"Hey, Olivier... that promo you made for us yesterday was really cool! Everyone really likes it. That was a pretty sweet idea."
Oh... well um, thanks! It was fun putting it together. :)
"Right... so... what I'd like to do is send out four more promos this afternoon, if you don't mind. I have to run out for a few hours, but I wrote down all the details for you. Can you put something together for each one by the end of the day?"
1. Do you know the average annual value of a customer to your business?
2. Do you know the cost of a customer complaint to your business?
3. Do you know the total cost to your business of resolving a complaint?
4. Do you know the cost of acquiring a new customer?
Do you know the average annual value of a customer to your business?Those numbers kind of blew me away. Anyone with a marketing budget - which is pretty much just about everyone who either owns, runs or works for some kind of business - ought to have at least some idea of how much each new customer costs, right?
Don’t know: 87.1%
Do you know the cost of a customer complaint to your business?
Don’t know: 90.3%
Do you know the cost of acquiring a new customer?
Don’t know: 91.4%
"I have never stabilized an organization. Crystallizing an organization is freezing the energy. In chemistry, instability is very good because it creates some combinations you don't expect."
"Without change, there is fossilization,and that's the worst thing that can happen."
"Ideas,are so fragile, so tenuous, that managers must destroy layers that can obscure or damage them. If you have an organization that is too administrative, you are just killing the ideas. As we say in France, when you ask a committee to draw a horse, you get a camel."
"One of the trends that we intend to track is how trade-marks fit within the brand development process. To that end, we’ve created the list below to help explore the branding blogosphere."
"A brand is not a logo, and branding is not a communication strategy. A strong brand is a strong bond, and branding is your business."
"To those with a dated, mass-market mentality, branding is still all about image and awareness. It's about tag lines, logos, cute little animal mascots or clever jingles. It's about spending megabucks on Super Bowl commercials, hiring celebrities to sing your corporate praises, and covering cars with advertising banners. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that awareness is unimportant. (...) But, does well-known equal strong? Not any longer. The rise of the global economy, the rapid adoption of the Internet, and unprecedented access to capital, have all ignited commercial innovation, and put an end to those days forever. Today, like just about everything else, brand logic has been turned on its head."
"And please, don’t get hung-up on the word brand. Today, the word brand is shorthand for the gut feeling people have about something, some group, or someone. It’s a kind of Platonic Ideal, which stands for the essence of a business, school, organization, person, or even place. If you add up the tangible and intangible qualities of something - the gestalt - and wish to represent the meaning and distinctive character this greater whole conveys to its audience, today we call it . . . brand."
"Think of your brand as a "file folder" in your audiences' minds (not a perfect metaphor, since memory is malleable, but stick with me anyway.). When they’re exposed to you (e.g., through advertising, design, a salesperson, word-of-mouth, etc.), a feeling is immediately filed away in that "brand file folder." As time passes, much of what your audience has filed away - the details - will become inaccessible. However, they will remember where they stored the folder: in the front (positive feelings) or pushed to the back (negative feelings). Given the sheer volume of brands trying to find a place in your audiences' overloaded "brand file cabinets," you must not only get their attention and be relevant (a file folder labeled with your brand name), but you must also get it placed in the front of their file cabinet (elicit strong, positive feelings of intense personal significance).
"(...) Despite what the Madison Avenue folks may tell you, the strength of your brand lies not in the fact that you own a folder with your name prominently displayed on it. Repetition does not create memories, relevance does. The strength lies in your folder's position in your audience's file cabinet (the emotions that linger in their memory). The strength lies in the bond! So make your brand about feeling, not just familiarity. Make it about shared values and trust. About honesty, vulnerability and presence. A brand is not simply a promise. How can it be, with everything changing at breakneck speed? A brand is a living, breathing relationship. Revel in the messy world of emotions and create a brand that’s about leadership and differentiation; about customer insight and radical innovation; and about clarity of purpose, passion and a sense of humor."
"People today are incredulous of marketing, institutions and the media. The only way to suspend disbelief, cut through skepticism and create trust is to act as a real human being and get to the truth. As the sages say: "Words that come from the heart can enter the heart."
"What the business world needs now is a return to the idea of amateur spirit. Now, it’s probably not the amateur spirit as you may think of it. The definition of amateur has evolved for the worse over the past few hundred years, coming to represent a dabbler or incompetent. The original spirit of amateur was a positive, noble tag to apply to someone (the Latin root for amateur is "amator," lover). An amateur pursuit was one you did for love, with a spirit of passion and authenticity. And it certainly didn't imply a lack of skill. Thomas Jefferson was an amateur writer and philosopher when he drafted the Declaration of Independence.
"Organizations - actually the people in them - must recapture this amateur spirit. Not because it is morally right, but because it's the only way to succeed in a world stunned by scandals and greed-is-good ideology. Ask yourself these simple questions: Do you want customers and employees to come to you first - and stay with you? Do you want them to recommend you to their friends and associates? Then you have to get them to do what? Trust you. And how do you go about doing that in a post-Enron economy? Certainly not by saying, "Trust me." That kind of talk immediately causes people to put up their defenses. Instead, you must get them to believe! Success today all boils down to belief. "Who should I believe? Who can I believe?" These are the critical questions. You must be believed to have any chance of success."
"Within the first few seconds of meeting you or being exposed to your communications, your audience will form an impression that is easily reinforced and unlikely to change. They’ll observe your mannerisms, voice, choice of words, etc. and judge whether you are worth listening to. To cut through their innate disbelief - and very short attention span -simply push past your comfort level and be authentic! Amazingly, that’s all there is to it. Simply take off your mask - your title, your expertise, your bureaucratic language and technical jargon - and connect with them with honest, simple, and engaging language. Be on the level. Be moved to candor. Tell them what you believe and what you think. Speak the unspoken."
"Listen to your innocent, inner voice. Be childlike. Speak in a language that is natural, open, and honest. Get rid of all of the hype and toss in a dash of self-deprecating humor. State what you feel in a candid and caring, yet unapologetic way. And never - never - hide anything. People will then believe that you are being straight with them (warts and all), and as a result, you’ll be worthy of their trust."
"Daniel Boorstin wrote: "The amateur is not afraid to do something for the first time." And that's the measure of great artists, great lovers, and great entrepreneurs (not to mention children). To say, "I don't know." To ask the hard question that is on your mind (in a soft way). To take risks. To be bold. To state what you are feeling, openly. To admit your weaknesses. To adopt this amateur spirit takes courage and demonstrates your love for - and connects you on an emotional level with - your audience. They’ll believe you. It will demonstrate your trust in them, and your desire to eliminate their fears and their concerns. And it will inspire them and engender trust because it rings true."
"No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. And it doesn't take a genius to tell the difference between someone who listens in order to get something, and someone who listens because she cares."
"To flourish in a rapidly changing world you need the ah-ha’s! and not simply the rah-rah’s! Success is a by-product of childlike inquisitiveness and rapid experimentation. And it comes from a culture of curiosity and caring, not from a head down, plow ahead mentality."
"When they asked Wayne Gretsky, arguably the greatest hockey player of all time, what made him more successful than other players, he replied, Most players tend to play where the puck is, whereas I play where the puck is going to be. Or as the professional trend-spotter may explain, Gretsky smartly followed the "drift" or "general course" of the puck. Now, to anyone who has played a game in which hitting or catching a moving object is essential, Gretsky’s insight is absurdly obvious. And to anyone who has developed a successful business from the ground floor up, so is trend-spotting customer behavior (regardless of the fact that major corporations spend a ton of money to frequently have it done for them). Because the truth about trends - and staying ahead - is that it has nothing to do with the future. It’s about being intimately involved with your audience today! Being part of the dynamics of change now!"
"Sam Walton used to say, Whenever you get confused, go to the store. The customer has all the answers. A profound, yet often ignored, truth. Because it’s your audience’s attitudes today that are the best indication of their actions tomorrow. It’s their feelings that are the promised land of the ah-ha’s! - those breakthrough ideas that will lift your brand from the shallows of mediocrity into the full and exciting sea of possibilities."
"Therein lies the paradox of branding: To stay relevant, your brand must constantly reinvent itself. Your audience will continue to grow and adjust - building on their life experiences - and you must change with them. You have to continuously appeal to their changing predilections with the appearance and experience of your brand. It’s an endless game of seduction. It requires vision, belief in collaborative innovation, and a passion for experimentation. Instead, what do we typically get? Routine tasks and a whole bunch of rah-rah, say-nothings (especially towards the end of the accounting period)."
"(...) We want a higher sense of purpose. We want to be uplifted by a worthy ideal. We want to contribute, to be treated with respect, and to be recognized for our contributions. We want meaning. We want to make a difference. But here’s the rub (the biggest issue in our organizations today): we’re disorganized. There is no unifying perspective that inspires us and guides our actions. We’re not clear about our direction, so we end up running around following our own self-serving agendas. There are no fresh perspectives, since our culture stifles creativity and candid discussions. And, in turn, this disorganization leads to passionless team members, uninspired customers, shrinking margins, layoffs, accounting scandals, Dilbertesque cynicism and a vicious - and totally avoidable - downward spiral."
"Here’s your way out: Your brand! Understand and embrace your uniqueness, that simple, yet powerful emotional idea that distinguishes you and motivates clients. And then use your brand to inspire confidence and risk taking. Use your brand to attract attention. Use your brand to convey order and focus, and to achieve clarity, coherence, and commitment from everyone. Use your brand to instill a sense of belonging among your customers and associates. Use your brand to inspire sharing, open-mindedness and teamwork. Use your brand to bring creativity to life in the form of new and exciting products and services. Use your brand to prevent panic from creeping in during dufficult times, and to prevent arrogance from settling in during the good ones."
"(...) Disturb the comfortable. Comfort the disturbed. Never let your brand become bland. Surprise people! You’re not in the "make stuff" and "do stuff" business. You’re in the life improvement business. So use your brand to heal the psychologically wounded, and to bring some excitement to the complacent and uninspired. Remember: Feelings are the only value proposition left in our developed economy. So rediscover your unbridled imagination and idealistic hopes and tap into that proposition and create new and preemptive benefits. Shatter what conventional wisdom tells you that your audience needs. Try wild ideas. Go for the extremes. Stay passionate!"
"The business world is like an old dog guarding a meatless bone. It chews on grand concepts like "customer-centric" and "employee-empowerment" and remains hungry. The simple solution is to get back to the basics. Be passionate about your story. Be obsessed with the details. Experience the real world of your audience. And make a difference in people’s lives. William James wrote: I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big successes. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or the capillary oozing water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride. The time has come for a brand new world. The time to act is now!"
You don't realize how much you need a boss until you don't have one. Bosses don't always do the following, especially when they're not very good bosses, but here's what we know about good bosses:
Bosses organize your time for you.
Bosses decide what's urgent.
Bosses give you cover when you work on something stupid ("she told me to!")
Bosses pay you even when the client doesn't honor the invoice.
Bosses can be sued.
Bosses create deadlines, and stick with them.
Bosses make sure you show up in the morning.
Bosses pay for the Postits.
Bosses give you someone to complain about.
Bosses carve up the work and give you just that piece you signed up to do.
Bosses give you a role model. (Sometimes one to work against, but that's a different story).
The main thing a boss does, though, is give you the momentum you need to get through the stuff that takes perseverance. The main thing that ends the career of a Free Agent is the lack of a hand pushing on the back, someone handing out assignments and waiting for the deliverables. Who keeps you going when you don't feel like doing it?
If you don't have a boss, you may need to invent one.
"In this Web 2.0-ish world we're supposed to be all about the users being in control. Where the community drives the product. But the user community can't create art. (And I use art with a lowercase a as in software, books, just about anything we might design and craft.) That's up to us...
"Our users will tell us where the pain is. Our users will drive incremental improvements. But the user community can't do the revolutionary innovation for us. That's up to us."
- Kathy Sierra
1) Being different is not enough, you must also be relevant.
What makes you stand out and useful at the same time?
2) Scarcity unleashes creativity.
Some business people blame a lack of resources on their failure. Not having money and resources forced me to be resourceful. Creativity is one’s greatest competitive advantage.
3) Customer empathy makes for great products and meaningful sales.
Feeling the pain (and the pleasure) of your customers results in marketplace magic. Your customers should be charging you rent for living inside their heads!
Robert Birge (IMG's new SVP/Chief Marketing Officer): "It’s becoming a trite answer, but it’s hard to think of any brand that’s hotter than Apple. They have continued to capture cultural significance. The company’s strategy is driven by a differentiated vision stemming from their vision as opposed to an outdated, “marketing-led” model (i.e. have the consumer define the company’s direction leading to uninspired incrementalism). Apple’s vision can be seen in everything they do. While many companies view “brand” as the domain of marketing, Apple understands that business strategy and the brand are indistinguishable, and clearly Apple’s brand manager is named Steve Jobs."
Robert: "Start with your competitive business strategy and ask the basic questions. If you don’t believe you have a differentiated and relevant business strategy, it’s going to be challenging for anyone to craft a compelling brand story. If you believe that your brand is lagging your business strategy, then there should be focus on looking for more compelling marketing execution. Too often, business leaders look to their marketing to define their business strategies with an advertising “positioning” as the proxy, when in fact, the core problem is the lack of a differentiated business strategy. If a CEO wants a brand as powerful as Apple, they should take on the role of brand manager."