Roy's Blog: October 2012

October 29, 2012

That’s why there’s chocolate and vanilla


Can you imagine if an ice cream shop only offered vanilla flavor? Or just chocolate? Vanilla and chocolate lovers might be satisfied for a while but the business would likely not succeed.

Different consumer tastes require different flavors. It’s what every business must do.

Do you know the tastes of the people who do business with you? The people who care about what you do and buy from you regularly? Your fans expect you to create Value that is SPECIAL to THEM.

Can you provide too many flavors? I think so. To me it suggests shotgun thinking. Provide 50 flavors and you’re bound to appeal to some, but it’s a waste of resources due to the misses. In addition, I find too much choice frustrating and annoying.

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Give me 3 flavors in my ‘relevance circle’ (the main flavors I select more than others) and I am happy to pick one that fits my mood at that moment.

A sprawling product line is expensive. We all know the result of excess inventory. Discount clearance pricing and bang! you’re a commodity supplier.

Too few flavors on the other hand limits business; additional sales are missed by not having a robust enough product line.

But a THOUGHTFUL selection of flavors based on fan purchase behavior grows business and customer loyalty.

THOUGHTFUL selection?

1. Select flavors that are coveted by your ten most valuable customers that provide you with a disproportionate amount of your revenue.

2. If you can’t name your top ten, look at product sales. Pick the ten best selling flavors over a 12-month period. Focus on them.

3. Conduct FEELINGS research around your top ten fans or flavors. Why do people like the flavors? What FEELINGS do they create when they consume them?

4. What other flavors, that you currently don’t offer, would interest them and why?

Know your fans. Know what makes them feel special.

Treat each of them differently.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 10.29.12 at 10:08 am by Roy Osing
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October 22, 2012

Are you the #ONLY ones that do what you do?


THE most challenging task in today’s world of aggressive and hyper competition is to carve out a competitive position for your organization that clearly separates you from the competitive herd.

Something that makes you relevant, compelling and special to the people you choose to serve.

Something that leaves them breathless every time they do business with you. That captures their undying devotion to you forever.

Today, the herd runs rampant over the economic landscape.

Marketing in the herd is lazy and unimaginative. Incremental product feature creep is the main strategy that tries to distinguish one organization from another.

Price is used to create the illusion of separation.

None of these tactics work.

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Unclear value is communicated to the market and consumers are left to their own devices to determine who is capable of uniquely satisfying their wants and expectations. Unfortunately, when Value is not clear, people buy on price and everyone in the market ends up on a race to the bottom.

What’s the solution? How does a business create a unique competitive claim?

Stop copying “best of breed”’ and “best in class”.

Decide that you will be the ONLY one who does something and claim your distinctiveness by creating your ONLY Statement.

The ONLY is simple,practical and effective. It goes like this: “We are The ONLY ones that…”.

If you can make this claim, you are well on your way to distinguishing yourself from the malaise of copiers, followers, and invisible herd members in the market today.

The ONLY Statement must follow these rules:

1. It must be about VALUE which is relevant to your customers. It’s not about the product or service you provide; it’s about the set of benefits it creates (experiences, happiness, joy, fun, memories) for your fans. Don’t push products; communicate unique and compelling Value.

2. It must be specific. Avoid aspirational words like “best”, “greatest”, “premium”, or “number one”. These claims are not only difficult to prove, they also are constantly used by everyone else. A break- away ONLY is needed to distance yourself from this type of positioning.

3. It can NEVER speak to price. If you have to talk about price, you don’t have a competitive position.

4. Make it brief. This is NOT a narrative. It is a concise expression of what makes you distinctive.

St John Ambulance in Vancouver: “St John Ambulance is the ONLY First Aid Advocate that provides safety solutions anywhere, anytime.” A good example to consider.

Before proclaiming your ONLY To the world, test it to ensure it is both relevant (it addresses something your fans care about) and believable (it is true). Ask a group of your customers and employees. They will be delighted you asked for their help.

Finally, BE patient. You probably won’t nail your ONLY the first time. Get it “just about right”, test it and start executing. Learn how it resonates in the market. Make adjustments as you go.

You will know you are in the right path when your competition notice what you are up to and try the ONLY themselves.

Hey, nothing is forever.

If you’re not constantly renewing yourself to BE DiFFERENT, you’re dead (or soon will be).

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 10.22.12 at 09:50 am by Roy Osing
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October 15, 2012

6 ways to get your “thing”

In an organization, what makes one person stand out from another? Why do we “like” some people and not others? Why so some people attract confidence and others don’t?

The trick is to identify relevant and unique VALUE that you have that will enable your organization to achieve its strategic goals.

Relevant - value that addresses critical business issues.

Unique - value that only YOU have to give.

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I have suggested the personal ONLY statement as a tool you can use to sort this out and to stake your unique competitive claim.

“I am The ONLY one that….” is an effective way of getting at defining your “thing”.

Here are some “things” that I consider critical in terms of organizational success. How many do possess?

1. Distinctive knowledge required to execute your strategy.

2. Unique experience in implementing programs that will “breathe life” into your strategy.

3. A Network of connections you can draw on for help and to fill any “competency gaps” you have.

4. Your drive to get stuff done. It ain’t about the plan; it’s about EXECUTION.

5. Love of humans. People get stuff done. Customers are people. You must be an 11/10 in loving people.

6. Ability to focus on the critical FEW things that will deliver 80% of your strategy. Time and resources are scarce. Can you sift through the potential many things that could be done and land on 3 things that will create the most success?

You aren’t born with your “thing”.

You must develop it based on what is required for your organization to succeed.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 10.15.12 at 07:50 am by Roy Osing
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October 1, 2012

4 ways to make “risk management” add value


Had an interesting conversation recently with a colleague of the #2 global consulting firm. He was commenting on how their Risk Management (RM) group had shot down a proposal to acquire another fairly large consulting organization and within a week of their “decision” to stop further action on the target firm, their main competitor (Global #1) swooped down, made the move and got the prize. Apparently Risk Management for Global #1 had a different perspective of the risk involved.

How could Risk Management in #1 and #2 reach completely different conclusions?

Risk Management is generally practiced as a CONTROL mechanism to ensure unnecessary risk is avoided. In this respect it could stultify the creative process. If you know that RM is essentially the gatekeeper that can prevent you from doing something new and bold, why bother proposing it? Why not avoid the pain and stay with business as usual? Particularly if you proposed a project in the past and had it terminated by them.

Furthermore, you must remember the folks in RM have to continually justify their existence. The Value they provide presumably is to ensure that high risk projects are killed (I have never seen an organization where the role of RM is to PROMOTE risk!) .

What would it look like if they never killed a proposal? Obviously they aren’t doing their job!

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Conclusion: if RM is to survive in an organization they MUST kill stuff that comes their way.

What should RM look like, then, to maximize it’s VALUE to the organization?

Here are 4 essentials:

1. It should be driven by the Strategic Game Plan of the organization. RM needs a strategic context to function. If the overall strategy is of high risk, RM takes on a higher risk role and thus fewer projects are killed versus a low risk strategy. In the absence of a clear Strategy,
RM will continue to apply THEIR algorithms and criteria to assess risk. Out-of-strategic context activity on their part will result in killing the wrong projects. I guarantee it. Seen it happen many times.

2. It’s role is NOT to gate-keep but rather to exercise their role in carrying out the strategy of the firm. It should be a facilitator and encourager not big brother with a whole lot of power.

3. It should be challenging people in the organization to take on “healthy risk” that is consistent with the overall strategy. Being more proactive will enhance the currency of the RM team among their colleagues.

4. The performance plan of the RM group MUST be based, not on the promulgation of best RM practices in the firm, but rather the volume of risk activity being undertaken. If for example the overall strategy was “high-risk; high reward” and risk activity in the business was low, RM is not doing it’s job.

Risk Management CAN add value to larger more complex organizations, BUT it needs to be a tool of strategy, not a function that gets mesmerized by it’s own discipline.

It’s like IT developing cool systems that serve no strategic purpose. Neat but no beef.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 10.1.12 at 09:08 am by Roy Osing
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