As brands juggle more and more channels to try and interact meaningfully with customers, are all these touchpoints helping or hindering?
Every day, business owners are pitched opportunities to take their brands in a ‘new’ direction or to stay the course—by colleagues, by their agencies, because of the actions of competitors or by delegations of customers or suppliers. When everyone has a tactic and everything is presented as a panacea, how do you sift the wheat from the wonk? How should brands commit to their future? The secrets I suggest here are singularity, over-commitment and a fundamental drive to keep challenging.
Many of us are change makers in one form or another, even if we don’t identify ourselves as such right away. But it’s one thing to advocate for change and quite another to bring that change successfully through to realisation. In complex organisational structures with multiple stakeholders, the make or break, it seems, is socialisation.
Plenty of companies have built their brands on promises based on addressing fears – the needs for protection, for reassurance, for status, for achievement, recognition and so on – in a world where so many of those things are portrayed as being at risk. But how successful is fear as an emotive driver today and should we still be using it as a motivation to get people to buy more stuff?
It’s easy to see why customer experiences have become marketers’ go-to fix. Like content marketing they are such an accepted part of the lexicon today that many marketers have them on their to-do list as a matter of course.
In our latest article for Entrepreneur, Pete Canalichio and I explore the different demands of scaling your business vs growing your business. Each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. Each works better in some sectors than others. Each has its own dynamics and makes its own demands. The full article is available here. Hope you enjoy it. Feedback welcome. Other articles I’ve written/co-written for Entrepreneur: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Disruption Don’t Brand for Now, Brand for “Then” Why Branding Experts Need to Step Out of Their Silos
Loops are the things that companies do over and over again. Business as usual. Business as boring. Every business has loops. Some are driven by fear, some by tradition, some by distraction, some by lack of awareness or industry convention. Loops affect how we think, how we work, how far we venture and how we seek to make change. In the process, they stifle creativity. The secret to breaking those loops, and achieving astonishing innovation, is unthinking.
We hear a lot about the effects that technology and developments like AI will have on jobs and workforces. But powerful forces already operate in markets to actively undermine value and drive out distinctiveness. It’s one thing to know that. It’s quite another to develop a broad differentiation strategy capable of stopping it.
We hear a lot about how fast and how much the world is moving. But when companies pursue innovative ideas to cater to what they think is consumers’ fascination with the new and shiny, reactions can be mixed. The trap for marketers in this is that there are different types of “newness”: from the ‘new’ people queue for, talk about, and go mad on social networks over to the ‘new’ that bewilders, confuses, worries, or even confronts.
I read recently that less than one third of businesses undertake regular customer research. They don’t feel they have the time or the budget it seems to wait for answers, and they don’t see the value in doing so. They prefer to trust their own perceptions and experiences. They’re drawn to action plans.