Tag Archives: Marketing

Branding is From the Inside Out

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What you portray as the external image of your business is no longer a planned: “this is how we want to appear to the outside world,” but rather a transparent view into the internal workings of your company.

    Branding is your culture.
    Branding is your employee relations.
    Branding is your procedures and systems.
    Branding is your recruitment and hiring practices.
    Branding is your product.
    Branding is your customer service.

Branding is the vision, the strategy, and the people who carry it out.

Branding is your design scheme, colors, and logo.

Branding is how it all looks, feels, and fits together.

Branding is WHO YOU ARE.

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Are you paying attention, now?

Your customers are: every instance of your existence.

Your employees are: oh, did you think that branding was just for the “outside world?”

    Employee morale and engagement hinges on your credibility. If as a company you act like a hypocrite, then that is the bar you’ve set for your employees (or internal customers).

The world is too connected and moves too quickly to “do what you do” and then “prepare how you seem.”

Now, you have to “do as you seem.

Every action.
Every day.
From the inside out.

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It All Starts With the Customer…

I started a huge focus on “Customer Experience” about 3 years ago, when I started looking for a new career path. I foresaw “Customer Experience” becoming the main focus of modern business (and also my way of getting into the tech industry).

I didn’t have tech industry experience, but I did have a decade of leadership experience in customer-centric environments, mostly in restaurants. In restaurants, the customer experience happens quickly, which mirrors how almost every business operates now that we live in a “connected world.”

  • A customer reads an advertisement
  • Calls on the phone
  • Visits the host stand
  • Gets walked to the table
  • Gets taken care of by the waiter
  • Drinks are made by the bar
  • Food is made by the kitchen
  • Cleanliness is maintained by the bussers

Every single one of those separate interactions serve as “touch points” where a customer interacts with the business. So, these departments must not be managed individually, but looked at as equally important aspects of a customer’s journey.

If you drop the ball in any of the areas, the customer experience is bad, resulting in an eventual decline of sales. In the “connected world” that we now live in, every single business now has to take this “customer experience” methodology into account:

  • An advertisement that a user clicks on
  • The look, feel, and user-friendliness of the website.
  • All social media engagement.
  • Signing up for a service or buying a product.
  • The quality of the product or service.
  • Any support that a user needs or questions they may have.
  • Any problem that may arise and how it’s dealt with.

All of them are “touch points,” just like in a restaurant. Every single interaction that a customer has with any area of a business contributes to their overall experience. If any of these areas fail to impress the customer, sales will eventually go down.

Online Business’s Customer Experience:

Online Customer Experience

Everything now runs like a restaurant, with multiple areas of specialty converging simultaneously on the customer. Businesses can no longer be managed separately in compartments. Leaders in a business must be cross-functional, look at the big picture, and take into account how each department affects one another and what impact they have on customer experience.

Everything is a Touchpoint:

All the Possible Touch Points of Customer Experience
Department heads can’t just be grouped together once in a while during a staff meeting, either; There needs to be leaders who always look at the individual departments as pieces of a whole.

This means that leaders in a “connected world” should not be extremely specialized in one function, but instead be adaptive generalists who can just as easily talk with developers, designers, engineers, customer support staff, business strategists, marketing specialists, salesmen, or executives.

Generic Customer Experience

More than that, they must be able to communicate the “big picture” to each department in a way that it can identify with. Leaders must inspire the big, shared vision of excellent customer experiences to every employee.

“What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every component is there not for competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis.”

– W. Edwards Deming

The Connected World

As society continues to evolve, due to connectivity, businesses must also evolve. This may mean changing the organizational structure or looking for leaders with a different set of skills than what has worked in the past.

Connectivity can be good or bad. While people are waiting a long time or receiving bad service, they are equipped with smartphones and can post/ tweet/ text/ etc. their experiences in real-time to hundreds of their connections. Twice as many people talk about bad experiences than good ones, too. However, having a good experience is rewarded with repeat business and referrals.

One thing that is becoming more apparent to those in the tech industry (as well as other industries, such as medical) is the focus on providing exceptional customer experiences. Looking at each and every touchpoint a customer has with a business as one aspect of the customer’s journey. This means breaking down the walls that separate departments and seeing the big picture.

Medical Customer Experience:

Medical Visit Customer Experience

Where was “Customer Experience” a primary focus long before it became a buzzword?

Restaurants.

When managing a high volume restaurant, the lead manager must work together with every department, in real time, to ensure a positive experience for the customer (despite the fact that each department operates fundamentally different). A great restaurant manager must be in constant communication with all departments, despite their differences, to achieve the shared goal of excellent customer experience.

The tech (and every) industry needs those same type of leaders: Someone who floats effortlessly from designers, developers, engineers, marketers, business strategists, and salesman. Someone who can speak the language of each department and inspire the same shared vision: excellent customer experience.

Generic Customer Experiences - Exceptional vs Good

If even one of the departments fail to share the vision, that customer may be lost forever to the competition. In the “connected world” that we live in today, it probably also means the loss of several other customers and tarnishing of the brand name.

Customer Experience - Companies Can No Longer Hide in a Connected World

How to Build Innovative, Next-Generation Products Before Anyone Else Does

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Put yourself entirely into the mind of a consumer (except slightly in the future):

  • How they will think.
  • How they will feel.
  • What your business will look like from their POV.
  • How your product will seem from their POV.
  • What they truly desire.
  • What would make their life easier, simpler, or more enjoyable?

Completely “become the customer” in your mind. Forget about reports, stocks, the shareholders, the technical limitations, and the cost. For a significant amount of time, try and see everything through their eyes, not through the experienced eyes of an experienced businessman.

Try not to recognize the technical limitations taught to you in engineering school. After all, the customer doesn’t care about those things. They do not exist to a customer.

BECOME THE CUSTOMER

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“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.”

– Steve Jobs

Imagine the product that would make your life easier, better, or more enjoyable in someway. Now take this imaginary device and try your best to explain it to your team. It’s at this point that you may realize certain “impossibilities” of the product you’ve imagined. You may realize at this point that the technology needed to build this product is a decade away, or is still in the experimental phase.

START BUILDING THAT PRODUCT, REGARDLESS

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“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

– Steve Jobs

Then, you simply build the product that you wanted, with all hands-on-deck to push along the development of any aspect of it that is not yet possible. Double the R&D funds to that department, if necessary. They key is to build the product that you imagined, and to do it faster than originally seemed possible.

You imagine first, then you make it possible.

“In the end, for something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

– Steve Jobs

That is how you disruptively innovate an entire culture with a single product. By doing so, you get to the prize (the fully developed product) several years before your nearest competitor. Everything they do will be a rip-off of your invention, or a counter-move to catch up.

The New Secret Weapon for Social Media Success

Posting stupid and/or hilarious pictures.

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This strategy will absolutely increase user engagement for your social media profile. People today have the attention span of a squirrel, and will pass over anything that does not immediately catch their eye. That’s why it has to be visual. Text is boring and takes time to see what the main topic is. People literally will not spend 10 seconds on reading a bit of text and deducing if it is a topic that interests them. It has to be instantaneous, big, and bold.

People enjoy laughing. It feels good. It releases endorphins in your brain, giving you pleasure. So, you have to make them laugh. Otherwise, they’ll continue to seek pleasure from another source. We are animals. We like feeling good.

For example: hardly anybody will read this post, but if I had posted a stupid GIF or meme, it would have tons of hits. Why did I even take the time to write this? That remains a mystery… Modern marketing is radically different, due to technological advancements and reduced attention spans.

It’s like the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” In today’s world, the book and the cover are one and the same.

 

Stop Being Such a Wuss and Release a Full New Phone Each Year

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AKA Stop Being a Pussy and Be Innovative

Rumors say that the new iPhone 5S will have a new super HD camera/screen, a better battery, NFC, and “possible updates include an IGZO screen for Retina+ 128GB storage.” It could sport a 4.3-inch screen and feature a slo-mo camera and faster processor. It may also come in 6-8 colors, similar to the iPod Touch, and will be thinner and lighter than its previous version and fingerprint reader technology. It may also have a price of $199, just like the current iPhone 5, and have possible release dates of August, September, or October.

The iPhone 6 may have a 12-megapixel sensor, up from the 8-megapixel version of the iPhone 5. It could be waterproof with a 4.8-inch Retina+ HD display with a 3D camera and fingerprint reader. In terms of storage, the next-generation smartphone will come with 128GB instead of the current 64GB. Also, the iPhone 6 may have an indoor mapping feature, NFC integrating with Passbook App for storing store cards, tickets and coupons integrating with NFC. It will have a smart bezel and may have a quad-core Apple A7, using ARM Cortex A15-based cores, or update A6. The iPhone 6 also may have iOS 7 and be made out of plastic and cheaper, with a release date of June 2014.

For Apple, no more of this “S” crap to test out new technology.

Make your products groundbreaking, push the limits, and do it each and every year. Give Google some competition to actually work with.

Since Steve Job‘s death, the lack of innovation at Apple has been unacceptable. Sure, he may not be around to “push for things” anymore, but his cultural influence should have left a mark for Apple to do the same things without him. In my opinion Apple is being pussies and is no longer the innovative, “Think Different” company they once were.

Google is close to becoming this type of company, but they need to fully embrace their GoogleX tech and lead with that, instead of minor updates to their existing products.

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People resist change. People don’t understand how the future is going to be. They need to be lead, taught, and shown how things will be.
Like a magician, Google (Apple used to do this) needs to show users what’s in store for their future. Get them excited about the change. Get them ready for the innovations ahead. Push yourself to be more groundbreaking and rely less on playing it safe.

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Google, you did this pretty well with +Project Glass , but the advertising should have been stronger and more conceptually oriented. There should be commercials showing us the world of tomorrow. There should be commercials showing a world using Glass , Self-Driving Cars, and Embedded Systems to get us pumped up about what’s coming next, and to create a demand for it. This will allow you to dedicate more resources to developing the technology, since it will be a shared vision of the future with users, and not just the one you have in your head.

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Google has quite possibly the most consistent, well-performing products in the world, and this helps them market themselves. But, Google still needs a “Steve Jobs” to be a showman and to get people excited about the future. Google should continue to run it’s bread and butter search operation, and continue to make improvements to the Android phones, but focus their advertising on Future products that will mystify and amaze people.

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The word “Google” should become synonymous with the words “Future Technology / Amazing Culture,” no longer just the word you use to look stuff up with.

This is ultimately Google’s responsibility to present themselves in this manner. The future is almost here, and the ones quicker to accept this and take full advantage will be the future leaders.

Is Google doing everything they can to make this point known to the average user?

Is Project Glass and self-driving cars just something that geeks know about and think will be super awesome, or are there average consumers talking about this shit at the water cooler?

The ENTP Writing Personality: Energetic Innovation

“Obedience hardly ever begets
innovation.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Can learning about personality type help you make the most of your natural writing / leadership style?

ENTP writers enjoy the pre-writing stage. They may come up with many good ideas quickly.

Often skilled at detecting patterns and envisioning outcomes, they trust their insight and resist prescribed methods. The writing process itself may prove tedious to them, but if they persevere, their work is often thorough and multifaceted.

The ENTP personality type is one of 16 identified by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a popular psychometric instrument used to determine how people prefer to gather information and make decisions. The initials ENTP indicate the following:

E: Extraversion preferred to introversion

ENTPs get their energy from people and activity in their external world. Spending time alone can leave them listless and bored. They enjoy interacting with a large group of friends and acquaintances. They generally act before reflecting.

N: iNtuition preferred to sensation

ENTPs are abstract thinkers, placing more trust in flashes of insight than in experience. They’re less interested in sensory data than in the patterns perceived by the unconscious mind. ENTPs tend to be intellectually restless—they want to change the world.

T: Thinking preferred to feeling

ENTPs prefer to use their thinking function when making decisions. They place more emphasis on the rule of logic than on the effect that actions have on people. They tend to be skeptical in evaluating ideas, whether their own or someone else’s.

P: Perception preferred to judgment

ENTPs like to keep their options open. They enjoy beginning new projects and exploring opportunities as they arise. ENTPs think in terms of possibilities rather than likelihoods.

Are you an ENTP writer or content creator? If so, the following information may give you some insight into how temperament influences your writing style. Use these insights to help you play to your strengths and compensate for your natural blind spots.

Of course these strategies would apply to non-writers as well… really any position that requires you to get a message across, which could include Marketing / Advertising, Leadership / Management in general, and other types of professions. (Such as being a Teacher, Lawyer, or an Entrepreneur).

Writing Process of the ENTP

If you’re an ENTP, you may approach a writing project in the following ways:

– You’re rarely at a loss for ideas. While many people struggle to find a topic, you may have difficulty limiting yourself to just one.

– You may enjoy exploring controversial subjects or devising clever solutions to problems. Have fun playing with different possibilities, and see where they lead you.

– You can benefit from collaborative writing projects. Chances are, you prefer an active, high-energy environment. You may enjoy discussing and debating your ideas with others.

– You will probably assert your individuality even within the group. If someone else is leading the project, be careful that your natural tendency to ignore authority doesn’t undermine the team. If you maintain goodwill, you’ll stand a better chance of convincing someone else to do the actual writing.

– You may do well to compose an article, essay, or story by speaking into a voice recorder. If the thought of transcribing the recording sounds unbearably tedious to you, consider paying (or persuading) someone else to do it.

– To sustain your enthusiasm, gather visual elements to use in the piece. Devise your own strategies to make the writing process more interesting.

– You are motivated by a desire to innovate.

– You tend to seek a unique approach even to ordinary topics. Conversely, you tend to be good at making complex subjects clear and interesting. Stay focused, and let your desire to prove your competence and ingenuity drive you forward until the project is complete.

Potential Blind Spots of the ENTP

As an ENTP, you may experience the following pitfalls:

– You generally enjoy brainstorming but may not feel motivated to write until you feel the pressure of a deadline. To avoid a time crunch at the end of the project, set milestones along the way. Make your best guess of how long each step should take, then double it. Schedule enough time to take breaks so you can consider new possibilities.

– To stay energized, try working in a variety of settings.

– You may excel at satire, and humor can liven up your work. Make sure your tone is appropriate for the piece and for the audience.

– You may find it helpful to include a personal story or two, rather than relying on cold logic alone to make your point.

– You tend to grasp the big picture and to focus on the future. Ensure that your work contains enough background material and concrete detail. To avoid tangents or a cursory treatment of the subject, keep the central thesis or purpose of the project in mind while writing. Solicit feedback from someone whose competence you trust.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong approach to writing. Each individual is unique, so don’t let generalities limit you. Do what works best for you.

Google: A Culture and Way of Life, Not a Tool.

Google

Google could run breathtaking campaigns, enhance the user experience, and market themselves for what they truly are: a culture and way of life, not a tool.

Google has evolved into more than just a search engine.

Sure, that started it all, which sparked an “age of curiosity.” For the first time, anyone could find out anything, if they looked hard enough.

Throw social into the mix, and we’re creating a completely new society.

“Hey, these people think like me,” empowers us all.

“Hey, these people don’t think like me, let’s discuss,” starts a dialog.

Google is tearing the walls down of outdated norms, awakening untapped potential, and allowing us to become our true selves. This increase in honesty will lead to a decrease of prejudice and ignorance, creating a better world for everyone.

Seamless Integration

This isn’t even touching the subject of how the next generation technology that Google is developing will make technology less of a burden. Google will bring technology back to its intended purpose: to enhance our lives, not slow it down or get in the way.