Roy's Blog: February 2012
February 27, 2012
Invaluable things you can do to BE Cherished by your Fans
1. Mix it up. Constantly innovate. Give your Fans a different look (value packages, promotions, events, fun) as often as you can. The Dead decided what songs to play when they began each concert - songs “on the run”. Risky? Yes. Original? Yes. Did their Fans love them for it? YES!
2. Enable your customers to fulfill themselves. Do what THEY want. The key here is the “Serving” mentality. Find out what they want and desire and take them there. The Dead created a bubble for their Fans and allowed them to reach emotional highs.
3. Focus on the experience not the product. The Dead did not try to sell records. They wanted to create mind-blowing experiences for their Fans. And guess what? (They sold lots of records).
4. Save the best deals for your best customers. Using Special Promotional Deals to entice people away from their supplier is a fool’s game in any event. What makes you think that if someone takes your Special Offer they won’t leave you in a heartbeat if someone else gives them one as well? You can’t grow your business by catering to the “promiscuous” crowd of constant switchers. Furthermore, what will your loyal customers say when they find out that you are not offering the special deal to them? (I can see their taillights already). The Dead ALWAYS saved the best ticket prices, seats and deals for their Fans. The result? The most successful touring band in history.
5. Do the opposite of what your competitors are doing. Observe ‘em and do a 180. You can’t stand-out if you copy. The Dead allowed their Fans to record their music in concert. No other band did. The 180 strategy created uniqueness and remark-ability that made them unforgettable.
6. Communicate with your Fans incessantly. AND figure out how to make it easier for them to communicate with one another. The Dead were fanatics when it came to having conversations with their Fans before Social Media arrived. Their Fans responded by not only attending concerts and other Dead Events, but also by talking up The Dead to their friends. The Dead virus spread…
You can learn a great deal about business from the most interesting and surprising sources.
Check out The Dead.
February 25, 2012
BE DiFFERENT Practice #1 - Strategic Renewal
Pause, take a deep breath, reflect and renew the Strategy for your organization.
The fact of the matter is that stale or declining performance is NOT necessarily due to any economic cycle. Rather, it could be due to the fact that your current strategy doesn’t work in an environment that is characterized by a reduction in consumer demand, greater competitive intensity, new competitors entering your market, much more discerning and fickle customers and more excruciating price sensitivity.
My Strategic Renewal Process process is quite straightforward, and involves answering four questions:
1. HOW BIG do you want to be?
2. WHO do you want to SERVE?
3. HOW do you intend to compete and WIN?
4. WHAT is your STRATEGIC GAME PLAN?
As context for this, the BE DiFFERENT strategic renewal process starts out with determining your financial goals. Most strategies have the financial results developed at the end of the process and generally get modified as someone they simply aren’t aggressive enough. As a result, higher numbers are driven out of the tabled strategy rather than adjusting it to deliver stronger financial results. You can’t ask aggressive growth numbers from a strategy designed to produce more moderate growth.
This is a huge mistake. Assuming that the assumptions behind the plan are reasonable and acceptable, forcing more aggressive numbers from a strategy without increasing strategic risk is a fool’s game. The expected higher performance numbers will not happen.
So declare right up front the financials you want, and be realistic to reflect the recessionary forces at play. I am not suggesting that you roll over and drop your expectations to near zero levels. I am suggesting, however, that a contraction in the economy will reduce the growth of the market, increase the number of competitors, erode customer loyalty and enhance customers’ sensitivity to the price of a good or service. You may decide, for example, to reduce your 12-month sales growth expectations of 25% in a market growing at 20% (implying that you intend to gain market share on your competitors) to 5% if the market growth flat lines, more competitors enter your market from the higher boutique segments.
WHO to SERVE?
The second step in the BE DiFFERENT strategic renewal process is to reassess the customers you have chosen to serve. Examine the customer groups that you currently do business with. Given the new recessionary market realities, can they deliver to your new financial expectations? Are their market characteristics appropriate to give you the revised growth you want? Apart from demand factors, what about the competitive environment - is it intense or are there opportunities to enhance your market position?
Carefully evaluate your options and choose the customer segment that can deliver you the growth you need as well as leverage the competencies of your organization.
One final point: Be prepared to dump the customers that are no longer part of your strategic focus. Keeping them will only drain your resources and waste your time with no economic return.
HOW to WIN?
The third step is the most critical in re-vectoring your strategic direction. This is where you decide how to differentiate yourself from the mosaic of new competitors you are facing and beat them handily.
Engage your team in what I refer to as creating your ONLY Statement. The only statement reads: ‘We are the only ones that…’ This is the ultimate manifestation of a unique competitive position in the marketplace.
This is not a task for the faint-of-heart. It is difficult to do and involves looking at every nook and cranny in your organization for opportunities to separate yourselves from the pack - brand, service, product, product support, and how you leverage technology are some examples of where you can look to create your only statement.
WHAT is your STRATEGIC GAME PLAN?
The final step in the strategic renewal process is to integrate the answers to the previous three questions into a seamless Strategic Game Plan. Here’s an example: ‘We will grow our top line sales revenue by 3% over the next 12 months by focusing our scarce resources on the retired couples segment of the greater Seattle market. We will compete and win by providing personalized transportation services to assist them in getting around the city.’
There it is. Crisp. Simple. Clean. And it can be used very effectively to communicate your renewed direction internally and to your investors if required.
Develop your Strategic Game Plan in literally 2 days and EXECUTE it on the 3rd. Let me know if I can help you.
February 23, 2012
I am working with a client at the moment who has incredibly high expectations when it comes to building their ONLY Statement.
Not that there is anything wrong with setting the bar high. But The ONLY Statement is a journey. And a journey is all about driving a stake in the ground and getting started. If you wait to get it perfect you’ll never get started. You won’t ship it.
You will never get it done.
I tell people to work hard to get their ONLY as crisp and accurate as possible. Then start executing. Test your work with customers and employees. Is it relevant? Is it true? Adjust it if you have to and keep on going.
A 60% ONLY is better than trying to squeeze the last 20% of perfection out of your work and not doing anything. Perfect doesn’t exist. Get over it.
ONLY work must be shipped. Your uniqueness must get tested and be experienced by your fans. Get it just about right and do it. Learn and adjust if you have to.
It’s ok to NOT get it right the first time.
February 22, 2012
Welcome to Jim Francis my Guest Blogger this week. Jim is the founder of Wavemaker Consulting, a management and educational consulting firm specializing in enhancing individual, team and organizational performance. His new book, How Not to Suck at Public Speaking reflects Jim’s passion for helping others become more effective communicators featuring 50 ways to leave your fears behind and become a great presenter.
To be productive, there are only two things you can do in business:
Now then - which are you doing right now?
The above words of wisdom were sent to me by a good friend and X boss. While I love the simplicity and see no need to mess with them, I would like to suggest there is something to be said for the order in which they are presented, especially given the times.
While all for running a tight ship, I am more than a little concerned for those companies focusing first and foremost on cutting costs, but giving little or no thought to adding value.
Particularly disconcerting is the all to common practice of cutting programs aimed at improving the skills and knowledge of long standing employees, or worse yet cutting the people themselves.
I suspect most, if not all of these these companies are going to find themselves behind the eight ball when the markets turns, if not before. And, when it comes to time to staff back up, the cost of regaining, or retraining the skills and knowledge lost may be more than many can bare.
So if your response to the question posed above is simply “I’m cutting costs” and you haven’t already developed and implemented a plan for adding value, you might want to rethink your approach.
What is the best, and likely the least expensive way to add value, regardless of the times?
We would suggest the answer lies in retaining and further developing your best people so your company can deliver a superior customer experience that differentiates you from your competitors, both today and in the future - a logical strategy for both good times and bad!——— Jim Francis