The Founding Of Honda

November 24, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

The Founding Of Honda

In the late 1930s, Soichiro Honda built a small workshop while still in school. His dream was to create a fuel efficient and affordable engine for the masses. 

Working day and night, he often slept in his workshop, and even neglected his wife. Because he didn’t have much money, he had to pawn his wedding jewelry to get funds for spare parts.

When he finally presented the working sample of the engine to engineers at Toyota, they all laughed at him, saying his design would never work and that it was too amateurish. 

Nevertheless, Soichiro Honda didn’t give up, and spent a further 2 years improving on his design. Finally, he won a working contract.

Now he needed a factory. Unfortunately, the Japanese government was preparing for World War II, and supplies were hard to find. Rather than focus on failure, Honda invented a new concrete making process that enabled him to build his factory.

Then the war broke out and his factory was bombed. Twice.

Did that stop Honda? No. Instead, he went around collecting raw materials dropped by American planes and built his factory again.

Then, in 1945, an earthquake destroyed his factory. 

Having survived poverty, rejection, ridicule, shortages, war and natural disasters, Soichiro Honda was not ready to give up. He sent an inspiring letter to 18,000 businessmen, requesting donations.

Money came in from only 5,000, but it was enough to help Honda to start his own company. Finally, the engine he developed in his youth became one of the most popular in Japan, and he started to expand to Europe and America.

Today, the Honda company is one of the largest automobile makers in the world, though most people that own a Honda don’t know what it took to put that car into their hands.

All because one determined inventor committed himself to an idea, acted on it, adjusted when he needed to, and never gave up. Failure was simply not considered a possibility. 


Those things that most everyone does don’t take a lot of perseverance, and therefore, most everyone does them. The more value something has, the more perseverance it takes to get it. Perseverance is a big component to accomplishing the things of real value. 

When Mr Soichiro Honda was interviewed on the reason for his success, he said: “To me success can be achieved only through repeated failure and introspection, in fact, my success represents the one percent of the work that resulted from the ninety-nine percent that was called failure.”

Today, you don’t have to survive poverty, shortages, war and natural disasters. What are you waiting for?


The Six Levels Of Customer Service

November 23, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

The Six Levels Of Customer Service
How to beat your competitors to the next rung of great service.


Last month I met a client in Indonesia. We went to lunch at a nearby mall where music poured into the public area from every shop. Just as we passed one storefront, the music stopped and the shopkeeper let out a growl. I looked inside and saw something most of us have not gazed upon for years. The shopkeeper had been changing the music in his boom box and as he pulled out the old cassette, all that thin metallic tape came spilling out in a dusty mess on the floor.

Remember that? But when was the last time you saw it? Do you remember phonograph records that scratched and screeched? Or cracked CDs? Today’s music is skip-free, scratch-free, instant, mobile—and never gathers dust.

Of course, it’s easy to see how advancements in technology are constantly changing our lives. Companies that manufacture products understand they must always be introducing something new, faster, easier, or better to keep their customers engaged. If they don’t, they will be left in the dust when their customers upgrade to the next new product.

Very few companies, however, understand that service is exactly the same—it’s always changing, and your job is to stay ahead of the competition and ahead of the curve.

Here’s what I mean. To start, let’s figure out the level of your current service. Basically it fits into one of these six categories.

Criminal service is really bad. It’s service that violates even minimum expectations, the kind of service that your customers remember never to use again, and are angry enough to call you and complain about.

Basic service is disappointing. It’s the point of frustration that can turn into anger—but when it’s over the customer is not disappointed enough to complain. However, he will tell his friends, and will remember not to call you for that kind of service again.

Expected service is nothing special. It’s the average, the usual, the norm. The customer might come back to you, but only if no better options exist.

Desired service is what your customers hope for and prefer. They’ll do business with your organization again because you do things for them just the way they like it.

Surprising service is something special, like an unexpected gift. It gives your customers more than they expected. This makes you an organization that customers enjoy and will come back to again and again.

Unbelievable service is astonishingly fantastic. This is the level of service your customers can’t forget, the legendary treatment they will tell all their friends about.

Can you see where your service stands today? Great. Now consider this: Each level of service is just like a step in a staircase. Companies that truly understand the power of great service are continuously looking for ways to climb to the next level.

But here’s the rub: Moving up is not another step on a solid staircase; it’s like trying to climb up a down escalator. Each level is consistently sliding downward because your competitors are also working to raise their service. One day you offer surprising service, but the next day everyone in your industry is doing the same thing—oops, you just slipped down to Desired. Wait another day, and oops, you just fell to Expected. The next thing you know, you’re the cassette player of service trying to compete with the iPod (AAPL). Keep your service stepping up, or find yourself lying in the dust.

How can you step up your service? Three ways. First, keep service improvement as a key focus of your business. Don’t just hit the service target; aim for one or two steps higher. Next, ask your customers what else they would like, appreciate, or value. What are you not yet doing that they would love you for if you did?

Finally, benchmark your competition and those outside your industry. What’s new in one arena soon finds its way to others.

Ron Kaufman is a global consultant who specializes in building service cultures. He is the author of UP! Your Service and 14 other books. His firm, UP! Your Service, has offices in Singapore and the U.S.


Insane True Crime Stories

November 22, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Insane True Crime Stories

In case anyone doubted we live in a truly strange world, here are 3 real-life, true crime stories, so strange, they could be filmed and made into movies. 


Grandmother Soothes Burglar To Sleep


Through prayer, milk and a banana, a 73-year-old Lafayette grandmother soothed a robber to sleep, according to Lafayette police.

The elderly woman did not recognize Juan Garcia Vasquez on the night he allegedly broke into her home intending to steal money or jewelry, although investigators later learned that he had done some landscaping once at her home and admitted to "returning to the house on a couple of other occasions," Lafayette Police Detective Paul Zill said today.

Vasquez first tried to enter the woman's home through a window around 1 a.m. Saturday but the glass broke, which woke up the woman, according to Zill.

"She then did something she probably shouldn't have, and that is when something bizarre is going on in the middle of the night, don't open the front door," Zill said.

As soon as she did, Vasquez grabbed her and put a cloth over her mouth to muffle her screams, according to authorities.

The two eventually calmed each other down and sat on the couch. But as soon as they did, Vasquez's stomach growled and as most grandmothers would, she promptly stood up, went to the kitchen and got her guest something to eat, Zill said.

She offered him eggs, but according to Zill, the burglar wanted a banana and a glass of milk instead.

"He didn't speak English that well and she didn't speak Spanish so they used the international language of pointing and nodding," Zill said.

The woman then pulled out some pictures of Saint Theresa and a church nametag and prayed next to him, hoping he was religious. She also showed him pictures of her grandchildren and shared stories about them, according to police.

Eventually, Vasquez needed to use the restroom. Demonstrating that manners must never be forgotten, even during a home invasion, when he returned from the facilities, Vasquez thoughtfully communicated to the woman that he had used the last of the toilet paper, Zill said.

He then sat back down, and promptly fell asleep.

When she was sure her assailant was completely out, she fled to the bathroom and barricaded the door. She had a cordless phone with her that she had grabbed and hidden when her assailant was in the restroom, according to Zill.

Since Vasquez had asked her earlier not to talk the police, she complied with his wishes and called her daughter instead of police, Zill said.

Her daughter called the police around 2:45 a.m. and they arrived a short time later to find Vasquez walking down the hallway near the bathroom, authorities said.

Vasquez was taken into custody without incident. Prosecutors charged him Wednesday with burglary, false imprisonment of an elder, with an enhancement for battery committed against a person known to be an elder, according to court documents.

The woman was relatively unscathed, suffering only minor injuries when the man first grabbed her to muffle her screams, according to police.

"She did do what she needed to do to survive," Zill said.


Thieves Flee Upon Seeing Owner's Picture


Masked burglars abandoned a robbery after discovering the home they had targeted in southern Spain belonged to Dolph Lundgren, the action hero who played opposite Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV.

A team of armed robbers broke into the star's villa on the Costa del Sol, tied up his wife, who was home alone, and terrorised her into handing over cash and jewellery.

But they cut short their raid on the luxury property in the hills above Marbella after recognising the actor in a family photograph in one of the bedrooms.

A source told Spanish media: "Things might have turned out very differently if Dolph had been at home.

"The criminals fled as soon as they realised the owner of the house they had raided was someone they wouldn't want to come up against in a fight."

The Swedish actor, who is 6ft 5in tall and has a black belt in Karate, rose to fame with his role as Russian boxer Ivan Drago in the fourth of the Rocky films.

He has since starred in more than 40 films and still trains up to six days a week at his local gym. The 51-year-old recently took part in a six-round exhibition fight against a Russian wrestler in Moscow.

Mr Ludgren, who has been married to jewellery designer Anette Qviberg for 15 years, and has two children, has stepped up security at his home following the raid last week.


Muggers Outnumbered Two to Six


Six muggers picked the wrong targets - two karate experts.

New Zealander Craig Nordstrand, a fourth-level black belt, and colleague Peter Roche were in Suva, capital city of the Pacific island of Fiji (search), last week for regional championships, reports the New Zealand Herald.

The two of them had just finished dinner and were walking back to their hotel when two men came toward them, asking for money. Four more men stepped out of the shadows.

Nordstrand took on four of the men. Roche handled the other two. The attackers backed off, but then surrounded the two New Zealanders for a second try.

"Do you want karate?" Nordstrand asked.

One man failed to heed the warning and moved in.

"I kicked him straight under the chin and into the throat," Nordstrand told the newspaper.

The struck man and the rest of the gang ran off into the dark streets. Nordstrand and Roche became local heroes for a few days.



November 16, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments


Ad - Any paid form of non-personal communication to the public about a brand, an organization, product, service or idea 

An advertising campaign consists of coordinated (series) messages in a variety of media that center on a single theme across a time frame. Integrated communications = multi-platform campaign

Advertising helps position the product, by creating brand image and symbolic appeal for the brand which is important for companies selling product/services that are difficult to differentiate on functional attributes. (e.g. Sunkist orange is diff from others)

Besides branding purposes, why do companies advertise:

      Brings in the sales

      Remind consumers

      To inform (communicate)

      Brand awareness

      Establish presence 

Tactical ads are sales-driven, provide direct solution and give details of the product being advertised.

Branding ads do not merely sell a product in itself, but instead, try to convey a certain image or lifestyle that appeals to people. 

‘Paid’ - space or time for an advertising message must be bought 

Non-personal nature - no opportunity for immediate feedback from the message recipient.

Therefore before the message is sent, the advertiser must consider how the audience will interpret and respond to the message  

What advertising usually does best is create awareness, one ad alone rarely drives the consumer to buy immediately.

Using Celebrities in Ads

Heider’s Balance Theory explains how people tend to maintain consistency in patterns of their liking and disliking of one another and of inanimate objects.

Balance Theory is useful in examining how endorsement using celebrities and other opinion leaders affects consumers. If a person likes a celebrity and perceives (due to the endorsement) that the celebrity likes a product, said person will tend to like the product too, in order to achieve psychological balance.

Heider’s Symbols

P: the consumer to be analysed
O: another person (celebrity)
X: the product
+ : Likes
-  : Dislikes 

Balanced Relationships:
      P+O, O+X, P+X

Girl likes George Clooney; George Clooney likes Nespresso; Girl likes Nespresso.

      P+O, O-X, P-X

Girl likes George Clooney; George Clooney dislikes Nespresso; Girl dislikes Nespresso.

      P-O, O+X, P-X
Girl dislikes George Clooney; George Clooney likes Nespresso; Girl dislikes Nespresso.

      P-O, O-X, P+X,
Girl dislikes George Clooney; George Clooney dislikes Nespresso; Girl likes Nespresso

My friend’s friend is my friend

My friend’s enemy is my enemy

My enemy’s friend is my enemy

My enemy’s enemy is my friend

If the balance is thrown off, there will be discomfort and an urge to restore the position of balance.



November 14, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments


Definition of Brand:
- A name, term, sign, symbol, design, or a combination of them
- Identifies the goods of a seller
- Differentiates the seller from others
- Represents everything that a product or service means to customers, and how they perceive it – Philip Kotler

Brand Equity: The preference of a customer towards the brand; How likely they are to choose one brand over another
Brand Value: The estimated financial value of a brand; a number
Branding: The process of building positive brand equity

3 ways of Brand Valuation:
1. Cost Approach: Assume it equals the entire amount spent on building the brand since the beginning. Disadvantage: Money spent years ago is subject to inflation, and amount may not be relevant.

2. Market-Based Approach: Take the actual profits, minus the profits if the product was unbranded, and minus the cost of building the brand. EG: Assume Sunkist Oranges profit is $100, and an Unbranded Orange profit is $40, and the Marketing Campaign to build Sunkist Oranges brand is $15. Therefore, the Sunkist Oranges Brand is worth $45.

3. Financial Approach: Take projected profits, and discount to the present value. This is a complex process that only gives a rough estimate, but is used for accounting purposes.

Brand Audit: A systematic study for evaluating how a brand is perceived through all its touch points, SWOT, and developing strategies.
Touch Points: The interfaces between a brand and consumers.
EG: Starbucks Touch Points:
- Books 

- Music 
- Loyalty Card 
- Road Shows
- Barista 

- Movies 
- Cashier 
- Sponsorships
- Drinks 

- Advertising 
- Uniforms 
- Logo
- Web Site 

- Apps

Singapore’s Favorite Brands 2010:
  1. Google
  2. Colgate
  3. NTUC Fairprice
  4. SingTel
  5. Straits Times
  6. StarHub
  7. Sony
  8. Yahoo
  9. 7-Eleven
  10. Nippon Paint

Positioning: Creating a distinct image of a brand in the target consumer’s mind about what makes the brand desirable and different from competitors. 
3 Levels of Positioning:
  1. Attributes / Features: Pampers absorbs fluid well and is convenient.
  2. Benefits: Babes sleep better because Pampers keeps them dry.
  3. Beliefs and Values: Pampers care about your baby’s comfort and good parents prefer Pampers.

  1. Attributes / Features: Volvo makes safe cars.
  2. Benefits: Volvo can save your life in an accident, and you will live longer.
  3. Beliefs and Values: Owning a Volvo gives you peace of mind, security and allows you to spend more time with your loved ones.

3 ways of Brand Development:
  1. Line Extension: Add more variety within the same product category. EG: Pringles
  2. Brand Extension: Add a new product category. EG: National Geographic – Magazine to cable channel to café.
  3. New Brand: Create a new brand, or acquire an existing brand. EG: Toyoto created Lexus.


Ask, Ask, Ask

November 14, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Ask, Ask, Ask

The greatest saleswoman in the world today doesn't mind if you call her a girl. That's because Markita Andrews has generated more than $80,000 selling Girl Scout cookies since she was 7 years old. Going door-to-door after school, the painfully shy Markita transformed herself into a cookie-selling dynamo when she discovered, at age 13, the secret of selling. 

It starts with desire. Burning, white-hot desire.
For Markita and her mother, who worked as a waitress in New York after her husband left them when Markita was 8 years old, their dream was to travel the globe. "I'll work hard to make enough money to send you to college," her mother said one day. "You'll go to college and when you graduate, you'll make enough money to take you and me around the world. Okay?" 

So at age 13 when Markita read in her Girl Scout magazine that the Scout who sold the most cookies would win an all- expenses-paid trip for two around the world, she decided to sell all the Girl Scout cookies she could - more Girl Scout cookies than anyone in the world, ever.

But desire alone is not enough. To make her dream come true, Markita knew she needed a plan

"Always wear your right outfit, your professional garb," her aunt advised. "When you are doing business, dress like you are doing business. Wear your uniform. When you go up to people in their buildings at 4:30 or 6:30 and especially on Friday night, ask for a big order. Always smile, whether they buy or not, always be nice. And don't ask them to buy your cookies; ask them to invest."

Lots of other Scouts may have wanted that trip around the world. Lots of other Scouts may have had a plan. But only Markita went off in her uniform each day after school, ready to ask - and keep asking - folks to invest in her dream. "Hi, I have a dream. I'm earning a trip around the world for me and my mom by merchandising Girl Scout cookies," she'd say at the door. "Would you like to invest in one dozen or two dozen boxes of cookies?" 

Markita sold 3,526 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that year and won her trip around the world. 

Since then, she has sold more than 42,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, spoken at sales conventions, starred in a Disney movie about her adventure and has co-authored the best seller, How to Sell More Cookies, Condos, Cadillacs, Computers ... And Everything Else.

Markita is no smarter and no more extroverted than thousands of other people, young and old, with dreams of their own. The difference is Markita had discovered the secret of selling: Ask, Ask, Ask!
Many people fail before they even begin because they fail to ask for what they want. The fear of rejection leads many of us to reject ourselves and our dreams long before anyone else ever has the chance - no matter what we're selling. 

And everyone is selling something. "You're selling yourself everyday - in school, to your boss, to new people you meet," said Markita at 14. "My mother is a waitress; she sells the daily special. Mayors and presidents trying to get votes are selling ... I see selling everywhere I look. Selling is part of the whole world." 

It takes courage to ask for what you want. Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing what it takes despite one's fear. And, as Markita has discovered, the more you ask, the easier (and more fun) it gets.

Once, on live TV, the producer decided to give Markita her toughest selling challenge. Markita was asked to sell Girl Scout cookies to a random guest on the show. "Would you like to invest in one dozen or two dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies?" she asked. 

"Girl Scout cookies? I don't buy Girl Scout cookies!" he replied. "I'm a Federal Penitentiary warden. I put 2,000 rapists, robbers, criminals, muggers and child abusers to bed every night." 

Unruffled, Markita quickly countered, "Mister, if you take some of these cookies. maybe you won't be so mean and angry and evil. And, Mister, I think it would be a good idea for you to take some of these cookies back for every one of your 2,000 prisoners, too." 

The Warden wrote her a check.


Market Segmentation, Targeting And Product Positioning

November 02, 2011 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Market Segmentation, Targeting And Product Positioning

Mass Marketing: Offering the same product to all customers with only one advertising campaign, to sell to the entire population. The opposite is Market Segmentation.

Market Segmentation: Identifying distinct segments within a market, targeting it, and creating a marketing mix (4 P’s) for each selected segment.

A Market Segment is a sub-set of people with similar characteristics that cause them to demand similar products / services based on the qualities of that product / service.

Each market segment is distinct (different segments have different needs), homogeneous (exhibit common needs within the segment), and respond similarly to a market stimulus.

Why Market Segmentation is Necessary

- Different customers have different needs

- Companies can differentiate their products, and focus on the benefits the segment desires

- Helps companies identify which media channel to target that segment

- Enable companies to avoid head-on competition

- More important for smaller players, as they have less resources to challenge bigger players head-on

- Easier market entry / survival if small players can identify a segment that is missed, or a segment that big players consider as too small to service profitably

How to Segment - Examples
Consumer Rooted:
  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Geographic
  • Socio-Cultural 

Consumption Specific:
  • Usage Rate – Heavy, Medium, Light users
  • Usage Situation – Special Occasions, Festive Seasons
  • Benefits – What benefit each segment wants eg: Students, Environmentalists, etc.
  • Perceived Brand Loyalty – How the customer feels about the brand

Market Segmentation Targeting 
To be an effective target, a market segment must have 5 factors: 
1.    Identifiable: A Marketer must be able to find characteristics they have chosen for segmentation. Eg: Age.

2.    Sizeable: The segment must be large enough to be profitable. How many Consumers within the segment are likely to buy?

3.    Stable or Growing: The consumers aren’t likely to change very quickly, or there are more consumers coming into the segment. Eg: Senior citizens.

4.    Accessible: Marketers must be able to reach the segment in an affordable way, and interact in their language and culture.

5.    Congruent with Company Objectives & Resources: In-line with overall company agenda.

Product Positioning

Positioning: Establishing a DISTINCT image for the product / service in the mind of the consumer from the target segment that will DIFFERENTIATE the offering from competing offerings.

Product Differentiation: A part of positioning, the process of distinguishing a product / service from others, to make it more attractive to a target market segment.

Has a Unique Selling Point (USP) – Distinct and simple to understand (1 sentence long).

Successful positioning creates a distinct, positive brand image.

The first company to create a USP tends to own the image in the consumer’s mind. Eg: Xerox (Paper), Pampers (Diapers); Head & Shoulders (Dandruff), Johnson & Johnson’s (Baby)

The 4 P’s can be used as positioning elements.

Drawbacks of Only using Low Price as a Positioning Element:
- Hard to raise prices later
- Easy model to copy and replicate
- May suggest low quality
- May not be sustainable

Perceptual Mapping 
Allows Marketers to identify gaps in the positioning of all competing products / services. This enables Marketers to better position their product / service.