Listen

As the marketing world evolves, it’s often the case that creative motivations take precedence over what customers actually want and expect. Listen to your customer. Accept that it’s more about them than you.

A Culture of Entitlement

Reading the LA Times article about Silicon Valley tech firms and the perks offered to employees.  A ride in a $200,000 vehicle….. I remember a time when going home an hour early was considered a perk…What are we saying to the future of this industry?

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-fi-perks28-2010mar28,0,3505494.story?page=2&track=rss

Strategy Uprising for the Creation of Sustainable Businesses

2009 was riddled with stories of corporate downsizing, bankruptcies, and economic uncertainty. The environment rattled even the most accomplished businesses. Some failed, closing the doors forever. Others narrowly survived and new businesses are emerging, both facing the incredible challenge of adapting to a new business climate.

Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), an Atlanta-based consulting firm, specializes in developing and executing strategic solutions across business, brand, marketing and technology to embrace new opportunities for the creation of more sustainable businesses. Junction considers 2010 as the year for a strategic uprising.

For the last decade, many businesses operated without detailed business plans and strategic executions. Consumers were spending more as revenues increased. When the pendulum suddenly shifted, companies weren’t prepared to handle the drastic decline in consumer spending and the effect it had on revenue. For those businesses who survived, strategy is becoming the priority.

“Strategy plays a crucial role in the success of business,” comments Julie Cropp Gareleck, Managing Partner, Junction. “I practice what I preach. I spend the better part of first quarter every year writing and refining my business plan, creating a strategic roadmap, defining goals and objectives, and charting the course for how to achieve success. Although I faced many challenges in securing new business in 2009, I diversified my approach. I followed the plan. I moved forward. As a result, Junction is thriving.”

A strategic plan is more than a roadmap. It defines goals, objectives, and key milestones with considerations for resources and financial capability. Companies can identify and create efficiencies in processes, ultimately maximizing return on investment.

Gareleck provides advice to businesses who are redefining strategies, “I encourage organizations to not only embrace strategy but also commit to the execution. It’s an ongoing and ever-evolving process. Learn from the volatility of 2009. Prepare your company for adapting to the ongoing changes in business as opposed to reacting. I equate the lack of strategy to taking a road-trip without a GPS.”

Branding You Won’t Forget

This is the most unique brand experience that I had to share:
Call Nestle Hotline at 1-800-295-0051. When asked if you want to continue in English or Spanish, wait QUIETLY for about 10 seconds and I PROMISE you will smile. Keep going and press 4. Then any option after. Don’t ruin the surprise for the next person.

Thanks Nestle for shaking things up!

Business is Moving Forward

San Diego Innovation Economy Doubles Start-up Rate and VC Funding Outpaces Most Regions with 90% Jump

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There was a leap in the pace of launching new technology companies in the second quarter of 2009, CONNECT’s newly released Second Quarter 2009 Innovation Report shows.    Start-ups were up 53% with 102 companies launched. In the first quarter of 2009 only 66 compa- nies were created. The increase over second quarter last year was 34% with 76 companies launched in the second quarter of 2008.

The CONNECT Innovation Report (CIR) is the first to provide an economic indicator of the strength and impact of the innovation economy in San Diego. Published each quarter by CONNECT, San Diego’s technology and life sciences accelerator, the Report includes:

  • New innovation start-ups
  • Venture capital investment
  • Mergers and acquisition activity
  • New patent applications and patents granted
  • Research grants
  • Research employment and wage

Overall, San Diego accounted for 14% of new technology businesses started in California, in the second quarter of 2009, ranking third after Los Angeles (LA) and Santa Clara counties. LA had 140 start-ups and Santa Clara had 117.

*From my friends at Innovation America

A Blog Post Worth Reading

Creative Age: Tearing Structure Apart http://bit.ly/cr8U7i

Reading and Managing the Zone

Linda Richardson, author of Sales Coaching: Making the Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach, wrote an interesting perspective on zones that proves relevance to employees across an enterprise….The value in understanding the cultural zone of your employees yields increased employee retention which directly correlates to a more profitable company.   Let’s dig deeper.

4 Cultural Zones

  • Dead Zone – Employees are not actively interested in improving, lack interest in the future, and are disengaged
  • Comfort Zone – Employees want to be effective, reproduce the success of the past, and tend to have blinders on with regards to new approaches
  • Panic Zone – Employees are in a period of “reactive adjustment’, at a loss for how to change old systems, and can’t learn well
  • Stretch Zone – Employees are actively involved, committed to developing, and are open to learning about to be more successful

Most employees work and live in predominantly one zone, although it’s possible to switch from zone to zone for a short time.   Effective managers  can read these zones and manage employees into a stretch zone,  resulting in increased productivity, consistent growth, and greater employee retention.  When a company isn’t constantly managing employee turnover, the focus becomes profitability and growth.

How is your company reading and managing the zone?

Strategy Check List

Developing a strategy, whether enterprise wide or at the functional level, is a daunting task for any company.  Here’s a high-level check list to get start the conversation.

  1. What is the vision?
  2. What is the overarching strategy and tactics for executing this vision?
  3. What resources are required to execute on the strategy?
  4. Define milestones.
  5. Who is responsible for each tactical element of the strategy?
  6. List potential risk factors.   How can the strategy be adapted in response to those risk factors?

Let the conversation begin…