Monday, September 12, 2011

Trujillo: The Master Of Brand Coaching

Do you know about Bernardo Trujillo? Probably not. Nevertheless, I consider him as probably one of the most important person in the history of economy and business who ever lived.

Bernardo Trujillo was a sales representative of the NCR, a company manufacturing some cash registers back in the 50s. At this time cash registers was a highly technological gear. It was brand new and no one was actually using it.

The company and Trujillo then needed to educate its potential customers, retailers of all kind, to adopt this new tool. And from this simple idea, Bernardo Trujillo developped the whole theory of mass consumption and modern retailing.

It went beyond explaining what kind of costs and time it could save, he thought through the discount business which could emerge thanks to its invention and thanks to the new environment coming up.

He created some seminars which he was giving to explain how to develop a very lucrative business. And all of his teaching has been the based of the retails we know nowadays. Here are some of his most famous quotes:

  • No parking = No business. He was then understanding and explaining that the boom of car ownership will ultimately lead to high revenues if stores would have big enough parkings to welcome customers.

  • Pile products up and sell down: This is a way to explain how important the theatralisation is important in a store.

  • Billboards are the best sellers: you pay them once, and they don't go on vacations: He understood the importance of mass communication and the rising advertizing market ath this time.

And it worked! Most of the founders of retailers like Gérard Mulliez of Auchan, or Halley from Promodes, from all over the world went to these seminars and got the bases of their soon to become successful businesses.

I could talk to you for hours about how genious he was. Unfortunately, not a lot of documentation exists about his work.

But I wanted to talk to you about Trujillo to show you how to aboard the launch of a highly innovative product: you must educate your customers.

There are a lot of products which experienced tremendous success even though customers did not understand them at first:

  • Renault Espace, a large familly van in France, was shown to customer and all the metrics showed it would be a disaster. Nevertheless Renault launched it and it became one of their most profitable product.

  • The Ipad: A lot of people were wondering what was so new and great about it. No other competitors would have invested a dime in such an handheld. But after having seen the demonstrations, then people loved it.

It is very interesting to go beyond what customers first reaction may be. It is important to have a vision on what customers could do about it, and to show him how to use it. But also, it is very important to look at the bigger picture. This is exactly what Bernardo Trujillo did.

When I talk about brand coaching, most of the time, the brand develops some marketing materials which will help the customer to use more effectively its products. But I believe in this specific case, it goes beyond: The brand added value is given out of its core circle of expertise, which is the cash register usage, Bernardo Trujillo was a product by himself.