What is a brand? Buildingbrands.com has I think the simplest and best definition I have come across -
"A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer."
Our business has a number of "brands" – Alticor , Quixtar , Amway , Nutrilite to name a few. What perceptions do those brands raise in the mind of the consumer? For most people, Alticor has little to no brand recognition. It's too new and few have heard of it. I encountered one video that attempts to define the brand: Alticor – Helping people lead better lives. I've no information and when and where, if ever, this video has been used, so, while it's a great video, it has no effect on the mind of the consumer. Quixtar recently launched an advertising campaign with two TV spots Quixtar – The Land of Will and Quixtar – Won't Becomes Will as part of an effort to define the "Quixtar brand". Along with these are ads supporting Quixtar's best selling products, Nutrilite. The Nutrilite – Package and Nutrilite – Plant Tour advertisements quite obviously try to raise the perception of "natural" in the mind of the consumer when they encounter the brand Nutrilite.
But what of the fourth major brand, Amway ? It's the best known brand, with the longest history. Indeed, for many people who encounter Quixtar or Alticor, which raise few perceptions, once the companies' links with Amway are known, it's the perceptions of Amway that take the place in the mind of the consumer. What perceptions are raised in their minds when they encounter that brand? Alticor recently released some Amway branding ads in Michigan but it's obvious these are targeted to the Michigan voter more than the consumer. For consumers, though, there is indeed a "collection of perceptions". Some perceptions may include "great products" or "good business". Others might be "pyramid", "scam", "cult". Others might be "door-to-door selling" or "American Way".
How did these perceptions arise? Who defines the Amway brand? Historically, the Amway model has relied on very little traditional marketing. Few TV or magazine ads, few billboards or radio spots. The brand is defined by it's representatives, Amway and Quixtar Independent Business Owners.
Every time you encounter someone with good things to say about Amway or Quixtar and/or their products – ultimately, these are perceptions created by IBOs.
Every time you encounter someone with bad things to say about Amway or Quixtar and/or their products – ultimately, these are perceptions created by IBOs.
Every "negative story" on the Internet – a perception or experience ultimately created by an IBO.
Every "postive testimonial" on the internet or on tape or CD – a perception or experience ultimately created by an IBO.
A message for IBOs
The perception of our corporate brands, Amway, Quixtar, Alticor and product brands like Artistry, Nutrilite, SA8, L.O.C etc are our responsibility. When you encounter someone negative to our opportunity or products – it's our fault. When you encounter someone with a positive view of our opportunity or products – that too is our "fault"! We are responsible for our brand's image.
Now, active IBOs know that, on average, usually no more than 1 in 4 or 1 in 5 of the people we present our opportunity and products to are interested in pursuing things further. So if you show a hundred reasonably "qualified" people, then 2 or 3 might be interested. Furthermore out of that 2% who are interested, few actually do much, and it's likely only 3% will renew the following year. But still, out of those 2 or 3 and then 5 or 6, you can generally build at least a Platinum business, earning you $5,/yr.
It's possible to look at this and interpret it as meaning that of all the work we do, only 6% of it leads to us earning an income, that the rest of it is just "running the numbers" to find that 6%. In my mind, this view is wrong. How many of those hundred people we have shown the opportunity to have never heard of Amway, or Quixtar, or Multi-level Marketing? These days, it would be very few, particularly in older markets like the United States or Australia. Those prospects each have perceptions that have been created by their earlier experiences. Those perceptions will quite evidently affect their response to your presentation.
What perception do you want them to have ? Do you want them to have encountered an IBO who harassed them to try and sign them up? Do you want them to have encountered an IBO who tricked them in to coming to a meeting? Do you want them to have been told they were a "broke loser" for not joining? Do you want them to have been lied to about the connection between Amway and Quixtar? What about if they had been an IBO before, perhaps part of the 7% who do little and don't renew. What experience do you want them to have had? Did they feel pressured to spend money they didn't have or buy products they didn't want? Made to feel guilty for missing a meeting they couldn't make? Did they feel they were more part of a religion than a business? Were they made to feel like losers or failures if they decided not to renew?
You get the picture.
What do you want your prospect to have experienced before? What "collection of perceptions" do you want that person to have when you say "Quixtar" or "Amway" to them? Now, maybe if you just want to make a "fast buck", then you don't care. But most people join Amway and Quixtar with a desire to build a long-term, profitable business. Someday, people you have shown the business to who say "no" will be shown the business again. Maybe by somebody in your downline. Maybe even yourself.
Your business depends on the brand image IBO's develop. You do not get paid only for the 6% of people you show the plan to who actually do anything – you get paid for 1% of your work. But 94% of the work you do is building the Amway and Quixtar brands.
Are you an IBO for the short-term or the long-term? What brand do you want to represent? What brand do you want your downline representing? The future is in your hands. Every time you talk to a prospect. Every time you deal with a customer. Every time you work with your downline. Build the brand. It's what you'll get paid for.
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