Monday, May 24, 2010


Over time I have developed a protocol for creating a selling proposition for new products and I am very loyal to the process. It’s simple in that it begins with a thorough review of all the 16 positioning elements that make up a selling proposition to determine which are appropriate for exploration. 

Lately I have noticed that the “product endorsement” element has been very effective in stimulating sales. You are probably thinking of the Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant type of endorsement and that is a great place to start. I snapped a picture of the following billboard of Dwight Howard in an Ed Hardy T shirt to demonstrate its prevalence. 

For the most part, it is assumed that endorsements are costly and reserved for the big and well-financed brands, but nothing is further from the truth. An endorsement is essentially a referral by a third party. The third being after the first two, your product or service and your target consumer. These third parties come in two forms, human and institutional. If it is human then you are going to have to pay according to the popularity of the personality you are hiring. Recently, one beer company found a way to cut the celebrity fee. They needed “The most interesting man in the world” to sell their beer so they created him. Compare that to paying Dwight Howard.

So, if you are a small business what do you do? If you are already in business then you have the answer at hand. Take a look at your current consumer base and evaluate it with the idea of soliciting some of these people and use them creatively. In small and medium sized businesses this is routinely overlooked.

I have a friend who owns a dry cleaning business that is located approximately two miles from a major university. After getting to know his customers and providing great service over time, he asked two of them if they would consider endorsing his business. What a pleasant surprise when Ben Howland and Rick Neuheisel, head basketball and football coaches at UCLA, both said yes.

Hear is another example very close to me. I recently wrote a book. I asked twelve of my clients if they would like to read its final draft and provide me a quote for my use in promoting the book. All twelve are now found on the front and back covers and the inside 1st page. "PULL" is now in full distribution in all bookstores and my publisher gives significant credit to the endorsements. Beyond that, one of the first reactions my publisher received was a very complementary email from the Chairman, President and CEO of HBO. Our first reaction was to thank him and ask if we could use it…it will be included in the next printing. You can see why I have more than the normal level of attention to the endorsement positioning element these days.

The learning here, is for you to look closely at your consumer base. It does not matter at all what your business is, you will find interesting people who are not celebrities but who have credible careers. If you are selling jewelry and one of your customers sells dresses, you are good to go with that. If you are a plumber and one of your clients owns an apartment building, you are good to go with that. Who wouldn’t use the plumber who takes care of the apartment building on the corner? These are people who are willing to help you and I out without compensation. So ask and let me know how it goes.


Keith Chambers

Keynote Marketing Speaker
Creative Marketing Consultant
(310) 473-0010

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