Switching jobs from Chief Yahoo to Yahoo Chief does not sound like a stretch. It was for Jerry Yang.
Generosity is a commodity we should not hold on to
The significance of design in business is ballooning. Over recent years, the field has become a darling of large corporations, even those who traditionally don’t have design interests.
Each period of business history has its own representative corporate type. The 1960s were the age of the conglomerate. In more recent decades, the startup has achieved iconic status. But the kind of organization that marks our own historical moment is, arguably, the turnaround company.
Stanford invites “pioneers in the field of communication” to share their insights and to coach business students in the art and science of persuasion, pitching, communication, and presentation skills.
Google Maps Street View is fine for eyeing what a business looks like on the outside. But Google just made it much easier to open up Maps, then open up doors of select businesses to see what it looks like on the inside. Now when you open up Google Maps, you can pull out the orange Pegman and drop him on top of any of the new orange dots that will appear to take a tour inside a business.
Most leaders are unbalanced. They are relatively stronger in some areas than others. The secret to making them more productive is to let them play to their strengths, while at the same time bringing in someone to work with them that has complementary strengths.
The business climate, it turns out, is a lot like the weather. And we've entered a next-two-hours era. The pace of change in our economy and our culture is accelerating--fueled by global adoption of social, mobile, and other new technologies--and our visibility about the future is declining. From the rise of Facebook to the fall of Blockbuster, from the downgrading of U.S. government debt to the resurgence of Brazil, predicting what will happen next has gotten exponentially harder. Uncertainty has taken hold in boardrooms and cubicles, as executives and workers (employed and unemployed) struggle with core questions: Which competitive advantages have staying power? What skills matter most? How can you weigh risk and opportunity when the fundamentals of your business may change overnight?
When I started writing a blog to support my book, Talk Normal: Stop the Business Speak, Jargon, and Waffle, I had an inkling that many of the words I loathed were common in the offices where I was working. But this could be an illusion: once we’re bothered by something, we tend to notice it more. So it could be that the business buzzwords that make me cranky are no more significant than the guy who bumps my chair when he walks past--which, on second thought, isn’t a big deal, he’s been doing it for years. Not so, it seems.
The average life expectancy of a human being in the 21st century is about 67 years. Do you know what the average life expectancy for a company is? Surprisingly short, it turns out. In a recent talk, John Hagel pointed out that the average life expectancy of a company in the S&P 500 has dropped precipitously, from 75 years (in 1937) to 15 years in a more recent study. Why is the life expectancy of a company so low? And why is it dropping?
The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community. Even worse, the more business has begun to embrace corporate responsibility, the more it has been blamed for society’s failures. The legitimacy of business has fallen to levels not seen in recent history. This diminished trust in business leads political leaders to set policies that undermine competitiveness and sap economic growth. Business is caught in a vicious circle.
Not too long ago, about fifty years, Atlanta was the size of Little Rock, Ark. About a hundred years before that, it was burned to the ground. Atlanta has proven it can grow (adding 1.1 million residents in the last decade alone). Now, it’s building toward a sort of tech hub in the southeast, against a backdrop that includes the busiest international airport in the world; a healthy cluster of corporate giants in Coca-Cola, UPS, Delta and The Home Depot, among others; and a spur of entrepreneurial activity that put Atlanta in the top ten on this year’s Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index, which tracks new business creation.
Ever run or cycled into a headwind? You have to work a lot harder to make the same progress that normally comes a lot more easily. Conversely, running or riding with the wind at your back is a glorious feeling. On a recent ride, I had plenty of opportunity to consider how headwinds and tailwinds apply to business as I tried to distract myself from all the huffing and puffing I was doing just to maintain a decent speed.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s publication of its “The Popularity Issue: America’s most popular products and how they got that way” makes some fascinating statements about today’s business culture — but not because of the items it named (although those do make for an interesting read.) The fact that a business publication would devote an issue to things which are “popular” and that it plans to do this every year (as this issue was named its “1st Annual”) suggests that popularity is a concept businesspeople care about – which is an interesting, and not necessarily good, development. Further, the methods by which BusinessWeek measures so-called popularity reveal the vagary in any undertaking to understand popularity – which leads to some important implications about business success.
Most business executives likely have never come across the concept. Yet despite its limited reach to a small audience of policy wonks, President Obama made it a campaign issue in 2008, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is determined to make it the law, and industry analysts are concerned that its passage would undermine investment by Internet service providers (ISPs). A recent pact on the subject between Google and Verizon — the largest representatives on both sides of the debate — made the covers of the nation's major newspapers this week. What's the fuss over this thing called "net neutrality"?
In April, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker announced a new program to restore confidence in government. The effort, known as the Campaign for High Performance Government, couldn't come soon enough. Confidence in government is near an all-time low. A survey released in mid-April by the Pew Research Center found that only a small minority of Americans—22 percent—believe they can trust the federal government "almost always or most of the time." More than half of the respondents (56 percent) said they were frustrated by government's actions; 1 in 5 (21 percent) said Washington makes them angry. And who can blame them? As I noted in an April column, "Managing Perception, Ignoring Reality," Washington appears out of control. The rules of the game seem to be rigged to keep government growing while few problems get solved. Nobody is held accountable and performance seems irrelevant.
Business is moving fast and furious -- which is great, but I keep hearing and reading about two general overarching themes that are going to collide and change how we manage our business. We are globally climbing out of a recession and now budgets are returning. This growth is in stark contrast to a lot of other industries, which we should all be thankful for, but this growth creates opportunities and is theme one. According to MAGNAGLOBAL, paid search leads global online advertising, representing "49% of total revenues," a trend that could continue for the next five years. Beyond search, MAGNAGLOBAL claims "online advertising [overall] will rise by 12.4% in constant currency terms during 2010, to $61.0 billion dollars globally.
Should governments accept the dictates of markets? It's the question raging across the econoverse in the wake of demands for austerity from bondholders. But it's the wrong question. The right question is: are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses? The correct role of governance is to shape the decisions of markets, by breathing life into social preferences and expectations. Here's what I mean by that. Once upon a time, markets "wanted" indentured servitude, debtors prisons, and child labor. But those decisions were unacceptable to society, and so governments took on the challenge of shaping them, reforming markets by preventing them from choosing those options.
Mr. Burke, speaking at the All Things Digital conference on Wednesday morning, said he believes that putting content and distribution under one roof would allow Comcast to expand its offerings to customers. "If you think of distribution as technology, and the ability to get content to consumers, the ability to have that content will let you do more," he said.
And this is the problem with just about every lame speech, every overlooked memo, every worthless bit of boilerplate foisted on the world: you write and write and talk and talk and bullet and bullet but no, you're not really saying anything.
If you intend to build your business, it’s important that you keep your head well fed. I do this in a variety of ways, including reading, watching informative video podcasts, listening to audiobooks, attending events, connecting with intelligent people, and testing out ideas in various labs. The other day I released my Escape Velocity Bookshelf, as yet another effort to help give you ideas on what to read. You can click into the bookshelf, but don’t forget to check the comments on the post, as there’s even more meat there.
This year, Social Media marketing will gain significant support in resources and investment across businesses of all shapes and sizes. So what’s new? Now, a line is being drawn between edglings and underlings. Where we choose to stand affects the presence of our brand and value in new markets and our ability to capture attention where and how it is focused – both online and in the real world.
In this idyllic town on the north slope of Mount Hood, an autopsy on three dead rainbow trout may play a role in Nestlé SA's efforts to reverse a deep slide in its bottled-water business. Bottled water, which for years delivered double-digit growth for Nestlé, is under fire from environmentalists. They decry the energy used to transport it and the use of billions of plastic bottles, and oppose efforts to use new springs, citing concerns about water scarcity.
Rather than seek increased revenues and profits by expanding products and markets, companies should follow a seven-step strategy for achieving more with less.
Pam Kufahl, CI’s editor, and I spoke after Malcolm Gladwell delivered the keynote at the recent IHRSA convention and trade show. Gladwell had called for a revolution in the fitness industry through a “re-branding” of exercise. In order to reach the 84% of the adult U.S. population which does not belong to a fitness facility, Gladwell argued, exercise must be made relevant and exciting to them. As I thought about the point, it became clear to me the fitness club industry needed more than simply a new label or marketing program. Fitness club operators must think differently about their business. They must come up with new and different answers to some fundamental questions.
McDonald's is ramping up its social-media efforts in the U.S., naming its first director-social media, Rick Wion. Mr. Wion, who hails from GolinHarris, Chicago, has handled social-media projects for McDonald's since 2006. He was a founding member of the McDonald's Digital Task Force, which established the company's digital strategy. In an interview, Mr. Wion said his marching orders are three-fold: using social media to build the business, manage customer problems, and beef up outreach to target groups such as mommy bloggers.
Today, everything is social -– social commerce, social business, social CRM. The list goes on and on. But are consumer technologies like Twitter and Facebook strategic for implementing a social media business strategy? Can you measure the investment? What are the best options for getting tangible value? Once you remove the shiny wrapper, there is an incredible amount of depth and value in using social technologies as a way to reach your customers. However, I personally find the word “social” to be a poor descriptor. Terms like community or collaboration tend to be more meaningful. Here are some ways that businesses and tap into the power of online community.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan of Google. This isn’t a post to describe my personal affection for a corporate entity, but it is an attempt to describe one element that I find particularly appealing. Don’t Be Evil. This phrase is Google’s infamous, informal corporate motto. I love it. Not only does it help reinforce my romantic, naive teenage dreams that I could become the next Richard Branson or Bill Gates just by doing good in the world, but it also helps prove that in the new business world, evil is bad for business.
For today’s Signal topic, I’d like to talk about marketing as a portal to understanding your business. Now, before you roll your eyes and click away, stick with me for a minute. If you’re reading this post, chances are you are in business. And chances are also pretty good that business is media or marketing, because that’s the focus of Signal, after all. So, what business are you in? Or, more to the point I’d like to make: What is your business? You’d might be surprised at the number of folks I’ve met with in the past year who pause when I ask that question. Because, in the main, that number is exceedingly low.
Renzo Rosso, the tattooed, Ducati-driving founder of denim giant Diesel, owns some of fashion's most cutting-edge labels. In addition to the popular jeans-maker, Mr. Rosso's holding company, Only the Brave, includes celebrated European fashion houses Viktor & Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela. But Mr. Margiela is gone, as is the designer of Diesel, which Mr. Rosso founded in 1978. Mr. Rosso has replaced them with unknown teams that rank lower in the brands' hierarchy than business executives. The new creative director at Diesel is a magazine editor, not a clothing designer. Mr. Rosso believes his brands need trend-spotters more than someone who can craft a hemline.
Buyers Saturday will get their first glimpse of Bottega Veneta's winter handbags at Fashion Week here. But the Italian fashion house has already bet on what it thinks the hottest bags will be. As Bottega pursues its strategy to grow from a niche player into a global brand, it has been conducting a major overhaul to its business, starting from the production line. As part of that, it now decides well before its catwalks what—and how much—to manufacture and send to stores. It is a significant switch for the Italian fashion house.
I believe strongly that, rather than business injecting business values onto our communities to business ends, we really need to turn the tides and teach business how to espouse human values again…or as Gary Hamel writes in his excellent column, put soul back into business. It is human beings, after all, that are necessary to the success of any business (whether employees or customers).
Exactly nine days ago, millions of viewers were treated to a world first. I'm not talking about the Saints winning their first-ever NFL championship; I'm talking about Google running a commercial. No doubt you'll have seen it already: the young man who spends a semester in Paris, forever changing his life. No doubt you've also seen the Tiger Woods and Sarah Palin parodies. Genuine or spoof, the commercials hone in on one of the fundamental characteristics of search: that search is a tool for us to hone in on the core of what is bothering, amusing, or intriguing us at any given moment.
The frequent question asked of the design community is of its value to business. The query itself makes little sense. Quite simply, the role of designers has always been to translate and communicate the value of a business idea to consumers. The best designers can do far more—they can help companies connect and establish a dialogue with consumers, thus enabling firms to innovate more efficiently. The challenge for most corporations today is about how to innovate while mitigating risk. For consumers, choices are made by balancing the need for evolution with the force of habit. Designers are trained to understand how people think and how to make things. For this reason, there are four basic areas in which design has an important role to play in value creation.
Public confidence in companies, governments and non-governmental organisations has staged a recovery since last year's "trust Armageddon", but the rebound is patchy and fragile, according to data to be presented at the World Economic Forum tomorrow in Davos. Trust in business has risen from 49 per cent to 53 per cent around the world year-on-year, says the annual "trust barometer" of well-educated, highly paid and engaged "informed publics", conducted by Edelman, a communications consultancy.
Flouting the efforts of lobbyists to shut down his plan for a consumer protection agency, the newly combative President Barack Obama is digging in his heels. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said last week that it’s something Obama “is not willing to give up.” Thus, we open another round in the brawl between Obama and business groups that claim the bill covering mortgage and credit-card lenders is a death sentence for small companies, expensive for consumers, and will “change the way Americans do business forever.”
"I have a dream" by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is one of the most famous speeches of recent history. Aspiring leaders study it to see how memorable words that sketch a big, compelling vision can inspire significant change. But four words are not the measure of the man. There is much more to learn from his actions. King, whose birthday is commemorated by a U.S. federal holiday on the third Monday of each January, delivered that speech during a March on Washington in the summer of 1963. The rally attracted a record-breaking quarter of a million supporters for civil rights and against racial discrimination. It provided impetus for passage of equal rights legislation and the dismantling of formal trapping of segregation.
A hill, a giant chasm, and a cloud-covered peak. Close your eyes and picture a lopsided "M" for a second. That's the new landscape of advantage. And the recent skirmish between Google and China is its best example yet. On one side is the old high ground of the industrial era capitalism; on the other, the new high(er) ground of next-generation capitalism. The yawning chasm in between them is the gap between the 20th century and the 21st.
I agree with Dan Pink, there is no limit for better. How do you get there? In his latest book, Drive, Pink suggests you do that by taking an approach that has three elements to it. For starters, gaining an appreciation and understanding that people's default settings are self-directed - they actually don't need to be baby-sat - will help you see that people need autonomy over task (what they do), time (when they do it), team (who they do it with), and technique (how they do it).
Ten years ago we thought wireless was another word for radio, Peter Mandelson’s career was over – and only birds tweeted. So what will life be like a decade from now? The Independent newspaper provides a glimpse.
In a post-recessionary world, trust has moved from the individual to the corporate realm. It is one of the most important issues that business organizations face when it comes to the future of their brands. A 2008 study by the Chief Marketing Officer Council found that some 99% of customers surveyed said they would either scale back or terminate relationships with companies that fail at building customer trust. In the past, trust may not have seemed like a natural part of management's role, but these days it is a critical part of every business, one proven to have an effect on the bottom line. Customers need to see that a solid foundation has been built within a business and that their needs will be addressed--especially in times of crisis.
Social Media impacts every business, every brand, and in doing so, connects a network of distributed communities of influence, making the world a much smaller place in the process. Small businesses are in fact at an advantage in Social Media Marketing as they can focus on hyper-local activity that can offer immediate rewards or at the very least, the real-time feedback or lack thereof says everything about next steps.
What's the best business reaction to a recession? How about none at all. Unlike many outfits in the struggling restaurant industry, Panera, the soup and sandwich chain with more than 1,300 stores in 38 states, has stayed strong by standing still. "The key to Panera's success lies in what the company hasn't done," says Nicole Miller Regan, an analyst at Piper Jaffray. "Panera hasn't fallen victim to discounting. It hasn't levered up the balance sheet. It hasn't tried to change." Such calm amidst the storm has paid off for shareholders. Panera stock is up 26% this year: in fact, it's one of the best performing stocks of the decade, having generated a whopping 1,560.65% return.
In order to compete in this new economy, chances are you've already pared down your operations. You've also probably adopted "flat revenue" as the new measure of growth. Even typically profit-focused Wall Street is looking at sales growth to see how people are spending money again. I have news, growth is the only real measure of growth. And with your operations streamlined, now is the perfect time to grow.
More than ever before, the approval of any significant marketing initiative is dependent upon a compelling business case. A business case is meant to function as a logical framework for the organization of all of the benefit and cost information about a given project or investment. Working with this definition, one might conclude that a "good" marketing business case is one that increases the quality of decision-making. Yet many of us in marketing have come to believe that a good business case is one that predicts a significantly positive ROI, IRR, and/or NPV for a given investment. Strangely, we tend to water down any assumptions that actually seem to make the case "too good," lest someone in finance really begin questioning our assumptions.
Businesses are made of people, many of them in the middle. While everyone loves to talk to the C-level, the shift in the way people at all levels work, select and recommend service providers, and get things done is more notable in the thick of things, so to speak. Technology has made it even easier for people to connect with peers, collaborate, and get and give direct and indirect (through search) feedback. There's a reason why social media has put a spotlight on being human - brands forgot how to tell stories. Along with a "me, too" characteristic of many B2Bs always in search of benchmarking and way to validate their value props, companies forgot (more likely stopped funding) media integration. This first set of considerations presents some difficulties in the connected world we live in.
At GE, P&G, and other companies, a design perspective is a problem-solving apparatus that can be applied companywide.
When you think of corporate smartphones, you tend to think almost automatically of RIM's BlackBerrys--they're solid, reliable, iconic, successful and have sewn up something like 40% of that market. The iPhone, with its glossy looks, high-tech allure, reputation as a gaming and entertainment platform and relatively high unit costs isn't something you'd necessarily associate with a corporate environment. Apple itself has gone on record to state that the tens of thousands of apps that are helping to make the phone a success (thousands of which seem business-oriented) are most definitely not business tools, implying the phone itself isn't.
Have you noticed that more and more companies are marketing "simplicity" as a reason to buy their products or services? For example, Philips Electronics advertises "Sense and simplicity" while Bank of America promotes "Clear, easy-to-understand products." Simplicity also is the subtle message that Schwab conveys when it says "Talk to Chuck" and that Fidelity suggests when it says just "Stay on the line."
These days, lots of people ask me: "Phew! So, the crisis is over, right?" Wrong. The real crisis is in the DNA of the industrial economy — and it's just as lethal as ever. Most businesses are socially useless. They're about as useful to society (to paraphrase Gloria Steinem) as bicycles are to fish. Sound controversial? If it does, it only underscores just how out totally of touch with real value we've gotten. (Here, for example, are Paul Krugman, Simon Johnson, and Lord Turner all discussing social uselessness.) What has socially useless business cost just over the last five years? $12 trillion at a minimum. Those are the costs of the various bailout packages for socially useless banks.
Heeding the wisdom of Peter Drucker might have helped us avoid—and will help us solve—numerous challenges plaguing communities around the world: restoring trust in business in the wake of accounting scandals and the global financial crisis; attracting and motivating the best talent without creating crippling financial commitments; addressing societal problems such as climate change, health care, and public education; dealing with trouble spots in central Asia and the Middle East. If Peter Drucker were here today, what would he have to say about such pressing matters?
And the beat goes on. What started off as 10 simple marketing lessons learned from Google blossomed into 15 and then 20 before seeding a full-fledged book (in-progress). From there, I dove into lessons from Google about product development. Today, I'd like to bring it up a level to what Google can teach us about general business practices.
McGraw-Hill Cos. agreed to sell BusinessWeek to Bloomberg L.P., marking the growing media ambitions of its new owner and a retreat for McGraw-Hill after 80 years of owning of the business magazine. The purchase price wasn't disclosed, but people familiar with the matter say Bloomberg agreed to pay nearly $5 million and take responsibility for more than $10 million in liabilities, including severance for BusinessWeek staffers who might lose their jobs.
Whenever I see a business magazine glow about design thinking, as BusinessWeek has done recently with this special report, and which Harvard Business Review did last year it gets my dander up. Not because I don't see the value of design (I started a company dedicated to experience design), but because the discussion in such articles is inevitably so fetishistic, and sadly limited. Design thinking is trotted out as a salve for businesses who need help with innovation. The idea is that the left-brained, MBA-trained, spreadsheet-driven crowd has squeezed all the value they can out of their methods. To fix things, all you need to do is apply some right-brained turtleneck-wearing "creatives," "ideating" tons of concepts and creating new opportunities for value out of whole cloth.
Consider how business really gets done. A group of professionals agree to meet for lunch or perhaps dinner to discuss the details of a deal. Each of the members of the meeting is in a constant mode of signaling. Their body language, the tone of their voice, the grip of their handshake, their eye contact. These are each signals that we as human beings send to others. Some of us are better at influencing the conscious and unconscious signals we send. Some of us are more sensitive at picking up and deciphering the signals we receive. Body language experts discuss this signal exchange and measure them in “microseconds” because that’s how quickly a signal such as blink, furrow or nervous twitch can be broadcast. Common sense tells us that there is no substitute for F2F (Face to Face) interactions and while I’m no behavioral scientist, I have to conclude that it has something to do with the intricate and dynamic nature of interpersonal signals which can be picked up on and reciprocated. So what does this have to do with business?
Leo Laporte, creator of This Week in Tech and the TWiT network of podcasts, spoke before the Online News Association this week and presented the very model of the new media company: small, highly targeted, serving a highly engaged public, and profitable.
The question about Twitter used to be, "Is it a business?" Now, the question becomes "How big can it be?" And the answer is: It better be big. CEO Evan Williams confirmed last week that the microblogging service had finalized its new funding, reported to be $100 million, giving Twitter -- which now has no monetization program in place -- a whopping $1 billion valuation. Prior investors Spark Capital, Benchmark Capital and Institutional Venture Partners doubled down, and late-stage investors T. Rowe Price and Insight Venture Partners joined up. With the funding, Silicon Valley and the venture community are once again setting their sites on the marketing budgets of American business to support another free "cloud" web service, in this case 140-word bursts of text. Indeed, they're counting on the exponential growth of advertising revenue in a flat market for a company that -- while certainly useful to marketers -- has yet to earn its first dollar.
"My Administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks." U.S. President Barack Obama felt compelled to speak these words to the leading U.S. bank CEOs at a White House gathering to which they had been summoned on April 9, 2009. Driven by public anger at the financial crisis, the President employed a metaphor invoking images of "peasants with pitchforks" rising up to demand better treatment. That Iranian students, indigenous Peruvians and Somali pirates feel similarly inspired to take violent actions affecting global businesses reinforces the point. Based on recent polling data, it is would seem that his uncharacteristic use of alarmist imagery was not misplaced. According to the 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer, 49% -- or fewer than half of the people surveyed in an annual assessment of US attitudes -- support an independently functioning free market.
I hope this is one of those resources you print out pin to your desk, and share with others. This is the core theme of this blog, the balance needed for successful web endeavors in organizations. I originally posted this diagram in 2006, then updated it in 2007, and it’s time to revisit the core structure of the goals and challenges of a Web Strategist, especially as I reset as I change roles. Who’s a Web Strategist? In a company, they often are responsible for the long term vision of corporate web properties. At a web company where their product is on the web, they’re often the product manager or CTO. Regardless of role, the responsibilities are the same, they need to balance all three of these spheres, and make sure their efforts are in the middle of all three.
As the global economy emerges from recession, regardless of when or how quickly, the focus in the executive suite is already shifting from cost cutting to recovering top-line growth. What role can the CMO play? If CMOs are truly to be growth champions for their corporations, they can't simply rely on traditional marketing and brand-building techniques. In nearly a decade of research, my colleagues and I have found that established companies increasingly are successfully building new businesses on a repeated basis, a process we call corporate entrepreneurship. Marketing -- true marketing, not just selling the story but helping create it -- must play a central role. True marketing is about understanding current and potential customers better than anyone else, translating those insights into powerful new offerings and experiences, and creating ever more effective and efficient paths to market. In other words, marketers must design new businesses, rather than just launch new products.
A recent survey conducted by Proofpoint found that 8% of companies had terminated employees due to social media usage (common causes including sharing sensitive information on a network). And while the statistic seems significant, it only underscores one of several upcoming challenges nearly every organization will face as changes in people, process and technology fueled by the collective movement we call social media begin to transform business. Here are a few challenges that every organization should be planning for right now. If you aren't you will be.
I have been watching ”Design Thinking” very closely for a long time now, often amused on how it is unfolding in both the design and non-design industries. At this time I’m curious it is evolving, and having strong suspicions on how it can be an element to bridge the “language gap” between Design and the Business.
I recently spoke at and attended the Conversational Marketing Summit in NYC. On day two, I heard something from Brian Wallace of Blackberry that echoed thoughts I've been preaching for a while. He said "I was selling in the idea that social media is free, until the community manager headcount came in."
In a previous era, all the talk was of strategy, strategy, strategy. More recently, it's been innovation, innovation, innovation. As design thinking seems poised to sweep away some of today's celebrated innovation practices, we must be wondering what new provocation is on the horizon. Relax, I'm not planning to conjure one up.
While Professor Joe Plummer and I may not see eye to eye on everything (see my post on the definition of engagement), there is one thing we definitely agree on: an enterprise can achieve optimal results only when its business and its brand are aligned to work in synergy. When business and brand are out of synch (as happens all too often), the return to the company and shareholders is compromised.
Walmart's Stephen Quinn has it. So does Adobe's Ann Lewnes. Steve Meyer of Dell services and Cammie Dunaway of Nintendo have it too. "It" is a P&L mind-set: a deep understanding of and/or hands-on experience with what it takes to run a business line and deliver the numbers. It's a mind-set critical for senior marketers to develop or sharpen if they expect to advance from being order takers or sales supporters to enterprise-wide, visionary leaders.
Last week a friend of mine invited me for a libation at a recently opened restaurant bar. "Where is it, exactly?" I asked. "It's right behind 'X' (a restaurant with a bar), he replied. "You know, across from 'Y' (another restaurant with a bar). If you walk out the back door of 'Z' (another restaurant with a bar) you'll be facing it." I found it.
As the Internet was taking shape in the late 1980s, an MIT professor named Tom Malone started thinking about how it could change the structure of industries. In a series of papers, he predicted that the big top-down companies of the 20th century would soon "decentralize and externalize" into industry ecosystems.
There are no rules about creativity. Which made constructing our list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business a tricky task. We looked for dazzling new thinkers, rising stars, and boldface names who couldn't be ignored. We avoided people we've profiled in the recent past. We emphasized those whose creativity addresses a larger issue -- from the future of our energy infrastructure to the evolution of philanthropy to next-generation media and entertainment. So read on. Enjoy. Quibble. Complain.
Cisco, Corning, IBM, Intel, and Schwab have weathered worse economic storms. Five strategies to come out of this one even stronger.
At his carpet company, Interface, Ray Anderson has increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional "take / make / waste" industrial system on its head. In a gentle, understated way, he shares his powerful vision for sustainable commerce.
I'm trying to come up with a convincing argument for why we might eventually be able to claim that economic recovery was marketing-led. I'm promoting that very idea at the Debating Group's MCCA sponsored event at the House of Commons next Monday. There's plenty to fuel such an argument. Any other organs that one might argue are capable of, or even responsible for, pumping life back into our financial system are currently failing.
Writing on the AgencySpy blog, Modernista!’s head of planning Gareth Kay argues that we should stop obsessing over social media and what it can do for a business and instead spend our time trying to deliver social ideas that delight consumers.
Probably one of the biggest criticisms that the iPhone gets is that it’s considered not the best phone for business. That judgement is based on the comparison on the keyboard and email functionality with the Blackberry. This new iPhone ‘Office’ ad suggests that the App Store might just change our view of the device: while for many of us we find our work days spent sending and receiving missives, Apple reminds us that there’s much more to running business and the phone might “just have an app” for all those other tasks we should be doing instead.
Coca-Cola intends to buy between 10 and 20% of Innocent, which is the company that all but invented the idea of a "socially conscious, good-for-you fruit smoothie" in the UK. I think it's a deviously brilliant move, but not for the reasons feted in the marketing media.
Twitter is taking a much-anticipated first-step in its quest to parlay popularity into revenue by offering business customers an expanded range of fee-based services.
Companies risk making the same mistakes as in the previous recession by cutting too many jobs and by taking ineffective short-term measures that could harm them in the long run, a new report has said.
Social media is seen by many marketers as the next gold rush. To understand how marketers are using social media, we commissioned the Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses.
EBay Inc.'s Skype Internet phone unit, on the hunt for new sources of revenue, is making a push into the corporate market. On Monday, Skype plans to announce a version of its Internet calling software that connects to corporate phone systems.
I've seen a few commentaries lately, suggesting that we need to rethink how ethics and social responsibility are taught in the nation’s business schools...as the graduates of said programs are the leaders and operators responsible for turning our economy into a catastrophe. Opinions on the nature of business leadership frequently include mention of ethics, much in the same way that critics of medical education bemoan the lack of bedside manners among doctors.
Spending on marketing will grow just half a percentage point over the next 12 months, with traditional ad spend decreasing 7% and Internet growing 10%, according to The CMO Survey, a poll of 581 top U.S. marketing executives taken this month. Business-to-consumer marketers expect to make the most significant shifts to the Internet, for both product and service advertising, the survey found.
Long after Home Depot has dumpstered its last roll of Tyvek, frayed and unfurling like a forgotten flag; long after Target has baled its remaining Isaac Mizrahi couture collection sweaters for shipment to AAA Closeout Liquidators; long after Walgreens, the Pharmacy America Trusts, has filled its final myeasyconsult.com Vicodin prescription for your neighbor’s 14-year-old son, one business will still be switching on its O-P-E-N sign every day at 9 and off again at 11: Tony’s Pizza.
Algorithms in business appear to be magical, because they allow you to be smart about problems you haven't seen before. The 'angry customer' algorithm or the 'promote a book' algorithm don't always work, but they are approaches that work on a huge range of problems. All of which is a long way to wish Charles Darwin a happy birthday. The simple algorithm he described is often misunderstood but is robust and flexible and powerful, and it works for ideas and businesses as well as fruit flies and turtles.
Amazon.com Inc. entered the casual videogames market, expanding the Internet company's digital distribution business into a growing entertainment genre.
Blue Thinking is the antidote to Green. It doesn’t go away and it’s not a project with a budget. It is the next generation of thinking emerging from the heart of brands embracing sustainability as business strategy and a driver for innovation. It’s not a green consumer story or marketing idea, not a single product innovation, not one change in the supply chain (but instead many), and nor is it a disconnected concept that should be applied to business because climate change has come upon us. Instead, it is transformational innovation.