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Archive for September, 2006

Enter The Marketing Ninja


Here is some discussion-worthy Eastern wisdom for you (or at least some Eastern clarity) from Tim, at BCOM:

The Japanese have been putting their cool as hell ninja-in-the-fog tilt on contemporary marketing for about 2000 years, apparently. The Japanese have two expressions which should be part of every marketing curriculum:

One is hinshitsu which roughly translates to as a type of taken-for-granted quality. This is obvious in every interaction, the quality of what is being presented must be above reproach. This is what people are employed to do and have been slaving over in an analytical way since the industrial revolution.

The other is miryoku teki hinshitsu, which refers to a type of enchanting or bewitching quality. This is the quality which kicks-in after we accept the functionality and reliabilty of a product or brand, and become emotionally involved. Miryoku teki hinshitsu appeals to our sense of elegance, our desires, our need to find meaning in what we do.

I can’t believe we don’t have names for either one on this side of the big pond. (Although “Qwan” comes to mind for the second one.)

Lessons learned today:

1) Our vocabulary is always a lot more limited than we think.
2) My gift for languages does not apply to Japanese.

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I dug up another BrandXpress gem for you guys today, which speaks to the whole branding & human resources theme we’ve been engaged in all month: Employee engagement’s role in the success of businesses. Here is the post in its full glory:

A recent study by Standard Life shows that the employees the felt part of the business and understood its goals were willing and able to contribute their best to achieving those goals. Your internal communications plan and branding is a huge step toward employee engagement and here is a list of eight things to do about it:

1.Cultivate a culture that reinforces your Brand Contract and encourage employees to “live the brand”
2. Measure the effectiveness of your internal branding strategy to maximize the ROI on your internal branding initiatives
3.Insist that senior management models brand-focused behavior and cultural values
4. Set communication alignment goals (are you even measuring the effectiveness of your internal communications?)
5. Make positive examples of employee behavior that represents your values, mission, brand and business strategy
6. Reward employees for demonstrating their commitment to your brand contract and values
6. Show daily how commitment to mission and values is the touchstone that drives your decisions
7. Harness the entire creativity of every employee in bringing the brand to life
8. Involve all departments in branding, not just marketing – HR, operations, customer support, development, finance, and more.

I have no idea what #2 is about, but the other seven make a whole lot of sense.

(Okay… that’s not true. I know what #2 is about… but I can’t stand business-speak so I completely tuned it out.)

I particularly love #7 and #8:

“Harness the entire creativity of every employee in bringing the brand to life, and involve all departments in branding, not just marketing – HR, operations, customer support, development, finance, and more.”

Wow. And yes. I’ve seen this in action, and it is absolutely magical. This isn’t to say that every employee is creative or has something revolutionary to offer, but… well… wait a minute… Why not?

I guess it all depends on whom you are hiring, why you are hiring them, and how you are recruiting them to begin with.

Some of the questions you have to ask yourself is this: Are you hiring people who really click with you and your staff? Are you hiring people who were born to work for you? (Really.) Are you hiring people who embody your brand (or who at can at least rock it for you every day)? Are you hiring enthusiastic people? Brand embassadors? Creative problem-solvers?

If not, why not? I mean… really. Why not?

Is it that you can’t find peoplelike this? (If so, you aren’t looking very hard, because I run into two or three of them every week.) Is it that your HR/Recruiters can’t find them? (Are they throwing safe choices at you instead of finding edgier candidates?) Or is it that you just choose to hire conservatively?

It’s a question you really need to ask yourself… and answer truthfully.

Employee engagement is at the core of your business’ success, and it starts with HR. It really does. Marketing and Sales might seem more important, but trust me on this: Get more involved with recruiting at your company, from the “search” phase to the selection phase to the actual interview phase. If you’re too busy, bring HR into your department’s fold. Invite your HR department to sit in on your departmental or project management meetings. Don’t just make them sit there, though. Invite them to participate and contribute. Ask for their advice. Bring them into your department’s culture. Let them experience your department’s strengths and weaknesses firsthand. By doing so, give them the tools to recruit people who will add value to your team and fit-in with a minimal amount of friction.

Don’t just give them a list of skills and attributes to look for in potential candidates. Help them understand what you need so completely that even if you can’t find the time to be as active as you would like in the search for your next great executive, they will be able to find the perfect candidates for you. Not just the cookie-cutter applicant with the right keywords on their CV or the right career profile, but the kind of person who will also energize your company, engage the rest of your staff, and help you take your brand to new heights.

Your employees are your most valuable investment. Bar none. Take the time to invest wisely.

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Great Brands Never Die.

From BrandXpress and Influx Insights:


Lacoste has come roaring back from obscurity to become one of the hottest sports/apparel brands around. The company’s US sales grew in the US of 1000% in 5 years. Not bad for a brand that was once languishing under General Mills’s ownership.

What can other brands learn from Lacoste’s comeback?

1. History Can Be Made Relevant to Today
Lacoste was established by Rene Lacoste, a brilliant French tennis player, who in the 1930s, won three French Opens, two Wimbledon championships and two US Opens. Lacoste are proud of their history and don’t try to hide it.

2. If You Have an Iconic Identity, Use It
Lacoste’s crocodile is one of the most widely recognized brand identities in the world .

3. Seize Relevant Trends
Lacoste profited from the return of the “prep”.

4. Don’t Be Scared to Innovate
A problem for classic brands, is that they are scared that they will loose their authenticity if they innovate. Lacoste weren’t afraid to evolve their iconic shirt, to appeal to a new generation of women.

5. Patience Pays
The company has opened just 46 stores since 1995. A smart strategy, slow and steady growth allows a solid brand foundation to be built.

6. Scarcity Adds Value
When Robert Siegel took over the brand in 2002, the first thing he did was to cut back on distribution, taking the brand away from mass retailers like Macy’s.

Lacoste is now at possibly the most difficult stage of its brand maturity. There’s an opportunity to “cash-out” and expand the brand rapidly through licensing, the brand has just signed a deal with Movado for watches. In 2005, it signed a $25 million deal with tennis star, Andy Roddick, that it could be tempted to over-maximize.

Lacoste’s return shows that brands with real history and authenticity have a surprising level of durability, they have the power to ride out storms and return a fresh, but only if that return is carefully managed.

I love it.

Incidentally, here is a bit of brand history (and fantastic cocktail party chatter) from the Lacoste site, that may or may not recount the story of how brand logos came to appear on the outside of an article of clothing (other than on buttons), instead of just on the lining or inside label:

The true story of the “Crocodile” begins in 1927. René LACOSTE liked to recount how his nickname became an emblem recognized throughout the world.

“I was nicknamed “the Alligator” by the American press, after I made a bet with the Captain of the French Davis Cup Team concerning a suitcase made from alligator skin. He promised to buy it for me if I won a very important match for our team.The public must have been fond of this nickname which conveyed the tenacity I displayed on the tennis courts, never letting go of my prey!”

“So my friend Robert GEORGE drew a ‘crocodile’ which I then had embroidered on the blazer I wore on the courts.

An attentive spectator at René LACOSTE’s Davis Cup matches was the winner of the BRITISH Womens golf title, Mademoiselle Simone THION de la CHAUME, who soon became his wife and constant support.

In 1933, René LACOSTE and André GILLIER, the owner and President of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm of that time, set up a company to manufacture the logo-embroidered shirt. The champion had designed this for his own use on the tennis court, as well as a number of other shirts for tennis, golf and sailing – as can be seen in the first catalogue, produced in 1933.

To the best of our knowledge, this was the first time that a brand name appeared on the outside of an article of clothing – an idea which has since become extremely successful.

This shirt revolutionized mens sportswear and replaced the woven fabric, long-sleeved, starched classic shirts.The first LACOSTE shirt was white, slightly shorter than its counterparts, had a ribbed collar, short sleeves with ribbed bands and was made of a light knitted fabric called “Jersey petit piquéIt continues to offer the same quality, comfort and solidity on which it built its name and which constitute its uniqueness.

The Lacoste site does a great job of showing you what the brand is all about, and… I have to admit… (as much as I hate to) I might be getting back on the Lacoste train pretty soon. (Their optics and footwear are pretty cool.)

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This photo is real.
It is a photo of a real meeting in a real meeting room somewhere in corporate America.
This day-long meeting cost about $16,000. (Money well spent, obviously.)
The people in the background are real people and those are their real facial expressions.
They really
are
that bored.
This was the day when I discovered that Powerpoint, like cars, should require a license.
Only one guy noticed the tiny puppy toy on the table and my camera, but he is still too bored to even crack a smile.
Seriously. Look at him. He is completely numb to everything going on around him.
The others are doodling.
And yes, there is a powerpoint presentation going on at that moment.
Enthusiasm, productivity and engaged workgroups rock my world.

Wow. Judging by the number of posts I have run into recently that deal with unhappy employees (and the nefarious effect unhappy workers can have on everything from customer service to product innovation – which are two pillars of every strong brand,) September must be disgruntled employee month. Is there something about September/back to school/shorter days/ year-end deadlines and fall trade show season that tends to stress people out?

(If you have any studies on this in your back pocket, please forward them my way.)

I just ran into this great piece on the dumb little man blog, cleverly titled “50 Ways a Manager can get Employees to Quit.” (In case the title wasn’t clear enough, the piece gives us a list of 50 ways a manager can get – yes, you guessed it – his employees to quit. Or at least the ones who aren’t so desperate for a steady paycheck that they’ll cling to a job they hate. … Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

If you want to check out the original post, click here, but if you want to stick around, here’s the skinny:

I polled the other guys in my group and we built a damn good list of things that our IT manager did that led to him losing his $100K/year job. Note that I left a few specific things out because I don’t need anyone getting pinched. If you repeat these things successfully, you too will get your team to hate you. If you are a reporting to someone that does these things, print this and do the old Office Space under the door routine.

50. Assign enough projects with tight deadlines so that your team has no choice but to work a 60 hour week while you only work 30 hours
49. Cap overtime pay.
48. Do not offer project pay.
47. Constantly underestimate the time it takes to get things done and then penalize employees’ bonuses because they didn’t hit the goal.
46.Talk more than you listen.
45. Tell the team to begin planning for tons of deployments but never obtain the budget to actually implement any of them.
44. Don’t trust written time cards. Make employees email you when they get to the office so you can see a timestamp when they get in.
43. Always take sides in disputes instead of moderating.
42. Avoid looking people in the eye.
41. Reprimand employees in front of the entire team.
40. Hire someone that is very weak to take the place of a veteran and expect the same results from the team.
39. Reprimand Mark but don’t reprimand Tony when he makes the same error.
38. Consistency is good. Never ask you employees if they are challenged enough or want to take on more responsibility.
37. Make promises to internal customers but have no idea on the elements involved in getting the task done.
36. You know that Tony is a slacker, but he is really cool to hang out with so keep him around and give him good reviews.
35. Suzy can take 20 minute breaks instead of 10 because she’s a little cuter than Paul.
34. Give your employees 2nd tier systems to work with but expect top tier results.
33. Never cross train anybody on anything. The skills they walked in with are the skills they are leaving with.
32. Mandate a new policy without consulting a single person that will have to live with it.
31. Give employees low raises because the more you save, the higher your bonus.
30. When talking to an employee on the phone, type away at your email. That’s a great time to catch-up!
29. When someone comes to you with an issue regarding another employee, use a lot of big words to explain the situation but really take no interest or action.
28. Create a desk cleanliness policy.
27. When Suzy comes in late and leaves early, and we complain, do nothing about it.
26. Instead of offering to help hands-on, watch from a distance and provide support over email.
25. Mandate that the entire team use a single to-do list application simply because you think it’s best.
24. Make your best employees train the newbies for weeks at a time but insist that all deadlines be met.
23. Never answer your cell phone.
22. Never be the on-call guy to share in the team burden.
21. Have a group of employees that you get a long with and go out to lunch with while those that you don’t like get left out.
20. Send employees lots of chain letters, poems and other crap spam when they are hard at work.
19. Constantly give your employees vague project plans and get pissed when the result is not what you wanted.
18. Refuse to upgrade a system after the entire team asks for it and then be sure not to give a valid reason.
17. Blame everything on your boss because no one will ever call you on it.
16. Make all men wear ties.
15. Do not let employees expense cell phone use but require a cell phone number for the on-call guy.
14. Shut off access to Google and Ebay because it’s not “required for work”.
13. Never let employees hangout and use the corp. network to play games after hours.
12. Tell employees to do plan B because you will save $11 even though plan A is the safer, more efficient way to go.
11. I don’t care what they are working on. No one should get a monitor larger than yours
10. Insist employees come to your wife’s silly Barbecue.
9. Give advice on topics you are only partially educated in.
8. When the kudos are handed out, you should take the credit because you managed the team. Do not give credit to anyone else.
7. Monitor all phone use.
6. Charge someone .25 days off for a dentist appointment.
5. Lecture the team at least weekly.
4. Hold team meetings to provide updates even though the updates only pertain to one-third of team.
3. Buy the team lunch and always forget that Vegan in the corner…he’ll come around.
2. Make the team fill out self evaluations but provide very vague feedback on what they type.
1.Sleep with that girl Suzy on the team. No one will suspect she’s getting preferential treatment.

Um… wait… there are more than 50 on this list. Darn.

0. Call the redhead guy on the team Rusty. Everyone will laugh and you are sure to win their hearts.
-1. Make sure the cubicles are as close to each other as physically possible. The open areas surrounding the group will be used eventually.
-2. Make the entire team read a book and then set aside 3 hours to discuss it. This is sure to increase productivity.
-3. Let a couple people work from the house, but provide no reason for it or ways for others to obtain the right.
-4. Insist that employees complete projects that even you admit are worthless.

Here are a few more from F360 to make it an even 60:

-5. Hire. Fire. Hire. Fire. Hire. Fire. Keep that revolving door a-spinning. (There’s an endless supply of recent college grads willing to work 60 hours for piddles, so use it.)
-6. When something doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, always pass the buck.
-7. Ask your staff to come in on weekends. (Tip: Start with one weekend here and there, until you bring them in at least one weekend per month… then two.) If you run out of reasons, start scheduling “team building” seminars and whatnot. (Why should employees have a family life when they could be helping each other tackle rope courses and “Survivor” style beach challenges all weekend?)
-8. After denying decent raises to deserving employees because “things are a bit tight,” show off your new luxury car and talk incessantly about how much of a pain in the butt that enormous new house you’re building is starting to become. (Those damn custom pools are a bitch on the landscaping.)
-9. Make no effort not to be clueless about your team’s projects when it’s just you and your people, but act like you’re 100% on top of things in front of your boss. For bonus points, act impatient with your team members anytime they can’t answer one of your irrelevant questions. After all, you’re a bit annoyed about having to do everything for them these days, and it’s cool to show the boss a little sliver of your human side.
-10. Deny any and all requests for additional training or certifications because there’s just no time for it.

Nothing will wreck a perfectly great team’s vibe faster than a boss who a) makes them feel exploited and unappreciated, b) makes them feel that they are being treated unfairly, and c) gets in their way when all they are trying to do is a great job.

Yeah, it’s that simple.

Still… what’s with the employee unhappiness thing going on these last two weeks?

Before you answer that, check out this blast from the past (and especially the wheel of customer service and brand identity doom… or whatever).

Maybe it’s a seasonal thing.

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Defining Success…

Here’s another Corante post from last week that I thought ought to get some play time here:

John Winsor points us to this post by Seth Godin today in which he poses this astute question: “What is success?

Per Seth:

“It’s a serious question. How do you know when you’re successful–when you have enough market share or profit or respect or money? How do you decide what success is?”

I’ve run into my share of people for whom success was simply owning a Porsche, a few great sets of golf clubs, and having a 6,000 sq.ft. house on the right golf course. I’ve met a few for whom success meant designing products or ads that would be used or seen by millions of people. For some, success is being on the cover of Vogue or Elle. It’s winning the Tour De France. It’s having your own sitcom. It’s celebrating 50 years of profitable business. It’s getting 5,000 hits per day… or 500,000. It’s hearing yourself on the radio three times an hour. It’s a title on your business card. It’s the corner office. It’s a 75-year wedding anniversary. It’s an award. It’s a 4.0 average. It’s the size of your garage or of your yacht or of your third home. It’s how much you can bench press. It’s beating the S&P. It’s being able to spend your own weight in cash every day for the rest of your life. It’s beating cancer. It’s winning a war. It’s curing Polio. It’s watching your kids grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. It’s serving 500 plates in an hour without making any mistakes. It’s getting a big fat check from a VC. It’s increasing profits or expanding operations to Asia. It’s rescuing every hostage. It’s fixing Social Security. It’s winning a Gold medal at The Games. It’s winning the election. It’s getting that promotion. It’s graduating. It’s getting the account. It’s breaking a record. It’s kicking heroin. It’s getting her to say yes. It’s winning the lottery. It’s walking on the Moon. It’s making your first dollar.

The thing is that every single one of those definitions of success is personal. These are all individual measures of success. They don’t involve other people’s expectations. They don’t involve the success of groups or organizations. And that’s precisely the rub.

Per Seth:

“Too often, we let someone else define success. Critics, for example, want a movie to be only modestly popular and modestly approachable. Geeks want your brand to be new and edgy. Alexa-watchers want you to be bigger than MySpace. Stock analysts want you to beat the numbers that they told you they wanted you to meet. Your boss wants you to show up a lot and work late, regardless of what you actually do for her… A lot of organizational conflict comes from mismatched expecations of success.”

More often than not, the definition of success is not well defined at the start of a project (which could be as simple as the design of a print ad or as complex as… well, I’ll just let your imagination fill-in the blank there). The project manager or CEO typically goes straight to the “goals” but forgets to take a few minutes to go around the room and poll his team (and/or his bosses) to a) find out how they all define success as it pertains to the project, and b) make sure everyone associated with it understands the many different elements that will either make the project successful, or not.

(Sales and profits are usually pretty important on the ROI list, but they aren’t always the end-all, be-all.)

Some measures of success may very well be “having the best _________ on the market,” or “having the coolest ______________ on the market,” or having “the most user friendly ______________ on the market,” or having “the most durable ______________ on the market.” The smallest digital camera. The flattest phone. The fastest assembly line in the world. The fastest flash card on the market. The most arresting ad campaign of the decade. It could be getting the most out of every penny in the budget, or getting designers and accountants to speak the same language. It could be a side-effect, like creating a cultural phenomenon, or giving birth to a fashion icon.

It can be hundreds of things. Thousands, even.

The point is that all of these things must be 1) communicated at the project’s launch, and 2) agreed upon by all relevant parties.

This is not something you can afford to skip.

“As we launch this new company, we will measure success thus…”

“As we launch this new product, we will measure success thus…”

“As you begin your new career, you will measure success thus…”

Simple concept, yet too often overlooked.


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Challenge of the I

Check out this very cool video of Joseph Jaffe discussing Marketing and new media as he arrives in Brussels (Belgium) for the Challenge of the I conference.

Speaking of Joe, here’s a little something I found on his blog that I liked a lot. The first 17 statements come from a post on “preserving the status quo” by Seth Godin, but 18-30 are his:

1. “That will never work.”
2. “… That said, the labor laws make it difficult for us to do a lot of the suggestions [you] put out. And we do live in a lawsuit oriented society.””
3. “Can you show me some research that demonstrates that this will work?”
4. “Well, if you had some real-world experience, then you would understand.”
5. “I don’t think our customers will go for that, and without them we’d never be able to afford to try this.”
6. “It’s fantastic, but the salesforce won’t like it.”
7. “The salesforce is willing to give it a try, but [major retailer] won’t stock it.”
8. “There are government regulations and this won’t be permitted.”
9. “Well, this might work for other people, but I think we’ll stick with what we’ve got.”
10. “We’ll let someone else prove it works… it won’t take long to catch up.”
11. “Our team doesn’t have the technical chops to do this.”
12. “Maybe in the next budget cycle.”
13. “We need to finish this initiative first.”
14. “It’s been done before.”
15. “It’s never been done before.”
16. “We’ll get back to you on this.”
17. “We’re already doing it.”

18. You have to understand…this is the [insert company name here] company
19. Be patient with us.
20. We move slowly, but we’ll get there.
21. You’ve obviously never worked in the [insert industry name here] industry
22. There just isn’t enough budget for change
23. Do you have best practices to go with that?
24. No one ever got fired for putting TV on the plan (yesterday’s excuse)
25. No one ever got fired for putting (traditional) Interactive on the plan (today excuse)
26. Our marketing mix modeling doesn’t incorporate the approaches you’re suggesting
27. Well that might work in [insert country A here], but this is [insert country B]
28. What you say is terrific, but it would just be too hard to implement
29. We need a certain amount of reach in order to be successful
30. Change is good…but not on my watch.

I think that #23 is my favorite. ;D

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image shamefully stolen from the Creating Passionate Users blog

Ripped from Corante:

Ah, Kathy Sierra… What can I say. Kathy writes one of the most consistently great blogs dealing with business, marketing, and all things related to them. One of her latest entries on Creating Passionate Users deals with capturing and keeping someone’s attention. For the purposes of this discussion, that would be… your customers, or potential customers, but the concept can definitely be applied to other parts of your life as well. (Students, cute girls, managers, parents, readers, etc.) In her own words:

“When you want to get–and especially keep–someone’s attention, what’s your competition? What else could they choose to focus on at any given moment? The belief that we have 100% conscious control over what we pay attention to is a myth. The belief that users can and will choose to pay attention to our message/ad/docs/product/lesson, etc. is a mistake. So what can we do to up the odds of getting and keeping attention?”

In true Kathy form, the answer is never far from the question. Here, she quotes David Lichman:

“The secret is to be more provocative and interesting than anything else in their environment.”

Aha! Okay. Nothing new there. We’ve already heard about Seth Godin’s “be remarkable” argument, and the value of being a “purple cow.”

But you know what? It’s worth revisiting frequently, and Kathy does a great job of reminding us of this essential strategic ingredient.

I’ll be lazy here and quote Kathy again (and again and again and again…):

“If we want our users (members, guests, students, potential customers, kids, co-workers, etc.) to pay attention, we have to be provocative. We can moan all we want about how the responsible person should pay attention to what’s important rather than what’s compelling. But it’s not about responsibility or maturity. It’s not even about interest. It’s about the brain.”

Here are some of her suggestions on how to capture the interest of our customers:

1. Be Visual

Pictures are more important to the brain than words, and unless you’ve already got their attention and are a good enough writer to paint pictures in their head, you’ll do better with visuals. The more stimulating the better. Even graphs and charts are a huge help.

2. Be Different–Break Patterns and Expectations

As long as we’re doing what everyone else is doing (or what we have always done), the brain can relax and think, “Nothing new here… whew… what a relief, that means I can now go back to scanning for something that is”. Ways to be different include doing the opposite of what you normally do, or doing something expected in a different domain, but which is wildly unique in yours.

3. Be Daring

You know the story on this one–being safe is often incompatible with being provocative.

4. Change Things Regularly

This is about continually breaking your own patterns. Consistently shaking things up whether it’s look and feel of your website to the product itself. (Obviously the definition of “regularly” and “things” varies dramatically depending on the type of product or service. MySpace can change daily to the delight of its core audience, while a financial app better keep its UI stable for a much longer time and find something else to change regularly (like the website, tutorial style, or online forums).

5. Inspire Curiosity

Humans often find puzzles and even questions irresistible. Just try to walk by a TV playing a quiz show and not think about the answer to the question you heard walking by. How many times have you watched to the end of a movie you didn’t particularly like, just because you had to find out how the story ends? Our legacy brains love curiosity because it usually means more learning.

6. Pose a Challenge

The level and nature of the challenge work only if they’re within boundaries that work for your audience, of course.

7. Be Controversial and Committed

Take a stand. Mediocrity is not a formula for holding attention.

8. Be Fun

Remember, brains love fun because fun=play, and play=practicing-to-survive. (And as we’ve said many times here, fun does not have to mean funny.

9. Be Stimulating. Be Exciting. Be Seductive

Keep in mind that seduction does not have to mean sexual. A good storyteller can seduce me into sticking with the story. A good teacher can seduce me into learning. A good software app can seduce me into getting better and better.

10. Help them have Hi-Res Experiences

This gets back to the notion of being-better-is-better. The more your users know and can do, the higher resolution experience they have. Whatever you can do to give them more expertise will help keep them interested in wanting to know and do more. But they need to be up the skill curve a ways before this really kicks in, so we must do whatever we can to help get new users past the rough spots (i.e. the “suck threshold”).

See? I told you she was good!

The theory of “attention share” (“wallet share’s” right-brain twin) has been earning serious points with me for the better part of a year now. By the way, for a great little article on the shift from “mind share” to -and relationship with – “wallet share,” click here. It’s pretty basic, but that’s okay.)

Kathy’s post also echoes John Moore’s post this week about the Ann Taylor brand, which introduces us to Ann Taylor’s Kay Krill, and her five tips on reviving a fashion brand:

1: Know your client—not only what she wears, but how she lives.
2: Have an action plan, and have total agreement from the senior leaders who need to execute the plan.
3: Evolve. Retail is not a static business; there’s great danger in staying still.
4: Constantly communicate with employees at all levels.
5: Stay positive and optimistic.

Compared to Kathy’s fresh and energy-infused list, Kay’s fabulous five list may seem a little… sober, but it is equally important. Kathy’s tips deal with being remarkable. Kay’s tips deal with not only staying relevant, but also making your organization get from the strategy phase to the execution phase. The two go hand in hand. Being remarkable without being relevant basically equates to just grabbing people’s attention. (Like… being a clown.) Likewise, being relevant without being remarkable is just boring. (“Bueller? Bueller?”)

I may be stating the obvious here, but… hey, that’s not always a bad thing: When looking for potent ingredients to add to your brand’s magic recipe, equal doses of remarkable and relevant work best when used together…

… and preferably in very large quantities.

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)

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