Strategy

Why We Break Up With Brands

Working with Retail and CPG clients on Customer Experience projects, it can be easy to lose one's perspective.   Brands are under intense pressure to build loyalty and enhance mobile apps.  But as consumers, we have limited time, money, attention and phone memory!  

I summarized some of my thoughts with colored pencils and marker.  It's an unusual prop to use in place of a Power Point presentation.  But it'll be fun way to get the point across at my next meeting.

Why Loyalty App Got Deleted


How Product Managers Can Take the Bias out of Brainstorming

Product Managers are skilled at integrating complex feedback into a cohesive strategy.   Corralling diverse opinions in a crowded conference room is a real-time integration challenge.

Successful teams have strong personalities -- when brainstorming, these personalities can become caricatures:  the naysayer, the vulcan fact-checker, the polyanna, the emotional chest-pounder, etc.  Bias squelches creativity.   Good ideas, cloaked in emotion, may never see the light. 

One way to take bias out of brainstorming is a methodical approach.   There are many structured brainstorming processes designed for long, complex product development cycles, but small processes and small companies can get bogged down with all the details.   

Six_hats An approach that's worked for me over the years is the one of "thinking hats" where everyone on the team has to take on different roles (or "hats") to think through the situation from multiple angles.   The red hat is the emotional hat, the black hat is the devil's advocate, the white hat is fact-based, the yellow hat is the sunny optimist, the green is the creative hat and the blue hat is the integrator that brings them all together.   The method is 40+ years old, but it still feels fresh.  0140296662_01__sclzzzzzzz_aa240__2 The book is short, once you skip the overly congratulatory introduction by the author.  Add a Post-it Note easel pad, place the six points of view around your conference room, and make everyone try each role at least once -- you'll have a more balanced view of your situation -- and a better end product as a result.   

Who wants to be labeled "doom & gloom naysayer" or "naive optimist" anyhow?


Seizing opportunities in the "off season"

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In summer, it's hard to find a place to put your beach towel.   In late Fall, it's all up for grabs.  Crowded market spaces are no different from crowded beaches -- there's more scrutiny, less room for error, and every surfer is trying to catch a wave.   There's no lack of waves on an uncrowded beach.  And few spectators.  But you can time your entrance, make mistakes, and learn and adapt before anyone notices...

Off season is analagous to difficult economic times.  Now is the time to start businesses, double down and reinvest -- while most have their heads in the sand.


Lack of Lead Gen is a Symptom, Not a Disease

You're interviewing for a VP Marketing gig, and you're asked the question "Do You Do Lead Gen"?  And you begin to suspect that 1)this job is more low-level than it sounds and 2)yikes!this company does not value branding or marketing strategy.Content Messaging 
The suspicion may well be false.  Because in the overall scheme of marketing life, lack of lead gen is just a headache.  It's not a disease, it's a symptom of something much bigger.

 
The roundabout route that many Lead Gen discussions take is that there are little/no marketing programs in place, the sales team isn't armed and there's no way to measure the marketing to sales cycle.  Which can also mean: No clear, compelling value proposition, and no educational (vs. promotional) content. 

So there's no need to run when the lead gen question comes up.  It's part of a much bigger story and a much meatier assignment. 

And if Lead Gen is not part of your repertoire, you may miss the strategic conversation all together.