Saturday, October 11, 2008
Bears and Stovebolts and Soap Operas
by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisor Netzone
Wow! It has been a tough week for most of us in the US as we try to make sense of what's happening both economically and politically. Compounding the problem is the worldwide pervasiveness of "sheeple," folks who digest everything the media tells them and start panic-induced selling. I bet some of you are hoarse from trying to calm your clients down.
The panic problem stems from "stinkin thinkin" that says we should all be able to reap unlimited huge gains and never experience risk, or that we can palm off our personal risk on the government or some other entity.
"All gain and no risk" is an attractive idea in theory, and one which has been dutifully exploited by certain product pushers, but it just doesn't play out in the real world.
We now have ourselves quite a mess, made even worse by the visible, klutzy hand of government.
All of the instability, uncertainty, and unpredictability (and that's just from the candidates!) caused me to do a bit of research as to WHY some companies weather these kinds of storms and even prosper, while some topple at the first stiff wind.
Most of us had a GRAPES OF WRATH education when it came to learning about the Great Depression. Yes, it was pretty devastating for a lot of people, and a lot of companies disappeared off the planet. Then there was a drought and all sorts of other things going on which contributed to the nightmare.
However, contrary to what we learned in school, not everyone lost everything in the stock market crash, and not every business went belly up. Some people even STARTED businesses right smack dab in the middle of the Depression. Imagine that!
I looked at a few companies, including Proctor and Gamble, Hallmark Cards, and Chevrolet to see how they fared after the Crash of 1929.
Proctor and Gamble Floats Above the Competition
This iconic American corporation experienced some of its biggest growth during the Great Depression. Seizing the opportunity to best a weakened competition, P&G increased its advertising, public relations, and branding campaigns, instead of eliminating them like some of its competitors.
Ever hear of SOAP OPERAS? Well, radio soaps came into their own during the Depression and P&G was one of the earliest companies to sponsor them. The result of all this attention to attracting customers? Huge profits and P&G products in nearly every home in America.
Chevrolet and the "Stovebolt" Six Motor Over Henry Ford
Chevy became top dog in the car world due a combination of a KILLER product, the "Stovebolt Six", and an aggressive, in your face ad campaign. By 1931 Chevrolet had wrested the sales lead from Ford and would hold that lead for most of the next 30 years. (Tammy loves cars as do all good Texas gals..) They had a beautiful car and a handle on the fact that PEOPLE BUY WHAT THEY WANT and not what they need.
Hallmark- Spreading the Hope Pays Off
The company Joyce C. Hall started from two shoeboxes full of postcards in the mid 1900's became the dominant player in the greeting card business. Hallmark rose to household name status during the Depression due to its exceptional management philosophies and folksy advertising. Hallmark went through the entire Depression without having to lay off a single worker!
My point is, rough economic times can be very instructive. As individuals, we learn what really matters, we learn how to do without things we once considered necessities, and we learn that every gain carries risk.
As entrepreneurs, we can learn how to attract the money that is out there and KEEP our exisiting clients happy and satisfied. We can learn how to do MORE EFFECTIVE MARKETING and to stop wasting time and money on things which don't work and never will.
For those of you in the financial services industry who are relationship-driven and client-focused, this might be your biggest opportunity ever. Your expertise and attention could be the cure for someone who has suddenly and painfully realized that their advisor just did not do his or her job.
There is a lot of dissatisfaction with financial advisors right now. It's a perfect time for honest, competent, and caring advisors to become client magnets!
Call me and we can discuss how to do just that. 888-471-9461