Monday, September 26, 2011

The Brand Story

Lynda Resnick, Vice Chairman of Roll Global (a relatively little known, $3B consumer company driven by brand strategies), describes what it takes to lead global brands such as POM Wonderful, Teleflora, and FIJI Water - and how important a "brand story" is to the success of your business.

This is a worthwhile 14 minute video with powerful insights on creating strong brands and strong leadership.

Friday, September 23, 2011

IBM at 100: How to Outlast Depression, War, and Competition
12:25 PM Monday August 8, 2011
by Nancy Koehn

It is hard to ignore a century of success particularly after returning from a near death experience in the early 90’s

 At its 100-year milestone, IBM shows us what it takes to outlast depression, war, and intense competition in order to remain a market leader in the midst of ongoing technological innovation. Here are several lessons worth sharing.

Be nimble and quick to adapt in a world of disruptive change(some early history) When the Social Security Act of 1935 created a huge demand for record keeping, IBM was ready, landing an enormous government contract to keep employment records on 26 million people. World War II then brought additional information-processing needs, as the U.S. military began using IBM cards to keep track of supplies, personnel and casualties. During this period, company sales grew from $40 million in 1939 to $142 million in 1945

Know your customers intimately Newly appointed CEO Lou Gerstner logged thousands of hours visiting customers, industry experts and analysts. He then set about transforming the company to rekindle IBM's historic commitment to customer intimacy, to make the organization much more integrated, and to streamline operations. The overarching strategic goal was to create an enterprise that could understand its customers wide-ranging IT needs (in some cases before they did on their own) and to deliver on these demands more effectively than any rivals. By 2000, IBM's Global Services had become the world's largest IT consulting and web services organization, providing almost 30% of the company's revenue. Nine years later, IT services accounted for 42% of IBM's $95 billion in sales.

Cultivate collective responsibility based on "systems knowledge"From IBM's early days, Thomas Watson Sr. believed you had to take good care of consumers by learning to think as they did

Stay committed to your core values, no matter whatDespite IBM's ability to adapt and change, the company's core values have remained at the center of what the organization does (and is). Shaping IBM's values and forward-facing vision, Thomas Watson, Sr. baked his driving ambition, respect for his people, faith in effective sales and distribution methods, commitment to customer intimacy and appetite for ongoing reinvention into the company's DNA

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Build Brands Apple's Way
9:37 AM Monday July 25, 2011
by Jeffrey F. Rayport 

 Very interesting discussion on branding
The value of Apple brand was $153 billion, up 84 percent year on year. Yes, Apple spends lavishly on promoting its brand, but the study attributed the spike in brand valuation to the impact of two products — the iPad and, to a lesser extent, the iPhone. There's a lesson in this for every marketer. Want to build a powerful brand? Ask yourself if your products (or services) could serve as ambassadors for your brand. There are four ways to make what you sell an ambassador for your brand. While not every company can pull this off, it's worth considering how you might position your offerings as.

...Branded Utilities: Until recently, Google hadn't spent a dime on advertising. At a valuation of $111 billion, Google's brand is predicated on the ubiquity of its services.. Google is an information utility. Rather than deliver water, electricity, or natural gas, Google delivers answers.  Similarly, while Amazon has the established the gold standard for online commerce, it has spent sparingly to bulk up its brand. Rather, it's reallocated marketing budgets to building a better product: Prime shipping, one-click ordering, often lowest prices, and smart recommendations. Amazon has created the ultimate shopping utility...Social Connectors: Facebook's brand rose to 35th in the latest rankings with a valuation of $19 billion. It's a utility of a different kind. Its benefit for users, of course, is connection to other users, an experience enriched by dozens of features and hundreds of thousands of third-party apps, many varieties of messaging, sharing, and, now, a deal with Skype....Performance Systems: BMW connected long ago its well-known brand mantra — "the ultimate driving machine" — to the reality of its products. Yes, maintaining brand awareness matters when you want to sell cars at scale. But what keeps people coming back to BMW are vehicles that deliver on the claim...Objects of Affection: Though every one of Apple's products is, in fact, "just" a computer in a small envelope, each elicits a strong emotional response easily confused with affection and even love. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Want to Lead? Ask Tennyson and Shakespeare
Published NYT: September 3, 2011

Some important reflections for leaders in training

This interview with Enrique Salem, president and C.E.O. of Symantec, the computer security company, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

Key lessons from the interview:
… “Check your ego and your title at the door.” I learned that very early on. One of the things that my first manager said to me was: “Look, a lot of times you don’t lead by your position. You lead by how you influence other people’s thinking.” And so I absolutely believe that if it’s about you, you’re not going to do a great job. It can’t be about your success. It has to be about what you are trying to accomplish. So that’s No. 1. No. 2 came from Tennyson, his poem “Ulysses.” If you read the poem, there’s one little phrase that says, “I am a part of all that I have met.” I absolutely believe you learn from everybody you interact with.
Another one is from Colin Powell: “Positive attitude is a force multiplier.” I think that you’ve got to stay positive about things because when you go the other way, it’s de-motivating to everybody around you and you’re unlikely to be successful……….There’s a verse from William Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure,” which is, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” I have this presentation that I give to our advanced leadership class, and the title is, “Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way.” One of the slides has that quote, because if you think about that quote, it really is how I want our company to be. You’ve got to take some chances. You’ve got to take some risks, and sometimes things don’t work out, but you’ve got to go for it….….One time the coach called a defensive play and I changed it, and after having some success with that I said, “Oh, this isn’t so hard.” But then another player runs on the field and replaces me, and I run to the bench and the coach says, “When you want to call what I’m calling, you can go back in the game.” So I sat on the bench for a play or two and then went over and said: “O.K., Coach. I got it. I’m sorry.” And he put me back in the game. I really learned this notion that whoever’s making the calls, you’ve got to listen to that person.
And he pulled me aside after the game and we talked about it, and he said: “I know you love the game. I know you study the game. But you’ve got to realize that when I make calls, I’m setting something up. I’m looking at something that’s happening, and you can’t be out there second-guessing me on this.” I still remember that story. In business, somebody has to make the call. I learned that pretty early on.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Cross-Channel Customer Experience Must and How to Achieve It

Fascinating discussion and strongly urge you to read the article. The following diagram is explained: