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Showing posts from August, 2009

I'll Have A Double Decaf Latte And A New Strategy

Call it the Starbucks experiment, an idea sparked by a recent Business Week article on the re-making of Starbucks brand and growth trajectory. Take your half-dozen smartest employees, gave them some money to play with and charge the team with creating a brand-new organization able to effectively compete with your current organization. The results would look like...what? New ideas, new templates, new norms, new brands, new cultures, new processes?

What's the harm? You might learn something important before your strategic rivals.

Business Success Made Simple

(Driving home from Texas last week, I saw an Intercity van on the highway. It reminded me of this post, written several years ago for another blog.)

I'm a little skeptical of case studies being generalized into one-size-fits-all recommendations for success, and I have no idea if the company I'm about to discuss is "successful" in the traditional business sense (i.e. profitable.) But the company, Intercity Lines, Inc., provided a rather expensive service to my family, met all my expectations, secured my repeat business and did all of this with nice, service-oriented people and a set of very simple, low-cost business principles. I think it's worth talking about; read on if you do too.

Intercity bills themselves as "America's premier enclosed auto transport company." A year ago, my oldest daughter needed her prize possession, a brand new Nissan 350-Z, transported to California where she was beginning (another) year of college. A web search for auto …

The Illusion Of Control

Advertising gives you the illusion that you control the conversation. You're talking. Surely "they" are listening. And of course "they" are paying attention and dutifully acting as you wish.

Insight occurs when realization dawns:
Most people live their lives happily ignoring you. Of those devoting part of their limited attention span to your message, most neither care very much nor remember very long. The select few who BOTH care AND remember apply their OWN interpretive filters which may (though usually not) match your own.
So give up the illusion that you're in control of the conversation. You aren't. You never were.

Let the learning begin.


Markets Are Conversations.

The Chicago Tribune on social networking and corporate marketing:
"What corporate marketers are discovering is that many of the strategies they've used for decades don't apply in the new social realm. For one thing, the companies have had to learn to let go of control. They can't be unnerved by an audience that talks back, often with brutal candor.

"Such dialogue is occurring anyway, said market researcher Josh Bernoff.

"You can ignore it or you can try to fix it," said Bernoff, co-author of "Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies."'The key point there is that the dialogue is occurring anyway, with you or without you. Better to be part of the conversation.

And yes, it's difficult to predict what will work in social media, but the same thing could be said for most branding and advertising (who would have predicted a lizard could sell insurance?)