

So...what do you think of the economy so far, eh? Between slumping averages and dumping indexes, it's not too pretty out there, is it?

Businesses all over the place are crashing and burning, their flames fanned by annoying media pundits who never held a real job, but manage to make a living predicting that which they know little, if anything, about. No matter. The fact is, empty-headed or not, the two most influential economic forces in our society -- media and politicians -- have managed to spook the entire economy into one swell panic.

Hey, everyone knew the party was going to end sometime. And this is the moment where you should take a look back at the previous few years and ask yourself: "What did I really do to prepare for this inevitability?" You knew the good times weren't going to last, right? So how did you prepare for the proverbial seven lean years?

If you had been reading, listening and paying attention, you would have heard at least one thing I've been preaching since I began my career in branding: when times get tough, only the strongly branded survive. They survive because they have taken the time to cultivate users' loyalties. Their end users have willingly made business -- and non-rational -- investments in those brands. And the result is that -- as predicted -- the well-branded businesses are taking the least amount of hits.

What did you do to build your brand over the last year or two -- if anything at all? Where are your branded communities? Your programs that reinforce your brand? Your services that make heroes out of your end users? Your rewards for their evangelism?

You had a fe good years to build your brand -- what did you build?

Don't get me wrong, my business is off, too. But in a weird kind of way: On the one hand, the sales cycle is a tad longer than normal. On the other, I have more leads coming in than ever before. Why? Because now, with 20/20 hindsight, people are suddenly understanding the value of a brand. They want to know how and what and where to learn, build and implement their brands.

(Look, I normally don't blatantly plug stuff, but I do want you to know that I'm working with the Zeff Group on a gig called the AllStar Seminar. On April 19, in Washington DC, I'll be joining a few other tacticians in a rapid deployment workshop focusing on Revenue Generation. My particular day-long workshop will concentrate on what you can do -- today -- to build your brand and grow your market share. For more details, go to )

Okay, so there you have it. If you built a strong brand, you'll survive. If you didn't, you'd best get on it -- like now. After all, the best news about any economy is that it's cyclical. And whatever goes down, eventually comes back up. Make sure you're there to claim your share.

Everyone has 20/20 hindsight. This time, let's see how good your foresight is.

Rob Frankel

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