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Archive for October, 2008

Hey everyone, I have been working on a presentation which outlines how to identify and rescue distressed brands, and I figured with the economy being a little scary right now, the timing might be right for me to turn the concept into a series of blog posts. I will be posting part 1 tomorrow, which will touch on two essential topics: Identifying symptoms of a distressed brand… and most importantly ACCEPTING that a brand is indeed in a state of distress.

All too often, brands fail not because their problems are too complex to fix or their obstacles too great to overcome, but because their stewards fail to accept that they are in serious trouble and need help.

Fact: Distressed brands – like countries, like sports teams, like economies, like people – can be nursed back to health. Under the right care, they can make complete recoveries. They can even come out stronger than they would have been had it not been for the crisis.

This type of rescue can be done quickly, fairly painlessly, and even on a budget… But the first step in the process is acknowledging that a) treatment is necessary, and b) that this treatment needs to begin immediately, not three or six months from now.

Let’s see if we can spend this week going over the process of saving a distressed brand. I invite everyone to comment, offer suggestions, share past experiences, and weigh in with whatever opinions you may have. If we do this right, this series of posts alone might help a few companies come up with ways to improve their condition and get their brands back on track. (If we can collectively accomplish that with just a few blog posts, we’ll have accomplished something pretty special.)

Have a great evening, everyone. We’ll see you guys here tomorrow. 🙂

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Great news! Kenzie has been found, safe and sound. Everything is going to be okay now. Thank you so much for your help. Your response was overwhelming. 🙂

Now that the ordeal is over, let’s help the Church family move on with their lives by taking down the “missing” and “come home” posters we all posted this week. It would be a pretty nice gesture.

Thanks, everyone!

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UK-based cScape has just released the results of their 2008 online customer engagement survey. Fantastic data and insight from people who obviously know what they are talking about.

Per Richard Sedley, director of cScape’s Customer Engagement Unit:

A starting point for any online customer engagement strategy is gathering data. It is crucial to find out what your customers do when they visit your site – and not base it on guesswork. So how do you know what to look for? The first step, before measurement and analysis, is to identify which data you can act on in a way that will actually benefit your customers and yourself.

Many businesses suffer from ‘metric paralysis’; they collect too much data which they just don’t have the time or know-how to learn from. While this mass of data can look impressive, it is hardly ever used effectively to improve the customer’s online experience, or overall business performance.

Metrics should be actionable. They should give you specific insights into your visitors’ behaviour so that you can take appropriate action based on that information. But even metrics that are actionable don’t do anything in and of themselves to improve a site. They simply bring out positive and negative indicators. To change things for the better requires an organisational structure whereby appropriate measures can be taken.

Even if you don’t have the time to read the entire thing, you will at least get some great insight from the many charts used to illustrate some of the study’s findings. Some examples:

Be sure to read and share this thorough, insightful and infinitely valuable report here. (Or click on the top image.)

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Robert Killick on the need for intellectual curiosity and courage in the face of “unknowns” in today’s business leaders:

Risk was once seen as a catalyst for competitiveness, innovation and change in enterprise culture. Now it is seen as a negative barrier to be avoided with all sorts of precautionary measures. ‘Risk consciousness’ is the order of the day, but the preference to always dig up the dark side of humanity betrays a lack of faith in human reason. Curiosity and foolhardiness are often derided as irresponsible and egotistical traits, but the great heroes of the past have taken personal risks that benefit all of us.

Today, research and experimentation that does not have a measurable ‘positive effect’ is seen as irresponsible. Yet it is precisely through experimentation, risk – and, yes, mistakes – that some of the major scientific breakthroughs and technological inventions have come about. Without risky experimentation, and without individuals willing to take those risks in the pursuit of knowledge, we wouldn’t have aeroplanes, penicillin, MRI scans or X-rays.

The ability to handle risk – though technology, human ingenuity, reason and resilience – is a measure of modernity and it can only be achieved through more experimentation, not less. The hard won freedoms to creative expression, communication and to technological innovation should be treasured, and the twenty-first century should be when we take them even further.

Risk-adverse/risk-paralyzed leaders aren’t leaders at all. At best, they are followers promoted or appointed to positions they should have had enough common sense, integrity and professionalism to turn down.

Fact: Leaders “lead.” They take their companies in a specific direction and make sure that course corrections occur as needed along the way. Standing still, ignoring emerging market trends, rewarding business-as-usual strategies, waiting for competitors to make a move before testing the waters, or building protective walls around organizations are not examples of leadership.

No one is advocating making rash decisions of course, but in order for companies to be successful, their leaders must possess certain key personality traits – among them the essential combination of vision, courage and an unbreakable pioneering streak.

Bear this in mine when placing your bets on a company, new boss or potential candidates for an executive-level position.

Have a great week, everyone!

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