Month: January 2013

Can you innovate too quickly?

modafinil online canadian pharmacy What is the right pace for a brand to transform in an iterative economy? So often we’re told that success will stem from pushing the innovation accelerator flat to the floor. As proof, we hear about those companies that failed to innovate or didn’t respond quickly enough – and were buried. But is that true? Is innovation just about turnover, or is it more complicated than that? Where should brands take their cues – from their own development programmes, from their competitors, from the media, from their own marketing demands? Where do you look for prompts when you have new work in the wings? There’s a theory for this (of course) – diffusion of innovation. It revolves around two key aspects: an adoption process that generates critical mass (a.k.a the bell curve); and Professor Everett Rogers’ five influential factors concerning take-up: Relative advantage – how much better the innovation is than its predecessor Compatibility – how easily the innovation can be assimilated into everyday life Complexity – how easy or difficult the innovation is to …

Purpose vs mission and vision

Purpose vs vision and mission

neurontin cod I hope the days of vision and mission statements are nearly over. They’re the paperwork of traditional management models. They’re strategic compliance, and as such, they get deliberated over at great length and then forgotten. For the most part, they’re also self-centred – all about what the organisation wants to achieve for itself, all about how it intends to achieve whatever it deems important. They often don’t suit the much more open, interactive, social ways in which business is increasingly being done.

How do you keep the magic? 7 ways big companies get it so wrong with long-term customers

go By Mark Di Somma Everyone talks at length about customer engagement and the need to converse. The process is relatively straight-forward for high-street brands. They use the seasons, sales and releases to keep people coming back. There are timely prompts. But how do you keep customers engaged when they’re on a contract, for example, that may span several years or even a lifetime? A while back, my company Audacity was involved in a complex, multi-layered change programme to transit a telecommunications company’s customer communications from paper-based to digital. Over the course of many months, we grappled with all the issues you’d expect: what needed to be communicated; when; how; through what channels … But one of the biggest issues we identified and addressed was how to evolve the tone of the communications over time so that they brought people closer to the brand. We identified this as crucial to developing meaningful, valuable and of course profitable long-term relationships. Utilities, banks, telcos, car companies and insurance companies in particular seem to make seven crucial mistakes in …

The first thing to look for in any pitch situation is the intention

By Mark Di Somma So you’ve been asked to pitch for some business. The most natural thing in the world is to focus on your intentions – whether you want to pitch, how much resource you’re prepared to throw at it, the timing, the deliverables … What often goes unasked (and unanswered) is why the invitation to pitch is being made in the first place. That matters because it helps identify who your real competitors for the business are, and therefore whether you believe you have a genuine chance of winning the business on terms that are acceptable and sustainable to you. Six intentions Some organisations have to put their business out to pitch – it’s policy. Chances are they also do this a lot, so it’s a process for them – which means their intention is to do what they always do. They’re going to be looking for good process back. They need to see that in addition to taking away their problems you can and do do things by the book. Your biggest …

Familiarity 2.0 will bring brands amazing opportunities and new challenges

By Mark Di Somma It’s easy to underestimate the huge changes that have taken place in the dynamics of the brand-customer relationship in recent years. Brands and consumers are now engaged at whole new levels of familiarity. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et al haven’t just brought people closer, they have enabled entirely new types of brand community to evolve and develop. But as we shall see, they have also expanded expectations in terms of responsiveness. I’ve dubbed this heightened connection Familiarity 2.0 (because to me it really does equate to a new era of acquaintance). Research shows consumers increasingly valuing brands that they feel fundamentally understand them and that interact with them as human beings. According to the Brandfog CEO, Social Media and Leadership Survey 2012, customers now expect to have direct access to brands and brand leaders. What’s more, the survey shows, there is a direct connection between social media participation, purchase intent and increased brand loyalty. The days of the brand being on one side of the counter and the customer being on the …

Seeing past the problem

By Mark Di Somma Every transformation programme I have ever worked on has been set in motion by a problem. And in every case the issue that has galvinised action and that everyone is so focused on answering is not the real problem at all. As Simon Sinek has observed, people intuitively deal with what they know before they deal with the things they don’t know or feel less comfortable dealing with. The easiest question, and the place most people start is “what?” They deal first with the symptoms they can see and quantify. And often they address them with a “how” that is equally familiar – the methodology they always use. But while a particular problem may have set off the trip-wire, in reality that problem is probably a symptom of what’s really happened rather than the real cause. It’s the prompt. And just having a way to address that problem does not guarantee any quality of answer. It simply provides a process for everyone to map to. Do you know the lovely story …

Shifting brand responsibility

By Mark Di Somma Let me make a suggestion to brand owners in the interests not just of transparency but of greater consumer belief. Stop communicating your efforts in sustainability, diversity, traceability, environmental contribution, fair trade etc as corporate social responsibility obligations. Instead, act on them, and account for them, as differentiating inclinations. And frame those inclinations within a broader, singular superset: your brand’s distinctive sense of its responsibilities. To that end, let’s stop talking about reporting. It smacks of obligation and compliance rather than commitments and contributions. And I would suggest, change the way your responsible actions are shared to make them more involving. Less paperwork, a wider range of sincere and honest conversations, with more people, across a broader range of platforms. In other words, make the discussions around how you behave ongoing, less formal and truly “social”. Just so we’re clear, I’m not for one minute advocating that the activities identified above go unaccounted for. Quite the opposite. I am advocating a change in spirit. I am suggesting that the underlying question …

Why are you waiting for things to improve? 10 ways for middle-market brands to tackle austerity now

By Mark Di Somma There’s nothing to suggest that the global “downturn” is about to upturn any time soon. We’re in the middle of a sustained bear and nothing in the economic news – America’s debt, China’s slowdown, the flat-footed European economy, Britain’s economic woes, commodity trends – suggests a sudden and universal change of fortunes. Austerity is the normal. It’s not a market trend. It is the market. And yet so many businesses say that they’re holding on and waiting for things to change for the better. Once the economy improves, we hear, they’ll be able to start growing again. That implies they do not see adaptation as their responsibility. They continue to apply the same models and mindsets that they have been applying. They are literally waiting for light to show its face at the end of the tunnel. A better strategy would be to adjust to the tone of the times we now face. Too many brands are trying to sell to a market sentiment they hope for rather than one that …

Actions and reactions: two very different drivers of market agility

By Mark Di Somma Actions and reactions are a strange two-speed dance in the context of market agility. Reactions are the responses that competing companies must actually make together and in a co-ordinated manner to shifts in market dynamics and/or customer expectations. Doing so sets a new norm over which the participants themselves can then compete. The airline industry generally, with the exception of the upper-market carriers, has reacted to economic pressures by dropping ticket prices and introducing fees for services. Shifting the emphasis from prestige to transport, and charging people for everything and the seat has reaped them billions. They did that together. As this article on the resurgence of Hollywood ticket sales shows, movie-makers have responded to the surge in available content and home entertainment gadgets by delivering experiences that still make it worth their while for people to go out and see a movie at the theatre – action-packed franchises, amazing sound, 3D; features that continue to make cinemas the biggest and best way to see a movie. Again, they did that …