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Foreword by Alain Thys, Futurelab

hese are exciting times. Sure, we have a recession, and there is the looming threat of inflation, unemployment and further value destruc-
tion. But all these clouds are also lined with opportunity. The opportunity to change the way we work. To set things right.
After all, people only change when they “have to”. And from a business perspective, this is the case. In many companies, doing more of the
same is not an option any more. While this possesses challenges, it also allows shedding the bad practices that have accumulated over
the past two decades. The mindless shout and sell communication efforts. The customer-toxic practices. The often uninspiring types of innovation
which shun breakthrough risk to the benefit of play-it-safe-incrementalism.

So for me, and for Futurelab, these are great times. After all, beyond helping our clients, we are on a mission to change the nature of marketing itself.
We want to bring the profession back to its roots by focusing on the customer, the bottom line and breakthrough innovations that truly differentiate
a company. We want to make marketing an all-company sport. Get finance, logistics, sales, production, HR and yes even the marketing department
to do what is right for the business and for the customer, rather than what their silos dictate.

But we cannot do this alone. In fact, no one can. For marketing to regain its position as a truly meaningful profession, it needs to step away from the
centralist knowledge paradigm. Here, a number of smart people hold all knowledge and disseminate this to those less literate. They often call them-
selves professors, thought leaders, strategists or even gurus.

Yet if there is one thing we’ve learned from this recession, is that no one holds all the wisdom. The world as we know it has become unpredictable,
and anyone claiming to have all the answers is simply not being truthful.

That is why we have started to look for initiatives from people that get it. Individuals whose thinking and actions we can help amplify by means we
have available. You are currently looking at one of them.

Launched by Bogdan Meica & Stefan Moghina, Shift Perspectives is a digital publication that transfers on to 30 pages what we attempt to do on the
Futurelab blog. Bring together the thinking of some of the sharpest minds in marketing, strategy and innovation into one thought-provoking piece.

I have to say, they did it quite well. From Seth Godin to Tom Anderson they brought together global thinkers who understand that a project by two
young people in Romania can have the same value as the journal of a prestigious business school.

To ensure it also has the same reach, I am proud that they asked Futurelab to endorse their initiative and help launch it to world.
This we gladly do. Because it is people like Bogdan and Stefan that are the real change agents of the marketing revolution.

October issue •• 2 •









To motivate front-line employees: don’t just thank them, use their insights

Should Fortune 1000 Companies be Active on Social Networks?


October issue •• 3 •

Challenging the status quo is what I do for a living


Willfully ignorant vs. aggressively skeptical

SETH GODIN is a bestselling author, en-

trepreneur and agent of change. Godin hallenging the status quo is what I do But if you choose to do that, it’s essential
is author of ten books that have been for a living. Either that or encourage that you know more about it than everyone else,
bestsellers around the world. Seth is a re- other people to do it. But there are two not less. Certainly not zero. Be skeptical, but be in-
nowned speaker as well. He was recently ways to do it, and one of them is inef- formed (about everything important, not just this
chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next fective, short-sighted and threatens the fabric issue, of course). Screaming ignorance gets atten-
Century by Successful Meetings and is of the tribe. The other seems to work. I heard tion, but it distracts us from the work at hand.
consistently rated among the very best someone screaming about death panels and It’s easy to fit in by yelling out, and far more
speakers by the audiences he addresses. how the government was not only going to difficult to actually read and consider the facts.
Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, kill his grandmother, but would take out Ste- Anytime you hear, “I don’t have the time to un-
the industry’s leading interactive direct phen Hawking himself if it had the chance. The derstand this issue, I’m too busy being upset,” you
marketing company, which Yahoo! ac- screaming is a key part, because screaming is know that something is wrong.
quired in late 1998. He holds an MBA often a tool used to balance out the lazy igno- Brands face this as much or more than politicians
from Stanford, and was called “the Ulti- rance of someone parroting opposition to an do. I witnessed a knock-down fight between two
mate Entrepreneur for the Information idea that they don’t understand. (If you want to teenagers over which operating system was best.
Age” by Business Week. write to me about this post, please write to me There are generations of arguments between Ford
about the screaming part, not about whether and Chevy owners. Motorcycle gangs are often
or not you agree with the facts or the science. parochial in their choice of bike. And in each case,
That’s what the post is about, the screaming.) the less people know, the more they yell. If you want to challenge the conventional wis- If you want to change what your boss be-
dom of health care reform, please do! It’ll make lieves, or the strategy your company is following,
the final outcome better. the first step is to figure out how to be the best in-
formed person in the room.

October issue •• 4 •

his is the biggest disconnect I know of. It happens all the time in B2B sales, in service mar-

Are we
keting, in getting along with your boss and even in hiring someone. One side thinks they
have figured out a solution. They spend a long time talking about the solution, architect-
ing it, refining it, pricing it, pitching it, delivering it. The other side ends up not liking what
they get. The disconnect: the first side says, “this solution is exactly as we described it!” the other

side says, “it doesn’t work right.”
The disconnect is caused because people focus on the solution instead of the problem you
were given to solve. It’s a lot easier to talk about features and hours spent and someone’s resume and
a lot more difficult to dig into the problem itself. This is where the obligating question becomes so

the same
critical. “If we can deliver a dam that stops the water flow, will you be delighted?” “If I can hire some-
one who can answer ten calls an hour and keep customers coming back, will that work?” “If this
book cover receives an award for best design, will that be a win?” The difficult conversation about
the problem is far more useful than the endless effort on solutions. The reason is that people don’t

tell themselves (or you) about the problem they’re actually solving. Sure, they’d like an employee
that does x, y or z, but you know what, they’d also like that person to be really good looking and will-
ing to do our bidding, waiting on us hand and foot. Sure, we’d like a personal computer with a lot of
computing power, but we’d also like it to be light and sexy and covetable...The more clarity you can
get about what a successful solution looks like, the more likely you will be to have a delighted cus-
tomer when you’re done.

not so
imple quiz for smart marketers: Let’s say your goal is to reduce gasoline consumption.
And let’s say there are only two kinds of cars in the world. Half of them are Suburbans
that get 10 miles to the gallon and half are Priuses that get 50. If we assume that all the
cars drive the same number of miles, which would be a better investment: Get new tires
for all the Suburbans and increase their mileage a bit to 13 miles per gallon. Replace all the Pri-
uses and rewire them to get 100 miles per gallon (doubling their average!)
Trick question aside, the answer is the first one. (In fact, it’s more than twice as good a move).
good at
We’re not wired for arithmetic. It confuses us, stresses us out and more often than not, is used to
October issue •• 5 •

It Must Be Better

any years ago, there was a comedian who When nobody knows what truth is
I have nearly 30 years of ex- specialized in doing impersonations. Now, (and nobody is able to discern the truth), then
perience in business, having worked it used to be that a lot of comedians did im- nobody can effectively challenge your posi-
with a number of leading retailers, personations. This comedian, however, put a unique tion. This was the situation the comedian was
including Best Buy, DSW, Supervalu, spin on the genre. He specialized in doing imper- in. Nobody knew what those ancient people

Shopko, Filene’s Basement, Tweeter sonations of people who died sounded like or acted like, so the
Home Entertainment, Save-A-Lot, long before the invention of re- audience could not challenge the
and Value City, among others. Most corded sound. comedian’s impression of these
of my work has been in the area of For example, he would old people. They just sat back and
do impersonations of people like enjoyed the show. However, if
Strategic Planning, but I have also
Abraham Lincoln or Aristotle. It someone is doing an impression
done work in marketing, finance

was interesting to watch, but was it or imitation of something you are
and consumer research. I am bi-lin- accurate? I have no idea what Aristo- very familiar with, then the criti-
gual (speak both marketing and fi- tle sounded like or what his manner- cisms come flying. You know what
nance) which helps me take a more isms were. For all I know, this comedian “truth” is because you have experi-
complete and balanced approach could have it all wrong and not even be close. But in enced the real thing. Any variation
to business problems/issues. the end, I guess it doesn’t matter. Since nobody else from the real thing will be noticed as a flaw or
knows what Aristotle sounded like or acted like, no- defect. Rather than just sitting back to enjoy the
http://planninga-from-nanninga. body could challenge the accuracy of the imperson- show, you compare the imitation/impression to ations. As long as the comedian was funny, the audi- the reality (as you remember it) and get upset
ence would accept his impersonations. It was those if the imitation does not live up to your expec-
other comedians, who did impressions of people we tations of what truth is. You’ll shout something
knew, who were more sharply critiqued (“Hey that’s like, “I know what John Wayne sounds like and
not what John Wayne sounds like”). acts like, and that was not it!”
October issue •• 6 •


This situation is similar to what happens in business. In product devel-

opment, you have one of two strategic choices: either create something totally
new, unlike anything else in the market OR create a “me, too” product that is a
I had never
eaten anything

variation of something which already exists.
The first choice would be like our comedian, who did impressions that
were totally new to you (you had never heard the voice of these people be-
fore—you have no reference point). Similarly, totally new products have no ref-
erence point—what you invent defines the category. It is accepted as authentic
and people enjoy it for what it is.
like this before.
The second choice (offering a “me too” product) is like comedians who
do impressions of people we are very familiar with (you have a reference good image, I assumed they were all supposed to taste like that. It
point). You are more critical, because you have a benchmark to compare it to. never occurred to me that the dishes might be prepared wrong.
Any variance from the original reference point makes your product less “au- They supposedly had excellent chefs, so I just took it for
thentic.” granted that these concoctions were supposed to taste that way—
even if I didn’t like it.

But what if I was wrong and the food really was prepared
poorly? What if this really was bad tasting food? I wouldn’t know.
THE PRINCIPLE So I was satisfied, whether it was right or wrong, because I didn’t
have a pre-conceived notion of what “good” would taste like. I just
The principle here is that the less the familiarity, the greater the accep- sat back and enjoyed the dinner.
tance. Therefore, if you blaze new trails in product development towards areas Now if this fancy restaurant had served me a hamburger, I
unfamiliar to your customers, your development efforts have greater potential would have had a reference point. I could have complained if their
for acceptance. gourmet burger drifted too far away from my concept of what a
We could see this principle at work in the comedian story. We are more hamburger is supposed to look like and taste like. But they did not
forgiving of the comedian going where we’d never been than ones covering fa- offer a “me too” burger. They offered me a taste of the unknown. A
miliar impressions with a slight imperfection. I also experienced this principle taste of the unknown is always yummier than an off-beat version
recently in a restaurant. This was no ordinary restaurant. It was an exotic restau- of the familiar.
rant specializing in exotic foods which I had never eaten before. Heck, I couldn’t You can also do this at the low end of the restaurant spec-
even pronounce the words on the menu, let alone understand it. trum. Quiznos has had great success with their $4 Torpedo. The
When the food came out, I had no preconceived notion as to how it was beauty of the Torpedo is that it is so unlike anything else out there
supposed to taste. I had never eaten anything like this before. Some of it tasted that there is no reference point to tell if it is a good torpedo or a bad
fine. Some of it tasted very odd to me. But since this was a nice restaurant with a one—so you accept that it is a good one, and worth the $4.

October issue •• 7 •

Quiznos knew that having a $4 item on their menu would be a key to So what does this mean for your strategy?
success in this recession. They could have lowered the price of their familiar

regular sub sandwich to $4, but that would have caused problems. First, once
It is almost always better to create something brand new,
you lower the sub to $4, there is an expectation that $4 is now the right price
where you can define the parameters of success, than to
for that sub. It would be difficult to raise the price back up later without ruining
copy someone else, who has already defined success (as
the new perceived value. Second, the regular sub is not designed to work in the
being them). When you control how a product is defined,
business model at $4. Either you have to cheapen the sub (which would be no-
then you can define the perfect product as the one you are
ticed, since people were familiar with it) or you have to lose money on the deal.
offering. Apple has been very good at this.
By contrast, the Torpedo was designed to work in the business model
at $4. It wasn’t a “cheapened” anything, since it was brand new. Sure, it had less
When Toyota invented the Prius, they made a brand
meat than a regular sub, but the Torpedo never was a regular sub and was not
new car which defined what a hybrid is supposed to be. After
expected to be one. It was a Torpedo, and this is how Torpedos are supposed to
that, anyone else who tried to make a hybrid brand had to be
be. They had never been anything else. A strategic piece of genius!
compared to the definition of the perfect hybrid—the Prius.
And of course the Prius is the superior Prius, so it wins. Worse
yet were automakers who tried to make a hybrid version of a

non-hybrid car people were already familiar with. That didn’t
When positioning your product, don’t spend too much time com- work, because their familiarity with the gas hog version biased
paring it to the status quo product. them against the hybrid version (familiarity made them more

If you make too big a deal out of the status quo, you are acknowledg- Cheese was getting very expensive, which is a problem for
ing its leadership, which makes you an also-ran. People will say, “If you are companies like Taco Bell, who use a lot of cheese and want to keep
so good, then why does the status quo have higher sales?” Instead, position their prices low. But Taco Bell has never been afraid of inventing
yourself as an entirely new way to solve an old problem. There’s just some- new menu items nobody has ever heard of. So the new items sub-
thing about saying that “my revolutionary new way is better” which sounds stituted cheaper cheese sauce for cheese. However, since these
more believable than saying “I’m making basically the same thing as what were brand new items that never had real cheese in them, it didn’t
is already out there and successful, but I’m better.” look like a cheap substitution. It was just how the new item was sup-
posed to be. This is far more successful than if they had taken famil-

Sometimes you can get around cost pressures by replacing the iar items and did the substitution. Then, Taco Bell took this cheap
familiar with a cheaper unknown which is positioned as a wholly sauce and put hot spices in it and invented “Hot Lava Sauce.” So
new product. now the cheaper substitute was a unique, premium item in brand
new menu items.

October issue •• 8 •


Winning strate- knew a woman who was very Although it is not a bad idea to become informed about
gies tend to blaze new curious. She liked to read all the potential risks, too much fear about those risks can be very det-

trails rather than re- time. One of her favorite topics rimental. As we saw in the story, excessive fear over potential
work the familiar. The to read about was the dangers threats can be paralyzing. Too much fear leads to an inability to
revolutionaries get to and threats which could beset the act and move ahead. The fear can trap us in our homes.
world. She became an expert in un- Business is all about taking risks. As they say, “No Risk, no
define the category in
derstanding all the potential dan- Reward.” Of course that doesn’t mean we should ignore all warn-
their favor and tend to
gers—everything from the dangers ing signs of risk and dive into a situation blindly. That almost
receive less criticism. which could beset a women walk- always leads to disaster. The recent economic collapse, for ex-
Because they define ing alone in a parking garage to the ample, was due to not properly understanding the risks of the
the category, they must dangers to the entire planet from complex financial products which were introduced. Financial
be right. the thinning of the ozone layer. institutions dove too deep into these risky ventures—blind to the
The more she read about extent of the risk—and it almost collapsed the entire economy.
potential dangers, the more fear-
ful she became. She eventually be- One of the key roles of strategic planning is to provide
FINAL THOUGHTS came afraid that all of the potential knowledge and insight so that the risks are minimized. Better,
dangers had a high likelihood of less risky moves can be made based on the discipline of strate-
Even if your

happening—to her. She became in- gic analysis—a solid understanding of the environment. Strategic
product is not all that creasing afraid to leave the house. planning makes you smarter so that you can act smarter.
revolutionary, that Her fear for the entire health of the However, even with the use of strategic planning, the risks
doesn’t mean that you planet (and her inability to stop ev- do not go entirely away. If you wait until all the facts are in, it will
cannot package it in a ery threat) became so intense that be too late to take the lead. The market dynamics will already be
revolutionary manner. she was prescribed medicine in or- set in concrete and not have room for your late entry. Therefore,
Chrysler was making der to cope. there will always be an element of the unknown in every good
fairly ordinary trucks, strategy.
but they were pack- Over time, the fear so gripped
aged as revolutionary her that she could no longer func- The key is to not become paralyzed with fear. Instead, the
because they had the tion in the outside world. She was a goal is to make risk your friend.
magic Hemi engine. true sufferer of agoraphobia—and it
was so sad to see.

October issue •• 9 •

The principle here is that risk
Of course, not all ventures into new space are successful. So how can we improve
is not to be avoided, but rather to be our chances of success within this uncertainty? Here are four suggestions.
exploited. Don’t be like my friend who

was so fear stricken that she was afraid Plan the Entire Chain

to leave the house. To win, you have to Successful ventures are based on successful business models. In today’s increasingly sophisticated
take your business out into the market- marketplace, it is not enough just to create a cool product. To make money, one needs to plan and
place and aggressively fight for success. control the entire value chain around it. Your business model strategy must include a way to get the
Even in tough economic times, one can- rest of the value chain to work in your favor. Otherwise it can work against you. Compare, for example,
not just hunker down in the bunker in Sony versus Apply. Sony has concentrated on making cool devices. Apple has concentrated on making
fear and wait it out. Market share chang- cool business systems—devices, apps, stores and so on.
es hands all the time—especially when Apple realized that a cool device can quickly become a commodity—a piece of hardware that gets
times get tough. Customers are more the profit margin kicked out of it if you do not control the selling process downstream. Therefore, Apple
willing to reconsider their habitual buy- has tightly controlled its retail distribution. Second, Apple knew that if the cool applications shift to an-
ing patterns when their economic con- other device, nobody will want the Apple device, because what customers really want is the ability to
dition worsens. Therefore, tough times get to the cool apps. As a result, Apple did its best to become THE place for the cool apps programmers to
are not times to hide in your house, be- programming for.
cause your share is more vulnerable Finally, devices get purchased infrequently, whereas the apps get purchased all the time. Apple
than ever. Of course, the share of your knew if it was not getting a cut of the apps business, it was losing out on where most of the ongoing value
competitor is also vulnerable, so you in the business model was being made. Therefore, Apple made sure it was THE place for purchasing the

have an opportunity to gain if you go apps, so that it could get a cut of the sales. By planning the entire value chain, Apple was able to ensure
out and act smartly. that the value chain continued to flow through Apple and did not get diverted somewhere else. This this
Taking calculated risks into uncharted thoroughness and control significantly increased Apple’s ability at being a success in risky new ventures
territory can be one of your best friends, like the ipod and the iphone.
because: By contrast, Sony’s recent ventures aimed at cool devices only have not been as successful. They have
recently suffered a large loss. Sony’s cool devices are not cool enough on their own to create a secure busi-
a. It allows you to get a head start in an ness model. By not controlling distribution downstream or applications upstream, Sony is more vulner-
area which is relatively uncontested able to being bypassed in the value chain. By not having the compelling stickiness of a tight value chain,
(like the Blue Ocean Strategy). Sony has to cut prices in order to create preference, which hurts margins. Sir Howard Stringer, head of
b. It allows you to write the rules in your Sony, has seen the error of this narrow focus and is in the process of transforming Sony to think more ho-
favor. listically about the entire value chain. So, success in new ventures goes up if you plan out the entire value
c. It increases your chance of being the chain—to build a system which is biased in your direction and makes all the players better off if they play
leader and reaping most of the rewards. by your rules.

October issue •• 10 •

2 3
Look for Superior Solutions Narrow the funnel quickly
A lot of businesses get excited by a new venture when it uses the Although there are risks to putting all your eggs in one basket,
latest and greatest technology. The mindset tends to be that “if it there are also risks to trying to venture into too many different
uses the latest technology, it has to be better, so the business model directions at the same time. The solution? Don’t be afraid of look-
should succeed.” The problem is that most people don’t care about how ing at a lot of potential new ventures early in the process. This increas-
up-to-date the technology is. What they really want is a superior solution es your chance of finding a real winner. However, quickly determine

to a problem. Sometimes, the latest technology does not improve the abil- which ones have the best shot of success and stop the funding on the
ity to solve a problem. Sometimes it even makes it worse. rest. One of the biggest drains occurs when one delays halting support
Take internet grocery shopping, for example. Nearly every venture for the losers. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.
into this space has been a miserable failure. Is it because they did not use

the latest technology? No, it’s because internet grocery shopping is an infe- Experiment and Adapt
rior way to shop. Ultimate successes rarely end up looking like the original vi-
They claimed that internet grocery shopping would be more con- sion. They tend to morph along the way as you learn. Therefore,
venient. However, how convenient is it really when you consider that: rather than working in the lab alone until the original vision is
perfected, do some early experimentation. Let beta models out into the
a) You have to sit at home for a 4 hour delivery window (which is a longer marketplace. Get input along the way from your customers. Be willing
time than it takes to shop). to flex and adapt. This increases the likelihood that the final product is
b) If they are out of stock on an item you want, either they may make a sub- what the market really wants.
stitution you don’t like or they will not supply the item, leaving you with
only half the ingredients needed for a meal. Is that convenient?
c) The ordering process on line is less enjoyable than shopping, and un- SUMMARY

less you like eating the same food every week, it is still time consuming.
Even though new ventures pose risks, that is not a reason

to hide and resist venturing into new areas. The idea is to use a
On top of that, a lot of the things a customer does for free when
strategic planning process which minimizes the likelihood that
shopping the store (picking out the items, checking them out, taking them
the risks will hurt you. This includes ideas such as planning the
home) now are done by labor that must be paid if you buy off the internet.
entire value chain, planning for superior solutions, narrowing
This makes the internet process a lot less efficient and the groceries a lot
the funnel quickly, and experimentation/adapting.
more expensive. As it turns out, the minor bit of convenience is not seen as
enough to justify the higher prices the new internet grocery model needs
to earn a profit. So the business model fails. The moral? Just because a FINAL THOUGHTS
model uses newer technology does not automatically make it better. Only
If you do the types of activities mentioned in this blog,
go after ventures which truly have a significant advantage over the status
risk moves from being an enemy to being a friend, because it
quo in solving the customer’s real problem.
gives you an edge over the competitors who do not follow this

October issue •• 11 •

Transformation Interrupted


ccording to market research firm Hartman Institutions are no longer credible,
I’m Jonathan Salem Baskin, and I’ve
Group, consumer loyalty is shifting -- from and historic truths aren’t reliable; facts and
worked for 27 years translating branding
products and brands, to the experiences fiction are endlessly available, and often
strategy into something more than images
offered by retailers -- in a radical transfor- impossible to tell apart; every subject is up
and words, leading marketing communica-
mation that started before the recession. for discussion and debate, which occurs in
tions for world-leading brands and advis-
I think the change is much bigger than that. real-time, all the time. No wonder people
ing others. For almost a decade, I partnered
Hartman is onto something because it specializes in aren’t willing to buy based on the intan-
with experts in 6 major markets worldwide
enthnographic market research (among other tools), gibles on which brands have relied for al-
to serve clients in Europe, Asia, and North
which is an attempt to understand consumers in the most a Century. Reality is the new imagina-
America, leading a number of business initia-
context of their lives, both in terms of their knowl-
tives to deliver the behaviors that substantiate
edge and beliefs, and through their behaviors.
brand by crossing departments, functions,
and both digital and offline communications
domains. My experience taught me one,
I believe the firm is saying that capturing con-
sumers’ attention with creative and/or compelling Reality is the
overwhelming truth: The best way to discov-
er better answers consistently is to ask better
marketing communications no longer carries the
water in our busy, confused, noisy lives; experienc- new
questions relentlessly.
I have dedicated my work and writing
es are what stick, bring differences into sharp focus,
and compel purchases. The problem is that retailers imagination
can’t “own” experiences or, more broadly, experience
to this purpose, in the hopes of improving the
is a synonym for the context of reality.
delivery and experience of brand marketing
The more people know, or think they know, tion, providing the context in which actions
for businesses and their consumers.
the less they believe (broadly), and more tenacious- can assert truth (if not simply immediacy,
ly hold onto what little they do (specifically). This is and thus clarity) to consumers. This idea
the intriguing dichotomy of our Internet Age; as con- isn’t limited to retailers; the challenge is for
sumers gain the capacity to explore and share, they any business to make what it does, not just
lose the ability to trust and commit. what it says, believable and compelling.

October issue •• 12 •

Actions, and the myriad of experi- and thus brands.Brands exist in this reality of experience. Communications can describe it, but mar-
ences they enable -- from in-store environ- keting can no longer serve as a substitute or dictation for it. It’s a great opportunity, and it’s bigger than,
ments, online glimpses of manufacturing, say, a social media strategy, or something that’s experiential and in-store. These are tactics. The radical
policy decisions, to the behavior of every transformation underway in the marketplace started before the meltdown, and it’s inevitably chang-
employee and vendor, whether at work or ing the very substance of what marketers do for a living. The recession was a brief interruption.
not -- are what feed awareness, conversation, The challenge is to see past it.

Think how many marketers fail Which brings me back to Knob Creek.
nob Creek bourbon has announced that it
to see this somewhat simple truism, and It announced that it is “letting its current sup-
may run out of stock yet this summer, and
waste time and money trying to edu- ply run out,” which “may” lead to
that thirsty customers will have to wait un-
cate consumers about what they should it pretty much told its customers to go out and
til the next batch arrives on store shelves
know about stuff. horde the stuff. I love it. It could have also ap-
in November. I think this is brilliant, old-school mar-
The whole concept of differen- plied some new media strategies to the ploy:
keting. One of the most important brand attributes
tiation relies on a series of attributes that • Let customers register for updates/ac-
of successful products and services is success; con-
are often lost on folks; consumers are cess to the next batch (even pre-order, though
sumers want to know that other consumers want
supposed to discern the “bold” position- I bet there’s some law against doing that on-
stuff, and sales is a qualifier that goes far beyond
ing of one product from the “reliable” line)
conversation as proof of that interest.
qualities of another one (that’s other- • How about a social media campaign
That’s why movies strive for big opening
wise all but identical). This is especially letting drinkers post “their last Knob Creek ex-
weekends, and why a sellout of anything invariably
evident in new product launches, which perience” and enter some contest or game for
leads to reservation lists. While software mechanics
struggle to break through the cluttered a payoff via the next batch?
strive to make supply meet demand in an idealized
mediaspace to get seen. • Why not create a campaign that let
state of ongoing one-to-one perfection, a little extra
But who cares if a laundry de- would-be customers witness the production
demand goes a long way.
tergent has 5% more stalagmites than process? If it’s the true differentiator, they’ve
Scarcity as a benefit another, or that one bottle of hooch is got the nanosecond part communicated, so
aged 9 years vs. 8? These can be very why not get folks involved in the education
meaningful and relevant attributes, but part. I could see an “Aging-cam” that let people
the communications challenge is to make such things apparent in a nanosecond. Perhaps long- stare at an oak cask.
tail growth plans look smart on a spreadsheet, but I suspect that loads of people have lost their jobs Nothing would happen.
before reality ever lived up to the aspirations of the far right-hand column. That’s why social media Get it?
chatter isn’t synonymous with sales, and why so many of the latest product campaigns have failed Campaigns like this renew my faith in the
to deliver. Talk is cheap, if not outright worthless sometimes, and I think the definition of “success” marketing business.
in this business context requires the tangible, unequivocal truth of paid transactions. Anything else Scarcity is a brand benefit. I hope it’s a
can be an enabler and/or sustainer, but not a substitute. successful strategy for Knob Creek.

October issue •• 13 •

Maybe It Is Time For Marketing To Move

Away From “The Big Idea”
Mitch Joel

Marketing Magazine verything we do in Marketing, Adver-
dubbed him the “Rock Star of tising and Communications comes In a world of Twitter, Facebook status updates,
Digital Marketing” and in 2006 out of “The Big Idea.” It’s what drives Google Profiles and FriendFeed, we know more than
he was named one of the most the marketing strategy, it’s what drives we ever thought we would know and - the truth is - we’re
influential authorities on Blog the brand and agency to get excited about the barely scratching the surface of what we can do with all
Marketing in the world. Mitch campaign, and it’s what drives consumers to this information, data and insight. On top of that, we are
Joel is President of Twist Im- put their hands in their pockets and hand over getting this information in real-time (or close to it).
age – an award-winning Digital their hard-earned dollars. Maybe it is time for To couple that concept with advertising, in the
Marketing and Communica- Marketing to move away from “The Big Idea.” Mad Men days of wooing the big clients and winning
tions agency. In 2008, Mitch Whether we like it or not, times have changed. them over with one pitch and one big idea, it was - es-
was named Canada’s Most In- Prior to the Internet and the social media plat- sentially - a strategy where a brand was putting all of its
fluential Male in Social Media forms it has given us, we never could really eggs into one basket (all of them from the same chicken).
and one of the top 100 online hear what consumers wanted, we never could That big idea had better work, or heads would roll. We
marketers in the world. His first listen in on the types of conversations they had all know the professional lifespan of the Chief Market-
book, Six Pixels of Separation, between them, and we never could really un- ing Officer (it’s anywhere between 1-2 years) and there
named after his successful Blog derstand what made them buy, click and share. are very few brands that still maintain a single agency of
and Podcast will be published record for a significant amount of time. In fact, ad agen-
in the Fall 2009 on Grand Cen- cies and brands are as fragmented as the media outlets
tral Publishing – Hachette Book In a world of Twitter, Facebook they serve.
Group (formerly Time Warner So, in a world of media fragmentation, multiple
status updates, Google Profiles media outlets, new media platforms and brands har-
and FriendFeed, we know more nessing multiple agencies to meet their needs, perhaps the time has come to ditch the concept of “the big idea”
than we ever thought we would. and move more towards a world of “many ideas.

October issue •• 14 •

That’s not to say that the many

ideas should not all tie into the overall
strategy, consumer insights or be stun-
ningly perfect (in terms of creative and
Trust Is Non-Transferable
execution), but that it is to say that in
this day and age, winning the market- Some Bloggers were recently taken to task when they published a sponsored Blog
ing game is going to be about doing a posting about a shopping spree they took with a major retailer. It is an amazing view into
lot of little things, over one big thing that what marketing and advertising is in this new media channel (especially one where ev-
brands will then cram into multiple out- eryone can be a pundit and critic).
lets. Doing “many things” also doesn’t
mean to think small.

In fact, it’s probably a much
more difficult strategy to organize and he idea of being paid to post is a fas- Real interactions between real human beings.
execute. In this era of Digital Marketing cinating and recurring topic (shall I
it’s also a significant amount of work trot out the dead horse now?), and Advertising works when it’s the right brand in
because as the campaigns evolve, so one that needs to be removed from the right environment with the right audience. The
should the creative and strategy. If these specific incidents and looked at with a general comments on these Blogs are all focusing on
some of the many ideas don’t float, we more macro perspective. The reality is that the levels of transparency and whether or not the
kill them and move on. If some of the there are many great Bloggers out there who Bloggers are entitled to take money in exchange for
many ideas take off, we nurture, opti- are seen as leaders. People want to connect a Blog posting. I think this is the wrong conversation
mize and push on. Our overall market- to them and, more importantly, some compa- to have (all of these Bloggers were very transparent).
ing strategy and execution becomes a nies see them as an opportunity to connect Marketing and advertising works when there is trust
lot more focused on the types of people their brand to that community, or to build between the content provider and the audience.
we’re connecting to, where they’re con- credibility and create awareness for their It’s not just about that relationship of trust, it is
nected, and how brands can add value brands, products and services. Also, because extended towards two very different sides of publish-
while building trust and community. It there are no clear advertising and sponsor- ing - the content and the economy behind it. On the
sure does sound like it will take more ship models in many of these newer social one hand, the audience trusts that that the content
than a “big idea” to get that done. channels (beyond buying banners), we’re creator will stay true by providing valuable content,
Maybe, “the big idea” in Market- seeing a ton of experiments to figure out and on the economic side, the audience continues to
ing today is all about how we’re all go- “what works.” It’s very interesting and some- play along knowing full well that all of this great con-
ing to move towards a “many ideas” what confusing - but that’s the amazing part tent comes at a cost - advertising, sponsorships, con-
platform? of being in the Marketing, Advertising and sulting gigs, book deals, speaking opportunities, and
Are the days of “the big idea” over? Communications business right now. everything else.
What do you think?

October issue •• 15 •

No matter what, both sides have When a company Trust in non-transferable.

pays someone to
to live up to the audiences expectations,
We expect Bloggers who post - and are
meaning the content must be strong and the
paid to do so - to be transparent. Transparency
advertising must be relevant. That’s how all
successful publishers across all of the media post, they are is table stakes. We expect people to disclose
what is an advertisement, what is sponsorship
channels have won to date.
hoping that the and what - if any - affiliations are had with other
things that are mentioned within these social

You can’t buy trust.

trust people have environments. But, there is something more pro-
found going on here.
for that When a company pays someone to
post, they are hoping that the trust people have
Blogger will be
The best advice a Digital Marketer
can give a client who is asking them if they for that Blogger will be transferred to them. No
chance. Trust is non-transferable. We have com-
transferred to
would accept money to post about them,
etc... would be to help them understand that panies who have little-to-no social community
credibility riding the coat-tails of Bloggers who
a brand can’t buy trust, but they can - over
time - build community and earn reputation. them. have spent a long while building up their com-
munity and, if there was no prize at the end of
And, by going through with a program of this
the rainbow (meaning the community also gets

No chance.
nature, it’s also not very social media at all -
it’s just advertising (whether a Blogger yaps a chance to “win” something - not just the Blog-
about it or they run a banner ad on their site). ger), it would probably leave everybody feeling
Someone is being paid to write about some- a little icky.
thing. The only way for that not happen is when
Many Bloggers react with an, “I don’t ask my the company that is paying to post has equal or
The advertorial has been around for-
readers for money, I give readers all of this great more trust within the community.
ever (well, at least, since the 1960s).
content for free, so what’s wrong with a little money
There’s nothing all that experimen-
from someone else along the way to cover some Ultimately, everyone has to figure out what
tal with this format. But there’s a problem if
costs and put shoes on my babies’ feet?” statement. works best on their own spaces - be it a Blog, Pod-
it doesn’t work: the bigger brands can chalk
There’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s the under- cast, Twitter or Facebook. The real challenge is
it up to experimentation and simply move
standing of the community from the get-go. There in knowing your community well enough to de-
on, while the Bloggers now have to rebuild
might be something weird about it if it just sudden- cide if it’s a good fit and, if it’s not, is it worth the
something that is incredibly frail and impos-
ly appears out of nowhere. advertising dollars over the community trust
sible to buy from their audience: trust.
and engagement?

October issue •• 16 •

The Lesser Of Back to my keynote presentation: One person questioned whether or not it is a good
thing that all of these online social networks and websites have so much information (much
Two Evils When It Comes of it quite personal) about so many individuals. It can be scary when you look at it from that
very valid perspective. What real choices do we have? The “terms of service” for many of the
To Digital Marketing more popular online social networks (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, or Twitter) are nearly
impossible to read with all of their legalese. And even if you can keep your eyes open long
enough to work through the details, only a few people would understand the real implica-
In a recent keynote address I gave, a discussion tions. So, let’s put all that aside and agree that many of the terms-of-service waivers are com-
came up surrounding Facebook, privacy, and the general plex, or even incomprehensible. Bottom line, here’s what they basically say:
public’s best interests.
It’s a story that has been covered in the news in re- “Listen, we’re going to give you all of this new and cool stuff for free. So, yes, it’s free for you to
use, but how we - the people who are giving this to you - get paid is by selling the data (not you as an
cent months, but the truth is that this story has little to do
individual) we’re gathering to marketers. Now listen, I know what you’re thinking. You think that from
with Facebook and much more to do with the Internet as a
now on you’re not going to be able to do anything here without getting some kind of annoying mes-
new media platform and communications channel. sage about how we can increase your sexual stamina or help you to lose weight. We don’t want to run
those types of ads, but if someone doesn’t buy some advertising space with messages that are more

relevant to you, we probably will have to. Sorry, but that’s what you have to endure for having the abil-
omehow, we as people have this amazingly powerful (and ity to upload your photos and videos for free and share them with your family, friends and colleagues.”
weird) tendency to forget events of the past. It wasn’t too long
ago (about 2000) that we were all concerned about “cookies.” At any point in that dialogue you - as a consumer - can opt out.
According to the website How Stuff Works, an Internet cook- But, be forewarned, if you agree to move forward, the gift of being able to poke your friends,
ie is a “piece of text that a web server can store on a user’s hard-disk. tweet about your dog, or post a book review, is brought to you courtesy of the advertising
Cookies allow a website to store information on a user’s machine and marketing messages that surrounds your online experience. Some say, “It’s the price of
and later retrieve it.” Without getting too technical, it’s a little digital admission - especially when that admission cost is free.” Others see it as an invasion of their
imprint that websites use to better understand user’s behaviour and privacy.
Both sides have valid points.
preferences (like when you select your country and language pref- From an economic perspective, it’s important to understand the business model for many
erence the first time you visit a new website, and on all subsequent of these online channels. Many of the new digital and online platforms have not figured out
visits, that website remembers your choices). the ideal revenue streams. Until they do, they are using advertising and marketing products
After cookies, we became more concerned with what Google and services to monetize their traffic. As an individual, always be aware that the more de-
was doing poking around our e-mail. Google’s free e-mail service, tailed information you provide, the more “they” know about you. (“They” being the service
Gmail, provides targeted ads embedded in your messages based on you signed up for and all of the marketing partners they are currently working with - or may
the content of the e-mail itself. Let’s say you were writing to a friend work with in the future.)
about an upcoming trip to New York City - you would see ads for ho-
tels in New York, or cheap flights to that city.
The bigger question becomes: Would you prefer the random and annoy-
Google’s computers are scanning your Gmail account and
sending you targeted messages (also known as behavioural target-
ing weight loss ads, or highly targeted messages based on what you have dis-
ing) in hopes of putting the right message in front of the right person. closed on an online social network? To the average consumer, it all still feels like a
lesser of two evils.

October issue •• 17 •

What’s Your Strategy For

Strategic Innovation? idris

s the pace of innovation accelerates start planning a logical yet adaptable process
Idris Mootee is a highly acclaimed
and beyond the speed limit, execu- to guide the team during the entire course of
strategy and innovation expert and keynote
tives are experiencing two other kinds action.
speaker who has a long history of working as
of hot water, declining bottom line re- Where to start? First pick a type of inno-
a strategy adviser serving C-level executives
sults caused by the “credit crisis” and declining vation process that works for your company.
and start-ups. Idris leads retreats, facilitates
consumer attention as they are becoming im- Declare your intent and objective. Are you re-
executive strategy meetings, speaks at pres-
mune to “marketing.” Everyone is therefore look- sponding to a disruption or simply want to find
tige conferences on the topic of strategy, busi-
ing for ways to improve their innovation capabil- want to grow your business? The result of this
ness model design and innovation, and con-
ity and process; both within the organization as process could include a new product, a new
ducts executive level workshops around the
well as with outside help through consultants service, a new business model? Look at what
and even consumers that can help them detect tools you have and what are your ingredients
He is the author of four business
early trends. that you have to work with. How many cycles
books (some are published in mulit-languag-
Their mission is to find ways to both dras- of innovation is needed on a 12 month basis?
es). Quoted in publications including the WSJ
tically widen (and deepen) the funnel of ide- Second: Once you have decided on
and NY Times. He holds advanced degrees in
ation and then more effectively manage the pro- your strategic intent, you should look at your
business and management.
cess from concept to pilot and roll-out. Some are organization to see where and how this pro-
Idris’ presentations range from 40
seeking to update their obsolescent innovation cess should be initiated. How much collabo-
minutes to 90 minutes. Each presentation
process and many don’t even have one. They ration is required both inside and outside the
is researched and customized specifically to
just struggle to get started and many are simply organization? Do we have the right support
company and its industry.
borrowing from product development process from outside consultants? Does your orga-
which isn’t design for innovation. Everything nizational structure support the innovation
company has different needs and once a deci- process you have selected? Will the culture
sion is made that your company must innovate within the company support the innovation
to remain or to become competitive, you should development procedures?

October issue •• 18 •

The important point here Even Google has finally What’s The Last Innovation
You’ve Seen Coming From
is that the level of acceptance of realized they just can’t let contin-
“transformative” ideas as well as ue using a laissez faire approach
the level of risk tolerance must be to innovation and product de-
compatible with the overall man- velopment. In a recent interview The Insurance Industry?
agement philosophy of the com- with a WSJ they admitted that
pany, or the dissonance could Google can no longer afford to
doom the project. let promising ideas fall by the
Third: What is the time wayside.
scale for such innovation pro- The Internet search gi-
cess? This will depend on a cou- ant’s once-torrid growth has
ple of factors. Among these are slowed. At the same time, it faces
the drivers of the project and the fresh competition from Micro-
size and complexity of the proj- soft’s new search engine, Bing,
ect. If the development project is and start-ups such as Twitter
an extension or minor modifica- Inc., which was founded by ex-
tion of an existing product or ser- Googlers.
vice, the time scale could well be The response? Google
a few months versus a disruptive has recently started doing inter-
move that takes up to a few years. nal “innovation reviews,” they
Fourth: Decide on how are formal meetings where ex-
you want to finance it? Do you ecutives present product ideas
have an innovation budget? Or bubbling up through their divi-
if you plan to finance it though sions to Schmidt, Google found-
your marketing, product develop- ers Page and Brin, and other
ment, research or other budget? senior folks. The processes are
Or you need to create the busi- designed to “force management
ness case before you get started? to focus” on promising ideas
Or it is a corporate mandate and at an early stage, according to
you have access to some corpo- Schmidt. Even innovation needs
rate strategy dollars which the a process.
CEO put away for special use.

October issue •• 19 •

With the average age of agents concentrated firms as in banking. Expect competitive Life insurance is a high involve-
rising steadily; sales is stagnant and mar- intensity to remain the same. ment product, it helps us to prepare for two
gins getting thinner, insurance company Back to the question posted to me. I think risks—dying too young or living too long. I
needs to rethink “marketing and distri- there are two ways the insurance industry can take think living too long is more of a problem.
bution”. Steady of influx of new invest- advantage of social technologies. First is to empower- A recent study done by The Boston College
ment products from banks that are also ing agents to take advantage of social media as their Center for Retirement Research found that
competing for insurance dollars. The big- CRM systems. It is the best way to reach people with 43% of American households are at risk of
gest disruption will most likely remain common interests, while the other is connecting with being unable to maintain their pre-retire-
on the distribution side. The importance people engaged in a similar occupation. Provide them ment income.
of asset accumulation products is par- with tools to make content a lot more engaging and And if you take away some optimis-
ticularly noteworthy because this is the tons of training. It is as important as knowing how to tic assumptions such as using a reverse
market where insurers face the most in- use a phone. mortgage, over 60% are not prepared.
tense competition from all the banks, mu- Second is the extreme widgetization of the You can put a lot of innovative thinking
tual fund cos, and investment advisory products an services. Innovative thinking needs to be into making the product (and experiences)

firms. Because these non- built in the existing products around their “socialabi- more engaging. Here are a few of the ideas I
traditional competitors have much lower ity” and “connectivity”. have from the back pocket and each one of
distribution costs than insurers, insurers them can be big:
face intense pressure to operate more ef- • A socially-enabled annuity product
ficiently. Distribution costs are one of the – designed to be marketed through online
largest expense items associated with life word-of-mouth?
and annuity policies.
Industry consolidation in insur-
Life insurance is a high • A mass produced, multi-component
prepackaged one-click solutions – there is a
involvement product,

ance is different from banking. We’ve gap in the market place for this?
seen small banks going away but there • A hyper-efficient direct distribu-
are not many changes among insurance it helps us to prepare tion model – a super low cost solution that
players, because it has less restriction makes ING looks expensive?
and many are successful in operating in for two risks—dying too • A direct selling mid-market lifetime
nationally. But the restructuring of the income solution – income is now the most
life insurance industry primarily tends to young or living too long. practical consideration?
involve such strategic objectives as an in- • Plan conversion exchange – allow
creased emphasis on core competencies people to convert defined contribution as-
or the expansion into new markets rather sets into income for life through annuitiza-
than the consolidation of geographically tion?

October issue •• 20 •

Less can be more: Preparing for the recovery

in uncertain times

I am MD of Strategyn UK. We create product and service
aced with tough decisions that can make or break their company’s
strategies for client companies using our patented innovation
future, it is little wonder that innovation managers are seriously fretting
methodology. We work with a company’s executive manage-
over their product portfolios, go-kill decisions, new projects, resource
ment to invigorate growth and drive shareholder value through
allocations and go-to-market timescales. Latest forecasts indicate it
creating an internal engine for innovation. Our structured
may be the end of 2010 before the recession bottoms-out and growth starts to
innovation process takes approximately 4 months to complete
and the result is a precise view of where in the market there are
So far, many companies have responded to the unprecedented trading
opportunities for our client companies to create value. This
conditions by slashing costs, cutting employee numbers, conserving cash and
process has created billions of dollars for value in market cap for
reducing investment in all new initiatives as though their survival depended
client companies. Our list of clients includes Microsoft, Unilever,
upon it. This may be necessary for now but in the longer-term, companies may
Colgate, MetLife, StateFarm, Motorola, J&J, Medtronic and AIG
already have gone too far by postponing or cancelling key innovation projects
to name a few.
that had the potential to plant green shoots and drive long-term business suc-
cess. Whilst riding out the “perfect storm” may be the watchword for some, scal-
Innovation, New Product Development, Breakthrough product
ing back too heavily could bring serious consequences for the longer-term.
creation, Outcome-Driven Innovation and Research
I recognise that making such critical decisions in times of high economic
I also lead The OMC Group - a UK-based network of cus-
uncertainty is not easy. Crucially, it hinges on knowing - with a high degree of
tomer strategy consultants. Collectively, we have several years’
confidence – which pipeline projects or platforms should get the axe and which
senior, international management and consultancy experience
should receive any remaining investment to secure market growth once recov-
in consumer and business-to-business companies and the
ery arrives. But exactly how can these decisions be made? Well I suggest the an-
public sector as well as strong academic research pedigrees. We
swer can be found in developing one critical capability that many companies
work in the fields of strategy, innovation management, organi-
still lack - that of acquiring, assimilating and commercially applying a far deep-
sational learning, marketing and brand management, customer
er understanding of unmet customer needs with which to review an existing
insight and customer-focused capabilities development.
pipeline of innovation projects and make critical growth planning decisions.
Let me explain.

October issue •• 21 •

Acquiring, assimilating and

Let’s look at some evidence that
compares the performance of invention
Here are some questions any
commercially applying a with innovation. Goldenberg et al (2001) innovation manager should
far deeper understanding tracked the performance of 197 new prod-
of unmet customer needs uct introductions. ask of their current project
They then categorised them accord-
ing to how the products were originated,
whether through ideas, need spotting, mar-

The problem with what ket research or in response to events. They Do you know exactly who will be the likely target cus-
still passes for innovation in many identified that the least successful new tomer or target segment of your concept / product?
companies today is that it is not products were most likely to have been

innovation at all, but rather ‘in- born from internally-generated ideas – or Do you know the market size of the target buyer /
vention’. Companies that invent what they term, mental inventions. Such segment?
rather than innovate tend to mea- inventions had only a 25% success rate. By
sure the success of their efforts by

contrast, the most successful new products How will this market size change at the time of
the number as well as the quality originated from capturing and understand-
of new ideas they generate, their launch?
ing unmet customer needs or events then
ability to develop and market ex- responding to them with appropriate solu-

periment these ideas quickly and tions. This approach succeeded in between Will the concept / project address known, quanti-
then speed them to market with a 50% and 90% of the new products originat- fied important unmet customer needs?
fanfare. Summed up by the man- ed in this way.

tra - “if we’re going to fail then at If you can identify and cut out those Do you know what these unmet needs are without
least let’s fail fast” – this accepted projects destined for failure – those that ambiguity?
culture of risk-taking and mistake- don’t meet customers’ important unmet

toleration cannot be sustained in needs – you can easily trim the wasteful What improvement in satisfaction in needs will the
a downturn when cash is king and parts of your innovation budget. Put simply, project / concept achieve?
certainty is in short supply. understanding unmet customers’ needs is

fundamental to innovation success. Do you have the optimum number of features and
functions on the platform matched to unmet needs?

“if we’re going to fail then

Have you defined a clear value proposition for the
concept based on unmet needs?
at least let’s fail fast.”
October issue •• 22 •

1 5
Reassess customer needs to discover Refocus your concept gen-

things you changing priorities (e.g., cost versus conve-

nience, simplicity versus complexity). Ad-
eration efforts by adding dis-
cipline to the inputs used.

should know
just pricing and positioning according to Go outside the firm in a
new customer priorities. more systematic way.

2 6
Reassess how customers buy your prod- Bring in top customers and
ucts and the channels they use. Make it lead users at the concept
easier for them to buy and discover a generation stage once op-
reinventing new point of market differentiation.
portunities are known, not

the wheel.
3 7
Determine if you are truly messaging to Pull previously cancelled
your product strengths. Reassess current concepts back from the
value propositions, informed by a solid “pipeline bin” and reassess
understanding of customer needs. them again using unmet
customer need inputs.
Getting started - today

4 8
Focus your innovation efforts on your Add adjacent jobs to cur-
most profitable customers. Protect them rent platforms to quickly
by adding related jobs to existing plat- and cheaply extend market
forms or by satisfying their outcomes
Using the jobs-to-be-done better. Innovate along their new priorities.

and outcomes approach de-

vised by Strategyn, here are Undertake a competitive disruptive assessment against core jobs and top out-
comes addressed by existing platforms in the market or new concepts. De-
some specific activities those termine the ability of new entrants to address core jobs and outcomes faster,
responsible for innovation can cheaper, more conveniently or at a non-central location.

perform to address the follow- Understand how current jobs-to-be-done served by existing products will
evolve post-recession. Start preparing future scenarios and inform them
ing questions: with expert opinion and new customer inputs.

October issue •• 23 •

Challenges Social
Business Will Face armano

I am currently building a practice around social recent survey conducted by Proofpoint found that 8% of companies had ter-
business design with Dachis Corp. I have 14 years expe- minated employees due to social media usage (common causes including
rience in the creative field with the majority of my time sharing sensitive information on a network).
spent in digital marketing and experience design. An ac- And while the statistic seems significant, it only underscores one of several
tive participant in the industry, I write Logic + Emotion upcoming challenges nearly every organization will face as changes in people, process
which is ranked in the top 10 media + marketing blogs ac- and technology fueled by the collective movement we call social media begin to trans-
cording to Advertising Age. My writing and visual think- form business. Here are a few challenges that every organization should be planning for
ing has been cited by Forrester, The Boston Globe and right now. If you aren’t you will be.
has landed me in BusinessWeek on several occasions
including their “Best of 2006”.
Prior to Dachis, I spent time as a creative/strategic lead at 1. Integration
notable firms such as Critical Mass, Digitas and Agency.
com—putting in a combined tenure of 8 years in the large Becoming a social business can impact nearly every function of a business. Mar-
digital agency environment. I led multiple initiatives for keting, PR, communications—even supply chain and any function that deals with em-
clients such as HP, Allstate, Fifth Third Bank, Miller Brew- ployees. So where does it live? Is it a department? Do organizations hire a “Chief Social
ing, Grainger, and Bally Total Fitness. Previously, I earned Officer” much like they would a Chief Technology Officer? All organizations will eventu-
my interactive stripes working with The Chicago Tri- ally grapple with integrating social somehow into their entire ecosystem adopting either
bune on their site initiatives. centralized, distributed or hybrid approaches.

Today, I blend strategy with design and look for new op-
portunities around the evolving Web (otherwise known of companies had terminated
as “Web 2.0”) to enhance the customer experience and
bring brands and people closer together.
employees due to social media

October issue •• 24 •

2. Governance 3. Culture
Many organizations now understand that anything that can and will All organizations fall somewhere on a spectrum of being “open” or “closed”
be said about them on the internet will be. The good, the bad, the ugly. meaning that they are either more transparent with how they operate and
And this includes content produced not only from the general collaborative or they hoard knowledge internally. Consider that it’s
public, but also from internal constituents such as employ- probable that the Zappos purchase by Amazon had a good
ees. Organizations will not only need to begin actively deal to do with their notoriously open culture. Likewise,
listening so that they are in the know, but they will even Apple which can be notoriously secretive is ben-
need rules of engagement for how they deal with efiting by leveraging a strategy that opened up their
multiple types of scenarios from responding to iPhone application ecosystem. Sure Apple has a
a compliment to dealing with a detractor to fol- great deal of control over it, but for the first time in
lowing up with an employee who just posted history—they have legions of people developing
something inappropriate or sensitive. applications which run on their hardware. Orga-
nizations have the potential to benefit from em-
4. Human Resources bracing customers, employees etc. but will have
In order to transform from a business to a so- to manage it intelligently and with purpose.
cial business, (meaning true participation as
opposed to leveraging social media as a new 5. Measurement & ROI
form of marketing), businesses are going to Every organization will continue to struggle with
have to upgrade their HR protocols, as well as le- how results get measured and how ROI is report-
gal. And it’s likely to be a never-ending process as ed. Philosophically, this question can be answered
new technologies continually hit the scene. Before with another question: “what’s the ROI of e-mail”? But
there was Twitter, companies scrambled to publish it’s a question that won’t go away. New social constructs
blogging guidelines for employees, now the wrong tweet will be needed to measure social initiatives such as attention
or Facebook status can get you fired. Organizations will not only (the size or number of participants actively engaged) or authority
need to update guidelines but actually train their people who may (the amount of influence a participant has in the ecosystem). Because so-
be leveraging social technologies for work. Customer service in par- cial business is enabled by technology, it is by definition measurable. How-
ticular comes to mind. ever, tying it to revenue made or saved becomes more of a challenge.

There’s more, but I think these represent some big ones.

What are your thoughts?
October issue •• 25 •

To motivate front-line
employees: don’t just thank JOHN
them, use their insights CADDELL

ylvia Ann Hewlett blogged at Harvard Business Review that leaders need to inspire
John Caddell has finally realized that his left lower-level employees. She writes:
and right brains are the property of the same person.
For more than twenty years, he worked for …No one succeeds alone, which is why all leaders must find a way to pollinate the
companies in the telecom industry, developing, workforce with their values, ideas and enthusiasm. This is what keeps businesses humming,
marketing and implementing IT solutions, including especially during a downturn.
end-user and interconnect billing, CRM, and media-
tion. He has worked both for telecom operators and Some leaders inspire the masses via the grand motivational speech. Others via one-
their suppliers. on-one conversations. At Time Warner, CEO Jeffrey L. Bewkes held a series of skip-level
John has specialized in wireless telecom- lunches with ten to twelve high performers that typically had little or no access to him. He
munications since 1992, working with companies spent two unscripted hours talking about his vision and answering their questions. Employ-

such as EDS and LHS Group to provide solutions to ees who attended Bewkes’ lunches reported feeling more “confident in the company” and
some of the global mobile industry’s pioneers, such developed a new affinity for their chief.

as AirTouch Communications, Hong Kong Telecom
and Sprint Cellular, and upstarts such as KDDI Mo-
bile (USA) and Working Assets Wireless. Don’t spout hyperbole — “Great job”
Prior to starting his own consulting practice, or “we can do it!” Instead, serve up
he spent six years as a corporate officer, fulfilling
executive roles in sales, P&L management, account concrete, achievable goals
management, product development and strategic
marketing. Whatever vehicle leaders choose to use to reach out and inspire employees at local
levels, their talk must have teeth. Don’t spout hyperbole — “Great job” or “we can do it!” Instead, serve up concrete, achievable goals. Listen to people’s problems and offer real solutions.
Mentor by sharing your own lessons learned, celebrate teams’ efforts and reward tangible
achievements. Even a simple “thanks” goes a long way when delivered from on high.

October issue •• 26 •

Each week at furniture designer duction System. This benefits the company
Knoll, president and COO Lynn Utter emails by ensuring a constant stream of innovation, “Let’s forget
four senior managers and asks them for the and the employees by making the workplace
name of one person on their team who has a more rewarding place to spend time. about
been exemplary. Utter then calls each per- I am focused on one particular group
son to thank and congratulate him or her for of employees–those who interact directly CEO Bewkes
a specific accomplishment. Utter is as time-
constrained as the rest of us but says that if
with customers. This includes customer-
service reps, retail clerks, bank tellers and ac- for a moment,
she cannot make four phone calls a week to
acknowledge people’s good work, then she is
count support staff. It is a group with tremen-
dous insight, and a group that’s held in low
and focus on
not doing her job.

esteem in companies I’m familiar with. making the work
They sometimes are not even more fun
and rewarding
allowed internet access
for the
Hewlett is right–inspiring the troops
is an important leadership task, especially in
To borrow a phrase from my friend
Matthew Achak, “Nobody listens to the reps.” 87,000 people
tough times. But my reaction on reading this
prescription was, “Ugh, more top-down think-
They sometimes are not even allowed inter-
net access.
who work
ing.” In other words, everything’s up to the
leader–that “affinity for the chief” and thank-
This is just wrong. These groups oc-
cupy a unique position in the company. They
ing employees makes a company better. hear the unvarnished truth from custom- Time Warner”
How about this idea instead? Let’s ers. Their stories, rather than being ignored,
forget about CEO Bewkes for a moment, and should be nurtured and collected. Everyone
focus on making the work more fun and re- else in the company should read them and Companies should focus on something like
warding for the 87,000 people who work for absorb the lessons (especially the leader- this, instead of sending their CEOs around on moti-
Time Warner. ship). They should be primary inputs to strat- vational tours or making four calls per week to ex-
Gary Hamel discussed this idea in his egy, marketing and product development. emplary employees. Increasing employees’ sense of
recent book “The Future of Management.” In it The best stories and best storytellers should meaning and personal value in their work.
he pointed out how Toyota is able to leverage be acknowledged and promoted.
the creative thinking of all its 300,000 em- Now that’s leadership.
ployees through means like theToyota Pro-

October issue •• 27 •

Should Fortune 1000

Companies be Active on
Social Networks? ANDERSON
Should your company have an app for that?

Tom H. C. Anderson countries and consulted to executive
provides hands-on personal- and brand management of Westin, W was asked to comment on MasterCard’s new iPhone application
ized consultation, high-level Hotels, Sheraton, Four Points, St Regis, “Priceless” in this week’s Adage. Since publishing of the article I’ve
advanced statistical and quali- Luxury Collection, and Starwood Va- received some questions on whether or not certain companies
tative analysis, and actionable cation Ownership. should be involved in social networks, specifically do they have
advice to Anderson Analyt- Before TNS-NFO, Tom helped any business building apps?
ics clients. Mr. Anderson has found, a ‘Gen-I’ consum- Based on our recent research as well as our personal experience
over a decade of experience er insights consultancy for Snowball. in building SNS Apps is that, yes in many cases apps can be a good tool
at the largest global marketing com, now While at IQuestics for companies in providing something of value to their customers on
research companies such as he perfected the online quantitative social networks. However, companies do need to be careful in deciding
TNS, NFO Worldwide, and AC and qualitative skills required to under- what kind of applications to build and how they execute these.
Nielsen BASES. He has worked stand and market to the technological-
on product and market devel- ly savvy 13-30 year old Gen-X & Gen-Y
opment projects across several demographic. Why should companies be active on social networks?
countries and industries in- Tom has unusually deep and In a recent survey on social networks Anderson Analytics asked
cluding financial services, tele- wide knowledge in all aspects of mar- whether or not social network users would like to see the brands/com-
communications, packaged ket research including advanced mul- panies they normally purchase products from become more involved
goods, and travel & entertain- tivariate statistical analysis, data and in communicating with them on social networks. As expected when
ment. Prior to founding Ander- text mining. Through his career he has asking about advertising, which at some level commercial involvement
son Analytics, Tom managed consulted to dozens of fortune 500 entails, a third of SNS users were negative (35%).
the Starwood Hotels & Resorts companies and major marketing re- However the real story is that most were neutral (45%), and there
Worldwide account for TNS, search suppliers and ad agencies. were nearly as many that were for it as against it (20% wanted more in-
where he managed market volvement). Put in other words, the majority (65%) are open to greater
research studies in over 80 commercial communication on social networks!

October issue •• 28 •

The story was similar, and even more positive, when we asked whether seeing prod- Does seeing products/companies and services on so-
ucts/companies and their services on social networking sites influences their trust/buying cial networking sites influence your branding trust or
decisions positively or negatively. Only 19% were negative. Again the majority of social net- buying decisions positively or negatively?
work users were neutral (64%), and there were almost as many for it as against it (17% wanted
more commercial involvement). Put in other words 83% are open to commercial involvement
in SNS; a great opportunity! [see charts on the right]

I believe widgets/applications, if designed in the true spirit of social media, in other

words if offering some value to the user, is a great way for companies to get involved in social
media. This is the reason Anderson Analytics has begun to offer help with application/widget
development as part of our new AA-Social Media offering.

Why is a market research company building social media applications?

The game rules for social media and social networks in particular are changing on a Would you like the brands/companies you normally
monthly, even weekly basis. It is not possible to run exactly the same social media campaign purchase products from to become more or less in-
this month as you ran last month. Social Network Service API’s as well as following limits/rules volved in communicating with you on social networks?
at Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are changing constantly.
By measuring campaign effectiveness through surveys, and text mining communities
online we’ve been able to get a data driven understanding of what works well and what doesn’t
on a broader level. More importantly, social network applications/widgets provide a benefit
other than pr/advertising. These applications often provide a data stream which can be ana-
lyzed and add a whole new level of insights previously not available to market researchers.
This is why we’ve decided to help companies with more tactical SNS offerings.

Companies need to be careful in

deciding what kind of applications
to build and how they execute them

October issue •• 29 •

Before leaving you, we’d like to share Some companies are truly focusing on customer centricity, and actively
try to engage consumers. Are there any key factors for success in engaging and
these few questions Seth Godin starting a conversation? What about business to business marketing? How can
companies engage other companies?
managed to answer us.
Make promises and keep them! Treat people with respect. Talk about me, not
In the current economic condition more and more peo-
ple are underlining the need for innovation and change. But Your books and articles are filled with innovative ideas, that often change
companies often have no idea where and how to start. Any ad- the way we see things. Can you tell us about a marketing lesson you learned
vice? from a least expected place? Where does the inspiration behind these ideas
come from?
They know exactly where to start. They don’t know how to
FINISH. Starting is easier. Shipping is hard. I see marketing ideas everywhere, because marketing is everywhere. The
little fly engraved in the toilet urinal is marketing.

How do you think marketing is affected by the current As a conclusion, can you give marketers one piece of advice that fits at
economic downturn, and how do you see it emerging from most a “random” number of let’s say 140 characters :-) ?
these darker times? Any changes on the horizon?
Challenge the status quo relentlessly.
I think traditional marketing works even less well when peo-
ple aren’t running around spending blindly. I think intelligent Proudly brought to you by the SP team
creation of remarkable products and stories is working better - Bogdan Meica & Stefan Moghina,
now than ever before. in collaboration with FUTURELAB
What are, in your opinion, the biggest mistakes compa- Check out our website for updates and a few surprises:
nies make when they adopt and start using digital and online
marketing? Also, is there a specific way to approach their con-
sumers on the increasing number of social networking web-
Follow us on twitter Join us on Facebook -
They outsource it. They don’t understand it so they try to buy Shift Perspectives Page
it. As for social networking, the hardest place in the world to
buy attention is a social network.

October issue •• 30 •