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Archive for January 23rd, 2007

This is definitely a must-read. Go here, download the PDF, read it, share it, and start incorporating its contents in your organization.

This piece is way overdue, but better late than never. 😉 Thanks to James Cherkoff & Johnnie Moore for putting it together. Think of it as… co-creation 101.

Here are some of my favorite little snippets:

6. Play

“If it seems easy and fun, I’ll ask someone else to play.”

Having fun, sharing laughter, is a mark of a team of people that are sharing an experience. Fun is one of the strongest forms of social glue and if you’re not having fun, it’s going to be hard to consistently create fun experiences for others.

Adidas has shown a great sense of fun with its Adicolour range, a pair of white trainers that came complete with a paint palette, so that people could decorate them and create something special. The whole project was socialised online in the shape of a competition to find the best custom-job according to 60,000 public votes. Adidas took the winning entry and made 50 pairs—half of which were presented to the winner and half of which went on sale in NYC. The spirit of the product continued into the campaign featuring outdoor poster sites upon which people were invited to add their own graffiti.

“People like to congregate around objects, play with them and create their own meaning.”

8. Work At It

“ If I’m going to be involved—you need to be involved.”

It’s important for brands to realise that participation is hard work, maybe harder work than traditional marketing. Brands that think they can just set up the forum and let their customers do all the work are going to be disappointed. Co-creation is not about someone else doing the job for you, it’s about working in a different way to get better, more fulfilling results.

“The hard core of customers will be way more enthusiastic than you are.”

This “manifesto” should be mandatory reading in business and design schools the world over. Come to think of it, adding co-creation to most college-level marketing programs wouldn’t hurt.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone. 🙂

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Pop quiz, hotshot: What’s the fastest way to drive your company’s name into the ground?

Well, there are several sure-fire ways. These are just the latest to surface in the news:

From AdPulp:

ExxonMobil spent approximately $16 million between 1998 and 2005 on 43 organizations that have cast doubt on the reality of human-caused global warming.

Funding ranged from $30,000 for the group Africa Fighting Malaria to $1.6 million to the American Enterprise Institute, a pro-business think tank in Washington.

Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent for Reuters, sees a parallel between the energy company’s aim to discredit the science of global warming and the tobacco industry’s decades long “cancer causing” cover up.

Nice. So subterfuge is one way. Greed is another:

Write your company’s deadbeat CEO a $210 million severance check when you finally fire him, while your employees’ annual raises barely edge out cost of living increases, your customers leave you in droves, and your stock remains stagnant. Brilliant.

From Jeff Matthews Is Not Making This Up, here’s a little MacBethian scene to illustrate the Nardelli situation :

DUNCAN, Board Chairman
Did we fire his sorry you-know-what yet?

MALCOLM, Lead Director
Well, sir,
Not exactly.
The lawyers say he has us by the you-know-whats.

DUNCAN
But he’s an idiot!
He almost destroyed our franchise
With that stupid Six Sigma crap…
(Pouring a scotch although it is only 10 a.m.)
I’d like to Six Sigma his sorry you-know-what…

MALCOM
Sir, there’s no time for that.
We need a decision.

DUNCAN
What is it this time?

MALCOM
He wants the corporate jets.

DUNCAN
He wants to use the jets???
Son of a…
(Downing the scotch and exhaling slowly.)
What for—he can’t fly home to Nantucket on Delta?

MALCOM
I think he actually lives on St. John’s Island, sir.

DUNCAN
Whatever.
(Pouring another scotch.)
You want one?

MALCOM
No thank you, sir.
We need a decision, sir.

DUNCAN
(Stirs ice with fingers reflecting on something.)
He looked so good on paper.
Number two at GE!
MBA!
Football player!
What the hell went wrong?

MALCOM
Sir, our lawyers need an answer.

DUNCAN
About what?

MALCOM
About the jets.

DUNCAN
Oh, right.
(Tasting the scotch.)
Well, we have three freaking jets, right?

MALCOM
Six, sir.

DUNCAN
Six? Jesus. Well, see if one of ’em is free.
Tell the pilot to take that S.O.B.’s sorry Six Sigma you-know-what wherever it has to go.
And good riddance.

MALCOM
Sir, you don’t understand.
He wants the jets.

DUNCAN
He wants the freaking jets????

MALCOM
Yes Sir. All six of them.

DUNCAN
(Shouting.)
Tell him to go pound sand!
Tell him to go pound Six Sigma sand!
Tell him I’m sure a Six Sigma guy like him
Can pound sand better than anybody else ever pounded sand!
Tell him I said that!!!!

MALCOM
Sir, it’s in the contract.

DUNCAN
What contract?

MALCOM
The one you signed when we hired him.
If he gets fired for cause, he gets the corporate jets.

DUNCAN
(Pouring another scotch.)
I hate this job.

End of Act I

Jonathan Berr, over at WMT offers this little footnote:

Home Depot is in a pickle with regards to Nardelli’s pay. It’s also found away to turn off consumers as well. I haven’t set foot in my local Home Depot in years because the experience of shopping in Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE:LOW) is so much more pleasant. The Lowe’s is about 20 miles further from my house than the Home Depot.

$210 million. Bravo.

Incidentally, read the comments from Home Depot employees posted on Johnathan’s WMT post. They’re as telling as his article.

Greed. Arrogance. Inequity.

When more and more American families struggling to make ends meet these days, with ever shrinking benefit packages, with the loss of manufacturing jobs on a massive scale in the US, with the rising, disenfranchising costs of college, nobody likes a company that slights its employees, chases away its customers, and rewards monumental management failures with the kind of money that could jumpstart many third world countries’ economies.

Be careful who you name as C.E.O. or allow on your board of directors.

Be careful how you treat your employees.

Be careful how you treat your customers.

Be careful how you come across to the world.

If you’re a C.E.O. (or if you sit on a board of directors anywhere) be aware that the business you have been entrusted with is about much more than numbers, personal perks and your need for status and recognition.

There are good shepherds, and bad ones. It’s as simple as that.

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