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Written by Mark Juliano (President & CEO of Renaissance Consulting)

Private labeling is a common strategy for many companies — defined as selling other vendors’ products under YOUR company’s brand name. The primary reason is to round out a company’s product line.

Examples:

At Network Equipment Technologies (NET), a manufacturer of telecommunications equipment, we sold Cables from other vendors. Cables were an add-on product that all of our customers needs. Yet, we had no desire to be in the low-tech cable business. We put our NET name on the cables and were able to command a 100% markup because they were a relatively low-price item, and customers knew the cables were certified compatible with our equipment. While at FORE Systems (based in Pittsburgh), we private labeled Video Products that our Internet networking customers wanted for video conferencing.

Currently, I work with ABC Fashions (name changed to protect the company), which sells women’s clothing to a select market of musical performance attire — such as black dresses for concerts, along with accessories. Naturally ABC does not make it’s clothing, but rather works with designers to select appropriate fashions, as well as request modifications to their existing clothing for the performance attire market. ABC uses small designers who don’t have a Brand Name yet, however, ABC is yet building its own brand name — that’s about to change.

ABC will be literally private labeling its clothing with the ABC Fashions name — and its customers now understand that ABC is a quality name in clothing. The company sells using a unique home-fashion-show model where women go to women’s homes to view models wearing their clothing. The company has found that its customer ALSO want to buy Casualwear, separate from its performance attire.

The issues for ABC — and any other company in this position — is that it could keep selling various designer’s clothing OR work with those designers to produce modified versions of their clothing (colors, sizes, and other modifications) under the ABC name — thereby not only promoting ABC’s brand name, but also discouraging its customers from finding the designer themselves and buying direct.

Other Examples

There are millions of similar examples of private labeling. All the major department stores do it. All the major pharmacy companies (i.e. Rite Aid, CVS, etc.) do it — yes, those “pharmacy label” product sitting right next to the major brand versions sold at less than the Name-Brands. But most of those pharmacies don’t actually make those products. Instead they buy them from a no-name quality manufacturer, who specializes in private labeling.

While at Vinomis, we sold Resveratrol (red wine grape) supplements and actually had them made for Vinomis at GNC. As the CEO, I wanted to use GNC because they had all the quality and manufacturing certifications. GNC benefited because they could use their excess manufacturing capabilities, and large quantity discounts to get Vinomis the best prices. And basically, GNC could formulate virtually any supplement in any form we desired (capsules, tablets, liquids, etc.).

Conclusion

Private labeling can and should be a core strategy for virtually any company wanting to expand their product line, and provide additional products for their customer base.

One of the hardest things for a President & CEO to do is properly allocate time. Goodness knows I’ve had these problems at all my startups (FORE Systems, Vinomis, Brava Fashions, Avidia Systems, MediaSite, Haley, etc. etc.). We all seem to spend TOO much time on small firefighting issues, and too little time on the truly important things like: SALES, Marketing, Products, Business Planning, Hiring key employees, Finances, and yes — CUSTOMERS!!!

So what’s a CEO to do?

Here are some suggestions that I’ve found helpful:

1. Keep a ToDo list and get that stuff done. Prioritize each ToDo (including voicemails, emails, etc.) on a 1-3 scale. Make sure all the 1’s are taken care of, do something on the 2’s. And ask yourself if the 3’s are really that important. And if you can assign any of this ToDo list to someone in your company, then do it.

2. Make another ToDo list of Big Picture things with headings like strategy, products, marketing, etc. These are generally very important for real change in an organization, but CEO’s never seem to get them done.

3. Be sure to do SOMETHING on the Big Picture list every day, and keep track. If you’re not making progress — you’re not making progress.

4. Shut your office door! And do the Big Picture things without interruption. Even put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door — for an hour. Really.

5. Have less long, worthless meetings. One company I know actually had their meetings with no chairs standing up, so they were shorter.

I know this all sounds kind of fuzzy, but the Big Picture stuff is truly the important things to change your organization.

Twitter — let’s see — How do you use a 140 character broadcast message effectively to generate more sales and improve your overall marketing?

First — YES, Twitter is an effective marketing tool for all businesses. And Yes, you have to Tweet regularly for it to be effective.

Here’s my Twitter Link (For Mark Juliano) to check out the profile, etc. You can sign up to Twitter from this or any Twitter page.

Setting Up Twitter Effectively

  1. Pick an obvious Twitter name. If your a person, use your name (i.e. Mark Juliano — my Twitter name). If you’re a company, use the Company name
  2. Fill out a complete photo with pictures, information, etc. Google and search engines like this as do views of your Twitter feed.
  3. Tweet often. No, don’t go nuts. Just Tweet important stuff that customers want to know. If you’re not active, Google will lower your results. If you do a Tweet a day, that’s fine.
  4. Include your website URL in some of your Tweets
  5. Include hash-tags. What are those? Put # before a keyword. This makes it easy for search engines to find, like tags on a blog post, or keywords in an article or website. Definitely use them.
  6. Integrate your twitter feed into your blog and website with a Twitter Widget

Does Twitter generate leads and sales?

Well, I can only go by experience. When at Vinomis we used Twitter and got tons of hits. However, we did a detailed analysis of Web referrals from Twitter and found resulting sales were minimal (much lower than 1%).

As a comparison, Google searches generated a 3-5% conversion rate. Naturally actual searches for Vinomis or Resveratrol or Antioxidants, etc. were people really looking to learn and then buy products.

So, what’s Twitter good for?

  1. Broadcasting information to the world about your company, your management, new products, whatever
  2. Lots of websites pick up this information, and Google results will probably have Twitter on Page 1 for your company search
  3. Broadcasting to your CUSTOMERS, who can link to your Twitter feed. So, yes, ask them to join it.

I have finally built a website about my life and times. Got my name URL at GoDaddy. www.markjuliano.com. If you can’t get your full name try things like markjuliano1.com, markjulianowebsite.com, markjuliano.website.com, markjulianopittsburgh.com, etc. Make sure your name is in contiguous letters.

EXAMPLE:

Mark Juliano Profile – Career, Life and Times

I used WordPress (Free) to build it, which was very straightforward and I highly recommend. It’s way more than a Blog website these days. You can build a FULL WEBSITE, link to all your social networks or any website, use templates, etc. I built the website in less than a week! Has about 20 pages so far and growing.

Advantages to having your own website with YOUR name: 1) really helps to keep your Social Networks up to date, 2) when people search your name, your website will get good rankings on Google, 3) easy to copy/paste info to social network sites, 4) can link FROM your social networks to your website instead of constantly updating every social site.

Anyway — you can check it out as an example of what you can do.

Mark Juliano Profile website — www.markjuliano.com which forward to WordPress at www.markjuliano1.wordpress.com

I’ll post more about how to build this type of website easily and quickly.

This is a review of Brandyourself.com – a company that can help you increase your Website SEO results and optimize your websites for improved Google and search engine results.

(Review written by Mark Juliano — check out Mark Juliano’s Brandyourself page to see an example CLICK HERE)

I have recently joining Brandyourself.com — a company which helps you:

  1. Improve your rankings on your websites, blogs, podcasts, social media sites, etc. (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. etc.)
  2. See where you rank in Google searches and other search engines
  3. Help with online reputation issues or just improving your online reputation

Brandyourself offers multiple service levels from Free, Premium and a number of advanced levels (such as Concierge). Costs range from Free to about $10/month premium, to high service levels up to $500/month). These advanced levels use their consultants and specialists to help optimize websites and build websites. To make things happen quickly on your websites, I’d recommend the Premium Service initially.

The overall service is EXCELLENT (practical, easy to use, very good customer support) — first it scans Google results to see where your websites already rank. You can then add links and webpages that may or may not include your name, such as a business, blog, podcast, etc.

Brandyourself helps you optimize these sites with recommendations to do things like include your name in pages, posts, etc. Provides DETAILED Step-by-Step INSTRUCTIONS on how to do this, and verifies them for you. Over time, the website continues to track your Google results and continue to optimize them.

CUSTOMER SERVICE — I make it a point to call every new web service or online vendor I use to see how they do customer service. I’ve telephoned Brandyourself.com three (3) times so far. People were very helpful, understood my issues and were extremely pleasant.

Mark Juliano has a new “Official website” at http://www.markjuliano1.wordpress.com

It contains information about him, his career, his poetry and many links to podcasts, websites, blogs and articles he has written. The website was developed for 3 primary reasons.

1. To serve as the most up to date information given all the social networking websites, and the difficulty of continually updating the information on all of those social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Ning, etc. etc.

2. As a result of Mark receiving emails and comments on his blogs and podcasts asking what other sites he maintains.

3. For general blogging about a variety of topics and a place to list Mark’s poetry.

About Mark Juliano

Mark Juliano has over 30 years of business, marketing, executive and entrepreneurship experience in a variety of industries including telecommunications, Internet, medical, software, (and now fashion) industries. His companies have included FORE Systems, N.E.T – Network Equipment Technologies, Vinomis Laboratories, MediaSite, AVIDIA, Haley Systems, Brava Fashions, ROLM/IBM, AT&T, and The Nutra Foundation.

He served in a variety of capacities including CEO, Chairman, Vice Chairman, Senior Vice President, Vice President, Product Manager and Regional Sales Manager.

He has been an Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and San Francisco State University (SFSU) teaching classes in high-tech marketing, entrepreneurship, business planning and creativity in business. He holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BSE from Princeton University.

A brief career resume is below:

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